Eye on Extremism: Mar 19, 2020

The Guardian: Amazon Bans Sale Of Most Editions Of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf

“Amazon has banned the sale of most editions of Hitler’s Mein Kampf and other Nazi propaganda books from its store following decades of campaigning by Holocaust charities. Booksellers were informed in recent days that they would no longer be allowed to sell a number of Nazi-authored books on the website including Hitler’s autobiographical screed and children’s books designed to spread antisemitic ideas among children. In one email seen by the Guardian individuals selling secondhand copies of Mein Kampf on the service have been told by Amazon that “they can no longer offer this book” as it breaks the website’s code of conduct. The ban impacts the main editions of Mein Kampf produced by mainstream publishers such as London-based Random House and India’s Jaico, for whom it has become an unlikely bestseller. Leading Holocaust education charities and Jewish groups have campaigned since the late 1990s to stop Amazon from selling copies of Mein Kampf but the retailer had traditionally defended the right of free speech and the need for students to understand Hitler’s thinking when it comes to selling a book which is legal to publish. Most Nazi publications are easily available to download for free from other websites.”

The Australian: New Leader Of ISIS Led Genocide Against Yazidis

“Last week, Islamic State released a video claiming responsibility for attacks in Kirkuk province that have killed dozens of Iraqi soldiers, police and civilians. Mawli was named a specially designated global terrorist, putting him on a list created after the September 11, 2001, attacks that makes any support to him a crime in the US. “We’ve destroyed the caliphate and we remain committed to ISIS’s enduring defeat no matter who they designate as their leader,” Mr Pompeo said. Mawli, who was born into an Iraqi Turkmen family in the town of Tal Afar, is thought to be one of the few non-Arabs among the Islamic State leadership, and goes by the pseudonym “Haji Abdullah”, accord­ing to monitoring groups. Having served in the Iraqi military, he joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam in 2003, the multi-national Counter Extremism Project said. A year later, he was captured by US forces and jailed at Camp Bucca, near the Iraq-Kuwait border, where he met and formed a bond with Baghdadi and other al-Qa’ida militants who would go on to found ­Islamic State. His whereabouts are unknown but it has been suggested he followed Baghdadi to Idlib, northern Syria, the last rebel-held province in that country, where the terrorist leader died.”

The New York Times: Suspected Jemaah Islamiyah Leader On Trial In Indonesia

“The suspected leader of Indonesia's al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network went on trial Wednesday on charges of terrorism that could result in a death sentence. Prosecutors told the East Jakarta District Court that Para Wijayanto became leader of the banned organization in 2009. The group was blamed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. Wijayanto and his wife were arrested last July by counterterrorism police at a hotel in the Jakarta satellite city of Bekasi, following the arrest of nine people believed to be members of his group who had returned from fighting in Iraq and Syria. The nine other suspects were tried separately in the same court on Wednesday. “The defendant and his friends have been involved in an evil conspiracy to commit terrorist crimes,” prosecutor Ade Solehudin said. “They made preparations, plans and provided assistance for terrorist attacks.” Solehudin said Wijayanto, a civil engineer who received military training at a jihadi camp in the southern Philippines in 2000, also was involved in sectarian conflict in Poso, a hotbed of Islamic militancy on Indonesia's Sulawesi island.”

United States

The Washington Post: Trump Nominates Special Forces Veteran To Head Counterterrorism Center Amid Uncertainty About Its Future

“President Trump has nominated Christopher Miller, a senior Pentagon official in charge of Special Operations and combating terrorism, to head the National Counterterrorism Center — the agency set up after 9/11 to safeguard the nation from attack. Miller, formerly the top counterterrorism official at the National Security Council, is seen as an experienced hand and career professional who can lead the agency at a time when its mission and effectiveness are under review. But the move is also being seen with trepidation by some insiders who wonder if it is part of a Trump administration effort to purge the intelligence community of career professionals. The acting NCTC director, Russell Travers, a respected career intelligence officer with decades of experience, has held the line against cuts at his agency. And though he has long been expecting to retire, he did not learn of the nomination until Wednesday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter. At the National Security Council, Miller, an Army Special Forces veteran with more than 30 years of government service, focused on pressuring the Islamic State, hostage recovery and hunting down the remnants of al-Qaeda’s leadership.”

NBC News: El Paso Attack Marked Year Of Rise In White Nationalism, Watchdog Reports

“The mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, last August that left 22 dead was “the worst carnage wrought by domestic extremists” last year, according to a report released Wednesday that found an increase in the number of white nationalist groups in the United States for the second straight year. The report by Southern Poverty Law Center reported, which tracks white nationalism, white supremacy and hate groups, identified 155 white nationalist groups in the U.S. last year, up from 148 in 2018 and a 55 percent increase since 2017. Authorities say the gunman in the Aug. 3 attack in El Paso told police that his target was “Mexicans” and that he posted a manifesto before the attack that included anti-Latino and anti-immigrant rhetoric. The SPLC has reported that the gunman's screed contained white nationalist talking points “on “ethnic displacement” and “race mixing” and refers to immigrants to the United States as “invaders.” According to the report, “the most powerful force animating today’s radical right—and stoking the violent backlash—is a deep fear of demographic change,” and the idea that “white genocide” is under way. The SPLC said there is a growing threat from a sector of white supremacists who call themselves “accelerationists” who believe violence is the tool that can counter increasingly pluralistic, democratic governments.”

U.S. News & World Report: Report: Surge In White Nationalism Ramps Up Violence Threat

“A recent surge in white nationalism in the U.S. has led to a growing threat of violence by factions that embrace bloodshed and advocate for a race war, according to a report released Wednesday by an organization that tracks far-right extremists. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual report on extremist groups said its count of white nationalist groups has risen 55% over the past three years, from 100 in 2017 to 148 in 2018 to 155 in 2019. Many of these white nationalists are embracing “accelerationism,” a fringe philosophy that promotes mass violence to fuel society’s collapse, the law center said. “In their view, political activity is pointless, and escalating violence, on a broad scale, is the only way to bring down the pluralistic, democratic society they want to destroy,” its report says. The Montgomery, Alabama-based law center described another faction of U.S. white nationalism as “mainstreamers,” who often call themselves members of the “dissident right” and are trying to appeal to a wider audience. “Much of the movement’s energy lies in the growing accelerationist wing, which, for the most part, is organized in informal online communities rather than formal groups,” the report says.”

The Daily Beast: A White Nationalist Has Rebranded Himself As Coronavirus Expert. And People Are Flocking To Him.

“At first glance, Maine resident Tom Kawcyznski seems like just another person talking about the coronavirus pandemic. His daily “Coronavirus Central” podcast has consistently been in the top 20 podcasts on the Apple charts for “Health & Fitness,” and at one point earlier this month it hit the fifth spot in the category. But anxious listeners flocking to Kawcyznski’s podcast for more information about the disease’s spread may not be aware of his background. Before he rebranded himself as a coronavirus expert, Kawcyznski was a notorious white nationalist advocating for a nearly all-white monarchy in New England—with himself as its king. Kawcyznski’s surprising reinvention and his success on podcast apps demonstrate the degrees to which concerned Americans are turning to anyone on the internet for coronavirus information, without much consideration of the source. As rumors about coronavirus and the government’s response circulate via text message and hoax cures proliferate online, extremist figures like Kawcyznski have seen an opening of their own. “I think the coronavirus is creating a brand new world,” Kawcyznski told The Daily Beast, when asked about his new role as a would-be coronavirus expert.”

Afghanistan

Al Jazeera: Taliban Promises Safe Passage For Coronavirus Health Workers

“The Taliban in Afghanistan has promised safe passage to international healthcare organisations and humanitarian workers who are fighting against the coronavirus. In a statement on Wednesday, the group urged health agencies to provide medicine, send aid and the necessary equipment to areas under their control. “Our brotherly businessmen, in line with their Islamic and humanitarian responsibility, must also support their fellow people in this time of crisis,” the statement said. The Taliban claims the virus is a God-sent scourge in response to “disobedience” and “sins of mankind”. Afghanistan has 22 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Health concerns are mounting in the country; every day thousands of Afghans cross the border with Iran, the regional epicentre of the crisis. In 2019, the Taliban banned the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), alleging the two organisations were conducting “suspicious” activities. The group later revoked its bans. On Tuesday, European Union special envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia called for a full ceasefire in view of the growing coronavirus threat.”

Newsweek: U.S. Calls For Afghanistan's 'Urgent' Release Of Taliban Prisoners Due To Coronavirus

“The United States is urging Afghanistan to release Taliban prisoners as committed under prospective peace talks, warning that the detainees were at risk due to the spread of the new coronavirus. U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said in a series of tweets Wednesday that Washington “would like to see prisoner releases begin as soon as possible in line with the U.S.-Taliban agreement.” The historic deal was reached late last month as a planned precursor to direct negotiations between the government and Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan but as Khalilzad said, “No prisoners have been released to date despite the commitment to do so expressed by both sides.”“Coronavirus makes prisoner releases urgent; time is of the essence. We are committed to do our part and after consultation with all relevant sides,” Khalilzad wrote, before listing three points the U.S. “understands” moving forward. These points included meetings between technical teams, face-to-face conversations due to coronavirus, avoiding “provocative media statements” and that the “Taliban commit that released prisoners will abide by the commitments made in the peace agreement and not return to the battlefield.”

Pakistan

The New York Times: The Terrorist Who Got Away

“With it’s snow-capped mountains and its emerald valleys, teeming with apple orchards and fields of saffron, India’s northernmost province of Jammu and Kashmir can sometimes resemble an enchanted kingdom. But for decades, this patch of ground has instead felt cursed, as the center of a bloody and seemingly never-ending conflict between India and Pakistan. Although 70 years have passed since the area became a part of India, it remains a flash point between the two nations. This August, India moved to cement Jammu and Kashmir’s place in the Indian union by revoking the autonomy it was granted at the time of its accession. While the change was largely welcomed in Jammu, which is predominantly Hindu, it sparked anger in the overwhelmingly Muslim Kashmir valley, where a separatist movement has simmered since the late 1980s. To pre-empt large-scale protests and anticipated violence, the Indian government enforced a security clampdown across the valley, shutting down mobile-phone and Internet services and placing dozens of political leaders and activists under house arrest. Seven months on, Kashmir remains tense. Only in the last month have restrictions on internet use been lifted and mobile internet speeds restored to full capacity.”

The Wall Street Journal: Pakistani Court Hears Appeal Of Man Convicted Of Killing Wall Street Journal Reporter

“A Pakistani court is weighing the appeal of a British national convicted and sentenced to death nearly 18 years ago in the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, lawyers involved in the proceedings said. The tribunal in Karachi heard arguments earlier this month in the case of Omar Saeed Sheikh, who received death sentences in 2002 for convictions on three separate crimes—kidnapping for ransom, murder and terrorism. It could issue a ruling in the next few weeks, the lawyers said. Any decision could then be appealed to Pakistan’s Supreme Court. Mr. Pearl, the Journal’s South Asia bureau chief, was killed while reporting on Islamic extremist circles in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S. and the subsequent U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network. He was abducted on Jan. 23, 2002, and beheaded days later. Mr. Sheikh, who had communicated with Mr. Pearl for a couple of weeks before his abduction, was arrested and found guilty by a Pakistani antiterrorism court. Three alleged accomplices were given life sentences. Their appeals were also heard earlier this month.”

Yemen

Asharq Al-Awsat: Houthi Court Orders Execution Of 17 Govt. Military Leaders, Including Yemen VP

“A Houthi-run court in Sanaa issued 17 execution orders against legitimate government military leaders among which was General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the vice president of Yemen, and Defense Minister Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi. The court rulings follow a host of other orders in which the Iran-backed militias indicted 35 Yemeni lawmakers and called for their execution and the confiscation of all their assets. In other news, the Houthis kidnapped seven school principals in Sanaa and took them to an unknown destination. Educational sources in Sanaa confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that Houthi militants, led by Nabil Al-Kamim and Muhammad Shujaa, arrested on Monday Professor Sabah Al-Qara’i, the principal of the Al-Shaheed Al-Samawi School, and Professor Amal Al-Qayadi, the principal of the Mayo School, in addition to five other school directors. The government deplored the abduction and said that the act is part of a chain of a terror intimidation against the women in Yemen. Speaker of the Arab Parliament Dr. Mishaal bin Fahm Al-Salami, labeling it an inhumane crime, also condemned the kidnap and held Houthis responsible for the safety of the principals.”

Nigeria

Council On Foreign Relations: Nigeria Considers National DRR Agency Amid Boko Haram Setbacks

“On February 19, 2020, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, the former governor of Yobe State, introduced legislation to create the National Agency for Deradicalization, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration of Repentant Insurgents. Gaidam represents Yobe state, which borders Borno and has been affected by the insurgency. The bill’s purpose is to encourage and rehabilitate Boko Haram defectors and prevent violent extremism in Nigeria. Given the recent requests for additional military force to combat Boko Haram by Nigerian lawmakers, Senator Gaidam’s legislation is an important step toward incorporating deradicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration (DRR) programs into the overall strategy designed to defeat Boko Haram. Currently, Nigeria has three deradicalization programs that support Boko Haram defectors. The Prison Program works with militants convicted of violent extremist offenses or those on or awaiting trial. During the program, Imams teach classes on non-violent interpretations of Islam, and other program staff provide vocational training so that, when inmates fulfill their prison terms, they can reenter society with less risk of reverting to terrorism. Second, the Yellow Ribbon Initiative supports women and children associated with Boko Haram by providing psychosocial therapy and reintegration programs.”

United Kingdom

The Guardian: Where Is The Father Of The Manchester Arena Bomber?

“The dissident father of the Manchester Arena bomber, who was arrested in Libya the day after the blast alongside his other terrorist son, was quietly released without charge and has vanished. Ramadan Abedi, 54, fought against the Gaddafi regime in Libya with a militant group that was designated a terrorist organisation by the US. After his arrest, he and his son Hashem were held by the Rada Special Deterrence Force, the most powerful of Tripoli’s militias, at its base at Mitiga airport with dozens of other terrorist suspects and fighters. As the jail was repeatedly attacked by rival militias trying to free members held there, the British focused on bringing Hashem Abedi, 22, back to the UK to face charges in relation to the bombing. He was eventually extradited last year, but Ramadan was released without charge and disappeared. “We don’t know [where he is], nobody is speaking about it,” said Abdel al-Fattah, the director of the foreign media office of Libya’s UN-backed government. “Even the local media don’t speak about him.” There is no mention of him on Libyan social media and a British diplomatic source said the UK had no contact with the dual Libyan-British national.”

BBC News: Manchester Arena Bombing: Suburb A 'Hunting Ground' For Extremists

“When Hashem Abedi was found guilty of planning the Manchester Arena bombing with his brother Salman, he became the latest home-grown terrorist to be convicted in a UK court. But he was also the product of a small area dubbed a “breeding ground” for extremists. In south Manchester there is a small pocket of neighbourhoods, just a few square miles wide. The suburbs here include trendy Chorlton, Rusholme, with its curry mile, Levenshulme and Burnage, home to the Gallagher brothers. Salman and Hashem Abedi were born in the city and grew up in Fallowfield, one of the suburbs in an area that has produced more than 20 extremists. They are men and women who've joined terrorist organisations, been jailed, disappeared or killed themselves. Among them were an Islamic State group (IS) recruiter and at least two other suicide bombers. Youth worker Ismael Lea South knows these areas well and recognises a well-worn path. “Manchester has long been a hunting ground for extremist groups and groomers,” he said. “You get people who feel ostracised, dehumanised and demonised. “They don't feel 100% British but they don't feel they belong to the country of their parents so there's confusion.”

The Telegraph: Manchester Bombing Victims: 'Government And Mayor 'Abandoned' Us'

“American popstars have been left to “plug the funding gap” for “abandoned” victims of the Manchester bombing, survivors claim. Survivors and victims’ relatives claim that funds from the One Love Manchester benefit concert organised by Grande who drafted in fellow pop stars - including: Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Katie Perry, Take That and The Black Eyed Peas - is the only help they have received. The concert, held at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, raised almost £20million for victims and survivors. There is currently no specially allocated government funding for victims of terror. While they can claim money through the government’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), survivors of the Manchester terror attack say that they are forced to wait years for funds to come through, leaving them “feeling like a criminal”....”

Germany

The Guardian: German Police Raid Sites Linked To Banned Far-Right Group

“German police have raided sites across the country linked to a banned far-right group, weeks after a suspected extremist shot dead nine people of migrant backgrounds. An interior ministry spokesman said raids were being carried out in 10 of Germany’s 16 states. “For the first time, the interior minister has banned a Reichsbürger (Citizens of the Reich) group,” the spokesman said. “Even in these times of crisis, we will fight far-right extremism, racism and antisemitism.” The United German Peoples and Tribes organisation banned on Thursday belongs to the wider Citizens of the Reich movement, which is fed by conspiracy theories. Its adherents question the legitimacy of the modern Federal Republic of Germany and have in the past entered into armed confrontations with police. In 2016 a man linked to Citizens of the Reich killed an officer and wounded two more in a shootout. He was later sentenced to life in prison. After a racist gunman shot dead nine people of migrant backgrounds in the city of Hanau last month, Germany’s interior minister, Horst Seehofer, declared far-right extremism “the biggest security threat facing Germany” and announced increased police measures.”

Southeast Asia

Eurasia Review: Thailand: Troops Clash With Militants As Rights Groups Condemn Bomb Attack

“International rights groups on Wednesday condemned a bomb attack the day before on a Thai government office in Yala province, where officials were meeting to discuss COVID-19, as clashes between soldiers and insurgents in the Deep South claimed more lives. Thai officials said a soldier was killed and two others were injured Wednesday while pursuing militants near Pattani Dam in Yala province. On Tuesday, three militants were killed hours after the attack at the Southern Border Province Administration (SBPAC) office. “Entering the seventh day of pursuit beginning on March 12 … a new clash resulted in one soldier killed and two others wounded,” said Col. Watcharakorn Oanngern, a spokesman for the military command in Thailand’s heavily militarized southern border region, ISOC-4. Maj. Gen. Pramote Prom-in said the militants killed Tuesday were members of a group responsible for attacks on Nov. 5, 2019 on a village in Yala that killed 15 officials, defense volunteers and civilians. “From our initial investigation, we can confirm that the three slain men participated in the killing at Lampaya,” Pramote said.”

Technology

Vice: Experts Say Neo-Nazi 'Accelerationists' Discuss Taking Advantage Of Coronavirus Crisis

“In recent years, adherents of ultra violent brands of white supremacism have preached ‘accelerationism,’ which holds that western governments are currently teetering on disintegration and vulnerable to operations sowing chaos and creating societal pandemonium. Neo-Nazi movements have always tried to take advantage of times of great uncertainty, and some members of far-right extremist networks see the pressure of coronavirus as a possible trigger for the “boogaloo”; a hypothetical second civil war. “Extreme right-wing accelerationist and neo-Nazi Telegram chats and channels have increased their frequency of calling for violence related to the coronavirus since the president’s declaration of a national emergency on March 13,” said Joshua Fisher-Birch, a research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project, a U.S.-based terrorism watchdog. “The violent rhetoric also increased on March 16 as economic damage from the coronavirus has increased.” In a post captioned “ACCELERATION REMINDER,” one well known neo-Nazi channel that provides tradecraft to evade authorities online warns followers to beware of the possible presence of National Guard units across the country if the pandemic worsens and the Trump Administration deploys troops inside the U.S.”