Eye on Extremism: June 2, 2021

Al Jazeera: Several Killed As Blasts Rock Afghanistan Capital Kabul

“Three bombs rattled the Afghan capital Kabul killing at least 10 people and plunging the city into darkness, an Afghan government spokesman has said. Two bombs exploded in quick succession in separate locations of a west Kabul neighborhood late on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people and wounding a dozen others, said deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Said Hamid Rushan. A third bomb heavily damaged an electric grid station in north Kabul, said Sangar Niazai, a spokesman for the government power supply department. The initial two bombings, both targeting minivans, happened in a mostly ethnic Hazara area of the capital, said Rushan. The first exploded near the home of a prominent Hazara leader, Mohammad Mohaqiq, and in front of a Shia mosque. Most Hazaras are Shia Muslims. The second bomb also targeted a minivan but Rushan said details were still being collected. Police cordoned off the two areas and investigators were sifting through the rubble. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings. The ISIL (ISIS) affiliate operating in Afghanistan has previously declared war on minority Shia Muslims, who make up roughly 20 percent of the majority Sunni Muslim nation of 36 million people.”

Gulf News: Iraq: Most Wanted Female Daesh Terrorist Arrested In Mosul

“Iraq said Tuesday the most wanted female terrorist, who supported Daesh sleeper cells across the country, was arrested in Mosul, Russia Today quoted military intelligence as saying. Accurate intelligence information of the Military Intelligence Directorate at the Ministry of Defence confirmed the presence of a prominent female terrorist in the Al Qadisiyah neighbourhood, who held an administrative position in the so-called Diwan Al Hisbah before liberation, and is currently one of the most prominent activists in supporting sleeper cells by delivering funds to them, Iraq security sources said in a statement. The information led to the arrest of the woman, in accordance with anti-terrorism laws, the statement said.”

United States

Associated Press: Feds: Seattle Man Arrested Trying To Join ISIS Terror Group

“A 20-year-old Seattle man is facing a terrorism-related charge after being arrested while trying to board a flight to join the Islamic State group, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday. Elvin Hunter Bgorn Williams was arrested Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as he checked in for a flight to Cairo, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Seattle. The complaint said members of a Seattle-area mosque who had been trying to de-radicalize Williams were the ones who tipped off the FBI that he continued to espouse violence and extremism. Williams made an initial video appearance in court Tuesday on a charge of providing material support to a terrorist organization. Corey Endo, an assistant federal public defender, was appointed to represent him, and he was ordered detained pending further proceedings. Endo declined to comment after the hearing. The complaint described Williams as “self-radicalized” and said he first came to the FBI’s attention when he was 16. That's when administrators at his high school reported that he was telling others he wanted to join ISIS and that the fatal terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in England was justified by the way the singer dressed.”

Reuters: Biden Warns Of Echoes Of Tulsa Massacre In The United States Today

“Joe Biden on Tuesday became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where hundreds of Black Americans were massacred by a white mob in 1921, and he said the legacy of racist violence and white supremacy still resonates. Biden came to Tulsa to put a spotlight on an event that epitomizes the country's history of brutal racial violence, despite the massacre being largely under the radar in U.S. classrooms and history books for years. “We should know the good, the bad, everything,” Biden said in a speech to the few survivors of the attack on Tulsa's Greenwood district and their descendants. “That's what great nations do. They come to terms with their dark sides. And we’re a great nation.” Biden said the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and efforts by a number of states to restrict voting were echoes of the same problem. “What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism, with a through-line that exists today,” Biden said. White residents in Tulsa shot and killed up to 300 Black people on May 31 and June 1, 1921, and burned and looted homes and businesses, devastating a prosperous African-American community after a white woman accused a Black man of assault, an allegation that was never proven.”

Military.com: Climate Change, Extremism Among Military Threats Targeted In DoD Budget Request

“The Biden administration is addressing extremism in the ranks, as well as climate change, in its first proposed Defense Department budget. The budget would set aside $30.8 million to help the Pentagon improve tools to identify and address extremism among troops, and enhance training at all levels. It also includes $9.1 million to take initial steps to fight extremism and insider threats, building on findings from the military's report on the 2019 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, by a Saudi pilot; it was determined he had self-radicalized. The budget also declares climate change a “national security priority.” The military must adapt to the ways the natural environment is changing, the Pentagon said, and take action to reduce how the military contributes to negative effects on the climate. The prominence the two issues play in the Pentagon's budget represent a marked change from the Trump administration, which sought to downplay climate change and the threat of domestic extremists. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made rooting out extremism among service members a priority soon after taking over the Pentagon in January.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Walmart Mass Shooting By Man With ‘Extremist Ideologies’ Is Thwarted, Texas Cops Say

“A week long investigation led to the arrest Friday of a man who had plans for a mass shooting at a Walmart, Texas officials say. Coleman Blevins, a 28-year-old man from Kerrville, was charged with making a terroristic threat. The Kerr County Sheriff’s Office says federal charges are possible against Blevins, who is believed to hold “extremist ideologies.” The sheriff’s office teamed up with the Texas Department of Public Safety and FBI in its investigation. Authorities intercepted a message in which Blevins indicated he was preparing for a mass shooting, according to the sheriff’s office. He made a specific threat toward Walmart in the message, but it’s unclear which Walmart location he was referring to, the sheriff said. Authorities quickly moved to arrest Blevins when they found out he was capable of committing the attack. Investigators found guns and ammunition at Blevins’ home, as well as radical ideology paraphernalia that included books, flags and handwritten documents, the sheriff said. One of the books shown in a picture released by the sheriff’s office was “The Turner Diaries,” which was published in 1978 by the leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. Blevins was believed to be acting alone and Kerr County Sheriff Larry Leitha said he “wanted to die for the cause by taking out some people at a Walmart,” KENS reported.”

Syria

PBS: The Designated Terrorist And The Fight Over The Future Of Syria’s Last Opposition Stronghold

“Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, a former leader of an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, is one of the most wanted men in the world. The United States designated him a terrorist in 2013, with a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. He’s also the leader of the dominant force in Syria’s Idlib province, which after more than 10 years of conflict is the last remaining opposition stronghold to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. With his Islamist group, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, Jolani helped establish a civic authority that governs more than 3 million civilians in Idlib, many of them displaced from other areas of Syria. He claims there’s common ground between the U.S. and his group, which has been fighting Assad, Assad’s Russian and Iranian allies, ISIS and Jolani’s own former allies in Al Qaeda. He says he is seeking a new relationship with the West. In a new documentary, The Jihadist, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels to Idlib to investigate whether Jolani can be trusted, becoming the first Western journalist to interview him. Smith also tracked down and interviewed Jolani’s critics and victims. Jolani’s group and its earlier incarnations stand accused of human rights violations, including indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas, torture and arbitrary arrests of civilians.”

Iraq

Asharq Al-Awsat: ISIS Families Enter Iraq Among Transferees From Hol Camp

“A number of ISIS families entered back into Iraq among others transferred from al-Hol camp, in Syria’s al-Hasakah region, to al-Jada camp in Nineveh, following an agreement between Iraq and the United Nations Mission to Iraq. A security source in Nineveh reported that a convoy of 10 buses entered al-Jada camp, south of Mosul, where they were assigned to their respective tents. The source noted that a joint security committee from all state security agencies, including national security, intelligence, and military intelligence, has a complete database and list of names of each batch being transferred to determine which individuals belong to ISIS. A number of Nineveh lawmakers have expressed alarm over the consequences of transferring these large numbers of families to Iraq. Security agencies also fear the possibility that ISIS may resume its work by exploiting these families, especially children, to establish a third generation of terrorists. However, Nineveh Governor Najm al-Jubouri confirmed in a press conference that the batch that was transferred does not include ISIS relatives, but rather the families who migrated to Syrian territory because of the war and ended up in al-Hol. Security expert Fadel Abu Ragheef told Asharq Al-Awsat that the transfer has already taken place, stressing that the most important issue is that Iraq cannot alone manage al-Hol camp, not even part of it.”

The National: What Is Iraq Doing About Uncontrollable Iran-Backed Militias?

“Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has made several bold actions to curtail militias since assuming office last May – raiding paramilitary groups' headquarters in Baghdad and arresting a prominent armed leader and dozens of fighters. Mr Al Kadhimi vowed to rein in militias, known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), that operate outside of the state control. But, his ability to operate against the powerful groups is limited. The PMF is the group of state-sanctioned militias formed to help Iraq’s army defeat ISIS in 2014. Among the most powerful members of the group are Iran-backed Shiite militias that are known to carry out directives from Tehran. Since the assassination of top Iranian general Qasem Suleimani in January 2020, attacks on American interests in Iraq have increased considerably. They include the targeting of Iraqi military bases hosting foreign troops, the US Embassy in Baghdad and US oil companies. Iraq, US and British military personnel have been killed and injured during the attacks. Washington has blamed Iran-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah for orchestrating attacks against its embassy and American troops inside Iraqi bases and criticised the Iraqi government for not identifying and arresting the culprits.”

Afghanistan

Voice Of America: Afghan Peace Talks Set To Resume, Sources Tell VOA

“Representatives of warring parties in Afghanistan are set to return to the negotiating table in Qatar this week to discuss, among other pressing issues, a de-escalation in Afghan violence as international forces continue to withdraw from the conflict-torn country. Highly-placed official sources in neighboring Pakistan told VOA the Islamabad “brokered” peace meeting between the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators will begin Thursday in the Qatari capital, Doha. Afghan officials have confirmed members of their negotiating team left Tuesday for Doha but they did not discuss when they will meet Taliban interlocutors. Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem, who is based in the Qatari capital, told VOA that “no exact date has been set for the meeting yet” and maintained that the insurgent group “has always been ready to join the process whenever it begins.” The much-needed breakthrough in the stalled Afghan peace process comes amid reports the United States along with NATO allies intend to withdraw all their troops from Afghanistan by July 4, well ahead of the September 11 deadline announced by U.S. President Joe Biden. The drawdown of the remaining estimated 2,500 U.S. troops and roughly 7,000 NATO partners began on May 1.”

Lebanon

Arab News: Pentagon Official Warns Of Hezbollah Threat To Lebanon’s Stability Amid Financial Crisis

“US military officials warned on Tuesday of the threat posed by Hezbollah to Lebanon’s stability amid the economic crisis wracking the country. The concerns were raised in a discussion on Washington’s defense cooperation with Lebanon. The US has provided support for more than 15 years to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), but the increasing influence of the terrorist-designated Hezbollah in Lebanese politics has strained the partnership. “Hezbollah’s terrorist and illicit activities threaten Lebanon’s security, stability, and sovereignty,” Dana Stroul, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, told a conference hosted by the Middle East Institute. “It (Hezbollah) is more concerned with its own interests than what is best for the Lebanese people.” The financial and political crisis in Lebanon has seen the value of the local currency plunge, wiping out people’s savings and salaries. The panel heard how the crash has placed increasing pressure on members of the LAF, who are now struggling to make ends meet. “The administration remains keenly interested in Lebanon’s stability, and as a result we are committed to working with the LAF to find ways to bolster them in this time of crisis,” Stroul added.”

Nigeria

All Africa: Nigeria: Seven Soldiers Killed, Five Injured As Terrorists Ambush Nigerian Troops

“The incident occurred on Monday while the soldiers were returning from Marti, a town in Borno State to Maiduguri, the state capital. At least seven soldiers of the Nigerian Army have been killed by an improvised explosive device planted by Boko Haram terrorists, in Borno state, Nort-east Nigeria, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report. The latest attack came less than a week after the appointment of a new Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya. Mr Yahaya, a major general, was appointed last Thursday following the death of the former army chief, Ibrahim Attahiru, in a plane crash recently. According to sources familiar with the situation, a senior military officer and four other soldiers were severely injured by the explosive. The incident , which occurred at about 10:15am on Monday , is one amongst the many traps the terrorists have used against the military, security sources said. The officer, a colonel, whose name was not given, was said to have been on his way from Marti, a town in Borno State to the state capital, Maiduguri, together with his 11 soldiers in a gun truck. The wounded personnel were later moved to a military hospital in Maiduguri. Troops of the Nigerian Armed forces have suffered many attacks from the Boko Haram terrorists.”

Africa

Arab News: Daesh Extremists Arrested In Morocco For Planning Attacks Against Military Targets

“Two Daesh militants were caught in Morocco after planning to carry out attacks on various military facilities, the country’s counter-extremism office said. The militants were operating in two villages: Tamdafelt and Beni Khalled. Security forces seized electronic devices, uniforms, and weapons from the suspects’ homes, Al-Arabiya TV reported. The two suspects declared their support for the current leader of Daesh, Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi. Daesh has been seeking to find a foothold in Morocco to carry out attacks, according to what was confirmed by a senior security official in the country. The extremist threats facing Morocco are mainly the return of fighters from Syria, Iraq and Libya, Habboub Cherkaoui, head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation told Al-Arabiya TV.”

United Kingdom

The Independent: At Least 16 Members Of UK Armed Forces Investigated Over Extremism Concerns

“More than a dozen members of the armed forces have been referred to the UK’s counter-terrorism programme, according to new figures. Ministry of Defence (MoD) data shows that in 2019, a total of 14 investigations into serving military personnel were conducted, with 11 of those sparked by far-right concerns. There were fewer than 10 investigations the following year and “less than five” so far in 2021, according to information revealed under a Freedom of Information request. The MoD failed to give a precise breakdown, meaning the number could be even higher. Referrals to Prevent are made when there are concerns that an individual is at risk of becoming involved in terrorist activity. Nick Lowles, Hope Not Hate’s chief executive, told The Guardian, which obtained the data, that “referrals of so many serving military personnel to Prevent, and the general rise in violent far-right extremism in society as a whole, should act as a reminder of the ever-present threat of [far-right] extremism and the need for the MoD to increase its internal education and enforcement of its publicly stated rules.”

BBC News: Andrew Dymock: 'Malicious Users' Created Terror Group Text Chat

“An alleged neo-Nazi has told a court that a text conversation found on his phone was planted by “malicious users”. Andrew Dymock, 24, from Bath, is on trial at the Old Bailey charged with 15 terrorism and public order offences. Giving evidence, he denied being a neo-Nazi or having any involvement in the group System Resistance Network (SRN). Mr Dymock, who denies all the charges, alleged that an ex-girlfriend was in fact responsible for the text conversation. He is accused of using the SRN site to upload racist and homophobic propaganda, but told an Old Bailey jury that “I've never run any website”. He said that payments in his name to a web hosting company - which prosecutors allege were for the site - were for a “video creation thing” and “fruity loops”, which he said was a music application. “I've never had anything to do with any SRN activity”, he told jurors. He also denied creating an SRN Twitter account with his mobile number. Asked by his barrister about an August 2017 text conversation relating to the banned terror group National Action, Mr Dymock said “I think it has been created by malicious users”. He named an ex-girlfriend, whom he met in 2018, and said it was certainly connected to her.”

France

RFI: Right-Wing Concern As French Parliament Debates Anti-Terror Laws

“France's National Assembly has begun examining hundreds of proposed changes to anti-terrorism laws, notably on gathering information on suspects, the treatment of inmates completing prison terms and those suspected of having been radicalised in jail. Various right-wing voices have called for even tougher reforms. Last year, an attempt by the government to strengthen anti-terrorism legislation was dismissed by the French Constitutional Court, the body which ensures that French law respects basic republican principles. The bill to be debated this week is an effort to boost laws passed in 2015 and 2017, notably by introducing means to control those convicted of terrorism offences after they have served the sentences handed down by judges. The Constitutional Court rejected last year's provisions on the basis that a prisoner who serves the full term required by law cannot be subject to any special treatment or restriction on his release. In order to counter the potential threat posed by those who complete prison terms for terrorist offences, and by those who may have been radicalised while behind bars, the bill to be debated this week includes two provisions to prevent the direct release of such prisoners.”

Technology

The New York Times: Ransomware Disrupts Meat Plants In Latest Attack On Critical U.S. Business

“A cyberattack on the world’s largest meat processor forced the shutdown of nine beef plants in the United States on Tuesday, according to union officials, and disrupted production at poultry and pork plants. The attack could upset the nation’s meat markets and raises new questions about the vulnerability of critical American businesses. The company, JBS, said the majority of its plants would reopen on Wednesday. But even one day’s disruption at JBS could “significantly impact” wholesale beef prices, according to analysts at Daily Livestock Report. The breach at JBS was a ransomware attack, the White House said — the second recent such attack to freeze up a critical U.S. business operation. Last month, a ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, which transports gas to nearly half the East Coast, triggered gas and jet-fuel shortages and panic buying. JBS, which is based in Brazil and accounts for one-fifth of the daily U.S. cattle harvest, said in a statement late Tuesday that it had made “significant progress resolving the cyberattack.” “Our systems are coming back online, and we are not sparing any resources to fight this threat,” Andre Nogueira, the chief executive of JBS USA, said in the statement.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

The Hispanic population is willing to return to their home countries if given the right incentive. An incentive that myself and many other patriotic Americans will provide… [terrorist attacks will] remove the threat of the Hispanic voting bloc.

Patrick Crusius, El Paso Shooter Aug. 2019
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