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News, documents and analysis on violent extremism

Friday, June 19, 2015

INTELWIRE Weekly Brief, 6/19/15, Charleston, Wuhayshi, What Inspires ISIS, And Much More


Was what happened in Charleston terrorism?
In the wake of the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, terrorism expert Brian Phillips asks and answers five questions based on initial reports of the shooter and the massacre.

Dylann Roof, Suspect in Charleston Shooting, Flew the Flags of White Power
The Facebook profile picture chosen by Dylann Storm Roof in May is thick with symbolism. It shows Mr. Roof, a scowling young white man, wearing a black jacket adorned with two flags — one from apartheid-era South Africa, the other from white-ruled Rhodesia — that have been adopted as emblems by modern-day white supremacists.

Reddit’s Racists ‘Celebrate’ Charleston Terror—and Worry About the Blowback
The trolls of a racist subreddit worried about how the killings would make them look in the ‘Jew-owned media.’

Roommate Says Charleston Suspect Planned Shooting For 6 Months
The roommate of the white, 21-year old man who allegedly massacred nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina said Thursday that he thought the suspect had been planning the attack for about six months.


Al-Wuhayshi's death deprives al Qaeda of a dynamic heavyweight'
Even though he was only in his late 30s, AQAP leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi had more than 20 years of experience fighting jihad and had been close to Osama bin Laden. To many observers, his death is the most significant individual blow to al Qaeda since the killing of militant preacher Anwar al-Awlaki (also in Yemen) four years ago.

One-eyed sheikh Mokhtar Belmokhtar alive, says al-Qaeda
al-Qaeda in the Maghreb issued a statement denying reports that the veteran jihadist had been killed. 

Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis
The Department of Homeland Security has stepped back for the past two years from conducting its own intelligence and analysis of home-grown extremism, according to current and former department officials, even though law enforcement and civil rights experts have warned of rising extremist threats.

Try, Try Again: White Supremacist Plans To Build 'Little Europe' In North Dakota
A self-described white supremacist who last year abandoned plans to mold a tiny North Dakota town into an Aryan enclave is ready to give it another go -- this time through crowdfunding.


Islamic Scripture Is Not the Problem And Funding Muslim Reformers Is Not the Solution
Ayaan Hirsi Ali is correct that darker passages of Islamic Scripture endorse violence and prescribe harsh punishments for moral or theological infractions. But Hirsi Ali is profoundly wrong when she argues that Islamic Scripture causes Muslim terrorism and thus that the U.S. government should fund Muslim dissidents to reform Islam. By Will McCants.
Experts weigh in: Can the United States counter ISIS propaganda?
With the presidential election coming up and U.S. messaging strategy against the Islamic State uncertain, Richard LeBaron and Will McCants take stock of where things stand.

How to stop ISIS from recruiting American teens
The steady stream of teenage recruits to ISIS is not simply a tragedy but also a particular challenge for U.S. officials, who cannot easily charge minors with terror support.

ISIS-Imposed Fuel Embargo Threatens Syria’s Medical Centers
Islamic State fighters are preventing fuel shipments from reaching rebel-held parts of northern Syria, causing severe shortages that are grounding ambulances, paralyzing medical centers and shutting down bakeries, according to antigovernment activists and aid workers.

ISIL-linked group claims deadly Yemen bombings
A series of car bombs kill dozens in capital Sanaa, as UN-brokered talks to resolve crisis were extended until Friday.

New Jersey Man Arrested in ISIS-Related Raid, 4th Tri-State Terror Arrest This Week
A man suspected of supporting ISIS-related activities was arrested as FBI agents raided a home in New Jersey early Thursday, accused of conspiring with at least one of the other men arrested in the area this week in the same investigation, law enforcement officials said.

Man charged with lunging at FBI agents with knife during terrorism probe on Staten Island
A man accused of coming at FBI agents with a knife on Staten Island Wednesday morning has been taken into custody. The agents were investigating an alleged ISIS sympathizer from Queens when they arrived at the house.


The Growing Right-Wing Terror Threat
A survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum indicates the main terrorist threat in the United States is not from violent Muslim extremists, but from right-wing extremists.

Islamic State Propaganda: Key Elements of the Group’s Messaging
By dissecting and examining the various strands of the group’s propaganda, narrative and brand, this article will deal with the message itself, focusing on how the Islamic State has gained the international traction it has. by Charlie Winter.

Countering Violent Extremism in America
This report analyzes the status quo of CVE in America, detailing the latest initiatives and the challenges they face. The second part summarizes the current CVE trends in various European countries, where authorities have implemented ambitious strategies for over a decade, and whose experience can therefore offer useful pointers to U.S. officials. Finally, the report seeks to provide recommendations. by Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes 

Buy the new book ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger.

Buy J.M. Berger's seminal book on American jihadists, Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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", granular analysis..."

ISIS: The State of Terror
"Jessica Stern and J.M. Berger's new book, "ISIS," should be required reading for every politician and policymaker... Their smart, granular analysis is a bracing antidote to both facile dismissals and wild exaggerations... a nuanced and readable account of the ideological and organizational origins of the group." -- Washington Post

More on ISIS: The State of Terror

"...a timely warning..."

Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam:
"At a time when some politicians and pundits blur the line between Islam and terrorism, Berger, who knows this subject far better than the demagogues, sharply cautions against vilifying Muslim Americans. ... It is a timely warning from an expert who has not lost his perspective." -- New York Times

More on Jihad Joe


INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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