Eye on Extremism: August 15

CNN: Republican Senator To Introduce Bill Next Month Making Domestic Terrorism A Punishable Federal Crime

“Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally plans to introduce legislation next month that would make domestic terrorism a punishable federal crime, an effort that aims to close a loophole in federal authorities' ability to prosecute suspects in domestic terrorism cases. McSally released a discussion draft of the legislation Wednesday, which her office said would “add specific punishments for acts of domestic terrorism and provide federal law enforcement with new charging options.” The legislation would allow federal authorities to charge suspects with domestic terror, criminalize politically-motivated violence and ensure that victims of terrorism are “properly recognized,” among other things. The draft bill comes on the heels of three recent mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio that left a total of 34 people dead. Authorities are treating the massacre in El Paso, Texas, as a case of domestic terrorism and are considering bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges, which carry a possible death penalty. McSally's drafted legislation would allow authorities in future domestic terrorism cases to charge the suspect with domestic terrorism and seek the punishments outlined in the legislation.”

The New York Times: European Fears Hinder Plans To Rescue ISIS Children From Syria

“Years after their parents left Belgium and France to join the Islamic State, 18 children were taken from squalid refugee camps in Syria and flown recently to new lives in Belgium and France, drawing widespread attention in those countries as examples of Europe grudgingly accepting the children of its jihadis. But they were the exceptions, not the rule; estimates vary, but 1,300 or more children of European fighters and followers of the self-professed caliphate remain trapped in Syria and Iraq. While some European governments have softened their stands on repatriation, marginally, it is still unclear when — or even whether — the children might be able to leave. The recent airlifts, which took place only after months of negotiation and vetting of the children, illustrate how resistant Western countries still are. On those flights in June, France and Belgium received only children whose extremist parents were dead; most are orphans, and some were taken to ISIS lands by their fathers, who were killed there, while their mothers remained in Europe. Days earlier, a Belgian team had set up a makeshift clinic in the overcrowded Al Hol camp in northeastern Syria, which holds thousands of current and former ISIS adherents and their family members, providing medical care and psychiatric assessments for the children of Belgian nationals.”

Radio Free Europe: A Decade In The Making: U.S.-Taliban Peace Deal Appears Within Reach

“In the fall of 2010, U.S. officials secretly met a young Taliban representative outside the southern German city of Munich. Tayyib Agha, a member of the militant group's political wing, presented the U.S. diplomats with a road map for a negotiated end to the war. It was not the United States' first contact with the Taliban. Since the U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban regime in 2001, the militant group had sought a channel with Washington. There had been contact between U.S. and Taliban military commanders. But the 2010 meeting, brokered by Germany, was a turning point in the conflict. “For the first time, both the Taliban and the United States had some degree of seriousness in seeking talks towards a political settlement,” Jarrett Blanc, a former diplomat who was involved in former President Barack Obama administration's negotiations with the Taliban, tells RFE/RL. “Even then, people knew enough to know that we weren't going to 'win the war.'“ But in the intervening years, meaningful U.S.-Taliban talks failed to take off, hampered by mutual mistrust, missed opportunities, protests by the Afghan government, and the deaths of two successive Taliban leaders. Now, nearly a decade since those initial secret contacts, the United States and the Taliban are apparently on the verge of agreeing to a landmark peace deal that would end the United States' longest-ever war.”

Reuters: India Accuses Pakistan Of Helping Militants Infiltrate Kashmir

“Indian security officials said on Wednesday a group of Pakistani militants backed by the military tried to infiltrate Indian-controlled Kashmir to foment violence, according to Reuters partner ANI.  Tension is running high between India and Pakistan after New Delhi this month revoked the special status for the portion of Kashmir that it controls, scrapping a constitutional provision that allows the state of Jammu and Kashmir to make its own laws.  Muslim-majority Kashmir has been the site of decades of hostility between nuclear arch-rivals India and Pakistan. Both countries claim it in full but rule it in part.  ANI cited unidentified Indian army sources as saying there was a major infiltration attempt in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday night by militants who were given fire cover from Pakistani army posts.  Pakistan’s military did not respond to requests for comment.”

Gizmodo: Terrorist Who Allegedly Killed 51 People In New Zealand Gets Letter Published To 4chan From Jail

“The white supremacist accused of killing 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, currently has no access to internet, TV, newspapers, and radio. Yet he’s still able to get his hateful ideology out into the world, all thanks to extremists on 4Chan and lax rules about letter writing in New Zealand prisons. Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian national who allegedly broadcast his mass murder on Facebook Live earlier this year, wrote a six-page letter that was published to 4Chan’s /pol/ message board yesterday. The letter, dated July 4, 2019, was addressed to someone in Russia named Alan, and referred to a “great conflict on the horizon” as well as “a great amount of bloodshed” that he predicted for the future. Tarrant has pleaded not guilty to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder, and one count of terrorism. Commenters on 4Chan initially doubted the letter’s authenticity, saying “it looks like it was written by a preschooler.” But prison officials in New Zealand have confirmed that the letter is real. “I know a lot of New Zealanders will be surprised to hear that this offender is allowed to send and receive mail–but there are rights every prisoner has under the law as it stands,” New Zealand Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis told the news website Stuff today.”

New York Post: 8chan Owner Jim Watkins Faces Grilling On Extremist Content

“The House Committee on Homeland Security subpoenaed Jim Watkins, the owner of the far-right internet message board 8chan, as part of a probe into the social media site’s connections to extremists. “In recent years, violent extremist content has proliferated on both large and small social media platforms. At least three acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan,” committee chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and ranking GOP member Mike Rogers of Alabama said in a statement. “We have questions on what is being done to counter this trend so we can be sure it is being properly addressed. Receiving testimony from Mr. Watkins is critical to our oversight on this matter.” Watkins, who acquired the website in 2016, has been ordered to appear before the committee on Sept. 5, according to the subpoena. 8chan has been online and offline in recent days since its biggest internet service provider, Cloudflare, stopped doing business with it. Authorities believe that the suspect in the El Paso mass shooting, Patrick Crusius, 21, posted an anti-immigrant diatribe on the website before the attack, which left 22 dead. Watkins, an American who has lived in the Philippines, has been in contact with the committee, according to Adam Comis, spokesman for Thompson, NBC News reported.”

United States

ABC News: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Forms Domestic Terrorism Task Force In Response To El Paso Shooting

“Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is taking action to prevent domestic terrorism in the state following a shooting at an El Paso Walmart where the attacker said he targeted Mexicans. Abbott, a Republican, has directed the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to “take immediate action against extremism” by forming a domestic terrorism task force to “combat these hateful acts,” according to a press release from his office. Twenty-two people were killed and dozens more were injured in the Aug. 3 shooting, which occurred at a shopping center near the Mexican border. The gunman allegedly cased the store to look for Mexicans to kill before he carried out the attack, according to law enforcement officials. A woman touches a cross at a makeshift memorial for victims outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting which left at least 22 people dead, on Aug. 6, 2019 in El Paso, Texas.  Federal prosecutors have said they're weighing hate-crime charges and considering it a domestic terrorism case. In response, Abbott has ordered the Texas DPS to conduct an intelligence assessment on the domestic terrorism threat in the state and “proactively seek, assess and monitor” both domestic terrorism and other mass casualty threats.”

Fox News: Former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan: Attack On Immigration Offices Was An Act Of 'Domestic Terrorism'

“The former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Tom Homan, said the attack on federal immigration offices in San Antonio, Texas, should be considered an act of ”domestic terrorism,” and he warned against the effects of extreme political rhetoric. The FBI is calling the early-Tuesday event a ”targeted attack” after shots were fired at an ICE building where two floors of administrative and executive offices were housed, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The outlet also reported there was also gunfire at another facility where an ICE contractor was located. “I think this was an act of terrorism. I mean, look at the definition of terrorism, this is exactly what they're doing,” Homan said during an interview on “Outnumbered Overtime” on Wednesday. ”This is domestic terrorism.” Homan, who also wrote an op-ed for Fox News on Wednesday about the dangers of left-wing immigration rhetoric, took issue with House Democrats for radicalizing their talking points, and said hate should have no place in policymaking. “We've got to stop the hate,” he said. ”They say the Trump administration -- all hate rhetoric is coming out of there. No, there's just as much hate rhetoric, if not more, on the left.”

Fortune: Domestic Terrorism Is Likely To Grow, Experts Warn

“Gilroy. El Paso. Dayton. Three mass shootings in eight days are all being investigated as acts of domestic terrorism—coercive violence fueled by extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.  These jarring, tragic events have cast new attention on the rise of extremist behavior in the United States. Researchers and law enforcement officials say the issue has been neglected, allowed to fester and proliferate. Stoked by divisive rhetoric on cable news, social media, and online message boards, domestic terrorism is an expanding national security threat, and while white supremacist violence has been the most prevalent, extremism is growing in all corners and ideologies.  As far back as 2009 analysts at the Department of Homeland Security warned of the rising threat of domestic terrorism, particularly from white supremicist factions. At the time, the report got caught in the political spin cycle, dismissed as partisan fare that demonized conservative views, and the team that produced it was reassigned. Today, agents investigating foreign terrorism still wield far more resources and legal power than those pursuing threats at home.  “On the left and the right there is denial about the extent that this is happening,” said David Neiwert, a reporter who has covered white nationalists for decades and the author of Alt-America: Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump.”

Al Jazeera: Killer Narratives: The Real Culprit Of Mass Shootings In The US

“Sci-Fi films like the Terminator series (in particular Terminator II - Judgment Day), or The Matrix trilogy, use morphing - a special-effects process in which someone or something changes shape or form - to present the viewer with alternative perspectives on the same reality. In the Terminator, the “cyborg” robot has the power to take the shape of humans - usually after killing them - of any age or gender. Once it takes the human form, characters within the film start responding to the violent attacks against “the monster” with horror. However, the viewers applaud these brutal attacks, and even demand more. The narrative demands it, after all, especially after the atrocities it perpetrates! This illustration of the effect of narrative framing holds the key to understanding instances of mass violence, such as the recent series of mass shootings in the United States. The two young men who carried out the mass shootings on August 3 in El Paso, Texas and August 4 in Dayton, Ohio, were acting in a different movie from the one we are all watching. In their story, they were not opening fire on “innocent people”, but heroically responding to “an existential threat”. The two episodes occurred within 14 hours of each other, and only a few days after a similar attack in California. This indicates a shared story that is gaining traction.”

The Hill: Criminal Justice Alternatives Could Shrink The Domestic Terror Threat

“Yet again, two young white men have been implicated in mass shootings, this time in El Paso and Dayton. In the El Paso case, federal prosecutors are treating the massacre as domestic terrorism. The racially-motivated shooter could be charged with a federal hate crime.  Media attention rightly has identified the easy availability of guns and online right-wing nationalist recruitment as contributory factors in the tragedies. Calls for stricter background checks for gun purchases certainly are part of the response. But there is more we can do, and it does not require new law. “If you see something, say something” is the well-known catchphrase disseminated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the wake of the 9/11 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. In an effort to thwart further mayhem on American soil, citizens and members of vulnerable communities were deputized to share with law enforcement information about potentially troubled or dangerous individuals. The problem for those who considered stepping forward were the legal consequences to them, and more importantly to their potentially violent loved ones. It is a paradox that has led many Americans with valuable information to remain silent. Consider the case of 22-year-old Adam Shafi, son of a Silicon Valley executive.”

The Jerusalem Post: Mexico Urges U.S. To Designate El Paso Shooting As Terrorism

“Mexico's government on Wednesday amplified its assertion that the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, was an act of terrorism against Mexicans, urging the United States to ensure the attack was designated as such. Speaking after meetings on Tuesday between US and Mexican government officials about the incident, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told a regular government news conference that steps needed to be taken to prevent future killings. “It's very important to persevere, to specify, clarify and demand that measures are taken so that this is not repeated, and the first measure is to classify it for what it is, an act of terrorism that seeks to take Mexican lives,” Ebrard said. Twenty-two people, including eight Mexican citizens, were killed in the shooting at a Walmart store in the US border city, an event Mexico quickly said it would investigate as a terrorist act. A four-page statement believed to have been written by the suspected shooter, Patrick Crusius, and posted on 8chan, an online message board often used by extremists, called the El Paso attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” And, according to an El Paso police affidavit released on Friday, Crusius told police while surrendering that he had been targeting “Mexicans.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Captured ISIS Fighters Get Short Sentences And Art Therapy In Syria

“At a closely guarded prison in this northeastern Syrian town, former Islamic State fighters make papier-mâché models of birds, flowers and trees while serving sentences that typically run two or three years. Across the border in Iraq, Islamic State detainees are being held in degrading conditions, subjected to torture and often, when brought to trial, given long sentences or the death penalty, according to human rights groups. The Syrian Kurdish allies of the United States are attempting a different approach. Their goal, Kurdish officials say, is to rehabilitate and reintegrate many of the Islamic State fighters in their custody, in hopes of deterring a revival of the militant movement. The Syrian Kurds’ leftist ideology precludes the death penalty, and their few functioning courts issue light sentences for fighters not found to have committed major crimes. Hundreds more militants have simply been freed in deals with local Arab tribes whose cooperation the Kurds need to maintain. By acting with leniency, the Kurds hope to break the cycle of revenge that has trapped so much of the region in conflict for decades, said Khaled Barjas Ali, a senior judge in the terrorism courts run by the self-proclaimed Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria.”

Iran

Al Jazeera: Iran's Rouhani Criticises US Military Build-Up In Gulf

“Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has criticised a US-led naval mission in the Strait of Hormuz, saying Washington's military build-up in the Gulf was aimed at “creating division and emptying the treasuries” of countries in the region. Speaking during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Rouhani said the Gulf countries could handle their own security and called for unity to do so. “All talks about establishing a new coalition in the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman won't be practical,” Rouhani said, according to the Iranian Student News Agency. “No doubt that it won't help the security of the region. There is no need for the presence of foreign forces to provide security.” “The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to ensure the security of the historical region alongside its littoral states, as it has done so throughout the history,” he added.  The narrow Strait of Hormuz between Oman and Iran has become a flashpoint between the US and Iran in recent months, with Washington accused Tehran in May of sabotaging tankers along the important trade route. Iran denied the allegations. The US military has since deployed additional forces, including an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers, to the Middle East as tensions have mounted.”

Iraq

Iraqi News: Iraq Anti-Terrorism Troops Kill 10 IS Militants, Capture 5 Others In Anbar

“Iraqi security forces killed on Wednesday 10 Islamic State militants and arrested five others during a counter-terrorism operation in Anbar province. In a statement carried by Al Ahd News website, the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service said that its troops have carried out a military operation based on intelligence information to arrest IS militants in Ar Rutbah and Wadi Hauran districts in Anbar. The operation, according to the statement, “resulted in the killing of 10 Islamic State militants, beside five arrests.” Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq. In November, Iraqi forces recaptured Anbar’s western town of Rawa, the last Islamic State entrenchment in Iraq.”

Iraqi News: Iraq Foils Islamic State Scheme To Attack Village During Eidul Adha

“A pro-government force said on Wednesday that a plot by Islamic State militants to spoil Iraqis’ celebration of Eidul Adha (Greater Bairam) was foiled in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk. In a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by Iraqi website Alforat News, the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said that a plot by the Islamic State militant group to storm a village in Hawija district, in Kirkuk, was successfully foiled during Eidul Adha holiday. “A PMF member was killed while repelling the IS attack on the village,” added the statement. In October 2017, former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country. The town had fallen to IS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”. There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces. The offensive on Hawija began in September 2017 and has involved army, police and special forces units, as well as the Shia-led paramilitary Popular Mobilization Forces.”

The National: The Dark Legacy Of ISIS Lives On In Tal Afar

“At Tal Afar General Hospital in northwestern Iraq, dozens of women squeeze onto waiting room chairs. They all want to see the small team of gynaecologists, who appear stressed and overworked. Since the other hospital in the area was blown up by ISIS, Tal Afar General Hospital has been overburdened and under-resourced, serving the city as well as towns and villages far and wide. But even if services were sufficient, one group of the neediest would-be patients would still stay away. They are the 22 Shia Turkmen women and girls who have returned from being raped, beaten and forced into marriage to ISIS members. Some were just 12 years old when they were kidnapped as they tried to escape the terror group’s assault on northern Iraq five years ago. Since their return, community stigma – mainly from their tribes and nosy neighbours – has prolonged their suffering. Some are forced to stay at home by their relatives, who associate a rape survivor with shame. They prevent the girls from going to school, having any kind of financial independence or repairing their friendships. Instead, their families make them do menial chores at home. Even if healthcare services weren’t overstretched, the girls couldn’t leave the house to get regular check-ups for any physical or mental health effects of ISIS’s abuse.”

Turkey

Al Jazeera: Turkey Tourism Revives Since Freedom From ISIL

“Turkey's government is encouraging tourists to visit an ancient city which was controlled by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) group, not so long ago. The ancient city of Karkamesh straddles the Turkey-Syria border. The extensive ruins on the Syrian side of the border were recently in the hands of ISIL but now the ancient city is set to open to visitors, all part of a drive by the Turkish authorities to encourage tourism back to southeastern Anatolia.”

Afghanistan

The Washington Examiner: Charismatic Young Recruiter Training Hundreds Of ISIS Fighters In Afghanistan As Possible Sleeper Agents

“A popular young ISIS recruiter from Tajikistan is leading hundreds of fighters in Afghanistan as part of an effort to draw more foreigners to the terrorist group's banner.  Sayvaly Shafiev, also known as Mauaviya, and his group of about 200 fighters operate out of Nangarhar, a province in eastern Afghanistan located along the Pakistani border. At only 31 years old, he has become a key figure in ISIS-Khorasan Province, the jihadist group's affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  “He seeks to recruit Tajik fighters and to raise funds using online propaganda in the Tajik language,” according to a United Nations report on ISIS activities. Tajik authorities believe Shafiev is training his recruits in Afghanistan to become sleeper agents in Tajikistan. He is also part of ISIS-K's Shura Council, a select group of leaders responsible for governing the province. Shafiev has been known to Tajik authorities for some time. He hails from a small town outside the capital of Dushanbe, which he left in 2011 or 2012 to “study religion in Pakistan.” Several jihadist figures have gone to Pakistan to study in Islamic religious schools only to end up fighting for terrorist groups such al Qaeda and the Haqqani network.”

Long War Journal: Taliban Promotes Its ‘Preparation For Jihad’

“In a newly released video, the Taliban promotes its “Preparation for Jihad” while focusing on a team of its so-called special forces. The Taliban continues to churn out propaganda that promotes jihad and the training of its fighters even as it is simultaneously negotiating an agreement with the United States that will lead to the withdrawal of US forces. The video, titled “Preparation for Jihad (2)” was released by the Taliban on Aug. 10 on its official website, Voice of Jihad. The video was produced by Manba’ Al-Jihad Media, the main propaganda outlet for the Haqqani Network, an integral faction of the Taliban that is closely allied with al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups. Manba’ Al-Jihad Media was integrated into the Taliban’s propaganda apparatus years ago. Sirajuddin Haqqani, the head of the Haqqani Network, is the Taliban’s deputy emir. Siraj’s father, Jalaluddin, who died in 2018, is also featured in the video. The video appears to show one of the Taliban’s specially trained units. The fighters are wearing new uniforms, boots, vests, backpacks, and other gear. They are outfitted with identical equipment, and their weapons appear to be well maintained.  The Taliban are also shown navigating an obstacle course, in the same fashion as al Qaeda propaganda videos from its training camps in Afghanistan in the 1990s.”

Yemen

The Daily Signal: Terrorist Attacks In Southern Yemen Complicate Civil War Peace Process

“Two separate terrorist attacks earlier this month struck the Yemeni governorate of Aden, and those were followed by a third attack in Abyan. All told, the attacks reportedly killed at least 68, including security personnel from the United Arab Emirates-backed Security Belt Forces, shaking the relative calm in one of the deadliest eruptions of violence in southern Yemen in two years.  The Security Belt Forces is an elite paramilitary unit connected to the Southern Transitional Council, a secessionist political organization calling for southern Yemen’s independence.  The first attack took place Aug. 1 in the Sheikh Othman neighborhood of Aden, when a suicide bomber targeted a security center during the morning lineup.  The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution.  The death toll was 13, according to the Yemeni Ministry of the Interior. The next day, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.  Yemen’s southern provinces have long been a stronghold for Islamist extremist groups, and the attacks might point to a growth in extremist presence as the United Arab Emirates takes a less overt role in the conflict.”

Lebanon

The Times Of Israel: Iran General: Hezbollah Strong Enough To Annihilate Israel On Its Own

“The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Wednesday that the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group had sharpened its military capabilities fighting in Syria and was now strong enough to “wipe the Zionist regime off the map” on its own. “They [the US and its allies] intended to undermine Iran’s regional influence, but everyone witnessed how this policy backfired to increase Iran’s influence and a united front was formed against the Zionist regime,” Gen. Hossein Salami said at a ceremony in the northern city of Urumiyeh, according to the Fars news agency. “The Lebanese Hezbollah has now developed such an extent of power through the experience of confrontation against proxy wars that it is now able to wipe the Zionist regime off the map in any possible war by itself,” he said. The Islamic Republic funds the terror group’s activities. Salami’s remarks come amid soaring tensions between the US and Iran and growing accusations in the Arab world that Israel was responsible for a massive explosion earlier this week at a weapons depot in Baghdad controlled by an Iranian-backed Shiite militia. On Tuesday, a former Iraqi deputy prime minister appeared to blame Israel for the massive explosion the night before.”

Nigeria

The Defense Post: ISIS Publishes Images Of ISWAP Attack On Nigeria Military Base In Borno

“Islamic State on Wednesday published a series of images that it said were from an attack in Nigeria’s northeast Borno state. The images included one of a large group of fighters in at least seven technical vehicles, battle scenes, at least two purportedly captured vehicles, ammunition, and, unusually, one artillery piece. ISIS did not say when the raid took place but a Nigerian Army base at Gubio, around 80 km (50 miles) north Borno state capital Maiduguri was attacked by Islamic State West Africa Province fighters on Saturday, August 10, ahead of Monday’s Eid al-Adha festival, AFP reported military sources as saying on Sunday. Three soldiers were killed “defending the base from ISWAP terrorists who wanted to overrun it,” the first source said. “Three civilians were hit and killed in crossfire,” said the source, an officer who asked not to be identified for fear of punishment. Two soldiers and six civilians were injured, he said. The fighters attacked the base in eight pickup trucks fitted with machine guns, leading to a two-hour long battle, said the second source, who gave the same toll. The attack was repelled with the aid of a fighter jet which deployed two hours into the clashes, said the officer.”

The Daily Mail: Nigeria's Girl Suicide Bombers: Woman Abducted By Boko Haram Islamic Militants At 13 Only Escaped By Cutting Off Her Device

“Two would-be suicide bombers who were sent to their deaths by Boko Haram militants shared their harrowing stories of survival in a BBC documentary.  Presenter Stacey Dooley travelled to the city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, to meet Faltama, who spent almost two years with the Islamic extremist group after being abducted from her village at the age of 13.  Faltama, now 20, was forced to marry three different men - all of whom died - before being sent on a suicide mission. She managed to escape by taking off the bomb and fleeing when she was dropped off at her target, despite the risk of being blown up. Stacey met a second woman Ammabua, now in her 20s, who chose to join Boko Haram at 15 and spent five years with the terrorist organisation before being picked up by the military after a failed suicide bomb mission.  'I was unlucky, it was only sickness that stopped me,' Ammabua told Stacey in a startling interview. 'The people I went with made it all the way. They entered the crowd and exploded. God did not grant me that fortune.' Boko Haram has wreaked havoc in Nigeria for more than a decade, carrying out a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions that have struck fear in the heart of the population. Its aim is to overthrow the government and establish an Islamic State.”

Somalia

CNN: 3 People Killed In A Foiled Al-Shabaab Attack On A Somali Military Camp

“Three people were killed in a foiled attack Wednesday against a newly established military camp near Mogadishu, Somali army officials said. Troops managed to “fend off two car bombs and a gun raid,” but three people died in the attack in Awdheegle district, about 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from the city, regional army official Hussain Barre told CNN. Al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked militant group, claimed responsibility for the attack. The claim came in a statement and without supporting evidence. The attack happened hours after Somali state-run media reported that Al-Shabaab's spokesman, Sheikh Ali Dheere, was wounded Sunday during a military operation in Awdheegle. Al-Shabaab is a Somali group that the United States in 2008 designated as a foreign terrorist organization. It aims to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. The group has claimed to have carried out several recent attacks targeting top government officials and public places in Somalia, though CNN has not been able to independently confirm the assertions. At least 10 people, including the Mogadishu's mayor, died following a suicide bombing in July on a government office in the capital city.”

Africa

Reuters: Suicide Bomber Kills Five In Chad, Including Soldier: Sources

“A suicide bomber killed five people, including a Chadian soldier, when she blew herself up on the shores of Lake Chad on Wednesday, three military and government sources said.  The sources said the attack happened shortly after midnight in the compound of a traditional chieftain in the district of Kaiga-Kindjiria. The attacker walked in and detonated her bomb just as people in the compound were preparing to go to bed, they said, without giving further details.  Lake Chad, which sprawls across Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, is a stronghold for the two main factions of Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram: Boko Haram itself and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) splinter group.  Violence in the region has killed more than 30,000 people and displaced about 2 million since 2009, when Boko Haram first launched an uprising with the intention of carving out an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.  Jihadists in the Lake Chad region have routinely ambushed soldiers, opened fire on markets and kidnapped women and children, including nearly 270 schoolgirls in the village of Chibok in 2014, a hundred of whom are still missing.”

Germany

Deutsche Welle: Germany: Far-Right Offenses Rise In 2019

“German authorities have registered 8,605 right-wing extremist offenses in the first half of 2019, according to the Federal Ministry of Interior. Compared to the first half of 2018, an increase of 900 far-right crimes was recorded during the same period this year, the ministry said in response to a parliamentary inquiry. The number of violent crimes, however, remained almost the same. By the end of June, neo-Nazis and other far-right groups had committed 8,605 crimes nationwide, including 363 violent crimes, the ministry told Petra Pau, the vice president of the German parliament, on Wednesday. At least 179 people have been injured and so far only 23 people out of 2,625 suspects have been arrested for these offenses. According to the Tagesschau German newspaper, the actual number of such crimes could be significantly higher as state police officials often classify right-wing offenses as non-political in their initial reports. The newspaper also said that parliamentary figures did not include the murder of Walter Lübcke, the head of the Kassel regional government, as a far-right crime. Stephen E., a 45-year-old suspect, initially confessed to killing Lübcke in June over his pro-migrant views, but retracted the confession shortly thereafter.”

Southeast Asia

BBC News: China Describes Hong Kong Protests As 'Near Terrorism'

“China has condemned violent clashes in the Hong Kong protests as “behaviour that is close to terrorism” - in a sign of its rhetoric hardening. After days of peaceful protests at Hong Kong International Airport, clashes with police broke out on Tuesday night. Video showed an officer drawing his gun on protesters who beat him with his own truncheon during the disturbance. It is the second time in a week that Chinese officials have publicly likened the protests to terrorist activity. Some observers believe that the repeated use of such language suggests that China is losing patience with the protesters, and could increase the likelihood of an intervention from Beijing. The US said it was “deeply concerned by reports of Chinese paramilitary movement along the Hong Kong border” and urged China to respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. However, most analysts consider that at this stage, a direct military intervention is still unlikely.  The former British colony has a special status, with its own legal system and judiciary, and rights and freedoms not seen in mainland China. However, many activists believe this is now under threat.  Millions of Hong Kong citizens have taken part in 10 weeks of anti-government protests, demanding democratic reform and an investigation into alleged police brutality.”

Technology

The Telegraph: Streamed Video Of Terrorist Killings At New Zealand Mosques Are Still Up On Facebook Five Months After The Atrocity

“Video livestreaming the terrorist killings of worshippers at the Christchurch mosque in New Zealand is still available on Facebook five months after the attack in which 51 adults and children died. The footage of white supremacist Brenton Tarrant entering the mosque with his automatic rifle firing indiscriminately at the victims only has a filter on it, which states: “This video may show violent or graphic content.” This suggests Facebook’s algorithms have identified it as violent content but its moderators have failed to spot it, allowing users simply to click on “Uncover the video” to view it.”