Eye on Extremism:June 27

Voice Of America: ‘Devastating’ Islamic State Comeback Within Sight, Report Warns

“The Islamic State terror group has set conditions for a comeback that “could be faster and even more devastating” than when it first burst onto the world stage, according to a new report out Wednesday. ISIS’s Second Comeback: Assessing the Next ISIS Insurgency, by the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), also warns the terror group, often referred to as IS or ISIS, is likely to reclaim territory both in Syria and in Iraq, where it is already seizing control. “ISIS has systematically eliminated village leaders and civilians who cooperated with anti-ISIS forces,” the report says. “It has re-imposed taxes on local populations in its historical support zones, displacing civilians and de facto controlling small pockets of terrain in Iraq.” In Syria, IS faces a more daunting task, where it is still battling the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and Hay’at Tharir al-Sham, al Qaida’s Syrian affiliate. Still, the report’s authors believe IS is well-prepared for the fight, having taken advantage of the slow and methodical U.S.-backed campaign to roll back the terror group’s self-declared caliphate. “ISIS deliberately withdrew and relocated many of its fighters and their families,” the reports states.”

The National Post: For The First Time, Canada Adds White Supremacist Neo-Nazi Groups To Its List Of Terrorist Organizations

“Canada’s official list of terrorist organizations now includes a white supremacist neo-Nazi organization and its “armed branch,” marking the first time that right-wing extremist groups have appeared on the list. The move comes as the country’s national security agencies have increasingly identified right-wing extremism as a threat to Canadian security in their public reports. The updated list also includes three new groups described as Iranian-backed Shia militants. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced the updated list on Wednesday in Regina, along with new measures to help prevent the spread of extremist content online. The Criminal Code list of terrorism entities now includes Blood and Honour, “an international neo-Nazi network whose ideology is derived from the National Socialist doctrine of Nazi Germany,” according to Public Safety Canada’s website. “Through their armed branch, Combat 18 (C18), the group has carried out violent actions, including murders and bombings.”

The Daily Beast: Al Qaeda’s Master Terrorists Are Still On Facebook And YouTube

“In 2006, Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish was repatriated to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo Bay after he’d served more than five years as an enemy combatant for training with al Qaeda, and fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan against the United States. Released as part of the Obama administration’s plans to shutter the offshore prison, Rubaish was admitted to Riyadh’s rather lackluster “deradicalization” program. Then, sometime in  2009, he escaped the program and Saudi Arabia with 11 other jihadists.  They all turned up in Yemen and Rubaish soon emerged as the mufti, or Islamic jurist, for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) where he spent the next six years appearing in propaganda videos for the group’s media outlet Al-Malahem, as well as releasing a number of fatwas and articles for other al Qaeda outlets including the English-language Inspire magazine.”

Al Monitor: Pentagon Sees Islamic State Resurgence In Libya Amid Tripoli Fighting

“The Donald Trump administration is seeing a “small” resurgence in the Islamic State’s numbers in Libya since strongman Khalifa Hifter began a bloody march on the capital Tripoli more than two months ago, the Pentagon’s second-ranking military official said. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Paul Selva said he suspects that forces supporting the US-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli may be able to hold out “for weeks or months” against Hifter. The United Nations says Hifter’s Libyan National Army has received weapons from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in violation of an arms embargo.  Both the LNA and the GNA ”are keeping a lid on IS for their own individual interests for a fair period of time,” Selva, who leaves his post at the end of October, told a gathering of reporters in Washington earlier this month. “Because they’re now going after one another in the capital, it’s actually taking their attention off of IS and we’ve seen a small resurgence of those [IS] camps in the central region.” It was not immediately clear how significant the resurgence of the Islamic State has been since the April offensive began.”

The New York Times: Avowed Neo-Nazi Admits To Murder Of German Politician

“An avowed neo-Nazi has admitted to the murder this month of a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party, Walter Lübcke, who had defended her decision to accept refugees into Germany. The 45-year-old suspect, identified by officials only as Stephen E. because of German privacy laws, confessed on Tuesday, Peter Frank, the country’s federal prosecutor, said on Wednesday. “He claims to have planned and carried out the murder of Mr. Lübcke alone,” Mr. Frank said. But he added that his office would continue to investigate the possibility that the suspect had had help. “Likewise, our investigation will continue to focus on whether that act, or murder, is based on a terrorist organization or whether the accused is a member of a right-wing terrorist group,” Mr. Frank said.”

The National: Cat Gifs, Memes And Emojis: The Internet Culture Of ISIS

“Telegram has been criticised for not acting fast enough to identify and block ISIS and other extremist groups from its platform. In February, the Counter Extremism Project said six years after the app’s founding, it remained “a terrorists’ platform of choice for the dissemination of online extremist content”. “The messaging application’s public-facing and private components are essential in allowing extremists the ability to propagate themselves online,” project researcher Joshua Fisher-Birch said.”

United States

CNN: New Jersey Woman Who Connected Would-Be Terrorists With ISIS Gets 48 Months In Prison

“A New Jersey woman who communicated on Facebook with members of ISIS under the name “Umm Nutella” only weeks after she pleaded guilty to connecting US-based extremists with the terrorist group was sentenced Wednesday to 48 months in prison, minus time served. Sinmyah Amera Ceasar, 24, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization in February 2017, has spent 28 months in prison in total.  Prosecutors said Ceasar was so prominent in her role as a facilitator for would-be terrorists that they brokered the cooperation agreement in the hopes that she could lead investigators to dangerous ISIS members. But when Ceasar was released on bail in April 2018 as part of that agreement, she went back on Facebook, chatting with the same ISIS members and reaching out to new ones, prosecutors said.  Ceasar chose the name “Umm Nutella” based on a marketing ploy in which ISIS members would take selfies with a jar of the hazelnut spread or, in some cases, a kitten to appeal to children, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation. During the three-day sentencing hearing, prosecutors and Ceasar's attorneys debated whether she was a diehard ISIS supporter or a troubled woman who's the product of neglect and abuse.”

The New York Times: Witness Could Face Perjury Charge In Navy SEAL Court-Martial

“A Navy SEAL who testified that it was he — not his platoon chief — who killed a wounded prisoner in Iraq may face perjury charges. The Navy said Wednesday it is reviewing Corey Scott's testimony following his stunning testimony last week in the court-martial of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher. Gallagher, 40, has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder. Witnesses at his San Diego trial had said they saw Gallagher stab a wounded young Islamic State captive in the neck and shoot at two civilians during his 2017 tour in Iraq. Scott testified that he, in fact, actually killed him by plugging his breathing tube. Scott said he thought the boy would survive Gallagher's stabbing and wanted to spare him being tortured by Iraqi forces. Prosecutors said Scott had never mentioned the asphyxiation in multiple conversations with them before the trial. Scott said they never asked him the cause of death.”

The Daily Beast: House Dems Stiff-Arm DHS On Domestic Terror Funds

“As white supremacist terror attacks have left dozens dead around the United States, the Department of Homeland Security has faced blistering criticism for its approach to the threat. Earlier this year, however, congressional Democrats declined to make more money available for the department’s efforts to thwart domestic terrorist attacks. Their reason, in part: concern the Trump administration could use new money to target American Muslims instead of white supremacists.  It’s a complex episode of a messy fight between Trump’s Department of Homeland Security and the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives—a fight with tens of millions of dollars at stake. And it didn’t have to happen.  When Trump came into office, his Office of Management and Budget didn’t ask Congress for money for a small grant program DHS used to fund efforts to counter domestic terrorism. A source familiar with the department’s efforts said there were concerns that some of the grants provided by DHS at the end of the Obama administration to help prevent attacks by homegrown violent extremists were inefficient and failed to address the threats adequately. After two years without funding, DHS officials decided to go straight to congressional appropriators to request the money instead of going through the White House.”

Syria

The Washington Post: Airstrike On Syria’s Main Rebel Enclave Kills 2 Paramedics

“An airstrike hit an ambulance in northwest Syria on Wednesday, killing two members of the opposition’s Syrian Civil Defense and wounding four others in the last major rebel stronghold in the country, Civil Defense and opposition activists said. The Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets, said the attack happened in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, which has been repeatedly attacked over the past weeks. The group said the latest deaths raise to 262 the number of Civil Defense members who have been killed since Syria’s civil war began eight years ago. The incident comes a week after two ambulance workers were killed in the nearby village of Maaret al-Numan. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in addition to the two Civil Defense members, eight other civilians were killed in Idlib province. Syrian state media reported that insurgents shelled the government-held village of Karnaz, killing one child. State news agency SANA said government forces bombarded “positions and movements” of al-Qaida-linked militants who control large parts of Idlib. Syrian government forces launched an offensive against the rebel-held territory in late April, leading to the collapse of a cease-fire negotiated by Turkey and Russia last year.”

Voice Of America: Car Bomb Targets Former IS Stronghold In Syria

“A powerful explosion on Wednesday rocked a town in northeast Syria, local sources told VOA. The car bomb attack, which took place on a main street near the center of Tabqa, wounded at least two security personnel and one civilian, the sources said. ”There are definitely more casualties, but we don't have any details yet as local security forces have blocked the entire area,” a Tabqa-based aid worker who requested anonymity for security reasons told VOA. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Islamic State terror group has carried out similar attacks in the past against U.S.-backed forces in the town and elsewhere in northeast Syria. Tabqa, which is administratively part of Raqqa province, was under IS rule from 2014 until 2017, when U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces took control of the town. ”The city has been secured since we liberated it from [IS] terrorists,” an SDF commander, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to reporters, told VOA. ”But these occasional incidents are expected as [IS] still has sleeper cells throughout the region.” SDF officials said they had arrested members of IS-affiliated sleeper cells in two northern Syrian cities this week.”

NPR: How Crop Fires Have Become The Latest Weapon Of War In Syria

“Syrians already suffering from war are seeing their source of food go up in flames amid widespread crop fires that appear to be intentionally set. AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Crop fires burn vast areas of farmland in Syria and Iraq. They've destroyed wheat, cotton and other crops, as well as threatened homes and lives. Some of the fires are accidental, but experts say more are intentional. NPR's Ruth Sherlock reports on how these crop fires have become the latest weapon of war. (SOUNDBITE OF FIRE ROARING) RUTH SHERLOCK, BYLINE: Families run in panic from the line of red flame that consumes the horizon. Women yank their children along through the burning wheat fields in northeast Syria, a huge black cloud of smoke above them. (SOUNDBITE OF FIRE ROARING) SHERLOCK: This video is one of the many posted on social media of the latest ordeal for thousands of Syrians and Iraqis.”

Daily Mail: ISIS Extremists At A Syrian Refugee Camp Threaten To Burn Australian Women And Children In Their Sleep As Revenge For The Evacuation Of Eight Orphans

“ISIS extremists are threatening to burn Australian women and children alive after eight children were rescued from Syria. The eight orphans were transported to Iraq on Sunday in a secret operation organised by the Australian government.  But around 50 Australians are still stranded at al-Hawl and are now being looked at as traitors by Islamic State loyalists, who remain active at the refugee camp.   Reports suggest the remaining Australians have been intimidated and threatened with horrific violence as a result of Sunday's evacuation, according to The Australian. Save The Children international policy director Matt Tinkler told the publication: 'Since the extraction, the risks for the 50 or so children and women who remain in the camps may have heightened. 'Reports from the camp are that those remaining are being threatened and intimidated.' He said the majority of those who remain are sick children and pregnant women who have 'no place in a war zone'.  Amnesty International is calling for more Australians to be returned because they are starving, without water and are constantly threatened with violence in camps. 'Around 60 Australian daughters, mothers, sisters, brothers and cousins remain trapped in this desperate part of Syria,' Amnesty's Australia refugee coordinator Graham Thom said in a statement.”

Kurdistan 24: SDF Arrest 5 ISIS Sleeper Cell Members In Manbij, Raqqa

“Counterterrorism units linked to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) arrested five members of the so-called Islamic State among sleeper cells in Raqqa and Manbij, a senior official said on Wednesday. Mustafa Bali, the head of the SDF press office in northeast Syria, wrote on Twitter that counterterrorism units had detained the five Islamic State members in “two separate successful raids in Raqqa and Manbij countryside.” Counterterrorism units had also recently arrested four Islamic State sleeper cells in the Hasakah province, including Abu Bashir, a senior Islamic State leader on June 21. “The authorities thank the citizens of the town for their cooperation and for remaining indoors while the operation was carried out,” Bali said at the time. The SDF official called on citizens to report criminal activity in their areas to the local Kurdish-led forces. A roadmap published by the US-led coalition for the defeat of the Islamic State following a meeting of senior coalition officials in Paris on Tuesday also underlined the threat of active sleeper cells. The Islamic State “has used its active cells in the region to attack our partners and the civilian populations both in Iraq and in Syria where we have recently seen an increase of [ISIS] attacks in the Levant,” the joint statement said.”

Iran

Reuters: Hezbollah Sees U.S. War On Iran As Unlikely: Report

“The Iran-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah believes a U.S. war on Iran is unlikely and U.S. President Donald Trump would not be able to control the results of a conflict that could engulf the region. Sheikh Naim Qassem, in an interview with Lebanon’s al-Joumhouria newspaper, said such a war would be fought on many fronts, not just one, meaning losses would be countless.  “At the regional level, we see as unlikely an American war against Iran for many reasons, the most important of them being firstly that Iran is a strong state with important defensive capabilities,” Qassem said.  Trump “does not benefit from a war that he can start but whose results he cannot control and which might begin with Iran but may be accompanied by the region being set on fire”, he said.  Hezbollah is a heavily armed group founded by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in 1982 that has fought more recently in regional conflicts including Syria and Iraq as part of a Tehran-backed alliance.  Qassem noted what he described as “the great accomplishments” of the alliance led by Iran over the last two decades in “Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere”.  The United States views Hezbollah as a terrorist group.”

Fox News: Husband Of Aid Worker Jailed In Iran Says His Wife Is Being Used As ‘Bargaining Chip’

“Richard Ratcliffe calls what Iran is doing “hostage diplomacy.” He has been on a hunger strike for 12 days. Camped outside the Iranian Embassy in London, his message is simple: His wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, must be freed. Nazanin was arrested while visiting her mother with her then 2-year-old daughter in Tehran three years ago and ultimately convicted of trying to overthrow the regime, charges her family calls false. They believe she is nothing but a bargaining chip. “I think it’s quite important,” Ratcliffe told Fox News, “that the U.S., the U.K. and other allies work together, with private diplomacy, and also at the UN. We can all take each other’s citizens hostage as bargaining chips. But that’s no way to solve issues. And people just need to be safe.” It was Nazanin who called the hunger strike, out of desperation. Ratcliffe followed in solidarity. He said Iran has stepped up the pressure on her since. She was able to call him over the weekend.”

The Wall Street Journal: Europeans Plan To Inject Capital Into Iranian Trade Effort

“European governments will double down this week on their efforts to keep alive economic ties with Iran, officials said, providing a credit line to help a special mechanism establish a route for trade between Iran and the West. The Europeans are planning to take the step despite Tehran’s threat to disregard some commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal and in the face of Washington’s demand to maximize economic pressure against Iran. The European move highlights diverging Western policies toward Tehran at a time when tensions between Iran and the U.S. are threatening to spiral into a possible military conflict. Europe has remained a staunch supporter of the nuclear deal which President Trump withdrew from in May 2018. While the U.S. has since placed strict economic sanctions on Iran, sending Iran’s economy into a deep recession, Europe has labored with little success to cushion the blow of the U.S. restrictions.”

The Wall Street Journal: Iran Hasn’t Breached Limits Of Nuclear Deal Yet

“Iran is still several days away from enriching enough uranium to violate the 2015 nuclear deal, diplomats said, failing to meet its self-imposed timeline and giving European countries more time to salvage the agreement. Iran had threatened to exceed the limit of a 300-kilogram stockpile of enriched uranium by Thursday, in what would have been its first intentional breach of the nuclear accord struck with the U.S., European powers, Russia and China. The ultimatum marked a heightened level of brinkmanship with the  U.S., which withdrew from the deal last year, imposed sanctions on Iran and began a military buildup in response to what Washington says are Iranian threats. According to European diplomats with knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran was approaching the 300-kilogram limit and could exceed it over the weekend. Iran has said it would abandon other important elements of the nuclear deal by next Wednesday. The U.S. has warned Iran against revving up its nuclear program and European officials have warned Iran against breaching the uranium stockpile limits.”

Iraq

ABC News: Iraq Sentences Indonesian IS Woman To 15 Years In Jail

“A top Iraqi court has sentenced an Indonesian woman to 15 years in jail for joining the Islamic State group. A statement by the Supreme Judicial Council said Wednesday that the woman was married to an IS member who was killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition. It said the woman had crossed into Iraq's Nineva province from Syria, without saying when. An Iraqi court sentenced in recent weeks about a dozen French citizens to death for being IS members. None of the sentences against the French have been carried out yet. Iraq has detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of connections to IS or other terror-related offenses, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, according to an analysis by the AP last year.”

Kurdistan 24: Bomb Targets Iraqi Police In Kirkuk After Arrest Of ISIS ‘Leader’ In Area: Reports

“An improvised explosive device (IED) targeted an Iraqi Federal Police patrol unit in western Kirkuk Province on Tuesday, killing one officer and injuring four others in the blast, local media reported. The incident occurred in the al-Rashad subdistrict of Kirkuk Province, one security source reportedly said, adding that the police had surrounded the area and transported the wounded personnel to the nearest hospital for medical treatment, according to Alsumaria. On Monday, the Iraqi security communications center, Security Media Cell (SMC), announced in a statement the arrest of an alleged leader of the Islamic State group in central Kirkuk city, in the al-Wahda neighborhood, located about 40 kilometers northeast of the location of the bombing. The security situation in Kirkuk—a territory disputed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Iraqi government—has remained precarious despite the territorial collapse of the Islamic State in Iraq over a year ago. The group continues to wage an insurgency in areas with weak security and little cooperation between security forces, threatenening the livelihoods of civilians. Along with bombings and kidnappings in recent months, the region was also hit by brush fires that engulfed agricultural lands, a significant portion of which belong to Kurdish farmers, and for a number of which the Islamic State claimed responsibility."

Turkey

The National Review: Turkey’s Africa Strategy Threatens To Breed Islamist Extremism

“When the Carter and Reagan administrations began supporting Islamists in Afghanistan, few policymakers recognized the Pandora’s box they were opening. The great global threat, after all, was Communism. And even if radical Islamism was a threat — as early as 1946, the U.S. intelligence community predicted it would be — Afghanistan was half a world away. While the notion that the Pentagon and the CIA once allied themselves with the Taliban or al-Qaeda is a popular but achronological myth, the blowback from Cold War support for Islamists is hard to dispute. Hand-wringing about Islamist terrorism and the post–9/11 “global war on terrorism” created a smokescreen that obscured China’s rise and distracted from Russia’s resurgence. Cold War leaders may have chosen to weaponize Islamism against Communism, but they did not create it. Extremism comes in many sectarian shades and has evolved independently against a sense of malaise within various Muslim societies, sometimes because of European inroads and imperialism, and sometimes for entirely different reasons. Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1791) preached a conservatism in central Arabia in order to reverse moral decline among his contemporary society and to return Islam to its fundamentals.”

Pakistan

Yahoo News: Pompeo Says Remains Hopeful Pakistan Will Crack Down On Islamist Militants

“U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a trip to India on Wednesday that he remained hopeful that neighboring Pakistan would chose the “right course” in cracking down on Islamist fundamentalists. The United States and Britain have long urged Pakistan to deal with militant groups. India alleges that Pakistan, its arch-enemy, had a hand in a suicide bombing that nearly sparked a full-blown conflict earlier this month. Pakistan has consistently denied playing any role. In an interview with broadcaster India Today, Pompeo said he had discussed Pakistan in his meetings in New Delhi on Wednesday. “I think this administration has been very clear to Pakistan our expectation. They cannot be supporting terror, whether that is cross-border terror between Afghanistan or Pakistan or whether it's terror that emanates from Pakistan and comes to this country,” Pompeo said. He said the Trump administration had taken the threat from Pakistan “far more seriously” than the administration of former president Barack Obama. “We still have a lot of work to do. But as a diplomat I always remain hopeful that Pakistan will choose the right course. I think for the Pakistani people it is the best outcome,” Pompeo added.”

Gulf News: One Killed As Militants Attack Pakistan Police Housing Complex

“A police constable was killed and five people injured in Pakistan on Wednesday, following a gun battle with Taliban militants at a police housing and training complex, security officials said. Three militants wearing suicide vests attempted to storm the complex in the restive southwestern province of Balochistan when confronted by guards at the entrance. “Police personnel deployed at the gate killed one of the suicide bombers,” senior police officer Abdul Rahman Luni told Reuters. “The other two blew themselves up inside the police complex,” he said, adding that a senior constable was killed in the attack, and five wounded people were taken to hospital. The attack was claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, in a statement sent to journalists. Military cordoned off the area after the attack. The walled complex comprises police residences and training facilities and is heavily guarded in a province where attacks on security officials are common. Islamist militant groups and separatists fighting the central government are active in mineral-rich Baluchistan, with frequent attacks on gas and transport infrastructure and security posts.”

Yemen

The National: More Raids Expected After ISIS Leader's Capture, Yemen Security Official Says

“The capture of the ISIS leader in Yemen resulted from the arrest of an Al Qaeda leader weeks earlier and will lead to many more similar operations, an adviser to Yemen’s defence minister said on Wednesday. Saudi and Yemeni special forces seized Abu Osama Al Muhajer as well as the ISIS financial controller and other local members of the terror group in a raid on June 3, the Arab military coalition fighting rebels in Yemen said on Tuesday. Gen Yahya Abu Hatem told The National the success of the operation was largely due to the arrest of senior Al Qaeda member Bilal Muhammed Ali Al Wafi on May 18. Al Wafi was captured by government forces in the mountainous area of Habashi in the southern province of Taez. The US designated Al Wafi as a terrorist in 2017. “The capture Bilal Al Wafi led to the arrest of Abu Osama Al Muhajer, especially because he was linked to many terrorist attacks across the country,” Gen Abu Hatem said. The coalition did not reveal where the ISIS members were captured but Gen Abu Hatem suspected they were seized in Al Mahrah province in south-eastern Yemen. “What is confirmed is that he is a bank of information through which the Yemeni government and the Arab coalition will be able to attack ISIS in Yemen,” he said.”

Xinhua: Gunmen Blow Up Gas Export Pipeline In SE Yemen

“Unknown gunmen blew up Yemen's major gas export pipeline on Wednesday evening, a government official told Xinhua, just two days following similar attacks on the oil pipeline in the war-torn Arab country. The government source, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the explosion occurred in Radhum district of Shabwa province and sabotaged the pipeline linking between Yemen's gas-producing Marib province and the export terminal of Balhaf. Residents confirmed that the explosion set up fire that could be seen from several miles away. Wednesday's explosion came just two days after similar attacks on the oil pipeline in the government-controlled province of Shabwa. Yemeni government forces are in charge of securing the country's main gas pipeline and other oil pipelines in Shabwa. Late last year, oil production and export were resumed in Shabwa, following years of unrest that forced oil companies in the province to stop their operations. No groups have so far claimed responsibility for blowing up the gas pipeline, but previous similar attacks in the region were claimed by al-Qaida militants or anti-government tribesmen.”

Nigeria

Sahara Reporters: Boko Haram Kills 20 Farmers In Borno

“Suspected Boko Haram terrorists on Monday have slaughtered at least 20 farmers on their farmlands in a border town close to Niger Republic, a security source said. The incident happened at Ngamgam in Mobar local government area of northern part of Borno State. According to the source, the incident resulted in the exodus of people from the settlement to Damasak town. “We have information that reveals that on 25 June, 2019, suspected members of the deadly insurgency group attacked Ngamgam settlement about 50km east of Damask and killed 20 farmers in their farms,” the security source told SaharaReporters.”

United Kingdom

The Guardian: Anti-Islamic Extremist Permanently Excluded From Entering UK

“A prominent anti-Islamic extremist whose organisation is being investigated in Austria over links to the Christchurch shooting suspect has apparently been permanently excluded from entering the UK. Martin Sellner, the Austrian leader of Generation Identity, was being excluded on security grounds and posed a serious threat to the UK’s interests of preventing social harm and countering extremism, according to a Home Office letter which has been posted online. It added that Sellner, who was stopped from entering Britain at Stansted airport last year, was the co-founder and de facto leader of Generation Identity, “an organisation which actively promotes anti-Islamic and anti-immigration narratives and directly targets Islamic communities through publicity stunts”. It had been assessed that he was likely to attempt to return to the UK, the letter stated, to provide support to Generation Identity’s UK branch and undertake publicity stunts which directly targeted Islamic and immigrant communities. The home secretary, Sajid Javid, had authorised the exclusion order, according to the letter, which was publicised via Generation Identity’s Telegram channel.”

Europe

Voice Of America: Spain Separatists' Terror Link To Venezuela Appears Well-Trodden

“When the Basque terrorist group ETA's most wanted fugitive, Josu Ternera, accused of ordering a 1987 bombing that killed 11 people in Spain,was arrested across the border in France on May 17, he was using a Venezuelan passport with the false name of Bruno Marti. Days later, Spanish police dismantled the Guerrilla Army of the Free Galician People (EGPCG), another separatist group that had conducted bombings in northeastern Spain. That group's leader, Jose Gil, had attempted an escape to Venezuela. When Anna Gabriel, a head of the Catalan far-left separatist organization CUP, fled Spain last year to avoid arrest for allegedly inciting violence, her first stop was: Venezuela. “There is clear evidence of Venezuelan support for terrorist and separatist movements,” said Ramon Peralta, a senior law professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, who believes that there are ideological ties between extremist groups and the Venezuelan government,which provides them key assistance. “Police officials stationed at [Spain's] embassies in countries where there is a terrorist presence keep close contact with the local governments about the matter,” a Spanish foreign ministry spokesmen told VOA, adding that “investigations have been conducted into ETAs presence in Venezuela over recent years.”

Latin America

Fox News: 4 Suspected ISIS Members Arrested In Nicaragua, Were Possibly Headed For The US

“Four suspected members of the Islamic State terror group were captured by authorities in Nicaragua on Tuesday after entering the country illegally from Costa Rica, according to officials. The Nicaraguan National Police said in a statement the four men were caught around 10 a.m. by members of the country's armed forces after entering through an unauthorized crossing point known as La Guasimada in the Cardenas municipality, located on the southwestern border with Costa Rica. Two of the men were identified as Egyptian nationals while the other two were Iraqi. All four were deported back to Costa Rica by Tuesday night. The arrests came after an alert attributed to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations that warned of three possible terrorists who had recently arrived in Central America. The identities of three men detained on Tuesday matched the alert, according to Reuters. The Egyptians were identified by police as Mohamed Ibrahim, 33, and Mahmoud Samy Eissa, 26, while the Iraqis were Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury, 41 and Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob, 29. The first three men arrived in Costa Rica on June 9, according to their immigration documents given to police."

Southeast Asia

The Independent Singapore: 40-Year-Old Singaporean Who Planned To Join Syria’s Islamic State Detained Under ISA

“Imran bin Mahmood, a radicalised 40-year-old Singaporean, was issued an Order of Detention (OD) under the Internal Security Act (ISA). This was announced in a press statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released on June 25, Tuesday. Mr Imran, who is unemployed, was detained in January of this year after investigations proved he was “radicalised and harboured an intention to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIS.” The statement from the MHA said that Mr Imran began to be radicalised in 2013, through listening to lectures online of “foreign religious preachers, including those who preached about the imminent coming of the end-times.” He, therefore, became an avid supporter of the violent actions and goals of ISIS. The following year, he began to want to live under “ISIS’s so-called caliphate in Syria/Iraq.” He then studied how to enter Syria, and showed a willingness to fight for Syria and defend and expand its territory. He also believed that if he died while fighting for ISIS, he would become a martyr for his cause. The MHA statement also said that Mr Imran was prepared to join in other such militant and terrorist groups in the region, such as the Free Syrian Army and Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham, a group associated with Al-Qaeda.”

Technology

ABC News: Tech Giants Face Questions On Hate Speech Going Into Debates

“Executives of Facebook, Google and Twitter faced questioning by a House panel Wednesday on their efforts to stanch terrorist content and viral misinformation on their social media platforms. The scrutiny comes as the tech giants step up safety measures to prevent disinformation online targeting the Democratic presidential debates starting Wednesday night. Lawmakers and tech industry executives are concerned that the debates could be targeted by Russian or other hostile parties to foment political conflict using social media, as happened in the 2016 election. U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russia carried out a sweeping political disinformation campaign on social media to influence the election, and they have repeatedly warned about the threat of foreign meddling in American politics, especially ahead of elections. “As the presidential debates begin, we are building on our efforts to protect the public conversation and enforce our policies against platform manipulation,” Twitter said in a statement Wednesday. “It's always an election year on Twitter.” Facebook said it will have “a dedicated team proactively monitoring for threats as well as investigating any reports of abuse in real time in the lead up to, during and following the debates.”

NPR: Why Facebook Won't Kick Off A Warlord

“In one Facebook post, he stands tall in yellow camouflage, decorated with badges. He promises he'll increase the salaries of teachers in Sudan. In another post, he hunches over a fire, cooking food with locals. And in another, published days after he oversaw a bloodbath, he's standing on top of his jeep, brimming with joy as throngs of men, women and children dance around him. Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, is a social media personality. He is also the leader of the Rapid Support Forces — the paramilitary group that attacked thousands of pro-democracy protesters this month, leaving more than 100 dead. This is a bit of a second act for Hemeti, who also served time with the Janjaweed, the militia group considered responsible for the genocide in Darfur about 15 years ago, according to Foreign Policy magazine. On Facebook, multiple pages promote Hemeti as a formidable yet kind authority figure.”

The Wall Street Journal: Cios See End Of ‘AI Gone Wild’ In Congressional Hearings

“Chief information officers this week are keeping a close eye on federal hearings concerning misinformation and malicious activity in social media—fearing a broader regulatory clampdown on the use of artificial intelligence, industry analysts and trade groups say. Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and other social-media companies employ machine learning to help screen activity by hate groups, terrorist propaganda or computer-manipulated videos called deepfakes, which look real but aren’t. Yet many bad actors are using similar tools to avoid detection. Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, on Wednesday told lawmakers on the House Homeland Security Committee that the company is developing tools to better identify and combat malicious content posted by bots and other AI-enabled software, calling those efforts a priority.”

The Wall Street Journal: White House To Hold Social Media Summit

“The White House will hold a social media summit on July 11, aiming to have a “robust conversation” about online platforms at a time when they are under increasing attack in Washington. White House confirmation of the summit came after President Trump dialed up his criticism of tech companies on Wednesday morning. He said in an interview on Fox Business Network that online giants such as Google and Facebook Inc. are “trying to rig the election,” while Twitter Inc. is making it harder for users to follow him. The administration moves appear to suggest that the White House and its Republican allies will make alleged anticonservative bias a major issue heading into the 2020 election, as they did in 2018. The online companies have denied accusations that they try to suppress conservative speech. But conservatives continue to raise concerns about the big platforms’ ability to influence how content is consumed on the internet.”