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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: recruitment & radicalization

A former sheriff linked to the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government extremist group, will speak in Belfast— a decision that has alarmed some in the community.

Richard Mack is a marquee speaker of the Arise USA! The Resurrection Tour that is making its only stop in Maine at the Crosby Center in downtown Belfast Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

The former Arizona sheriff is also the founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association, an organization that believes that county sheriffs have powers that supersede those of any other law enforcement officer, including federal officers. In 2016, the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit investigative news outlet, reported that Mack sat on the board of directors of the Oath Keepers. That group is part of the patriot militia movement and came under heavy scrutiny after the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S Capitol. It’s known for trying to recruit military and law enforcement officers and is classified as an anti-government extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Read more: WGME (Portland, ME)

A new eight-part documentary podcast, American ISIS from The Intercept and Topic Studios, details the account of an American man who lived and died inside the Islamic State. The podcast, which is narrated by Trevor Aaronson, explores how ISIS functioned in Syria through the firsthand account of Russell Dennison.

The first episode, Death and Life, starts by detailing the Islamic State while the following episodes dive deeper into Dennison’s childhood, radicalization, journey and 2019 death as an ISIS fighter.

Dennison was raised Catholic in Pennsylvania and converted to Islam just before going to prison for selling marijuana. After prison, Dennison posted videos to YouTube criticizing Americans. These videos gained him a large following as well as attention from the FBI. In 2014, Dennison left America and went to join ISIS.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

The Danish cartoonist whose depictions of the Prophet Muhammad sparked protests across the world has died aged 86.

Kurt Westergaard died after a long illness, his family told the Berlingske newspaper on Sunday.

He worked for the Danish right-wing newspaper Jyllands-Posten from the early 1980s, but made headlines across the world for his controversial cartoon of Mohammed in 2005.

The image, which showed the prophet with a bomb on his head for a turban, sparked protests across the Muslim world, with Danish embassies attacked and several dozen people killed in riots.

Read more: Sky News

William H. Regnery II, the heir to a family publishing fortune who was known for his quiet but influential support of extreme right-wing causes in the United States has died at 80.

He died at his home in Boca Grande, Florida, on July 2. A person who answered the phone at the Lemon Bay Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Englewood, Florida, on Saturday confirmed they handled Regnery’s arrangements, but would provide no additional information.

Cassie Miller, a senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an email Saturday that Regnery’s material contributions helped to build networks of racist activists and a large body of pseudoscientific literature that Regnery hoped would legitimize his calls to build a white ethnostate.

“Though he usually operated in the background, Regnery was an extremely influential figure in the radical right,” Miller said.

Read more: AP

The chaplain corps serving the vast federal prison system is so badly depleted that officials have allowed inmates convicted of terror-related offenses or with links to terrorist organizations to lead religious services, an internal Justice Department review found.   

Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz's report found that the chaplain ranks, with 236 serving more than 150,000 inmates, is down by 30% and represents just eight of 24 faith groups recognized by the federal prison system.

"We found that a significant shortage in the number of chaplains and other chaplaincy services staff impairs the BOP’s ability to implement a safe and effective religious services program," the report concluded, noting that officials relied on alternate inmate-led programs "without ensuring adequate supervision and oversight..."

Read more: USA Today