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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jan 27, 2021

Far-right leaders across the nation — disillusioned by former President Trump’s defeat and banished from mainstream social media — have launched recruitment drives in new radicalization efforts that have turned into a “meme war” among groups such as the Boogaloo Bois, the Proud Boys and the Three Percenters.

In the days following the Capitol riot, right-wing extremists who lost Parler accounts or were suspended from Facebook and Twitter migrated to Telegram and gained a following of tens of thousands of Trump supporters looking to vent anger and promote extremist views. The groups are competing for a surge of new users on alternative platforms while refocusing their messages on militant nationalism to white supremacy.

At a gun rights protest in Richmond, Va., days before the inauguration of President Biden, local Boogaloo Bois leader Mike Dunn marched with an AR-15-style rifle in defiance of a local ordinance. He would later use a photo of himself at the protest to create a meme on TikTok, where he already has more than 74,000 followers. Mingling with fellow members in the group’s signature Hawaiian shirts, Dunn said he hoped the online meme war spreading across channels and forums would energize prospective followers on the right and left.

Read more: Los Angeles Times

A loud explosion was heard over the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Tuesday, witnesses reported.

The cause of the blast has not yet been confirmed, but Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV cited videos on social media of a missile being intercepted over the city.

Witnesses told Reuters that they had heard two bangs and saw a small plume of smoke in the sky.

Missile was intercepted Saturday
On Saturday, military officials from the Saudi-led coalition engaged in Yemen said they had destroyed an "enemy air target" fired towards Riyadh.

Houthi militants, backed by Iran, have launched several cross-border drone and missile attacks, targeting oil and civilian infrastructure, since Saudi Arabia began its intervention in Yemen in 2015 to restore the government the Houthis had ousted.

Read more: Deutsche welle

Concerns over ISIS returnees remain pressing for many western governments, as does apprehension over domestic actors potentially spreading violent extremist ideology or carrying out terrorist attacks under the banner of ISIS or other terrorist groups. Some argue the November 2020 Vienna attack, in which four people were killed, marked the relaunch of ISIS’ “Europe campaign.” 

Debatably, al-Qaeda supporters and sympathizers back in the day exhibited more fortitude as sleeper cell agents, sometimes waiting up to two or three years for marching orders before taking action. ISIS’ “flash to bang” indoctrination peddled vis-à-vis its follower base nowadays seems to have become rapid and has been tightening.

Perhaps the case of the French middle-school teacher who was brutally murdered in October 2020 in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France, by a militant jihadi adherent serves to demonstrate the point and perhaps draw attention to newly emerging forms of violence and terrorism in Europe. This particular terrorist act has once again intensified the public debate over a “radical atmosphere” in Europe, interspersed with diverse opinions on subjects such as secularism, terrorism, endemic violence, immigration, and freedom of expression.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Federal law enforcement officials are examining threats aimed at members of Congress as the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside the U.S. Capitol, an official told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew,  prompted the Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with Trump’s trial, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Read more: USA Today

On the north coast of Colombia there is anxiety over the return to the South American country of one of the most feared former paramilitary commanders: Hernán Giraldo Serna. “El Patrón” (the boss) or “El Taladro” (the drill, as he became known for sexually abusing girls in the area) stepped on Colombian soil Monday after finishing a 16-year sentence in a U.S. prison for drug trafficking earlier this month.

Giraldo, 74, was deported from the U.S. and immediately taken into custody by authorities in Colombia, where he is expected to serve time for crimes against humanity, including torture, forced displacement of people, sexual slavery and kidnapping, as well as drug trafficking.

A photo provided by Colombian immigration authorities showed Giraldo stepping onto a jet bridge wearing a surgical mask and a bulletproof vest on top of gray sweatpants. Another photo showed him walking through a building with heavily armed police ahead and behind him.

Read more: AP