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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Apr 28, 2021

A small group of Turkish protestors gathered outside the American consulate in Istanbul on Monday to protest U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to call the Ottoman Empire's mass deportations and killings of Armenians a century ago a "genocide."

A few dozen protestors held banners and chanted slogans. "Genocide is a lie, it's an American plan," they said. Demonstrators also demanded an end to the American military's use of Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, shouting: "American soldiers, get out of Turkey!"

On Saturday, Biden followed through on a campaign promise to recognize the events that began in 1915 and killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Turkish officials strongly condemned the proclamation, claiming there are no legal or historical grounds for the use of the word. They say both Armenians and Turks were killed as World War I ravaged the Ottoman Empire.

Read more: Military.com

Antisemites adopted a new tactic for spewing their hate when the COVID-19 pandemic closed synagogues and Jewish schools and community centers: hijacking video conferences.

The Anti-Defamation League counted 196 cases of antisemitic “Zoom bombing” attacks in the U.S. last year, including 114 against Jewish institutions, according to an annual report that the organization is releasing Tuesday.

The Jewish civil rights group found that the overall number of antisemitic incidents dropped by 4% last year after reaching a record high in 2019. The decrease in incidents — from 2,107 in 2019 to 2,024 last year — included a 49% decline in assaults, an 18% drop in vandalism cases and a 61% reduction in incidents at non-Jewish K-12 schools.

Read more: AP

The Department of Homeland Security will undergo an internal review to root out white supremacy and extremism in its ranks as part of a larger effort to combat extremist ideology in the federal government, officials said on Monday.

The task of identifying extremists throughout the United States, and specifically in government agencies, has come to the top of President Biden’s agenda since Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. Many of the rioters were found to be members of extremist groups.

“We recognize that domestic violent extremism and the ideology, the extremist ideologies that spew it, are prevalent,” said Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary. “We have a responsibility, given what we do, to ensure that that pernicious influence does not exist in our department.”

Read more: New York Times

On a recent episode of his livestreamed show, the 22-year-old extremist Nick Fuentes repeated a formula that has won him a following with some of the youngest members of the far right. He went on an extended, violent and misogynistic rant, only to turn to the camera and add with a smirk, "Just joking!"

In this case, from the April 22 edition of Fuentes' show, America First, a viewer wrote in to ask Fuentes for advice on how to "punish" his wife for "getting out of line."

Fuentes responded, "Why don't you smack her across the face?"

The rant continued for minutes.

"Why don't you give her a vicious and forceful backhanded slap with your knuckles right across her face — disrespectfully — and make it hurt?" Fuentes went on. At one point, he pantomimed punching a woman in the face.

Read more: NPR

The Washington, D.C., police department said Monday that its computer network was breached, and a Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate claimed to have stolen sensitive data, including on informants, that it threatened to share with local criminal gangs unless police paid an unspecified ransom.

The cybercriminals posted screenshots on their dark web site supporting their claim to have stolen more than 250 gigabytes of data.

The District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that it had asked the FBI to investigate the “unauthorized access.” There was no indication that any police operations were affected, and the department did not immediately say whether it had been hit by ransomware.

Read more: AP