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UK Citizens Could Soon Face Up to 15 years in Prison for Viewing Terrorist Content Online

In Archive, Terrorism, UK on October 3, 2017 at 11:14 PM

10/03/2017

People who repeatedly view terrorist content online could face up to 15 years behind bars in a move designed to tighten the laws tackling radicalisation the home secretary, Amber Rudd, announced on Tuesday.

A new maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment will also apply to terrorists who publish information about members of the armed forces, police and intelligence services for the purposes of preparing acts of terrorism.

The tightening of the law around viewing terrorist material is part of a review of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy following the increasing frequency of terrorist attacks in Britain this year.

Transcript

“I want to make sure those who view despicable terrorist content online, including jihadi websites, far-right propaganda and bomb-making instructions, face the full force of the law,” said Rudd. “There is currently a gap in the law around material [that] is viewed or streamed from the internet without being permanently downloaded.

“This is an increasingly common means by which material is accessed online for criminal purposes and is a particularly prevalent means of viewing extremist material such as videos and web pages,” added the home secretary.

The proposed changes will strengthen the existing offence of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 so that it applies to material that is viewed repeatedly or streamed online. Currently the power applies only to online material that has been downloaded and stored on the offender’s computer, is saved on a separate device or printed off as a hard copy.

How exactly investigators would be able to determine that a particular individual has repeat-viewed proscribed content is an open question. (But at the end of last year the UK passed a law requiring ISPs keep web activity logs of all users for 12 months.)

Senior officials say that, thanks to technological advances, it has become possible to identify users even if they do not download footage, but that the law has not caught up.

According to the Home Office the updated offence will ensure that only those found to repeatedly view online terrorist material will be guilty of the offence, to safeguard those who click on a link by mistake or who could argue that they did so out of curiosity rather than with criminal intent. A defence of “reasonable excuse” would still be available to academics, journalists or others who may have a legitimate reason to view such material.

But what about smaller independent outlets, like LeakSource, who believe information should not be censored and that the public has a right to know, both for educational and safety purposes. Will resources such as this be safe? Or will they be unjustly charged, bankrupted with defence fees and jailed for years?

And who decides what is terrorist content? Is it only jihadist related material? Is far-left/right content included? Anti-government opinions and activism? If not now, be assured all this and more could be added in the future. A slippery slope indeed. UK does Orwell best.

h/t Guardian/TechCrunch/TheTimes

Video & Photos of Aftermath Inside Las Vegas Shooter’s Hotel Room Leaked

In Archive, Las Vegas Shooting, Stephen Paddock, Terrorism on October 3, 2017 at 7:22 PM

10/03/2017

New video and photos show the scene SWAT teams encountered after blowing the door off the Las Vegas shooter’s room and finding him dead inside – as authorities reveal Stephen Paddock set up cameras inside and outside the room to warn him of approaching authorities.

The video, released by BILD, shows one rifle, still on a bipod, just inside the demolished door to the suite. You can see the damage left after police blew up the door to get to Stephen Paddock, who had already killed himself by that point.

The first photos were obtained by Boston 25’s Jacqui Heinrich from police sources, showing 2 of the 23 weapons used by Paddock during his rampage. The images show the guns – one equipped with a 100 round extended magazine – on the floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel room, numerous rounds of ammunition, holographic sights and bipods. A hammer that was presumably used to break the windows of the room, which was on the 32nd floor, is also seen beside the gun.

Additional photos leaked later on Tuesday, showing a wider view of the hotel room, and uncensored images of a dead Stephen Paddock. One showing Paddock’s body on the floor of the suite surrounded by weapons and spent shell casings, the other a close-up of his face post-suicide with a revolver beside him. (Suicide photo at bottom of post due to graphic nature)

LeakSource has been unable to verify the source of these additional photos, but they may have originated on 4chan, and were first posted on Twitter by Sam Hyde.

h/t @Paulmd199 for research

LVMPD Undersheriff Kevin McMahill confirmed that the leaked photos were authentic at Tuesday night’s press conference. “I can confirm those are in fact photos from inside the room, they are in fact photos of our suspect, and as the Sheriff mentioned previously we have opened up an internal investigation to determine the source of the leaks of those photos to the public,” McMahill said.

Only the 64-year-old’s legs, torso and left arm are visible in the photo, wearing a brown long-sleeve t-shirt, black slacks, slip on loafers, and black gloves. On the floor next to him are two assault rifles, dozens of spent shells and a hammer.

One of the assault rifles has a ‘bump stock’ added to it – making it effectively fully automatic – allowing him to unleash hundreds of rounds per minute.  The branding on the gun indicates it was made by Daniel Defense, a Savannah-Georgia-based company which produces variants of the AR-15 rifle, based off the U.S. Army’s M16.

The photo also shows that Paddock may have left a suicide message. The police have repeatedly said investigations are ongoing and have yet to make public any details about his motivations.

UPDATE 10/04: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo was asked about the note shown in the leaked photos, answering “it was not a suicide note, I’m comfortable in saying that.”

UPDATE 10/08: In an interview with 60 Minutes, three police officers who stormed Paddock’s hotel room said the note included hand-written calculations about where he needed to aim to maximize his accuracy and kill as many people as possible.

Officer David Newton from the Las Vegas Police Department’s K-9 unit said he noticed a note on the shooter’s nightstand once officers breached the room. “I could see on it he had written the distance, the elevation he was on, the drop of what his bullet was gonna be for the crowd,” Newton said. “So he had that written down and figured out so he would know where to shoot to hit his targets from there.”

Another photo shows how he pushed two sitting chairs together to form a cradle-like space to store at least two other rifles. Another AR-15-style rifle is seen at the foot of the chairs with an extended magazine.

Behind a nearby pillar, about 15 magazines are piled in neat stacks. It’s unclear if they are loaded or spent.

Composite image created by @Paulmd199

Police said Paddock set up cameras inside his hotel suite and in the hallway. Clark County Sheriff told reporters he thinks the shooter might have used them to watch for people approaching his room. The LVMPD Undersheriff clarified that there were 2 cameras located in the hallway on a room service cart, and another placed inside the hotel room door peephole. Police are not aware whether the devices were transmitting — the FBI is investigating their use.

UPDATE 10/04: At Wednesday’s press conference Clark County Sheriff said authorities had confirmed that the cameras – which Paddock was using a baby monitor to view – were not recording.

A SWAT team located Paddock in his room about 72 minutes after the beginning of the deadly attack – but cops estimate he only fired on the crowd for nine minutes, starting at 10:08pm.

Police say Paddock shot at officers as they breached the door, but by the time they made it into the suite, Paddock had committed suicide.

(VIDEO) Edmonton Police Officer Hit By Car & Stabbed in Suspected ISIS Terrorist Attack

In Archive, Canada, ISIS, Terrorism on October 1, 2017 at 5:28 PM

10/01/2017

Global:

A terrorism investigation is underway in Edmonton, where a police officer was stabbed and four pedestrians struck down by a fleeing U-Haul truck Saturday night.

A 30-year-old Edmonton man is in custody and police think he acted alone, but they aren’t ruling out the potential for others to be involved.

“We are urging Edmontonians to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings,” Edmonton Police Service (EPS) Chief Rod Knecht said in a 3 a.m. news conference on the attacks.

The chaos began down the street from Commonwealth Stadium, where the Edmonton Eskimos were hosting the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Canadian Forces Appreciation Night. Over 30,000 people were at the game.

Police said at around 8:15 p.m., a car rammed a traffic checkpoint on Stadium Road near 92 Street, striking an officer and sending him flying into the air.

“Suddenly and without notice and at a high rate of speed, a male driving a white, Chevrolet Malibu crashed through the traffic barricades that were separating vehicles from pedestrians, the vehicle struck the officer, sending him flying into the air 15 feet before colliding with the officer’s cruiser, again at a high rate of speed,” Knecht explained.

A source has confirmed to Global News the police officer injured in the attack is Const. Mike Chernyk. On Sunday, an EPS source also confirmed Chernyk had been released from hospital.

Knecht said there was an ISIS flag in the car.

Knecht said a man, believed to be 30 years old, then jumped out of his car and “viciously attacked” the Edmonton Police Service member with a knife. “A struggle then ensued, during which the male suspect stabbed the officer several times before fleeing the scene on foot northbound down 92nd Street.”

The officer was taken to hospital and treated for non life-threatening injuries while a manhunt was launched.

Police say it was just before midnight when a U-Haul truck was pulled over at a checkstop on Wayne Gretzky Drive near 112 Avenue. Knecht said the officer realized the driver’s name was similar to that of the Malibu’s registered owner, and the U-Haul truck took off, pursued by police towards downtown Edmonton.

“Throughout the chase, the truck deliberately tried to hit pedestrians in crosswalks and alleys in two areas along Jasper Avenue.”

One witness said the U-Haul came speeding down 109th Street and careened east into the alley next to a bar, hitting two people.

And at 107 Street and Jasper Avenue, someone else was seen being loaded into an ambulance. In total, four people were injured and taken to hospital.

The U-Haul ended up on its side on 100 Avenue, near 107 Street, near The Matrix hotel.

“The driver was apprehended and taken into police custody,” Knecht said. “It is believed at this time that these two incidents are related.”

“These incidents are being investigated as acts of terrorism,” Knecht explained.

Edmonton police, the RCMP Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) and its Canadian Public Security Agencies are investigating the incidents as acts of terrorism under Section 83.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

“We believe the individual acted alone, but we’re not ruling out that there may be others.”

Police said there was no warning of the event. The name of the man arrested has not been released.

CBC:

Terrorism-related charges are pending against a man accused of stabbing a police officer and deliberately plowing a cube van into pedestrians in Edmonton on Saturday night, the RCMP says.

The suspect was known to both RCMP and police, RCMP K Division Assistant Commissioner Marlin Degrand told a news conference at Edmonton RCMP headquarters on Sunday afternoon. The man is a Somali refugee.

In 2015, after a complaint was made to Edmonton police that the man was displaying signs of extremism, members of the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) launched an investigation, Degrand said.

The suspect was interviewed by members of INSET, but there was “insufficient evidence” to make an arrest and the suspect was deemed “not a threat,” Degrand said.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is the man accused in the attacks, multiple sources have told CBC News.

Degrand said the suspect has yet to be charged but is under arrest for offences including participation in a terrorist attack, commission of an offence for a terrorist group, five counts of attempted murder, dangerous driving, criminal flight causing bodily harm, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Al-Qaeda Calls for Targeting U.S. Rail Network, Publishes Detailed Operational Guide for Derailing Trains

In Al-Qaeda, Archive, Terrorism on August 14, 2017 at 10:46 AM

LeakSource Note: This information is being published because we believe withholding this material from the public only endangers them more. Terrorists and government officials shouldn’t be the only ones aware of future attacks these groups plan to carry out. The public has a right to know so that they can take necessary precautions, instead of becoming unknowing victims because of secrecy and censorship.

08/14/2017

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is encouraging followers in the West to carry out new mass casualty attacks, providing an in-depth tutorial on how to derail trains and listing dozens of ‘vulnerable’ train routes in the U.S. as example targets.

Issue 17 of the terror group’s Inspire Magazine includes several articles detailing railways in the West and the dependency of economies such as the U.S. on the efficiency of the railroad for passenger travel and the transportation of goods.

One introductory article cites a GAO (Government Accountability Office) highlighting the vulnerabilities faced by U.S. railways that total over 100,000 miles in length and citing the transportation of hazardous materials to be of particular concern. Also noted in the report is the 5.6 million daily commuters on the NY subway.

An article entitled “Train Derail Operations,” urges jihadis to seize upon the vulnerabilities of the rail system, especially the lengthy unguarded tracks in the U.S., France and the U.K. and to place obstacles that will cause trains to derail, striking fear in the hearts of the West as well as weakening their economies.

“O Mujahideen, it is time that we instill fear and make them impose strict security measures to trains as they did with their Air transportation. Continue to bleed the American economy to more losses, increase the psychological warfare and make it worry, fear and weaken much more,” the article states.

An elaborate tutorial spanning 19 pages contains detailed instructions on how to assemble a “homemade derail tool,” as well as the best place to position it. Industrial uses for derail tools or “wedges” include unauthorized movement of trains of faulty breaks.

The tutorial instructs users on how to create a cardboard and Styrofoam scale model, which can then be used to build the contraption built with a mixture of steel and concrete, laid out in a six-part step-by-step tutorial.

The guide warns the ‘lone wolf’ to study train schedules carefully and place the obstacle close to the time a train passes by, as rail inspection cars are often deployed to inspect railways for wear and tear.

The simplicity of the device’s design (no explosives required) as well as the notion that such an attack is not a martyrdom operation, but rather one that can be repeated over and over again are listed by the writer as advantages over other forms of lone-wolf attacks.

A map of U.S. railroads also appears and some of the main passenger routes are highlighted.

Inspire Magazine has been published by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula with issues going back to 2010. Much of the magazine’s attack focus has been labelled “open source jihad,” step-by-step guides advising would-be jihadis on how to carry out terror attacks, often with materials or equipment readily available. Past issues have included a summer 2010 edition with details on how to build a pressure cooker bomb and a fall 2010 edition encouraging “car ramming” attacks.

There has been some debate in the past over the authenticity of Inspire Magazine as an authentic Al Qaeda publication. The U.S. government deems the connection to Al Qaeda plausible and in 2013 launched a cyber attack to disrupt the magazine’s publication

PDF (26MB)

 

h/t Lisa Daftari/TheForeignDesk

 

AQIM Releases South African Hostage Stephen McGown After Almost 6 Years; $4.2 Million Ransom Paid

In Al-Qaeda, AQIM, Archive, Mali, South Africa, Terrorism on August 3, 2017 at 10:56 AM

08/03/2017

NYTimes:

A South African tourist who was abducted nearly six years ago from an inn in Timbuktu, Mali, by the North African branch of Al Qaeda has been freed, officials said on Thursday.

The tourist, Stephen Malcolm McGown, 42, was the last of the “Timbuktu Three,” who were abducted on Nov. 25, 2011, to be released: A Dutch citizen was rescued in a French commando raid in 2015, and a Swedish man was released in June.

 

Militants released a video showing six captives, including Mr. McGown, last month, before a visit to Mali by President Emmanuel Macron of France. Mr. McGown also holds a British passport.

Mr. McGown’s lengthy captivity had become a cause célèbre in South Africa, but his freedom came at a price: A retired European intelligence official said on Thursday that 3.5 million euros (about $4.2 million) had been paid.

The retired official, who requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information, said that the payment was negotiated through an intermediary, Gift of the Givers Foundation, a South African charity that had campaigned for Mr. McGown’s release, and that it was paid by an undercover agent working for French security services in the Adrar des Iforas mountains, a massif in the deserts of northern Mali where Qaeda militants have held hostages.

“It was an operation managed by France and South African intelligence through an intermediary,” the former official said.

 

South Africa’s foreign minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who announced Mr. McGown’s release at a news conference in Pretoria on Thursday, responded vaguely when a reporter asked her whether a ransom had been paid.

“The South African government does not subscribe to payment of ransoms,” she said. “That’s why I focused on the work we have been doing in the past six years: campaigning, engaging with governments, and with the captors the way we know how. That’s what we have been doing. And that’s what we can confirm.”

Ms. Nkoana-Mashabane, the foreign minister, declined on Thursday to discuss the condition of Mr. McGown, now back in South Africa. “Is he receiving the necessary support — the requisite for any South African citizen who had gone through this very, very painful experience? The answer is yes,” she said.

A New York Times tally of ransoms collected by Al Qaeda’s affiliates conducted in 2014 found that the group had taken in at least $125 million, with $66 million paid just in 2013.

Unlike the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, Al Qaeda has tended to see hostages as a product that it can monetize. Only a minority of its hostages have died while in custody, unlike those of the Islamic State, which both ransoms and regularly kills captives.

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