A 25-ton commercial truck transporting steel beams from Poland to Germany plowed into crowds at a Christmas market in Berlin at about 2000 local time on 19 December, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48 others, several critically, according to media reporting citing public security officials involved in the investigation. The truck was reportedly traveling at approximately 40 miles per hour when it rammed the Christmas market stands. Police estimate the vehicle traveled 80 yards into the Christmas market before coming to a halt.
Technology is one of the strategic factors driving the increasing use of the Internet by terrorist organizations and their supporters for a wide range of purposes, including recruitment, financing, propaganda, training, incitement to commit acts of terrorism, and the gathering and dissemination of information for terrorist purposes. While the many benefits of the Internet are self-evident, it may also be used to facilitate communication within terrorist organizations and to transmit information on, as well as material support for, planned acts of terrorism, all of which require specific technical knowledge for the effective investigation of these offences.
On May 9, 2012 the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) conducted a practical evaluation of the Ember Bomb incendiary device as described in the ninth issue of lnspre, a magazine published by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and fusion centers around the country are warning that terrorists are interested in using fire as a weapon, particularly in the form of large-scale wildfires near densely populated areas. A newly released DHS report states that for more than a decade “international terrorist groups and associated individuals have expressed interest in using fire as a tactic against the Homeland to cause economic loss, fear, resource depletion, and humanitarian hardship.” The report notes that the tactical use of fire as a weapon is “inexpensive and requires limited technical expertise” and “materials needed to use fire as a weapon are common and easily obtainable, making preoperational activities difficult to detect and plot disruption and apprehension challenging for law enforcement.”
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has released issue 9 of its English-language “Inspire” Magazine. There is a portion of the magazine dedicated to attacking the United States by starting wildfires. The article instructs the audience to look for two necessary factors for a successful wildfire, which are dryness and high winds to help spread the fire. Specific fire conditions that are likely to spread fire quickly are Pinewood, crownfires (where the trees and branches are close together), and steep slope fires (fire spreads faster going up a slope).
A document entitled “Full Expectations” was reportedly authored by Samir Khan, a U.S. citizen who was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year along with Anwar al-Awlaki. The document details what potential Jihadis should expect and bears a great deal of similarity to Inspire magazine, which was also reportedly authored by Khan. After several new issues of Inspire magazine surfaced online in early May, the following document has also recently appeared online with an acknowledgement of the death of Samir Khan.
One of the more interesting aspects of Inspire magazine is its use of a public key encryption system for communication based upon a program called Asrar al-Mujahideen. The fundamentals of using this program are explained in the first issue of Inspire magazine. Throughout the first six issues of the magazine the same four email addresses are listed alongside a public key for use with the Asrar al-Mujahideen program. In the September 2011 issue there is a different public key listed, though the email addresses remain the same. All four email addresses used are associated with free email providers located in the United States. All of the providers log IP information for users of their services and the suggested program used for encryption does not take any steps to hide the sender’s identifying information.
The National Crime Squad (DNR, Dienst Nationale Recherche) of the Dutch National Police (KLPD; Korps landelijke politiediensten) has threatened to shut down Public Intelligence if we do not remove the issues of Inspire magazine which are made available on this site. In a request made to our hosting provider in late February, the Dutch National Crime Squad demanded that we remove all issues of Inspire magazine from our website and refrain from distributing any further issues of the publication. The notice describes the magazine’s content as “illegal” under Dutch law: “Due to the content of this magazine which is considered illegal according to the Dutch law due to the inciting content related to Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula, we would like you to remove this magazine from your website.” The notice goes on to state that if the content is not removed from this site, the Dutch police “will under the force of circumstances take down your website on the dedicated server in the Netherlands according to Dutch Law.”
(U//FOUO) This product is intended to provide perspective and understanding of the nature and scope of potentially emergent threats in response to the posting of the second edition of Inspire magazine. It is also intended to assist federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies and authorities, the private sector, and other entities to develop priorities for protective and support measures relating to an existing or emerging threat to the homeland security.
(U//FOUO) Purpose and Scope: Provide first responders with a summary, analysis, warnings & indicators, and implications of key articles in the Fall 2010 Inspire magazine for Oregon and SW Washington.