After years of pressure from civil rights groups and lawmakers who say attacks against religious and ethnic minorities are not adequately monitored by law enforcement, the FBI will begin formally tracking hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs.
Meeting in Portsmouth, Va., on Wednesday, an FBI advisory board voted to expand standard hate-crime incident reports used by thousands of police departments across the country to include crimes motivated by bias against the two religious groups, as well as Arabs.
The changes, which go into effect by 2015, are being praised by Sikh, Hindu and Arab advocates hoping to avoid underreporting of hate crimes and increase awareness among law enforcement of their religions and cultures. In particular, members of the Sikh religion, in which men typically grow beards and wear turbans, have said crimes against them are often misreported as anti-Muslim.
“We can’t go to policy makers or law enforcement to make the case about crimes against our communities unless we have the official data,” said Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy for the Sikh Coalition, a civil rights group that has pushed law enforcement for two years to take action. Specific hate-crime statistics, Singh hopes, will help law enforcement prevent crimes against Sikhs, Hindus and Arabs.
Two men who carried out cyber attacks for the Anonymous hacking group have been jailed.
Christopher Weatherhead, 22, of Northampton, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, of Camberwell, London, were jailed for 18 months and seven months respectively.
The two men carried out distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks which paralyse computer systems by flooding them with online requests.
The ones they attacked included payment site PayPal, costing it £3.5m.
Co-defendant Peter Gibson, of Hartlepool, was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years.
Another defendant, Jake Birchall, 18, from Chester, will be sentenced on 1 February.
‘You’re being stung’
The sentences were handed down at Southwark Crown Court and are thought to be the first convictions for DDoS in the UK.
Weatherhead and Rhodes were found guilty of conspiring to impair the operation of computers between 1 August 2010 and 22 January 2011.
Gibson was deemed to have played a lesser role in the conspiracy and admitted his part, as did Birchall.
The websites targeted by the cyber attacks were chosen by Anonymous, as part of what it called Operation Payback, because the hackers did not agree with their views.
Continue reading the main story
What is a DDoS attack?
Attackers commonly use networks of compromised computers - called a botnet - that they control to launch the attacks
Hacking group Anonymous has recruited volunteers to download a tool to create a “virtual” botnet
By overwhelming the target site with requests, the attackers can ensure that genuine visitors cannot reach the site
These requests look like genuine web traffic so can be hard to filter out
Typically, such attacks have been aimed at high-profile websites, such as those belonging to government departments, banks and political organisations
They are illegal in most countries
Other companies hit by the attacks included Mastercard and Visa.
This has been the deadliest year for journalists, according to both the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Paris-based press watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Though the totals of deaths they have compiled differ, due to each using different criteria, the story is tragically similar. I mentioned IPI’s “death watch” toll in a posting last week.
Now let’s look at the RSF figures, which detail attacks and threats to journalists throughout 2012.
The bald numbers show 88 journalists were killed (up 33% on the year before) and a further 47 people described as “netizens and citizen journalists” were killed along with six “media assistants.” That’s a total of 141.
Then 879 journalists were arrested (plus a further 144 bloggers and netizens); 1,993 journalists were threatened or physically attacked; 38 journalists were kidnapped; and 73 journalists fled their countries.
The worst-hit regions were the Middle East and northern Africa (with 26 killed), Asia (24 killed) and sub-Saharan Africa (21 killed). Only the western hemisphere registered a fall in the number of journalists killed.
The four suspects, all from Ventura, each have been booked on felony assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and violation of civil rights by force or fear, Harris said.
Braschler was released on $20,000 bail, Harris said. Darrough, Smets and Martin remained jailed late Thursday on $20,000, $40,000, and $45,000 respectively.
The men are scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Braschler’s court date is scheduled for Dec. 19.
An investigation into the attacks led detectives to known white supremacist and convicted felon, Ryan Vanausdell, 37, of Oak View.
“One of the suspects was a frequest visitor, a friend, and stayed at Vanausdell’s house,” Harris said. “During the investigation is when Vanausdell’s name came up.”
That tip sparked an investigation that led detectives to Vanausdell’s Oak View home, where a search warrant turned up two assault weapons, two rifles, two shotguns, one handgun, and high-capacity ammunition magazines, Harris said.
Detectives initially thought Vanausdell may have some knowledge about the attacks, but it was determined that he was not involved, Harris said.
Still, Vanausdell (pictured at right) was arrested on suspicion of felony possession of firearms by a felon and possession of bullets containing an explosive agent, Harris said. Vanausdell is out on $100,000 bail.
Dual Terror Attacks Against Israeli Targets in India and Georgia; Envoys Wife Wounded in Attempted Car Bombing
An explosion tore through an Israeli diplomat’s car in the vicinity of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, India, Monday.
The wife of an Israeli Defense Ministry representative suffered light to moderate wounds in the terror attack.
Israeli Embassy Spokesman David Goldfarb confirmed that an explosion took out a diplomat’s car. The injured woman was identified as Tal Yehoshua Koren, the wife of a diplomat stationed with the Defense Ministry’s mission in India.
An initial probe into the attack revealed that the envoy’s wife left the embassy with her driver after a day of work at the mission in order to pick up her children from school. The explosion took place a short while before she arrived at the school, apparently after a bomb was attached to the vehicle.
Koren managed to call the embassy and report that “the vehicle exploded,” before being evacuated to a local hospital in a rickshaw. Officials said she suffered shrapnel wounds to her lower body. The driver of the vehicle was also hurt in the blast.
Indian media outlets reported that two bikers were tailing the car driven by the Israeli diplomat’s wife in New Delhi and that at one point one of them “hurled something at the car,” which exploded shortly after.
The blast came just one day after the fourth anniversary marking the assassination of Hezbollah arch-terrorist Imad Mugniyah.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the ministry was “looking into the incident and cooperation with local security forces is excellent.”
Indian police initially said that a car was on fire on the street outside the embassy. Television footage showed a charred minivan with blue diplomatic plates, its rear door apparently blown out.
Meanwhile, explosives were also found near the Israeli Embassy building in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. The device was neutralized safely.
Israeli Ambassador to Georgia Yitzhak Gerber told Ynet that “We don’t have all the details yet. The local authorities are looking into it, but so far it doesn’t look too dramatic.
“From what we know now, there was an attempt to place an explosive device on a car belonging to one of our local employees. He noticed it while he was on his way to us, and alerted the authorities. The device was defused.”
Osama bin Laden was working to assemble a team of militants to attack the U.S. on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, according to communications Navy SEALs seized from his Pakistani hideout when they killed the al Qaeda leader this spring.
Bin Laden and his operations chief, Attiyah Abd al-Rahman, swapped views about the composition of the attack team, with bin Laden repeatedly rejecting names that Mr. Rahman suggested, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence taken from the bin Laden compound.
The plans were only in the discussion phase, U.S. officials said. They haven’t seen any signs the nascent plot ever went beyond the early planning, the officials said.
Still, earlier this month in his first meeting with senior staff at the Central Intelligence Agency, acting Director Michael Morell told his staff that one of their top priorities would be to make sure that neither that plan nor any others were carried out.
wo men charged with attempting to kill police officers in Hemet, Calif., used what prosecutors are calling a white power “guerrilla warfare manual” to guide a nine-month campaign of terror and violence against the police department, its buildings and vehicles.
The anonymously written “White Resistance Manual” was posted on the website whitehonor.org and contained do-it-yourself guides that Nicholas John Smit and Steven Hansen used to build such guerrilla-styled weapons as zip guns and “Panji boards” – spiked boards rigged with trip wires, according to Daniel DeLimon, a prosecutor with the district attorney in Riverside, Calif. “It’s basically a guerrilla warfare manual instructing people on different types of weapons, on creating weapons, on police investigations, basically how to conduct covert urban operations,” DeLimon told HateWatch in a telephone interview.
The manual is not the first to provide extremists with the know-how to turn militant. Similar antigovernment paramilitary manuals were circulated among private militia groups in the 1990s, and directions to build pipe bombs or create the neurotoxin ricin periodically appear on extremist newsgroups.