Terrorism and counterterrorism

  • Domestic terrorismMore minorities join the sovereign citizen movement

    The sovereign citizen movement, the roots of which lie in white separatism and anti-Semitism, now welcomes non-white adherents. Especially susceptible to recruitment efforts by the movement are African Americans – called “Moorish Americans” or “Moorish Natives” by movement members – from poor and neglected neighborhoods.“They are much more reflective of the demographics of society today,” a former FBI case manager notes.

  • TerrorismTerrorist attacks involving firearms cause more fatalities than attacks using explosives

    New background report examines use of firearms in terrorist attacks. The report finds that even though the use of explosives has the potential to cause exceptionally high numbers of casualties, in general, attacks involving firearms were more likely to be lethal.

  • Domestic terrorismMembers of right-wing militia go to jail for plotting attacks on U.S. infrastructure

    Three members of a right-wing militia have been sentenced to twelve years in prison for conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in attacks against federal government agencies. The defendants planned to attack critical infrastructure in Georgia while motivating militia groups in other states to rise up and join them in removing government officials who they believed had exceeded their Constitutional power. The militia members planned on starting a revolution against the federal government by conducting an attack aimed at the infrastructure supporting the TSA, DHS, and FEMA.

  • African securityChad executes 10 Boko Haram members

    Chad said it has executed ten members of Boko Haram by firing squad, marking the first use of the death penalty since 2003. The ten men were sentenced to death on Friday after a court convicted them of crimes which included murder and the use of explosives. Chad officials said that  one of those executed was Bahna Fanaye, alias Mahamat Moustapha, described by the Chadian officials as a leader of the Nigeria-based group.

  • IrelandQuestions raised about Provisional IRA’s possible return to its violent ways

    It has been assumed that Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) has “gone away,” in the words of Sinn Féin’s leader Gerry Adams. In the wake of the 13 August killing in Belfast of a former IRA operative, police north of south of the border have launched an investigation into whether PIRA is still engaged in violence. Separately, a former member of PIRA, who is now a historian working in theBoston College Belfast Project, has charged that hackers affiliated with Sinn Féin have hacked his and his wife’s communication and leaked some of it to the press. U.S. courts allowed the Northern Ireland police access to portions of the archive, leading to arrests of several prominent Belfast Republicans.

  • TerrorismPalestinians to pay $10M to terror victims while appealing $218.5M verdict

    The Palestinian Authority and the PLO, found liable in a lawsuit over Americans killed in terrorist attacks, must pay $10 million in cash and an additional $1 million monthly payment while the case is on appeal, a U.S. judge ruled on Monday. A jury awarded $218.5 million in damages earlier this year in a lawsuit brought by victims and survivors of bombings and shootings by Palestinian terrorists in Israel from 2002 to 2004. The damages were automatically tripled, to $655.50 million, by the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.

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  • Rail securityThwarted train attack in France highlights U.S. rail vulnerability

    Airports are protected by several layers of security, but railroad stations have minimal, if any, protective measures, and there are no security checks through which those who take the train must pass. The attempted attack on the high-speed train from Brussels to Paris, an attack foiled by the quick courageous action of three Americans and Briton, only highlights the vulnerability to attack of U.S. rail. Security experts say, however, that trains remain vulnerable to terrorist attacks. A recent study, which analyzed terrorist attacks over a 30-year period from 1982 to 2011, found that terrorists have shifted their focus in recent years away from attacking airlines to attacking subway and rail systems. The deadliest attacks in the decade 2002-2011 were against subway and commuter rail systems.

  • AgroterrorismAgroterrorism a serious risk to Americans, U.S. economy: Experts

    The word “terrorism” is typically associated with bomb and bullets, but security experts say that there are other types of terrorism which may bring death and disruption, chief among them is agroterrorism. Agroterrorism is the use of animal or plant pathogens to disrupt a nation’s food supply, or use the food supply to spread deadly disease.In 2004, Tommy Thompson, then secretary of Health and Human Services, said that, “For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply, because it is so easy to do.”

  • TerrorismIsrael places Jewish extremists in administrative detention for six months without charge

    Israel has expanded its crackdown on Jewish terrorists and their supporters, placing two high-profile extremists in administrative detention for six months – that is, jailing them for six months without charge — and arrested more than a dozen other extremists in West Bank settlement. About two dozen extremists from different West Bank settlements were taken into police stations and their finger prints, DNA, and other identifying markers collected before they were released. They are suspected of being part of the extremist movement, and if they take part in violent actions against Palestinians it would easier for forensic experts to determine whether or not they were on the scene. Following the 31 July arson attack by extremist settlers on a Palestinian family in the village of Duma – the extremists blocked the doors to the house from the outside to make sure the family of four would burn alive – the Israeli government voted to designate Jewish settlers’ violence as terrorism, allowing the security services and police to take steps to combat the extremists which would otherwise not be permitted.

  • Capitol securityD.C. security gaps exposed by gyrocopter landing on Capitol grounds: Senate panel

    A Senate committee has concluded that the Florida man who flew a one-man gyrocopter and landed it on the U.S. Capitol grounds, had exposed security gaps and inadequate coordination among the agencies charged with protecting the Capitol, the White House, and other Washington landmarks. In addition to calling for better coordination among the different agencies responsible for securing important sites in Washington, D.C., the committee strongly recommends seeking new “technological solutions” to spot similar flights in the future, suggesting that Congress should also consider increasing penalties for those who breach the restricted airspace.

  • TerrorismIsrael appears ready to crack down on Jewish terrorists and their sympathizers

    Until now, Israeli law enforcement used measures such as administrative detention — that is, jailing people for long periods without a trial — for Palestinian terrorists, and for many Palestinians who were not terrorists. Israel, in a historic move, is now applying such measures to Jewish terrorists as well. Yesterday, the Israeli security services said they had placed a Jewish extremist in an administrative detention for six months. The move is an indication that, for the first time since 1967, the Israeli police and security services may begin to deal with Jewish terrorists in a manner similar to the way Palestinian terrorists have been dealt with. It may also indicate that Israel may have finally decided to crack down on the militant hard core of about 25,000 Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

  • African securityNigeria's army rescues 178 people captured and held captive by Boko Haram

    Nigeria’s army said on Sunday that it had rescued 178 people held by Islamist group Boko Haram in Borno state in Nigeria’s north-east. Under the sustained attacks of the armies of four of Nigeria’s neighbors — Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin — Boko Haram was pushed out of most of the vast swathes of Nigerian territory it had come to control at the start of the year. The Islamists, who a year ago appeared to be on the verge of establishing their own state-within-a-state in north-east Nigeria, have since dispersed, and have returned to their earlier guerrilla approach of hitting soft targets with bombs and raiding towns.

  • TerrorismIsrael mulls designating Jewish extremists as “terrorists”

    The State of Israel has been struggling with profound questions about terrorism these past three days – Jewish terrorism, that is. On Friday, Jewish extremists went a step-further: they threw Molotov cocktails into the home of a family of four in the Palestinian village of Duma, killing a toddler and severely injuring the toddler’s sister and her father and mother. All three are in critical condition in an Israeli hospital. To make sure the family would be killed in the attack, the Jewish terrorists blocked the doors to the house from the outside, so the family would not be able to escape and instead burn alive inside. The right-wing coalition government of Benjamin Netanyahu may be especially uncomfortable making this decision because it may alienate the many settlers who are not violent – and who support the government — but who would not like to see fellow settlers designated as terrorists. The extremists, however, may be forcing the Israeli government’s hand.

  • DronesDHS warns local law enforcement to watch for drones used by terrorists, criminals

    DHS has circulated an intelligence assessment to police agencies across the United States warning about drones being used as weapons in an attack. The bulletin went out Friday and warned state and municipal law enforcement agencies that terrorist and criminals may begin to use drones to advance their goals. “Emerging adversary use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] present detection and disruption challenges,” the intelligence bulletin warns.

  • TerrorismU.S. judge: Guantánamo detention is legal even if U.S. winds down Afghanistan involvement

    U.S. district judge Royce Lamberth on Thursday rejected a Guantánamo Bay detainee’s legal challenge, which claimed that his imprisonment was unlawful because President Barack Obama has declared an end to hostilities in Afghanistan. In January 2015 President Obama declared that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” Muktar Yahya Najee Al-Warafi’s lawyers argued that since the United States was no longer involved in the war in Afghanistan, his detention was now unlawful under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which was the legal basis for the imprisonment of foreign fighters captured on overseas battlefields.