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Old 01-16-2021, 05:37 AM
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Post Eye on Extremism - 01-15-21

Eye on Extremism - January 15, 2021
By: Counter Extemism Project - 01-15-21

**NOTE: CEP’s Eye on Extremism will be suspended on Monday, January 18 in observance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It will resume Tuesday, January 19.**

Reuters: Forty-Six Civilians Feared Killed In Eastern Congo Attack, Official Says

“Forty-six civilians are reported to have been killed in an attack by suspected Islamist militants on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a senior provincial official said on Thursday. Local security forces have been dispatched to the village in Irumu territory to investigate, provincial interior minister Adjio Gidi said by phone. “The death toll as of this afternoon is reported to be 46,” Gidi said. He said the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were behind the raid. The Ugandan armed group is believed to have carried out a string of massacres in eastern Congo, killing more than 1,000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to U.N. figures. After being alerted to the latest violence, troops went to the village and are in the process of recovering bodies, local army spokesman Jules Ngongo said. He did not say how many had been killed. Congo’s eastern borderlands with Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are home to a constellation of over 100 different militias, many remnants of its brutal civil wars that officially ended in 2003. On Sunday, unidentified attackers killed at least six rangers in an ambush in eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park, a sanctuary for endangered mountain gorillas.”

Fox News: MS-13’s Highest Ranking Leaders Charged With Terrorism Offenses In US

“Federal authorities have charged multiple leaders of the MS-13 criminal gang with terrorism offenses, the Justice Department announced Thursday. In the indictment, filed in Central Islip, N.Y., where MS-13 members have committed a series of brutal slayings, 14 members of the transnational gang were charged. The leaders -- known as la Ranfla Nacional -- are charged with providing material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, conspiracy to finance terrorism to conspiracy narco-terrorism. “The indictment announced today is the highest-reaching and most sweeping indictment targeting MS-13 and its command and control structure in U.S. history,” acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a statement. Authorities said Borromeo Enrique Henriquez, who is regarded as the most powerful member of Ranfla Nacional, and 10 other defendants were imprisoned in El Salvador. The Justice Department was exploring ways to extradite them to the United States. Three others -- Fredy Ivan Jandres-Parada, Cesar Humberto Lopez-Larios and Hugo Armando Quinteros-Mineros -- remain at large.”

United States

The Washington Post: Dozens Of People On FBI Terrorist Watch List Came To D.C. The Day Of Capitol Riot

“Dozens of people on a terrorist watch list were in Washington for pro-Trump events Jan. 6, a day that ended in a chaotic crime rampage when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, according to people familiar with evidence gathered in the FBI’s investigation. The majority of the watch-listed individuals in Washington that day are suspected white supremacists whose past conduct so alarmed investigators that their names had been previously entered into the national Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, a massive set of names flagged as potential security risks, these people said. The watch list is larger and separate from the “no-fly” list the government maintains to prevent terrorism suspects from boarding airplanes, and those listed are not automatically barred from any public or commercial spaces, current and former officials said. The presence of so many watch-listed individuals in one place — without more robust security measures to protect the public — is another example of the intelligence failures preceding last week’s fatal assault that sent lawmakers running for their lives, some current and former law enforcement officials argued.”

CNN: Pentagon Increasing Efforts To Stamp Out Extremism Among Active-Duty Troops And Veterans

“The Department of Defense is increasing its efforts to find and eliminate extremism within its ranks, particularly among those who espouse White supremacist beliefs, according to two senior defense officials who wanted to underscore the message that the military will not tolerate extremism within the services. The effort, which started long before the riots of last week, has taken on increased urgency after a violent mob of President Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol in an assault that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer. CNN has reported that the mob included veterans and Thursday's briefing comes two days after an extraordinary intervention from the country's most senior generals, who issued a statement reminding service members of their obligation to support and defend the Constitution and reject extremism. CNN also reported Tuesday that the Army is taking additional steps to screen the National Guard contingent that's providing security at Biden's inauguration for extremism. “We in the Department of Defense are doing everything we can to eliminate extremism in the Department of Defense,” said Garry Reid, the director for defense intelligence. “DoD policy expressly prohibits military personnel from actively advocating supremacist, extremist or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or cause.”

Reuters: Large Bitcoin Payment Made To Far-Right Individuals Before U.S. Capitol Attack: Report

“Payments in bitcoin worth more than $500,000 were made to 22 different virtual wallets, most of them belonging to far-right activists and internet personalities, before the storming of the U.S. Capitol, cryptocurrency compliance startup Chainalysis said on Friday. The payments, made by a French donor, of 28.15 bitcoins were made on Dec. 8, the New York-based startup, specializing in countering money laundering and fraud in the digital currency space, said in a blog post. Chainalysis said it now has evidence that many alt-right groups and personalities received large bitcoin donations as part of the single transaction. “We have also gathered evidence that strongly suggests the donor was a now-deceased computer programmer based in France,” Chainalysis said in the report. Nick Fuentes, who was permanently suspended from YouTube last year for hate speech, received 13.5 bitcoins, worth about $250,000 at the time of the transfer, making him by far the biggest beneficiary of the donation, according to the blog post. Fuentes could not be reached for a request for comment.”

New York Post: Uzbek National Sentenced To Over 12 Years For Helping Aspiring ISIS Fighter

“An Uzbek national was sentenced Thursday in Brooklyn federal court to 12 1/2 years in prison for supporting a wannabe ISIS fighter. Azizjon Rakhmatov, 33, of New Haven, Connecticut, previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, according to Seth DuCharme, the acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. In 2015, Rakhmatov gave aspiring terrorist Akhror Saidakhmetov $400 cash to help bankroll a trip to Syria to join ISIS and to buy a gun once he arrived. Saidakhmetov, who had pledged his allegiance to ISIS, had said if he couldn’t make it to Syria to wage jihad, he’d turn his homicidal urges on cops and FBI agents in the US, according to court papers. Saidakhmetov flew from JFK Airport to Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 25, where he was picked up by authorities before he could sneak across the border. He was sentenced in 2017 to 15 years in prison. Both men are expected to be deported once they’ve completed their sentences, prosecutors said.”

Metro: Terrorism Expert Warns ‘Toxic Mix’ Of People Are Exploiting Trump Chaos

"A former counter-terrorism chief has warned that an ‘unusual and toxic mix’ of groups are exploiting the turmoil surrounding Donald Trump’s prolonged exit. Sir Ivor Roberts said ‘unholy alliances’ have been formed between extremists, conspiracy theorists and far-right activists during the flux caused by the transfer of power in Washington DC. The FBI has warned of nationwide armed protests as Joe Biden prepares to take office following the deadly storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6. The rallies are said to be planned for all 50 state capitals in the run-in to the incoming President’s inauguration on January 20, with one group said to be planning an uprising. Sir Ivor, senior advisor to the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), also told of the ramifications for the British Government with far-right movement the Proud Boys, thought to have a UK chapter. He said: ‘The transfer of power in a government, particularly in the US case when the transition lasts for well over two months, will always present an opportunity for malevolent individuals or groups to exploit the uncertainty of the hiatus for their own goals."


Al Monitor: Despite Crackdown, Islamic State Continues To Kill, Kidnap Civilians In East Syria

“Islamic State (IS) cells have been accused of being behind a recent wave of assassinations against civilians and tribal elders in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria. The uptick in assassinations has pushed the US-led international coalition to intensify its military operations against IS, which has recently resumed its activities against civilians and military personnel in the area. On Jan. 12, unidentified gunmen killed Sheikh Atliyoush Shatat, a notable of the Akidat tribe, in the village of Hwaij Dhiban in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor. According to media reports, Shatat, 90, was a prominent tribal figure who played significant roles in conflict resolution. On Dec. 31, 2020, the US-led coalition carried out an airdrop of forces in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor and launched a number of missiles at a hut housing an IS cell. Three gunmen, including one Syrian national from Hwaij Dhiban and two alleged Iraqi nationals, were killed in the operation, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. An officer in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir ez-Zor told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that IS cells are terrorizing civilians in the desert of Deir ez-Zor, threatening to kill them if they do not pay them the zakat (charitable payment).”

Al Jazeera: Syrian Businessmen Linked To Firm That Bought Beirut Explosives

“Three Syrian businessmen with close ties to the Syrian government have been linked to the company that bought the explosive material that entered Beirut’s port in 2013 and fuelled a massive explosion in August that devastated parts of the Lebanese capital. The Syrian businessmen, George Haswani and brothers Imad and Mudalal Khuri, are also Russian citizens, according to UK government website Companies House and media reports. Open-source information on the UK website – first aired by Lebanese documentary filmmaker Firas Hatoum on local news channel Al Jadeed on Tuesday – shows that companies formerly directed by Haswani and Imad Khuri have the same stated addresses as Savaro Limited, the company that purchased 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate in July 2013, four months before it entered Beirut’s port. Savaro also lists as a “secretary”, or board member tasked with ensuring the smooth running of the company, a firm that provided the same service to a company directed by Imad Khuri – establishing a further link between the businessmen and the company that procured the ammonium nitrate.”


BBC News: US Has Conceded Too Much To Taliban, Says Afghan Vice-President

“With the US due to complete the withdrawal of another 2,500 troops from Afghanistan, the Afghan vice-president tells the BBC the US made a mistake in conceding too much to the Taliban. Amrullah Saleh says the American mission, which began 20 years ago, is not yet accomplished. Last year President Donald Trump made an peace deal with the Taliban and agreed to drastically reduce US troops. Mr Saleh says the pull-out risks more violence in the unstable country. The Afghan government has been battling the Taliban, a hard-line Islamic movement, as the group tries to tighten its grip on parts of the country. The current US presence in Afghanistan dates to 2001 when soldiers invaded to remove the Taliban from power, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But the movement regrouped and by 2018 was active in more than two-thirds of Afghanistan, threatening the elected government. Thousands have been killed, including 2,400 US soldiers. Mr Trump has been clear that he is determined to withdraw all US troops from the country. Vice-President Saleh told the BBC that US talks with the Taliban were not a mistake in themselves, but that Mr Trump's administration made an error in giving the group a “massive concession.”

Voice Of America: Iran’s Suggestion Of Using Shiite Fighters In Afghanistan Seen As Risky

“A recent Iranian offer for Afghanistan to use Iran-backed Shiite militias in the fight against Islamic State militants is viewed by some Afghan lawmakers and experts as a threat to Afghanistan’s volatile security. Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in 2011, Iran has reportedly deployed tens of thousands of Shiite fighters from across the Middle East and beyond to fight on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Among those recruited by Iran are thousands of Afghan Shiite fighters, who have largely been fighting under the banner of the Fatemiyoun Brigade, a U.S.-designated terror group. Iranian officials, however, now say the Afghan government can take back these fighters to use them in Kabul’s campaign against the IS terror group in the country. In a recent interview with the Afghan network Tolo News, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said those Shiite fighters were “the best forces” to help the Afghan government in its counterterrorism efforts. The Fatemiyoun Brigade “can help, if the government of Afghanistan is willing, in the fight against Daesh and terrorism, and the protection of Afghanistan’s security,” Zarif said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.”


Associated Press: Raids In Pakistan’s NW Leave 3 Soldiers, 2 Militants Dead

“Security forces raided two militant hideouts in a former insurgent stronghold in Pakistan’s northwest Thursday, triggering shootouts that left three soldiers and two insurgents dead, the military said. The separate raids took place in the North Waziristan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and one of the slain militants was a bomb-making expert, the military said in a statement. It provided no further details and the identity and nationality of the slain militants were not known. North Waziristan served as a headquarters of the Pakistani Taliban until the military secured it in 2015 with a series of operations. However, isolated militant attacks on troops have continued, raising fears the Taliban are regrouping in the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, are a separate insurgent group from the Afghan Taliban, although Pakistan’s militant groups are often interlinked with those across the border.”


Associated Press: US Rejects UN Plea To Reverse Yemen Rebel Terror Designation

“The U.N. chief and top officials urged the United States on Thursday to reverse its decision to declare Yemen’s Iran-backed rebels a terrorist group to prevent massive famine and death in the conflict-torn Arab nation — but the Trump administration in its final days stood by its action. The U.S. deputy ambassador, Richard Mills, told the Security Council the U.S. has listened to warnings of the terrorist designation’s humanitarian impact and will take measures to reduce the impact on aid deliveries and commercial imports. “But we do believe that this step is the right move forward to send the right signal if we want the political process to move forward,” he said. In 2014, the rebel Houthis overran the capital, Sanaa, and much of Yemen’s north, driving the government into exile. A U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition intervened the following year to try and restore the internationally recognized government, but years of U.N. efforts to get both sides to agree to a cease-fire and start peace negotiations have not succeeded. The conflict has been disastrous for Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, killing more than 112,000 people, creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and wrecking infrastructure from roads and hospitals to water and electricity networks.”


CNN: At Least 5 Dead In Sudan Border Attack As Tensions With Ethiopia Escalate

“Sudan says at least five women were killed in border attacks by Ethiopian government-backed militias and it will use all “available means” to respond. Tensions have simmered between the two countries for decades over the contested Al-Fashqa region, which falls on the Sudanese side of their disputed border. On Wednesday the situation further escalated after the Sudanese accused Ethiopian military aircraft of violating Sudan's airspace. On a visit Wednesday to the eastern Gedaref State, where Al-Fashqa is located, the President of the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) and General Commander of Sudan's Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan addressed soldiers stationed at the border. “We are all steadfast with you here until our right is proven by force, by good faith or by any other method. This is our land and we have the legitimate right to defend and protect it by all available means,” he said. A video posted to the TSC Facebook page of Burhan's remarks showed him telling them Sudan would not back down from military confrontation. “How long must we be patient? Everything has a limit and this situation has exceeded its limits. This is our land and we are all willing to die here for this land, till the last man standing.”

Agence France-Presse: Five Civilians Killed In Algeria Bomb Blast: Ministry

“A homemade bomb killed five civilians and wounded three others in eastern Algeria on Thursday, the defense ministry said, the deadliest attack targeting civilians in recent years. The roadside bomb went off as a car drove by in the region of Tebessa, the ministry said in a statement. “Five citizens died and three others were wounded when a homemade bomb exploded as their car drove in Oueid Khenig-Roum, near the district of Telidjane in Tebessa prefecture,” it said. It gave no other details on the attack itself. The same statement did note that a militant was killed by troops in the neighboring region of Khenchela, but it was not immediately clear if the two incidents were related. “Following an ambush in Oued Boudekhane... in Khenchela prefecture, a detachment of the People’s National Armed Forces shot dead... a dangerous terrorist,” the statement said. A machine gun, ammunition, and cell phones as well as a radio transmitter were recovered during the operation, the defense ministry said, adding that the operation was still ongoing. Algerian authorities use the term “terrorist” to describe armed extremists who have been active in the country since the early 1990s.”

Mozambique News Agency: Terrorist Hostages Released

“A group of 21 people (15 women and six children), kidnapped by the islamist terrorists operating in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado can now return to their homes on Matemo island, after being rescued by the defence and security forces. According to a report in Thursday's issue of the independent newsheet “Carta de Mocambique”, they were captured during a terrorist attack against Matemo on 6 January. Their captors used them to transport goods looted from the local populations, and took them to Macomia district on the mainland. One of the rescued women, Maisha Ambasse, said “there were about 30 terrorists who took us from Matemo to Olumboa (a village on the mainland). When we got there, they said they were going to take us to Mocimboa da Praia, to study in a madrassa (a Koranic school)”. But before that could happen, a government helicopter arrived to rescue the hostages. “We're thankful that the helicopter saved us”, said Ambasse. “Otherwise by now we would be in Mocimboa da Praia”. The General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, said the defence forces knew where the terrorists were, and launched what he called a “smart attack” to rescue the hostages.”


New Europe: The EU’s Recent Steps To Combat Online Extremism

“Since the earliest days of the internet, the propagation of extremist content online has been one of the most challenging and dangerous misuses of online platforms. This circulation of hate has had an untold impact on the radicalisation, recruitment and training of terrorists across Europe and beyond. Even though the use of online platforms is frequently highlighted by terrorist acts perpetrated by home-grown, European radicals, the process of online radicalisation has continued apace, unseen and arguably deliberately overlooked. At long last, and perhaps provoked by the spate of devastating terrorist attacks in the latter half of 2020, Europe has finally taken two significant, tangible steps toward combating the spread of extremism online. The Regulation on Preventing the Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online (TCO) is finally moving forward, after lying dormant at its trilogue state for over a year … In my work with the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), I have closely followed the development of both proposals since their inception. While a much welcome step in the right direction, both initiatives have their flaws.”

CBS DFW: FBI, Other Law Enforcement Look To Counter Online Extremism In Wake Of Capitol Attack

“The FBI is warning police departments across the country of violence in the coming days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. Agents have picked up online conversations about plans for multiple armed protests in Washington, DC and state capitols in every state. “From the moon landing to 9/11 to the election, there’s always groups out there that are going to spread conspiracy theories,” said Idean Salehyan, a political science professor at the University of North Texas. Extremist groups aren’t new in America, but now, with social media, they can reach more people than ever before – and even organize. “We knew on the internet, prior to the attack on the Capitol, that people were calling for violent action on that day,” Salehyan said. After the angry mob descended on the Capitol, tech companies took unprecedented steps to crack down on baseless claims of election fraud. Facebook banned content promoting the phrase “Stop the Steal” and blocked President Trump’s account. Twitter kicked him off their site, too. Parler, an unmoderated social network platform that became a haven for far-right groups, has been cut off from Amazon web services and mobile app stores.”

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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