Eye on Extremism: July 22, 2021

BBC News: Neo-Nazi Andrew Dymock Jailed For Terror And Hate Crimes

“A neo-Nazi student who created two extremist groups and promoted a “distorted and wicked cause” has been jailed. Andrew Dymock, 24, from Bath, led the outlawed groups System Resistance Network (SRN) and Sonnenkrieg Division. A judge said Dymock was “driven by an extremist mindset” and had taken the path of “total hatred and bigotry”. He was convicted of 15 offences and jailed for seven years, with a further three years on extended licence. Dymock's trial in June heard he used the SRN website and a Twitter account to state that Jewish people should be exterminated and encourage lone actor terror attacks. He advocated for societal collapse and a race war, and called for gay people to be “purged” from society. Judge Mark Dennis QC, sitting at The Old Bailey, said he believed Dymock was dangerous and posed a “significant risk of serious harm” to the public. “It is clear you were a leader and not a follower,” he said. He added Dymock was an “intelligent, well-read” person but also “wholly misguided”. The court had heard Dymock wrote an online article stating a “racial holy war is inevitable” and that “every stabbing, bombing, shooting further plays into our hands”.  He was expelled from SRN in late February 2018 and arrested in June of that year at Gatwick Airport, as he tried to board a flight to the US.”

France 24: Norway Marks 10 Years Since Massacre By Neo-Nazi

“Norway on Thursday marks the 10th anniversary of the worst massacre in its modern history, as church bells toll for the 77 people murdered by neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik. The Scandinavian nation had been mostly spared from extremist violence until July 22, 2011, when Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo that killed eight people before going on a shooting spree at a summer camp for left-wing youths on the island of Utoya. “I was 16 years old and I couldn't decide which funerals to go to because there were so many,” said Astrid Eide Hoem, a survivor who has since become head of the Labour Party's youth league (AUF), which organised the camp. “I had never lost anyone close to me before, but also now, being in my mid-20s, I think about what would have become of them, the job they might have had, the children...” A morning memorial ceremony at the government headquarters, church masses and another ceremony on Utoya in the afternoon, will mark the anniversary. At noon (1000 GMT), church bells nationwide will ring. Shortly after the attacks, the then-Labour Party prime minister and current NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg promised to respond with “more democracy” and “more humanity.”

United States

CNN: Ad Hoc Extremist Groups Come Into Focus In Post-January 6 Criminal Charges

“When officers arrested Robert Morss of Pennsylvania on charges related to the January 6 Capitol riot, they found in his car a notebook with a page titled, “Step by Step to Create Hometown Militia.” Beneath it Morss allegedly scribbled bullet point reminders, fleshing out the idea of forming a violent cell -- “bring assault rifle” and “set up your kit” -- and notes on “formation.” In the Morss case and others, the Justice Department repeatedly has documented the emergence of what could be called small, right-wing extremist groups. This comes along with rising warnings from US intelligence about violence from right-wing extremists. Since January, prosecutors have alleged that several people who are charged with participating in the insurrection or with planning politically motivated violence also showed interest in organizing others, according to an extensive review of Capitol riot and other Justice Department cases by CNN. The cases are so distinct in the thoroughness of the initial allegations and the depth of the investigative work so far, that they have become in some ways their own class of cases among the Capitol riot investigation, which so far has resulted in more than 500 criminal defendants in federal court in Washington, DC.”

Military Times: Extremist Groups’ Recruitment Of Veterans Prompts A Closer Look From Lawmakers

“House lawmakers will hold a hearing next week on recruitment and involvement of veterans in extremist groups, calling it a threat to “the very core of our democracy and national security.” The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee event, set for the afternoon of July 29, will include testimony from veterans advocates and experts on violent, fringe groups. The move comes in part in response to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and reports that as many as one in 10 of the individuals charged with crimes related to that attack had military service. But Democratic leaders on the committee said the problem pre-dates that incident. Proposal would push VA leaders to address issue of extremism in the veterans community House appropriations want to require VA leaders to develop programs to stop online misinformation and radicalization among veterans. “Last fall — long before the insurrection on Jan. 6 — our committee started investigating the troubling trend of domestic violent extremist groups recruiting veterans into their ranks,” Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., chairman of the veterans committee said in a statement. “The harm from this particular issue transcends veterans, and taken to the extreme, can threaten the very core of our democracy and national security.”

WTOP: Enough Is Enough: WTOP’s GM Addresses Racist Letter Written To Staffer

“As I’m sure most people would assume, we get plenty of criticism at WTOP. Sometimes it’s constructive: We need to use better grammar; we need to add more details to our stories; or we made a mistake. Sometimes it’s about opinion: We are too left because we talk to liberals; or we are too right because we talk to conservatives. And that’s all OK. We’re not perfect. We strive to be accurate all the time. We aim to be unbiased. At WTOP, we are glad to get the feedback. It makes us better — negative, positive and in-between. Then there is the communication that really bothers me. The kind that is racist. The kind that gets my back up. Makes me angry. The kind that can’t go unaddressed. Take a look at this letter we received recently. This letter was sent to WTOP’s National Security Correspondent J.J. Green. J.J. has been doing an excellent job covering this critical area for well over a decade at WTOP. He is an award-winning journalist who is highly respected in the halls of the Pentagon, Langley and beyond. We are very fortunate to have him working with us. He makes us better and helps our area be more informed. But J.J. is much more than a great reporter to me. He is my friend. I’ve known him for over 30 years. We met playing basketball in the ’80s. We started working together at WTOP in the ’90s.”

Iraq

Arab News: UN Security Council Condemns ‘Cowardly Terrorist Attack’ In Baghdad

“The members of the UN Security Council condemned “in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist attack” on a busy market in Baghdad on Monday. The blast, the deadliest in the Iraqi capital over the past six months, took place in Al-Wuhailat market as families prepared for Eid Al-Adha. It left more than 30 people dead and dozens injured. According to multiple reports, Daesh claimed responsibility for the suicide attack as women and children were among the dead and wounded. Offering their “deepest sympathy and condolences” to the victims’ families and the Iraqi government, council members underscored the need to hold “perpetrators, organizers, financiers, and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism accountable and bring them to justice.” They urged all UN member states to cooperate with the Iraqi authorities during their investigation as it is in line with their obligations under international law and security council resolutions. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the 15-member body reiterated that any acts of terrorismare “criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”

Afghanistan

The New York Times: U.S. Military Official Says A ‘Complete Taliban Takeover’ Is Possible In Afghanistan.

“The nation’s top military officer offered a glum assessment on Wednesday of the security situation in Afghanistan, saying the Taliban had seized “strategic momentum” over Afghan military forces who were falling back to prioritize the protection of important cities, including Kabul, the capital. The comments by Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, echoed mounting reports from the ground in Afghanistan. But his sober, almost clinical, account of recent Taliban gains hammered home the point. “There’s a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover, or the possibility of any number of other scenarios,” General Milley said. “I don’t think the end game is yet written.” The Taliban have taken control of more than 210 of Afghanistan’s roughly 420 districts in recent months, General Milley told reporters at a Pentagon news conference. They are also pressuring half of the country’s 34 provincial centers and are aiming to isolate Kabul and other major cities, he said. “Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban,” he said. “There clearly is a narrative out there that the Taliban are winning. In fact, they are propagating an inevitable victory on their behalf.”

Foreign Policy: China And The Taliban Begin Their Romance

“U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement that U.S. troops will be gone from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 will remove the most formidable obstacle to total Taliban takeover of the country. The Taliban claim they already control as much as 85 percent of Afghan territory. In the absolute best-case scenario, the Afghan government and the Taliban might share power, but that seems increasingly like wishful thinking. For 20 years, the United States’ presence in Afghanistan, though not always appreciated, has nevertheless served as a predictable and stabilizing force. Now, the prospect of renewed Taliban rule has sparked major anxiety among the region’s powers. For example, earlier this month, Indian Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar visited Moscow and Tehran while Taliban representatives were in each city, raising questions about whether back-channel negotiations are ongoing. Moscow is preparing to leverage the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organization to address potential trouble at the Afghan-Tajik border, which is being taken over by the Taliban on the Afghan side.”

The Times Of Israel: Iranian Terror Group Hashd Al-Shi’I In Afghanistan

“Following withdrawal of American and international troops, Afghanistan is gradually advancing towards emerging as the capital of global terrorism, where thousands of jihadists will be breed. Eventually Afghanistan will export terrorism in much enhanced volume to several countries in the world, including the United States, Britain, European nations, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, other nations in the Middle East as well as Asian nations including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. Taking advantage of US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iranian regime has already set up a Shiite militia group named “Hashd Al-Shi’i” (Shiite Mobilization). According to Iranian newspaper Jomhouri Islami, the new group does not use Farsi, Dari or Pashtun name, but curiously borrowed from the Arabic name of Iraq’s umbrella outfit, Al-Hashd Al-Sha’abi, for a number of militias. It is also curious that it explicitly used the word for the Shiite sect in the name of the group; something that Tehran has carefully avoided in the past. It may be mentioned here that, Jomhouri Islami is a conservative mouthpiece, founded by Ali Khamenei in 1979. But Afghan officials were very quick to denounce the existence of Hashd Al-Shi’I in the country.”

Somalia

Voice Of America: Al-Shabab Threatens To Disrupt Upcoming Somali Elections

“Somali terrorist group al-Shabab has threatened to attack electoral delegates who will be choosing lawmakers in parliamentary elections beginning next week. The Islamist militant group has threatened to disrupt the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the Horn of Africa country. The leader of the group, Ahmed Abu Ubaidah, said Tuesday they are opposed to the poll process and threatened the electoral delegates. He said the delegates should not be deceived by the empty promises such as financial benefit and secret ballot, and should think of the destiny of previous delegates who took part in 2017 elections, some whom were killed and others still live in fear. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for attacks that killed dozens of delegates during the last election process in 2017. Ubaidah urged delegates to reconsider their decision to participate in this year’s election, adding that those who defy al-Shabab will not be safe. The polls begin this Sunday with Somalia’s influential clans electing 54 members of the upper house of parliament. Abdisalam Gulaid, the former deputy director of Somali Intelligence Agency NISA, said this latest threat is aimed to create climate of fear among those involved in the polls.”

International Business Times: US Carries Out First Airstrike In Somalia Against Terror Group Al-Shabaab Since Biden Took Office

“The US has carried out an airstrike against forces of the radical group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. This is first airstrike of the US since President Joe Biden took charge in January. Al-Shabaab fighters in the vicinity of Galkayo, Somalia, 430 miles northeast of Mogadishu were targeted, said reports. According to Pentagon spokeswoman Cindi King, the battle-damage assessment was still pending as Somali forces continue to engage in a fight against al-Shabaab. However, it is said that no civilians were killed as a result of the airstrike. The airstrike mainly targeted Al-Shabaab fighters in the city of Galkayo, which is in the central part of the country on Africa's east coast. A statement from Pentagon also added that Al-Shabaab fighters were linked to Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden. Al-Shabaab has repeatedly tried to overthrow Somalia's government in order to obtain political control. It aims at Taking control of Somalia and ruling it based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law. Last time US carried out an airstrike was on January 19, when US Africa Command (AFRICOM) had declared that three Al-Shabaab extremists had been killed in two strikes conducted in Jamaame and Deb Scinnele under the command of then president Donald Trump.”

Africa

Vice: Inside France’s War On Terror In West Africa

“14-year old Aminata Barry was sleeping next to her mother when gunmen stormed their village in Ogossagou and began shooting. As they tried to escape, the militiamen fired at both of them. Aminata survived the gunshot to her leg. But her mother didn’t.  “It was terrifying,” Aminata said, “what should we feel, they came in and attacked us.” After, she fled and now lives with her older brother and his wife and kids in a UN-run camp for internally displaced people in central Mali, about 400 miles northeast of the capital, Bamako.  Officials say at least 134 herders – all from the Fulani ethnic group, one of the largest in West Africa – were killed that day on the 23rd of March, 2019. It was one of the deadliest attacks in recent years, but still just one of many incidents across the Sahel, a million-square-mile belt of desert stretching through sub-Saharan Africa. When asked who raided her village, Aminata said, “tribal people,” referring to the Da Na Ambassagou militia, all members of the Dogon ethnic group, “we don't know how they got into the village and why they would do this.” This armed self-defence group was formed in 2016 in response to an increased threat posed by Islamist militants coming from the north.”

The Telegraph: The Fight For Cabo Delgado: A Hidden War Over Mozambique’s Natural Resources

“…According to a report by British diplomat Sir Ivor Roberts for the Counter Extremism Project, al-Shabbab draws “its followers from communities with a long history of exploiting Mozambique’s traditional smuggling routes. The group benefits from a diverse illicit trade portfolio, which includes the export of timber, gemstones and wildlife products and the largescale import of narcotics, especially heroin.” The heroin trade is the most notorious of the illicit networks operating in Mozambique. Heroin is estimated to be Mozambique’s largest or second largest export, with between 10-40 tonnes or more moving through Mozambique, which lies on an international drugs corridor, annually at an export value of around $20 million per tonne. Opinions differ on if and how much the insurgents might be profiting from this illegal trade. While some experts have yet to see a connection, others are confident that the insurgents are using it to finance their activities. In the end, however, it’s displaced people like Luisa Victor and her children who are suffering the most. Ms Victor escaped from her kidnappers after she was sent to fetch water. She spent several days trekking through the forest with her baby until she reached a village where she received help.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

Fact:

On July 23, 2016, two suicide bombers targeted members of Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic minority who were demonstrating in Kabul. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed at least 97 people and injured 260 others. 

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