Europe/Da’esh/The West – A new ISIS terror video has urged followers to use household goods to conduct jihad against the West it was reported on the 22 Aug 16. In the video, self-radicalised jihadis are urged to follow example of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who used a rented truck to launch a devastating attack on Bastille Day celebrations in Nice killing 86 people. During the film, terrorists are advised they do not require sophisticated weaponry or explosives to launch an attack. Instead, they are told to equip themselves with baseball bats, power drills, screw drivers and even hypodermic syringes. According to PJ Media, the new video - which lasts for almost 20 minutes - concentrates on the United States and France. Chillingly, the video features sections showing polling stations in the United States suggesting ISIS wants to target the November elections. The footage also shows the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty and the Eiffel Tower. Earlier this month an Algerian ISIS sympathiser attacked two Belgian policewomen outside a police station in Charleroi, south of Brussels. The machete-wielding 33-year-old terrorist was shot dead by a third officer. The man, named only as KB, was shot dead by a third police officer. The Algerian, who had a criminal record, had lived in Belgium since 2012. Charleroi police spokesman David Quinaux said the attacker carried a machete in a sports bag and pulled it out as he arrived at a security checkpoint outside the city's police headquarters in mid-afternoon. Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said it wasn't immediately clear if the assault, which he called an 'act of barbarism' was the deed of a single person or something more elaborate. He told RTF television: 'We don't know if this is the action of a lone wolf.'
Europe/Poland/Germany/Chechnya/Da’esh – Thousands of Chechen migrants are exploiting a virtually unmanned border crossing between Poland and Germany, raising fears ISIS sympathisers could find a new route to Europe it was reported on the 25 Aug 16. With the established route through Greece and the Balkans taken by thousands of refugees shut off following a deal between Turkey and the EU, migrants are looking for new ways into Europe. Law enforcement officials believe Chechens are travelling north through western Russia and crossing into Belarus before travelling into Poland, from where they can reach Germany's eastern border. One 56-mile stretch near the Polish-German border is said to be manned by just two officers in one patrol car, making it easy for migrants to make it across. Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim part of southern Russia and some extremists from the region have gone to fight with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. 'The security situation at the German–Polish border is serious,' Ernst Walter, head of Germany's federal police union, told Politico. 'Day by day, there could be hundreds or thousands of illegal border crossings into Germany from Poland, with potential terrorists among them - and we simply have no idea about what's happening,' he warned. A senior police officer said the 56-mile area near the border was only patrolled by two officers in one car, but officials denied this. However, there are believed to have been fewer officers working on the German-Polish border in recent months as staff were moved to the south of the country to tackle the huge number of migrants arriving from southern Europe. More than 14,000 Russians have applied for asylum in Poland since the start of 2015, with more than 90 per cent of them saying they came from Chechnya. It is not known how many Chechens head straight through Poland and into Germany as there are not strict checks at the border because of the Schengen Agreement. At the border between the Polish town of Slubice and Germany's Frankfurt an der Oder, an unmanned foot and road bridge spans the river border separating the two countries. Around 1,800 Russians applied for asylum in Germany in Jun 16 but this is a nationwide figure. It represents a 600 per cent jump in Russian asylum applications from Jan 16 - and came at a similar time as the spike in refugees from the Middle East. A federal police source said German officials had 'no idea' whether the migrants stayed in Germany or moved elsewhere in Europe. Migrants from the Middle East had until recently been travelling through Greece and the Balkans after entering Europe via Turkey. But this route has almost completely been shut off by a deal between Turkey and the EU. Under the agreement, almost any illegal migrants who enter Greece can be sent back to Turkey, with Turkish people given visa-free travel into Europe in return. Refugee arrivals plummeted from more than 1,700 a day to 47 a day after the deal, although that figure is now nearer to 200. Many of the migrants who made it to Greece have not been sent back to Turkey, however, and are now stranded in Greece.
Europe/Da’esh – Britain has been warned of a rising threat of terror from Islamic State fighters after it was revealed more and more are using fake passports to enter the country it was reported on the 26 Aug 16. Earlier this week it was revealed that ISIS has been distributing fake passports in Greek refugee camps to allow its terrorists to travel within Europe on 'clean' identity documents. Now, Europol's director Rob Wainwright has told the a British newspaper that the terror group has taken a 'strategic decision' to send fanatics to attack the continent, in the hope of distracting attention from the fighting on its own soil. Mr Wainwright said that some ISIS fighters were posing as refugees but that this was a small number. Some have used fake Syrian IDs to travel through Greece before entering Europe, with two of the fighters behind the Paris attacks in Nov 15 back on the continent. There have been reports that ISIS leaders are attempting to radicalise the migrants at refugee camps in Greece and the Balkans. The Europol director warned there could be more Paris-style 'spectacular attacks', with more than 50 counter-terror investigations under way across the continent at the moment. According to the director, there will be challenging times ahead, as people exposed to radical ideology attempt to integrate back into European society. He told the newspaper: 'That’s going to be a long, long struggle for us to deal with the numbers involved and how we can get them back into society, plus sort out which among them pose the biggest security threat. 'Given the numbers involved, that’s quite an onerous security challenge the authorities will face. Some fighters will be sent back by IS to engage in terrorist activity. 'We have, in the last year and a half, seen a strategic decision by IS to do that and carry out spectacular attacks of the type we saw in France and Brussels. 'On the security challenges we face, we’ll have a long-term struggle to reintegrate returning fighters, some of whom will have been sent back on mission.' The attacks carried out in European cities are intended as a way to boost morale of their fighters in Syria, where there is less military success. Europol, which co-ordinates intelligence sharing between EU nations, is working to identify and bring to trial those selling weapons to the fighters illegally. Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe warned it was a case of 'when, not if' there would be another attack on London.
Europe/Migrants/Da’esh – Rob Wainwright, the chief of Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said that 200 counter terrorism officers will be deployed to the Greek islands within weeks in an effort to thwart a “strategic”-level campaign by ISIS to infiltrate terrorists into Europe it was reported on the 29 Aug 16. The new task force will be deployed alongside Greek border guards and use technologies developed by British security forces at Heathrow to help spot potential terrorists. “We have, in the past year and a half, seen a strategic decision by Da’esh to do that and carryout spectacular attacks of the type we saw in France in Brussels,” he told the Evening Standard. “There will be further attempts at that kind of activity,” he added. The Express reports that the new deployment, which Europol originally announced in May 16, comes against the backdrop of a growing concern about ISIS’s attempts to exploit the flow of refugees from Syria and other parts of the Middle East. Europol said that last week its officials discovered several forged passports in a Greek refugee camp which officers believe were intended for use by ISIS operatives. European security agencies are also worried that more foreign fighters will be trying to return home as ISIS comes under increasing pressures in Syria and Iraq. Wainwright said the counterterrorism operatives will be deployed on rotation to Greece and possibly Italy in the coming weeks. “There will be a second line of defence. We hope to deploy some into the camps where the refugees, the asylum seekers, are being held,” Wainwright said. The European Organization for Migration estimates 270,576 refugees have entered Europe by sea between 1 Jan 16 and 24 Aug 16 most of them through Greece and Italy. Some 3,165 have died, or have been reported missing, in the Mediterranean during this 8-month period. Security concerns increased this week after it emerged a rescue boat operating in the southern Mediterranean had been shot at and boarded by armed men. Europol facilitates cooperation among EU national police forces against organized crime and terrorism. Wainwright, a former MI5 intelligence analyst, has been the director of the agency since 2009.
Belgium – A machete-wielding woman who reportedly hacked at three people during a rampage in Brussels was shot at point-blank range by police it was reported on the 22 Aug 16. She can be seen sitting on a chair inside a shopping centre as six officers close in. After police ask her to throw away the knife she refuses and runs outside. In the background, someone can be heard urging the police to shoot. On a street next to the mall, an officer fires a shot at point-blank range into her arm. The 52-year-old Filipino woman is accused of attempted murder but has yet to be questioned by prosecutors as she was in receiving medical attention. She was shot after lunging at people getting off a bus in the Uccle area of the Belgian capital, stabbing one in the back and one in the stomach. 'No motive is being ruled out at this stage but terrorism is not the most likely case,' said police spokesman Xavier Dellicour. The spokesman for the public prosecution authority Ine Van Wymersch said the woman has no criminal history. She said: 'Police were forced to use their firearms to neutralise the woman, as she did not follow up police requests to throw away her knife.' The three people injured were all released from hospital on the same day. The woman's name had not been released.
Belgium – An explosion has hit crime laboratories in a Brussels suburb in what police are treating as a criminal but not terrorist incident it was reported on the 29 Aug 16. Shortly before 0230 hrs local time (0030 hrs GMT), a car rammed through three fences, leading to an explosion and a large fire, RTL Belgium reported. Belgian media said "one or more" suspects then reportedly set off a bomb near the laboratories. But police could not confirm that a bomb had exploded. Belgium's terror alert level remains high since bomb attacks on Brussels airport and the city's metro, claimed by so-called Islamic State, that killed 32 people in March. There were no casualties in the latest blast, Belgian media reported, and it is unclear what happened to the perpetrators. Fire service spokesman Pierre Meys told Agence France-Presse that the "extremely powerful" blast "was probably not accidental". Some 30 fire fighters helped put out the resulting fire at the National Institute of Criminology, which media said suffered "significant" damage. Prosecutors said an investigation was now under way. Forensic analysis linked to criminal cases is carried out at the site, but RTL report that it is not the only laboratory of its kind linked to the police. Images submitted to RTL by nearby residents showed flames and heavy smoke rising into the night sky. The independent institute, linked to Belgium's federal justice body, is in Neder-Over-Heembeek, a suburb in the north of Brussels. 361 COMMENT: The police claim it was not a terrorist attack but a criminal act and the police claim they cannot confirm that there was a blast. The fire service state in the report that there was an “extremely powerful blast and was probably not an accident”. It is possible that the forensic laboratory has some criminal evidence that the perpetrators wanted to ensure was not released, but, they did not even get close so a half hearted effort. Let us also look at the location of the blast, it was a forensic lab not a railway station, airport or a crowded shopping area so the chances are that this is really a criminal act. But why are the police and fire service making different statements? It appears that no matter what is happening in Europe all incidents are being played down and not claimed as a terrorist incident. What are the European authorities not telling the general public? COMMENT ENDS
Germany – For the first time since the Cold War the German government is advising citizens to stockpile food and water for use in a national emergency it was announced on the 22 Aug 16. Some opposition MPs said the new civil defence concept, to go before ministers was scaremongering. Citizens are advised to store enough food to last them 10 days, because initially a disaster might put national emergency services beyond reach. Five days' water - two litres (half a gallon) per person daily - is advised. The German news website Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) said the new concept was set out in a 69-page German Interior Ministry document. The document said "an attack on German territory, requiring conventional defence of the nation, is unlikely". But, it said, a major security threat to the nation in future could not be ruled out, so civil defence measures were necessary. Soon, Germans began tweeting ironically under the hashtag "Hamsterkaeufe" (panic-buying). Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a group of schoolchildren that Germany must be prepared to react if water or food reserves were poisoned, or if oil and gas supplies were interrupted. The parliamentary head of the left-wing Die Linke party, Dietmar Bartsch, criticised the move, saying "you can completely unsettle people with yet another round of proposals, such as hoarding supplies". The Greens' deputy parliamentary leader, Konstantin von Notz, said it was sensible to update civil defence advice which had not been touched since 1995. But he warned against mixing up possible military or terrorist scenarios, saying "I can't see any attack scenario that merits a stockpiling of supplies by the population".
- About 2,000 public bunkers and shelters were built in West Germany, with federal funding (former East Germany had its own communist network of shelters) There was a wide mix of shelters - eg in garages, schools, private cellars
- Special government nuclear bunker was built in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, 30km (19 miles) from Bonn
- Law says Cold War-era shelters must not be converted into new types of building
- Germany still has stockpiles of food - eg milk powder and beans - at secret locations, for a national emergency
- Inventories are regularly checked and renewed
- Emergency offices to issue food and fuel stamps, under national rationing system in a disaster
Germany – Germany may reintroduce a form of national service for civilians to help the army deal with a future disaster. The role of civilians is part of a new civil defence strategy to be discussed by the government on the 24 Aug 16. Since the strategy was leaked to the media there has been intense debate about stockpiling food and water. In a crisis civilians might be obliged to help direct traffic or provide fuel and accommodation for the military, German news agency DPA reported. Germans appeared generally unfazed by what some MPs have called government "scaremongering" but the word "Wehrpflicht" (conscription) was trending on social media on the 23 Aug 16. The topic of civil defence also boosted the popularity of hamsters on social media, as Germans, with more than a hint of irony, adopted the hashtag "Hamsterkaeufe", which means panic-buying or hoarding like a hamster. The article was bylined, in English: "Jean Gnatzig, Head of Silly Content". The government said a national disaster was "unlikely" but preparations were needed in case of a future terror attack or "hybrid" conflict involving cyber warfare, which could damage key infrastructure. Russia's military intervention in Ukraine in 2014 - the clandestine seizure of Crimea and support for separatist rebels - has been widely described as "hybrid warfare". Germany scrapped compulsory national service in 2011, but provision for it remains in the constitution, so it could easily be reinstated, DPA says. During the Cold War, national service meant that West Germany could mobilise 495,000 soldiers and boost the numbers to about 1.2m if necessary by calling up reservists. School leavers had the option of doing 18 months' civilian service - for example in a hospital - instead of nine months in the military. But at the height of the Cold War - in the 1960s and 1980s - conscripts had to spend 18 months in the military. Women were exempt from conscription.
Germany/Da’esh – ISIS are trying to join German armed forces to get military training they can use for terrorist attacks it was reported on the 29 Aug 16. In light of the concerning revelation the armed forces are calling for all applicants to the military to be subject to a security check by its counter-intelligence agency. The testing will start from July next year and the Government believes it will help the nation fight against extremists, terrorists and criminals. However, such security screening would require changes in the laws governing the military. A draft document justifying such changes, seen by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, said there are indications that Islamists are trying to get 'so-called short-term servicemen into the armed forces' for training. The cabinet is set to approve a change to the military act next week, the newspaper said, citing security sources. A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said the government was in the process of deciding on the law. The military counter-intelligence agency is looking into 64 suspected Islamists, 268 suspected right-wing extremists and six suspected left-wing extremists in the armed forces, the newspaper said.
France – As part of the French government’s bolstering of security measures in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks, French schools, beginning with the new school year, will now conduct three security drills a year – including at least one drill in which a mock assailants enter the school building it was reported on the 25 Aug 16. France’s education minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem and the interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced a series of measures on the 24 Aug 16 to improve how French schools and children react to terror threats. Students will be drilled in how to hide or escape, depending on the specific circumstances. U.S. News & World Report says that all students aged 13-14 and class representatives will receive basic training on life-saving measures such as CPR and how to stop bleeding by using a tourniquet. Vallaud-Belkacem said that currently 30 percent of students have had such training. Games will be used to teach children aged 2-6 how to hide effectively, keep quiet, and calmly wait for the police to arrive, the education minister said. “It’s not a question of succumbing to panic or paranoia but simply to face our responsibilities,” Vallaud-Belkacem said, noting Mohamed Merah’s attack on a Jewish school in 2012 in the south-western city of Toulouse. He killed one teacher and three elementary school students, video-taping himself cutting the throat of a 7-year old girl. Cazeneuve said the plan aims to “prevent the risk of an attack and at the same time guarantee a calm atmosphere in schools.” The government has already implemented several school security measures following the Nov 15 terrorist attacks in Paris. Some police forces patrol school areas, and parents and students are requested to avoid gathering near schools and report anything suspicious. School principals will meet with parents before the school year begins two weeks for now, and detail the security measures. The government has also allocated €50 million to help schools pay for security equipment such as CCTVs, video door phones, and new alarm systems.
United Kingdom – Magistrates have allowed police another week to question five men arrested on suspicion of terrorism offences. The men were arrested in Stoke and Birmingham on the 26 Aug 16. They are suspected of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism, police said. An Army bomb disposal team was also called to the Lee Bank area of Birmingham on the 26 Aug 16 just hours after the arrest. On the 27 Aug 16 detectives from West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit appeared before Westminster magistrates via video link to ask for permission to keep the men for longer. The police request was granted, meaning the five men can be held until the morning of the 2 Sep 16. Two of the men, aged 32 and 37, were arrested in the Stoke area of Staffordshire. Another two men, aged 18 and 24, were arrested at their homes in Birmingham and the fifth man, 28, was arrested in another location in Birmingham. West Midlands Police say that, as a result of one of the arrests, an Army bomb disposal team was called in as "a precautionary measure".
361 EUROPE COMMENT: There have been a number of warnings reported in various European newspapers over the last few months regarding refugees and fake passports. To some it may be old news but with the continuous reporting there may well be something here. After the attacks in Europe especially France, Belgium and Germany various Da’esh terrorist cells will have been demolished and so future plans of the terror group will not be able to be executed. So a decision to send more terrorist into Europe is a strong possibility. After all, the terrorist will learn from their mistakes as do Police forces and governments in the fight to counteract terrorist groups. But with the agreement with Europe and Turkey currently holding and sending refugees back the other route between Chechnya, Poland and Germany could be good news to the group as it opens up what is seen as an easier route. Criminal gangs will want to exploit people smuggling as they have no loyalty to a country but see it as business. Perhaps Germany sees a much larger picture when it looks to advise its citizens to stockpile food for several days. Stockpiling along with the possibility of reintroducing conscription is another factor to weigh in to the argument. The country has had a huge number of Muslim migrants enter its country. Germany could see that there is a short term threat here as a large number are male immigrants who are of an age to fight but not in their own country. If a small minority of these are indeed terrorists waiting for a call to rise up and attack then Germanys Security Forces would be at full stretch and so it would advise its citizens to stay indoors and have less distractions on the streets. With food supplies in stock then you would not have German citizens leaving their accommodation to find food. The conscription issue may not be just from the planning of a further war in Europe but unlikely. Conscripts can be easily and quickly trained in minor duties that would relieve better trained servicemen and women to concentrate on assisting the civil police should large well coordinated terrorist attacks happen in Germany. Nobody is saying Germany is right but on the other hand nobody is saying Germany is wrong. France to appears to be taking the internal threat seriously by introducing counter terrorist methods in Schools. It will be interesting in the coming months to see what other countries start to introduce different measures. Should this be the case then Europe is making a statement that it is expecting a huge problem. COMMENT ENDS