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November 17, 2015 3

The Terror Threat to the US in the Wake of the Paris Attacks

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, believed to have been the mastermind of the Paris attacks

Abdel­hamid Abaaoud, a Bel­gian man believed to have been the ring­leader in the Paris attacks

Fol­low­ing the Novem­ber 13 ter­ror attacks in Paris, cities around the world have ramped up secu­rity. While the type of coor­di­nated attacks that have been car­ried out in France can occur in the U.S., an analy­sis of domes­tic Islamic extrem­ist activ­ity and plots in 2015 indi­cates that the U.S. faces a dif­fer­ent threat land­scape than many Euro­pean countries.

Inves­ti­ga­tors still do not have pro­files of all of the indi­vid­u­als alleged to have taken part in the attacks on Paris. How­ever, cer­tain fea­tures of the attack are already apparent.

1. Exter­nal coor­di­na­tion by for­eign ter­ror­ist organizations

The Paris attack is the sec­ond attack in France this year that appears to have been planned, at least in part, by for­eign ter­ror­ist organizations.

By con­trast, only one of the 15 domes­tic attack plots in the U.S. moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ist ide­ol­ogy this year appeared to have had pos­si­ble exter­nal coor­di­na­tion: Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud, arrested in Feb­ru­ary, had allegedly been plot­ting an attack with some direc­tion from ter­ror­ists in Syria, although the extent of that direc­tion was unclear.

A sec­ond plot, the shoot­ing of a Draw Mohammed con­test at a Gar­land, Texas com­mu­nity cen­ter, was influ­enced by con­ver­sa­tion with ISIS sup­port­ers online, includ­ing some who are believed to be fight­ing abroad. How­ever, it seems that those online sup­port­ers incited activ­ity against the con­test but did not coor­di­nate the plot with the alleged shooters.

2.  For­eign fighter threat

The attack in Paris was allegedly planned in large part by a Bel­gian cit­i­zen who had spent time fight­ing with ISIS in Syria before return­ing to Europe.

Only one indi­vid­ual in the U.S., Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud, attempted to plot an attack after allegedly fight­ing with extrem­ists in Syria this year. Inter­est­ingly, Mohamud had allegedly fought with Jab­hat al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Syria, and not with ISIS; how­ever, court doc­u­ments indi­cate that he was also sym­pa­thetic to ISIS.

The U.S. also has far fewer indi­vid­u­als who have trav­eled abroad to join ISIS than France or Bel­gium. At least 100 Amer­i­cans are believed to have joined ISIS – approx­i­mately 1 per­son per mil­lion in the U.S. – com­pared with between 1,000 and 1,200, or 18 peo­ple per mil­lion in France and approx­i­mately 440 indi­vid­u­als, or 40 peo­ple per mil­lion, in Bel­gium. As such, the risk of return­ing for­eign fight­ers attempt­ing to per­pe­trate attacks in the U.S. is sta­tis­ti­cally lower than in France or Belgium.

At least 4 indi­vid­u­als believed to have been plan­ning domes­tic plots in 2015 allegedly con­ceived of their plots after find­ing them­selves unable to travel to join ISIS. At least 3 indi­vid­u­als allegedly planned to travel to join ISIS after per­pe­trat­ing an attack.

In total, 29 U.S. res­i­dents arrested in 2015 allegedly attempted to join ISIS.

3. Plot size

At least ten indi­vid­u­als are believed to have taken part in the attacks in Paris.

By con­trast, the major­ity of attack plots in the U.S. this year have been in small groups. Eight plots were allegedly planned by indi­vid­u­als (but not lone wolves, as they were often coor­di­nat­ing with infor­mants or con­tacts on the inter­net); five were planned by two peo­ple work­ing together; two were planned by groups of three. One plot involved a ring of five ISIS sup­port­ers, but only two of the five appear to have been actively engaged in the plot, while the oth­ers were pri­mar­ily plan­ning to travel abroad to join the ter­ror­ist organization.

Again, none of this data should be inter­preted to mean that a large-scale, exter­nally directed plot in the U.S. can­not occur; the 9/11 attacks proved that the U.S. is vul­ner­a­ble to such attacks. How­ever, it does indi­cate that the threat fac­ing the U.S. remains dif­fer­ent than the threat fac­ing Euro­pean countries.

The fol­low­ing is a list of domes­tic attack plots against the U.S. in 2015:

  • Joshua Ryne Gold­berg of Florida was arrested in Sep­tem­ber for allegedly send­ing bomb-making instruc­tions to and devel­op­ing a plot with an under­cover source. The plot involved build­ing a pres­sure cooker bomb and det­o­nat­ing it at a 9/11 memo­r­ial in Kansas City, MO. Fol­low­ing his arrest, Gold­berg claimed he had planned to alert law enforce­ment prior to the bomb’s detonation.
  • Harlem Suarez of Florida was arrested in July for allegedly plot­ting to det­o­nate a bomb at a Florida beach. He also dis­cussed attack­ing law enforce­ment officers.
  • Moham­mad Yousef Abdu­lazeez of Ten­nessee was killed after he opened fire at two mil­i­tary facil­i­ties in Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee in July. The attack resulted in five deaths, in addi­tion to Abdulazeez’s death. Abdu­lazeez was report­edly inspired by Al Qaeda propaganda.
  • Alexan­der Cic­colo of Mass­a­chu­setts was arrested in July as a felon in pos­ses­sion of a weapon. Cic­colo allegedly planned to attack a state university.
  • Justin Nojan Sul­li­van of North Car­olina was arrested in June for allegedly plot­ting an attack that included shoot­ings in pub­lic venues and a bomb plot that involved bio­log­i­cal weapons.
  • Munther Omar Saleh and Fareed Mumuni of New York were arrested in June after each attempted to attack law enforce­ment offi­cials in sep­a­rate instances. The two had allegedly planned to under­take an attack on a New York City land­mark. Saleh and Mumuni were part of a con­spir­acy that also involved at least three other peo­ple, Samuel Rahamin Topaz, Alaa Saadeh and Saadeh’s brother, but these three were appar­ently more focused on trav­el­ing to join ISIS and the degree of their involve­ment in the plot is unclear.
  • Usaama Rahim of Mass­a­chu­setts was killed when he drew a knife after being approached for ques­tion­ing by law enforce­ment offi­cers. He had allegedly plot­ted with David Wright of Mass­a­chu­setts and Nicholas Rovin­ski of Rhode Island to behead Pamela Geller (head of the anti-Muslim orga­ni­za­tion Stop Islam­i­ciza­tion of Amer­ica) on behalf of ISIS; the plot later shifted to attempt­ing to behead a police officer.
  • Elton Simp­son and Nadir Soofi of Ari­zona were shot and killed when they attempted to under­take a shoot­ing at a Gar­land, Texas com­mu­nity cen­ter. They were allegedly assisted by co-conspirator Decarus Thomas of Ari­zona, who was arrested in June.
  • Miguel Moran Diaz of Florida was arrested in April on charges that he was a felon in pos­ses­sion of a firearm. Reports indi­cated that he planned to tar­get Miami residents.
  • John T. Booker and Alexan­der Blair of Kansas were arrested in April for allegedly attempt­ing to under­take a sui­cide attack at the Ft. Riley mil­i­tary base.
  • Noelle Velentzas and Asia Sid­diqui of New York were arrested in April for allegedly pur­chas­ing bomb-making equip­ment with plans for an attack.
  • Hasan and Jonas Edmonds of Illi­nois were arrested in March and charged with attempt­ing to join ISIS and plot­ting an attack against a mil­i­tary base.
  • An unnamed minor from South Car­olina was arrested in Feb­ru­ary and accused of for­mu­lat­ing a plot to attack a North Car­olina mil­i­tary base and then travel abroad to join ISIS.
  • Abdura­sul Juraboev and Akhror Saidakhme­tov of New York were arrested in Feb­ru­ary and charged with mate­r­ial sup­port for ter­ror. Court doc­u­ments state they were attempt­ing to join ISIS and dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of a domes­tic attack.
  • Abdi­rah­man Sheikh Mohamud of Ohio was arrested in Feb­ru­ary and charged in April with join­ing Jab­hat al Nusra. He allegedly returned to the U.S. with the inten­tion of per­pe­trat­ing an attack against a mil­i­tary base in Texas. Court doc­u­ments indi­cate that Mohamud sup­ported both ISIS and Jab­hat al Nusra, although he had fought with Jab­hat al Nusra.
  • Christo­pher Lee Cor­nell of Ohio was arrested in Jan­u­ary for his alleged plot to attack the U.S. Capi­tol after fail­ing to con­nect with ISIS mem­bers abroad.

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November 10, 2015 0

Virginia White Supremacists Arrested; Plot Against Jews Alleged

Ronald Chaney from Facebook

Ronald Chaney (Facebook)

FBI agents have arrested three east­ern Vir­ginia men on weapons and rob­bery con­spir­acy charges in con­nec­tion with an alleged ter­ror­ist plot to attack Jew­ish and African-American reli­gious insti­tu­tions and con­duct “acts of vio­lence against per­sons of the Jew­ish faith.”

The three men, Robert Cur­tis Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney III, charged with con­spir­acy to pos­sess firearms despite felony con­vic­tions, and Charles Daniel Hal­der­man, charged with con­spir­acy to com­mit rob­bery, are white suprema­cists with past crim­i­nal records. They all are from the greater Rich­mond area.

Accord­ing to crim­i­nal com­plaints, a meet­ing took place at Doyle’s house in Sep­tem­ber “to discuss…shooting or bomb­ing the occu­pants of black churches and Jew­ish syn­a­gogues.” Doyle allegedly dis­cussed crim­i­nal acts they could employ for get­ting money with which to carry out their plans, includ­ing rob­bing and killing a jew­elry dealer, com­mit­ting an armored car rob­bery, and attack­ing a gun store owner. The pro­ceeds would allegedly be used to buy land and weapons and to train “for the com­ing race war.”

The fol­low­ing month, Doyle and Chaney allegedly met with an under­cover FBI agent to pur­chase weapons and explo­sives from the agent. FBI agents arrested the three at their homes on Novem­ber 8.

All three sus­pects have lengthy crim­i­nal his­to­ries, includ­ing crimes of vio­lence. Chaney, for exam­ple, pleaded guilty in 2006 to a num­ber of charges related to an attempted rob­bery and sub­se­quent shootout with the intended vic­tims. He was released from his most recent prison stay in the spring of 2015.

The men may have met in prison, where all were des­ig­nated by prison offi­cials as white suprema­cists while in cus­tody. Accord­ing to the FBI, the sus­pects were adher­ents of a white suprema­cist vari­ety of Asatru­ism. Asatru is the most com­mon name given to the mod­ern revival of ancient Norse pagan­ism. Most Asatru­ists are not white suprema­cists, but a minor­ity are, often refer­ring to them­selves by terms such as Odin­ists or Wotanists.

Hal­der­man and Doyle both have Asatru tat­toos, as well as white suprema­cist tat­toos, while Chaney iden­ti­fies him­self as Asatru­ist on his Face­book profile.

White suprema­cists have been involved in many of the right-wing ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies and acts in recent decades.   Many white suprema­cist ter­ror­ist plots and acts involve attacks against Jew­ish tar­gets, as most white suprema­cists view Jews as their “ulti­mate enemy.”


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November 4, 2015 0

UK Bans White Supremacist Matthew Heimbach From Entering Country


Matthew Heimbach

Matthew Heim­bach

Matthew Heim­bach, head of the white suprema­cist Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work (TYN), has been banned by Great Britain from enter­ing the coun­try. Heim­bach posted a let­ter from Great Britain’s Home Sec­re­tary on his Twit­ter page, which cited Heimbach’s advo­cacy of racial seg­re­ga­tion and his anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi remarks as rea­sons for the ban.

The let­ter from the Home Sec­re­tary stated that Heim­bach “should be excluded from the UK on grounds that [his] pres­ence here would not be con­ducive to the pub­lic good.” Heim­bach was report­edly plan­ning to meet with a num­ber of far-right activists at a pri­vate lunch in South­port, Eng­land this month.

Pre­vi­ously, Heim­bach has reached out to other extrem­ists in Europe in an effort to build ties abroad. In Novem­ber 2014, Heim­bach spoke at a neo-Nazi rally in the Czech Repub­lic. That year, he also met with the wife of a leader of Greece’s Golden Dawn, a neo-Nazi polit­i­cal party. He has also expressed ardent sup­port for nation­al­ists in Rus­sia and other for Russ­ian pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Heim­bach has been an active white suprema­cist since 2012 when he founded the White Stu­dent Union at Tow­son Uni­ver­sity in Mary­land. Since then, Heim­bach has grown more vir­u­lently anti-Semitic and racist.  He founded TYN with Matthew Par­rott in 2013 as a way to attract young peo­ple to the white suprema­cist move­ment. TYN mod­els itself after the Euro­pean Iden­ti­taire move­ment, which focuses on pre­serv­ing white Euro­pean cul­ture and iden­tity in West­ern countries.

TYN, a small group, is mostly active on col­lege cam­puses, where the group often protests against Tim Wise, an inde­pen­dent scholar who gives speeches about com­bat­ing racism at schools and uni­ver­si­ties. TYN has also started a polit­i­cal party, the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Work­ers Party, to run white suprema­cist can­di­dates for local offices.

While Heim­bach is active with TYN, he also devotes a lot of time to net­work­ing with other white suprema­cist and hard­core racist groups in the U.S. He has been a speaker at a num­ber of neo-Nazi and racist skin­head events.

In June 2015, Heim­bach spoke at “Camp Com­radery,” a week­end event in Cal­i­for­nia filled with white power music bands and speeches by lead­ers in the white suprema­cist move­ment. He made a video of his speech at that event.  The video, avail­able here, con­tains some Nazi imagery and high­lights Heimbach’s hatred toward Jews. Dis­cre­tion is advised in viewing.

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