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January 22, 2022
Threat Journal is a weekly supplement to the
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Colleyville, TX synagogue attacker Malik Faisal Akram and Aafia Siddiqui (inset). - ALLOW IMAGES

FBI: Texas Synagogue Incident an Act of Terrorism

January 22, 2022
On January 15, the following related Flash SMS
messages were sent to AlertsUSA subscriber mobile devices:

1/15 - Gunman holding hostages at Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, TX (NE Fort Worth). Large police response. AlertsUSA monitoring..

1/15 - Gunman continues holding 4 hostages at Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, TX. Security increasing synagogues and Jewish community centers nationwide.

1/15 - Reports of large explosion and gunfire at Texas synagogue, followed by Governor Greg Abbott announcing all hostages are out alive and safe. No word on suspect.

What You Need To Know

On five occasions over the past week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via SMS messages to their mobile devices regarding safety and security matters. Three of these alerts dealt with the Colleyville, TX synagogue hostage crisis.

In this incident, Malik Faisal Akram, a 44-year-old British Pakistani armed with a pistol, took four people hostage in the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, TX, during a Sabbath service. Akram gained initial access to the synagogue by claiming to be a homeless man. He was welcomed in and provided a cup of warm tea.

According to Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, the group had been praying when he heard a click that turned out to be the suspect's gun. A yelling Akram then rounded up a total of four hostages, including the Rabbi. Soon after 911 calls started pouring in, a first officer arrived, followed thereafter by a multi-agency response, including the Colleyville Police, Texas Dept. of Public Safety, and the FBI.

During the standoff Akram could be heard on a Facebook livestream demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui (inset image above), a Pakistani neuroscientist who is suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda and was convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Siddiqui is serving an 86-year prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell located in nearby Fort Worth, Texas.

During negotiations with the FBI, Akram is reported to have ranted against the U.S., Israel, and Jews, delivered a rambling condemnation of U.S. military conflicts overseas, and boasted about his desire for martyrdom. He also threatened to kill the hostages, saying, "If anyone tries to enter this building, I'm telling you... everyone will die."

Shortly after 5:00 p.m., Akram mysteriously released one of the hostages.

As the standoff reached the ten hour mark, the three remaining hostages managed to escape through a door after throwing a chair at Akram. No shots were fired. Video taken outside the synagogue by local ABC affiliate WFAA showed the hostages sprinting out of the synagogue while being followed by Akram, who then went back into the building.

After the hostages fled, the FBI Hostage Rescue Team cut power to the building, tossed in a flash-bang grenade to disorient Akram, who was then fatally shot by the assault force.

Akram entered the U.S. from the United Kingdom on December 27, 2021 at John F. Kennedy Int'l Airport in New York City. Akram then traveled to Dallas, TX on December 31 and intermittently stayed in at least two local homeless shelters between January 2 and 11.

The FBI believes that Akram acted alone, and Matthew DeSarno, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Dallas field office, said there was no indication that Akram was part of any broader plan. FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday the agency is treating the hostage standoff as "act of terrorism."

According to Wray:

"This was not some random occurrence. It was intentional. It was symbolic and we're not going to tolerate anti-semitism in this country."

On Thursday, British Counter-Terror Police announced the arrest of two men, one in Birmingham and the other in Manchester, as part of the ongoing investigation.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the domestic and international threat environment around the clock and will immediately notify service subscribers, via SMS messages to their mobile devices, of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.


1/18 - DHS/CISA issue bulletin urging all orgs in the US, large & small, to step up computer security efforts following last week's cyber attack on Ukraine. See email.

1/20 - DHS: Starting 1/22, non-US citizens seeking entry into the US via land ports of entry and ferries at the CAN & MX borders will require cert of full vaccination.

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Colorized scanning electron micrograph of chronically infected and partially lysed cells (olive green) infected with a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (purple), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF) in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Credit: NIAID - ALLOW IMAGES

Coronavirus Quick Hits

January 22, 2022


According to data provided by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of Friday evening there have been more than 848,000 total deaths in the U.S. attributed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

That said, last week CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted that 75% of COVID deaths in the U.S. occurred in people who had at least four comorbidities, drawing the distinction between dying from COVID-19 versus dying with COVID-19.

On Thursday, AlertsUSA subscribers were notified that beginning January 22nd, the Dept. of Homeland Security will require non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter the United States via land ports of entry and ferry terminals must provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination. These new restrictions will apply to non-U.S. individuals who are traveling for both essential and non-essential reasons. These new restrictions DO NOT not apply to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, or U.S. nationals.

This week a federal court in Texas blocked the Biden administration's vaccine requirement for federal workers, which has been in place since November. The injunction comes just over a week after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the vaccine-or-test rule for large private employers.


COVID-19 infections are increasing in Canada. There have been more than 32,000 COVID-attributed deaths reported in the country since the pandemic began.


This week Brazil leads in new reported COVID-19 deaths, followed by Mexico and Columbia. Across the region, more than 1,574,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus.


New deaths are decreasing across Europe. Russia still leads the region in COVID-related fatalities, followed by Italy and the UK. As of January 14, more than 1,935,000 COVID - attributed deaths have been reported across the region since the pandemic began.


CDC: Natural immunity stronger than vaccines alone during delta wave
World Health Organization: Travel bans ineffective
Austrian parliament approves mandatory Covid vaccination
England ends all COVID passports, mask mandates, work restrictions
Fauci says there are 5 stages of the COVID pandemic - we are in phase 1
Poll finds close to half of dem voters want internment camps for unvaxxed
One quarter of Canadians support jail time for the unvaccinated
Jail doctor gave inmates ivermectin, now they are suing.


COVID-19 Vaccines And Treatments: We Must Have Raw Data, Now - BMJ


According to the CDC's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) between mid-December 2020 and December 3 of this year, more than 1,053,000 adverse events have been reported following COVID19 vaccinations. As it is estimated that only 1% of adverse events are recorded into the system, these numbers could be significantly higher.

Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.

Current VAERS reports (U.S. only) related to COVID-19 vaccines incl:

Deaths: 10,162
Hospitalizations: 49,167
Urgent Care: 91,178
Anaphylaxis: 2,273
Bell's Palsy: 3,007
Miscarriages: 1,569
Heart Attacks: 4,988
Myo/Pericarditis: 4,710

World Health Organization
Centers for Disease Control (U.S.)
Johns Hopkins CSSE (Interactive map)

U.S. Risking Cybergeddon with Russia - ALLOW IMAGES

Commentary / Analysis / Research

January 22, 2022

U.S. Risking Cybergeddon with Russia

In April 2021, Russia massed troops on Ukraine’s border, threatening invasion, raising alarms in the U.S. and NATO. Ventriloquizing for the Kremlin, Putin intimate and director of Russia’s state-run international media giants, RT and Sputnik, Margarita Simonyan, declared on TV: “Russia will invade Ukraine, sparking a conflict with the U.S. that will force entire cities into blackout. … All-out cyber warfare, nationwide forced blackouts.”

“War is inevitable,” according to Russia’s Ms. Simonyan, “I do not believe that this will be a large-scale hot war, like World War II, and I do not believe there will be a long Cold War. It will be a war of the third type: the Cyber War.”


Europe's Weak Response to Russia

Above all, Russia's attempt to transform the existing security settlement in Europe to one that extends its own sphere of influence across already settled NATO countries and beyond is the ultimate test of the willpower and ability of the US and Europe. It is a test that matters not only for the countries directly involved -- Ukraine, Poland, the Baltics and beyond -- but also for China and Iran, who are closely watching events to gauge the strength of US global power and the resolve and cohesiveness of the NATO alliance.

What is at stake, therefore, is much more than Ukraine itself or Russia's geopolitical ambitions; it is ultimately about the lessons that China and Iran will take away on what to expect in the future from the US and its NATO allies over Taiwan, the South China Sea, or in the Middle East.


Biden’s Year One in Immigration

President Biden probably didn’t mind not being asked a single question about border or immigration issues during his two-hour press conference Wednesday. It’s his weakest issue with the public and was even before his general approval rating tanked.

There’s good reason for the public disapproval. The disaster at the border exceeds anything we’ve ever seen, with close to 1.7 million arrests at the southern border in fiscal 2021. But part of that fiscal year was under Trump; as of today, during the Biden’s first 365 days, arrests at the southern border will total a whopping 2 million.


Fleet and Marine Tracker Map as of Jan 18, 2022.  - ALLOW IMAGES
USNI Fleet and Marine Tracker
January 22, 2022

These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of Jan 18, 2022 based on U.S. Navy, public data provided by the U.S. Naval Institute, and open source reporting. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.

Marines use a helicopter to lift an M777 howitzer at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Jan. 13, 2022. - ALLOW IMAGES
World News Roundup
January 22, 2022


Biden predicts Russia will invade Ukraine, warns Putin
CIA chief made secret visit to Europe ahead of Blinken’s trip
Biden takes defiant tone in press conference marking first year in office
Biden signs memo to boost spy agencies' cyber defenses
Biden’s reckless comments could start war in Ukraine
CIA: 'Havana Syndrome' not result of sustained campaign by hostile power
Two Marines killed and two others critically injured after military truck crash
Biden to expand NSA role in government cybersecurity
Biden signs memorandum to secure sensitive national security systems
Senator: Chinese rare earth minerals are ‘a national security risk’


Europe threatens 'massive' sanctions if Russia attacks Ukraine
NATO: Biden's remark not a green light for Russian invasion
Russian subs cutting underwater cables is 'act of war', UK defence chief warns
Boris Johnson warns of ‘disaster for the world’ if Putin enters Ukraine
UK sends defensive weapons to Ukraine as fears of Russian invasion mount
Ukrainian President pushes back on Biden: 'There are no minor incursions'
Treasury sanctions Russian-backed actors for destabilization activities
Zelensky addresses nation on Russia's aggression, urges citizens not to panic
Russia's top spy makes sensational claim about US plans for Beijing Olympics
Macron proposes security pact to make Europe a 'power of the future'
Britain could send additional weapons to Ukraine
Russia set for complete ban on cryptocurrencies


IS militants attack prison in Syria's al-Hasaka, U.S.-backed SDF says
Iran, Russia in talks to expand Bushehr, its sole nuclear plant
Iran sees ties with Russia as 'new Middle East'
Putin hosts Iranian President for Kremlin talks
Saudi-led airstrikes kill scores at a prison in Yemen
French tourist Benjamin Briere goes on trial in Iran for espionage
Israel evicts Palestinians in flashpoint area of east Jerusalem
Ghana: authorities begin clearing site of explosion that killed 17
US sanctions 'international' Hezbollah financing network
Terrorism hike in Central African Republic targets UN
France wants to find way to combat terrorism in West Africa


N.Korea suggests it may resume nuclear, missile tests, slams 'hostile' U.S
S. Korea says it's monitoring N. Korea with 'sense of tension
'China will be China:' Why journalists are taking burner phones the Olympics
Athletes warned that they will be under surveillance at the Olympics
China warns foreign Olympic athletes against speaking out
Report: Chinese Olympic app has serious security flaws
US has stepped up aircraft carrier deployments in South China Sea
U.S. seeks way to speed delivery of new fighter jets to Taiwan
US condemns 4th North Korean ballistic missile test in a month
How good Is China's J-20 stealth fighter jet?
Newly commissioned J-20 stealth fighters on combat alert
Kazakhstan's President fires defence minister over response to unrest

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Book - Three Seconds Until Midnight by Dr. Steven Hatfill et al..

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Travel Security Resources

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The U.S. Dept. of State Travel Website is the authoritative federal source for information on the security situation at travel destinations worldwide. With tensions rapidly increasing in most regions, readers planning international travel, even to such common destinations as Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean Islands, are strongly encouraged to research on the security situation at your destination prior to departure.

Active USGOV Travel Notices
Worldwide Caution

Active USGOV Travel Advisories
Alphabetical Country List
Dynamic Map

Other USGOV Travel Resources
Traveler's Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Prog (STEP)
Travelers with Special Considerations
Travel to High-Risk Areas
Faith-Based Travel Information
Information for Women Travelers
Cruise Ship Passengers
Students Abroad
Your Health Abroad
Driving and Road Safety Abroad

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The Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) provides a variety of resources to enhance the safety and security of the U.S. private sector businesses and organizations operating abroad.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website is the authoritative federal source for information on current health issues related to specific destinations worldwide. These issues may arise from disease outbreaks, special events or gatherings, natural disasters, or other conditions that may affect travelers’ health.

Foreign Sources of Travel Guidance

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