Schlagwort-Archive: Police

Germany´s risk assessment tool for Jihadists

 

How dangerous is a dangerous person? What is the chance of someone committing a major crime? This question regularly arises when law enforcement agencies have to deal with criminals motivated by an extremist ideology like Jihadism.

After the Berlin Christmas market attack by Tunisian Anis Amri in December 2016 German Federal Police (BKA) decided to implement a new risk assessment tool to analyze the danger posed by radical Islamists. The tool is called RADAR-iTE, a short term for „Regelbasierte Analyse potentiell destruktiver Täter zur Einschätzung des akuten Risikos – Islamistischer Terrorismus“. Roughly translated to: „Rule-based analyzes of potentially destructive actors to assess the urgent risk – Islamic Terrorism“.

In the following blog post I would like to get into the details of this system.

Why is RADAR-iTE needed?

In Germany there are various categories of potentially dangerous individuals used by police and intelligence agencies. The police terms used for Jihadists are „Gefährder“ and „relevante Person“ (See: What is a „Gefährder“?). „Gefährder“ meaning a person who is potentially prepared to carry out a terrorist attack. „Relevante Person“ is someone supporting the terror networks or individuals. This could be a radical preacher or someone providing logistical support to Foreign Fighters. Neither of the two terms is a legal term. It is rather a concept used by German police similar to the French national security threat indicator „Fiche S“.

Due to Germany´s federal structure the police agencies of the federal states are responsible for the monitoring of radical Salafists. Meaning: Police in Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hamburg or Berlin are dealing with Jihadists according to the local assessment. If a Islamic extremist is considered to be a „Gefährder“ or „relevante Person“ this information is then reported to the Federal Police Agency (BKA).

The number of Jihadists in Germany has dramatically increased in recent years. Currently there are about 770 „Gefährder“ and 470 „relevante Personen“ listed. As a comparison: Back in January 2015 the number of „Gefährder“ was at 270.

It is important to note: Not all of the „Gefährder“ are present in Germany. Many Jihadists flagged as „Gefährder“ are in fact Foreign Terrorist Fighters believed to be residing in Syria, Iraq, Turkey or other places outside of Germany. Others are currently imprisoned. Also: Not all „Gefährder“ are subject to a law-enforcement investigation. Some have not committed any crimes but they are nevertheless believed to be potential terrorists.

Who created RADAR-iTE?

The risk assessment tool was created by the German Federal Police Agency (BKA) in cooperation with the research group „Forenic Psychology“ at the University of Konstanz. Work on RADAR-iTE began in early 2015 and was finished around September 2016.

How does RADAR-iTE work?

There have been false reports claiming RADAR-iTE was a software tool to analyze dangerous Salafist individuals. The tool is not a computer software but rather based on a list of questions and the evaluation of all the different information available about a radicalized person. Some even call it a „predictive policing system“ for Jihadists.

Case description

A police case officer in charge of a radicalized individual is first tasked to write a full case report with all information available about the person. This is done also to illustrate and highlight to the case officer what is known about the Islamist – and what is not.

73 Questions

The main component of RADAR-iTE is a list of 73 questions about the Jihadist. Possible answers being: „Yes“, „No“, „Unknown“.

The questions are about family, friends, education and prison terms served but also about possible access to weapons, military service, suicide attempts and mental health issues. Some of the questions are meant to assess more precisely the potential risk posed by the person. For example: Has the individual taken part in Jihadist activities in a war zone? Has the person joined or tried to join a terrorist group in the past? Is there a record of violent and aggressive behavior?

Other questions are factors of ease when it comes to the risk assessment. For example: Is the individual cooperating with law enforcement? Does the individual have relationships to people outside of the Salafist community? Is there a functional family life? 

The answers to these questions are then evaluated providing the case officer with a specific result. There are three categories in RADAR-iTE:

YELLOW: „Moderate Risk“
ORANGE: „Noticeable Risk
RED: „High Risk“

What is the current status of RADAR-iTE?

In February 2017 – only about three months after the Berlin Christmas market attack – the BKA officially announced the implementation of RADAR-iTE. In fact the tool had already been in a test-mode for several months back then. Some police case officers in North Rhine-Westphalia for example had used it to analyze Jihadists.

During spring and summer of 2017 the BKA trained the police agencies across Germany in the use of RADAR-iTE. Since then approximately 400 Jihadists were analyzed using the new tool – around 40 % were rated as posing a „high risk“.

The procedure established by the BKA: RADAR-iTE is used first for those „Gefährder“ already considered to pose a very high-risk, meaning some well-known terrorist subjects. Amongst them are numerous Jihad returnees from Syria and Iraq. Followed by imprisoned Salafists that will soon be released from jail. Those Jihadists still active on the battlefield or currently held captive in Syrian or Iraq are not considered the first priority in the police risk management.

In July 2017 BKA has created a new working group called „AG Risikomanagement“ within its current state security department to work on the risk assessment. This unit is regularly meeting at the Gemeinsame Terrorismusabwehr-Zentrum (GTAZ)“ in Berlin to talk about individual cases – sometimes these meetings last for several hours. In the coming years a whole new BKA counter-terrorism division („Abteilung Terrorismusbekämpfung“) will be established, specifically dealing with Jihadists terrorist cases.

Summary

RADAR-iTE creates a standardized risk assessment of dangerous Islamists used by police agencies in Germany. What was a very inconsistent and mixed approach is now a nation-wide system with the BKA overlooking the process. 

The next step now would be to have certain counter-terrorism measures in place when it comes to the monitoring of the Jihadists. But there are obstacles: Due to the federal structure of Germany each federal state has its own police law – meaning there is no unified and common strategy. Some police actions (like wiretapping) can be used in one federal state as a preemptive measure but they are unlawful in another state. This fact has been criticized by the BKA as well as several politicians, often calling it a „Flickenteppich“ (patchwork rug).

Nevertheless there is a system now in the making based on RADAR-iTE called RISKANT. The main aim of this tool will be to present a uniform approach to police investigators and to give an advice regarding the measures that might be used against a certain Jihadist individual.

 

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Toulouse Killer Allies Himself With Al-Qaida

UPDATE: II:

In the past hours some information that had emerged this morning has been corrected

  • Mohamed Merah is a 23 year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, born in October 1988
  • Earlier reports suggested Merah was arrested by Afghan police in December 2007 in Kandahar and sentenced to three years followed by a massive Taliban prison break in 2008.  These reports are now DENIED by Kandahar news agencies. No French national named Mohamed Merah has been detained in Kandahar, Afghan news agencies are now reporting.
  • Meanwhile it is confirmed by French authorities that Merah has in fact traveled to the Af-Pak region at least twice. In November 2010 Merah was allegedly checked by security forces in the South Afghan city of Kandahar but was not arrested.
  • According to French security officials Mohamed Merah also traveled to Afghanistan in 2011 but had to return because of Hepatitis A infection. Prior to this trip Merah traveled to Pakistan on a tourist visa in August 2011 and made his way to the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan.
  • Merah´s mother raised five children – three son and two daughters – as a single mother.
  • Mohamed´s 29 year-old brother Abdelkader was under surveillance for days as French intelligence identified several Islamists in the Toulouse area as possible suspects in the case of the soldiers´killings in Montabaun.
  • Abdelkader Merah according to French prosecution had fought in Iraq as a Jihadi militants and then returned to France. French intelligence monitored him as a potential terrorist. During today´s police operation explosives were found inside Abdelkader Merah´s car.

UPDATE I:

One year ago Mohamed Merah, a 24 23 year-old French citizen of Algerian origin locked up in an Afghan prison cell in the city of Kandahar. He had been arrested in November 2010 December 2007 as part of an Al-Qaida-Taliban cell which was planting bombs in the city. Merah among others was sentenced to three years in prison for his terrorist activities.

In April 2011  June 2008 dozens of Taliban insurgents attacked Sarposa Prison, the main prison in Kandahar. They managed to free more than 1,200 inmates in this assault. Amongst those prisoners freed that night was Mohamed Merah.

Allegedly the 24 year-old from Toulouse re-joined Al-Qaida after he was freed from prison and received further terrorist training.

When Merah returned to France he was -according to French media reports – under the surveillance of French intelligence agency DCRI. Merah joined the Salafist group „Frosane Alizza“ operating in France and was known as a Jihadi sympathizer.

Meanwhile it is confirmed Mohamed Merah is the man who shot Jewish students and French soldiers in Toulouse and Montabaun. French police was able to track down the IP adress of the computer of Merah´s brother. The killer had used the computer to contact his first victim, a French soldier of North African descent, and pretended to be interested in buying a motorbike the soldier was selling.

Unconfirmed information is now spreading Merah tried to join the French Foreign League in 2010 but was not accepted. Allegedly he was a bodybuilder, too. Merah´s brother Abdelkader (26) is allegedly also part of the Salafist community in Toulouse.

Mohamed Merah has serve two prison terms in France in 2007 and 2009. About 18 acts of violence and crime have recorded in relation with Merah, the last one being „driving without license“ only a few weeks ago according to his lawyer.

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Weiterlesen

„Cut Off The Dead Body´s Head“- Al-Qaida Strategy Papers Discovered In Berlin

by Florian Flade

In Berlin two suspected Islamist terrorists are standing trial since January. Austrian Maqsood L. and Berlin resident Yusuf O. met in a Al-Qaida training camp in Waziristan and were tasked to recruit fellow Islamists in Europe to form terrorist cells.

In 2011 Yusuf O. and Maqsood L. left Pakistan´s tribal region and traveled to Hungary. Yusuf O. of Berlin then traveled to Maqsood´s home town of Vienna to make contact with Maqsood´s old friends. Maqsood himself traveled to Berlin to search for recruits in Yusuf´s former community.

The two men thought they were able to outsmart German and Austrian intelligence by not returning to their original home town. They were wrong. Maqsood L. was arrested in Berlin on May 16 2011 and Austrian police arrested Yusuf O.  in Vienna on May 31 2011.

Former Austrian soldier Maqsood L. was carrying USB sticks and a SD memory card in his underwear when police arrested him. The hardware was intensifly checked by German federal police BKA. It took IT experts several weeks until they were able to recover and unpack the files. Most of them had been hidden in movie and image files using camouflage and cryptic software. The RAR-Archive files had curious names, for example: „sexytanja.rar“.

Some of the original files were bearing the names of porn movies and pop songs. One movie file contained 142 hidden document files. Among them: PDF terrorist training manuals in German, English and Arabic.

Five documents presumably written by Al-Qaida officials were of great interest for Germany´s intelligence. They are a true treasure trove for counter-terrorism officials as none of them found on the Internet as open propaganda material.

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„Future_Work.docx“

Author: Sheikh Younis Mohammad al-Mauretani

Appears to be an Al-Qaida strategy paper aiming at improving the plotting of future terrorist attacks in the West. Main content was: using only a few attackers to carry out numerous small attacks. The aim, the authors writes, should be to create panic in Western societies, so the government would use more repressive measures against their own people.

At the same time Al-Qaida should try to carry out a „9-11 2.0“, a second huge attack with devastating effect on Western society. This is necessary, the paper states, to prove Al-Qaida´s commitment and capability.

According to German intelligence the author of the strategy paper is now captured Al-Qaida leader Sheikh Younis Mohammad al-Mauretani.

„Lessons_Learned_From_previous_operations.docx“ , „Report_On_Operations.docx“

Author: likely Rashid Rauf

Both documents are listing Al-Qaida attacks of recent years including the London 2005 subway bombings and the failed „UK Airliner Plot“. The author is then commenting on mistakes made during the plotting process and realization.

When German federal police was asked who the possible author of the two papers was their analysis was: the documents were most likely written by British citizen Rashid Rauf – an Al-Qaida operative who is suspected to have been killed in a US drone strike in November 2008 – yet here has not been any confirmation for his death.

„mujahid“

Author: unknown

The file whose author is unknown is regarded as a chilling religious justification for the fighting and killing of infidels.
Main points are: Citizens (civilians) of countries which are in a state of war with Muslims are allowed to be attacked, killed, taken hostage and tortured. Muslims can use fire and poison to kill infidels. Even the enslavement of infidel women is allowed according to the paper.

Mujahidin tasked to carry out attacks in a Non-Muslim country are permitted to smoke cigarettes, have girlfriends, buy alcohol and tell jokes to blend into the Western society.

„serien_killing.txt“

Author: likely Yusuf O. or Maqsood L. wrote it in Pakistan

This German-language document was probably written by either Maqsood L. or Yusuf O. themselves during a training lesson in Waziristan. The content of these notes is a chilling one: it explains how a Mujahid is supposed to behave prior and during a operation in the West. „Use fake passports, use different cars, if your behavior seems suspicious try to act like a criminal“

The document further explains ways to carry out kidnappings. After the enemy is captured the hostages should be dressed in a orange jumpsuit (similar to the ones worn by the prisoners in Guantánamo Bay), the paper reads. Then the hostages shall be killed while a camera is recording the execution – „Cut off the head of the dead body, be careful because of the infidel´s blood“ The video of the beheading shall then be send to Al-Qaida via the internet so As-Sahab Media can create a proper propaganda tape.

For further information on the Al-Qaida papers discussed in the Berlin terror trial check Yassin Musharbash´s blog post.