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Old 05-20-2022, 07:02 AM
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Arrow Eye on Extremism - 05-20-22

Eye on Extremism -05-20-22
By: Counter Extremism Project News

As of May 20th 2022:

Reuters: U.S. Sanctions Lebanese Businessman, His Companies Over Hezbollah Links

“The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday issued new Hezbollah-related sanctions, designating Lebanese businessman and the Iran-backed group's financial facilitator, Ahmad Jalal Reda Abdallah, and his companies. Abdallah, five of his associates and eight of his companies in Lebanon and Iraq were sanctioned and added to the sanctions list of the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the department said. Abdallah is a Hezbollah official and an active member of its global financial network, according to the Treasury. He has supported Hezbollah for decades, carrying out commercial activities in various countries where the profits are transferred to the Iran-backed group, the department said. Founded in 1982 by Iran's Revolutionary Guards and classified by the United States and other Western countries as a "terrorist organization," Hezbollah is a powerful group in Lebanon because of a heavily armed militia that fought several wars with Israel. It grew stronger after joining the war in Syria in 2012 in support of President Bashar al-Assad.”

The New York Times: Buffalo Gunman’s Video Is Surfacing On Facebook, Sometimes With Ads Beside It.

“People searching on Facebook for footage of Saturday’s racist shooting rampage in Buffalo, N.Y., may have come across posts with footage of the attack or links to websites promising the gunman’s full video. Interspersed between those posts, they may have also seen a variety of ads. The social network has sometimes served ads next to posts offering clips of the video, which a gunman live streamed on the video platform Twitch as he killed 10 people. For the past six days, recordings of that livestream have circulated across the internet including on Facebook, Twitter and fringe and extremist message boards and sites, despite some companies’ efforts to remove the content. The pace at which an 18-year-old gunman’s ephemeral livestream morphed into a rapidly proliferating, permanent recording shows the challenges large tech platforms face in policing their sites for violent content. Facebook and its parent company, Meta, rely on a combination of artificial intelligence, user reports and human moderators to track and remove shooting videos like the Buffalo one. But in some search results, Facebook is surfacing the violent video or links to websites hosting the clip next to ads.”

United States

Associated Press: Man Charged In Buffalo Race Killings Appears In Court Again As Authorities Consider Terrorism Charges

“The white man accused of slaughtering 10 Black people at a Buffalo supermarket was scheduled to appear in court Thursday as authorities including the FBI continue to investigate the possibility of hate crime and terrorism charges. Payton Gendron, 18, livestreamed the attack from a helmet camera before surrendering to police outside the grocery store. Shortly before the attack last Saturday, he posted hundreds of pages of writings to online discussion groups where he detailed his plans for the assault and his racist motivation. Investigators have been examining those documents, which included a private diary he kept on the chat platform Discord. At his initial court appearance last week, Gendron’s court-appointed lawyer entered a plea of “not guilty” on his behalf. The massacre at the Tops supermarket was unsettling even in a nation that has become numb to mass shootings. All but two of the 13 of the people shot during the attack were Black. Gendron’s online writings said he planned the assault after becoming infatuated with white supremacist ideology he encountered online. The diary said the shooter planned his attack in secret, with no outside help, but Discord confirmed Wednesday that an invitation to access his private writings was sent to a small group of people about 30 minutes before the assault began.”


Al Monitor: Iraqis Murdered In Syria’s Al-Hol Camp

“Iraqi nationals continue to be killed in the vast confusion of the sprawling al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria as repatriation continues at a trickle. Many are women being found with gunshot wounds to their heads, while some have been beheaded. Children have been killed by security forces during operations in the camp, which is under the administration of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration. The Lead Inspector General Report to the US Congress on the first quarter of 2022, meanwhile, stated that “at the current pace, it will take nearly 15 years to repatriate all the Iraqis at the camp.” At least nine people were killed in the camp in April, six of whom were Iraqi nationals; this was reportedly over double the number of people “assassinated” the previous month, allegedly by members of the Islamic State (IS). On May 9, “The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated a network of five Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financial facilitators,” some of whom had been sending money into the al-Hol camp. It noted that that network had used some of the funds it collected in various countries to smuggle children out of the camps, handing them over to IS “foreign fighters as potential recruits.”


The Washington Post: Famed Racing Sailboat Attacked By Gunmen Off War-Torn Yemen

“A Hong Kong-flagged racing sailboat that led its skippers to win multiple contests around the world came under attack Thursday off the coast of war-torn Yemen, with its crew reportedly targeted by militants who fired warning shots and threatened them with rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The Lakota, a 62-foot (19-meter) trimaran recently purchased by famed French yachtsman Philippe Poupon, found itself attacked off the coast of Hodeida. The attack began Thursday morning, when three ships carrying militants in civilian clothes chased the vessel, according to a European Union naval force in the region. The militants fired some 20 warning shots and displayed assault rifles and the rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the EU force said. One assailant boarded the Lakota as well, though he jumped overboard after realizing there was no money on the vessel and that he was far from his comrades’ ships, said Capt. Miguel Lorente Navarro, a spokesman for the EU force. Dryad Global, a maritime intelligence firm, told The Associated Press that the vessel involved was the Lakota. Lloyd’s List Intelligence identified the ship as the trimaran, or a three-hulled racing vessel, as did the EU force.”

Middle East

The Jerusalem Post: IDF, Shin Bet, Border Police Arrest 13 Terrorism Suspects In The West Bank

“Thirteen individuals suspected of terrorist activity were arrested on Wednesday night by the IDF, Shin Bet and Border Police in the West Bank, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced. Israeli security forces were active in several areas throughout the West Bank, including the villages of al-'Arub, 'Abidia, Rifida, Bidu and the Qalandiya refugee camp. Five suspects were arrested in Hebron for alleged involvement in terrorist activities and possession of weapons. Two wanted persons were arrested in Beit Rima, where Israeli forces also found M-16 rifles and ammunition. Clashes broke out during this operation; dozens of Palestinians threw stones and fired fireworks at IDF soldiers who ultimately dispersed the crowds. There was an additional violent outbreak in the Ein Beit Ilma refugee camp, during which Palestinians again threw stones and explosives and were met with crowd dispersion. Gunshots were also heard in the area. Two policemen were lightly injured and taken for medical treatment after Wednesday night's Lag Ba'Omer festivities in Meron, during which time they were attacked with stones. According to the police statement, dozens of young men attacked and threw stones at the police officers until backup forces arrived on the scene.”


The National: Suicide Attack Thwarted In North Sinai, Says Egyptian Ministry

“An attempted suicide attack was thwarted when an assailant was shot dead at a security checkpoint in North Sinai, Egypt’s Interior Ministry said on Thursday. The ministry said that a “terrorist element” attempted to carry out a suicide attack at a security checkpoint in Al Toloul area in North Sinai. Troops at the checkpoint exchanged fire with the militant and killed him, the ministry said. An explosive belt, two hand grenades, a machinegun and bullets were seized, it said. Last week, the military said five soldiers were killed fighting militants in the Sinai Peninsula, less than a week after 11 soldiers were killed in the region by extremists in an attack claimed by a local ISIS affiliate. Attacks in Sinai, the capital Cairo, the Nile Delta and the western desert surged following the 2013 overthrow of president Mohammed Morsi of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, amid mass street protests against his divisive, one-year rule. A major government offensive launched in 2018 slowed the attacks. But militants have continued to target isolated and small police and army outposts and kidnapped civilians or tribesmen who openly support the government.”


Sahara Reporters: Nigerian Government Signs Terrorism, Money Laundering Bills Into Law

“President Muhammadu Buhari passed three bills into law on Thursday in Abuja to improve the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing/proliferation financing framework in Nigeria. The bills are; the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022. The President explained that the news laws conformed with the administration's commitment to end corruption and illicit financing activities in the country. Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesperson, said “The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises”, noting that the inadequacy of all the repealed Acts had impacted legal actions against offenders.” On the importance of the legislations, the President said, “The signing of these Bills into law today not only strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in the Country, but addresses the deficiencies identified in Nigeria’s 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation as assessed by Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force global standards.”


Al Jazeera: Togo Authorities Say 15 Assailants Died In ‘Terrorist’ Attack

“About 15 assailants were killed during a “terrorist” attack last week in the north of Togo that also killed eight soldiers, its security minister has said. Togo’s troops are deployed in the north of the country to contain a security threat pushing south from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger where groups linked to al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) operate. In the early hours of May 11, about 60 attackers on motorcycles launched a “violent terrorist attack” on a military post in Kpinkankandi – near the border with Burkina Faso – killing eight Togolese soldiers and wounding 13, the government said at the time. On Wednesday evening, Security Minister General Damehame Yark on Wednesday evening said 15 of the attackers died. “[The attackers] quickly transported the bodies across the border where they were buried,” Yark said on national television. Last November, soldiers foiled an attack in the northern village of Sanloaga, making last week’s attack the first to have casualties. Violence from armed groups and criminal networks is on the rise across West Africa. In three years, the region has suffered more than 5,300 terror-related attacks killing about 16,000 people, Ghanaian Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul said earlier this month during a meeting of West African defence chiefs. The uptick in violence has also led to concerns from analysts and other stakeholders that insecurity in the Sahel is spreading to coastal countries along the Gulf of Guinea.”

AFP: Mozambique Approves Tough Anti-Terror Bill

“Mozambique’s parliament on Thursday approved a tough new anti-terror law that imposes stiff prison sentences for convicted jihadists, but also for anyone spreading misinformation about the country’s insurgency. The measures calling for up to 24 years in prison for those found guilty of “terrorism” offenses had broad support, but the opposition fears the clauses on misinformation could be used to crack down on media. “Mozambique is experiencing cruel, direct impacts from terrorist attacks in the north,” government spokesman Nyeleti Mondlane told parliament Wednesday. “We want to strengthen the law to combat terrorism,” he said. Some 3,900 people have been killed and 820,000 displaced from their homes since jihadist unrest erupted in northern Mozambique in October 2017. More than 3,100 troops from several African countries moved in to the troubled Cabo Delgado province in July last year and have retaken much of the territory. The violence forced a halt to work on Mozambique’s gas fields, including a $20-billion project from TotalEnergies. The new bill is Mozambique’s latest effort to tame the violence. But opposition parties fear the law could be used to target journalists, with provisions calling for up to eight years behind bars for “anyone who intentionally disseminates information according to which a terrorist act was or is likely to be committed, knowing that the information is false.”


Daily Mail: AK-47-Wielding Jihadi Bride Who Was Accused Of Enslaving A Yazidi Woman After Joining ISIS In Syria Walks FREE From German Court With Two-Year Suspended Sentence After Vowing To 'Reintegrate Into Society'

“A girl who ran off to Syria as a 15-year-old to join the Islamic State has left court with a two-year suspended sentence. The court in Halle, central Germany, found Leonora Messing - now aged 22 - guilty of membership of a terrorist organisation. She was also found guilty of possessing a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle and a pistol with ammunition, while prosecutors alleged that she and her husband had enslaved a Yazidi woman, who they later sold for £647. Messing ultimately escaped charges of crimes against humanity, but despite being convicted of two offences, the woman who abandoned her family in 2015 to lead a new life as a 'jihadi bride' will now likely escape prison time altogether. The mother-of-two was handed the sentence after she vowed to 'rehabilitate' and insisted she was trying to integrate her two young daughters into German society. Messing was just a teenage schoolgirl when she fled her home in the Breitenbach district of Sangerhausen to join the Islamic State (ISIS) in Raqqa, Syria, in March 2015. There she became the third wife of ISIS secret service agent and fellow German national Martin Lemke, now aged 30 and with whom she had two daughters. But as the years passed, ISIS lost much of its former territory and the family ended up surrendering to Kurdish security forces in early 2019.”


CBC: The Terrorist Threat Posed By Lone Actors Is 'Difficult To Detect,' Says Federal Report

“Violent extremists in Canada have the “intent and capability” to commit acts of terrorism, but detecting attacks by lone actors or small groups before they happen is “difficult,” says an internal threat assessment conducted for the federal government last year. The warning is found in a threat analysis prepared by the federal government's Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (ITAC) in the lead-up to last year's muted Canada Day celebrations. At the time, the team — which works with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) to advise the federal government on terrorist threats — was worried that ideologically or religiously motivated extremists could seize the occasion of the national holiday to make a violent statement. While no known attacks happened last July 1, the analysis shines a light on the things the secretive agency looks for in advance of special events and the challenges it faces detecting would-be attackers. “An attack on a Canada Day 2021 celebration or legitimate public protest is most likely to be conducted by an inspired lone actor or small group using unsophisticated methods such as firearms, bladed weapons, vehicles or homemade explosives,” ITAC concluded in its report, obtained by CBC News through an access to information request.”


Reuters: Swiss Plan To Let Spy Agency Snoop On Security Risk Financial Flows

“The Swiss government proposed on Thursday letting its spy agency penetrate the country's famous banking secrecy to snoop on financial transactions that it suspects are funding terrorism, espionage or violent extremism. Unveiling a draft amendment of the intelligence law for public comment, the cabinet pointed out that the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) at present has no power to ask banks and other financial intermediaries for information on people or groups seen as security risks. Switzerland has some of the strictest domestic banking confidentiality laws in the world. "In the event of serious threats to Switzerland's security, the FIS will in future be able to clarify financial flows by requesting information on transactions from financial intermediaries," a government statement said. This could cover businesses, non-profit organisations or religious institutions suspected of helping to finance terrorist, intelligence or violent extremist activities. The Federal Administrative Court and the defence minister would have to authorise such requests after consultations with the justice and foreign ministers.”


The Washington Post: Just Before Buffalo Shooting, 15 Users Signed Into Suspect’s Chatroom, Says Person Familiar With Review

“An online chatroom invitation sent shortly before the Buffalo supermarket shooting by alleged gunman Payton Gendron was accepted by 15 users, according to a person with knowledge of the messaging platform Discord’s investigation into the matter. When the 15 accepted the invite to that server, they were able to scroll back through months of Gendron’s voluminous writings and racist screeds. A copy of an invitation from Gendron reviewed by The Washington Post said Discord users who clicked through to the room also could view an online video stream, where footage of the Buffalo attack on Saturday was broadcast, raising the possibility more people saw the shootings as they happened than was previously known. Investigators at the messaging platform are sifting through data relating to Gendron’s account to decipher the accused shooter’s network, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss matters also being examined by law enforcement. Discord has said it disabled Gendron’s chatroom after the shooting, which killed 10 people and injured three at a Tops supermarket, but has declined to say how it learned of the chat room’s connection to the attack.”

Reuters: New York State Opens Probe Of Social Media Platforms Used By Buffalo Shooting Suspect

“New York state authorities have launched an investigation into several social media platforms they believe the accused Buffalo grocery store gunman used to plan, promote and broadcast the attack that left 10 dead, state Attorney General Letitia James said on Wednesday. Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled several additional measures aimed at combating domestic terrorism, including legislation to tighten New York gun laws and a directive for state police to exercise their authority to disarm individuals deemed a public threat. James, responding to a referral letter from Hochul to investigate social media's role in the massacre, said her inquiry will focus on Twitch, the live video service owned by (AMZN.O), as well as the internet chat site Discord, online message boards 4chan and 8chan, and other platforms "the shooter used to amplify his attack."”

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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