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Indian Firms part of supply chain to ISIS: EU study

An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires over a street in Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp, near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon January 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Highlights of this EU-mandated study:

  1. As many as 20 countries are involved in supply chain of components that are used by ISIS as weapons. 
  2.  A total of 13 Turkish firms were found to be involved in the supply chain, the most in any one country. That was followed by India with seven.

By Dasha Afanasieva

ANKARA (Reuters) – Companies from 20 countries are involved in the supply chain of components that end up in Islamic State explosives, a study found on Thursday, suggesting governments and firms need to do more to track the flow of cables, chemicals and other equipment.

The European Union-mandated study showed that 51 companies from countries including Turkey, Brazil, and the United States produced, sold or received the more than 700 components used by Islamic State to build improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

IEDs are now being produced on a “quasi-industrial scale” by the militant group, which uses both industrial components that are regulated and widely available equipment such as fertilizer chemicals and mobile phones, according to Conflict Armament Research (CAR), which undertook the 20-month study.

Islamic State controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria. NATO member Turkey shares borders with both countries and has stepped up security to prevent the flow of weapons and insurgents to the hardline Sunni group.

A total of 13 Turkish firms were found to be involved in the supply chain, the most in any one country. That was followed by India with seven.

“These findings support growing international awareness that IS forces in Iraq and Syria are very much self-sustaining — acquiring weapons and strategic goods, such as IED components, locally and with ease,” said James Bevan, CAR’s executive director.

The sale of these cheap and readily available parts, some of which are not subject to government export licenses, is far less scrutinized and regulated than the transfer of weapons.

The study found that Islamic State is able to acquire some components in as a little as a month after their lawful supply to firms in the region, suggestion a lack of oversight in the supply chain.

“Companies having effective accounting systems to establish where the goods went after them would act as a deterrent,” Bevan said.


Bevan said the Turkish government refused to cooperate with CAR’s investigation so the group was not able to determine the efficacy of Ankara’s regulations regarding the tracking of components.

Turkish government officials did not reply to requests for comment.

CAR gained access to the components through partners including the Washington-backed Kurdish YPG in Syria, the Iraqi Federal Police, the Kurdistan Region Security Council and forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The components were recovered during major battles around the Iraqi towns of al Rabia, Kirkuk, Mosul, and Tikrit and the Syrian town of Kobani.

The report’s authors said they attempted to contact the companies linked to the components, adding the firms did not respond or were not able to account for where the goods went after they left their custody.

Seven Indian companies manufactured most of the detonators, detonating cord, and safety fuses documented by CAR. Those were all legally exported under government-issued licenses from India to entities in Lebanon and Turkey, CAR found.

Companies from Brazil, Romania, Russia, the Netherlands, China, Switzerland, Austria and Czech Republic were also involved, the report found.

(Additional reporting by Orhan Coskun; Editing by David Dolan)

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Facebook, Twitter Urged to Do More to Police Hate on Sites

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA

Tech giants Facebook, Twitter and Google are taking steps to police terrorists and hate groups on their sites, but more work needs to be done, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday.

The organization released its annual digital terrorism and hate report card and gave a B-plus to Facebook, a B-minus to Twitter and a C-plus to Google.

Facebook spokeswoman Christine Chen said the company had no comment on the report. Representatives for Google and Twitter did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

ALSO READ: Social Media: Here is how it is creating Lifestyle pressure on Youth!

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Wiesenthal Center’s associate dean, said Facebook in particular built “a recognition that bad folks might try to use their platform” as its business model. “There is plenty of material they haven’t dealt with to our satisfaction, but overall, especially in terms of hate, there’s zero tolerance,” Cooper said at a New York City news conference.

Rick Eaton, a senior researcher at the Wiesenthal Center, said hateful and violent posts on Instagram, which is part of Facebook, are quickly removed, but not before they can be widely shared.

He pointed to Instagram posts threatening terror attacks at the upcoming World Cup in Moscow. Another post promoted suicide attacks with the message, “You only die once. Why not make it martyrdom.”

Cooper said Twitter used to merit an F rating before it started cracking down on Islamic State tweets in 2016. He said the move came after testimony before a congressional committee revealed that “ISIS was delivering 200,000 tweets a day.”

ALSO READ: Teenagers using Social Media more likely to suffer sleep deprivations: Study

This photo shows Facebook launched on an iPhone, in North Andover, Mass., June 19, 2017. VOA

Cooper and Eaton said that as the big tech companies have gotten more aggressive in shutting down accounts that promote terrorism, racism and anti-Semitism, promoters of terrorism and hate have migrated to other sites such as, a Facebook lookalike that’s based in Russia.

There also are “alt-tech” sites like GoyFundMe, an alternative to GoFundMe, and BitChute, an alternative to Google-owned YouTube, Cooper said.

“If there’s an existing company that will give them a platform without looking too much at the content, they’ll use it,” he said. “But if not, they are attracted to those platforms that have basically no rules.”

The Los Angeles-based Wiesenthal Center is dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, hate, and terrorism. (VOA)