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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Apr 1, 2021

A 42-year-old man faces arson charges, thanks to a bit of luck for a Vancouver police officer, in connection with the bizarre news that three Masonic buildings caught fire within 90 minutes of each other early Tuesday.

But before the suspect could be arrested at the third fire, in east Vancouver, he managed to flee after getting into a “physical fight” with an armed off-duty officer who happened to be in the area, said Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Tania Visintin.

The man was arrested about 2-1/2 hours later in Burnaby. Vancouver police and North Vancouver RCMP are preparing their recommendations for charges to Crown counsel.

Benjamin Kohlman has been charged with one count of arson and one count of assaulting police officer pertaining to the incident in Vancouver.

Read more: Vancouver Sun

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has upheld the constitutionality of an FBI watch list of more than 1 million “known or suspected terrorists,” saying it falls under the government’s power to guard its borders.

“The government has had authority to regulate travel and control the border since the beginning of the nation,” Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in an opinion issued Tuesday.

Muslim American civil rights organizations have long challenged the Terrorist Screening Database, created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, saying it violates the rights of U.S. citizens. A federal judge in Alexandria, Va., ruled in their favor in 2019, writing that there had to be a meaningful process for someone to challenge placement on a list that leads to screening by border agents, law enforcement and employers that work in national security.

Read more: Washington Post

Four people, including a child, were killed in a mass shooting at an office complex in Orange, California, on Wednesday, a police official said.

A fifth victim was wounded and transported to a local hospital in critical condition, Lt. Jennifer Amat said.

Police responded to a call of shots fired around 5:30 p.m. and encountered gunshots when they got to the scene, Amat said during a news conference.

The suspect was transported to the hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound in a shooting with police, Amat said. One firearm was recovered from the scene and the suspect is in critical condition, she said.

Read more: CNN

The Liberal government has approved a slimmed-down extension of the Canadian military's contribution to the ongoing fight against the remnants of ISIS.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued a statement Tuesday announcing an extension of the seven-year-old campaign, known as Operation Impact.

The international effort to shore up the military capacity of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon will see the involvement of Canadian troops for one more year.

Although the government has authorization to deploy up 850 soldiers in support of the anti-terrorism mission, Canada's current contribution in the coming year will be significantly smaller, involving 17 troops serving with NATO in an advisory capacity. NATO is helping to rebuild the country's defence ministry and its ability to stand up to ISIS militants.

Read more: CBC News (Canada)

The Committee of Ministers has adopted guidelines which provide member States with practical advice to help relevant national authorities to better prevent and fight terrorism, and to enhance their understanding of the links between organised crime groups and terrorist organisations who are increasingly co-operating to reach their own objectives and profit from one another.

Prepared by the Council of Europe Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT), this tool aims to ensure that specific challenges related to terrorism and transnational organised crime and the nexus between both are addressed, such as their opportunistic co-operation, the potential recruitment and radicalisation of common-law criminals by terrorist organisations, the adoption of one criminal group’s modus operandi by the other, the role played by prison systems in potentially creating and consolidating this nexus, and the financing and facilitating of terrorist acts, notably through arms trafficking. The guidelines also intend to provide ground for reflection on this topic, practical advice and examples of good practices.

Read more: Council of Europe