Eye on Extremism, April 27, 2018/: Social Media’s Negligence Keeping Online Caliphate Alive

Eye on Extremism
April 27, 2018
Vocal Europe: Social Media’s Negligence Keeping Online Caliphate Alive
“YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter also provide a platform to extremism – from ISIS-related videos to white nationalism. Even though this content clearly violates these companies’ Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, (too) little is being done to permanently remove it from their platforms.During a six-week period, from March 8 until April 18, 2018, the CEP applied professor Farid’s eGLYPH technology to YouTube. With a database of 256 registered extremist hashes, they found no less than 853 ISIS-related videos, which garnered a total of 99,361 views. 221 or 26% of those videos remained online for more than 2 hours and no less than 84% was uploaded more than once. Or to make it even more concrete: On March 10, 2018, a video titled “Hunt Them O, Monotheist” was uploaded to YouTube, calling for firearm and vehicular attacks in Western Europe. The video was originally uploaded by a Somali ISIS-affiliate on December 25, 2017. On March 10, it was available for 1 day 5 hours and 3 minutes before it was removed – amassing 405 views. The following day, the same video was re-uploaded and stayed online for 1 day 15 hours and 29 minutes – receiving 113 views. The video was then once again re-uploaded and available for 21 hours and 34 minutes, with 226 views. In the following days and weeks, the video was re-uploaded four more times, garnering hundreds of extra views. And this isn’t just an isolated incident, according to professor Farid.”
Reuters: Mattis Expects ‘Re-Energized’ Effort Against Islamic State In Syria
“U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday that he expected a ‘re-energized’ effort against Islamic State militants in eastern Syria in the coming days. ‘You’ll see a re-energized effort against the middle Euphrates River Valley in the days ahead and against the rest of the geographic caliphate,’ Mattis told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, referring to territory held by the group. U.S. airstrikes, troops and U.S.-backed Syrian militias have dealt heavy blows to Islamic State in Syria but the group still holds some areas and is widely expected to revert to guerrilla tactics if the last remnants of its once self-styled ‘caliphate’ are captured. U.S. officials have said that in recent days they have seen fighters from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria dominated by the Kurdish YPG, returning to the middle Euphrates River Valley to fight against Islamic State.”
The Wall Street Journal: Syria Ramps Up Attacks On Pockets Of Opposition
“The Syrian regime, unfazed by international outrage over a suspected chemical-weapons attack, has shifted its attention to small opposition-held pockets in its relentless pursuit to consolidate control over the country. Government forces on Thursday continued to pound besieged opposition-controlled neighborhoods in southern Damascus and also hit towns in central Homs province, according to activists. A day earlier, rebels in Qalamoun—a strategic mountain region near the capital—agreed to leave after the area was heavily bombarded. They handed over dozens of tanks and a large amount of ammunition seized from the government’s bases in the area five years ago, Syria’s state news agency said. Syrian regime forces in recent weeks bombarded a number of areas outside their control. Attacks on Yarmouk, a neighborhood in southern Damascus, spurred a United Nations agency to warn Thursday of “catastrophic consequences” if the fighting continued.”
The Wall Street Journal: Europe, Trump And The Iran Deal
“Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington this week was notable for its warm atmospherics, but its significance could be far more substantial. The French President said he’s willing to accept a revised Iran nuclear deal that includes at least some of President Trump’s demands. “We want sustainable stability and I believe that the discussions we’ve had together make it possible to open the way, to pave the way, for a new agreement,” Mr. Macron said Tuesday, surprising many in Europe. The Trump-centric U.S. media gave more attention to Mr. Macron’s remarks a day later that he thinks Mr. Trump still wants to withdraw from the deal by May 12, but that isn’t news. Progress toward a joint Europe-U.S. revision is. Specifically, the French leader appears to be on board with fixing at least two of three giant loopholes in the John Kerry-Barack Obama deal: strengthening inspections at any suspect sites inside Iran, and adding a provision on Iran’s ballistic missiles. He also seems to have embraced the larger Trump strategy to contain Iran, which includes confronting its record of cyber attacks, human-rights abuses, support for terrorism and military adventurism.”
The Guardian: ‘Facebook Is A Morality-Free Zone’: Tech Chief Lambasted By MP
“Facebook has been accused of being a “morality-free zone” that bullies journalists and threatens academics, as one of its executives appeared in front of MPs. The Conservative MP Julian Knight told the social network’s chief technical officer, Mike Schroepfer, that the company’s reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal suggested a “pattern of behaviour” that included “bullying journalists, threatening academic institutions, and potentially impeding investigations by lawful authorities”. Addressing Schroepfer, the MP said the social network had tried to evade responsibility for the impact it was having on society: “I put it to you today, sir, that Facebook is a morality-free zone destructive to a fundamental right of privacy. “You aren’t an innocent party wronged by the likes of Cambridge Analytica. You are the problem. Your company is the problem.”
ABC News: Weapons Of Terror: CEP Communications Director Steven Cohen Discusses Online Extremist Propaganda That Encourages Attacks Against Civilians Using Cars And Trucks.
The New York Times: When Misogynists Become Terrorists
“Alek Minassian, who plowed a rental van through a busy Toronto sidewalk on Monday, left little doubt as to why he killed 10 people, most of them women. Minutes before his attack, he posted a message on Facebook lauding the mass murderer Elliot O. Rodger and warned of an “incel rebellion” — a reference to an online community of “involuntarily celibate” men who believe women unjustly deny them sex. Mr. Rodger, who killed six people in Isla Vista, Calif., in 2014, recorded YouTube videos raging against “spoiled, stuck-up” women he called “sluts” who sexually rejected him. And before Mr. Rodger, there was George Sodini, who killed three women in a Pennsylvania gym in 2009. He left behind an online diary complaining that women ignored him and that he hadn’t had sex in years. Despite a great deal of evidence that connects the dots between these mass killers and radical misogynist groups, we still largely refer to the attackers as “lone wolves” — a mistake that ignores the preventable way these men’s fear and anger are deliberately cultivated and fed online.”
United States
CNN: US Steps Up Surveillance Of Iranian Assets In Syria Over Concerns Of Strike Against Israel
“US satellites, surveillance aircraft, drones and ships have stepped up operations to monitor the movement of suspected Iranian anti-air and ballistic missiles inside Syria due to rising concerns they could be used to strike Israel in the coming days, according to half a dozen US officials CNN has spoken with in the last 24 hours. US officials confirm internal assessments of the situation have contributed to the level of concern but say they have no concrete sense when and if Iran might use its position inside Syria to strike Israel. The US continues to recognize Israel’s right to self-defense and its view that Iranian weapons inside Syria could threaten Israel directly. But they are concerned that any Israeli strike could result in a counterstrike by Iranian elements inside Syria. Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged the rising tensions at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday. In answer to a question from Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) about whether there’s a risk tensions could escalate to engulf not only Syria but the rest of the region Mattis replied, “I believe the short answer is yes senator. I can see how it might start, I’m not sure when or where, I think that it’s very likely in Syria because Iran continues to do its proxy work there … I could imagine this sparking something larger.”
The Washington Post: Pentagon To Confront Iran’s Expansion Using Indirect Means, Not Open Conflict
“The U.S. military will not openly confront Iran, but will instead use indirect means to limit its expansion in Syria, a top commander said this week, as Western nations consider stepping up their response to Tehran’s support for armed groups across the Middle East. Gen. Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, said that U.S. support for government troops in Iraq and a Kurdish-dominated partner force in Syria could help ensure that Tehran is unable to freely smuggle supplies and personnel into Syria, where Iranian-backed forces are fighting in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. ‘This is one of the ways that we can begin to impede Iran’s malign activities,’ Votel said in a phone interview. ‘There are some things we can do that are indirect that we’re able to accomplish really within the confines of our defeat-ISIS mission that we have ongoing.’ ISIS is another name for the Islamic State, the group the U.S. military has been battling in Iraq and Syria since 2014. While military leaders, concerned about being dragged into Syria’s broader civil war, have sought to tightly focus their mission there on extremists, they have also watched with concern as Iran has ramped up support for militias like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and deployed forces of its own in a bid to keep Assad in power.”
Fox News: US Already Fighting Al Qaeda Before 9/11, Military Judge Rules In Landmark Decision
“The U.S. was already at war with Al Qaeda before hijacked planes hit the Twin Towers and Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania, a U.S. military judge presiding at the pretrial of alleged 9/11 attack plotter Khalid Sheik Mohammed and others ruled this week. The landmark decision will pave the way for a trial of the accused 9/11 mastermind and four alleged abettors by military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Miami Herald reported. Lawyers for the alleged conspirators tried to convince the military commission that since the U.S. entered the war against Al Qaeda only after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the defendants can face trial only in federal, civilian courts — not before military commissions. In February, extremists from Boko Haram stormed into a school in Dapchi, Nigeria, and captured approximately a hundred young girls. The same group captured hundreds of other girls in a raid on the village of Chibok in 2014. Fortunately, most of the Dapchi captives have now been released, but at least a hundred Nigerian girls remain prisoners of Boko Haram. What must be going through the minds of young Nigerian girls as they pack their book bags to go to school? Is it possible to get an education in these conditions?”
New York Post: ISIS Wannabe Who Stabbed FBI Agent Gets 17 Years
“An ISIS wannabe was sentenced Thursday to 17 years in prison for attempting to aid ISIS and trying to kill an FBI agent. Fareed Mumuni, 23, repeatedly stabbed special agent Kevin Coughlin when he and other officers were searching his Staten Island apartment in June of 2015. Coughlin, who was saved by the metal plates in his raid uniform gave a statement in Brooklyn federal court on Thursday. ‘When Mr. Mumuni came down the stairs that day, he came down the stairs with the intention to kill one of us,’ Coughlin said. ‘I’ve never met you. I’ve never wronged you, yet you tried to kill me,’ he said addressing Mumuni directly.”
The Washington Post: Mattis: U.S. Would Regret Delegating Security In Syria To A Force With No American Involvement
“Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Thursday that the United States would regret installing a holding force in Syria without American involvement, indicating military leaders harbor reservations about a White House effort to task Arab militaries with stabilizing areas liberated from the Islamic State. Mattis, under questioning by the Senate Armed Services Committee, offered support, too, for lasting U.S. participation, alongside NATO allies, in the military mission in Iraq to maintain security and prevent the Islamic State from reconstituting itself there. His comments come as the Pentagon faces an inflection point in both countries. Most of the territory once held by the Islamic State has been liberated, but the threat of a resurgence by the Sunni extremist group remains in some areas.”
The Telegraph: British Man Blown Up While Fighting Isis In Syria Was Due To Leave War-Torn Region Two Hours Later, Inquest Hears
“A British man who was killed fighting Isis in Syria had been due to leave the war-torn region just two hours later, an inquest heard today. Jac Holmes, 24, had spent four months engaged in heavy fighting in Raqqa and had told his mother he was ready to leave for ‘rest and recuperation.’ But as he attempted to defuse a suicide belt, he was blown up, and the transport scheduled to take him on his homeward journey arrived minutes after he was killed.”
Jerusalem Post: Danon Says Iran Has Recruited 80,000 Shiite Fighters In Syria
“Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon on Thursday sent out a stark warning of Iran’s dark ambitions in the Middle East, saying it is “spreading its tentacles” across the region in an effort to intimidate Israel. “There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control,” he told the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council, as he held up a picture of what he said was a military base funded by Tehran just outside Damascus. “What you see here in this image is Iran’s central induction and recruitment center in Syria,” Danon said. “We are presenting this image to the world so you can understand the depth of Iran’s involvement in Syria. It is at this base, just over 5 miles from Damascus, where these dangerous extremists are trained and then assigned their missions of terror throughout Syria and the region.”
The Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Prime Minister Tries To Bridge Ethnic Divide In Election Campaign
“Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made a rare visit to the capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region on Thursday, seeking to burnish his image as a leader for all the country as he campaigns for reelection next month. It is unprecedented for an Iraqi head of state to campaign in Erbil and demonstrates Mr. Abadi’s efforts to secure votes beyond his own Shiite Arab constituency…”
The Moscow Times: Iraq Sentences 2 More Russian Women For Their Ties To Islamic State
“Iraq has reportedly sentenced two Russian women to life in prison for ties to Islamic State a week after handing life sentences to two other wives of suspected IS fighters. Fifty-seven Russian women and around 100 of their children have been held in a female prison in Baghdad as of March, a Russian senator said. An Iraqi court last week sentenced two Russian and one French woman to life in prison on charges of terrorist ties and illegal border crossing. Two unnamed Russian nationals, two Azeris and one French woman were given life sentences for terrorist ties, Iraq’s al-Sumaria news channel reported Thursday, citing a central criminal court judge. The court in Baghdad sentenced three Kyrgyz and two Azeri women to death, the report added. Around 1,400 women and children, mostly from Turkey, Russia and, the former Soviet republics, have been held in Iraq since 2017. In February, Iraq returned 27 Russian children and four women suspected of terrorist ties to their homeland.”
Al Monitor: Iraq Targets Terrorism Financing With Blacklist
“The UN’s committee overseeing sanctions on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda has approved an Iraqi request to include Al-Kawthar Money Exchange and its owner Umar al-Kubaysi, as well as Salem Mustafa Mohammed al-Mansour, aka Salem al-Afri, on the UN sanctions list. On April 17, 2017, the Central Bank of Iraq announced the inclusion of Al-Kawthar Money Exchange and its owner in its blacklist as a result of their support for terrorist groups. Parliament member Majida al-Tamimi, who serves in the finance committee, told Al-Monitor that Iraq is pursuing the inclusion of ‘other individuals and companies in the list of UN sanctions upon proof of their funding of IS.’ She said, ‘I have a lot of documents that confirm the involvement of figures, organizations and banking companies in the support of terrorism.’ She declined to name them but confirmed that the government is looking closely at money transfer services, saying, ‘Funds are sent by parties in Turkey and the Gulf countries and end up in the hands of IS leaders.’”
The Washington Post: Afghan Officials: Taliban Attack Kills At Least 7 Soldiers
“A Taliban attack on an Afghan army security post in the country’s northern Kunduz province has killed at least seven soldiers, a defense spokesman said Thursday. Mohammad Radmanish, the deputy spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, said the attack took place on Wednesday night in the remote Dashti Archi district in Kunduz. A gunbattle lasted several hours and along with the seven killed, one soldier was wounded, Radmanish said. He added that 15 Taliban fighters were also killed and 13 were wounded. However, a local hospital chief, Rahimbakesh Danish Karimi, gave a higher casualty toll for the military, saying bodies of 13 soldiers and nine wounded in the attack were brought to his hospital in Thakhar province, which is the closest medical facility to the attack site. The conflicting casualty reports could not immediately be reconciled as is common in the aftermath of such attacks. No militant group has claimed responsibility for the attack but the officials blamed the Taliban.”
Voice Of America: Senior Afghan Official Killed
“A senior Afghan provincial official has been killed in eastern Afghanistan after militants attacked his vehicle, Afghan officials told VOA. Qamaruddin Shikib, the deputy governor of eastern Logar province, was traveling to the capital, Kabul, when his vehicle was ambushed in Mohammad Agha district of eastern Logar province. In a statement released Thursday, the Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), a government institution overseeing local governance, condemned the attack and confirmed the death of Shikib. Abdul Wali Wakil, a member of Logar’s provincial council, told VOA that Shikib was on his way to Kabul for official business when he was attacked by a group of unknown armed men. The deputy governor reportedly was traveling with Haqiq Rahman, a provincial judiciary official, a driver and two bodyguards. His driver was reportedly killed in the attack and the two bodyguards and the judiciary official have been wounded.”
Arab News: Transition Government, Elections To Follow Weapons Decommissioning: New UN Envoy’s Road Map For Yemen
“The UN special envoy to Yemen has returned to the country armed with a new political settlement to end the ongoing war. Sources were quoted by Al Sharq Al-Awsat that Martin Griffith the UN special envoy to Yemen hopes to float a new-old blueprint to end the war by getting the parties to agree to a political settlement based on a transitional period to be followed by elections if both parties to the conflict agree to his plan. Griffith hopes to start political talks without addressing the armed groups and their weapons, in the hope of addressing this sensitive issue later.”
Arutz Sheva: Yemen: Houthis Sentence Jewish Man For Rescuing Torah Scroll
“A Jewish man was sentenced to two years in prison for helping to smuggle a Torah scroll to Israel. Two years ago in March 2016, some of the last remaining members of the ancient Jewish community in Yemen was brought to Israel in a covert operation to rescue them from the country’s ongoing civil war. The 19 Jews who came to Israel brought with them ancient manuscripts, including a Torah scroll which dates to the fifteenth or sixteenth century. Shortly after the operation, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels captured one of the Yemenite Jews who had decided to stay in Yemen and accused him of helping the Jews who fled Yemen to smuggle the Torah scroll out of Yemen. Yemenite news sites now report that the Jewish man, identified as Libby Salam Marchabi, was found guilty by the court in the capital of Sanaa, which is controlled by the Houthis, and sentenced to two years in prison. According to the reports, a Muslim man accused of helping smuggle the Torah scroll out of Yemen was acquitted.”
Saudi Arabia
Arab News: Saudi Air Defenses Destroy Missile Fired By Houthi Militia Towards Jazan
“Saudi Arabia’s air defenses on Friday intercepted a missile fired by Houthi militia, days after their second-in-command was killed in an air raid by Riyadh and its allies. The missile, the latest in a series of similar attacks, was heading towards the Kingdom’s southern coastal city of Jazan, state-run Al-Ekhbariya television said. Saudi Arabia launched a military coalition in 2015 to battle the Houthi rebels in its southern neighbour and restore the internationally-recognised Yemeni government to power. The Houthis control Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as well as much of Yemen’s north and the key Hodeida port on the country’s western coastline. Riyadh on Wednesday confirmed it was behind an air strike on the Yemeni capital that killed Saleh Al-Sammad, president of the Houthi’s Supreme Political Council, on April 19.”
Haaretz: Hezbollah’s Plan To Conquer Lebanon
“Tensions remain high between Israel and Iran. Tehran vows to avenge an Israeli strike killing its soldiers in Syria; Jerusalem intends to respond disproportionately to any Iranian retaliation. In the event of a direct clash leading to a larger conflagration, Hezbollah will join in and seize the opportunity to bring foreign Shi’ite fighters into Lebanon. Yet rather than using these reinforcements to defeat Israel’s army, it may be planning to entrench them in Lebanon, in effect conquering parts of the country, after a quick cease-fire ends its hostilities with Israel. Hezbollah declared its goal of bringing Shi’ite militants to Lebanon in 2017. Hassan Nasrallah promised that ‘thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from … Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan,’ would battle Israel in Lebanon alongside his foot soldiers. Yemen’s Abdul-Malek al-Houthi was the first Shi’ite militia leader to pledge his fighters (and recently reiterated his promise). Others soon followed, including Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi, whose Iraqi Shi’ite al-Nujaba militia formed a ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’ in March 2017.”
Egypt Today: Qatar Confessed To Attempting To Destroy Arab Region: Russian Amb. To Qatar
“Following the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime in Egypt, Qatar aspired to control the Arab region and openly admitted to having attempted to destroy Syria and Egypt, Former Russian Ambassador to Doha, Vladimir Titorenko, said on Thursday. During an interview in a TV program called “A Trip Down Memory Lane”, broadcasted on Russia Today Channel, Titorenko said that then-Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem, confirmed Doha’s involvement in bringing about the downfall of the regime of the ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. “Hamad bin Jassem told him that they would have dispatched six warplanes to Libya, but did not inform us about the special units infiltrating into the country, and illustrated that Qatar’s fighter pilots would not have participated in bombing Libya to eschew any potential losses in Qatari air forces that are already low in numbers,” the former Russian ambassador to Doha pointed out. “Qatar was the most active participant to have ever been involved in overthrowing the Libyan regime,” he said, adding that Qatari authorities were hoping to gain access to Libya’s oil and gas resources.”
Reuters: Boko Haram Attack In Northeastern City Repelled, Nigeria Military Says
“Nigerian forces repelled an attack by Boko Haram militants in the northeast city of Maiduguri on Thursday, the military said in a statement, the second such clash in a month. Blasts and gunfire were heard earlier by residents in the city which is the capital of Borno, the state worst hit by the insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic caliphate in the northeast which has killed more than 30,000 people since 2009. President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in 2015 vowing to end the insurgency, has made it a priority to improve security in Africa’s most populous country. The issue has become politically charged in the run-up to an election next year which Buhari said he wants to contest. ‘Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have in the late hours of today, Thursday 26 April 2018, successful repelled Boko Haram terrorist incursion in the outskirt of Jidari Polo area of Maiduguri,’ the military said in an emailed statement.”
Reuters: At Least Four Killed In Boko Haram Attack On Nigerian City
“At least four people were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria late on Thursday, the national emergency agency said, the second such clash in Maiduguri city in a month. Five suicide bombers were also killed in the attack, which Nigeria’s military said had been repelled by troops. Blasts and gunfire were heard by residents in the city which is the capital of Borno, the state worst hit by an insurgency which has killed more than 34,000 people since 2009. President Muhammadu Buhari, who took office in 2015 vowing to end Boko Haram’s push to create an Islamic caliphate in the northeast, has made it a priority to improve security in Africa’s most populous country. The issue has become politically charged in the run-up to an election next year which Buhari said he wants to contest.”
Bloomberg: Nigerian Senate To Decide If Buhari Breached Constitution
“Nigerian lawmakers asked a Senate panel to determine whether President Muhammadu Buhari breached the constitution when he agreed to buy 10 A-29 Super Tucano attack planes from the U.S. without consulting the National Assembly. The judiciary committee must report back by May 2 ‘whether the circumstances justify the breach in any way,’ Senate President Bukola Saraki was quoted as saying Thursday on the chamber’s official Twitter account. In a letter to the Senate obtained by Bloomberg, Buhari said he gave ‘anticipatory approval’ for $496 million to be withdrawn from one of the nation’s oil savings accounts and paid to the U.S. Treasury. He asked lawmakers to approve the inclusion of the amount in this year’s budget after it had already been paid to beat a deadline. Buhari wants to use the aircraft, scheduled for delivery in 2020, in the fight against the militant group Boko Haram, which waged a violent campaign since 2009 to impose its version of Islamic law on Africa’s most populous country of almost 200 million people.”
Mareeg: Deadly Shebaab Attack Hits US, AU Forces In Somalia
“The Al Qaeda-linked Somalia’s armed group al-Shabab has launched an attack on armored convoys carrying African Union peacekeepers, along with US especial forces in Barawe town. Barawe, a town, some 180km south of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told group’s Radio Andalus that at least 3 African Union soldiers had been killed and 2 others injured in roadside explosion followed by an ambush attack. Abu Musab says the group’s fighters ambushed convoys full of African Union mission (AMISOM) troops and US forces, while travelling into Barawe town. He added that 3 armored personnel carriers belonging to Ugandan forces had been burned down in the attack.”
North Korea
Bloomberg: Two Koreas Agree To End War This Year, Pursue Denuclearization
“U.S. President Donald Trump hailed Kim Jong Un’s effort to end his country’s seven-decade war with South Korea and pursue the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula. “KOREAN WAR TO END!” Trump tweeted Friday. “The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after signing the deal during a historic meeting on their shared border, the first time a North Korean leader has set foot on the southern side. They announced plans to formally declare a resolution to the war and replace the 1953 armistice that ended open hostilities into a peace treaty by year’s end. “We have agreed to share a firm determination to open a new era in which all Korean people enjoy prosperity and happiness on a peaceful land without wars,” Kim said, in his first remarks in front of the global press since taking power in 2011.”
France 24: France Says 3 Jihadists Killed In Mali Clash
“A clash between French soldiers and an armed jihadist group in northwest Mali left three ‘terrorists’ dead, Paris said on Thursday, while local media reported injuries among French special forces. The three were ‘neutralised’ in a confrontation near the village of Goudam, west of Timbuktu, on the 21st of April, French army spokesman Colonel William Thomas told a press conference. ‘We have no comment to make on any possible French casualties,’ he added. French Gazelle helicopters were deployed to support troops.”
Al Arabiya: Will Macron’s Paris Conference Help End Qatar’s Terror Financing?
“Ministers from more than 70 countries — including bitter rivals — are working on ways to combat financing for the ISIS group and Al-Qaeda at an international conference in Paris, which still bears scars of deadly terrorist attacks in recent years. Participants scheduled to take part in Thursday’s international conference include countries from the Gulf. It was launched by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long term. A string of attacks has killed 245 people in France since January 2015 and dozens of others have been thwarted. France is pushing for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it recognizes how sensitive the issue is, and sees the conference as a first step to encourage political mobilization. The French organizers noted that ISIS military defeats on the ground don’t prevent the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with al-Qaeda —especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.”
Fast Company: Counter Extremism Advisor: YouTube Is “Least Receptive” To Prioritize Safety Over Growth
“Bloomberg has an interesting long-form article about the horrible year YouTube has had when it comes to cleaning up content–including extremist videos and pornography–on its platform. The entire article is worth a read, but perhaps the best gem is a quote from Hany Farid, senior adviser to the Counter Extremism Project. The project works with tech companies to help eliminate child pornography and terrorist messaging on their platforms. But when it comes to YouTube owner Google, Farid says the search giant is the ‘least receptive’ to prioritize safety over growth. Farid says no matter how many safety mishaps the company has, it acts freshly shocked: ‘It’s like a Las Vegas casino saying, ‘Wow, we can’t believe people are spending 36 hours in a casino.’ It’s designed like that.’ Of course, Google probably sees things differently. Regardless, tech companies of all stripes are increasingly coming under pressure from governments around the world to get a grip on the dangerous content that is shared by users of its platforms.”
South China Morning Post: EU, US Police Cripple Islamic State Media Mouthpieces
“EU and US police forces have crippled the main mouthpieces of Islamic State in a coordinated transatlantic takedown across several countries, the European police agency said on Friday. ‘With this groundbreaking operation we have punched a big hole in the capability of IS to spread propaganda online and radicalise young people in Europe,’ the head of Europol Rob Wainwright insisted. The two-day operation on Wednesday and Thursday was the latest stage of a campaign first launched in 2015, and targeted in particular the Amaq news agency used by IS to broadcast claims of attacks and spread its extremist message. ‘With this takedown action, targeting major IS-branded media outlets like Amaq, but also al-Bayan radio, Halumu and Nashir news, IS’s capability to broadcast and publicise terrorist material has been compromised,’ Europol said in a statement.”
The Washington Post: A Muslim And A Hindu Thought They Could Be A Couple. Then Came The ‘Love Jihad’ Hit List.
“The 21-year-old Hindu college student was having a quiet breakfast with her mother when her phone pinged with a terrifying message. Her name was on a hit list. She and her Muslim boyfriend had been targeted publicly on Facebook along with about 100 interfaith couples — each of them Muslim men and their Hindu girlfriends. She immediately called her boyfriend to warn him. The Facebook post included instructions: ‘This is a list of girls who have become victims of love jihad. We urge all Hindu lions to find and hunt down all the men mentioned here.’ At least two followers heeded the call.”
The Washington Post: Facebook Got Grilled In The UK On Privacy — While Congress Got Into A Shouting Match With Diamond And Silk
“Facebook once again found itself under political fire around the world on Thursday, as U.S. and European lawmakers continued to bear down on the social media giant and the tech industry as a whole for the data they collect, the news they present and the algorithms that power major web platforms. In the U.K., lawmakers grilled a top Facebook executive about the company’s entanglement with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that improperly accessed the names, “likes” and personal information of 87 million users. The executive, Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, admitted that Facebook did not review the terms and conditions governing an app that collected the data for Cambridge Analytica in 2013. In the United States, meanwhile, congressional lawmakers focused their fire on another matter – allegations that the algorithms operated by Facebook, Google and Twitter censor conservative views and news. All three companies declined to appear at the hearing, a tense, loud, three-hour affair during which pro-Trump commentators Diamond and Silk accused major online platforms of suppressing their videos – and the video bloggers yelled at lawmakers who questioned them.”
The New York Times: Facebook Faces Tough Questions In Britain That It Avoided In The U.S.
“Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, escaped tough questioning during congressional testimony this month in part because American lawmakers weren’t well versed about how the social network functions. On Thursday, one of his deputies faced a decidedly sharper inquisition from a panel in Britain. The dueling experiences highlight the different approaches taken on both sides of the Atlantic toward oversight of personal data and the social media giants who hold it. While the United States has largely eschewed regulating companies like Facebook, Britain and other countries in Europe have taken more aggressive stances, seeking to make tighter rules to better protect consumer privacy. In London, Facebook’s chief technology officer, Mike Schroepfer, faced more than four hours of questions from a British parliamentary committee over the company’s data-collection techniques, oversight of app developers, fake accounts, political advertising and links to the voter-targeting firm Cambridge Analytica.”

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