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After Obama: 7 steps we need to take to make us safe again

Posted by on in Terrorism
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  by Henry Morgenstern Whether you supported or were opposed to the Obama Administration’s Counter Terrorism policy you need to admit that in one particular area it was most successful: changing the narrative of the war on terror. Instead of discussing how to hit terrorist groups aiming at doing us harm effectively, we got a new lexicon that took the discussion elsewhere. Terms such as  “Violent extremist individual” were coined to avoid the labels Jihadi or Radical Islamist terrorist. Was the terrorist a lone wolf or connected to a group? That neatly took the subject away from fighting a world-wide ideology to endless, time consuming investigation as to the terrorist’s affiliations. There were more Orwellian successes: man-made incidents; workplace violence, class room violence and others too colorful to mention. To be sure, the administration’s mantra was that this “protected” Islam, by not offending Muslims and therefore getting greater cooperation from communities...
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Military.com by Richard Sisk Defense Secretary James Mattis put readiness and "accelerating" the campaign against ISIS at the top of his wish list in his first budget guidance to the force on complying with President Donald Trump's executive order to rebuild the military. Mattis said Wednesday there are three priorities in order of importance: Improve warfighting readiness; address pressing shortfalls; and "build a larger, more capable and more lethal joint force." Achieving those goals will require more money for the military than was requested in the fiscal 2017 budget by former President Barack Obama, Mattis said. To jump-start the process, Mattis said he has ordered a proposed amendment to the fiscal 2017 budget. He did not go into details but said in a memorandum that the amendment would "address urgent warfighting readiness shortfalls and new requirements driven by acceleration of the campaign against ISIS." Mattis said the amendment might include...

Petraeus: Efforts to beat extremists online are lacking

Posted by on in Terrorism
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Tampa Bay Times Associated Press WASHINGTON — The U.S. isn't doing enough to stop the Islamic State group from using the Internet to spread its propaganda and recruit new members, former CIA Director David Petraeus told lawmakers Wednesday. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Petraeus, a retired Army general, said so-called counter-messaging initiatives are inadequate and urged a greater collaboration with the private sector similar to the effort to block child pornography from being peddled online. He did not mention any specific programs. The remarks from Petraeus came a day after the Associated Press published an investigation that found a counter-propaganda program aimed at thwarting the Islamic State group's use of social media for recruiting is plagued by incompetence, cronyism and skewed data. The program, known as WebOps, is run by defense contractors at U.S. Central Command in Tampa. A command spokesman declined repeated requests for information about WebOps...
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Calls for more information sharing across Western nations Washington Free Beacon BY: Natalie Johnson  Europe serves as a "launching pad" for ISIS jihadists to initiate attacks against the United States due to the absence of a cohesive information-sharing strategy among Western nations, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin said Wednesday. McLaughlin, a 30-year CIA employee who served as acting director under the George W. Bush administration, warned that the absence of effective coordination between European intelligence agencies exposes the United States to greater risk of attack. Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, McLaughlin said the Trump administration must work with European allies to establish an intelligence-sharing platform that coordinates Europe's extensive network of security services. Western Europe has come under heightened pressure to establish such a network as ISIS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, raising the possibility that discouraged terrorists will return home to Europe. "We have to recognize that as [ISIS...
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HSToday.us By: Anthony Kimery, Editor-in-Chief The 17 passed by the full House include: The DHS Acquisition Documentation Integrity Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ). It would require the DHS Secretary to request component heads to maintain specific types of acquisition documentation. The DHS Stop Asset and Vehicle Excess (SAVE) Act, introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA), would direct the Under Secretary for Management of the Department of Homeland Security to make certain improvements in managing DHS’s vehicle fleet. The Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to codify authority under existing grant guidance authorizing the use of Urban Area Security Initiative and State Homeland Security Grant Program funding for enhancing medical preparedness, medical surge capacity and mass prophylaxis capabilities. The Border Security Technology Accountability Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ), would strengthen...

Revelations that Denmark's welfare system has been lining the pockets of jihadists fighting in Syria has led to the Danish Employment Minister vowing to take action. ...
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ClarionProject.org By Leslie Shaw Benoît Hamon, the ’candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood,’ won the January 29 second round of the French Socialist Party primaries by a landslide 58.71 percent against former prime minister Manuel Valls, who gained 41.29%. Hamon’s victory was met with an explosion of jubilation by French Islamists on their social media accounts.   1. Abdellah Takaful, founder of sharia-compliant insurance company AGTM Solutions, posted a photo of himself at Hamon’s election-night rally.   2. Facebook post by Abdelmadjid Belouka, owner of streetwear brand Muslims United: “SHAAAAARE THIS!!!! OK, IT’S DONE VALLS GAME OVER A BIG THOUGHT FOR THE PRO-VALLS STOOGES FROM THE GHETTOS WHO STOOD FOR BEATING UP ON FRENCH MUSLIMS.” The Muslim United brand motto DIN AS WAY OF LIFE refers to the fact that Islam is a lifestyle for those who wear the apparel.     3. Facebook posts by Algerian Salafist Imam Noureddine Aoussat,...
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Associated Press A counter-propaganda program aimed at thwarting Islamic State recruiting over social media is plagued by incompetence, cronyism and skewed data, an AP investigation has found.   Known as "WebOps," the program was launched several years ago by a small group of civilian contractors and military officers assigned to the information operations division at U.S. Central Command's headquarters in Tampa.   But internal documents and interviews with more than a dozen people knowledgeable about WebOps suggest a program that appears aimed more at enriching contractors than thwarting terrorism. The people interviewed by AP requested anonymity because they are prohibited from speaking publicly about WebOps due to the sensitive nature of the work and they fear professional repercussions.   WebOps relies on dozens of Arabic-speaking analysts who scour Twitter and other social media platforms for people whose postings suggest they are vulnerable to the Islamic State's siren call. Using fictitious...
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Missile tested by Tehran originally came from Pyongyang. By Kyle Mizokami A ballistic missile launched by Iran on Sunday was North Korean in construction or design, according to the Pentagon. The missile test, which ended in failure, was not a violation of 2015's Iranian nuclear deal, but arguably was in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution. Either way, this latest test could set Iran on a collision course with the Trump Administration, which has promised to take a hard line on Iran. According to Reuters, the missile traveled 630 miles before it exploded, either by accident or by design. There are no official details regarding what kind of missile it was, although it was certainly a ballistic missile. An anonymous U.S. government official told Reuters the missile was launched from a test site near Senman, east of the Iranian capital of Tehran, and said it was the same type...

Why are so many Tunisians joining the Islamic State?

Posted by on in Terrorism
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by Geoffrey Macdonald and Luke Waggoner Tunisia has been in the news recently — but not for any of the reasons the government wants. Just last month, a 24-year-old Tunisian who had migrated to Germany after the 2011 revolution drove a truck through a crowded Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 and wounding 50. His nephew and two others suspected of collusion were later arrested in Tunisia. In August 2016, Bastille Day celebrations in France were brought to a violent end by a 31-year-old Tunisian man who drove a truck through the crowd, killing 86 people. While these recent attacks in Europe have attracted widespread news coverage, perhaps more concerning are the estimated 7,000 Tunisian men and women who have actually joined the Islamic State’s ranks abroad. Yet unlike neighboring Arab Spring states that have been consumed by violent extremism, civil war and resurgent authoritarianism, Tunisia actually managed to build a...
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For The Record - The IPT Blog   by John Rossomando A report by the Texas Department of Public Safety raises concerns about ISIS terrorists using the Mexican border both to enter and leave the country. It noted that at least 13 aspiring terrorists have tried to cross into Mexico, or considered trying, since 2012. Most of those cases involved people who knew they were on the federal no-fly list but wanted to travel to join terrorists, the report said. Sneaking across the southern border "presents an opportunity for increasing numbers of aspiring foreign terrorist fighters to evade US interdiction efforts such as the No-Fly List." The most recent example happened in October. Texas authorities arrested two Milwaukee men near San Angelo, Texas on the way to the Mexican border. Jason Ludke, 35, and Yosvany Padilla-Conde, 30, wanted to go to Mexico, obtain fraudulent travel documents and travel to join...
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The Washington Times By Rowan Scarborough The Islamic State has planned to infect refugee flows to the West with mass killers, and it has had some violent successes. The CIA said last year that the terrorist group’s official strategy is to hide its operatives among refugees entering Europe and the United States via human flows out of the Middle East and North Africa. The Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, has inspired followers to commit atrocities in San Bernardino, California; Orlando, Florida; and the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida. Scores of U.S. residents have been charged with or suspected of providing material support to the Islamic State. Some have left the U.S. to commit war crimes in Syria and Iraq. As President Trump places a 120-day ban on immigration from what he considers high-risk Muslim-majority countries, the history of the mass migration shows that some took part in...
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American Military News A Federal Grand Jury has issued a 22-count indictment on the suspect that shot up the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport earlier this month. Esteban Santiago has been formally charged with 11 counts of causing death or bodily harm at an international airport, five counts of causing death during a crime of violence and six counts of using a firearm during a crime. None of the charges are terrorism related, despite Santiago claiming the attack was inspired by ISIS after being arrested. If convicted, Santiago could face the death penalty. On January 6, 2017 Santiago opened fire on Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, Florida, after disembarking from a flight from Anchorage, AK. He retrieved his legally transported firearm from his checked luggage, loaded the firearm in the bathroom, then opened fire as he left the restroom, killing five people and injuring six others. After carrying out...
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By MATTHEW PENNINGTON Associated Press Minneapolis Star Tribune WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says a travel ban on citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries aims to prevent terror attacks. Post-9/11 strikes on U.S. soil have been perpetrated overwhelmingly by people who've been radicalized in America. But some of the deadliest attacks in Europe have been carried out by asylum seekers or people posing as refugees, which the U.S. president says he is trying to prevent in America. The New America think tank says jihadists have killed 94 people inside the U.S. since 9/11, with attacks escalating in the past two years. A look at some of the most serious incidents in the U.S. in the past 16 years, and deadly attacks in Europe: ___ U.S. ATTACKS December 2001: British national Richard Reid unsuccessfully tries to detonate explosives packed into his shoes on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami....
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Evening Standard Six people have been killed and eight injured after gunmen opened fire at a mosque in Canada.   Police confirmed the fatalities following the incident at the temple in Quebec which has been branded a terrorist attack by Canada’s prime minister.   The shooting at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre in the provincial capital happened during evening prayers on Sunday.   Christine Coulombe, a spokeswoman for Quebec Police, described some of the wounded as “gravely injured” and added that the dead were aged between 35 and 70.   She added that 39 people had been inside the building during the attack.     Prime minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec premier Philippe Couillard said the shooting, which happened in the men’s section of the mosque, was a terrorist act.   The shooting came amid heightened tensions worldwide over US president Donald Trump's travel ban on some Muslim countries....

Trump-Putin safe zones deal ousts Iran from Syria

Posted by on in Terrorism
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DEBKAfile Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan, debkafile reports exclusively. They derive from a deal struck this week by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. This scheme will transfer military control of the country to those three powers. Each of them will be responsible for a zone whose borders will be defined and agreed upon by Washington, Moscow and Ankara. As part of this arrangement, all forces from the Iranian military, the pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Hizballah will be required to leave Syria. The US military is to have two security zones – one covering the entire area east of the Euphrates River up to the Iraqi border including Kurdish areas (see attached map). This arrangement will...
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by James Gordon Meek, Cindy Galliand and Brian Ross   QUANTICO, Virginia - Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan. The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky -- who later admitted in court that they'd attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq -- prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists' fingerprints. "We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that," FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview...
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BuffaloNews.com By Phil Fairbanks Emanuel L. Lutchman, the ex-convict turned Muslim convert who helped ISIS, was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison.   Lutchman, a resident of Rochester, admitted conspiring with Abu Issa Al-Amriki, a now-deceased member of ISIS in Syria, to plan an attack in Rochester using knives and a machete on New Year's Eve a year ago.   He eventually pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci Jr. to providing material support to the terrorist organization.   “Emanuel Lutchman conspired with an ISIL member located overseas and planned to kill innocent civilians on U.S. soil in the name of the terrorist organization,” Mary B. McCord, acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security, said in a statement Thursday, using another name for the terrorist organization. Central to the government’s prosecution of Lutchman was the allegation that he had contact with a member of ISIS in...
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by Jamie Knodel Islamic State radicals have named Dallas' First Baptist church as a potential target for an attack.  A digital ISIS propaganda magazine, Rumiyah, earlier this month included photos of the downtown church in an article urging ISIS followers to carry out arson attacks, according to KXAS-TV (NBC5). The digital publication was said to have called First Baptist "a popular Crusader gathering place waiting to be burned down."   Officials have said that although there is no sign of imminent danger or evidence that such an attack is being planned, they do take the threat seriously.  Church leaders have said that they will not be frightened by the propaganda magazine. "The Bible tells us the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear," the church said in a prepared statement to NBC5. "If we surrender to fear, ISIS wins. We will continue doing what the lord has called us...

Austrian Police Arrest 8 Suspected ISIS Terrorists

Posted by on in Terrorism
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by George Jahn / AP (VIENNA) — Austrian police arrested eight suspected terrorists Thursday in a series of early-morning raids in the country's two largest cities that mobilized heavily armed SWAT teams and hundreds of officers supporting them. A statement from the public prosecutor's office in Graz, one of the cities involved, said those detained were suspected of involvement with ISIS. Police also struck simultaneously in Vienna, in twin operations that the statement said utilized 800 police. The raids come less than a week after police in Vienna detained a 17-year-old they describe as belonging to "radical Salafist" circles who they said has confessed to experimenting with building a bomb. But the statement said Thursday's sweeps had been planned for "a longer time," suggesting no immediate link. Instead, they appeared connected to investigations of followers of a Serbian-born Islamic cleric sentenced last year in Graz to 20 years in prison...