• Terrorism

    The House Homeland Security Committee has released its February 2017 Terror Threat Snapshot, which details terrorism events and trends in January 2017. The snapshot is a monthly committee assessment of the threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists. The document is produced by the Majority Staff of the committee. It is based on information culled from open source materials, including media reports, publicly available government statements, and nongovernmental assessments.

  • Latin America security

    The Trump administration on Monday announced it had imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, charging that he was a major drug trafficker. El Aissami is the most senior Venezuelan official – and one of the most senior Latin American official — to have been charged of drug offenses by the United States. El Aissami has caught the eye of U.S. law enforcement years ago, when, as interior minister in the government of Hugi Chavez, he ordered his underlings to issue dozens of fraudulent Venezuelan passports to people from the Middle East, including members of Hezbollah.

  • Hate groups

    The number of hate groups in the United States rose for a second year in a row in 2016, according to the SPLC annual census of hate groups and other extremist organizations, released yesterday. The most dramatic growth was the near-tripling of anti-Muslim hate groups — from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year. Figures compiled by the FBI dovetail with those of the SPLC – and the latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign. In contrast to the growth of hate groups, antigovernment “Patriot” groups saw a 38 percent decline — plummeting from 998 groups in 2015 to 623 last year.

  • Hezbollah

    The United Nations warned Lebanese President Michel Aoun against arming Hezbollah, a day after Aoun said that the Iran-backed terrorist organization was essential to Lebanon’s security. UN Council Resolution 1701, which was adopted unanimously to end the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, called for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon and the re-establishment of the Lebanese government’s authority over the southern part of the country, and prohibited the transfer of arms to any entity other than the government in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s continued armed presence in southern Lebanon violates these three elements of the resolution.

  • Terrorism

    A former hostage of the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah has asked the federal government to seize a New York City skyscraper that he alleges is a front for the Iranian government in order to collect on his multi-million dollar court judgment against the Islamic Republic.

  • Radicalization

    A new, comprehensive study of individuals in the United States considered ISIS supporters, challenges widely held assumptions that ISIS supporters are uneducated, isolated, and unemployed, while finding almost no refugees among the group studied. One of the report’s authors said that for policymakers, the report shows shutting the U.S. borders to refugees and visitors from Islamic countries won’t prevent support for ISIS and could blind authorities to real threats. Officials need to understand ISIS’s propaganda strategy in the United States and target its methods for driving recruitment and radicalization, he added.

  • Travel Ban

    James Clapper, who served as director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama, said he worried that the Travel Ban announced by the Trump administration is damaging to U.S. interests. Moreover, he said, it was unnecessary because he was not aware of any intelligence which would justify necessitating the ban. Clapper said the current vetting was not “perfect,” but that the safeguards were strong enough to keep the country safe without this new measure.

  • Travel ban

    Thursday’s appellate court opinion, which denied President Donald Trump’s appeal concerning his immigrant ban executive order, was unsurprising. It cautiously declined to upset the status quo, temporarily continuing to prevent the executive order’s enforcement nationwide. But it also allowed for further briefing and argument. Ultimately, this is a clear defeat for the Trump Administration. But, given the necessarily preliminary nature of these emergency proceedings, it may not be a permanent one. Trump can continue to argue before this three-judge panel, appeal their decision to the full 29-judge-strong Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and, ultimately and predictably, move on to the Supreme Court. Given its fast-track nature, the case will likely reach the Supreme Court before the current vacancy is filled.

  • Terrorism

    France will spend €20 million ($22 million) to build a permanent protective barrier around the Eiffel Tower, which will replace temporary defensive system put around the iconic tower in the fake of a spate of terrorist attacks in France. “Sadly, the risk of terrorism hasn’t gone away,” deputy mayor Jean-François Martins said at a Paris press conference. “It’s not a wall, it’s an aesthetic perimeter.”

  • Nuclear weapons

    The heavily freighted idea of an “Islamic bomb” has been around for some decades now. The notion behind it is that a nuclear weapon developed by an “Islamic” nation would automatically become the Islamic world’s shared property – and more than that, a “nuclear sword” with which to wage jihad. But as with many terms applied to the “Islamic world”, it says more about Western attitudes than about why and how nuclear technology has spread. It’s true that prominent Muslim figures spoke rhetorically about a “bomb for the ummah”. But this was never more than rhetoric. Leaving aside all nuclear matters, internecine and sectarian differences and conflict mean that global Islamic political unity is unlikely in the extreme. The Islamic bomb has always been a convenient device with which to elide complex problems of religion, politics, and nuclear weapons. And sadly, it still is. Those who still casually bandy the term about would do well to think about where it really comes from.

  • Hacking

    A Pittsburgh child has admitted to launching a cyberattack against Brussels Airport in the aftermath of the 22 Mach 2016 suicide bombing by Belgian ISIS followers, which killed more than thirty people. The Belgian federal public prosecutor’s office said the suspect aimed to take down the website of the airport operator – the Brussels Airport Company — and “infiltrate the computer system,” but was unsuccessful.

  • Hezbollah

    The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing for a possible Hezbollah incursion using marines and other naval commandos in the country’s north. A group of commandos could try to infiltrate north of Nahariya while protected by mortar and anti-tank fire from Lebanon, the IDF believes. It also believes that Hezbollah will attempt to capture Israeli territory and hold it, even temporarily, in order to declare a victory against Israel.

  • Syrian refugees

    On 27 January President Donald Trump issued an executive order which stated that “the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States.” The facts do not support this assertion. By the end of 2016, the total number of Syrian refugees settled in the U.S. was 14,761, about .0046 percent of the country’s population. In other words, the chances that a Syrian refugee would move next door to you are statistically zero. That’s true with or without Trump’s ban. Also, not one Syrian refugee in the U.S. has been arrested or deported on terror related charges. A 2016 report from the Cato institute, a think tank “dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace” stated: “The hazards posed by foreign-born terrorists are not large enough to warrant extreme actions like a moratorium on all immigration or tourism.”

  • ISIS

    ISIS-linked hackers have attacked and defaced several NHS (U.K. National Health Service) websites in a series of cyberattacks. The hackers, going by the name of Tunisian Fallaga Team, targeted six websites three weeks ago, replacing legitimate web pages with graphic photos of the war in Syria. The attacks said they were retaliating for the West’s interference in the Middle East.

  • Airport security

    Thousands of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers use so-called “behavior detection” techniques to scrutinize travelers for yawning, whistling, being distracted, arriving late for a flight, and scores of other behaviors that the TSA calls signs of deception or “mal-intent.” The officers then flag certain people for additional screening and questioning. Documents the ACLU has obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show that the TSA itself has plenty of material showing that such techniques are not grounded in valid science — and they create an unacceptable risk of racial and religious profiling. Indeed, TSA officers themselves have said that the program has been used to do just that.

  • Syria

    A chilling new report by Amnesty International exposes the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison. Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. In five years, as many as 13,000 people, most of them civilians believed to be opposed to the government, were hanged in secret at Saydnaya.

  • Terrorism

    On Saturday the New York Times published an analysis of what it calls “remote controlled” terrorism, or individuals coached in terror tactics online and from afar. These individuals are not “lone wolves,” bur rather terror agents trained and guided by terrorist organizations employing “virtual plotters” and “cyber planners” who keep in near constant contact with the individuals carrying out the actual terror plot. These terrorists are micromanaged in every decision, right down to the bullets they use to carry out their violence.

  • Terrorism

    Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s top counselor, arguing in support of the president’s travel ban, said that immigrants have committed acts of terrorism in the United States. For example, she said, two Iraqi refugees were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre. “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered,” she said. But no one knows about the Bowling Green massacre because it was an alternative fact: It never happened.

  • Terrorism

    Richard Nielsen, an MIT expert on Islamic terrorism, estimates that about 10 percent of Muslim clerics on the Internet are jihadists. “I don’t know if this number should strike readers as high or low; it’s higher than I expected,” he says. The question he tackles is the internet changing the nature of religious authority in Islam? “The problem of modern jihadism is rooted in an ongoing crisis of Islamic authority brought about by the rise of media — first print, then cassette tapes, and now the online Fatwa Bank.” He adds that data show that the odds of dying violently are lower now than they’ve ever been. “This isn’t to say that terrorism isn’t a problem, but we should keep the true level of threat posed by terrorism in perspective.”

  • Terrorism

    The arrest of two Indonesian women as would-be suicide bombers shows how their desire for action coincided with the decision of ISIS leaders in Syria that in emergency conditions, women could be tactically deployed in jihad operations. A new study looks at how the role of women in Indonesian extremist organizations has evolved over the last four decades.