Our picksDHS Intel. Report on Journalists | Unsolicited Seeds from China | Smallpox Anti-Vaxxer, and more

Published 31 July 2020

·  DHS Compiled “Intelligence Reports” on Journalists Who Published Leaked Documents

·  German Elite Commando Forces Dismantled Due to Right-Wing Extremism Concerns

·  Al Qaeda Gaining Strength as Terror Fight Focuses on ISIS

·  U.K. Terror Offender Loses Court Battle against Law Stopping Automatic Release from Prison

·  Amazon Still Selling Merchandise for Far-Right Groups with ‘a Track Record of Violence’

·  USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds from China

·  Coronavirus Vaccine: Lessons from the 19th-Century Smallpox Anti-Vaxxer Movement

·  Halt ICE ‘Citizens Academy’ in Chicago, Immigration Advocates Say

DHS Compiled “Intelligence Reports” on Journalists Who Published Leaked Documents (Shane Harris, Washington Post)
The Department of Homeland Security has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Ore., in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.
Over the past week, the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has disseminated three Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies and others, summarizing tweets written by two journalists — a reporter for the New York Times and the editor in chief of the blog Lawfare — and noting they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. The intelligence reports, obtained by The Washington Post, include written descriptions and images of the tweets and the number of times they had been liked or retweeted by others.
After The Post published a story online Thursday evening detailing the department’s practices, the acting homeland security secretary, Chad Wolf, ordered the intelligence office to stop collecting information on journalists and announced an investigation into the matter.

German Elite Commando Forces Dismantled Due to Right-Wing Extremism Concerns (Daily Sabah)
Units belonging to the German army’s elite Special Commando Forces (KSK) have been dismantled following allegations of right-wing extremism, a Defense Ministry spokesperson said Thursday. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had announced the step four weeks earlier as part of wider measures to halt right-wing extremism within the KSK forces, which are trained for special operations, such as freeing hostages, after several incidents had caused a scandal.

Al Qaeda Gaining Strength as Terror Fight Focuses on ISIS (Nicky Harley, The National)
Crime report by EU’s Internet Referral Unit highlights the continuing online danger from ISIS but says growing threat from resilient Al Qaeda has gone under the radar

U.K. Terror Offender Loses Court Battle against Law Stopping Automatic Release from Prison (Lizzie Dearden, Independent)
Judges rule terrorists should not be treated as ‘ordinary’ criminals and reject Isis supporter’s claims that legal changes violated his human rights

Amazon Still Selling Merchandise for Far-Right Groups with ‘a Track Record of Violence’ (Mara Hoplamazian, Julia Frankel, and Malaika Tapper, Sacramento Bee)
At Black Lives Matter protests around the country, heavily armed groups of counter-protesters have shown up wearing military fatigues, Hawaiian-print shirts, and tactical vests decorated with patches that represent far-right extremist groups. Some of them may have purchased their gear from Amazon. The world’s largest online retailer continues to sell merchandise affiliated with the so-called Boogaloos, Three Percenters, and Oath Keepers even after removing items that represented hate symbols following an investigation by the BBC.

USDA Investigates Packages of Unsolicited Seeds from China (USDA)
USDA said it was aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation.

Coronavirus Vaccine: Lessons from the 19th-Century Smallpox Anti-Vaxxer Movement (Steven King, The Conversation)

Halt ICE ‘Citizens Academy’ in Chicago, Immigration Advocates Say (Elvia Malagón, Chicago Sun-Times)
The federal agency said the program would be modeled after