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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Nov 19, 2020

In Germany, prosecutors on Wednesday asked for life imprisonment for a right-wing extremist charged with killing two people outside a synagogue last year. The move comes amid growing calls to investigate neo-Nazi infiltration of the country’s security services -- which are creating a frightening echo of Germany’s past. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports from Berlin.

German prosecutors today asked for life imprisonment for a right-wing extremist charged with killing two people last year outside a synagogue in Germany's east.

That comes as calls grow to investigate the extent of neo-Nazi infiltration of the country's security services; 1,400 cases of far right extremism among soldiers, police officers and intelligence agents have been documented over the past three years, a frightening echo of Germany's past.

Read more: PBS News Hour

Federal prosecutors accused a West Virginia man on Tuesday of conspiracy against the U.S. government and selling machine gun conversion devices online to followers of a far-right extremist movement.

Timothy John Watson, 30, was charged after he was arrested in early September for allegedly running a website claiming to sell wall hangers that authorities said could be actually used to turn semi-automatic AR-15 rifles into fully automatic machine guns.

Authorities said the devices were sold to supporters of the anti-government “boogaloo” movement, the code word they use for their talk of a second civil war. Their prominence has grown during the pandemic as many dressed in Hawaiian shirts and camouflage garb, sometimes toting guns, attended protests against government shutdowns.

Read more: CBS Minnesota

Leaked footage of a controversial "oath" ceremony at the Rwandan High Commission in London has fuelled allegations of an aggressive global crackdown on dissent by the authoritarian government of the small East African nation, dubbed the new "North Korea" by its critics.

Members of the Rwandan diaspora have told the BBC that such ceremonies are commonplace and designed to instil fear and obedience.

One man said his relatives back in Rwanda had been abducted and possibly killed to punish him for refusing to co-operate. The Rwandan authorities have dismissed the allegations as false and unsubstantiated.

In the video footage, recently circulated on WhatsApp, more than 30 individuals can be seen standing in a crowded conference room at the Rwandan embassy in the UK, raising their hands and pledging loyalty to the governing party, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).

Read more: BBC News

A troubled California university freshman who burst into a classroom in 2015, stabbing four people before police shot him dead, planned to praise Allah while slitting the throats of classmates and use a gun taken from an ambushed officer to kill more, according to records released by the FBI.

Authorities determined that Faisal Mohammad, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of California, Merced had no connections to organized hate or terror groups and no past behavior to suggest violence.

Still, records released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to the Daily Beast publication include a chilling, handwritten 31-step plan for the Nov. 4 attack with names of people to target.

Read more: AP

“Terrorist, violent extremist and organized criminal groups are trying to take advantage of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to expand their activities and jeopardize the efficacy and credibility of response measures by governments”, UNICRI Director Antonia Marie De Meo wrote in the introduction to the report, entitled “Stop the virus of disinformation”.

“It is also alarming that some terrorist and violent extremist groups have attempted to misuse social media to incite potential terrorists to intentionally spread COVID-19 and to use it as an improvised form of a biological weapon”, Ms. De Meo wrote.

Social media could be used to “inspire terrorism”, motivating self-radicalized terrorists to perpetrate real attacks, the researchers found.

Read more: UN News