The Memo: 1 Jul—7 Jun 2024

The Memo from 1 Jul—7 Jun 2024: Summary of incidents, ranging from terrorism, covert actions, organised crimes, regional conflicts to cybersecurity incidents.

The Memo: 1 Jul—7 Jun 2024

In brief:

  • Jemaah Islamiyah announced their dissolution.
  • President Marcos praised Mindanao forces for reducing Abu Sayyaf threats.
  • Biden administration considers intelligence sharing with Taliban against escalating ISIS-K threat.
  • Hamas agrees to U.S. talks on Israeli hostages, dropping ceasefire demand.
  • Europol-led operation arrests 13 involved in European drug trafficking network.
  • Philippine mayor Alice Guo exposed as Chinese national, faces removal.
  • Former Malaysia NSC DG Mohd Rabin Basir appointed to facilitate Thai peace talks, replacing Zulkifli.
  • Jokowi urges data backups after National Data Center hacking incident.

Terrorism and insurgency

  1. Indonesia
    See our Insight on Jemaah Islamiyah's dissolution.
  2. Philippines
    President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. praised the efforts of government forces in Mindanao for significantly reducing the threats posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other terrorist factions during his visit to the 11th Infantry Division headquarters in Jolo, Sulu. During his remarks, he acknowledged the hard work and sacrifices of the troops but emphasised the need for continued vigilance against potential reorganisation of these groups.
  3. Afghanistan
    Facing an escalating global terrorist threat from ISIS-K (ISKP), the Biden administration is debating increased cooperation with the Taliban to improve tracking capabilities of the group, especially after a devastating attack in Moscow and other violent incidents. Although the U.S. military's withdrawal from Afghanistan and diminished influence in Africa have weakened intelligence capabilities, the administration is considering sharing more intelligence with the Taliban about ISIS-K. However, deep-seated distrust and the Taliban's own conflict with ISIS-K complicate this potential collaboration. Some U.S. officials are cautious, concerned that the Taliban could exploit such cooperation for political legitimacy and to overlook its human rights violations.
  4. Palestine
    Hamas has accepted a U.S. proposal to begin talks on releasing Israeli hostages, dropping its demand for a permanent ceasefire upfront. The proposal, if embraced by Israel, could lead to a framework agreement and end the nine-month Gaza war. CIA Director William Burns will travel to Qatar for negotiations, focusing on a temporary ceasefire, aid delivery, and Israeli troop withdrawal. Both sides acknowledge progress, but significant gaps remain. The conflict has resulted in over 38,000 Palestinian deaths since October, with recent Israeli strikes continuing in Gaza.

Organised Crimes

  1. Europe
    An operation across Europe led by the Italian Carabinieri and supported by Europol resulted in the arrest of 13 individuals linked to Italian organised crime on 2 July. Law enforcement in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Ukraine raided 13 properties, uncovering a network involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. The suspects, of multiple nationalities, used lorries to smuggle hashish from Spain to Italy. A key target fled to Ukraine but was captured with the cooperation of Europol and national authorities. The operation was coordinated by Europol and Eurojus.

Intelligence and Covert Actions

  1. The Philippines
    Alice Guo, the Philippine mayor accused of being a "Chinese asset," faces losing her position and citizenship after authorities discovered her fingerprints matched those of Guo Hua Ping, a Chinese national who entered the Philippines in 2003. This finding, revealed by Senator Risa Hontiveros during a Senate probe into Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), suggests Guo has been masquerading as a Filipino to facilitate Pogo-related crimes. The National Bureau of Investigation’s fingerprint examination and subsequent evidence have prompted calls for a quo warranto petition to challenge her eligibility for office. The controversy follows a raid on a Pogo facility linked to Guo, uncovering criminal activities and raising further doubts about her identity.


  1. Thailand
    The Malaysian government recently appointed Mohd Rabin Basir as the new facilitator for peace talks between the Thai government and separatist rebels in Thailand's southern provinces. Rabin, a former National Security Council director-general, replaces Zulkifli Zainal Abidin, who held the position for 18 months.

Cyber security and unlawful access

  1. Indonesia
    President Joko Widodo addressed the hacking of the National Data Center, urging institutions to back up national data to prevent future incidents. Although he did not specify the evaluation details, he emphasized the importance of securing data. The hack by LockBit 3.0 ransomware affected data from 73 ministries and regional governments. Following Jokowi's instructions, a ministerial meeting led by Hadi Tjahjanto discussed regulations for data classification and backup strategies. The government aims to restore normal operations by July 2024, with multiple backup layers in place.

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