Eye on Extremism: November 18

Associated Press: American Held In Turkey As IS Suspect Returns To US 

“An American citizen alleged by Turkey to be an Islamic State member has returned to the United States. According to a government report obtained by The Associated Press, federal authorities questioned the man when he arrived Friday night at Dulles International Airport in Virginia and inspected his electronic devices. The report says he was allowed to enter the country en route to visit relatives in Texas. Media in Turkey have identified the man as 39-year-old Muhammad Darwis B. Turkey deported him after he spent five days in no man’s land between Turkey and Greece, where he had asked to be sent. Repatriation began after the U.S. agreed to accept him and provided travel documents. Turkey captured suspected IS members during its offensive in Syria and is returning foreigners to their countries of origin.”

CBS News: Russian Troops Take Command Of U.S. Airbase In Northern Syria

“Russian troops have taken command of a U.S. airbase in northern Syria — and without firing a shot. Russian state media showed commandos staging what looked like a military invasion. Choppers descending onto the dusty runway, troops taking up combat positions. The Russians are playing up the takeover of the Kobani airfield as a victory. The former U.S. airbase that served as the main logistical hub for America's fight against ISIS, now with the Russian flag flying above it. The Russians moved in just a day after U.S. forces moved out, leaving behind barracks, beds, abandoned medical supplies and the skeleton of a gym with weights removed, to render it useless.”

The Daily Beast: Lebanon’s Protests Divide Hezbollah. Will It Strike Back?

“He has fought Israel since the 1990s and killed many fighters in Syria’s civil war, but the increasing difficulty of working-class life in Lebanon and a popular revolt against the country’s leaders has forced Abu Hussein to reevaluate his decades-long service to Hezbollah. The group whose name translates as “the Party of God” has been branded a terrorist organization by the United States since the 1980s. Backed by Iran, it is more powerful than Lebanon’s military and holds a political veto on state policies. The Trump White House has made Hezbollah a prime target in its “Maximum Pressure” campaign against Iran, which seeks to squeeze the Islamic Republic economically until it signs a new, Trump-approved deal covering not only nukes, but ending Iran’s support for militias like Hezbollah. Sanctions have targeted the party’s members in Lebanon’s parliament and a Lebanese bank accused of involvement managing Hezbollah accounts. But the U.S. efforts have only added pressure to Lebanon’s economic crisis. And Iran has many ways to fight back. “Iran sees Lebanon as an important arena in the duel with Washington and will not sacrifice its prize horse Hezbollah no matter the cost,” says Raghida Dergham, founder of the Beirut Institute, an independent think tank.”

Associated Press: Protests Grip Major Iran Cities Over Gas Prices; 1 Killed

“Protesters angered by Iran raising government-set gasoline prices by 50% blocked traffic in major cities and occasionally clashed with police Saturday after a night of demonstrations punctuated by gunfire, in violence that reportedly killed at least one person. The protests put renewed pressure on Iran’s government as it struggles to overcome the U.S. sanctions strangling the country after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Though largely peaceful, demonstrations devolved into violence in several instances, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing tear gas at protesters and mobs setting fires. While representing a political risk for President Hassan Rouhani ahead of February parliamentary elections, it also shows the widespread anger among Iran’s 80 million people who have seen their savings evaporate amid scarce jobs and the national rial currency’s collapse.”

France 24: Burkina Faso Army Says 32 'Terrorists' Killed After Deadly Convoy Attack

“The army said 24 people were killed in the first operation on Friday and a further eight in a second on Saturday. The first operation in Yorsala in Loroum province saw a number of women who "had been held and used by the terrorists as sex slaves" freed. Arms, ammunition and other materials were also recovered in the second operation on the outskirts of Bourzanga in Bam province, the army statement added. The impoverished and politically fragile Sahel country has been struggling to quell a rising jihadist revolt that has claimed hundreds of lives since early 2015. Earlier this month, an attack on a convoy transporting local employees of Canadian mining company Semafo left 37 people dead and 60 wounded. Such attacks – typically hit-and-run raids on villages, road mines and suicide bombings – have claimed nearly 700 lives across the country since early 2015, according to an AFP toll.  Almost 500,000 people have also been forced to flee their homes.”

Valiant News: Google Hasn’t Passed Its Biggest Test Yet: Hunting Hate 

“Some of the world’s biggest marketers halted YouTube spending this month after ads from large brands were found running alongside hateful and extremist videos. Google parent Alphabet Inc. risks losing $750 million in revenue this year from the debacle, analysts at Nomura Instinet estimated this week. A potential solution lies in machine learning, a powerful AI technique for automatically recognizing patterns across reams of data — a Google specialty. Computer scientists doubt technology alone can expunge offensive videos.”We’re not there yet where we can, say, find all extremist content,” said Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, which has repeatedly called on YouTube to tackle this problem. He recommends companies like Google and Facebook Inc. deploy more human editors to filter content. “Machine learning, AI is nowhere near that yet,” he said. “Don’t believe the hype.”

United States

Fox News: Chicago Gang Leader Accused Of Supporting ISIS

“The leader of a street gang in a Chicago suburb was arrested for allegedly attempting to aid ISIS, the Justice Department announced Friday. Jason Brown, also known as “Abdul Ja’Me,” allegedly provided $500 to an individual three separate times in 2019, believing that the recipient would then wire that money to an Islamic State (ISIS) soldier in Syria, according to the federal complaint. In a recorded conversation obtained by the Justice Department, Brown can be heard saying, “it [jihad] cannot be done like it is in Syria. In the U.S., jihad is done by spreading the word of Islam.” What Brown, 37, did not know was that the individual with whom he was dealing was working with law enforcement; the supposed ISIS fighter was an undercover officer. Brown is the leader of the AHK street gang in the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, according to the complaint. AHK consists of former members of the Black P Stones, the Gangster Disciples and the Four Corner Hustlers, who converted to Islam -- an AHK requirement. Brown allegedly recruited and radicalized members to support ISIS. Brown is believed to have become radicalized during a stint in a Georgia prison over a firearms offense in 2016. During that time he became familiar with the work of Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal.”  

CNN: I Work To Fight Terrorism. This Is The Threat That Keeps Me Up At Night

“I have traveled the world trying to stop people from radicalizing, and through those experiences I have seen the best and the worst of humanity. I've interviewed numerous terrorists in prison cells, bound by shackles - and sat down to hear the experiences of countless former extremists of all kinds. Most recently, I spoke with a man who was actually convicted of participating in and supporting al-Qaeda plots in Afghanistan and the US. I have passionately worked to counter radicalization and extremist ideology issues worldwide because the range of threats that our nation faces is very real — from the rise in lone wolf and homegrown attacks to the persistent existence of the ideology behind ISIS. Yet those aren't the only security risks that are keeping me up at night. Right now, what concerns me most is the widening polarization in our country, because this is the kind of division that feeds the seeds of hate at the root of every kind of terror attack. We can all agree that keeping our citizens safe has to be our top priority, and traditional counterterrorism work is critical in preserving national security here and abroad. True counterterrorism efforts identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilize resources, and we still need our intelligence and military capabilities to thwart and prevent future tragedies.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego FBI Sharpens Focus On Fight Against Domestic Terror

“Invoking the name of the alleged Poway synagogue shooter, police say a 23-year-old Concord man threatened to carry out an even deadlier attack. He would wear a Nazi uniform, livestream the massacre to Nazi music and take down more than 30 “subhumans” plus police officers with an “unregistered and illegally converted ‘machine gun,’” according to online gaming posts detailed in court records. In Kent, Wash., another man, 27, was also apparently a fan, lionizing the Poway suspect on a social media feed filled with anti-Semitic vitriol. It’s the kind of copycat and glorification mentality that has come to be expected following domestic terror attacks, and law enforcement around the country has been scrambling in the face of rising violence to decipher true threats from First Amendment-protected speech. Both young men were ultimately arrested, along with dozens of others who are accused of threatening, plotting or actually carrying out mass attacks in the past year — some of them apparently ideologically motivated, others not. “For law enforcement as a whole, the posture has been more aggressive across the board because of what we are seeing,” said Jason Beachy, an assistant special agent in charge at the FBI in San Diego.”

WCJB ABC: St. Augustine Man Accused Of Aiding ISIS

“A St. Augustine man is accused of trying to help ISIS by creating "how-to" videos on making a bomb. The FBI has been tracking his social media since 2014. Photos reading "seeking to kill and be killed," or photos of explosives in a city are what Romeo Langhorne openly displays for the public on his Facebook page. Langhorne believed existing online videos were inadequate to arm fellow ISIS followers with the knowledge of how to create explosives. That's when the complaint says he began directing an undercover FBI agent to produce a "how-to" video since February of this year. The criminal complaint narrates just how Langhorne would distribute his messages over different social media platforms for all to see.”

WSLS 10 News: Rocky Mount Man Charged With Supporting ISIS, Making Video Detailing How To Make Explosives

“A man suspected to support the Islamic State has been arrested and charged with making a video to help ISIS. A federal criminal complaint claims 30-year-old Romeo Langhorne of Rocky Mount attempted to teach ISIS supporters how to make an explosive often used in suicide bombings through an instructional video. The complaint said Langhorne attempted to post the video online November 11. Langhorne is being held in the Western Virginia Regional Jail in Salem. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had monitored Langhorne since February through an undercover agent who talked with him through online messages. Langhorne lived near Jacksonville, Florida when the investigation started, but the criminal complaint said surveillance agents saw Langhorne arrive at the Roanoke Amtrak station in April and go to his mother’s house.”

Lawfare: Trinidad’s Islamic State Problem

“In November 2013 Shane Crawford and two other men pulled off a double murder in a busy town in central Trinidad. Less than a month later all three were in Syria fighting for the Islamic State—the first Trinidadians, or Trinis (to use the local idiom), to do so. By the time the U.S. State Department added Crawford to its list of “Global Terrorists” in 2017, more than 240 Trini nationals had migrated to the so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq. This makes Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), a small twin-island republic in the Caribbean, one of the world’s biggest recruiting grounds, per capita, of the Islamic State. Trinidad has still yet to come to terms with this unenviable record, and there remains a widespread sense of incomprehension in the county that any of its nationals could have traded the paradise on their shores for a world of sectarian slaughter and chaos in Syria and Iraq. Now, more than six months after the fall of the territorial caliphate, the country faces the mother of all returnee problems: what to do about the scores of its nationals who are currently in detention in Syria and Iraq. This problem is all the more urgent given the uncertainty in northeastern Syria following President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops and support from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).”


Financial Times: Syria Incursion Delivers Limited Boost To Turkey’s Erdogan

“Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan enjoyed strong domestic backing for last month’s contentious military incursion into Syria but already that patriotic bounce has begun to fade. For a leader who had been under pressure, grappling with a troubled economy and setbacks in recent local elections, the assault brought a welcome shift in the public discourse as the country was engulfed by a wave of nationalist fervour. While foreign nations condemned Mr Erdogan, at home the operation against the Syrian Kurdish militias that Ankara views as terrorists was overwhelmingly popular. “During the operation — especially in the first two or three weeks — everyone was talking about it,” said Seren Selvin Korkmaz, director of Istanbulpol, a think-tank. “Erdogan gained space and time to manoeuvre.” Now, with the military operation largely over, political analysts say it is striking how little political support Mr Erdogan has gained.”

Al Jazeera: Baghdadi's Death Did Not Bring His Victims Any Closer To Justice

“Last night, the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice," US President Donald Trump announced at the White House on October 27. "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead." Trump appeared jubilant as he shared with the American public the details of the operation that led to the killing of the infamous leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS). He used the news of al-Baghdadi's demise, which came only a few weeks after his controversial decision to pull US troops out of Syria, to prove to the world that his administration's policies in the country are working and the war against ISIL has been won. Al-Baghdadi's death, however, is unlikely to help Syrians like me, whose loved ones have been abducted and imprisoned by the group. Since its establishment in April 2013, ISIL detained at least 8,143 individuals across Syria.”

Voice Of America: Turkish-Backed Syrian Fighters Seek Control Of Major Highway In NE Syria

“Fighting reportedly intensified between Turkish-backed Syrian fighters and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces Sunday over a major highway and a strategic town in northeastern Syria. Local news reported that Turkish military and allied Syrian militias continued shelling positions belonging to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a bid to control the town of Tal Tamr and the nearby M4 highway. In an effort to prevent Turkish-backed forces from advancing into the town, the SDF has reportedly reached a cease-fire deal with Russia, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday. The deal, according to the war monitor, would allow Russian and Syrian government troops to be deployed near the Christian-majority Tal Tamr and parts of the M4 highway, locally known as the "International Road."


The New York Times: The Iran Cables: Secret Documents Show How Tehran Wields Power In Iraq

“In mid-October, with unrest swirling in Baghdad, a familiar visitor slipped quietly into the Iraqi capital. The city had been under siege for weeks, as protesters marched in the streets, demanding an end to corruption and calling for the ouster of the prime minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi. In particular, they denounced the outsize influence of their neighbor Iran in Iraqi politics, burning Iranian flags and attacking an Iranian consulate. The visitor was there to restore order, but his presence highlighted the protesters’ biggest grievance: he was Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, head of Iran’s powerful Quds Force, and he had come to persuade an ally in the Iraqi Parliament to help the prime minister hold onto his job. It was not the first time General Suleimani had been dispatched to Baghdad to do damage control. Tehran’s efforts to prop up Mr. Mahdi are part of its long campaign to maintain Iraq as a pliable client state.”

The New York Times: Iran Blocks Nearly All Internet Access

“Iran imposed an almost complete nationwide internet blackout on Sunday one of its most draconian attempts to cut off Iranians from each other and the rest of the world as widespread anti-government unrest roiled the streets of Tehran and other cities for a third day. The death toll for the three days of protests rose to at least 12; hundreds were injured; and more than 1,000 people have been arrested, according to semiofficial news agencies like Fars News. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the last word on all state matters, called the demonstrators “thugs” and endorsed the government’s decision to raise prices it sets for rationed gasoline by 50 percent as of Friday and by 300 percent for gasoline that exceeds ration limits. Even after the price hike, gasoline in Iran is still cheaper than in most of the rest of the world — now the equivalent of about 50 cents a gallon. In a speech on Sunday, Mr. Khamenei said he would support rationing and increasing gas prices because heads of three branches of government — the presidency, judiciary and parliament — had made the decision.”

Foreign Affairs: A Better Iran Deal Is Within Reach

“When the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump ratcheted up its “maximum pressure” campaign last May, with the professed aim of driving Iran’s oil exports to zero, it didn’t take long for Tehran to respond with escalation of its own. In the months since, Iran has reportedly attacked pipelines, tankers, and one of the world’s largest oil processing facilities in Saudi Arabia—prompting a spike not just in oil prices but also in worries about a new war in the Middle East. It has also repeatedly breached the original terms of the 2015 nuclear accord—known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—which sought to limit the country’s nuclear activities and from which the Trump administration withdrew in 2018. Tehran likely intended these moves to persuade the United States to reconsider its sanctions campaign, and to spur other parties to the JCPOA to urge Washington to relent. For a while, Iran may have felt its approach was working: French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson both tried to engineer a deal in which Iran would return to compliance with the JCPOA in exchange for sanctions relief. Such a bargain was reportedly derailed at the last minute in September, when Iran demanded that sanctions relief precede a proposed meeting between Trump and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly.”  

Fox News: Qatar Had Prior Knowledge Of Iran Attack On Vessels, Failed To Tell Allies: Report

“Qatar had advance knowledge on an Iranian attack on four commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman in May and may have failed to warn its U.S., French and British allies, a western intelligence report alleges. The report, obtained exclusively by Fox News, claims that Qatar had prior knowledge of the May 12 attack of two Saudi tankers, a Norwegian tanker and a UAE bunkering ship near the port of Fujairah in the vital waterway, which connects the Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean, near the United Arab Emirates. “Credible intelligence reports indicate that the IRGC-Quds Forces Naval unit is responsible for the Fujairah Port attacks, and the elements of civilian government of Iran, as well as the State of Qatar, were aware of the IRGC’s activities,” the report said.”

The Wall Street Journal: Uprisings Against The Mullahs

“The latest anti-regime protests in Iran look like a major political event, and judging by its vigorous and violent response the regime agrees. Now is a moment for the political left and right in the U.S. and Europe to unite in support of the Iranian people. The protests erupted in several cities across the country in response to government increases of 50% in fuel prices. The increase raises the price of a liter of gasoline to only about 35 cents, or 50 cents a gallon. But the reaction to the increase reveals the desperation and anger of Iranians as the economy falters under the pressure of U.S. sanctions. With parliamentary elections scheduled for February, the regime would only have reduced its fuel subsidies if it felt it had no choice. The mullahs must be short on cash as their oil sales abroad have been sharply reduced by Trump Administration sanctions. Oil sales are the regime’s main source of revenue.”

France 24: Iran Condemns US Show Of Support For 'Rioters'

“Iran condemned the United States' support for "rioters" in a statement issued late Sunday, after two days of violent protests in the Islamic republic against a petrol price hike. The foreign ministry said that it was reacting to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's "expression of support... for a group of rioters in some cities of Iran and condemned such support and interventionist remarks". Protests erupted in Iran on Friday, hours after it was announced the price of petrol would rise to 15,000 rials a litre (12 US cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 litres and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month. In a tweet on Saturday, Pompeo said in response to the demonstrations that "the United States is with you". Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed his comments in Sunday night's statement. "The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy," Mousavi was quoted as saying. "The acts of a rioter and saboteur group supported by the likes of (Pompeo) have no congruity with the conduct of the wise Iranian people." The statement blasted Washington's "ill-intent" over its decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran after the US withdrawal in May last year from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.”


CNN: Iraqi Spy Chief Warns ISIS Is Rebuilding

“Senior members of ISIS are plotting mass prison breaks and a resurgence of terror after taking refuge in Turkey, according to the head of Iraqi Military Intelligence. Lt. Gen. Saad al-Allaq told CNN in an exclusive interview that Iraq had handed dossiers on nine alleged terror leaders to Turkey. The subjects included top financiers with access to "huge" amounts of money to fund operations around the world, he said. And recent communications from ISIS point to plans to try to break prisoners out of camps and jails across Syria and Iraq, al-Allaq said. "Huge international efforts should be taken to deal with this issue because these criminals ... are able to leave these camps and go back to their countries and thus they pose great danger in countries like Europe, Asia and northwest Africa," al-Allaq said. There are an estimated 10,000 alleged ISIS fighters including many foreign nationals in custody under the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria. A nearby camp holds 70,000 women and children. Each has been described by the US as a "ticking time bomb," even after the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and some of his deputies.” 

CNN: How Iraq Helped To Flush Out ISIS Chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

“Iraq intelligence agents tracked ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for years before getting the break they say was critical to cornering him. That break was the arrest in May of one of al-Baghdadi's brothers-in-law, Mohammed Ali Sajet al-Zubaaei, who joined ISIS in 2015 and had become one of the leader's trusted guides. It was a culmination of Iraq's tactic of following al-Baghdadi by looking for those closest to him, said Lt. Gen. Saad al Allaq, the head of Iraq's military intelligence directorate. “We were observing the movements of al-Baghdadi in indirect ways through his family,” al Allaq said in a rare interview. “By doing that, it gives us some sort of secrecy and we gave al-Baghdadi an impression that we were not monitoring his movements.” Al-Zubaaei had helped al-Baghdadi avoid the authorities when he traveled. After he himself was captured by the Iraqis on the outskirts of Baghdad in May 2019, he provided crucial information, Iraqi intelligence officers told CNN. He led security forces to a tunnel in the desert near Qaim in western Iraq close to the Syrian border, where they discovered personal belongings of al-Baghdadi, as well as maps and handwritten notes of locations. Al-Zubaaei also suggested that the ISIS chief could be in Idlib, Syria, the agents said.”

Asharq Al-Awsat: Iraq Welcomes Continued International Efforts To Combat ISIS

“Iraq welcomed on Thursday the continued international efforts to combat ISIS, said Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim. He expressed Iraq’s appreciation for the member states of the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. He was speaking at a meeting for the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS Small Group. The event was held less than a month after ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US raid in Syria. Hakim praised coalition efforts to restore stability, offer basic services to liberated Iraqi cities, return refugees back to their homes and back reconstruction. He also thanked the NATO mission for its role in boosting security capacities and training. He further commended intelligence efforts exerted by the Iraqi National Intelligence Service and its key role in the operation that lead to Baghdadi’s death. “Cooperation, intelligence sharing and high-level coordination among coalition countries have resulted in locating and eliminating the ISIS leader,” he said. The minister stressed “the importance of bolstering the work and unifying international efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis in Syria that ensures its unity and sovereignty,” highlighting its direct impact on regional security and stability.”

Kurdistan 24: Iraqi Police Kill 2 ISIS 'Leaders' In Kirkuk, Arrest 'Islamic Police' Member In Mosul

“Iraqi police announced the death of two Islamic State “leaders” in the disputed province of Kirkuk on Saturday and the arrest of a former member of the group's feared “Islamic Police” in Mosul. Security forces continue to hunt down remnants of the extremist organization across the country in attempts to prevent those loyal to it from regrouping and making a resurgence. Iraq’s Ministry of Interior announced in a statement that “during operations following up and tracing the movement of the ISIS fighters in a village in the subdistrict of Riyaz in Kirkuk, the police force was able to kill two ISIS leaders and destroy their hideout, along with confiscating weapons and explosives inside.” The ministry gave no additional details regarding the individuals' ranking or responsibilities as “leaders” in the militant group. On the same day, police to the north in the embattled city of Mosul claimed their forces were able to arrest an Islamic State militant who had been a member of the “Islamic police,” which violently enforced strict codes of conduct on the population during the organization's brutal reign over the city that began in 2014 and lasted for roughly three years. The statement added that the suspect was arrested in the al-Quds neighborhood, located on Mosul's eastern side.”

Military Times: Partnership With Kurds Against ISIS Still Strong, Says US Coalition General

“A senior U.S. coalition commander said Friday the partnership with Syrian Kurdish forces remains strong and focused on fighting the Islamic State group, despite an expanding Turkish incursion into areas under Kurdish control. The U.S.-Syrian Kurdish relationship, which dates back to 2014, was strained after President Donald Trump last month ordered American troops out of northern Syria, making way for a Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held towns and villages along a stretch of the border. On Friday, reports said U.S. forces completed their withdrawal from Kobani, a border region where the partnership against ISIS was cemented in 2014, and that Russians moved into to replace them. The commander’s comments to The Associated Press reflect how troops on the ground are trying to stick to the original aims of the Syria mission despite a reduced and changed footprint. They say they are staying to fight alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group, as well as deny ISIS the oil fields as a source of revenue while showing support for the Kurdish fighters who have lost a sizable part of the 30 percent of syria they once controlled. Their words however come as Trump says the mission now is focused on securing oil fields and infrastructure.”


The New York Times: Turkey’s Deportations Force Europe To Face Its ISIS Militants 

“As Turkey followed through on its threat to release more Islamic State detainees last week, Western European nations were confronted with a problem they had long sought to avoid: what to do about the potential return of radicalized, often battle-hardened Europeans to countries that absolutely do not want them back. Faced with fierce popular opposition to the repatriation of such detainees and fears over the long-term threat they could pose back home, European leaders have sought alternative ways to prosecute them — in an international tribunal, on Iraqi soil, anywhere but on the Continent. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, made more powerful by a sudden shift in American policy, is determined to foist the problem of the captured European Islamic State fighters back on the countries they came from. Last week, Turkey sent a dozen former Islamic State members and relatives to Britain, Denmark, Germany and the United States, and Mr. Erdogan says hundreds more are right behind them. “All of the European countries, especially those with most of the foreign fighters, have desperately been looking for the past year for a way to deal with them without bringing them back,” said Rik Coolsaet, an expert on radicalization at the Egmont Institute, a Brussels-based research group.”

The New York Times: Turkey Replaces Four More Kurdish Mayors Over Alleged Terror Links

“Turkey removed four more mayors from their posts on Saturday as part of a widening government crackdown against the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), and replaced them with state appointees. President Tayyip Erdogan and his government accuse the HDP of having links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, leading to prosecutions of thousands of its members and some leaders. The HDP denies such links. On Saturday, the mayors of Mazidag, Savur and Derik in the southeastern province of Mardin were replaced with appointees, while the mayor of the Suruc district in the Sanliurfa province was also removed, bringing to 24 the number of mayors who have been dismissed after being elected earlier this year. The HDP governs many cities in the largely Kurdish southeast of Turkey, and says it is the target of a systematic government plot to deplete its ranks. The former co-leaders of the HDP have both been jailed since 2016 on terrorism charges, with several other prominent members accused of supporting terrorism over what the government says are links to the PKK.”


The Washington Post: Afghanistan Prisoner Swap Delayed, Complicating Efforts To Restart Talks With Taliban

“A planned prisoner swap between the Afghan government and the Taliban that was intended to restart peace talks between the insurgent group and the United States has been delayed, according to Afghan and Taliban officials. The emergence of significant snags early on highlights the difficulty of getting the two sides back to the negotiating table. The Taliban has long refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government. The swap would have freed two university professors in exchange for three high-profile militants linked to the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani announced the deal on live television last week, saying it would help bring “peace and stability” to Afghanistan. The professors, Kevin King, a U.S. citizen, and Timothy Weeks, an Australian, have been held by the Taliban since August 2016, when gunmen ambushed their vehicle in central Kabul and abducted them. The militants who were set for release are Mali Khan, Hafiz Rashid and Anas Haqqani, a younger brother of the Taliban’s deputy leader and son of the Haqqani network’s founder. They are being held in a government detention center at Bagram air base. (The Haqqani network is an insurgent group closely allied with the Taliban.)”

Radio Free Europe: Afghanistan Blames Taliban For Delay In High-Profile Prisoner Swap

“Kabul has blamed the Taliban for a delay in the exchange of three extremist prisoners held in Afghanistan for two Western hostages that the militant group has been holding. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's office on November 16 said the Taliban prisoners “are still being held by the Afghan government.” “The inability of the Taliban to meet the conditions has delayed the exchange process,” spokesman Sediq Sediqqi wrote on Twitter, adding that the Afghan government will review the situation and make decisions based “on the country's best interests.” The Western-backed Afghan government did not immediately give specifics on what conditions it believes the Taliban had not met. Ghani had announced the deal on November 12, saying the Taliban prisoners held at Bagram prison would be “conditionally” released. The deal was seen by the Afghan government as a key move in securing direct talks with the Taliban, which has so far refused to engage with what it calls a “puppet” regime in Kabul. The United States has been holding a series of negotiations with Taliban representatives in Qatar over recent years in an attempt to end the 18-year war.”

Xinhua: 4 IS Members Arrested In E. Afghanistan: Gov't

“Afghan security forces have arrested two key Islamic State (IS) members and two militants loyal to the IS outfit following a search operation in eastern Laghman province, Afghan Interior Ministry said Sunday. The operation was launched Saturday night in Qarghayi district of Laghman, where two key members of the IS network were arrested and some arms and ammunition including a rocket launcher and PK-Machineguns have been confiscated, the ministry said in a statement. Two IS affiliated insurgents have also been arrested following the overnight search operation from the same area, the statement added. The security forces also found and defused an improvised explosive device (IED) during the raid. The IS militant group, which emerged in eastern Afghan region in early 2015, has not made a comment on the report so far.”


San Francisco Chronicle: Lebanese Protests Test Hezbollah’s Role As Shiites’ Champion

“Young men chanting the "people want to bring down the regime" gathered outside the office of Lebanese legislator Mohammed Raad, the powerful head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc. One shirtless man grabbed a metal rod and swung it at the sign bearing Raad’s name, knocking it out of place as others cheered. It was a rare scene in the southern market town of Nabatiyeh, a Hezbollah stronghold. The protests engulfing Lebanon have united many across sectarian lines and shattered taboos, with some taking aim at leaders from their own sects, illustrating a new, unfamiliar challenge posed to the militant group. Iranian-backed Hezbollah built a reputation among supporters as a champion of the poor and a defender of Lebanon against Israel's much more powerful military. It and its Shiite ally, the Amal party, have enjoyed overwhelming backing among the Shiite community since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war, making them a political powerhouse that, along with allies, has dominated recent governments.”


The Washington Post: Egypt Officials: 3 Security Forces Killed In Sinai Blast

“A roadside bomb killed at least three members of Egypt’s security forces in the restive northern Sinai province, security and medical officials said Sunday. The explosion hit the forces’ armored vehicle in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Four other security force members were wounded, including an officer. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to reporters. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Egypt has for years been battling an insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula that’s now led by an Islamic State group affiliate. The fighting intensified in 2013 after the military overthrew the country’s elected but divisive Islamist president. Authorities heavily restrict access to northern Sinai, making it difficult to verify claims related to the fighting. Separately, a military court on Sunday sentenced a Libyan national to death on terror-related charges for carrying out an ambush on police forces southwest of Cairo two years ago. Five Egyptians were given life sentences. The charges stem from one of the deadliest attacks on security forces in recent years. In October 2017, while raiding a militant hideout in the al-Wahat al-Bahriya area in Giza province, about 84 miles southwest of Cairo, an exchange of fire between militants and police ended with dozens dead.”


The Libya Observer: ISIS Militants In Libya Pledge Allegiance To New Leader

“ISIS Libya pledged Friday allegiance to the new leader of the terrorist group Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi after the killing of the ringleader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. ISIS media outlets posted photos of about 32 militants in different areas in what they called “Wilayat Barqa” - Cyrenaica Region - saying it took place this month. ISIS confirmed the killing of its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the US operation in Idlib in northern Syria as well as the killing of its spokesman Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajr. The terrorist group later announced Al-Hashemi as the new leader and Abu Hamza Al-Qurashi as the new spokesman. ISIS has almost vanished from Libya after Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous operation forces terminated their presence in Sirte in 2016, thus keeping some sleeper cells and “lone wolves” in some southern region areas under the control of Khalifa Haftar's forces. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said earlier that its airstrikes that were coordinated with the Presidential Council's government killed a third of the remaining ISIS militants in Libya.”


Pulse Nigeria: Nigerian Army Troops Dislodge Boko Haram Terrorists In Borno

“The Nigerian Army says its troops have again successfully dislodged Boka Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists at Malam Fatori in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno. The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Saturday. Iliyasu said that the terrorists attempted to launch an attack on the location of the troops of 64 and 98 Task Force Battalions and elements of the Armed Forces Special Forces Battalion on Friday. He said that the terrorists who were in a revenge mission had on Wednesday been humiliated by the troops in their attempt to infiltrate the troops’ location by launching an unsuccessful attack. “Within less than 24 hours of their devastating defeat however, the outgunned criminal insurgents launched another desperate attack on the highly spirited troops of Mallam Fatori in the wee hours of Friday. “In a swift and highly coordinated response, the gallant and relentless troops at the location once again handed them another crushing defeat. “At the end of this particular encounter, one Boko Haram Gun Truck was completely burnt along with 3 of the criminal insurgents that were trapped in it.”

Sahara Reporters: 3 Women, 4 Children Kidnapped By Boko Haram Rescued, Says Nigerian Army

“Troops of the Nigerian Army deployed at Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno say they have subdued Boko Haram terrorists and rescued an octogenarian, three women and four children kidnapped by the insurgents. The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. Iliyasu said, “The troops’ resilience and doggedness are unwavering as further exploitation to complete the annihilation of the insurgents isbeing sustained in the mountainous environment. “The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, wishes to reassure the public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army  to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better secured Nigeria. “He also thanked all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill, and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army as they sustain the conduct of various operations and routine exercises nationwide.”


Xinhua: Somali Army Kills 3 Militants In Northern Somalia

“Somali forces on Friday killed three al-Shabab militants in a fierce gun battle on the outskirts of Bosaso town in northern Somalia, an official said on Saturday. Mohamed Gedi Salah, district commissioner of Af-Urur told journalists that the militants attacked an army base in Af-Urur village but the forces repulsed them. “There was an intense gunfight between the army and the militants in front of our base in the town, but we finally held them back and killed three of them during the gun battle,” Salah said. He added that they lost two of their soldiers in the stiff confrontation.”


The Washington Post: Mali’s Military Abandons Isolated Outposts Amid Attacks

“Dozens of soldiers posted to Mali’s remote northern town of Labezanga served as the last line of defense against extremists roaming the surrounding desert. Then one evening earlier this month the military pulled up stakes and left, part of a reorganization following a wave of attacks on other far-flung outposts. The 60 soldiers have been assigned to more central bases, the closest some 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. “There is no military ... no police left in our village,” one concerned resident told local radio. “People are calm but we have been left at the mercy of this insecurity.” Mali’s military reorganization comes amid devastating extremist attacks that have left more than 100 soldiers dead in just six weeks’ time. Soldiers also have left the community of Andraboukane in the Menaka region, where no mobile phone service even exists. Their departure created panic among residents who fear the return of extremists who controlled major towns, including theirs, in 2012 and implemented a harsh version of Islamic law. A French-led military intervention forced them back into the desert, where they have regrouped. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has faced a decline in military morale after the recent attacks, a sentiment that helped spark a coup against his predecessor in 2012 amid an uprising that saw separatists and Islamic fighters take over large swaths of the north.”

Al Jazeera: Several Civilians Killed In Eastern DRC By Rebel Fighters

“Suspected rebel fighters killed at least 15 people overnight in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, local officials said on Saturday, in the latest massacre since the country's army launched a major offensive in the region last month. DRC's army initiated its latest campaign, with support from United Nations peacekeepers, on October 30 to root out fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from the dense forests near the Ugandan border. As was the case during previous military operations against the ADF, its fighters have retaliated by attacking civilians, killing more than 40 since last week, according to the local civil society activists. Attacks blamed by the government on the ADF have killed hundreds of civilians since 2014. The attacks on Friday in and around the village of Mbau were carried out with bladed weapons, local officials said. Among the eight victims in Mbau were six members of a single family. Seven members of a Pygmy ethnic group living in the nearby forest were also killed, officials said. Their bodies were found tied up and their throats had been slit. “The rebels are attacking civilians in order to spread confusion and panic among the population,” said Donat Kibwana, the regional administrator in the nearby city of Beni.”

Deutsche Welle: Burkina Faso: A Terrorist Gold Mine

“There is a gold rush in Africa's Sahel region. A number of new mines have been opened there since a vein of gold was discovered in 2012. The Boungou mine in northeastern Burkina Faso, for instance, was opened between 2017 and mid-2018. But the region is also increasingly under threat from Islamists. Last week, at least 39 people were killed in attacks on buses carrying workers to Boungou; another 60 were injured. Guiro Abdoul Kader was asleep when the attack occurred: “I was sleeping when I heard one of the windows shatter, at the same time I got a bullet in my back and I fell down. My colleague was next to me and he also lay down and he was on top of me. I told him he didn't have any cover and that he should come further down. He said he was hit. He told me to do what I could and that he would stay a little higher up and that we were going to pray to God,” as Kader told Reuters news agency. The Boungou mine is operated by SEMAFO, a Canadian mining company. Speaking during a visit to Burkina Faso early last week, CEO Benoit Desormeaux said: “We have been with the Burkinabe people for many years. We want to see, together, how we can continue to collaborate whilst ensuring that we do so in a secure manner.”

Washington Examiner: Sen. Marsha Blackburn: To Fight Terror, Africa Needs Our Help

“Flying into Mogadishu, you get the sense that life in the world’s most notoriously dangerous city has returned to normal. The rubble of the 1990s has been replaced by a respectable skyline. There is evidence of urban bustle. That impression changes once you hit the ground. Technically, I can say I spent time in the Somali capital last weekend — but only in the ultra-secure diplomatic zone, which is as close as I’ll likely ever get to “experiencing Mogadishu.” There’s a reason why our recollection of Somali history is dominated by Black Hawk Down, the Battle of Mogadishu, and President Bill Clinton’s decision to evacuate American troops from the Horn of Africa. Somalia’s legacy is rooted in gratuitous bloodshed that, from the 1990s on, left the country very much alone in the world. That isolation came to an end on Sept. 11, 2001. The wave of Islamic insurgency swelled beyond Iraq and Afghanistan and into Africa, prompting western powers to focus on yet another front in the war on terror. The U.S. government formed the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa and planted Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. I was also fortunate enough to pay a visit to Camp Lemonnier and get a taste of our forces’ influence in the region.”  

North Korea

The Wall Street Journal: North Korea Rebuffs Latest Trump Advance

North Korea’s response to President Trump’s latest invitation: not interested. Adding a further hurdle to reviving stalled denuclearization talks, Pyongyang on Monday rejected the idea of another nuclear summit that “gives us nothing,” a day after President Trump had urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by tweet to “act quickly, get the deal done”—and closed with, “See you soon!” North Korea has escalated threats in recent weeks to cut off negotiations with the U.S., protesting scheduled U.S.-South Korea military exercises and attacking Washington’s “hostile” policy against the isolated regime. Mr. Kim and other senior officials had already set a year-end deadline for the U.S. to propose a disarmament deal that is suitable to Pyongyang. A senior North Korean diplomat, in a Monday statement carried by state media, said he interpreted Mr. Trump’s tweet as suggesting the two countries meet for a third summit.”

United Kingdom

Reuters: Britain Charges Man Arrested At Heathrow Airport With Terrorism Offence

“A man who was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport after he arrived on a flight from Turkey has been charged with a terrorism offence, British police said on Sunday. Mamun Rashid, 26, will appear in court on Monday on charges of preparation of terrorist acts, police said in a statement. He was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of offences related to the conflict in Syria. Turkish authorities have begun to send Islamic State detainees back to their home countries.”

Financial Times: UK Faces Uphill Challenge In Resettling Isis Jihadis

“British jihadis returning home from Syria and Iraq will have their movements restricted and be enrolled in mandatory deradicalisation programmes if they cannot be prosecuted for terrorism offences, say Whitehall officials. Arrangements by police and security services to manage Isis fighters are under new scrutiny since Turkey this week announced it would begin repatriating foreign terror suspects to their countries of origin. The first British national arrived at Heathrow on Thursday. Minimising the threat posed by the returnees will not be easy. The UK, along with European allies including France, Sweden and the Netherlands, is now set on a steep learning curve in resettling potentially dangerous extremists, some of whom may have been repatriated against their will. Of the 900 Britons estimated to have travelled to fight with Isis, around 40 per cent have already returned, 20 per cent are thought to have died and the remainder, around 360, are still in the Middle East. Security officials say they are confident they will be able to identify any fighters attempting to re-enter the country, even if they come without the assistance of a country such as Turkey. Alongside the fighters themselves are an unknown number of spouses and children who are likely to have been traumatised by their experiences in the so-called Caliphate.”

The Guardian: Priti Patel Blocks Rescue Of British Isis Children

“Home secretary Priti Patel intervened to block a recent rescue operation to bring British orphans and unaccompanied minors home from Syria, sources have revealed. During National Security Council meetings last month and internal discussions, Patel, backed by several other ministers including defence secretary Ben Wallace, objected to the extraction of British children from the war-ravaged country, sources say. Their opposition meant that a discussed late October rescue operation was abandoned at the last minute because Patel, Wallace and chancellor Sajid Javid felt the children posed “security concerns”. More than 60 British minors, including at least three orphans, had been identified, and a quick and safe route identified to take them out of north-east Syria and then to Erbil, Iraq, where they would be flown home direct to the UK. It has also emerged that not only had the extraction plan been prepared but that a number of councils in the UK had offered the care package and reintegration programme necessary for the children following their arrival in the UK. The charity Save the Children, which has officials working in north-east Syria, described the resistance from ministers such as Patel as “grievous irresponsibility” and said that “playing politics” with children’s lives was unacceptable.”

The Independent: British Volunteers Who Fought Against Isis ‘Harassed By Security Services’ For Years

“Volunteers who fought against Isis in Syria have accused British authorities of treating them like terrorists as part of a “hypocritical” campaign of harassment. The Independent understands that at least one person has left the UK because of alleged interference by the security services. Dozens of Brits joined the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from 2014 onwards, as they were supported by a US-led military coalition to push Isis out of its self-declared caliphate. Eight British volunteers with the group – seven men and one woman – were killed in Syria. The vast majority of those who survived the fighting have returned to Britain but found themselves repeatedly stopped and questioned, and in some cases arrested for terror offences. After several failed attempts to prosecute people who fought for the YPG, Aidan James became the first volunteer to be convicted this month. The 28-year-old was jailed for a year for attending a training camp operated by the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq, although he did not fight for the group. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) initially charged him with preparing acts of terrorism by travelling to Syria to join the YPG but a judge found that he had “no case to answer.”


The New York Times: Germany Arrests Woman, Accused Of Joining IS, On Return Home

“A German woman accused of joining the Islamic State group in Syria and marrying an IS fighter has been arrested on arrival in Germany. Federal prosecutors said the woman, identified only as Nasim A., was arrested Friday evening. They said Saturday she had been detained by Kurdish forces early this year and held at the al-Hawl camp in northeastern Syria. Prosecutors say she traveled to Syria in late 2014 and married an IS fighter. The couple allegedly moved to Tal Afar, Iraq, where they lived in an IS-seized house. The woman ran the household, receiving $100 per month from IS and leaving her husband free to fight for IS. Prosecutors didn’t detail the circumstances of her return to Germany. Turkey is currently engaged in a push to deport IS members.”

The Independent: ‘It Gives Us Hope’: European Prosecutors Piece Together Cases Against Syrian Regime War Criminals

“Patrick Kroker was on a train with two Syrian colleagues when they first made the connection. One of the Syrians mentioned to the other that he had seen a familiar-looking man walking along the streets of the German capital, and he had been struggling for weeks to place him, before realising that it was Anwar Raslan. His fellow Syrian train passenger was mortified. Anwar Raslan, he said, was the man who had overseen the detention and torture of him and thousands of other political prisoners inside the notorious Khatib branch of the General Intelligence Directorate in Damascus. Among the hundreds of thousands of Syrians living in exile in Europe, unfounded rumours and baseless conspiracy theories swirl. But the confirmation that both the perpetrator and victim of torture were now residing in the same city moved Kroker and the Syrians to action. Kroker, a human rights lawyer focused on Syria at the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, recalls the 2015 train journey during a meeting in his Berlin office. “We were talking about their experiences and I was like, ‘Wow, what are we going to do about this?’” Thanks in part to testimony collected by the ECCHR and other organisations, Raslan has been held in pre-trial detention since February inside Berlin’s Moabit prison.”


Euronews: Denmark To Strip Suspected ISIS Fighters Of Consular Assistance

“Denmark is planning on withholding consular assistance to its citizens who travelled abroad to fight for extremist groups, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod announced on Saturday. Kofod's Twitter announcement comes just days after Turkey began deporting foreign fighters — including EU nationals — with so-called Islamist State who had been detained by Kurdish authorities in northern Syria. “We owe absolutely nothing to foreign fighters who went to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS,” Kofod wrote on Twitter. “This is why we are now taking measures against the access of foreign fighters to consular assistance by the foreign ministry and Danish representations abroad,” he added. Consular assistance typically includes visitation contact with incarcerated nationals. The measure needs to be approved by parliament. Last month the government also revealed plans to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they've travelled abroad to fight with militant groups. A report from the nonprofit Soufan Center estimated that some 40,000 foreign fighters from 110 countries joined IS's ranks between 2014 and 2017, including 5,000 EU nationals. With more than 1,900 citizens gone abroad to fight for IS, France was the most heavily burdened EU country.”

Southeast Asia

Reuters: Indonesia Police Link Suicide Bombing To Islamic State-Inspired Group

“Indonesian anti-terrorism officers shot dead two suspected bomb makers during a raid on the weekend and arrested more than a dozen as authorities linked a suicide bombing last week to an Islamic State-inspired network, police said on Monday. A 24-year-old student blew himself up outside a police station in the city of Medan in North Sumatra province last Wednesday, killing himself and wounding six people. Police had initially declared the attacker to be a “lone wolf”, but a national police spokesman said on Monday the student along with 22 other suspects in the area had links to the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD). JAD has been blamed for a series of attacks in recent years and was banned in Indonesia last year for “conducting terrorism” and being affiliated with foreign militants. “(The network in) North Sumatra has direct links to JAD,” police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said in a statement, adding that a leader of the group had been arrested. “Their main target is the police,” Prasetyo said in comments broadcast on television. Of the 23 suspects, two suspected bomb-makers were shot dead on Saturday while resisting arrest, while one officer was wounded during the raid, said Prasetyo.”


The Wall Street Journal: How Google Interferes With Its Search Algorithms And Changes Your Results

“Every minute, an estimated 3.8 million queries are typed into Google, prompting its algorithms to spit out results for hotel rates or breast-cancer treatments or the latest news about President Trump. They are arguably the most powerful lines of computer code in the global economy, controlling how much of the world accesses information found on the internet, and the starting point for billions of dollars of commerce. Twenty years ago, Google founders began building a goliath on the premise that its search algorithms could do a better job combing the web for useful information than humans. Google executives have said repeatedly—in private meetings with outside groups and in congressional testimony—that the algorithms are objective and essentially autonomous, unsullied by human biases or business considerations. The company states in a Google blog, “We do not use human curation to collect or arrange the results on a page.” It says it can’t divulge details about how the algorithms work because the company is involved in a long-running and high-stakes battle with those who want to profit by gaming the system. But that message often clashes with what happens behind the scenes.”

The Wall Street Journal: Notorious 8chan Forum Is An Internet Nomad

“Three months after being cut off from the internet, the operators of 8chan—the website associated with shootings at New Zealand mosques, a Texas Walmart and a synagogue in California—got it back online this week. But only briefly. Reborn under the new name 8kun, the site popped up on the internet on Monday, carrying a warning from its operators that some of the content might be of an “adult, mature or offensive nature.” By week’s end, the site had again gone dark, returned online and then gone dark again after web service providers twice pulled the plug. According to law-enforcement officials, the shooters in El Paso, the California synagogue and Christchurch mosques all made racists posts on 8chan ahead of their assaults. Critics say the site has served as a breeding ground for violence. At the center of the campaign to keep the site offline permanently is an unlikely adversary: 8chan’s creator, Fredrick Brennan. He handed over control of the site to internet entrepreneur Jim Watkins and his son Ron in 2015, and they had a falling out over the past year. This week’s actions represent the latest attempts by the Watkinses to revive the site, an effort that goes back three months.”