Reader’s submitted links for June 4 – 2015

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Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

63 Replies to “Reader’s submitted links for June 4 – 2015”

  1. Phony Tony is back! And that with a vengeance!

    Tony Blair takes on anti-extremism and anti-Semitism role (BBC, June 4, 2015)

    “Tony Blair is to be become the chairman of an organisation that combats anti-Semitism and racism in Europe.

    The former UK prime minister will join the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, which has campaigned for tougher laws on extremism.

    Mr Blair is standing down this month as the Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the UN and the EU.

    He will not be paid in his new role, but his faith foundation will reportedly receive an annual donation.

    The ECTR describes itself as an “opinion-making and advisory body”.

    It has called on European countries to bring in legislation creating clearer definitions of racism and anti-Semitism, boost educational programmes and make Holocaust denial a criminal offence. The organisation also wants governments to provide security at synagogues and Jewish schools.

    Writing in the Times, Mr Blair and Moshe Kantor, a Russian-born businessman who co-founded the ECTR in 2008, said Europe was facing “dangerous times”.

    They said “economic decline fuels instability”, noting that the only three times in the past 100 years when the annual GDP growth in Europe went below 1% was just before World War One and World War Two and last year….”

  2. “Christian leaders” in Luton invited Britain first to a meeting to urge them to cancel their protest and submit to Islam in the interest of peace.

  3. TWO elderly women were among 11 people injured when a man went on a rampage of violent random attacks in Leeds city centre, a court heard.

    A 77-year woman needed hospital treatment after suffering a head injury and another pensioner needed stitches to a facial injury after being punched to the floor during the violence carried out by Zafar Iqbal.

    Other victims included a 14-year-old girl and two 17-year-olds during the unprovoked attacks.

    Heavily-built Iqbal also punched a man and tried to hit his partner as they walked along Boar Lane pushing a one-year-old baby in a pram. Leeds Crown Court heard Iqbal, 46, suddenly turned violent while in the city centre on Saturday October 29, 2013, in the early afternoon.

    • Iran is controlling the fighting openly now. Assad’s run out of fighters. It’s down to Iraqi militia and Iran’s finest, the Revolutionary Guards, to hold the Latakia coast and the remnant of Assad’s Syria, maybe 25% of the original country.

      Lebanon’s been given no choice; it’s held by the dogs of Iran, Hezbollah. Iran needs an open highway and port to play out its strategy. Only by keeping Assad nominally in charge of the coast can Iran supply its forces all the way south to Lebanon.

      It’ll be tough. Whatever Sunni population remains in Syria and Lebanon – already full of refugees – regards these Shittes as an army of occupation. They’ll look to al-Nusra and ISIS as saviors.

  4. THE growing threat to Britain posed by terrorists was revealed today by a threefold rise in the number of terror-related arrests across the UK.

    Official figures show that in 2014-15 there were a record 338 terrorism arrests – or nearly one a day.

    Yet in 2001 – the year of the 9/11 attacks in America – there were just 109 terror arrests.

    The vast majority are related to jihadi plots by Islamic extremists.

    A security expert said the number of convictions is also on the increase.

    Hannah Stuart, Research Fellow at the Henry Jackson Society think-tank, said the number of convictions has roughly doubled over the same period.

    In the past 18 months the Security Services have foiled at least three terror attacks whereas about 15 years ago they would have expected to act against one or two a year.

    Britain’s current threat level is at the second highest of “severe” which means a terrorist attack is highly likely.

    The increasing number of arrests and convictions reflects both the growing terror threat and increasing attempts to disrupt it by the police and Security Services.

    Ms Stuart said: “Figures as stark as this – nearly three times the arrests about 15 years ago – are a clear indication of an increase in activity by the police in disrupting potential terrorism.

    “My research on convictions shows a similar pattern.

    “You have to be cautious about arrests but my work on convictions for Islamism-inspired terrorism shows roughly double the conviction rate since 2011 compared with 1999-2010.”

  5. Blair gets a new job as head of group to suppress freedom of speech across Europe:

    Blair and Kantor write: “It is our firm belief that it is not religion or faith per se that causes or foments conflict. It is the abuse of religion, which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide. The real issues are far more complex and demand greater tolerance, understanding and legislative powers to achieve a solution.”

    The council chaired by Blair believes it should promote education and ideas for legislation to confront extremists, leaving governments to deal with security and intelligence. Outlining a set of legislative proposals, they write: “The legislation includes giving greater power to judiciaries to prosecute hate speech, lowering the barriers to what constitutes incitement to violence, making Holocaust denial illegal, entrenching state funding for religious institutions into law, creating clearer definitions of what is racist and antisemitic, and securing educational programmes about tolerance in national legislation.”

    • “It is our firm belief that it is not religion or faith per se that causes or foments conflict. It is the abuse of religion, …”

      Yes, that is what Islam is, the abuse of religion.

      “…which then becomes a mask behind which those bent on death and destruction all too often hide.”

      Yes, that’s what Mohammadans do.

      “The real issues are far more complex and demand greater tolerance, understanding and legislative powers to achieve a solution.”


  6. Israeli Defense Minister: Iranian Nuclear Agreement Is ‘a Very Bad One’
    Excerpts from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s interview with Lally Weymouth:

    We consider the [Iranian nuclear] deal a very bad one. There is no doubt that the Iranians’ intention and all of their activities in the last 20 years were in order to reach a military nuclear capability.

    The deal is going to allow Iran to actually become a military nuclear threshold state. No facilities are going to be shut down, including underground facilities. No centrifuges will be destroyed. They will be able to go on with their research and development to have in the near future — whether it be 10 years or whatever — advanced centrifuges with a better capability to enrich uranium. They haven’t exposed [that] there was a weaponization part of the project. We have hard evidence about it.

    This rogue regime in Iran is ready to sacrifice a lot in order to export the revolution and to gain hegemony in the region by being active in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
    In Syria, they support Bashar al-Assad, and in Lebanon, they support Hizbullah. In the Gaza Strip, they support Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. In Yemen, they support the Houthis.

    What’s next on their list? Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Dhahran, the area of the oil resources of Saudi Arabia, which is dominated by a Shia population. Iran is active over there undermining these regimes. They already control the Hormuz Straits, and now they are trying to control the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb in the Red Sea. The Iranian idea is to dominate the region.

    The last element that is [left] out of the deal is the missiles. They have missiles that can cover all of Israel. It is not discussed.

    Bashar al-Assad is losing ground. He governs or controls less than 25 percent of the former Syrian territory. He’s concentrating along the shore — the Alawite enclave — Damascus, and a couple of towns. But he lost the eastern part of Syria. The Kurds enjoy autonomy in the northeastern part of Syria. He lost Aleppo, and Latakia is threatened now. We have the Islamic State now in the eastern part of Syria.

  7. IDF source: We’d evacuate a million Lebanese if war breaks out with Hezbollah

    In the event of a new conflict with Hizbullah, the IDF would seek to evacuate more than a million civilians in south Lebanon within 24 hours before proceeding to strike thousands of Hizbullah targets in some 240 villages and built-up regions, a senior military source said on Wednesday.

    Large-scale Hizbullah rocket and missile fire would be met with civilian evacuations, massive Israeli aerial strikes, followed by a ground offensive, he said.

  8. Iraq, Iran Fighters Deployed to Defend Damascus
    Thousands of Iranian and Iraqi fighters have been deployed in Syria in past weeks to bolster the defenses of Damascus and its surroundings, a Syrian security source said.

    “Around 7,000 Iranian and Iraqi fighters have arrived in Syria over the past few weeks and their first priority is the defense of the capital. The larger contingent is Iraqi,” the source said.

    “The goal is to reach 10,000 men to support the Syrian army and pro-government militias, firstly in Damascus, and then to retake Jisr al-Shughur because it is key to the Mediterranean coast and the Hama region” in central Syria, he added.

    Iran’s official news agency IRNA quoted elite Revolutionary Guards General Qassem Soleimani as saying “in the coming days the world will be surprised by what we are preparing, in cooperation with Syrian military leaders.”

    • Iran sends 15,000 fighters to Syria

      Iran has sent 15,000 fighters to Syria to reverse recent battlefield setbacks for Syrian government troops and wants to achieve results by the end of the month, a Lebanese political source has told The Daily Star.

      The militia force, made up of Iranians, Iraqis and Afghanis, the source said, have arrived in the Damascus region and in the coastal province of Latakia.

      The source said the fighters are expected to spearhead an effort to seize areas of Idlib province, where the regime has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of a rebel-jihadi coalition.

      Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, was in Latakia this week to shore up preparations for the campaign, the source said.

      Soleimani promised a “surprise” from Tehran and Damascus.

      “The world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days,” Iran’s official IRNA state news agency quoted the general as saying Tuesday.

      The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed reluctantly to the plan, which is expected to achieve two objectives, according to the source.

      One is to reverse the falling morale of regime supporters in the wake of the battlefield losses and high casualties, while the second is to achieve successes by the end of this month, which coincides with a deadline for Iran and world powers to finalize an interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.

      A reversal of the fortunes of Damascus, which is heavily dependent on assistance from Iran, would improve Tehran’s leverage as it deals with the post-June phase of negotiating settlements on several turbulent regional fronts, including Syria, the source said.

      The regime’s forces have come under increasing pressure in recent months – in Idlib they were defeated in several locations by a seven-member coalition of rebels that included the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia and the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

      Regime forces also withdrew from the central town of Palmyra last month after a short campaign by ISIS jihadis.

      The U.S.-led coalition against ISIS has been heavily criticized for failing to blunt the jihadis’ advances in Palmyra, and more recently their campaign against rebel groups in Aleppo province.

      A U.S. official said that more than 10,000 ISIS fighters have been killed by airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in nine months, offering a first body count for a campaign that has yet to halt their advance.

      Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s figure came after a Paris conference on how to stop the extremists. The Pentagon earlier dismissed such counts as “simply not a relevant figure” in the fight against ISIS.

      Speaking to France Inter Radio, Blinken said the airstrikes have been effective. “We have seen enormous losses for [ISIS],” Blinken said. “More than 10,000 since the beginning of this campaign. That will end up having an effect.”

      But ISIS is now threatening the provincial capital of Hassakeh in northeastern Syria, and a Kurdish official warned the town could fall to the jihadis. Control of the city is divided between regime and the YPG.

      “We do not believe the regime will be able to repel the attack if ISIS is really serious about making progress toward the city,” Redur Xelil, the YPG spokesman, told Reuters. “Half the city is under our control in the north and northwest and certainly when they reach the borders of our area they will receive a stiff response,” he said.

      The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based activist group monitoring the conflict, said ISIS used five booby-trapped vehicles to attack government forces 2 kms south of the city.

      Syrian state TV also reported the five car bombings, but said they had all struck a prison still under construction.

      “It is a serious attack. An attempt to make up for other losses,” Observatory director Rami Abdel-Rahman said.

      In northern Syria at least 37 people, including 10 children, were killed in government barrel bomb attacks, the Observatory said.

      In Tal Rifaat in Aleppo, 18 people were killed, including eight children, while in the rebel-held eastern neighborhood of Jubb al-Qubbeh in Aleppo, 11 civilians died, among them two children.

      And in Idlib province, eight members of one family were killed in a barrel bomb attack in the town of Kafr Sijna.

      Separately, Human Rights Watch said there is “strong evidence” the regime has dropped barrel bombs containing toxic chemicals.

      The New York-based group said it had led an investigation into three attacks in Idlib province, which killed two people and affected 127 others, and that chlorine was probably used in some, if not all of them.

      A fact-finding team with the global chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is going to Syria to look into the allegations.

      Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations said his country backed moves to determine who is responsible. “We support the need to find those people who are behind it,” Vitaly Churkin said. But it remains unclear if a U.N. Security Council resolution, as proposed by the U.S., is the best way to provide answers, Churkin said.

      • Thing is, Iran doesn’t give two hoots in hell for what Human Rights Watch or anybody else has to say. Trotting out truckloads of dead kids won’t give them any traction here.

        They’re not fighting the Israelis for media delectation.

        What’s another chemical attack to those bent on nuclear Armageddon?

        That’s just a little further south on the coast, marked “Haifa” on your road map.

      • I’m still puzzled by Turks + Jerks in Qatar.

        So I’m back to Lebanon. Jonathan Spyer is the best source I know. His May 29 article in the Jerusalem Post was his own website.

        Born in Lebanon, dying in Syria?
        Hizballah shoulders new responsibilities in the Syrian war

        The latest reports from the Qalamun mountain range in western Syria suggest that Hizballah is pushing back the jihadis of Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.  The movement claims to have taken 300 square kilometers from the Sunni rebels.
        The broader picture for the Shia Islamists that dominate Lebanon, however,  is less rosy.

        The Iran-led alliance of which Hizballah is a part is better-organized and more effectively commanded than are its Sunni rivals.  Its ability to marshal its resources in a centralized and effective way is what has enabled it to preserve the Assad regime in Syria until now.

        When Assad was in trouble in late 2012, an increased Hizballah mobilization into Syria, and the creation by Iran of new, paramilitary formations for the regime recruited from minority communities was enough to turn the tide of war back against the rebels by mid-2013.

        Now, however, the numerical advantage of the Sunnis in Syria is once more reversing the direction of the war.  With the minority communities that formed the core of Assad’s support no longer willing or able to supply him with the required manpower, the burden looks set to fall yet further on the shoulders of Assad’s Lebanese friends.

        What this is likely to mean for Hizballah is that it will be called on to deploy further and deeper into Syria than has previously been the case.

        In the past, its involvement was largely confined to areas of particular importance to the movement itself.  Hizballah fought to keep the rebels away from the Lebanese border, and to secure the highways between the western coastal areas and Damascus.

        The movement’s conquest of the border town of Qusayr in June, 2013, for example, formed a pivotal moment in the recovery of the regime’s fortunes at that time.

        But now, Hizballah cannot assume that other pro-regime elements will hold back the rebels in areas beyond the Syria-Lebanese frontier.  This means that the limited achievement in Qalamoun will prove Pyyrhic, unless the regime’s interest can be protected further afield.

        Hizballah looks set to be drawn further and deeper into the Syrian quagmire.

        Movement Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah acknowledged this prospect in his speech last Sunday, marking 15 years since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

        In the speech, Nasrallah broadened the definition of Hizballah’s engagement in Syria.

        Once, the involvement was expressed in limited sectarian terms (the need to protect the tomb of Sayida Zeinab in Damascus from desecration.)  This justification then gave way to the claimed need to cross the border precisely so as to seal war-torn Syria off from Lebanon and keep the Sunni ‘takfiris’ at bay.  On Sunday, Nasrallah struck an altogether more ambitious tone.

        Hizballah, he said, was fighting  alongside its ‘Syrian brothers, alongside the army and the people and the popular resistance in Damascus and Aleppo and Deir Ezzor and Qusayr and Hasakeh and Idlib. We are present today in many places and we will be present in all the places in Syria that this battle requires.”

        The list of locations includes areas in Syria’s remote north and east, many hundreds of kilometers from Lebanon (Hasakeh, Deir Ezzor), alongside regions previously seen as locations for the group’s involvement.

        Nasrallah painted the threat of the Islamic State in apocalyptic terms.  He described the danger represented by the group as one ‘unprecedented in history, which targets humanity itself.”

        This language sounds fairly clearly like a preparing of the ground for a larger and deeper deployment of Hizballah fighters into Syria.  Such a deployment will inevitably come at a cost to the movement.  Only the starkest and most urgent threats of the kind Nasrallah is now invoking could be used to justify it to Hizballah’s own public.

        The problem from Hizballah’s point of view is that it too does not have inexhaustible sources of manpower.  The movement has lost, according to regional media reports, around 1000 fighters in Syria since the beginning of its deployment there.  At any given time, around 5,000 Hizballah men are inside the country, with a fairly rapid rotation of manpower.

        Hizballah’s entire force is thought to number around 20,000 fighters.

        Faced with a task of strategic magnitude and ever growing dimensions in Syria, there are indications that the movement is being forced to cast its net wider in its search for manpower.

        A recent report by Myra Abdullah on the Now Lebanon website (associated with anti-Hizballah elements in Lebanon) depicted the party offering financial inducements to youths from impoverished areas in the Lebanese Bekaa, in return for their signing up to fight for Hizballah in Syria.

        Now Lebanon quoted sums ranging from $500 to $2000 as being offered to these young men in return for their enlistment.
        Earlier this month,  Hizballah media eulogized a 15 year old boy, Mashhur Shams al-Din, who was reported as having died while performing his ‘jihadi duties’ (the term usually used when the movement’s men are killed in Syria).

        All this suggests that Hizballah understands that a formidable task lies before it, and that it is preparing its resources and its public opinion for the performance of this task.

        As this takes place, Hizballah seems keen to remind its supporters and the Lebanese public of the laurels it once wore in the days when it fought Israel.

        The pro-Hizballah newspaper al-Safir recently gained exclusive access to elements of the extensive infrastructure Hizballah has constructed south of the Litani River since 2006.  The movement’s al-Manar TV station ran an (apparently doctored) piece of footage this week purporting to show Hizballah supporters filming a Merkava tank at Har Dov.  Nasrallah in his speech also sought to invoke the Israeli enemy, declaring that ISIS was ‘as evil’ as Israel.

        The Israeli assessment is that with its hands full in Syria, Hizballah will be unlikely to seek renewed confrontation with Israel.

        It is worth noting, nevertheless, that a series of public statements in recent weeks from former and serving Israeli security officials have delivered a similar message regarding the scope and depth of the Israeli response should a new war between Hizballah and Israel erupt.   IAF commander Amir Eshel, former IAF and Military Intelligence Head Amos Yadlin, Major-General Giora Eiland and other officials speaking off the record expressed themselves similarly in this regard.

        Hizballah, clearly, has little choice regarding its deepening involvement in Syria, Nasrallah’s exhortations not with standing.  The organization is part of a formidable, if now somewhat overstretched regional alliance, led by the Islamic Republic of Iran. This alliance regards the preservation of the Assad regime’s rule over at least part of Syria as a matter of primary strategic importance.

        Hizballah and the Shi’ites it is now recruiting are tools in this task.  It would be quite mistaken to underestimate the efficacy of  the movement. It is gearing up for a mighty task which it intends to achieve. Certainly, many more Hizballah men will lose their lives before the fighting in Syria ends, however it eventually does end.  Given the stated ambitions of that movement regarding Israel and the Jews, it is fair to say that this fact will be causing few cries of anguish south of the border.

  9. Pentagon: Iran Continuing Work on Nuclear Systems
    Iran is continuing to develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons despite an interim agreement on its nuclear programs, according to a Pentagon report that was due in January but released this week.

    “Although Iran has paused progress in some areas of its nuclear program and fulfilled its obligations under the Joint Plan of Action, it continues to develop technological capabilities that also could be applicable to nuclear weapons, including ballistic missile development,” a one-page unclassified summary of the report says.

    Iran’s military also continues to threaten the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the Pentagon report said.

    “Iran continues to develop its capabilities to control the Strait of Hormuz and avenues of approach in the event of a military conflict,” the report said, adding that Tehran is “quietly fielding increasingly lethal weapon systems, including more advanced naval mines, small but capable submarines, armed unmanned aerial vehicles, coastal defense cruise missile batteries, attack craft, and anti-ship missiles.”

    Tehran’s support for terrorism also has not stopped, according to the Pentagon. “Iran’s covert activities appear to be continuing unabated,” the report says. “The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) remains a key tool of lran’s foreign policy and power projection, particularly in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, and Yemen.”

  10. What are Turkish troops going to do in Qatar?

    Turkey’s cooperation with Gulf countries has perceptibly grown since the March 2015 meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in Riyadh. It hasn’t escaped notice that this cooperation is beginning to slowly encompass security matters.

    Reports of military cooperation between Turkey and Qatar are not really new. It wasn’t a secret that Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, in his December visit to Turkey, sought to find ways and means of boosting security and defense cooperation between Qatar and Turkey. Thani continued these discussions in his March visit to Turkey.

    As a result of these high-level contacts, the Turkey-Qatar Military Cooperation Agreement was passed with unusual speed, first in the Turkish parliament on March 22 and then by Erdogan on March 27. The agreement went into force after its March 28 publication in the official gazette.

    The agreement outlines intelligence sharing between Qatar and Turkey as well as military cooperation and the deployment of forces in each other’s territory. There is no longer any legal impediment to the return of the Turkish military to Qatar, which it evacuated Aug. 19, 1915.

    In the discussion of the agreement, strong views were expressed by Turkey’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Ozgunduz asked, “Does Qatar need Turkey to send soldiers to train them? There is no such need. There are US soldiers based in Qatar. Are we actually sending a military unit that would eventually join an international task force that could be set up there? We want to know. Why are our soldiers going there? Are they going to defend Qatar against somebody?”

    Aytug Atici, another CHP deputy, objected, “Is there anyone who knows what the Turkish Armed Forces are going to do in Qatar? You signed a train-equip accord with the US. I say now you are going to send Turkish soldiers to Qatar to train and equip Syrian opposition in Qatar.”

    An official statement from the Foreign Affairs Committee noted that there was no connection between the train-and-equip agreements reached between Turkey and the United States to train Syrian opposition groups and the military agreement signed with Qatar. The agreement with Qatar, according to the statement, should not be attributed to anything beyond what is stipulated in the agreement, and it had nothing to do with US CENTCOM activities in Qatar. The statement also noted that the agreement will enable Qatar to send its military personnel to Turkey. What attracted attention was the reference to foreign military engagements in Gulf countries and that arrangements similar to the Turkey-Qatar agreement may one day be replicated with other Gulf countries.

    The military agreement with Turkey has special meaning for Qatar, which is concerned by increased Iranian influence in the Gulf, the improvement of US-Iran relations and China’s growing role in the Middle East. Qatar lacks serious military power and appears determined to make up for its deterrence weakness in the Gulf by entering into a military alliance with Turkey and diversifying its defensive capacities. A strong military alliance with Turkey will enable Qatar to enhance its defense industry capacity, improve the training of its army and reduce its military dependence on the United States by diversifying its military partners to counter Iranian influence and perhaps even develop stronger cooperation with NATO via Turkey.

    The next question is, what has motivated Turkey to enter such an agreement with Turkey? According to Mehmet Akif Okur, associate professor at Gazi University, the Gulf is important in the global economic-political equation, and Turkey wants to have a say in the Gulf. A close military alliance with Qatar will provide the Turkish Defense Ministry with a tempting opportunity to access a lucrative market. It will also offer Turkey a way to strategically counter Iranian influence in the region and boost Turkey’s role in global security and global energy security.

    Okur draws attention to two aspects of the military facility Turkey is planning in Qatar. “Primarily, Turkey has to make sure that the public will understand the risks and opportunities of setting up a base in an important region like the Gulf and ensure that there is a democratic mechanism to supervise the process of the base opening and security it will provide,” he said. “No such transparent accountability that involves the civilian rule in military and security fields exists in Turkey. Such a ‘black-box’ setup allows avoiding public scrutiny and accountability by concealing every development behind the shield of secrecy.”

    According to Okur, military and security relations with oil-rich countries necessitate a closer look at the links between private and public interests.

    Okur said it is important to clearly define the objectives of posting Turkish troops to Qatar. “Qatar is a country that had border issues with Saudi Arabia,” he said. “It now fears a threat from Iran and is prone to palace struggles for power. It is trying to be influential in regional developments through its peculiar ways. All this means that the Turkish soldiers who will serve in Qatar may be subject to a wide spectrum of tensions. An appropriate strategic-logistical preparation will allow Turkey to field a strong resistance against anyone who may wish to deter Turkey from taking similar steps elsewhere.”

    Security sources in Ankara told Al-Monitor that the Turkish Armed Forces subscribe to the “cautious approach” advocated by Okur. They say the Turkish military is now engaged in serious cost-benefit studies and risk analysis. For the time being, the unit that is to be dispatched to Qatar is envisaged as a reinforced battalion task force that includes a small naval element, combat engineers and special forces. The Turkish high command is working on drafting the mission, authority, duties, rules of engagement and international legal aspects of the force. These sources emphasize that the Turkish military is determined to strictly adhere to national and international legality.

    Sources also point to the importance of close cooperation with US and NATO allies in the Gulf. Establishing a military presence in Qatar and carrying forward the Sunni alliance of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is likely to begin after the June 7 general elections. A well-placed source who didn’t want to be identified said that the Turkish army is consciously moving slowly to see how Turkey’s political picture develops after the elections.

    In sum, although the return of Turkish soldiers to Qatar after 100 years carries strong symbolic messages, the Turkish military is approaching the issue in a serious and professional manner.

    Of course, Ankara officials are asking one more momentous question that has yet to receive an answer: How will Iran respond to Turkey’s deploying soldiers in Qatar?

  11. BOSTON – Court document: Terror suspects met on Rhode Island beach

    Court document: Terror suspects met on Rhode Island beach

    A federal court document in a Boston terror investigation says three people met on a beach in Rhode Island earlier this week to discuss their plans.

    The paperwork was filed in the case of David Wright, who is accused of conspiring with Usaama Rahim in a plot to attack police officers.

    Investigators say Rahim and Wright used the Internet to buy three large military-style knives and planned to behead a victim and randomly kill police officers.

    The document says the men came to Rhode Island on Sunday to talk about the alleged terror plot.

    “RAHIM, WRIGHT, and the third person met on a beach in Rhode Island, in inclement weather, to discuss their plans,” the document says. “These plans included the beheading of the planned victim …”

    “At that meeting, RAHIM told WRIGHT and the third person that he was going to behead the intended victim in another state. WRIGHT indicated that he agreed with RAHIM’s plan and supported it,” the document said.

    Court documents don’t name that third person or say where in Rhode Island the secret meeting took place.

    Boston police and FBI special agents approached Rahim on a Boston street Tuesday. Authorities said Rahim threatened police officers and FBI agents with a knife, and he was shot dead.

    Federal agents raided Wright’s home in Everett, Massachusetts, shortly after the shooting and took him into custody.

    Wright appeared in federal court in Boston Wednesday afternoon, shackled and surrounded by four federal marshals.

    Federal prosecutors argued Wright poses a serious danger and that he’s a flight risk. The judge ordered him held, pending a hearing later this month.

    NBC video on the page :

  12. New Snowden Documents Reveal Secret Memos Expanding Spying

    The Obama administration has stepped up the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program on U.S. soil to search for signs of hacking.

    […]The NSA’s activities run “smack into law enforcement land,” said Jonathan Mayer, a cybersecurity scholar at Stanford Law School who has researched privacy issues and who reviewed several of the documents. “That’s a major policy decision about how to structure cybersecurity in the U.S. and not a conversation that has been had in public.”

    It is not clear what standards the agency is using to select targets. It can be hard to know for sure who is behind a particular intrusion — a foreign government or a criminal gang — and the NSA is supposed to focus on foreign intelligence, not law enforcement.

    The government can also gather significant volumes of Americans’ information — anything from private emails to trade secrets and business dealings — through Internet surveillance because monitoring the data flowing to a hacker involves copying that information as the hacker steals it.

    One internal NSA document notes that agency surveillance activities through “hacker signatures pull in a lot.” Brian Hale, the spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said, “It should come as no surprise that the U.S. government gathers intelligence on foreign powers that attempt to penetrate U.S. networks and steal the private information of U.S. citizens and companies.” He added that “targeting overseas individuals engaging in hostile cyberactivities on behalf of a foreign power is a lawful foreign intelligence purpose.”

    more on this page :


    And the lesson for today, kids, is . . . ISIS beheads a Libyan soldier outside a mosque for ‘education purposes’ – and the youngsters don’t even seem shocked

    – Savage execution took place in the militant-held northern port city of Derna
    – Chilling photographs show regime soldier Abdulnabi Shurgawi being killed
    – He is dragged out into a public square and brutally beheaded by militants
    – Young boys are then seen crowding around victim’s bloodied corpse and posing for photographs as the jihadis hold Shurgawi’s head aloft

    video – GRAPHIC

  14. Fox News – Rep. McSally on the foiled Boston terror plot

    U.S. Representative Martha McSally joined FOX News’ America’s Newsroom to discuss ISIS’ use of social media and the latest foiled terror plot Boston. A retired Air Force Colonel, Rep. McSally serves on the Committee on Homeland Security.

  15. FRANCE – Sarkozy party’s ‘Islam meeting’ sparks criticism

    Paris (AFP) – Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing opposition party held an internal meeting Thursday on the “question of Islam” in France, which drew criticism from Muslim groups and some members of the party for “stigmatising” the religion.

    The former French president’s party, recently rebranded “The Republicans”, debated “the place of religion” in secular France and more specifically “Islam in France”.

    One month after the January attacks in Paris that killed 17, Sarkozy said: “The question is not to know what the Republic can do for Islam, but what Islam can do to become the Islam of France.”

    France is home to Europe’s largest Muslim community and also the continent’s biggest Jewish community but is officially secular.

    Sarkozy insisted on the eve of the closed-door meeting that “one shouldn’t run away from debates”.

    “A country is like a family. You have to talk, you have to work things through,” he said.

    But Muslim groups said they would not be present at the meeting.

    “We can’t participate in an initiative like this that stigmatises Muslims,” said Abdallah Zekri from the French Muslim Council (CFCM).

    The organisation had “come under pressure to attend but will not be going,” Zekri told AFP.

    It later emerged that four members of the group did in fact attend, sparking an angry response from Zekri.

    Another top Muslim group, the Union of Islamic Organisations of France said it had not received an invitation to attend but that it would not take part in “that type of debate”.

    “To debate with a political group that has just been formed and that starts with Islam makes us a bit uneasy,” said its president Amar Lasfar.

    He also said the group had not appreciated Sarkozy’s comments in which he called for the veil in universities and substitute meals in schools to be banned.

    The debate has also divided opinion within the centre-right party, battling to stem the rise of the far-right National Front.

    Sociologist Raphael Liogier said Sarkozy “is hunting on National Front ground, but it’s not working very well because people always prefer the original to the copy”.

    The Republicans’ vice-president, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, criticised the fact that the new party’s first action was to debate Islam — a “bad idea”, she said.

    But the organiser of the meeting, MP Henri Guaino, hit back at the “ostriches” in the party, burying their heads in the sand over the issue of Islam in France.

    “Can we not talk about subjects that split opinion? If you talk about immigration, you’re a xenophobe. If you talk about security, you’re a fascist. If you talk about Islam, you’re an Islamophobe,” said Guaino.

  16. Iowa man charged with making online threats against Boston mosque

    BOSTON (Reuters) – U.S. officials on Wednesday arrested an Iowa man and charged him with making online threats against a Boston mosque, including threats to shoot and kill Muslims.

    Federal court papers unsealed on Wednesday charged that Gerald Wayne Ledford, 57, of Clinton, Iowa, made threatening posts on the Facebook page of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, including the post “we will destroy you” and photos of a person carrying a long gun.

    In addition to the posts on the Islamic society’s Facebook page, Ledford’s own profile included threatening statements dating back to October, when two men inspired by radical jihadist beliefs launched separate fatal attacks on Canadian soldiers in Ottawa and outside Montreal.

    Ledford is due to face a charge of transmitting a communication containing a threat to injure a person in U.S. District Court in Boston on June 24. The charge carries a possible five-year prison term if he is convicted.

    The United States has seen a series of Islam-linked protests in recent weeks, some sparked by an attack by gunmen in Texas on a showcase of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, drawings that are considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

    Anti-Muslim groups have been active buying ads and staging demonstrations characterizing the religion as violent, often citing the murderous brutality of Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

    Boston itself was staggered in 2013 by a bombing attack on its world-renowned marathon in which a pair of brothers who were adherents of al Qaeda’s extremist ideology killed three people and injured 264 others.

  17. Italy arrests 44 in mafia migrant centre probe (BBC, June 4, 2015)

    “Police in Italy have arrested 44 people over the rigging of public contracts to run migrant reception centres. Local politicians were among those detained after an investigation uncovered widespread corruption.

    Anti-mafia police believe the network, based around Rome, is connected to alleged crime boss Massimo Carminati, who was arrested in December. Italy is struggling with an influx of migrants making the perilous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean.

    Regional councillor Luca Gramazio, from ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, was among those placed in handcuffs in the raids on Thursday morning. He is accused of serving as a go-between for corrupt businessmen and a mob that survived on rigging public contracts.

    As well as those arrested, Rome police said another 21 people were being investigated and their offices searched. They said an investigation last year into corruption at city institutions – a case dubbed Mafia Capital – had uncovered a widespread system designed to allow a cartel of companies to win lucrative public contracts to manage migrant reception centres.

    Politicians and business people are accused of being on the payroll of Massimo Carminati, the former leader of a far-right armed group, who was detained as part of the 2014 operation. As well as reception centres, the criminal network was also involved in contracts for garbage disposal and park maintenance, police say.

    Correspondents say the centres – set up to house asylum seekers and recently-arrived migrants – have created a rich source of income for unscrupulous operators, as the Mediterranean migrant boat crisis has left the authorities struggling to deal with the tens of thousands of arrivals.

    “We need to stop the boat departures and stop the public tenders immediately,” Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, said following the latest arrests.

    Italy has been seeking help from other EU states to deal with the migrant influx. The European Commission has called on EU member states to take in 40,000 asylum seekers who land in Italy and Greece over the next two years. However, the idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe has caused controversy in some EU states, with some countries saying they will not take part.

    The UN estimates that 60,000 people have already tried to cross the Mediterranean, mainly from Libya, in the past five months, and that about 1,800 people have died. The death toll represents a 30-fold increase on the same period in 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    Many migrants are trying to escape conflict or poverty in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Nigeria and Somalia.”

  18. Kenya charges five over al-Shabab’s Garissa massacre (BBC, June 4, 2015)

    “Five men have been charged in a Kenyan court with 162 counts of terrorism following the deadly assault by militant Islamists on Garissa University College in April.

    The four Kenyans and one Tanzanian conspired to commit “a terrorist act” at the university, the charge sheet alleges. The men denied the charges.

    They are the first people to be charged in connection with the massacre.

    Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack, which killed 148 people….”

  19. US officials: Massive breach of federal personnel data

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is scrambling to assess the impact of a massive data breach involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, U.S. officials said Thursday.

    A congressional aide familiar with the situation, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to discuss it, said the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department were hacked. A second U.S. official who also declined to be identified said the data breach could potentially affect every federal agency.

    The White House was considering a public announcement of the breach Thursday night or Friday morning, the second official said.

    The Office of Personnel Management is the human resources department for the federal government, and issues security clearances.

    In November, a former Department of Homeland Security official disclosed another cyberbreach that compromised the private files of more than 25,000 DHS workers and thousands of other federal employees.

    The OPM conducts more than 90 percent of federal background investigations, according to its website.

    • Federal Office of Personnel Management says it will notify 4 million current and past employees that personal info may have been exposed by massive data hack –

      Chinese hackers breach federal government’s personnel office

      Chinese hackers breached the computer system of the Office of Personnel Management in December, officials said Thursday, and the agency will notify some 4 million current and former federal employees that their personal data may have been compromised.

      The hack was the second major intrusion of the agency by China in less than a year.

      OPM, using new tools, discovered the breach in April, said officials at the agency who declined to comment on who was behind the hack.

      Other U.S. officials, who spoke on conditions of anonymity because it is an ongoing investigation, identified the hackers as being from China.

      The data potentially exposed included employees’ job assignments, performance ratings and training, the officials said. The breach did not involve background or clearance investigations, they said.

      “Certainly, OPM is a high value target,” said OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour, in an interview. “We have a lot of information about people, and that is something that our adversaries want.”

      With that understanding, she said, within the last year “OPM has undertaken an aggressive effort to update our cybersecurity posture, adding numerous tools and capabilities to our networks. As a result of adding these tools, we were able to detect this intrusion into our networks.”

      “Protecting our federal employee data from malicious cyber incidents is of the highest priority at OPM,” said the agency’s director, Katherine Archuleta, in a statement.

  20. IS jihadists in fierce battle for key Syrian city (yahoo, June 4, 2015)

    “Islamic State group jihadists, emboldened by a string of battlefield victories, advanced Thursday to the gates of the Syrian city of Hasakeh after intense fighting with regime troops.

    In neighbouring Iraq, security forces foiled IS car bomb attacks on two military bases west of Baghdad, a day after US-led coalition warplanes destroyed a massive jihadist bomb-making factory.

    Despite nine months of US-led air strikes, the militants have made new territorial gains recently, including the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra and Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s vast Anbar province.

    Now they are “500 metres (550 yards) away from the entrance of Hasakeh, after fierce clashes against regime forces south of the city,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights….”

  21. Turkey holds French woman who ‘married jihadist in Syria’ (yahoo, June 4, 2015)

    “Turkish police detained a young French woman who crossed back into Turkey after joining Islamic State (IS) jihadists in neighbouring Syria, a security official said on Thursday.

    During a three-month stay in Syria, the woman married and then split up from a jihadist and was put in a jail operated by the IS group before being released, the official said.

    The woman, named as Sonia Belayati, 22, was detained at a bus terminal in the southeastern Sanliurfa province early Tuesday after France provided Turkish authorities with intelligence, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    The woman had flown into Istanbul in March and then crossed into Syria and joined the IS extremists.

    “She worked for the Daesh terrorist organisation for about three months,” the official said, using an Arabic acronym for the group.

    “She later got married to a high-level foreign fighter in Daesh and stayed in Syria,” the official said.

    The woman later split up with the jihadist and was detained in an IS prison in Syria for almost one month.

    After her release, she illegally crossed the border into Sanliurfa where she was detained by the security forces….”

  22. Poor old bastard…

    Egypt: Mubarak to be retried over killings of protesters (BBC, June 4, 2015)

    “An appeals court in Egypt has ordered former President Hosni Mubarak to stand trial again over the killing of protesters in 2011.

    Mubarak was cleared in a retrial in November 2014 after originally being jailed for life over the death of 800 people during the revolution.

    He was separately convicted of corruption and sentenced to three years in jail earlier this year.

    Mubarak, 87, is currently in the Maadi military hospital in Cairo.

    The judge at the Court of Cassation said Mubarak would be retried on 5 November. It will be the third time the case has been heard….”

  23. LAT – Purported Boston terrorism plot targeting Pamela Geller was ‘wishful thinking,’ official says

    Controversial anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller was mentioned as a possible target for beheading by a man who was shot and killed by a counter-terrorism task force this week, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said Thursday, but he characterized it as “more along the lines of wishful thinking.”

    Evans, in an appearance on the “Today” show, discounted the idea that Usaamah Rahim, 26, had imminent plans to attack Geller, who hosted a provocative Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, last month that was attacked by two Islamist gunmen. Police shot and killed both attackers in a parking lot.

    But Evans added of Rahim, who had been under 24-hour surveillance when he was shot in Boston on Tuesday after allegedly threatening officers with a knife: “This was very real, it was very dangerous, and when it unfolded Tuesday morning, could have saved not only police officers’ lives, but who knows where it could have gone also.”

    A school official in Boston told the Associated Press that Rahim had spent his freshman year of high school in Saudi Arabia.

    Supt. Bill Lupini, of the Brookline, Mass., school system, said Rahim graduated from Brookline High School in 2007 but spent his first year at the Academic International School in Saudi Arabia.

    Lupini said in a statement issued Thursday that Rahim’s guidance counselor and dean remember him as a “bright young man” who had no major disciplinary infractions.

    Rahim went to college in Florida, Lupini said.

    Also Thursday, supporters for Rahim’s family questioned officials’ use of deadly force and said they had seen no indications that Rahim, who was married, had been radicalized by violent Islamist groups in the Middle East such as Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

    An aunt, who identified herself only by a first name, Karen, told reporters that she thought Rahim, as a black man, had felt threatened by police.

    “As you all know with the current slaughter of black men going on right now across the nation, that’s enough to make any and all black men feel threatened,” the aunt said at a televised news conference. “That would be one of the prevalent reasons why he would feel that way. It has nothing to do with Islam. … If it wasn’t for him being Muslim, we would not be hearing ‘terrorism,’ we would not being hearing ‘ISIS’” in the media coverage.

    An attorney for the family, Ronald Sullivan, told reporters, “The family is not making any substantive claims at this time about what happened in this case.”

    The family planned to watch the surveillance video of the shooting at the district attorney’s office later Thursday and then bury Rahim on Friday, Sullivan said.

    Officials’ allegations that Rahim was planning to behead someone or attack police “came as a complete shock to the family,” Sullivan said, adding, however, that “we simply don’t have evidence one way or another.”

    Authorities have not discussed in detail how Rahim came under scrutiny.

    Conspiracy charges filed Wednesday against his nephew, David Wright, 24, alleged that the pair had apparently been discussing beheadings and a possible attack on police officers, often in generic terms.

    Officials have said the pair discussed a possible beheading in conversation with an unidentified third person. A third person has not been arrested, according to Boston police and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

    Wright was arrested Tuesday and made an initial court appearance Wednesday. A judge reportedly ordered him to remain in custody.

    Evans said Thursday in a televised interview that he is “confident that at least this threat has been neutralized.”

    “I believe we have everyone connected with this plot, ” Evans said. “There is nothing bigger, at least that we know of, operating in the city of Boston.”

    On Wednesday evening, spokeswomen for the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston declined to comment on the alleged threats against Geller.

    In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, Geller declined to say whether investigators had contacted her beforehand about any threats. Asked about whether she would change anything she was already doing, Geller responded, “Doing it more.”

    “This is what’s getting lost in post-Garland, Texas – that ISIS is here, Islamic terrorism is here, they targeted me for violating sharia blasphemy laws,” Geller said in a phone interview. “This is really a showdown for American freedom. Will we stand against the savagery or will we bow to them and silence ourselves? That’s the question.”

    Official statements and court documents provide only glimpses of Rahim’s alleged plot to behead an unidentified person in a state outside Massachusetts.

    He had bought knives on Amazon last week and on Sunday went to Rhode Island with Wright to talk to a third person about a possible beheading, according to court documents.

    Authorities apparently became more concerned about Rahim after intercepting a 5 a.m. Tuesday phone call in which officials said he told Wright he had decided he wanted to attack police officers.

    “I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim said, according to a transcript of the call in the court documents. “ ’Cause, ah, it’s the easiest target and, ah, the most common is the easiest for me.”

    Wright was charged with conspiring to destroy evidence after officials said he told Rahim to destroy his phone, “because, at the scene, at the scene, CSI” — an apparent reference to crime scene investigators – “will be looking for that particular thing, and so dump it, get rid of that.”

    Two hours later, officials with Boston police and the FBI in a Joint Terrorism Task Force approached Rahim near a CVS drugstore parking lot — not to arrest him, officials have said, but to question him about his intentions.

    Rahim pulled out a knife, and when police told him to drop one of the knives he had, he replied, “You drop yours,” according to court documents.

    Community leaders who viewed surveillance video that shows the encounter from a distance said that Rahim advanced on the officers before they fatally shot him.

    They discredited claims by Rahim’s brother, an imam, Ibrahim Rahim, that Rahim had been on the phone when he was shot and that he had been shot in the back.

    At the Thursday news conference, the family’s attorney, Sullivan, backed away from those assertions. He told reporters that Ibrahim Rahim “simply did not have all the facts at that time” and made his claims about his brother’s death based on hearsay from unidentified “third parties.”

    Sullivan said phone records showed Usaamah Rahim had been on the phone with his father shortly before he was killed, but Sullivan said he didn’t know what Rahim said in that conversation with his father or exactly how long it happened before he was shot.

    Sullivan said the family requested privacy until at least after Rahim was buried Friday.

    Evans, the Boston police commissioner, said Thursday that the investigation into Rahim’s plans continue.

    The shooting will be investigated by the Suffolk County district attorney’s office to determine whether the use of force by police and the FBI was appropriate.

  24. Louis Farrakhan Speaks in Baptist Church: “No Such Thing as Moderate Islam.”

    The head of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, had the unmitigated gall, while speaking in the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington D.C., to make another call for violence against the country from the pulpit of a church.

    Farrakhan covered a range of topics. One seemed to express regret for having helped elect Obama, “We voted for Obama and made him Pharaoh. He can’t speak for the Children of Israel.”

    That, and this, according to Tweeters at the speech, ”The criminals are in the White House, Congress, Senate and they have never been called thugs.”

    Also, “America owes us (Blacks) big time!… We don’t need a museum to pay the debt America owes.”

    He also called for boycotts and economic withdrawal, which drew applause from the crowd.

    According to Brian Anderson, who published an article in Downtrend, Farrakhan “basically called for blacks to join an Islamic jihad against America.”

    “This statement comes off more of a threat than an anti-war sentiment. The way I take this is Farrakhan is saying that ISIS and al-Qaeda are going to take the fight to America, with the black Muslims joining in.”

    “We have to be willing to lose our lives for a cause bigger than our lives,” Farrakhan said.

    Anderson offered his interpretation, as if this “appears to be a calling for suicide bombings.”

    Anderson also highlighted the ironic fact that the leader of the nation of Islam was speaking at a Christian church. “Did I mention that Farrakhan gave this whacked out Islamic jihad rant in a Christian church?” he asked. “Does the perceived racism thing have such a hold on black Christians that they will allow a crazy Muslim to call for the destruction of America at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists in a house of God? It appears so.”

    “I wish somebody from the State Department would explain why Louis Faraakhan isn’t listed as a terrorist.”

    • It’s the Attorney General and the FBI and Homeland Security that should make that call. BEFORE the race riots start.

      You can just taste the incitement.

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