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Old 10-12-2017   #221
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Default British IS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones 'killed by drone'

Quote:
British IS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones was reportedly killed in a US drone strike in Syria, in June.
Jones, from Chatham in Kent, joined so-called Islamic State after converting to Islam and travelling to Syria in 2013.
Her death was first reported by The Sun.
The BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner said Jones had been a useful propaganda agent for IS on social media and her death would be "significant".
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41593659

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Old 10-17-2017   #222
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Default UK facing most severe terror threat ever, warns MI5 chief

In his first selected media appearance MI5's Director said there was currently "more terrorist activity coming at us, more quickly" and that it can also be "harder to detect". He added that more than 130 Britons who travelled to Iraq and Syria to fight with so-called Islamic State had died.

A couple of quotes:
Quote:
They are constantly making tough professional judgements based on fragments of intelligence; pinpricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41655488 and https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...-mi5-islamist?
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Old 01-06-2018   #223
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Default Where is the threat coming from?

Yet to catch up on my reading on UK CT, notably the report on the four attacks in 2017, so here is a recent article by Raffaello Pantucci, at RUSI, which was behind a paywall when published a few days ago.

The title: 'The new wave of terrorist threat comes more from the local lone wolf than international plotters'.

Here is a "taster":
Quote:
This all paints a bleak picture at the start of a fresh new year and it is worth stopping a moment to recognize a more positive side. Notwithstanding this past year being a particularly grim one in terms of attacks, the UK has not faced a large-scale atrocity on the scale of the London bombings of July 7, 2005, when 56 people died. The attacks we have suffered are for the most part of a low calibre, driven by individuals of limited resources and ability.
Link:https://raffaellopantucci.com/2018/0...plotters/amp/?

In September 2017 a London BBC programme, with Raffaello as the reporter, was screened and is available (27 mins). The summary:
Quote:
reveals how Isis used social media to plan and plot attacks on Westminster and London Bridge. He exposes how the terrorist group relies on encrypted messages and the dark web to coerce British Muslims to stage atrocities across the UK.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05f9y4g

I assume this podcast is available outside the UK; it is not on YouTube in its entirety.
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Old 01-06-2018   #224
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Default What do the statistics suggest?

A BBC report, with the official stats on arrest etc, here is one passage:
Quote:
There were 400 arrests on suspicion of terrorism-related offences in the year to the end of September 2017. That's the highest recorded figure, up more than 50% on the previous year.
The author concludes:
Quote:
So 2017 was a bad year for attacks, while still nowhere near the levels of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. But it definitely looks like there has been an unprecedented level of activity around tracking down people who are suspected of wishing to do harm to others.
Link:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-42420358?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #225
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Default The Crime-Terror Nexus in the United Kingdom and Ireland

A short report (32 pgs) by Peter Neumann (Kings College ICSR) and Rajan Basra ICRS PhD student); nothing startling IMHO, but "all in one place" and published by:www.crimeterrornexus.com
Link to report:https://crimeterrornexus.com/wp-cont...nd-Ireland.pdf
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #226
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Default UK CT: 2017 a brutal end to success, what next?

Seven weeks ago a public report on UK counter-terrorism revealed, within reason (national security and operational methods mainly) a great deal and some pointers to what was to be implemented next. Apologies for the delay, only today was there time to read the report and related comments.

The catalyst being in the words of the author, David Anderson, the former Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation (whose role is to monitor UK counter-terrorism legislation for its fairness, effectiveness and proportionality):
Quote:
The excellent recent record of MI5 and police in defending the UK from terrorist attack came to a brutal end this year at Westminster, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Finsbury Park….After four such incidents over a short period, unsparing reflection was required.”
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017...ons-just-nine/

The attacks were: 22nd March @ Westminster Bridge, London four deaths, with thirty-two injured by a suspect (shot dead) using a van and knives; 22nd May @ Manchester Arena, twenty-two dead, with one hundred and sixteen injured by a suicide bomber; 3rd June @ London Bridge, London, eight dead and forty-five injured by three men (shot dead) with a van and knives; and 19th June @ Finsbury Park Mosque, London one dead, eleven injured by a suspect in a van (currently on trial).

They are covered in the main thread:UK Counter-Terrorism (merged thread)

The Home Secretary's official statement is cited in part:
Quote:
In the case of the Westminster attack, Khalid Masood was a closed subject of interest at the time of the attack. Neither MI5 nor the police had any reason to anticipate the attack. Regarding the Manchester Arena attack, Salman Abedi was also a closed subject of interest at the time of the attack, and so not under active investigation. In early 2017, MI5 nonetheless received intelligence on him, which was assessed as not being related to terrorism. In retrospect the intelligence can be seen to be highly relevant. Had an investigation been re-opened at the time, it cannot be known whether Abedi’s plans could have been stopped: MI5 assess that it would have been unlikely.
In the case of London Bridge, Khuram Butt was an active subject of interest who had been under investigation since mid-2015. A number of different investigative means were deployed against him, but they did not reveal his plans. His two conspirators had never been investigated by MI5 or CT Policing.
In regards to Finsbury Park, neither MI5 nor the police had any intelligence about this attack.
The recommendations made in the MI5 and police operational review fall into four broad categories:
First, there needs to be a concerted effort to enhance MI5 and the police’s ability to use data to detect activity of concern, and to test new approaches in the acquisition, sharing and analysis of data.
Second, MI5 should share its intelligence more widely, and work with partners such as local authorities on how best to manage the risk posed by closed subjects of interest in particular. We are considering undertaking multi-agency pilots in a number of areas including Greater Manchester, and I have already started discussing how to take this forward with Andy Burnham.
Third, there should be a new approach to managing domestic extremism, particularly extreme right wing groups, where their activity meets the definition of terrorism. Fourth, there are a large number of detailed and technical changes which could be made to improve existing operational counter-terrorism processes.
Link:https://www.gov.uk/government/speech...ter-and-london

I have selected from the report a few key points IMHO:
Quote:
1.13 to 1.27 is a short section on terminology and in IMHO is the clearest explanation of how MI5 manages investigations and priorities in the public domain (There is a longer explanation in an Appendix pgs. 57-61; which has been amended after publication in an ISC report, November 2014).. 2.3 My more limited aim has been to give an idea of the quantity and quality of the intelligence that was available on each attacker at material times, thus introducing the context that needs to be understood before sense can be made of the recommendations in the various internal reviews.
2.38 Another tool promised well, but did not produce results in time. A process devised by MI5 to identify activity of renewed intelligence interest conducted by closed SOIs, using targeted data exploitation and other automated techniques, identified Salman Abedi as one of a small number of individuals, out of a total of more than 20,000 closed SOIs, who merited further examination.
2.77 How best to deal with the risk from persons not under active investigation has been a long-standing challenge for MI5, in respect of which a number of solutions have been tried in the past.39 Many of the recommendations in the OIR, summarised in chapter 3 below, are directed to improving coverage of such persons.

The report at 5.23 cites the Director General of MI5 recently described the work of his staff in the following terms
Quote:
They are constantly making tough professional judgments based on fragments of intelligence: pin pricks of light against a dark and shifting canvas.
Link to the report:https://www.daqc.co.uk/wp-content/up.../12/Report.pdf and his introduction:https://www.daqc.co.uk/2017/12/05/re...dling-reviews/


To be continued.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #227
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Default Part 2

The Anderson Report (as it is known) was well covered at the time and I have selected three particular comments.

The first is a quote from the report:
Quote:
The unpalatable lesson of London Bridge is that even priority subjects of interest in respect of whom sound decisions are being made ... may retain the ability to conceal their attack planning from the authorities.
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...david-anderson

Dan Lomas, an academic observer, commented:
Quote:
Yet headlines like these are misleading, neglecting the nuance in Anderson’s report that the decision to ignore or misinterpret the intelligence on Abedi was “understandable” in the circumstances, overlooking the complex nature of counter-terror investigations. So could the Manchester bombing really have been prevented?

Link:https://theconversation.com/the-manc...ht-bias-88708?

From a privacy pressure group:
Quote:
The report states that there is “certainly room for improvement in analysing and sharing data”, and identifies three potential changes as being particularly important:
  • Improving “the ability of MI5 and the police to exploit data to detect activity of concern”: in particular, “a better strategy for acquiring, analysing and sharing data across intelligence and policing, for example through wider use of bulk personal datasets”;
  • “Enhancement of tools” such as a process devised by MI5 “to identify activity of renewed intelligence interest conducted by [suspects]”, through “data exploitation and other automatic techniques”;
  • Allowing intelligence agencies such as MI5 to share its knowledge “beyond intelligence
The security and intelligence services should make their decisions based on objective evidence, not algorithmic speculation which may result in UK citizens’ privacy rights being infringed.
Link:https://bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/2017/...ch-terrorists/
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #228
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Default Radicalisation can be rapid, making it almost impossible to detect

A spin off from today's jailing of a white extremist for a murder in London last year of a Muslim man leaving a mosque, is the velocity of the radicalization process.

Quote:
Sarah Andrews, his estranged partner, told detectives that Osborne was radicalised into a terrorist murderer in three weeks. Friends and family say there were no previous signs of racism or extremism. The catalyst, police believe, came three weeks before the attack, when his attitudes began to metastasise after he watched Three Girls, a BBC TV drama about the Rochdale grooming scandal. He also read extremist right wing propaganda online that left him “brainwashed” and a “ticking time bomb”.
Paul Gill, a terrorism expert and senior lecturer at at University College London, said radicalisation can be rapid, making it almost impossible to detect.
“It is rare, but violent extremism can occur quickly,” he said. “Brusthom Ziamani was a Jehovah’s Witness three months prior to his arrest for an Isis-inspired plot. It is usually expedited by primitive attack plans and a history of criminal activity and violence.”
Link:https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...rne-makram-ali

I had to identify the reference to Brusthom Ziamani:
Quote:
A teenager inspired by the killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby has been jailed for 22 years for plotting to behead a British soldier. Brusthom Ziamani was carrying a hammer and a 12-inch knife wrapped in an “Islamic flag” when he was arrested by police in London in August.
Link:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-10122505.html

I recall the Islamists in the Madrid train attacks were radicalized in six weeks.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #229
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Default UK CT court results 2016

A snippet for UK CT in 2016:
Quote:
There were 62 trials for terrorism related offences in 2016. Of these, 54 persons were convicted and 8 acquitted.
Link:https://terrorismlegislationreviewer...ts-in-2016.pdf
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Old 5 Days Ago   #230
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Default From a London "foxhole"

A Q&A with the UK's most senior police CT officer, the Met's Neil Basu, in 'Sentinel' CTC's e-journal, conducted by RUSI's Raffaello Pantucci.
Link:https://ctc.usma.edu/view-ct-foxhole...united-kingdom

A broad range in the Q&A and some answers are not "on message", notably about Prevent.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #231
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Default The CT approach has "holes in the bucket"

A broad comment on the issues around returning foreign fighters by an "insider":
Quote:
Ian Acheson led the independent review of Islamist extremism in prisons and probation ordered by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove in 2016
A classic example of how weak the UK CT approach is:
Quote:
When I carried out my review of Islamist extremism for Government I was astonished to find that absolutely no thought had been given to forecasting the numbers of returning foreign fighters who might enter custody and how their special risks might be managed when they did. The expected surge hasn’t happened – yet – but the prison service is barely capable of maintaining order in our high security prisons, let alone accommodate a surge of combat-hardened Islamist terrorists.
Link:https://capx.co/how-to-deal-with-ret...isis-fighters/
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