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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Sep 19, 2019

An Alabama man has been apprehended as part of a yearslong terrorism probe in which the FBI says he told agents he would execute a U.S. soldier if ordered to do so by the Islamic State group.

FBI agents took Nayef Qashou into custody Monday. He’s charged with lying to the FBI and destroying records.

In a newly unsealed affidavit, the FBI says Qashou arrived in the U.S. through Atlanta’s airport in 2015, planning to study nursing at an Opelika, Alabama, community college. The FBI interviewed him more than a dozen times over the next four years.

He used encrypted phone apps to communicate with suspected terrorists who told him he should carry out an attack in the United States, the FBI said.

Read more: AP

Police have vowed to thwart the rise of the far right, which they have said is the fastest growing terrorist threat in the UK, as they try to stop race hate ideologues from bringing violence the country’s streets.

Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer, the Met assistant commissioner Neil Basu, said the most likely attempts would come from “lone actors” and, as with Islamist terrorism, the authorities could not guarantee to foil every plot.

The Guardian understands that investigators have found links on far-right material on legitimate platforms such as YouTube that allow people to find more extremist propaganda.

Police said they and MI5, which since 2018 has taken the lead on the most serious extreme rightwing plots, are carrying out 80 investigations to stop violence fuelled by ideologies such as white supremacism and Islamophobia.

Read more: The Guardian (UK)

Facebook, Google and Twitter executives told members of Congress on Wednesday that they’ve gotten better and faster at detecting and removing violent extremist content on their social media platforms in the face of hatred-fueled mass shootings.

Questioned at a hearing by the Senate Commerce Committee, the executives said they are spending money on technology to improve their ability to flag extremist content and taking the initiative to reach out to law enforcement authorities to try to head off potential violent incidents.

“We will continue to invest in the people and technology to meet the challenge,” said Derek Slater, Google’s director of information policy.

Read more: Los Angeles Times

Lebanon’s military court has acquitted one of four brothers accused of planning to blow up a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi nearly two years ago, his lawyer said on Thursday.

State news agency NNA said the Lebanese-Australian man, Amer Khayat, would be released from Lebanon’s Roumieh prison, where he has spent two years and two months.

His lawyer, Jocelyne al-Rai, said legal procedures for him to leave prison were being completed. “It took time for his innocence to be revealed,” she added.

Read more: Reuters

A Las Vegas man accused of assembling weapons to bomb and shoot people at a synagogue, a bar catering to LGBTQ customers or a fast-food restaurant has been indicted on a federal firearm charge. Conor Climo’s appointed defense attorneys didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to messages about the indictment filed Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court in Nevada. It accuses the 23-year-old Climo of possession of unregistered destructive devices found at his home following his arrest Aug. 8.

Court documents say Climo calls himself a white supremacist and communicated in encrypted internet chats with people about his hatred of Jewish people, homosexuals and African Americans. He’s accused of sharing with an FBI informant detailed plans to attack a synagogue, and of sketching attacks on a downtown LGBTQ bar and a McDonald’s.

Read more: KDWN