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Homeland Security News

A collection of open-source homeland security and terrorism news from around the world.
Keyword: worldwide terrorism threats & domestic extremist threats & trends

Though police have not ascribed a terror motive to Sunday’s deadly incident in which an SUV drove into crowds at a Wisconsin Christmas parade, the scene invariably brought to mind the vulnerabilities exploited in the 2016 attacks on the Bastille Day crowds in Nice and the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in Berlin: Soft targets without secure perimeters. Packed crowds that increased the casualty count from the use of a vehicle as a weapon. Crowds that were distracted by joyful holiday activities and not necessarily on alert for danger.

Extremist movements and lone actors have favored targets connected to holidays for these logistical reasons – ease of attack, ability to effectively use simple weapons, crowds that may be oblivious to the threat – or for symbolic reasons if the intended target, date, or victims align with an ideological motive. These can combine; for example, if a person with antisemitic beliefs opportunistically decides to attack a Jewish community location after noticing light security on an important date for either the faith of the victims or the faith of the attacker.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Australia on Wednesday classified neo-Nazi organisation The Base and Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, as terrorist organisations.

The classification makes it illegal for anyone to be a member of The Base, the white supremacist group formed in 2018, or Hezbollah. Anyone convicted of being a member can be imprisoned for up to 25 years.

"There is absolutely no place in Australia for violent extremism. There is no cause – religious or ideological – that can justify killing innocent people," Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews told reporters in Canberra.

Hezbollah is not believed to be active in Australia, though authorities have said The Base has actively sought to develop cells.

Read more: Reuters

Two people linked to France's ultra-right movement have been arrested by agents from the DGSI intelligence service as part of an anti-terrorism probe, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

France Info earlier reported that the two were suspected of issuing a call for violence via the Telgram messaging app.

Weapons were found at the home of one of the two suspects, the judicial source told Reuters.

Material related to the making of explosives had also been found, French news agency AFP reported. Both suspects, who were seized by police on Tuesday, are from southwestern France, France Info and AFP said.

Read more: Reuters

This report explores how and why mis/disinformation develops in the wake of terror attacks and the ways it is used by extremist groups to attempt to shape public understanding and political responses. These uses include extremist sympathisers engaging in information manipulation and obfuscation as part of their attempts to explain or justify the violence, as well as distorting and deceptive messaging designed to marginalize or stigmatize other social groups. Having presented evidence and insight about the construction of these messages, the discussion also looks at the policy and practice options in terms of ‘what works’ with regard to managing and mitigating any such messaging and the harms it seeks to induce.

It is now largely taken for granted that social media and the wider changes to the media ecosystem with which it is associated have had profoundly disruptive and transformative impacts upon the institutional and interactional ordering of society. But while very few social and political commentators would contest the general tenor of this assertion, it is increasingly clear that the effects of social media upon patterns of communication and knowledge are complex, especially with respect to specific policy and practice domains. One such domain is political violence and the countermeasures intended to limit its effects.

Read more: Homeland Security Today

Written materials allegedly found by police following the June killing of a Muslim family in London, Ont., indicate the alleged attacker was influenced by the gunman who took 51 lives at two New Zealand mosques in 2019.

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation confirmed to Global News that a large volume of ideological writings, some allegedly penned by the suspect himself, were seized during the investigation into the vehicle attack that left four dead.

The written materials, which sources said were found in Nathaniel Veltman’s truck, home and computer, allegedly showed he was a follower of Brenton Tarrant, who opened fire on worshippers in Christchurch two years ago.

It would be the latest attack linked to New Zealand’s worst mass murderer. A subsequent shooting in 2019 that killed 23 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, was also among those linked to the New Zealand attacks.

Read more: Global News (Canada)