SINGAPORE’S ANTI-TERROR AGENCY WARNS AGAINST CYBER JIHAD
Singapore’s state-run anti-terrorism agency has warned citizens against self-radicalized terrorism in cyberspace and called for vigilance and cooperation to curb the phenomenon.
The Internal Security Department (ISD) issued the warnings as it released its Terrorism Threat Assessment Report 2022, on July 13. The agency said self-radicalization remains a primary threat to the country.
“The global threat from terrorism and radicalization persists. Singapore and Singaporeans are not immune. Our strongest defense is our collective vigilance, preparedness, resilience, and unity,” the ISD said in the report.
The report stated that foreign terrorists may make their way to new conflict zones and hotspots, while radicalised individuals may put into action attack plans conceived during the pandemic once travel bans are lifted.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 amplified interest within online far-right extremist communities, where the pro-Ukraine narrative dominates chats.
The ISD says it feels the conflict can contribute to the pro-terror idealism being peddled by transnational terror outfits like the Islamic State (ISIS) and terrorist factions within the local region.
Singapore is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Southeast Asian nation of 5.6 million. However, it has experienced the spread of radical ideologies online, fuelling the self-radicalization threat.
In April 2022, the ISD arrested a self-radicalized Singaporean who was allegedly influenced by foreign radical preachers online.
The agency says it has arrested 45 self-radicalized individuals so far — 33 Singaporeans and 12 foreigners — under the Internal Security Act. Of them, three Singaporeans and 10 foreigners have been convicted for terror financial offenses.
Terrorist threats in South-east Asia decline in 2021, according to Singapore report
HANOI, Jan 10 — Terrorist threats in South-east Asian countries declined in 2021, a Singapore think-tank said in its annual threat assessment published last week.
There were fewer terror-related incidents in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines as governments battled Covid-19, Vietnam news agency quoting the Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis report published by researchers at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
In Thailand in 2021, meanwhile, violent incidents connected to an insurgency in the far south were similar to those in the previous year, the researchers found.
In Indonesia, South-east Asia’s largest country, the number of attacks and plots by violent extremist Islamic militant groups dipped during the past two years compared with before the outbreak of Covid-19, the report said.
Jamaah Ansharut Daulah’s (JAD) relatively stagnant activities in 2020 to 2021 and the decline of Eastern Indonesia Mujahideen’s (MIT) terror activities in 2021, it said, “can be partly attributed to movement restrictions and higher costs associated with domestic travels due to the pandemic.”
In 2021, JAD was involved in at least nine incidents, including five using explosive materials. Those included two suicide bomb attacks and a suicide bomb plot, compared with 11 incidents the previous year.
The report specifically linked the Covid-19 pandemic to the drop in terror activities in Malaysia last year.
UN Team Says ISIS Committed Genocide Against Yazidis
The Islamic State terrorist group committed genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq, a United Nations (UN) team said Monday.
The investigators called the evidence of genocide “clear and convincing,” according to Karim Khan, who leads the team and added that it had identified the perpetrators “that clearly have responsibility for the crime of genocide against the Yazidi community.”
Khan, a British attorney, is expected to become the International Criminal Court prosecutor in the case next month.
He said, the Islamic State tried “to destroy the Yazidi, physically and biologically” and threatened many different Yazidi villages with the ultimatum to “convert or die.”
“Evidence collected by the team had also confirmed ISIL was responsible for acts of extermination, murder, rape, torture, enslavement, persecution and other war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Yazidis,” he said, using another acronym for the group.
Islamic State militants considered the Yazidis to be devil worshippers, as their religion combines parts of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.
Based on the U.N.’s findings, Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State, asked the U.N. Security Council on Monday to refer the case to the International Criminal Court.
IS was defeated in Iraq in 2017, the U.N. says the group left behind more than 200 mass graves that could contain up to 12,000 victims.
The U.N. team says it has identified 1,444 potential perpetrators.
February 17, 2021
“Men armed with knives, machetes and pick-axes killed 10 people in an overnight attack on a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a witness and a local rights group said on Tuesday, blaming a Islamist militia. Killings by armed groups more than doubled last year, according to the United Nations. In late 2019 the Congo army began a campaign to eliminate the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan militia that has been operating in the vast country since the 1990s. The ADF has responded with a rash of retaliatory massacres of civilians. “We are now preparing for the burial of our fallen compatriots. They were executed,” said Jean Manzekele, the head of Kalembo village in North Kivu, 45 km southeast of Beni. “We realized that it was the ADF because of the way they attacked. They were shouting loudly in a foreign language which was difficult to understand.” The army said it had secured the village and was pursuing the attackers, who also injured two people. Violence in the three eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu has “become part of a systematic pattern to disrupt civilians’ lives, instil fear and create havoc,” UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said in Geneva on Tuesday.”
“Five members of an Islamist militant group were sentenced to death on Tuesday by a court in Bangladesh for killing a U.S. blogger critical of religious extremism six years ago. Avijit Roy, an engineer of Bangladeshi origin, was hacked to death by machete-wielding assailants in February 2015 while returning home with his wife from a Dhaka book fair. His wife, blogger Rafida Bonya Ahmed, suffered head injuries and lost a thumb in the attack. In all, six men were convicted of belong to the al Qaeda-inspired domestic militant group Ansar Ullah Bangla Team. Police say the group was behind the murders of more than a dozen secular activists and bloggers. Syed Ziaul Haq, a sacked army major believed to be the group leader and accused of masterminding Roy’s killing, was one of two men tried in absentia, with both receiving death sentences, public prosecutor Golam Sarwar Khan said. The Special Anti-Terrorism Tribunal jailed one for life. Nazrul Islam, defence lawyer for the six men, said they would appeal against their sentences. Roy’s widow said the verdict would not bring peace to her family, especially as Haq remained at large. “Simply prosecuting a few foot-soldiers — and ignoring the rise and roots of extremism — does not mean justice for Avi’s death,” she said in a statement.”
“When ISIS was largely defeated by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in March 2019, thousands of its fighters surrendered or were detained. Among them were tens of thousands of women and children, including many thousands who were foreigners who had come to support ISIS. This was only the tip of an ISIS iceberg that once numbered some 50,000 foreign volunteers and tens of thousands of local fighters. The remnants of ISIS were taken to detention facilities. Some of these murderers were well known, while others were sympathizers or just children of ISIS members. However, the SDF and its civilian counterparts in eastern Syria, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria don’t have the finances or the facilities to do war crimes trials for ISIS or sort all the worst from the average ISIS members. In addition, countries don’t recognize the AANES as a government, so they don’t want to do business with it regarding detainees. This has created a collective lack of responsibility by the international community. Many countries do not want ISIS members back because they know that justice systems in places like Europe have no real laws to keep them in prison. This creates an uninviting possibility for wealthy countries, from Australia to France, of having to take back their ISIS citizens and then letting them go.”
“The US-led anti-Daesh coalition is to establish a new military base along the Turkish-Syrian border to weed out any remnants of the terror organization — a key Middle East policy priority of American President Joe Biden’s administration. The base will be located in the Ain Dewar area of Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah. Last month, Russian military police were deployed near a highway used by the US in Ain Dewar village, north of the city of Derik, to send logistic and military enhancements to its bases in Iraq. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the arrival of the new convoy of the coalition, with more than 50 vehicles and trucks, to the Syrian territory last week. The military convoy, carrying armored vehicles, logistical equipment, and weapons was reportedly seen crossing into northeastern Syria from the Kurdistan Regional Government-ruled area of northern Iraq. The potential local cooperation with the Syrian People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against Daesh is expected to draw anger from Ankara as it considers the group a terror organization due to its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The US announced the formation of a broad international coalition to defeat Daesh in September 2014, and Turkey began taking part in the coalition the following year by opening its southern Incirlik airbase to coalition forces.”
“For decades, Iran has built and operated a network of loyal armed groups around the Middle East that seek to expand Tehran’s military footprint and gain political influence in the region. These groups often operate under the direction of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Revolutionary Guard seeks to defend the Iranian state and advance the model of Shiite Islam that underpinned the revolution. This network of militias was long overseen by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian commander of the Guards’ foreign wing, the Quds Force, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in January 2020. In recent years, Washington has accused several Iran-backed militias of killing American service members and has designated some as terrorist organizations. In the wake of Gen. Soleimani’s death, new groups have emerged in Iraq, claiming responsibility for attacks targeting American interests. Not much is known about these groups, but many are believed to be splinters of bigger, long-established factions using new names in an attempt to shield their identity.”
“NATO defence ministers are set to expand the military alliance’s training mission in Iraq once the coronavirus pandemic eases, senior officials and diplomats said, potentially cementing a broader role for the Atlantic alliance in the Middle East. Ministers are set to agree plans on Thursday during a video conference, potentially taking the mission from its current maximum of some 500 troops to around 4,000 or 5,000, four diplomats said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday he expected defence ministers to agree to an expanded mission, with more allied personnel working in more security institutions across Iraq. “The mission will expand gradually, in response to the situation,” he said. NATO has had a non-combat, “train-and-advise” mission in Baghdad since October 2018 but plans to expand it were delayed, in part, by COVID-19 and also due to concerns about regional stability after a U.S. drone killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad on Jan. 3. 2020. Earlier expansion plans were mainly in response to a demand by then-U.S. President Donald Trump for NATO to do more in the Middle East. This time, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former intelligence chief and U.S. ally who took office in May, is eager to have a greater NATO presence in the country at a time of rising insecurity, diplomats said.”
“The Biden administration laid out its priorities in Iraq on Tuesday, saying it wants a strategic partnership with a stable and democratic country, while preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State terror group there. “The United States will remain a steady, reliable partner for Iraq, and for the Iraqi people – today and in the future,” Deputy U.S. Ambassador Richard Mills told a virtual meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Iraq. “The United States will seek to help Iraq assert its sovereignty in the face of enemies, at home and abroad, by preventing an ISIS resurgence and working toward Iraq’s stability,” he added, using an acronym for the terror group. Mills said the new administration will support Iraq’s anti-corruption and economic reform efforts and continue providing humanitarian assistance. Washington will also back efforts to control militias and Iran’s destabilizing activities, while advising and assisting the Iraqi government’s counterterrorism forces. The envoy said stability requires credible national elections, which are planned for October. “These scheduled elections will be critical in establishing a responsive and representative government,” Mills said. Iraq’s parliament has adopted legislation to finance the elections and registration of candidates and voters has begun.”
“A Shi’ite militant group calling itself Saraya Awlia al-Dam claimed responsibility on Tuesday for a rocket attack against a U.S. base in Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital city of Irbil that killed a U.S.-led coalition contractor and injured at least nine other people. “We approached the base of the occupation, al-Harir, in Erbil at a distance of 7 km, and we were able to direct a devastating strike of 24 rockets, which hit their targets accurately, after the CRAM system and the occupiers’ shells failed to intercept them,” the group said in a social media statement obtained by SITE Intelligence Group. Little is known about the Shi’ite militant group calling itself Saraya Awlia al-Dam, or Guardians of Blood Brigade. The group first appeared in Iraqi local news in late August 2020 after it allegedly carried out two separate attacks against U.S. forces pulling out of Camp Taji north of Baghdad. The group, via the Telegram messaging app, in late January also claimed responsibility for an operation against U.S. forces in Dhiqar province, followed by another attack on U.S. logistics in western Basra. According to Phillip Smyth, an analyst on Shi’ite militants at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the little-known group has demonstrated it has access to the weaponry that Iran has access to and gives to its Shi’ite proxies in the region.”
“A volley of rockets targeting an US airbase in Iraq’s Kurdistan region killed a foreign civilian contractor and wounded nine others including Americans in the worst attack in a year on the US-led military coalition. The rockets were launched late on Monday from an area south of the main city Erbil near the border with Kirkuk province and also fell on some residential areas close to the airport, officials said on condition of anonymity. The barrage was the first time in nearly two months that Western military or diplomatic installations were targeted in Iraq after a string of similar incidents last year. The rare attack on Erbil was claimed by a little known Shia group calling itself Awliyaa al-Dam, or Guardians of Blood. About a dozen such groups have cropped up in the past year claiming rocket attacks, but US and Iraqi security officials say they are front groups for prominent pro-Iran factions including Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. “The American occupation will not be safe from our strikes in any inch of the homeland, even in Kurdistan, where we promise we will carry out other qualitative operations,” the Awliyaa al-Dam said, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, an NGO that tracks online activity of armed organisations.”
“President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday Turkey will expand its cross-border operations against Kurdish militants after 13 captured Turks were killed in northern Iraq. Turkey said on Sunday militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) killed the captives, including police and military personnel, as it was carrying out a military operation against the group. Erdogan also repeated Ankara’s complaint that it had not received enough international solidarity. “Whether you speak up or not, we know our duty. We will not give the terrorists a chance,” Erdogan told supporters from his AK Party in the Black Sea province of Trabzon. “We will expand our operations into areas where threats are still dense,” he added. “We will stay in the areas we secure as long as necessary to prevent similar attacks again.” The PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union, has waged a decades-old insurgency in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast. More than 40,000 people have been killed in the conflict. In the past two years, Turkey has launched several cross-border operations to fight the PKK in northern Iraq, where the group has its stronghold in the Qandil mountains.”
“The Afghan Taliban have kept up a close relationship with Al Qaeda despite having pledged to stop cooperating with terrorist groups, permitting the militants to conduct training in Afghanistan and deploy fighters alongside its forces, according to the head of a U.N. panel monitoring the insurgency. The Taliban’s association with Al Qaeda has continued even though the insurgency signed an agreement with the U.S. a year ago that bans cooperation with or hosting of terrorist groups — and despite a public statement by Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Taliban had “made the break” with terrorist groups. “There is still clearly a close relationship between Al Qaeda and the Taliban,” said Edmund Fitton-Brown, the coordinator of the U.N. panel responsible for tracking the Taliban and terrorist groups in Afghanistan. The reports of the U.N. Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team are based in part on information shared by foreign governments’ intelligence services. “We believe that the top leadership of Al Qaeda is still under Taliban protection,” he said.”
“The Pakistan navy’s seventh biennial multinational “Aman” (peace) exercise in Pakistani waters aimed at fostering international cooperation to fight piracy, terrorism and other crimes threatening maritime security concluded on Tuesday. Around 45 navies, including those of the United States, Britain and China, took part in the Arabian Sea exercise with ships and observers. “The purpose of this exercise to bring regional and extra-regional navies on one platform and conduct exercises to enhance intra-operability in addition to counter terrorist threat and the crime which are happening in maritime domain,” Commodore Khan Mehmood Asif told media. In the sea phase of the six-day exercise, navies conducted exercises together against terrorist and piracy threat in the maritime domain, he added.”
“The U.S. on Tuesday urged Yemen’s Houthi rebels to halt their attack on the central province of Marib, warning against exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement the Houthis’ attack on Marib, which is held by the rival internationally recognized government, was “the action of a group not committed to peace or to ending the war afflicting the people of Yemen.” The State Department’s comments came the same day that the revocation of the Houthis’ status as a terrorist group took effect. The move by President Joe Biden’s administration was welcomed by the U.N. and aid groups who feared former president Donald Trump’s actions would impede aid deliveries to the country. Yemen’s war started in 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition intervened months later to dislodge the rebels and restore the internationally recognized government. The conflict has killed some 130,000 people and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The rebels earlier this month renewed their attacks on the oil-rich province, an anti-Houthi stronghold.”
“Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday dismissed accusations of any links between the group and the killing of researcher and activist Lokman Slim. “Any incident that happens in your area then you are accused until the opposite is proven? Is this something that is practiced in the whole wide world? Where else is this logic present?” Nasrallah said in a televised speech. Activist Lokman Slim was shot and found dead in his car in south Lebanon earlier in February, marking the first killing of a high-profile activist in years. He was a critic of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group. His sister has suggested he was murdered because of those views. Hezbollah has previously condemned the killing. A filmmaker and publisher, Slim had spoken out against what he called Hezbollah’s intimidation tactics and attempts to monopolise Lebanese politics. Nasrallah was also critical on Tuesday about blame pointed at the group for involvement in the Aug. 4 Beirut blast that killed 200 people. “Hezbollah is guilty until proven otherwise – what kind of a rule is that? …Beirut port – you, Hezbollah, blew up Beirut port until the truth about the explosion is revealed,” he said.”
“The assassination of the Lebanese activist and writer Lokman Slim—who was openly critical of Hezbollah—was in the making for years. His killer pulled the trigger earlier this month because the timing at home and abroad was convenient for his assassins, who wanted to send a message. It has always been a matter of time. Hezbollah’s critics—including myself—always felt the shadows following. You have to go about your daily life constantly looking over your shoulder, checking under your car for a bomb every time you leave your house, and feeling your heart sink deeper each time your children’s school bus is late. We always knew we were being followed and monitored. Slim refused to live his life in these shadows, but he was not careless. When I decided to leave Lebanon for good in 2016, after receiving similar threats, Slim encouraged me to do so. He refused to leave but did not expect me to do the same because he also knew that not everyone could afford to make the same sacrifices. His motto—”Zero Fear”—which has taken over Lebanon’s social media scene recently, is not a requirement; it’s a choice and a very calculated one.”
“No fewer than 81 Boko Haram terrorist fighters have been killed while a soldier paid the supreme price in a fresh onslaught against the insurgents by the Nigerian military in Sambisa general area. Leadership yesterday gathered that the soldier died from a landmine attack while four others sustained various degrees of injuries, even as fleeing terrorists have continued to wreak havoc and razing villages in their escape routes. According to report from military intelligence source, the troops of Sector 1 comprising troops of 21 and 26 Brigades supported by the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) cleared many villages of terrorists in the axis including Garin Bello, Kwoche, Lawanti, Alfa Bula Hassan, and Alfa Cross among others. “Nigerian troops inside Sambisa Forest encountered stiff resistance from the terrorists who laid improvised explosive devices along the troops’ axis of advance. “The relentless troops destroyed the terrorists’ camps and recovered gun trucks and weapons as NAF aircraft continue to provide close air and interdiction support to the ground forces. “Regrettably a soldier paid the supreme sacrifice with 4 other soldiers wounded in an improvised explosive devices incident,” the intelligence officer added in a message to the troops on behalf of the chief of army staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru.”
“A convicted terror offender who was the Manchester Arena bomber’s friend “is unfit to give evidence” to the inquiry into the attack, his lawyer has said. Abdalraouf Abdallah was visited by the bomber Salman Abedi in prison in the months before the 2017 attack. He has refused to appear at the inquiry but families of the attack’s victims want to know why he cannot be forced. A hearing was told a decision on whether the families could access his medical reports would be made later.Abdallah, who is in prison, is refusing to give evidence to the Manchester Arena Inquiry even though he has been described as having had a significant relationship with Abedi. Abedi detonated a homemade device in the foyer of Manchester Arena as people left a concert on 22 May 2017, killing 22 people and injuring hundreds more. The families of those who died have been told there are medical reasons why Abdallah cannot be forced to give evidence, but they want to see the reasons for themselves. After giving a “no comment” interview to lawyers before the inquiry began, forensic psychiatrist Dr John Kent was instructed to interview Abdallah in prison but he refused and instead was interviewed by a psychiatrist suggested by his legal team, Dr Richard Latham, whose report was then reviewed by Dr Kent.”
“A man accused of terrorism offences spoke of a plan to target Prince George and the Royal Family by poisoning ice cream, a court has heard. Sahayb Abu, 27, is on trial at the Old Bailey accused of buying an 18in (46cm) sword and balaclavas as he planned a terror attack during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court heard how, when talking to an undercover police officer, Abu spoke of the plan to target Prince George and other members of the Royal Family, which ended in a person getting sentenced to 28 years in prison. In a recording of the conversation from last year played to the jury, Abu can be heard saying: “They’re trynna make it out as if he [the person jailed] was targeting the baby, he was targeting the family, the Royal Family. “You know what his plan was? Say like the Royal Family house is there, go to the nearest Sainsbury’s and… put poison in the ice creams so the Royal Family will go and buy the ice creams from there. Abu was arrested on 9 July last year. The court also heard how unemployed Abu tried to persuade the undercover officer to smuggle a firearm into the country from north Africa. This came after the accused spoke of targeting an imam in Buckinghamshire. He told the officer that his target was an imam from the shia sect, who are considered apostates by extremists such as Islamic State.”
“UK intelligence and military chiefs recently revealed details of a classified cyber operation they ran to weaken ISIS in 2016-17. While the British government’s signals intelligence agency GCHQ acknowledged the cyber mission three years ago, details have remained under wraps until now. The multi-pronged operation involved weakening the terror organization by targeting it ideologically and operationally, the two services chiefs revealed in a Sky News podcast. The operation included disabling the organization’s drone capabilities, disrupting their communication by jamming their operatives’ phones, and targeting servers to block online propaganda, the report added, citing Jeremy Fleming, director of GCHQ, and General Sir Patrick Sanders, head of UK Strategic Command. The operation was launched after it became clear that the group was chiefly relying on cyber technology to release propaganda, for recruitment, command and control, and planning, the report said. “It was a very cheap and effective way of waging terrorist warfare,” Sanders explained. “What we wanted to do was to turn that strength, that dependence that they had on the cyber into a vulnerability, and also to undermine the credibility of their information campaign and of their ideology.”
“The French National Assembly, after 135 hours of sometimes heated debate, adopted legislation with the anodyne official purpose of reinforcing “Republican principles” but the tough real objective of shutting down the sources of Islamist terrorism across the country. Attacked by the left as an infringement of liberties and by the right as a weak compromise, the draft law reflects a decision by President Emmanuel Macron to defeat what he calls “Islamist separatism” and reinforce the unifying principles of French secularism, which affords no place in politics for religion. It will go to the Senate next month for final approval. More than 300 amendments to the draft law were adopted, but it retained its core elements and was approved with 347 votes in favor, 151 against, and 65 abstentions. Mr. Macron’s dominant centrist party, La République en Marche, backed the bill. With 15 months remaining before the presidential election, the left is in disarray, unable to identify a viable candidate. This has prompted Mr. Macron to embrace center-right territory for now. He hopes to lure voters who might otherwise vote for the right-wing Republicans or even for Marine Le Pen, the perennial rightist candidate whose weaknesses were again revealed in a televised debate last week.”
“A new report into the Christchurch terror attack has outlined for the first time what police and paramedics were faced with when they reached the scenes of the March 15 massacre. And chilling new images of the man responsible have emerged – with police tracking his trip from Dunedin to Christchurch, and the pursuit that ended his horrifying killing spree. Brenton Tarrant was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after a four-day hearing in the High Court at Christchurch in August. He had earlier pleaded guilty to murdering 51 people, attempting to murder 40 others and one count of terrorism. In December a report from a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attacks was released, making 44 recommendations on a number of topics and focused on whether there was an ability to prevent the massacre. Then in January Chief Coroner Deborah Marshall said she was yet to decide whether an inquest would be held. She said that each victim’s family would be supplied with a package of information relating to the event and the cause and circumstances of death. The families could then write to the Coroner to request any further details they wanted or to set out issues that come within the coronial jurisdiction and which they consider were not resolved by either the criminal prosecution process or the Royal Commission of Inquiry report.”
“Far-right extremists and white supremacist terrorists have embraced Telegram as their platform of choice, signaling a shift away from these groups’ traditional methods of organizing and toward a dangerous future defined by leaderless resistance and “lone actor” terrorism. Telegram, a messaging app, is a haven for neo-Nazis, white nationalists and antigovernment extremists locked out of traditional social media sites, as Hatewatch first reported in mid-2019. But 2020 presented a year full of new hurdles for in-person organizing for the movement, ranging from legal quagmires to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, extremists have come to rely less on in-person groups, such as those recorded in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual hate count, and more on diffuse, leaderless digital networks, such as those facilitated by Telegram. While this shift does indicate that extremists are using new strategies for organizing, it does not signal a decrease in the threat those extremists pose in the United States and around the world. “If [a group has] got a logo, a name, and an online presence, that’s three strikes, run for your life,” wrote one moderator of a prominent white supremacist accelerationist channel in a guide, distributed on Telegram, for organizing white supremacist terror cells.”
Extremist Content Online: ISIS Propaganda Video Located On Facebook
(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, CEP researchers located a recent ISIS propaganda video on Facebook that features attacks against the Egyptian armed forces in Sinai, including extensive combat footage and several executions. Also, CEP researchers located two uploads of an ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive that provided instructions on how to manufacture the explosive TATP, which has been used in several terrorist attacks in Europe.
Meanwhile, a white supremacist Telegram channel encouraged attacks on lawmakers—including on their families and at their homes—during the presidential inauguration. Additionally, Telegram removed at least twenty channels belonging to white supremacist and neo-Nazi accelerationist channels that advocated for acts of violence and routinely called for acts of terrorism, including the murder of people of color, Jews, immigrants, LGBT people, and law enforcement officers. Also, on January 11, several white supremacist Telegram channels shared links to Telegram chats for Parler users who switched apps after the latter application became inaccessible.
Additionally, a user of an 8chan successor imageboard on the dark web expressed a desire to commit an attack and was encouraged by other board users to pursue potential attacks on people of color, immigrants, or law enforcement officers. Also, a white supremacist user of the main 8chan successor forum encouraged violence in what he or she stated was a civil war that began with Dylann Roof’s 2015 attack. Finally, a white supremacist Telegram channel posted information on 3D printed firearms, including links to downloadable files for gun designs and tips on printing and improving durability.
Recently Released ISIS Propaganda Video Located on Facebook
On January 13, CEP researchers located a recently released ISIS propaganda video on Facebook. The video, originally released on January 8, shows attacks against the Egyptian armed forces in Sinai and includes extensive combat footage and several executions. The video, uploaded to Facebook on January 10, was online for approximately 72 hours when it was located and had 38 reactions and over 180 comments. Facebook removed the video after it was reported for violating their Community Standards on terrorism, however the account was not removed despite also being reported.
Infamous ISIS Bomb Making Video Located on the Internet Archive
On January 13, CEP researchers located two uploads of an infamous ISIS bomb-making video on the Internet Archive. The video shows how to manufacture the explosive TATP, which has been used in several terrorist attacks in Europe. This specific video has been linked to the May 2017 Manchester Arena bomber, who killed 22 people and injured hundreds more. In addition to providing bomb-making instructions, the video encourages attacks in the West and shows knife tactics on a human target, who is executed in the process. The files were removed quickly by the Internet Archive after being reported.
Neo-Nazi Telegram Channels Encourage Attacks on Lawmakers and Infrastructure During the Presidential Inauguration
In a January 10 post, a white supremacist Telegram channel encouraged attacks on lawmakers outside of Washington, D.C. during the presidential inauguration, including attacks against politicians, their families, and their homes. The channel administrator advised his or her followers to only work with people they already know. The post was viewed over 1,300 times. The channel had approximately 2,400 followers on January 13 and was not one of the channels targeted for removal by Telegram between January 12 and 19.
On January 11, a prominent neo-Nazi accelerationist channel with approximately 3,900 members that has frequently advocated for acts of terrorism shared several posts urging their audience to kill local officials. Both channels were removed by Telegram on January 13 and January 14, however, a linked announcement channel for announcing the next Telegram location remains online.
Telegram Removes Select Neo-Nazi Channels
Between January 12 and January 16, Telegram removed at least 31 channels belonging to far-right, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi accelerationist channels that advocated for acts of violence. Several of the accounts removed had thousands of subscribers and routinely called for acts of terrorism, including the murder of people of color, Jews, immigrants, LGBT people, and law enforcement officers. By January 14, at least nine of the removed channels had created alternate or backup channels to continue posting content, however, with smaller audiences. At least one additional channel removed by Telegram already had a channel in place for announcing its next location.
The removals occurred started on January 12, and continued over several days, allowing channel administrators time to back up content, create alternate accounts, and share advice on information security. At least one channel was created for the specific purpose of sharing which accounts had been deleted by Telegram and the addresses of backup channels. A neo-Nazi Telegram channel dedicated to information security shared information on how to archive channels and improve Telegram channels’ security. The post on archiving channels was viewed over 15,000 times after being online for approximately 48 hours.
In the past, Telegram has taken minimal action against white supremacist and neo-Nazi users of their service who have encouraged terrorist acts. In November 2020, Telegram did not remove a neo-Nazi channel spreading bomb-making guides for a week until Vice published an article about it. Additionally, a notorious neo-Nazi accelerationist channel that routinely advocates for violence and supports neo-Nazi groups such as the Atomwaffen Division and The Base was removed twice and allowed to return until the most recent removal effort. The same channel still operates an account on Telegram used for broadcasting future channel locations. In 2015 Telegram began to take action against ISIS’s use of their app, however supporters of the terrorist group used the platform with moderate interference until November 2019 when Telegram and Europol conducted a campaign to remove ISIS chats, channels, bots, and users.
A neo-Nazi accelerationist channel removed by Telegram on January 12
White Supremacists Telegram Channels Encourage Spreading Propaganda to Further Radicalize New Telegram Users
On January 11, several white supremacist Telegram channels shared links to Telegram chats for Parler users who switched apps after the latter application became inaccessible. The white supremacist channels urged subtly and offered talking points for users attempting to spread white supremacist anti-government and accelerationist ideas.
Users of 8chan Successor Website Encourage Poster to Commit Attack
On January 13, a user of an 8chan successor imageboard on the dark web expressed a desire to commit an attack and was encouraged by other board users. The thread discussed potential attacks on people of color, immigrants, or law enforcement officers. The imageboard, which explicitly endorses fascism and white supremacist violence, was created in February 2019 in order to be more extreme than 8chan’s “politically incorrect” imageboard.
4chan and 8chan Successor Website Forum Users State Civil War Has Already Begun, Encourage Attacks
On January 12, a white supremacist user of the main 8chan successor forum encouraged violence in what he or she stated was a civil war that began with Dylann Roof’s 2015 attack. The January 6 attack on the Capitol Building was cited as another salvo, and the poster encouraged people to prepare and train for war. The post led to arguments in the comments section, where most statements were in support of the original post.
Another user posted links to publicly available bomb-making manuals on the same 8chan successor forum and a 4chan firearms community. Links were posted on the Internet Archive and Mediafire.
White Supremacist Telegram Channel Posts Information on 3D Printing Firearms
On January 12, a white supremacist Telegram channel posted information on 3D printed firearms, including links to downloadable files for gun designs and tips on printing and improving durability. The channel publishes information on weapons, firearms modifications, and gunsmithing and has approximately 2,250 members. The Telegram channel has posted content endorsing white supremacy and acts of violence.
The channel’s original administrator was identified by anti-fascist researchers in June 2020, after he went to counter-protest an anti-police brutality demonstration while armed in Dallas, Texas, on May 30. He allegedly gave up his channel administrator position in August.
Extremist Content Online: New ISIS Video Released On Multiple Websites, Including Facebook
(New York, N.Y.) – The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) reports weekly on the methods used by extremists to exploit the Internet and social media platforms to recruit followers and incite violence. Last week, ISIS released a new, hour-long video titled “To Be Absolved Before Your Lord 3” criticizing its rivals, including al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab and condemning the Muslim Brotherhood for trying to implement Islamic law through governing or legal structures. In addition, CEP researchers located a YouTube video advertising a pro-ISIS propaganda website.
Meanwhile, the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) praised German extreme right mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations in an essay on its website and offered their contact information. Also, a prominent neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channel spread instructions for the homemade production of a fully automatic submachine gun. The process includes both machining and 3D printing. The channel advised that the manufacture of the weapon is a felony.
New ISIS Video Released on Multiple Websites
On December 15, ISIS released a new video titled “To Be Absolved Before Your Lord 3” via the group’s self-proclaimed province in Somalia. The video, which is almost an hour-long, criticizes ISIS rivals, including al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda aligned al Shabaab. The video also condemns the Muslim Brotherhood for trying to implement Islamic law through governing or legal structures. The video mostly consists of interviews but includes some footage depicting combat and footage of alleged prisoners of ISIS in Somalia.
The ISIS video “To Be Absolved Before Your Lord 3” on Facebook, December 16, 2020. The video has a Netflix logo on the top right in order to elude detection.
The video was posted on Telegram and RocketChat, as well as several ISIS propaganda websites. Links were spread via RocketChat and Hoop. The video was posted on at least 13 websites: Facebook, pCloud, the Microsoft One Drive, the Internet Archive, Mail.Ru, File.Fm, Jwp.Io, Mega.Nz, Ok.Ru, PixelDrain, Dropbox, MediaFire, and NextCloud. Approximately 24 hours later, the video was still available on seven websites: Facebook, the Internet Archive, Mail.Ru, File.Fm, Jwp.Io, PixelDrain, and NextCloud. Pro-ISIS propagandists modified one of the versions uploaded to Facebook, adding a fake Netflix logo on the top right instead of ISIS iconography.
Pro-ISIS Propaganda Website Advertised on YouTube
On December 17, CEP researchers located a YouTube video advertising a pro-ISIS propaganda website. The video, which was five seconds long, consisted of the header image taken from the website and an image advertising a recently released ISIS video. The website’s URL was also included in the video description. The video had over 20 views and was online for about two hours when CEP researchers located it. The video was still online two hours after it was reported and had garnered 13 more views.
The website advertised in the video, located on the .fun domain, has previously been removed from several domains, including .tf, .pk, .es., .pw, and at least four others. The website contains violent ISIS propaganda videos, the terror group’s weekly newsletters, and Amaq News updates. Videos on the website include recent ISIS releases and historical videos. The website has been changing domain names since at least March 2020.
Nordic Resistance Movement Promotes German Mixed Martial Arts Clubs
In an essay on its website, the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) praised extreme right German mixed martial arts (MMA) organizations and offered their contact information. One of the groups listed, Körper & Geist, is connected to the neo-Nazi group Der Dritte Weg. One of the other entities listed, “Battle of the Nibelungs,” has been tied to the German extreme right, including to members of the Hammerskins and Combat 18. The event was banned in 2019 and 2020 by the German government. Another group promoted by NRM, Baltik Korps, is an extreme right-wing fight club that promotes the violent “Day X” concept of an anti-government and anti-immigrant uprising.
A recent CEP report, “Violent Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism – Transnational Connectivity, Definitions, Incidents, Structures and Countermeasures,” noted that MMA events have helped European and American right-wing extremist groups to recruit, fundraise, and spread propaganda. These events have also served as important regional networking hubs. The NRM website uses Cloudflare as its name server.
Prominent Neo-Nazi Telegram Channels Spread Instructions for Homemade Production of Fully Automatic Firearms
On December 16, a prominent neo-Nazi accelerationist Telegram channel spread instructions for the homemade production of a fully automatic submachine gun. The process includes both machining and 3D printing. The channel advised that the manufacture of the weapon is a felony. At least three different Telegram channels shared the files, and the post was viewed over 1,600 times within 24 hours. White supremacist Telegram channels that endorse violence have become increasingly interested in spreading information on the home manufacture of firearms, including using 3D printing.