National security wrap

The beat

German police commandos caught funnelling ammunition to doomsday groups

In Germany, four special operations police commandos have been arrested for giving ammunition to far-right ‘doomsday prepper’ groups. Prosecutors allege that as long ago as 2012, three of the commandos began taking ammunition at work and passing it through the fourth commando to the groups. The accused were set to appear before a magistrate today.

Spanish police ramp up security for summer

The Spanish interior ministry will deploy 40,000 extra national police and civil guards for the upcoming tourist season. Operation Verano is an annual security operation to ensure public safety in the face of a continuing threat from terrorism and will run from 1 July until 31 August across large parts of the country, including the Canary Islands.

New detector dogs and handlers to hit the Pacific beat

Two new police dogs and their handlers have graduated from New Zealand’s Pacific detector dog program. Trained to sniff out contraband including narcotics, firearms and explosives, these teams will head back to Fiji and Tonga to start their service and build the capability of their home police forces.


Trump withholds aid from Central America

President Donald Trump has vowed to withhold all US aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, as he claims that the Central American countries aren’t doing enough to stop the flow of migrants to the US border. The US State Department has confirmed that it has redirected the US$550 million (A$800 million) in aid. This decision comes after the Trump administration signed a tariff deal that aims to stop the flow of Central Americans who try to reach the US through Mexico.

Mozambican border guards killed in scuffle with South African forces

Mozambique’s police agency says that two of its border officers were killed in an incident with South African National Defence Force soldiers in the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal province. The Mozambican police force has held a joint meeting with South African police to determine how the shootings happened. South Africa’s defence force says it has sent investigators to the area.

Bosnians protest over migrant influx

Bosnians from the town of Bihac on the Croatian border have protested over their displeasure about increasing numbers of migrants arriving from Asia and North Africa. While 25,000 migrants have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina this year, around 6,000 have been living in Bihac and the nearby town of Velika Kladusa. Only 3,500 of the migrants are sheltering in transit centres. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s  immigration institutions are still in caretaker mode as a government has not been formed more than eight months after voters there went to the polls.

CT scan

Conviction over distribution of Christchurch attack video

New Zealand man Philip Arps has been sentenced to 21 months in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of distributing the video of the Christchurch terror attack. He argued he had a right to distribute the video in accordance with freedom of political belief. He has filed an appeal and several others are facing similar charges.

UN counterterror chief visits China’s Xinjiang province

Several countries, including the US and UK, have expressed ‘deep concerns’ about the visit by the United Nations counterterrorism chief to Xinjiang this week, arguing that it sends the wrong message to China. In a statement following the three-day visit, Vladimir Voronkov said that he briefed officials in Urumqi on the implementation of the UN’s counterterrorism strategy. China’s foreign ministry said that it reached a ‘broad consensus’ with the UN on counterterrorism. Despite previous UN statements, it appears that Voronkov did not express any concern over China’s detention of a million Uyghurs.

Teenagers jailed over ‘race traitor’images

Two teenagers in the UK have been convicted of encouraging terrorism after pleading guilty to charges on Tuesday. Michal Szewczuk and Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski controlled a webpage for a far-right British neo-Nazi organisation known as the Sonnenkrieg Division which shared images accusing Prince Harry of being a ‘race traitor’ after his marriage to Meghan Markle. Dunn-Koczorowski was sentenced to 18 months’ detention and training, and Szewczuk was sentenced to more than four years’ detention.

First responder

Injury-assessing AI under development at Hyundai

Korean car manufacturer Hyundai is working with MDGo, an artificial intelligence company, to develop technology capable of assessing injuries immediately after a car accident. The system would use sensors and scanners to collect information and provide it to emergency services personnel. This would include information about the collision and people’s physical injuries. It’s not clear when this technology will be made available in production cars.

Japan preparing for ‘X’ day quake

Japan has been rocked by a 6.8-magnitude earthquake, which has renewed fears of another devastating quake in Tokyo. Japan is regularly affected by earthquakes and authorities believe there’s a 70% chance that Tokyo will be hit by another major earthquake before 2050. A concerted effort is underway to minimise the damage such an earthquake would cause. Tokyo is also trying to improve tourists’ disaster preparedness, as the city gets ready to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics.

Canada’s nuclear emergency response plans tested

The International Atomic Energy Agency has completed an 11-day review of Canada’s preparedness for nuclear and radiological emergencies. Emergency preparedness reviews are a service the IAEA provides to member states, giving them an opportunity to identify weaknesses in their response plans. Nineteen nuclear reactors generate 15% of Canada’s electricity.