Dilitas International Security Brief 30th October 2017

The threat to the UK from International Terrorism is SEVERE
The threat to Great Britain from Irish Republican Terrorism is SUBSTANTIAL

Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack.

LOW means an attack is unlikely
MODERATE means an attack is possible, but not likely
SUBSTANTIAL means an attack is a strong possibility
SEVERE means an attack is highly likely
CRITICAL means an attack is expected imminently

AFRICA

The Somali government has fired two top security officials after twin blasts and a siege left at least 27 people dead on Saturday.

Reported 29th October 2017 – Security forces in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, have ended a 15-hour siege of a hotel stormed by armed militants. The gunmen entered the building after two bombs were detonated in the area. At least 20 people were killed, and it is feared more bodies will be found as security forces search the hotel.
The Islamist militant group al-Shabab said it had carried out the bombings.

Reported 28th October 2017 – Two explosions have rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu, just two weeks after huge bomb killed more than 350 people. The first blast was caused by a car bomb being driven into a hotel. Militants then stormed the building. The second explosion took place near the former parliament house nearby. The number of casualties is unclear. The Islamist militant group al-Shabab – which officials blamed for the attack two weeks ago – said it carried out the latest bombings

Reported 27th October 2017 – The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind Tuesday’s attack which killed at least eight Nigerian soldiers in a military base in the north-eastern state of Yobe. In an online statement in Arabic, the Islamist militant group said its fighters seized weapons and four military vehicles in the attack.

Reported 27th October 2017 – Three Chadian soldiers serving in the UN mission in Mali known as Minusma were killed on Thursday when their vehicle drove over a mine. There are currently more than 12,000 UN soldiers and police in the north of Mali, fighting Tuareg separatists and various Islamist militant groups, some affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Reported 26th October 2017 – Kenya’s presidential election re-run has been marred by isolated clashes and a boycott by the main opposition. A teenage boy was shot by police and later died amid clashes in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu, one of four counties hit by violence.

Reported 24th October 2017 – The US is withdrawing military assistance units from Myanmar over the country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine state. The state department said it had also dropped travel waivers for Myanmar military officials, and was considering economic sanctions.

Reported 24th October 2017 – Suspected pirates have kidnapped six crew members from a German-owned container ship off the coast of southern Nigeria, maritime site SeaGuardian reports. It says that the ship was en route from Equatorial Guinea’s port city of Malabo to Liberia’s capital, Monrovia.

Reported 24th October 2017 – A woman in Somalia has held up a large truck at gunpoint, ordered the driver off and searched it for explosives. The vehicle was the same model as the one used in the recent massive truck bombing in the capital Mogadishu which killed more than 350 people.

ASIA

Reported 28th October 2017 – The threat of nuclear attack from North Korea is increasing, US Defence Secretary James Mattis said during a visit to South Korea. Mr Mattis warned it would face a “massive military response” if it used nuclear weapons. Separately, North Korea released a South Korean fishing boat which it said had been found in North Korean waters illegally.

AUSTRALIA

Reported 24th October 2017 – An Australian man has been charged with sending money to a US citizen fighting for so-called Islamic State in Syria. The man, 43, was arrested at his Melbourne home on Tuesday after a 16-month investigation by counter-terrorism authorities.

EUROPE

Reported 28th October 2017 – Greek police say they have arrested a man in Athens in connection with a series of letter bomb attacks on EU officials earlier this year. Eight packages were intercepted in Athens in March after booby-trapped post was sent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Paris and the German finance minister in Berlin.

Reported 25th October 2017 – A blast in Ukraine’s capital Kiev has killed a man and injured three others, including an MP, in what officials say may have been an assassination attempt. A bodyguard of Ihor Mosiychuk – a nationalist Radical Party MP – was killed, the organisation’s head said.

Reported 26th October 2017 – A Pakistani man wanted by Interpol in connection with alleged contract murders has been arrested in Hungary. Authorities in Pakistan had issued an international warrant for his arrest in connection with 70 deaths there, listing him as the country’s most-wanted person. Police said he was caught in a group of migrants being smuggled to Austria.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – A court in Bavaria has jailed a man with far-right links to life imprisonment for killing a policeman during a raid on his home last year. The man, named only as Wolfgang P, was described as a “Reichsbürger” – part of a group that rejects the German state.

LATIN AMERICA

Cuba says there have been no sonic attacks against US embassy staff in its capital, Havana, and that the claims are a “political manipulation” aimed at damaging bilateral relations.

Clashes erupted between protesters and police in French Guiana on Thursday night during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron. Petrol bombs were thrown and police responded with tear gas in the French overseas territory’s main city Cayenne, amid anger over social deprivation. The territory in South America has 23% unemployment – more than double the rate of mainland France.

Reported 24th October 2017 – Thousands of taxi drivers in the Colombian capital Bogota have blocked roads and clashed with police in protest at hail services such as Uber. Yellow cabs lined the streets of the city on Monday as drivers objected to what they said was an unfair advantage awarded to app-based services.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – Police in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro say they have shot dead a 67-year-old Spanish tourist. The woman, María Esperanza Jiménez Ruiz, was on a tour of the Rocinha favela when the car she was travelling in broke through a police blockade, officials said. The officer who fired the shot has been detained, police said.

MIDDLE EAST

Syria’s government was responsible for a deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held town in the north-west of the country on 4 April, a UN report says. The authors say they are “confident” Damascus used sarin nerve agent in Khan Sheikhoun, killing more than 80 people.

Reported 26th October 2017 – Iraqi forces have launched an offensive to recapture the last bastion of so-called Islamic State in the country. Soldiers, police, Sunni tribesmen and mostly Shia paramilitary fighters are taking part in the assault on al-Qaim and Rawa, in the Euphrates river valley close to the border with Syria.

A court in Iran is believed to have sentenced to death an Iranian doctor who is a resident of Sweden after convicting him of spying for Israel. Tehran’s prosecutor said a person had been found guilty of passing to Israeli operatives the addresses of 30 nuclear and military scientists – two of whom were killed in bomb attacks in 2010.

At least 5,600 supporters of so-called Islamic State (IS) have returned to their home countries as it loses ground in Iraq and Syria, a new report says. The Soufan Center, a US-based think tank, says 33 states have reported arrivals in the past two years. The figure includes half of the estimated 850 people who left the UK.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – Egypt’s government has disputed reports that more than 50 policemen were killed in a shootout with militants in the Western Desert on Friday.

RUSSIA

Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution extending the mandate of the only official mission investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

UK, NORTHERN IRELAND AND EIRE

Reported 29th October 2017 – Heathrow officials are investigating after a USB stick containing confidential data – including the exact route the Queen takes to the airport – was reportedly found in the street. A total of 76 folders were on the stick, including maps, videos and documents, the Sunday Mirror reported. None were encrypted or password protected.

The newspaper said it contained details of identification needed to access restricted areas, the location of CCTV cameras, tunnels and escape shafts linked to the Heathrow Express, and a timetable of patrols against terror attacks.

Reported 28th October 2017 – A 21-year-old man from Oxford has been charged with being a member of so-called Islamic State, officials from the Kurdish region of Syria have said. Jack Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack”, travelled to Syria in 2014 and was later captured by the Kurdish-led YPG – the group fighting against IS – when he left IS territory.

Reported 27th October 2017 – A man arrested as part of an inquiry into banned neo-Nazi terror group National Action has been charged with encouragement to murder an MP. Police said Christopher Lythgoe, 31, from Warrington, Cheshire, had been charged with encouragement to murder the Labour MP for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper. Lythgoe was also one of six men charged with being members of a proscribed organisation, contrary to section 11 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Reported 26th October 2017 – A woman who bought a combat knife and training dummy for her husband has been found guilty of helping him prepare for a planned terror attack in Birmingham. Madihah Taheer, 21, from the city, denied preparing an act of terrorism by assisting her husband Ummariyat Mirza earlier this year.

Ministers should not “criminalise thought” with plans to prosecute people who view extremist content online, the UK’s terror watchdog has said. Home Secretary Amber Rudd recently announced plans to increase jail terms for those found guilty to 15 years.

Police failed to properly deal with disorder in a seaside town because senior officers “misread the significance of events”, a report says. A Norfolk Police review into why Cromer went into “lawless lockdown” after 100 travellers visited was instigated by the chief constable.

Reported 24th October 2017 – A British man who has been fighting so-called Islamic State in Syria has been killed while clearing landmines in Raqqa … Jac Holmes had been fighting with Kurdish militia the YPG since 2015. Kurdish representatives in the UK said they had been told by YPG officials the former IT worker from Bournemouth was killed while he was clearing an area to make it safe for civilians.

Reported 24th October 2017 – A great-grandmother has been found guilty of making hoax calls about a bomb at Cardiff’s Motorpoint arena. Deidre Murphy, 62, had told Cardiff Crown Court she made the calls to disrupt an arms fair at the venue. Murphy, from Swansea, who represented herself, was found guilty of two counts of communicating false information.

USA

Reported 30th October 2017 – Two elite members of the US Navy are being investigated for murder after a 34-year-old special forces serviceman was found dead in Mali in June, officials have told US media. Army Staff Sergeant Logan J Melgar, from Texas, was found at US embassy housing in Mali on 4 June.

Police have arrested a student in connection with a shooting that killed two people on a university campus in the US state of Louisiana on Wednesday. The attack at Grambling State University (GSU) left student Earl Andrews and his friend Monquiarious Caldwell, both 23, dead.

New security measures affecting flights into the US are coming into effect, which US authorities say are aimed at reducing the threat of hidden explosives. They include enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices.

Two students have been arrested, accused of plotting attacks against students and staff at their high school in Georgia. The students, both 17, were named as Alfred Dupree and Victoria McCurley and are being charged as adults. Police said they found a homemade incendiary device and an undetermined powder substance at McCurley’s house.

CYBER NEWS

The super-rich clients of a Bermuda-based offshore company were braced for their financial secrets to be exposed after it admitted that its computer records had been hacked. Appleby said that it suffered a leak last year “which involved some of our data being compromised” and admitted that it was “not infallible” but denied any wrongdoing.

An incredible sequence of security mistakes led to a US National Security Agency contractor leaking his own confidential hacking tools to Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based company has alleged. The claim comes as part of an internal investigation into allegations that the company helped Russian spies discover and steal the NSA files, by locating and flagging the contractor.

A new strain of ransomware nicknamed “Bad Rabbit” has been found spreading in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere. The malware has affected systems at three Russian websites, an airport in Ukraine and an underground railway in the capital city, Kiev.

Agents at the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been unable to extract data from nearly 7,000 mobile devices they have tried to access, the agency’s director has said. Christopher Wray said encryption on devices was “a huge, huge problem” for FBI investigations.

The UK’s financial regulator has fined Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch £35m for breaking reporting rules. The US bank failed to report nearly 69 million transactions over two years, the Financial Conduct Authority said.

A high-profile plastic surgery clinic has said it is “horrified” after hackers allegedly stole data during a cyber-attack. London Bridge Plastic Surgery (LBPS) said its IT experts and police found evidence of the breach. A group claiming to be behind the breach said it had “terabytes” of data, the Daily Beast news site reported. The Metropolitan Police is investigating the attack.

Credit rating firm Equifax is being investigated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over a large data loss. The FCA released a short statement announcing the investigation but did not provide further details.

Reddit has closed down several extremist forums after updating its policy regarding violent content. The newly banned and removed pages include r/NationalSocialism, r/Nazi, r/whitesarecriminals and r/far_right.

Twitter is banning two of Russia’s biggest media outlets from buying advertising amid fears they attempted to interfere with the 2016 US election. The ban on advertising from Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, and all linked accounts, was “effective immediately”.

The number of malicious communications recorded by Welsh police forces have more than doubled in a year, figures have shown. A BBC Freedom of Information request revealed there were 2,915 reports of cyberbullying, trolling, online harassment and death threats in 2015.

Newegg, the well-known online electronics retailer and slayer of patent trolls, has been sued in federal court in Los Angeles by several major Korean banks. The banks, which include Industrial Bank of Korea, Nonghyup Bank, Keb Hana Bank, and Kookmin Bank, allege that Newegg and ASI Corporation pursued fraudulent deals with Moneual.

Island companies will be “better informed” about potential cyber security threats as a result of a new Channel Islands section of the UK Cyber Security Partnership, Jersey’s assistant chief minister says.

Information about potential cyber security threats can now be shared between Guernsey’s and Jersey’s governments, firms and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre. A section specifically for the islands has been set up on its Cyber Information Sharing Partnership (CiSP).

Six men accused of laundering hundreds of thousands of euros, allegedly by reselling bitcoins paid for by illegal drugs sales, appeared in a Dutch court on Wednesday. Prosecutors have asked judges to impose sentences ranging from six to 36 months on the suspects.

Computer scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can outsmart the Captcha website security check system.

NHS trusts were left vulnerable in a major ransomware attack in May because cyber-security recommendations were not followed, a government report has said.

CORRUPTION, FRAUD, BRIBERY NEWS

Africa

A French court has handed down a three-year suspended jail term to Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President Teodorin Obiang for corruption. The 48-year-old, known for his lavish tastes, is the son of the oil-rich West African country’s president.

Nigeria’s Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, has said that the country recently recovered $85m (£64m) of stolen assets from the UK. He claimed the money is linked to the Malabu scandal, a major case of alleged bribery involving oil giants Shell and ENI.

The Lusaka Magistrates Court has sentenced former Ministry of Health Human Resources Officer Henry Kapoko to two years imprisonment with hard labour for abuse of authority of office and money laundering.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – A Nigerian court has ordered a temporary freeze on millions of bank accounts with incomplete identification documents and the forfeiture of funds in those accounts as the government seeks to ensure compliance with money laundering rules. In a court order seen by Reuters on Monday, the government asked banks to disclose details of millions of personal and business accounts where holders have not provided biometric information and asked the court to stop the accounts operating.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – The Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 86 people, suspected to be trafficking illicit drugs. The Commander of the agency in Edo, Mr Buba Wakawa, told the Newsmen in Benin on Monday that the suspects were arrested between July and September this year.

Asia

SINGAPORE — A 45-year-old Nigerian man who had been charged in a United States court for swindling Citibank was charged in a district court here on Wednesday (Oct 25) with laundering S$1.7 million. Paul Gabriel Amos, who is a Permanent Resident in Singapore and married to a citizen, faces eight charges under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

Australia

Federal police seized more than $1.1 million in cash and arrested three people in dawn raids that busted an alleged Sydney money laundering syndicate suspected of funding terrorism. Eight households in Bass Hill and Bankstown woke to a barrage of ­counter-terrorism and riot police on Wednesday morning.

Prisoners at Mobilong Prison allegedly used a mobile phone to co-ordinate smuggling opioids into the state’s prisons with seven people being arrested over the sophisticated set-up. Seven people have been arrested as police and corrections officers teamed up for Operation Portrait.

Europe

Spanish authorities are seeking the surrender of an Irishman for a drugs trafficking charge related to the recovery of 148 kilograms of cannabis resin. Patrick Joseph Mangan, (51) with an address at Valeview Drive in Finglas, is wanted for prosecution on a single drugs charge allegedly committed in Spain on November 29, 2010.

Latin America

A judge in Guatemala has ruled that former president Otto Pérez Molina will stand trial for his alleged role in a huge corruption scheme involving the country’s customs service.

Argentina’s former Planning Minister Julio De Vido has handed himself in to the authorities after he was stripped of his parliamentary immunity. Mr De Vido is facing corruption charges, which he denies.

Brazil’s President Michel Temer has secured enough votes in the lower house of Congress to avoid facing trial on corruption charges. Prosecutors had accused Mr Temer of obstructing justice and racketeering, which he has repeatedly denied.

UK, Ireland & Eire

Nine sailors from a nuclear missile submarine have been dismissed from the Royal Navy after failing drugs tests, the Ministry of Defence has said. They had been serving aboard HMS Vigilant, which carries the Trident nuclear deterrent.

Royal Bank of Scotland has settled a US criminal investigation that accused its traders of lying to clients over investments between 2008 and 2013. The US Department of Justice said RBS will pay $44m (£33.4m) under the non-prosecution agreement.

A third of charity fraud cases in England and Wales are suspected to involve staff, trustees or volunteers, the charity watchdog has claimed. The Charity Commission report said organisations should stay alert to “insider fraud”, and make sure that “mutual trust” is not abused.

A sub-post office was raided by police as part of a £3 million county-wide money-laundering operation, the Examiner can reveal. Salendine Nook Post Office in New Hey Road, Salendine Nook, shut on October 10 for what the Post Office later described as “operational” reasons. But now police have revealed that the post office was linked to a series of raids in West and South Yorkshire.

The former HSBC banker on trial in a landmark “front-running” case has been found guilty of defrauding Cairn Energy over a $3.5bn currency deal. Mark Johnson, who was the bank’s head of global cash foreign exchange trading, was found guilty on nine counts, according to a spokesman for the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York. He was found not guilty on one other count.

Charities are losing hundreds of thousands of pounds a month to fraud, with more than 800 instances of charity employees defrauding their organisations reported to authorities over the past six months, according to City of London Police.

USA & Canada

A former Guatemalan judge who once served as a general secretary of the executive board of the Central American country’s soccer federation was sentenced to eight months in prison on Wednesday, the first person to be sentenced in a U.S. probe into bribery surrounding world soccer governing body F.I.F.A.

Nine Broward County residents have been federally charged along with six others in a $94 million international money-laundering and fraud scheme, federal prosecutors announced Thursday. The fraudulent operation ran from 2008 to the present and involved romance frauds, email hacking schemes, as well as inheritance and lottery scams, prosecutors said.

A Massachusetts pharmacist was convicted of racketeering and fraud charges but was cleared of murder on Wednesday for his role in a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds more across the United States.

New York City: Fourteen people – including two city inspectors and a certified asbestos investigator – were busted Wednesday in three bribery schemes that resulted in shady inspections and construction work at properties across the city. The inspectors were paid off with cash or gifts by property managers, owners and contractors to rubber stamp paperwork for inspections they never actually performed.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – A man agreed to plead guilty to hacking into 550 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including those of celebrities in Los Angeles, officials said Monday. Emilio Herrera, of Chicago, fooled hundreds of men and women, including 40 celebrities, into sending him username and password information by using phishing emails that looked as if they came from Apple, Yahoo and Hotmail, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Reported 23rd October 2017 – Authorities found assault rifles and about $90,000 worth of narcotics and cash when they arrested a convicted felon — who had been out of state prison for two and a half years — last week in Milton. At a Monday afternoon news conference, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson expanded on the details of the arrest of Antonio Dewayne Davis, 35, for allegedly dealing narcotics out of his home at 6488 Renee Circle in Milton.

RICHLAND COUNTY, OH (WOIO) – Federal and local law enforcement officers arrested 25 out of 39 people during a drug sting in Mansfield early Wednesday. The suspects were indicted on numerous charges including trafficking heroin.