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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Date: Jun 4, 2021

An emboldened Taliban poses a severe and expanding threat to the government of Afghanistan, remains close to al Qaeda, and believes it can return to power by force if necessary, according to a United Nations Security Council report released on Wednesday.

With the last remaining US troops due to leave Afghanistan in the coming months, the report compiled by the UN Monitoring Team, which is charged with tracking security threats in Afghanistan, paints a bleak picture of the security outlook. It will be uncomfortable reading for the Biden administration as it works to end the US military presence in the country.

Biden has pledged to withdraw all remaining US forces by September 11 — the twentieth anniversary of 9/11.

As part of last year's agreement between the preceding Trump administration and the Taliban, the militant Islamist organization promised to instruct its members "not to cooperate with groups or individuals threatening the security of the United States and its allies" as a quid pro quo for U.S. troop withdrawal.

Read more: CNN

The alleged leader of two banned neo-Nazi groups has claimed he was "pressurised" into posing with swastika flags by his girlfriend.

Andrew Dymock, 24, from Bath, told a jury at the Old Bailey that he was not an extremist and had been framed by his former girlfriend.

But the jury was shown a series of images taken on the top floor of an abandoned building in Woolwich, South London.

Giving evidence in his defence, Dymock claimed that his then girlfriend handed him neo-Nazi skull masks and "was pressurising me to take pictures in them", adding: "I don't remember the swastika being there".

Read more: Sky News

A Texas man pleaded guilty yesterday to federal hate crime charges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

According to court documents, Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas, pleaded guilty yesterday to a federal hate crime and two other charges in connection with his involvement in a scheme to target gay men for violent crimes, announced Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Prerak Shah, and FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the Dallas Field Office. Jenkins is the last of four defendants to plead guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to one hate crime count, one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, and carjacking, and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

“The Department of Justice and the Civil Rights Division are committed to confronting the scourge of hate-based violence gripping communities across our nation,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We denounce hate-based violence in all of its forms, including violence targeting individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We will continue to diligently investigate and prosecute violent, bias-motivated crimes to the fullest extent. As noted by Attorney General Garland, we stand ready to use every tool in our arsenal to address the rise in hate and we will work to hold perpetrators of hate-motivated violence accountable.” 

Read more: Department of Justice

A teen is facing charges of arson and vandalism after Rutherford County investigators say they set a church on fire during their Wednesday night services.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call of a fire at LifePoint Church on Almaville Road just after 9 p.m.

“I was very concerned because there were four or five ambulances there,” said Kayce Johnson, whose son attended church’s preschool. “I know that they do teen night there. I was thinking someone got hurt.”

According to the county sheriff’s office, a 15-year-old set fire inside the church in two separate locations: the restroom, and the auditorium. The fire marshal’s office investigated and found the fire had been intentionally set.

Read more: WKRN

A Swiss law giving the police new powers to fight terrorism could expose people to torture abroad and risks harming children, human rights and legal experts told Reuters ahead of a nationwide referendum on the law.

After a series of attacks in Europe since 2015, Switzerland adopted the law last year to make it easier for the police to monitor and restrict the movement of potential offenders, including children as young as 12. read more

Opponents succeeded in putting the law to a referendum on June 13, but opinion polls show about two thirds of voters intend to back the law, prompting experts to speak up in a final attempt to stop it.

Read more: Reuters