tv Panelists Discuss ISIS in South Asia CSPAN August 21, 2017 10:20pm-11:50pm EDT
"washington journal congo live at 7:00 a.m. eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. that's what's so wonderful to have a call in, people can actually participate. everybody can't make it actually physically to washington, d.c., but to be able to view and participate with authors live while it is happening, i think that adds so much and gives everybody that experience and they feel part of it. announcer: join book tv for the national book festival, live from washington, d.c. saturday, september 2 on c-span2. next, a conversation on combating isis in south asia. middle east academics and former government officials examine the rise of isis in countries such as india and bangladesh. the atlantic council hosted this event.
>> good afternoon. on behalf of the council leadership, i am very pleased to welcome you all to this event. i am very pleased to see the huge turnout today, despite two competing events taking place. one is obviously a clips, which you will see -- one is obviously the eclipse, which you will see in the next 15 minutes, but the stronger panel will eclipse the eclipse. i have a distinguished panel, and i will not take much more of your time because the panelists also have computing engagements. i believe you have to leave, you have a tight stop? ok, so i will dive straight into the event. i am pleased to welcome two of my own colleagues.
this is a cross collaborative effort across the council. jasmine, thank you very much. michael administrator as part of the south asia center, welcome. welcome these to two were work at us in the past and we are delighted to work with them again. thank you very much for your participation. without further ado, i will turn jasmine,proceedings to who will kick the event off, followed by the remaining panelists and chris fehr towards the end. i have requested the panelists to keep their remarks brief and short, five to seven minutes. and then we will turn over the question-and-answer session to the audience. before you pose a question, please identify yourself and your organization, and please keep your questions as brief as possible to enable the conversation. thank you very much. jasmine, the floor is yours.
>> thank you so much. is the mic on? can everyone hear me ok? it's a pleasure to be here and a pleasure to talk about this issue, because it is such an important one and such a challenge that all countries are grappling with and we are really trying to figure it out as we go along. i'm interested to hear about my other panelists' point of use and the audience as well. what i would like to start out by talking about is the challenge of dealing with isis as it moves from physical caliphate to a virtual one. as isis starts to lose territory in iraq and syria, we start to see it trying to reframe itself into a virtual caliphate with a different type of message. when it had territory in iraq and syria, the message to groups all over the world and muslims all over the world was "this is a perfect place to live. come to us, come live in the way of the prophet. we'll take care of you. you can live a good, pious life here." the message wasn't necessarily
extremely nefarious. it wasn't extremely violent in the beginning. it was just like "come live with us in this utopia." now, as they start to lose this territory and as they start to lose control over where they are, you see the message shifting to a much more aggressive, much more violent one. they are no longer telling people to come join them, because they can't, and there's nowhere to join anyway. they are telling people to stay where they are and just wreak havoc in their own societies. so the message is "stay where you are, we will provide you with all of the instructions, all of the information you need to tear apart the fabric of your society," that is what the challenge is we have to grapple with today. so we've seen this particularly in europe and the u.s. as these lone wolf attackers and other people who don't necessarily
seem to be part of a group or part of isis, per se. we have seen attacks -- the truck attacks, nice, orlando, london, most recently barcelona. these attacks that are incredibly difficult to proactively address, for a couple of reasons. how do you -- and this is a big challenge, basically. the big challenge is, how do you prevent someone from being radicalized online? not only how do you prevent someone from being radicalized online -- how do you identify someone who is being radicalized online? how do you answer the question s of why this person is becoming radicalized? how is he becoming radicalized? what are their grievances? if they don't have a criminal record and if they are not on the radar of the authorities, how do you know when to step in and whether you can step in , legally? questions that really are much more complicated and much more
challenging than a drone strike on a target or law enforcement operation. so you have a couple of measures that you can do that you can take part in. one is a reactive measure, things like taking extremist accounts offline, for example, once you identify them, or arresting people that are known to incite violence online. but what about proactive measures? what about preventative measures? i want to go through a couple of those right now, just broadly, and then i think my panelists are going to go into the country-specific challenges and opportunities. so if you look at the reasons why people are usually drawn to extremism, whether it is white supremacy that we are seeing right now in the u.s. or whether it is islamist-inspired extremism or any other form, the root causes are often the same. so it is disenfranchisement, which are governments.
it is feeling persecuted or wronged, like you don't have a sense of justice. it is a loss of identity. you don't know who you are or where you belong. economic hardship. you can no longer provide for your family or for yourself, and you have no dignity as a result. sympathizing with worldwide causes, whether it is palestine or syria or the wars in iraq, and afghanistan, feeling a sense of brotherhood or sisterhood with fellow muslims or others. so basically, a set of grievances, grievances whether they are real or perceived, whether they are past, present, or anticipated in the future. so a couple of examples in south asia that make conditions there ripe for extremism. i'm going to keep this really
brief. for example, in india, we have rising muslim-hindu tensions and and muslims are increasingly feeling persecuted under prime moodie's government. again, grievances real or perceived. in bangladesh, you also have the same kind of tensions, and isis online has specifically expressed an interest in going into bangladesh because it is a win-win situation for them. one is, it is the fourth largest muslim population in the world, so they have this big potential pool of recruits. secondly, they have a border with india, which is not so easy to monitor. so they get a two-for-one, if you will, if they go into bangladesh. so what can these governments do? what are some of the things we can look at how to combat? in south asia in particular, because they have not necessarily been on the front lines of fighting isis like the
middle east or europe or the the challenget between walking a fine line between being extremely aggressive and being extremely vocal about their increasing efforts to combat isis, and becoming a target because of that. the more they say they are combating isis, the more they do it publicly, the more there on the radar of the organization, the more the organization targets them as an act of revenge, so it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle. what are a couple things they can do that some of these governments have already started doing, but of course could always be doing more of an better? one is working with international allies in the private sector to identify and take down these extremist presences online. like i mentioned earlier, identifying extremist accounts online, identifying people in -- country that are inciting individuals online, addressing the root causes and
vulnerabilities, some of the stuff i talked about earlier, promoting an inclusive, tolerant dialogue and making every individual in the country, regardless of their religion or socioeconomic status, feel like they belong and feel like they have a place in society. and finally, continuing to bolster their law enforcement capabilities with the help of allies such as the u.s. to eliminate the physical isis presence on the ground, to deny isis the ability to use that as a victory or to say that we, ok, we are not in iraq and syria but now we are in afghanistan or bangladesh are other places. to prevent them from having a recruitment tool. i think i'll stop there and turn it over to hagar. >> hello. i actually worked with jasmine when i was in government, and both of us worked on middle east
issues. i'm going to be talking to you specifically about the financing aspects of isis. i have a strong background in counterterrorism financing with the treasury department. i kind of want to start with the financial model that ice is isisoped in -- that developed in it's a stronghold in iraq and syria and unique it is, how different it is with the fundraising mechanisms of other organizations, and how it has evolved. and this varies very well with the evolution into the virtual world and these kind of lone wolf, often what we call the single terrorist. in iraq when it grew and syria, the financial model that is focused on was very much focused on something called self generated funds. what that means is they derive funds from the land over which they control, meaning from the
resources and from the people. this was a very different model than most terrorist organizations. al qaeda, for example, usually raise funds from what we call deep-pocketed donors, big donors that would send tons of money. you can imagine that sanctions were very effective because they would expose these individuals and freeze any assets. other organizations, like hezbollah, for example, diversified their fundraising mechanisms. but they were backed by a state, in that case iran, and they had a very wide, diverse system of businesses and organized crime to raise funds. isis sounded this -- isis founded a system that was harder to combat and other organizations because it came directly from the land. what that meant was their number one source of revenue was mainly extortion and robbery, so they would tax the people they were controlling on everything.
they would tax them to live. they would tax them if they left their house, if they needed to take money from the bank. they would tax them on every single aspect of their life, so it was extortion, basically, very similar to how the mafia operated a long time ago. and robbery. the most infamous move they made was when they took over mosul, they robbed the central bank branch and were able to retrieve $400 million from that, a big chunk of money for a terrorist organization that does operations on the cheap. the second way they did it was through oil at the time. that obviously went down afterwards, but when isis was first established, oil was a major part of their fundraising. again, the theme is they were taking advantage of the resources and people in the land over which they controlled. were smuggling, smuggling of people mainly, trafficking, and other business
enterprises like kidnapping for ransom. this -- what this meant was that the more land isis controls, the more funds they were able to generate. in south asia, and given that isis has now lost some land in syria and iraq, their financial model is evolving of it. it remains -- and theme remains a self generated and self financed, if you will, but a lot of it now is through these lone wolves, like you talked about, these lone wolves who are committing attacks in nice, orlando, jakarta, london, etc. ,hese are mostly self-funded individuals who have funded the operations themselves. the operations are really pretty much cheap. isis is now relying on that. there are taking advantage of terrorist financing vulnerabilities in south asia already. south asia is not new to terrorism. there are a number of terrorist
groups in south asia that have proliferated, and they all pretty much focus on the same vulnerabilities in those regions to move funds and raise funds. that is mainly porous borders and cross-border smuggling. in the case of isis, that is a lot of going to iraq and syria, moving funds through the porous border of afghanistan pakistan. the money is used there, and it even moves to southeast asia, for example, the philippines is in the news a lot lately. that is one way, and another way is through the informal transfer of money and through charitable organizations that are really shell organizations. some of them are set up to support terrorist organizations. bye of them are abused terrorist organizations, perhaps unwittingly. has now -- it has evolved a bit, but the main focus is self generated. what to do about it and the
challenges that are posed because of a self generated system is that it is much harder to track, almost like the individuals who sign up. they are much harder to find. social media has made a good effort. obviously they need to continue that. when it is self generated or cross-border smuggling of cash, the running theme is that this is money that is very hard to track. financialal, typical tools, like sanctions, interception of funds, working with banks, does not really -- it does not have the same effect as it would for other finance goals. efforts that isis made that have proven the most effective have been, number one, military operations. i'm not trying to say that as a vague statement.
and you can use now with the coalition campaign in iraq and syria -- the u.s. treasury department and dod had always worked closely, as jasmine and i can tell you, but they never worked closer than when they were working on the counter isis campaign, including the counter finance campaign. what that meant was the treasury and defense department worked together to identify where isis was arriving with benefits, in this case specifically with oil, and the defense department was able to target the oil refineries, production routes, smuggling routes. it had a significant effect. there is also the fact that military campaigns to take land away from isis is obviously going to have the same effect in terms of its ability to raise funds. the less land, the less ability to generate proceeds. the first is military operations. the second is partnerships with governments. in the case of iraq in particular, this proves to be the most significant step with
the gains the iraqi forces have against isis. military as we can see in the press, but also financially. when isis took over, the u.s. government worked with iraq to isolate that area 150% from the formal financial system. no banking went in, no banking went out. nothing financial went in or out. any funds that isis was able to generate from mosul stayed there. they were not able to use that money, unless maybe there was somebody who was able to smuggle it out. the point of these efforts is to make it harder and riskier for terrorist organizations to raise money and move money. with that obviously goes shared, timely intelligence and surveillance, especially when you are talking about lone wolf. that is going to be one of the most important efforts. lastly, as i have kind of hinted on in the last point, it is
preventing isis from benefiting from the proceeds they raised. perhaps they raise money, but if they are not able to deploy it or move it, it has no value. there are different ways to do that. like i said, the way with the iraqi government did in mosul. another way is obviously for those lone wolves in particular is for training banks to identify better suspicious activity when it comes to single individuals whose financial transactions may seem completely benign, and it's going to be very difficult. i think it is going to be a challenge for the government as well as the private sector. but working with those banks, making sure they file suspicious activity reports to the financial intelligence unit, and having governments like the u.s. and other governments, australia, european, working with south asian wants to make sure they have the intel needed or the wherewithal to identify suspicious activity, is going to be critical in cracking down on isis financing efforts.
>> thank you. >> i will quickly talk about these story of the islamic state in afghanistan, which is curiously interesting and and iy quite noteworthy would say somewhat under examined as well. , which calledate itself the islamic state in that province, emerged in late 2014 after mullah omar, the spiritual leader of the taliban, was leaked. ant sort of triggered internal power struggle within taliban leadership that subsequently led to fragmentation of the taliban movement into different groups. one of those groups allegedly became the islamic state of a
certain province, which has since carved out a relatively small territory in eastern afghanistan. at the time, u.s. commanders on the ground said that the emergence was essentially a rebranding of marginalized or renegade taliban members that began to operate under a different leader, a different flag, and a different name. in 2016 the following year, the united states declared it a foreign terrorist organization. but since then, it has launched several large-scale, spectacular attacks, in cabo and across afghanistan, including exploding on truckhn -- 1.5 t bomb last may that killed over 150 people and also an attack in
kabul that killed 45 people as well. the group also challenged the taliban, recruited scores of taliban military advisers, also foot soldiers. their own radio station called the voice of the caliphate to disseminate propaganda at an almost daily broadcast. the group even operated, until recently, operated its own schools in madrassas in afghanistan. strength is current estimated to be between 700 to 1000 fighters, but there is information -- little information about where the support,s is financial which group at closely affiliates with, and how much the core isis leadership in iraq withyria exercises over it
respect to targets and other instructions. but one thing is clear, which is that they have absolutely no friends in afghanistan. many leaders believe that leaders, i and by mean many afghan leaders -- complicit totan is be taliban rebranding and that they have manufactured the group as a new proxy group to shrewdly alternate their positions between the taliban and the other group in its favor. doing so provides the pakistani army in particular cheap and expendable assets to exploit in support of its regional statecraft, while offering pakistan a plausible deniability. there are at least four reasons
i'm going to list that could explain such claims. the first one is that it takes the taliban, which has been pakistan's long-term proxy, out of the public spotlight. in the past year, this has become particularly important as pakistan felt mounting pressure from the united states and regional countries, particularly the chinese, about bringing in the taliban to the negotiating table. been in afghanistan has uncharted territory in china-pakistan relations, but beijing has a record of pakistan'sence in afghan policy, but there have been times and instant his where islamabad has catered to chinese concern ishina's
that it does not want the supposition that the province finds support in afghanistan. while pakistan has at times signaled willingness to bring in or push the taliban to come to the negotiating table, it also knows it must keep its options open by creating some kind of a smokescreen to ensure that it maintains some kind of a toehold in any future peace talks with the taliban or a political sentiment, or perhaps even disrupted should the negotiations not go as it may intend. or if they are not hospitable to pakistan's need. ,n other words, on the one hand pakistan would use the taliban leaders to negotiate a political settlement or a deal with the afghan government, but on the other hand, they would exploit televangelist or to disguise --
they would exploit taliban soldiers to disguise as isil-kp fighters in afghanistan to produce more chaos and violence, to stoke fear among the afghan people, to undermine the afghan government, and ultimately push them to create suitable conditions for a favorable political settlement with the taliban. that is the first reason. the second one was that while isis's maine dominion in iraq and syria is extremely well-financed, if you compare it with its other ideological siblings, the resources of isil-kp in afghanistan is incredibly limited. stageay be able to sporadic attacks across afghanistan, but they cannot operate without a material and logistical training and the support needed, the cash,
weaponry, and manpower. the promise is the nearest isis base of operations is about 1500 miles away from afghanistan in thatand syria, yet iskp infiltrate on a regular basis interrupt afghanistan from pakistan. secondly, the bulk of sikp fighters are also coming from pakistan agencies. so it is not unreasonable to question what our material support, sanctuaries that may be provided by elements within the pakistani establishment and their proxy where money and people would not travel. groups findinghe in first your leadership also held from the pakistani taliban. that is the second reason. the third reason that could support the afghan claims is
that the tactics and methods that are employed by iskp in afghanistan are remarkably similar to the ones used by the taliban themselves. interestingly, both iskp and the taliban share the same targets. if you look at attacks by both iskp and taliban, both groups have targeted pro-government forces, government buildings, institutions, and a soft targets. most of iskp targets are also soft targets, and they also target minority groups to stoke tensions and create more chaos. when you look at the recent u.n. report about civilian casualties in afghanistan, there were a good -- in the first six months of 2017 until july of this year, there were about 1700 afghan civilians killed, a 2% increase
from the same time last year and a tenfold increase by casualties that were caused by the islamic state there. with an additional 20% rise in the number of women killed afghan war. in now, how much planning those attacks and organization for these attacks came from iskp's virtual command and control center in their hideouts in eastern afghanistan is unclear, but it is also questionable. and thetally, what iskp taliban represent is the same ideology and they kill it is permanently. the message of both groups is also markedly similar in social media, and they both have shown unfailing alertness in the field. there is also, interestingly, no evidence of iskp establishing any kind of operational base, or other pakistan
places, similar to the ones they have in afghanistan provinces. that is the third. the fourth reason is it is logical, generally, to assume a certain level of anxiety among pakistan's political elites about the contours of the afghan war and the conversation, the debate here in washington that the u.s. is going to withdraw from afghanistan, leaving afghanistan at pakistan's doorstep. this is particularly the case now with this administration. we will see later tonight what the administration says about the policy, but president trump has called the war in andanistan a total disaster that the u.s. should abandon it altogether. -- andn you look at it the doctor will talk about this as well -- since 2001, pakistan
has benefited fabulously from u.s. military and civilian assistance. it provided well over $32 billion in military and civilian assistance. but that has not distance pakistan from abandoning its business and insidious agenda in the region. some u.s. officials have holisticcalled for a review of u.s. relations with pakistan. some u.s. lawmakers even introduced bills in congress to declare pakistan a state sponsor of terrorism. if you are a pakistani political elite or military elite sitting in islamabad and you are reading these reports involving washington, it raises two important questions. the first is, who benefits the most from a re-banding of the renegade taliban members of iskp ? second is what exaggerating the
alleged threat of iskp compel the united states to depend on pakistan support to fight it eventually? leading washington to continue its significant military and civilian assistance to pakistan. so finally, on what to do about afghanistan,at in u.s. and afghan forces have been on increased offensive. pakistan both have gone on offensive and also grown strikes have killed founding leaders, including very recently they took out one of their leaders that has taken out hundreds of their fighters. down from 3000 almost 600 or 700. it has also sunk their territory by almost two thirds. in april, the u.s. even dropped the so-called mother of all bombs on their bunkers, which
helped a great deal. these accomplishments are significant, but in the end i think iskp is the wrong enemy in afghanistan because it is a minor group by afghan standards. perhaps if compared to the taliban. so focusing too much on iskp distracts attention from larger challenges, which is to identify and target iskp's financial and support networks. those are unfortunately not in afghanistan, so the u.s. should focus more on the urgent task, which is taliban and their patrons were energized by the recent gains in afghanistan as well as the western fatigue with afghanistan. and frankly, also the political chaos that is in kabul right now. so the taliban also is morphing slowly into a shadow government that controls over 30% of the territory now, so focusing too much on iskp gives the taliban
the benefit of gaining more strength and it also would provide them with the time and flexibility to consolidate the strength across afghanistan. we can sort of discuss more about the other stuff later. >> you and i, we have a lot of overlap, so i am going to very briefly highlight a few things that did not come out in your talk. i suspect you and i are in complete agreement. in afghanistanp is not tied to iraq and syria and principally has two sources. one is the reef lad taliban -- one is the reflagged taliban who have grown the next with taliban leadership. one they you did not mention specifically is the frustration that the taliban is essentially pakistan's intelligence agency. the taliban has really become the black dog -- lapdog.
the taliban were being increasingly told what to do by the pakistanis. this was a way of getting themselves out of pakistan's shadow and continuing to be a player in the militant mil ieu. the second is what we could call reflagged pakistan taliban. d afghanthe reflagge taliban reflects indigenous trends within the different networks of the taliban, reflagging pakistani taliban is quite different. we can identify two streams, different but related. pakistan for a number of years had been waging this dog and pony show. to collect it nonsense because that is largely what it was. it was one of pakistan's recent operations that was supposed to
centershe militancy that are based in pakistan's federally administered tribal areas. for those of us who had been studying it for several years, what pakistan was really trying to do was reorient most of these militants that were part of the pakistani taliban. what does not get explained enough in environments like this , because it is a little bit inside baseball and y'all want to watch the eclipse -- is that these groups have one ideological strand of islam that they all follow. there would be no pakistan and taliban if there had been no afghan taliban, which we know has generously benefited from all manner of pakistani support. but there would also be no pakistani taliban had pakistan not raised and nurtured other militant groups. for example [foreign phrases].
pakistan's strategy was to take those elements of the pakistani taliban that had closer ties or willingness to fight in afghanistan and move them there. cap that istack -- attempted to take was to get them to rejoin a leader, which i principally been raised by the isi to conduct operations in india. those elements of the pakistani taliban and that could not be turned back into good jihadi's would be those that they would target, the military operations. the way pakistan works is they don't engage in military operations. they are constantly trying to bribe these people to once again become good jihadi assets. the pakistanis are very unwilling to kill any jihadi asset if there is any possibility they might be rehabilitated into a good terrorist again. reiterating j what wea have
already heard fromvid -- reiterating what we have heard from javid, unless the trump administration shows more sagacity than the obama administration, which i think is unless weunlikely -- have thousands of troops in afghanistan, we are going to be in the same situation unless we adopt a very serious policy toward pakistan. pakistan, in addition to the industrial-strength corruption and malfeasance of afghanistan, is one of the largest reasons two why we have been unable to have anything but a treadmill like stalemate going on in afghanistan. let me turn to pakistan, because much of what happens in south asia is really driven by pakistan, as opposed to these grievance arguments for which i actually don't have a lot of patience. the grievance arguments are time and time again not supported by the data, so you can have a lengthy discussion about that. let me tell you about who supports terrorism in pakistan. not for people, not
undereducated people. folks that support terrorism in pakistan are in fact middle-class, they are urbane, well-educated. the people who dislike them the most are in fact poor people living in cities. the reason for this is straightforward -- it is the poor suckers living in cities who are getting killed by these terrorist groups. these attacks do not occur randomly, they don't occur in rich people's neighborhoods, so this is what we call in economics and negative externality. we really need to look at this grievance-based argumentation with a lot of skepticism because this fuels this mythology that we have really indulged in since 2002 that weekend buy our way out of this. that usaid can go in there and become part of a counterinsurgency tool, educate people. this is just rubbish. when we turn to bangladesh, i'm going to relish this argument even further. if we do not understand the political sources of appeal for these organizations, rather than
trying to make it a grievance-based argument, we really have no chance of winning. let me tell you what winning means. winning in the case of south asia means, by the way, south asians don't die. let's be clear about who is killing whom here. south asians are dying at the hands of south asian militants. isis in south asia is not a problem for us. our problem, let's be really clear in case there is any confusion because it has not been said -- are white supremacists. if you think i'm exaggerating, please go to the university of maryland's website, where start is housed. they house the global terrorism database. europe is dealing with an isis threat, but ladies and gentlemen, we are more likely to be killed by a white lunatic gut an ar-15 with a beer stuffed into a secondhand military surplus outlet, so i want to make sure you understand what i talk about isis and south asia, the victims are southeast asians. the people who are killing us
and united states are not isis, their white supremacism. not enough people are saying this. let's go to the pakistani case because tens of thousands of pakistanis have been killed by these people. pakistan is a very -- it has a strategic problem on its hands. since 1989 ornot whatever magical mystery number the isi provocative ears that come to events like this like to say -- pakistan has been in the militant business since 1947. one of the first things it did was, with ample provincial and federal government supporting, a bunch of militia members to go to cashmere and illegally seize that territory. pakistan been in this business a long time. it has been until quite recently very adept at not only riding a tiger but calibrating the speed at which the tiger runs and the things which the tiger eats. this has begun to change since 2001 for a series of reasons, but many of the groups that pakistan raised and nurtured for killing indians -- [foreign
phrase] and for killing afghans, the taliban, they come from this dale bundy milieu. this has also produced sectarian terrorists. only haveely, not these been sort of episodic tools in the hands of the deep state, they've also been political alliances of both the plmn.nd the problem is we enter the world of isis and al qaeda's leadership, being killed also in pakistan despite getting all that money from us, right up the street from pakistan's military academy, and the demise of omar. this traditional allegiance between dale bundy militant groups and al qaeda have really come under strain. so many of the pakistan taliban commanders actually came from genji and said they saw that
originally, which is this sectarian set of dale bundy militants. they have been pretty much loyal to mullah omar and al qaeda when that leadership structure was intact, but when it fell away, they actually felt as if they were much more in confidence with isis's sectarian objectives bandwidth al qaeda. say what you well, al qaeda did not have a sectarian objective. we actually saw leadership go into iraq and syria before isis even formed, and then obviously has alvin bengali and the caliphate came in to shape, we commanderscally pledging fealty to al-baghdadi. is notstan's problem that there is this massive swirl of aggrieved people.
pakistan's problem is that it raises terrorists. i think hillary clinton -- we would be in a different world right now if she were the legitimate president. she was the only one who told pakistanis this forthrightly. she told pakistanis, your government is raising snakes hoping they will only kill their enemies. i used to raise snakes. you can't really train a snake like you can a dog. so until pakistan is able to decide that you cannot use islamist terrorism as a tool of foreign policy without experiencing this domestic blowback, pakistan is going to continue experiencing these violent prop systems of death -- these violent paroxysms of death. even when the taliban were in afghanistan, they did not really target suffis. they put locks on the shrines but did not kill suffis. the pakistani taliban do this.
they declare them not only liable to be killed but those who kill them are going to receive celestial benefits. they have also declared the largest number of pakistanis [foreign phrase]. so pakistan is in a mess of its own making. i'm going to turn briefly to india. india, despite all the things we heard about india, and i'm not going to dispute them, a government report demonstrated without any shadow of a doubt -- unless you are one of these bjp supporters who believe it is an appeasement exercise -- the committee report, muslims are among the most socially backward groups in india. they are not represented in government sectors, they are not represented in private sectors, they are among the least educated, and so forth and so on. if the grievance argument were true, india should be festooned with isis fighters. yet it is not. the parts of india that have dispatched isis fighters are actually the most well-educated parts of india, so where we have
seen isis fighters coming from india, they have come from one of the most educated states and the muslims from their are among the most educated muslims. if the agreement's argument were true -- and i submit you is probably not -- we should be expecting other places, where these typical grievance-based arguments are most applicable -- and they are not producing isis fighters. let's talk very briefly about kashmir. what happens in the rest of india, the isis fighters coming out of the educated region, they are very different from what we are seeing in kashmir. there is an actual debate about how real or faux isis is there. this does not get said enough. one of the beauties of the ice is flat is it is basically a scribble, there is no artful calligraphy. this means it can be very easily replicated.
that was i think the genius of the isis flag is that even a person who has no familiarity with calligraphy can sit there and whip up an ice flag, which makes it very easily transported into these areas that don't have any legitimate ties to iraq and syria. does have, whether or not it is isis formally -- i share the skepticism of my colleagues -- what kashmir does very hurt muslim population. it exhibits decades of failure on the indian part to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. it would be very hard for the pakistanis to continue to gin up such support for violence -- and by the way, they are ginning this up. when we talk about kashmir, just as it is elsewhere in south asia, to remove the pakistani component is incredibly difficult.
you can pay a kid 500 rupees to throw stones, and the pakistanis will pay these kids and grandmas to throw stones, knowing full well they are going to throw stones at a trigger-happy police officer who has no training. so pakistanis put a lot of work ahead -- lot of work on the head of a dead kashmiri. unfortunately, indians fall for it time and time again by failing to do very sensible police reform and failing to understand that tactical and operational issues like putting a kashmiri boy on a jeep has strategic effects. so when we're talking about kashmir, whether or not isis is actually the branded franchise -- and i suspect it is not -- there are very real issues in kashmir that india should be taking seriously. the issues have increasingly become tied to events in the rest of india through the commercialization of pilgrimages. whenhave been in kashmir these pilgrimage vehicles have gone by.
they are incredibly insensitive to the local population, which tends to be muslim. they are very in-your-face. the widening of the highways, which caused encroachment upon kashmir national forest, was an issue, as well as the environmental degradation. when you see these pilgrimage vehicles, they also leave a bunch of trash. there are real issues in kashmir that need to be dealt with. i know, you asked me to do south asia, dude, and there is a bunch of countries in south asia. i'm now going to turn to bangladesh. i know -- i drove all night from indiana and you asked me to do south asia. there is a lot in south and south asia. i'm going to end where we do have a real threat, and that is bangladesh. bangladesh -- people don't follow bangladesh, the rodney dangerfield of south asia, gets no respect. the bangladesh has had militancy for some time. what is interesting about their islamist militants is they are
very inefficacious. if you look at the data from the global terror database, they get about one fatality. so if we had the fatality yield of pakistani terrorist groups, we would be screaming, what the heck is happening to bangladesh? so far the terrorists in bangladesh are quite incompetent, so we have managed to not care about them. nor has suicide bombing emerged in a serious way and then the --. it has begun to emerge. like every other country in southeast asia dealing with islamist militancy, the government has been competent, to say the least. they don't want information. in fact, to preclude people from having information, they shut down our survey. we were supposed to do a thousand people, we shut our survey down after 4000. we have been doing surveys for years in pakistan and iran, they never shut us down. . bangladesh did.
why? the government does not want to know that in fact islamism has a considerable base of support in bangladesh. there's not a lot of support for the tactics of terrorism but there is quite a bit of support for the goals of these organizations, i can tell you that based on the preliminary analysis of our data. however, just as in the case of india, the people joining isis are not poor and undereducated. be previous wave of bangladesh militants had much more conformity to that sort of hypothesis, but they were much more aligned to al qaeda and the taliban for historical reasons because of the bangladeshis that served in afghanistan. these isis fellows, they are cosmopolitan, which apparently means something else if you are mr. miller in the white house -- but they are well-educated, urban, not for. so the idea that these are the bangladeshis ready to be sucked up by isis just simply isn't true. what i see across all these
places, where not just isis but islamist military thrives, we need to get out of our heads that property is driving this, ladies and gentlemen. it's not. what i see from my surveys and studies of their literature is that they actually agree in some measures with the goals of the different political -- different militant organizations that they serve, and which they support. and if we don't want to come to terms with the fact that these are rational actors, they're not poor impoverished booboos who are easily swayed by the exoticism of beheading people. this is not what is going on here. if we are not going to actually spend the time to look at the way in which isis is able -- and not just isis, isis is the new flavor of the day, but all these countries have actually more serious islamic militant groups. we are not going to buy our way out of this with usaid and development programs. what we need to be spending a
lot more time doing is understanding what is the source of political appeal that these organizations have in the countries in which they operate. finally, burma. not going to talk about it here, i don't have the time. but if you pay attention to burma, all of these groups are active in burma. , isis, burma is the country we talk about for a lot of reasons, but probably not for the reasons of this discussion. yet both al qaeda and isis have made numerous statements and appeals to the rohingyas, who as you know are being subject to some fairly serious fatalities by the myanmar government. thank you. >> ok. go, if youave to have any directed questions on financial trafficking from the audience, please direct them.
on finance, specifically on finance. >> my name is mohammed with the iraqi embassy. my question is for you. in your opinion, is there any country involved in financing now? since 2003 up to first. are different, what i see more is not so much a government -- i have not seen a government financing. what i have seen is governments turning a blind eye to funding going on in her borders. you could argue many theories as to what that means, whether they support or they don't care or whatever, but what i have
deathly seen, yes, is -- what i have definitely seen is financing or fundraising going on within borders and no action knowingly -- and the government knows about it and no action taken against it. one more, one last one. sorry, this is actually really fascinating. >> last week the state department declared [foreign i terroristkashmir group and froze all their assets. 1989 andted acting in we just now have taken this step. what other groups are we missing who may be fomenting the space for isis to operate within south asia, and how can we correct that as soon as possible? >> this is a question, but i don't think that question is for me. i think maybe you might know.
>> the rest of the panel kind of by the group. you can probably identify the procedure. >> generally when a terrorist organization is labeled as such and then sanction, it depends on the group itself and its activity as to how long it takes as to why the action is taken. i have never seen, in my time in the u.s. government, 12 years and treasury for nine, i never saw a political reason as to why a terrorist organization was not labeled as such. the reason might be a gathering a evidence, it might be sentiment among the population and what the population believes , record of its history and attacked, all those things. it still does not get so much on the financing aspect, because the action to designate something as a terrorist organization, by the state department in particular, has financial applications, but that
type of action is much more about exposing that organization and its behavior and trying to do some counter messaging and making sure people don't follow it, making sure if it has businesses that people are not involved with them unwittingly. the process depends. for the groups, i am sure there are many groups that have not yet been targeted. and i'm certain that the u.s. government probably knows about them because, in my experience, local populations are very good at telling the embassies, this is what we are seeing, and embassies are good at telling washington. in terms of timing, it depends on the policy -- >> what is the tipping point? >> a terrorist organization as a terrorist organization? i don't really know. i know more about what the tipping point in terms of targeting terrorist financiers. for that, there has to be a very
significant evidentiary -- what we had treasury called evidentiaries. hundreds of pages of usually classified information that would be sent to the justice department to prove that person was financing terrorism, or drugs, or proliferation, whatever it was. >> thank you. >> thank you for having me. [applause] >> in south asia, these designations are very clinical. i have not seen one that has not been political, so i wish she would have stayed here so we can have this discussion. -- has thenlike ceu u.n. declared that one yet? they have been historically viewed as an indigenous militant group in
terms of its cadres that have historically viewed as mostly [foreign whereas kashmi phrase] is mostly punjabi. mythseans one of these that gets told over and over again in these analytical circles. i think this sort of deference to pakistan may have been something that drove our reluctance to declare it for so long. that is kind of hard to say because we have been very t. and wee on l.e. declare that over pakistan's dead body, basically. the designation, in my view, has not been very effective. the reason is that we have got this other partner called saudi arabia. and when -- i wish you had been here to explain the process. essentially with these designations, they allow us to
go after their resources in different places. we can't just go to an ally and say, we designated this organization and we want you to take up all its money and put it in a safe. that is not how it works. militant groups or terrorist groups understand that, and the saudis have been a really humongous pain in our posteriors. they have been really reluctant to comply with any of these efforts to get their money quarantined. i have to say, president trump actually got something right, although i'm pretty sure it was by accident, and that was by identifying qatar. qatar has for years been a really important source of terrorist financing. i guess the problem is he did not actually know we have a centcom based there. these designations, in my experience, don't mean much. i think it is more of the political optics to india to
say, we do value this relationship, we don't have a lot of new gives to india. i did my dissertation on the pakistan insurgency. the decision to declare the sikh federation was my much a political decision. it was not driven by evidence. we did that because of our growing relationship with india. that is not something -- this designation stuff is important because it sends a signal, but it does not degrade their capability. [foreign phrase] has been designated forever and they just had a political party. so let's not get too excited about this designation. it is not going to have any functional effect upon organization. >> hello. my question is about the u.s. drone program. a couple of you mentioned that
they took out some terrorist with the mother of all bombs in the bunkers, but my understanding -- i think it is the same 1 -- that was supposedly children and women in a compound. and i've read also the drone papers, which was written by the ciarcept based on leaked document saying, according to the cia itself, at least 90% of the victims of the drone bombings were not the intended targets, and even the intended targets -- >> you actually did not read that because that is not with intercept report said. i know where you're going with this, so let's talk about the drone program. there is no singular drone program. there are multiple drone programs all over the world. we have dod programs and cia programs. when people talk about the drone program, my detectors start hitting 11. the programs are not the same in pakistan and afghanistan.
in afghanistan, we use drones as we would conventional aircraft, so when troops come under fire, what we would call troops in contact, if a drone is in the air with ordinance, that is the ordinance that gets dropped. but esther member, a drone is just a deliverance of ordinance, . there's nothing magical about the drone. , which ispoint of rma the revolutionary the military -- what's wrong with me? when ladies go through menopause, you forget nouns. revolution in military affairs -- it's like having cancer brain or something. menopause brain. the whole point of rma is to put standoff between you and your opponent. so for example, if you were on a naval ship that hopefully isn't being hit by another ship in the navy and you are launching cruise missiles, you are actually at no peril. this idea that somehow drones makes us more prone to warfare because the pilot isn't exposed to risk is really quite preposterous. the debate is similar to when we
moved from mt. calvary to armored. go back and read the debates, who said it first? the drone program in pakistan cannot operate without pakistan complicity. the pakistanis own the airspace and they have to conflict the airspace civilian and military and drone travel. the drone targets that were selected through intelligence-led operations where we knew the actual identities of the individuals and what they were, there is no evidence that they are preponderantly killing civilians. why, how do we know this? anyone know how we know this or we don't know this? the fact is we don't know this because pakistan has declared -- has cap a legal black hole. journalists can't go there and with great difficulty can they send a stringer there . [indiscernible]
know is that we do even the bij project has had to concede that we can't simply reject drones because they're killing disproportionate civilians. because that's simply not true. comparing them to conventional airstrikes is what we should be comparing them to. if we're going to compare them to conventional airstrikes, there is no comparison. by that comparison, we should only be using drones because they are so precise. let's talk about the intercept documents. they were not talking about cia, they were talking about nsa. let's also be very clear about leaked documents. this is research 101. we talk about independent variable selection bias. who is releasing documents? are these people happy with what they do? no, these are people who have an ax to grind.
these are people who represent the organization in which they serve, are they sort of the median person? probably not. how do we know the documents that they leak are in fact representative of the entire universe of such documents? we simply don't. here's what we do know. and i hope that i.s. is actually going to publish this. when people have actually spoken to pakistanis who've experienced that comet the ispr here and get isi funded airfare and visas to testify before congress -- when you can actually look at their statements and say that what they actually have said is not physically possible. so for example, i will never forget the human rights watch that had a kid say i saw a drone flying in confirmation. no you didn't. drones don't fly in confirmation. they are not able to do that. the kids saw, he saw two airplanes one like this, he probably saw conventional aircraft. but when you talk to people who
have witnessed the drones, they will tell you exactly who they killed. and that they're not predominantly killing women and children. they will also tell you that the people that they killed were really bad dudes. so there's this really problematic sense of information because the fata has been closed off. the farther you are from the actual impact of a drone, the more vulnerable you are to disinformation. there was just the largest interview sample of actual drone victims. by the way, the nyu standard report did not interview drone victims. they created this new thing called experiential victims, so anyone sitting in lahore can be an experiential victim. i think that as we get more data about the pakistan case, i think that this narrative is going to slowly give way to fact. having said this, the other element of the drone program, which is basically what we call signature strikes, which is we
didn't know the identity of the person being killed -- those are very problematic drone strikes. i don't know anyone in their sane mind that is going to defend them. this is where we based upon the signature, which is how the people are moving around and based upon other information, we have word that someone who looks like this is going to be doing something naughty, kill them. this is where i think the program really got itself into a lot of trouble and people who were allegedly killed multiple times were finally killed. you said you killed them two drone strikes ago, food did you actually kill in that case? this is very complicated. i'm going to say this finally, and i'm tired of hearing it because i don't like hearing things when there's no evidence but there's no evidence of drone blowback making parents. this is one of the biggest canards that's been propagated by people who don't have data but your rate quotes from some 16-year-old. they have never seen a drone strike. so i'm happy to have more
discussion about this, and you will notice i only can find my comments to the tribal areas of pakistan, because each of the countries where drones operate have very different standards and procedures in targeting and different relationship with the host countries where the aircraft fly. >> thank you. dr., you mentioned there has been rising extremism with the rohinga crisis. since there are refugee camps in bangladesh, how likely do you think there will be blowback for bangladeshi refugees going into india and conducting terrorist attacks in india? >> the refugee issue is a tough one. one of the things that must also be said, because of this particular administration running and ruining our country, refugees have not really been conducting terrorist attacks. it is actually just a canard
sold to gin up resistance to having refugees. that doesn't mean refugees elsewhere don't conduct violence. i can't say that. certainly with respect to folks fleeing the violence in syria, this is just not manifesting itself for the story. refugees are not committing violence. issue, ithe rohingya think you follow this quite closely, so you would know this is not the first time we have had a large this crisis was not -- in terms of the genocide and the viciousness with which the government is killing rohingyans this is new but putting them in a concentration camp, forced labor, feeding them no food until they die, this is not new. this was high school happening in the mid 2000's. them in bangladesh
doing all they could to get them voter registration cards so they could vote and there was a lot of debate about jamai and the different militant groups active in bangladesh. this is one of those issues that you have to watch. i have a somewhat different concern. my concern is that the canard of the terrorist refugee is going to drive the bangladeshy government to be ever more brutal and unaccepting of the ohingyas living in bangladesh. having said that, is this because they were refugees or is it because of their particular situation in burma is so frustrating? or is it because they actually had access to recruiters? so this kind of goes to the
point by the way about designation. the humanitarian face is designated by the u.n. but when individuals apply to do relief in bangladesh and burma as the j.u.d. and f.i.f. have done, countries don't know that this person is a member of that group. right? so the most important thing is actually not designating a group but designating individuals. these groups have been able to operate in the refugee camp of rohingyas. this is worrisome because this oup j.e.d. does this deliberately to cultivate supporters for their cause. to their particular stand of practice of islam but also the militant function. so i think it is important. the other thing that is important for bangladesh is it is not just for isis. forget isis.
again, l.e.t. is much more important. it has been a logistical operating base for operations going into india. when you go to bangladesh you can just see the airplane traffic going between pakistan and bangladesh. it is fairly straight forward and easy. what you see happening is many of the things that you've seen elsewhere. so for example when i first started going to bangladesh it was fairly rare to see a woman and now it is actually not so rare. whereas many places that is an urban phenomenon you also see it in rural bangladesh so i think bangladesh has long deserved much more scrutiny. i don't mean in a negative way but intellectual curiosity than recently.il
>> i am an intern in the syria institute. i am syrian myself as well. my question is about -- i know the panel talked about -- looking at the middle east now i see the same factors that contributed to the rise of isis are still there. , all of e in society hese conditions. this has been my question. isis was my thesis so i studied the group and the financing and failure quences of the
of eastern politics that caused the rise of the group. my question is did we create these forces? aren't they still there? how do you see the situation? >> the middle east specifically? >> yes. >> the short answer to your question is no. we absolutely have not treated the causes of the rise of isis and the number one piece of evidence of that neither the obama nor the trump administration have insisted on addressing the fact that assad is still in power in syria and if he wasn't that would take away one large factor of the rise of isis. we go in and the u.s. has always been reluctant to address root causes. sometimes for political reasons but sometimes we don't have the strategic patience to address root causes. we have political cycles four
years at a time and every time there is a new administration there is a break in the continuity of effort and could be a complete change in policy as well. that makes it very difficult to address root causes on any kind of problem let alone a terrorist or extremist problems. to go back, i don't know that we necessarily disagree but the rise of extremism and why people become radicalized i don't think grievances, i mentioned a list of four or five reasons people turned to extremism grievances being one of them. but grievances don't just have to do with being poor. osama bin laden was a very rich, well educated, well traveled, very spoiled, aggrieved human being and his grievance was political. >> we agree on that. >> i definitely agree with you. i don't think it is very useful for people to assume if someone
is poor and uneducated they are automatically a terrorist or refugees and they're utomatically terrorists. grievances can be social, economic, political. it is very rare someone becomes a terrorist just for the -- just because. there is always something behind it. not to take up a lot of time, we can talk about this afterwards but the short answer to your question is, no. we don't address the root problem of extremism. we are not very good at it as a government. [question inaudible] >> isis is just the current manifestation of years and decades of the same types of grievances and problems that we've had in the region and in other places in the world. before isis there was al qaeda and in different places in the region there are other groups. isis is the latest manifestation because it is in
a region where we, you know, which we considered to be very rategic to our interests and because right now they are very successful in inciting people o have -- go and do these long tasks in europe and the u.s. they directly affect our national security which is why we're so concerned with them. isis is going to lose almost a hundred% of its territory very soon. it is on the brink. that doesn't mean it is going to become any less of a threat and it doesn't mean isis, itself, is a threat. it is the idea, the ideology, the set of grievances that can be manifested in all different kinds of languages and countries. that is the issue we have to deal with and it is not just about isis. >> i want to make an intervention on this. the u.s., we're the great satan, hear it repeatedly, every terrorist organization of
islamist ideology identifies as such yet it would be so easy to do in the united states what is happening in spain, what is happening in belgium, what's happening in france, it's not happening here. even in terms of the numbers of people from the united states that have joined isis, we are so, so low and in fact the singular community that is predominantly contributing is the somali community which faces the double whammy of both being essentially viewed as african-american and sort of experiencing the oppression of race and also being muslim. i think we should maybe turn this around. i'm struck by a country that should be by all of the rhetoric just extruding isis fighters like crazy. right? we as well as india should be countries that are doing this. these are for me countries that are oddly resilient to isis.
i think we have a dependent variable selection problem here. we're only looking at places that produce isis and we're seeing things these countries have in common that produce isis. we're not looking at countries that fit those descriptions that are not producing isis. and so this is something that i would really encourage people to think about. we have states that are producing isis and we have states that are not. there is so much variation between indian states -- in act, two are very devin in many ways than north india is from pakistan. one is producing isis and one is largely not. the united states. we really are the dog that isn't barking here. right? we were the object of al qaeda's largest effort. why is it that france is producing so many isis fighters but we aren't?
this is the other thing i wish the trump administration would perhaps understand that i think that even though we have islama-phobia here a couple things are really different. the nature of immigration of muslims in the united states is not -- cannot be compared to france or the u.k. many of the countries, germany is an exception, experiencing this have had colonial histories of oppression with the groups that are conducting terrorism. muslims have come here not through a relationship of colonialism but they came here as professionals and so the very earliest muslim communities came here as engineers, they came as doctors. when immigration liberalized in the 1970's some of those communities began to change. they have been much more likely to sue and much more likely to
organize through political action communities like care. what concerns me in this antimuslim era fostered by president trump is that these organizations have allowed muslim americans to politically mobilize in response to experiences of oppression and discrimination are actually being vilified. if we don't very quickly understand what has been the source of american resilience, we may find ourselves sooner than later in the same kind of situation that our european allies come from. this is something i would kind of like people to leave away thinking. why have we not been the object of massive isis attacks? we have obviously done something right. we need to understand what we have done right so that gentleman over there occupying the white house doesn't undo these sources of our resilience.
>> a couple things. one, we haven't been subject to isis attacks but that is not to say we haven't been subject to isis plotting. those are two devin things. con ll, plots are f.b.i. structs. this is a very real discussion to have. >> sure. >> i don't think anyone would accuse me of being soft on terror but i have a very big problem with how the f.b.i. is basically going after these little fish who wouldn't have been able to do anything without the f.b.i. giving them some mojo and the f.b.i. has a huge incentive to do this so they look as if they're protecting americans when in fact they are probably criminalizing people that wouldn't have been in that position if it hadn't been for f.b.i. radicalization. >> those are two devin things. there are home grown attacks which i think you are referring to and talking about allegations of -- entrapment and things like that. but then there is also al qaeda
and isis plots coming from broad that we're preventing. which we do a really good job at actually. >> we need to associate that. i'm talking about home grown threats. we'll always have this problem with someone radicalizing in country a and coming to attack us. that is a separateish yu from our own muslims in this country radicalizing which we have mercifully not been subjected to. i think we need to understand the source of that resilience. >> you mentioned the sources of resilience. >> that's right. >> an open society. muslims come here. this is a country that integrates. >> that's right. >> at least until now. integrates its immigrants. we don't -- a muslim in the u.s. is not the same as a muslim in france. >> absolutely. >> that is a great source of strength. >> just a quick point. taking on the root cause of any
problem is an arduous task. in isis, itself, there is no solution because it acquires time, patience, strategic patience. often times in the west there on tendency to focus short-term or quick solutions which often times creates longer-term problems. with respect to the islamic state in afghanistan and also the taliban they exploit grievances. political or otherwise. in local is rooted cultural norms and values to civilian casualties. right? but something you mentioned in the rule s as well, of engaging these groups in social media demand and the online demand cannot be under stated. i think the why you had states, and this is something as well
to a greater extent, that they should engage in a digital encounter insurgency -- counter insurgency campaign to rob the growing activity of some of the groups whether the is lambic states or off shoot groups -- islamic states or off shoot groups across the world. the taliban, itself. and so that -- essentially to give themselves more legitimacy to create some sort of quasi-political state. i think that the role of some kind of counter campaign cannot be under stated. >> in answering your question about isis i don't mean to simplify how difficult it is for a government to both look
at short-term threats and long-term threats at the same time. this is something i learned during my time in government is that you always have to of course address the short-term threats because they're short-term threats and you have to look at long-term threats at the same time and the u.s. government is basically a group of individuals working, you know, 12, 16 hours a day on these problems and a finite group of individuals. we don't have unlimited resources. there is always, the president has to make a choice to focus how much on short term versus long term. that said i do think that even today right now we do not recognize as a government even s an international community extent to which we are ignoring the long-term problems and the root causes of the rise of isis in the middle east and especially when it comes to the ashar assad regime in syria.
news and policy issues that impact you. coming up tuesday morning, john hopkins university's political science professor lester spence and professor al brophy from the university of alabama law school talk about efforts to take down confederate statues. reporter a.c. thompson discusses the documenting k. project created to provide one central source to track hate crimes across the country. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern tuesday morning. join the discussion. in the morning a look at the current backlog of u.s. immigration cases. the panel talks about possible changes that could be made to streamline the immigration process. live coverage from the center for immigration studies beginning at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span2. president trump's education secretary betsy devors has been
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