Tag Archives: Asia

DSS-Trained Philippines Police Disrupt Terrorist Bomb Plot On Eve Of ASEAN Summit

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit

Just 48 hours before U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in the Philippine capital to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit, Philippine National Police (PNP) investigators thwarted a terrorist plot to disrupt the international gathering by detonating a bomb in metropolitan Manila.

Police arrested three suspected members of a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, the Abu Sayyaf Group, as leaders from 20 nations, the European Union, and the United Nations were about to arrive in Manila for the November 10-14, 2017 summit.

PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa made the announcement to news media on November 17, 2017, three days after the ASEAN summit concluded. Local news reports indicated that one of the suspects had posted to social media photos of himself and his alleged accomplices at various places in the Metro Manila region, including at the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex, the ASEAN summit’s main venue.

The terrorist plot was discovered through the investigative work of officers assigned to the PNP’s Anti-Cybercrime Group, alumni of training provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) Program. The program is supported by the Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism, which provides the funding and policy guidance.

Established in 1983, the ATA program helps U.S. law enforcement partners build their capacity to detect, deter, disrupt, and investigate terrorism activities and suspects — all within a rule-of-law framework that promotes respect for human rights. The CT Bureau has partnered with ATA to assist a number of countries on the front lines of terrorism. Through the ATA program, personnel with the Department’s Diplomatic Security Service assess partner nations’ needs, develop curriculum, and train and mentor foreign law enforcement officers in a variety of counterterrorism skills.

The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group’s Cyber Terror Response Section, led by Chief Inspector June Paolo Abrazado, monitored the suspects’ social media postings and provided intelligence to the PNP operating units who located the suspects and made the arrest.

The anti-cybercrime investigators, including Chief Inspector Abrazado, were trained by ATA instructors in social media investigation, proactive internet investigation, and other relevant topics.

Since 2003, when ATA delivered its first cyber training to the Philippines, ATA support has helped the Philippine National Police to build a successful counter-terrorism cyber investigations program that is considered among the best in the region. In 2018, the Philippines is projected to be among the top recipients of ATA cyber training and cyber-related equipment and technology grants.

This ASEAN-related investigation is but one example of how the ATA program has saved lives, helped protect U.S. officials and interests abroad, and contributed to closer U.S. relations with partner nations.



Paul Davies is Director of the Diplomatic Security Office of Antiterrorism Assistance

State Department Celebrates Fourth Anniversary Of Flagship Program For Southeast Asian Leaders

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

On December 3, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) – the State Department’s flagship leadership program in Southeast Asia – will celebrate its fourth anniversary. To mark the occasion, emerging leaders in all ASEAN member countries will implement community service projects, December 1–10, throughout their local, national, and regional communities. This dynamic campaign, collectively known as YOUnified, will bring leaders together with U.S. diplomatic missions for 10 days of high-impact projects.

The State Department will also participate in YOUnified through three community service events in Washington D.C. from December 4–8.

In one of the events, an American alumnus of a State Department exchange program in Southeast Asia will visit students at the Theodore Roosevelt High School Global Studies Campus to conduct educational outreach. The alumnus will speak about the impact of exchanges and opportunities for American students to participate in State Department exchange programs.

State Department personnel will also volunteer at two local organizations – the D.C. Central Kitchen and N Street Village.

For more information on the YOUnified projects in ASEAN, visit https://asean.usmission.gov/yseali/yseali-younified to view our map of projects by location.

Project updates and photos can be accessed on the YSEALI Tumblr: https://youngsoutheastasianleaders.tumblr.com/submit.

To learn more about YSEALI, please visit: https://asean.usmission.gov/yseali/.

Cambodia Government Kicks Damage Control Into High Gear



The ministry’s statement named no specific delegations but closely reflected the criticism levelled in a statement released by the E.U.

The E.U. said its member missions “deeply regret the dangerous political escalation of recent days and call for a halt to the judicial harassment of the acting leader of the opposition and representatives of the civil society organizations.”

A string of rights workers and opposition officials have been arrested over the past few months on charges widely seen as politically motivated. CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha has repeatedly been called to court over an alleged extramarital affair and narrowly evaded arrest last week for ignoring the summonses, despite his constitutionally guaranteed immunity from prosecution.

In its statement on Thursday, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said the “amazement and indignation” shown by the foreign delegations were misplaced.

“These reactions reflect the lack of knowledge or the will to pretend not to know the rules,” it said, claiming that other countries had the very same laws and procedures as Cambodia, “especially in those of the European Union.”

It specifically defended the right to “condemn” a witness for giving false testimony and arrest someone for … continue reading

EU Highlights Serious Flaws In New Thai Constitution And Referendum Campaign



The MEP delegation to Bangkok also demanded an open debate ahead of a referendum on 7 August on the country’s new constitution.

The charter is supposed to pave the way for elections in 2017 although the regime has now indicated this may be scrapped if the draft is rejected.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, the general in charge of the junta, said this week he will use his power to set up a new committee to draw up another charter if the draft is voted down.

During their visit to Thailand, the deputies also met …  continue reading