Reader submitted links for June 19 – 2015

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In order to preserve the flow of conversation about various posted items, and also in order to make it easier for visitors to find the list of related links being shared by other readers, regulars and interested parties in one place, each day a post is automatically created at a minute past midnight ET.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

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

52 Replies to “Reader submitted links for June 19 – 2015”

  1. Number displaced worldwide hits record high – UN report (BBC, June 18, 2015)

    “The number of people displaced by war, conflict or persecution reached a record high of nearly 60 million around the world in 2014, a UN report says. The document by the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says the number of people forced to flee their homes rose by 8.3 million from the previous year. The continuing conflict in Syria is seen as a major factor behind the record numbers. UNHCR head Antonio Guterres told the BBC the “world is a mess”.

    “The drama is that if people think that humanitarians can clean up the mess. It’s no longer possible. We have no capacities to pick up the pieces. “More and more people are suffering, and unfortunately for many of them there is no chance to support them.” Mr Guterres said that the number of displaced people had increased to 42,500 per day in 2014, from 32,000 the year before.

    The report says that at least 15 conflicts have erupted or reignited in the past five years, including eight in Africa and three in the Middle East. This led to 59.5 million displaced people by the end of 2014, of whom 38.2 million were displaced in their own country, by internal conflict. Wars in Ukraine, Nigeria and South Sudan swelled the figures last year, the UNHCR said. Of the 59.5 million total, the report said, 19.5 million were refugees. More than half of the refugees were children. Another 1.8 million people were awaiting the outcome of claims for asylum. UK International Development Secretary Justine Greening said that the latest statistics were shocking.

    “I have met some of these people and they tell me they just want the chance to return to their homes and get back to normal,” she said. “That is why as we give these families the basics they need to survive – food, clean water and shelter – we must also tackle the root causes of poverty and instability, in particular economic development.”

    The civil war in Syria has made 7.6 million people displaced in their own country, while another 3.9 million have fled abroad, most to neighbouring Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. The next biggest sources of refugees were Afghanistan and Somalia. For decades Afghanistan had been the leading source of refugees. The document also points to a 50% rise – to 6.7 million – of displaced people across Europe, which is struggling to deal with a growing crisis of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

    The authors of the report say their findings mean that one in every 122 people on the planet was either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum.

    Meanwhile, new EU data shows that in the first quarter of 2015 Germany had the highest number of first-time applicants for asylum in Europe – 73,100, or 40% of the total (185,000). Hungary received the second highest number – 32,800 (18%), Eurostat reported. The 185,000 total was similar to the last quarter of 2014, but compared with January-March 2014 it was an increase of 86%. Asylum seekers from Kosovo were the biggest group – 48,900 (26%). Second were Syrians – 29,100 (16%). In many cases Kosovo migrants are considered to be escaping poverty and are not classed as genuine refugees.

    The figures do not include the many migrants who have made previous asylum applications in the EU.”

  2. ‘Burka-clad white man’ is arrested after police detonate suspect package in Watford town centre (dailymail, June 19, 2015)

    “A ‘burka-clad white man’ has been arrested after police detonated a suspect package in Watford town centre.

    Officers were called to a street close to the Hertfordshire town’s main shopping area just after 11am today following reports a suspicious item had been found outside a Travelodge hotel.
    The man is believed to have been carrying two rucksacks – one branded with children’s TV character Peppa Pig – although it is not known whether these were the ones destroyed.

    Images of the man began to circulate on social media, showing him in full-length, Islamic-style black robes with a niqab covering his face, as he was confronted by police in nearby Clarendon Road.

    Army bomb disposal experts and a bomb disposal robot were called to the scene as the area was evacuated.

    People were asked to avoid the centre of the town and many sought refuge in a nearby church while cordons still remain in place on Market Street and Watford High Street…”

  3. If you thought Mr Cameron was a freak, Mr Schulz has to be at least ten times the freak than Mr Cameron. Day by day the EU looks more and more like the former Soviet bloc.

    PM’s reforms driven by lies and hate, blasts EU chief: President insists it’s ‘not possible’ for Britain to change its relationship (dailymail, June 19, 2015)

    “David Cameron’s mission to get powers back from ?Europe is driven by ‘hatred’ and ‘lies’, the president of the European Parliament said last night. ??Just hours after meeting the Prime Minister, Martin Schulz said British politicians are feeding on ‘national resentment’ and the ‘scapegoating’ of Romanians and Bulgarians. ?The pair held a breakfast session in Downing Street as part of Mr Cameron’s campaign to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the EU ahead of a referendum by the end of 2017.

    The prime minister? has made restricting EU migrants’ access to British welfare payments a key part of that effort. But his plan received a significant setback last night when Mr Schulz said: ‘There are attempts by people in Europe and also in this country to create new barriers between countries. ‘Stirring a feeling of panic over so-called benefit tourists from Romania and Bulgaria wanting to plunder the social systems of the host countries.’

    The German socialist added: ‘Outright lies are told. ‘What makes me sad and angry in all this debate is the undertone of national resentment. Hatred is spread. People are used as scapegoats.’ ?He poured cold water on Mr Cameron’s plans for renegotiation, saying changes in the relationship between Britain and the EU were not ‘possible’.

    Mr Schulz said Britain ‘belongs’ to the EU and said there was no prospect of treaty change to rule out ‘ever closer union’ because of near-unanimous opposition in European capitals. And he reiterated that fundamental changes to the free movement of labour were off the table….”

  4. Sheriff’s Office on alert because of anti-Islam barbecue in Colorado Springs area

    An upcoming weekend barbecue hosted by a local motorcycle club to protest the Islamic holiday Ramadan has the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office ready to provide “extra man power” at the event.

    A flier obtained by The Gazette says the Colorado Springs chapter of the Infidels Motorcycle Club is hosting an “open bike party” and “pig roast” – titled “In Defiance of the Islamic Holiday of Ramadan” – at the group’s headquarters northwest of Peterson Air Force base in the Cimarron Hills area.

    The motorcycle club is made up of veterans, according to its website.

    A notice from the Sheriff’s Office to its deputies said military police found copies of the flier posted around Fort Carson in an attempt to “negatively” impact Muslim military members and their families who are observing Ramadan. The fliers were immediately taken down.

    Dani Johnson, a Fort Carson spokeswoman, said she had not heard about the fliers or the barbecue. The Infidels Motorcycle Club is not on Fort Carson’s off-limits list.

    Wednesday marked the first day of Ramadan, a monthlong holiday in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from food, liquids, smoking and sex, to help them understand self-discipline, self-control, sacrifice and people who are less fortunate.

    The president of the Colorado Muslim Society, based in Denver, said he had not heard about the barbecue or offensive fliers and did not want to see them.

    “There’s a lot of crazy people in the world,” Mohammad Noorzai said. “My advice, always, to the general public and good people of the world: Just ignore it.”

    He did not encourage a counterprotest.

    “There’s a verse in the Quran, the holy book. Allah, God almighty, tells us when the ignorant people want to address you, or argue with you or address you, just tell them ‘peace,'” Noorzai said. “And that’s my message to these kind of people. Peace.”

    The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office sent a bulletin to its deputies alerting them of the “patriot party.”

    “We absolutely put it on our radar,” Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said about the barbecue. “We will respond accordingly to make sure the community is safe, and we don’t anticipate any problems.”

    Kirby said the Sheriff’s Office contacted the Infidels Motorcycle Club about the event, but deputies had not heard back by Thursday afternoon.

    The flier shows an Internet memelike depiction of the Islamic prophet Muhammad with arguably offensive language. It also depicts a scantily clad woman wearing only the head and shoulders portion of a burka and a picture breaking down parts of a pig, which likely refers to the Muslim practice of avoiding pork. It also has an explicit reference toward the militant group ISIS in a font similar to the Arabic alphabet.

    “There will be patriotism, brotherhood, food and drinks, merchandise, music and good times,” says one of the messages on the flier.

    A message left on a contact number from the flier was not returned. In a KRDO report, an event organizer did not answer questions about the theme but did say the barbecue might be canceled because of its “poor taste.”

    pic :

  5. Dutch anti-Islam MP to air Prophet Mohammed cartoons on Saturday

    Publicity-seeking Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is to broadcast cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed on television during time reserved for political parties on Saturday, his party said.

    The cartoons will be shown on Dutch public television at 1049 GMT, Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) said in a statement on Friday, adding that they would be repeated on June 24 and July 3.

    Wilders said he was making the broadcasts to defend freedom of speech after two militants were shot dead while attacking a Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas last month.

    Many Muslims find drawings of the prophet to be disrespectful or outright blasphemous, and Dutch authorities have said such a move could see Wilders’ right to airtime suspended for up to four years.

    Dutch embassies have reportedly been warned about what measures to take if the cartoons are broadcast, as they could spark violent protests.

    Wilders’ announcement earlier this month that he wanted to show the cartoons on television prompted the Council of Moroccan Mosques in the Netherlands to release its own cartoon mocking Wilders as a spoilt child with a big mouth.

    The cartoon shows Wilders shouting “fewer, fewer” in reference to his announcement last year that he would reduce the number of Moroccans in the Netherlands.

    Behind the politician is the bomb that he wants to explode in Dutch society, while underneath the bomb and the hysterical Wilders are normal citizens, including Muslims, getting on with their lives and ignoring the bouffant-hairdoed populist.

    “We’re building the Netherlands further,” the cartoon says.

    Wilders, who gave an anti-Islam speech at the Texas event shortly before the attack, had tried to get parliament to stage an exhibition of Mohammed caricatures.

    The platinum-haired politician, whose PVV party gained popularity in the Netherlands on an anti-Islam ticket, has denied that a cartoon exhibition would be provocative.

    The Dutch Media Authority provides airtime to parties to make political statements, but has said it only looks at the content of the broadcasts after they are shown.

    If a judge decides that a hate crime has been committed then the authority can withdraw a party’s right to airtime for up to four years.

    Ever since forming his own party in 2006, Wilders has been a divisive figure in the Netherlands, which prides itself on its long but fading tradition of multi-cultural tolerance.

    The firebrand politician says that he is acting in the name of freedom of speech, but also that he wants the Koran banned.

    He has already been charged with hate speech for saying he would arrange for there to be fewer Moroccans in the Netherlands.

  6. WikiLeaks releases ‘massive cache’ of cables and documents from Saudi Arabian state institutions –

    WikiLeaks publishes the Saudi Cables

    Today, Friday 19th June at 1pm GMT, WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world. The publication includes “Top Secret” reports from other Saudi State institutions, including the Ministry of Interior and the Kingdom’s General Intelligence Services. The massive cache of data also contains a large number of email communications between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and foreign entities. The Saudi Cables are being published in tranches of tens of thousands of documents at a time over the coming weeks. Today WikiLeaks is releasing around 70,000 documents from the trove as the first tranche.

    […]The Saudi Cables provide key insights into the Kingdom’s operations and how it has managed its alliances and consolidated its position as a regional Middle East superpower, including through bribing and co-opting key individuals and institutions. The cables also illustrate the highly centralised bureaucratic structure of the Kingdom, where even the most minute issues are addressed by the most senior officials.

    Since late March 2015 the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been involved in a war in neighbouring Yemen. The Saudi Foreign Ministry in May 2015 admitted to a breach of its computer networks. Responsibility for the breach was attributed to a group calling itself the Yemeni Cyber Army. The group subsequently released a number of valuable “sample” document sets from the breach on file-sharing sites, which then fell under censorship attacks. The full WikiLeaks trove comprises thousands of times the number of documents and includes hundreds of thousands of pages of scanned images of Arabic text. In a major journalistic research effort, WikiLeaks has extracted the text from these images and placed them into our searchable database. The trove also includes tens of thousands of text files and spreadsheets as well as email messages, which have been made searchable through the WikiLeaks search engine.

  7. Muslims must do more to repel Isil, says Cameron

    Quietly condoning extremists’ prejudices gives them legitimacy and makes it easier for Britons to join jihad, the Prime Minister to warn

    David Cameron has warned parts of the Muslim community that “quietly condoning” anti-Western ideology is making it easier for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) to recruit in British cities.

    The Prime Minister issued a stark message to Muslim families and leaders that they must do more to combat the lure of Isil among young people.

    He also told those who have lost loved ones to extremist groups to stop “finger pointing” and blaming the police and security services when their relatives run off to Syria or Iraq.

    Mr Cameron said: “The cause is ideological. It is an Islamist extremist ideology: one that says the West is bad and democracy is wrong, that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil.

    “It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and Caliphate trumps nation state, and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims. The question is: how do people arrive at this world view?

    “I am clear that one of the reasons is that there are people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but do buy into some of these prejudices – giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight and telling fellow Muslims ‘you are part of this’.

    “This paves the way for young people to turn simmering prejudice into murderous intent. To go from listening to firebrand preachers online to boarding a plane to Istanbul and travelling onward to join the jihadis.

    “We’ve always had angry young men and women buying into supposedly revolutionary causes. This one is evil, is it contradictory, it is futile but it is particularly potent today.

    “I think part of the reason it’s so potent is that it has been given this credence.

    “So if you’re a troubled boy who is angry at the world or a girl looking for an identity, for something to believe in, and there’s something that is quietly condoned online or perhaps even in parts of your local community then it’s less of a leap to go from a British teenager to an Isil fighter or an Isil wife than it would be for someone who hasn’t been exposed to these things.”

    His comments risk a backlash from some Muslim leaders, but sources say the Prime Minister believes a “frank debate” is needed over the role everyone has to play.


  8. Transcript: The Breitbart Geert Wilders Interview

    Dutch politician, freedom of speech campaigner, and radical Islam critic Geert Wilders has spoken in an exclusive interview with Breitbart London, explaining his decision to broadcast cartoons of the Islamic prophet Mohammad on national television this weekend.

    Breitbart London recently spoke to Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) leader Geert Wilders on a wide range of topics from Mohammad cartoons, to Charlie Hebdo, to BREXIT, and even the future of Europe itself.

    Breitbart London: The Dutch parliament has recently blocked an art exhibition you proposed to show a selection of cartoons featuring Mohammad. You are now due to show these cartoons on Dutch television this weekend – will the state broadcaster try to stop you too? And if you succeed in showing the cartoons this weekend, what format will the programme take?

    Geert Wilders: “Dutch television cannot stop us from showing the cartoons. Every party that is present in parliament has time to show themselves on national TV, and by law they cannot be prevented from broadcasting. Anyone can oppose the programme, but only afterwards but not before.

    “It will be like a walk though a museum – I will present the viewer a selection of the cartoons myself – first I will explain why I want to show the cartoons, because of what happened in Garland, Texas, and explain that it is not a provocation. We should do exactly what it is terrorists want to stop us from doing – otherwise the message we send to terrorists is that violence and the threat of violence can be effective. And this cannot be the case”

    “We should protect freedom of speech, and we should not give in to terrorists. We should use the paper and pencil to win over those who use guns”

    You were present at the Draw Mohammad competition hosted by Pamela Geller in Garland, Texas which was attacked by Islamist would-be-terrorists. Should every western country have a draw Mohammed competition?

    “Yes they should – and not as a provocation, either – but because we cannot allow violent terrorists to win. Every time they threaten or attack us because we use freedom of speech, we should make cartoons 100 times more. This can be the only reaction – terrorists must get the message that attacking us is just counter effective.

    “Unfortunately if we don’t, like all the appeasers in the Dutch parliament and many other places, the signal is violence and the threat of violence will win – so we should show these cartoons all over the world. Sadly, not all are willing – but we are willing to show that freedom of speech in indisputable”.

    Many staff at the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo were murdered by Islamists for their portrayals, and satirical attacks on Islam and their prophet. Do you identify with them?

    “I am not a journalist, I am not a cartoonist, I am not a satirist, but I am a politician – and I support freedom of speech. So I support their idea to make cartoons – and I’m sure if there was a cartoon of Jesus, or of any other real religion, there would be no trouble. So I believe yes, you should be able to depict Mohammad without a death sentence. We live in the West, not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan”.

    “All those leaders, even my own prime minister, all of these political leader appeasers from all over the Western world walked in Paris for freedom of speech, but they aren’t willing to show the cartoons. They have enormous double standards, they are weak. We need to take responsibility”.

    Looking at the past ten years, in terms of the rise of right wing anti-extremist and Euro-sceptic parties measured against increasing Islamisation, in your view is the situation in Europe getting better or worse?

    “Islamisation certainly is becoming a lot worse in Europe. I see a change for the better in the Vox Populi, the normal people on the street on any European country, but sadly the political elite is still appeasing, and multiculturalist at heart.

    “However, if you look at the facts despite it only being a minority of Muslims committing those terroristic crimes, unfortunately there is a big group supporting them. I already made these points once in a debate with our Dutch prime minister in parliament that 73 per cent of the Islamic Population think that Dutch Muslims who fight Jihad in Syria are heroes. That is 73 per cent of one million Muslims in Holland.

    “80 per cent of the Turkish youth in Holland, one of the biggest minority groups here say that violence against Christians and Jews is not a bad thing. In addition to that, a poll by the leftist-liberal Univeristy of Amsterdam found 11 per cent of Muslims in Holland – over 100,000 people – are prepared to use violence for the sake of Islam is Holland. Unfortunately, these figures are far worse now than they were five or ten years ago.

    “Everybody is talking about the minority – of course it is a minority that uses the violence, but unfortunately there is a majority of these people who support the idea, and think they are heroes. This is a Trojan horse we have imported, people who are not even willing to assimilate to our society and adhere to our values and constitution. We have a problem.

    “The good news is, the ordinary people are waking up. With the Islamic State happening, with Jihadis going and returning from Northern Africa and Syria, it is causing people to wake up to the reality of what is happening. The good news is that parties like mine are getting stronger all over Europe. Islam is getting worse, but there is a change coming because the people are fed up”.

    You have this week been part of establishing a new political group in the European Parliament with Marine Le Pen of the French Front National, and other parties like the Austrian Freedom Party and Italy’s Northern League. What are your main objectives for the Europe of Nations and Freedom?

    “We should get out of the Eurozone and out of the European Union. This is what we all have in common in the group – we are all very critical of Europe. I personally believe in the Swiss model – in the heart of Europe, but not part of the European Union. Access to internal markets, but able to free trade with China, Japan, the booming markets of South East Asia.

    “The European Union is robbing us of our national identities, our nation states. I believe a real democracy can only flourish when you have your own nation state, your own identity, even your own flag you can rally around. You need to be in charge of your own borders, money, immigration policy – this is lacking.

    “Europe started very well in the 1950’s with a trading bloc but it became a political project, and we transferred sovereignty to them. If you don’t know what you are – and this is the intention of the EU elites – you don’t know what you’re not either. We should regain our sovereignty again.

    “I am sitting in our down Dutch parliament now. We don’t even have a Dutch flag here – all we have is a European flag on the roof. It is symbolic, it says a lot. At the end of the day, we are being led by afraid multiculturalists and cultural relativists who have lost sight of what society is really all about”.

    Over the next year to 18 months, Britain will be preparing for a referendum on their continued membership of the European Union. What is your message to British Euro-sceptics who are looking for inspiration for the coming campaign?

    “I am inspired by the British referendum, and I hope it will inspire the rest of Europe when Britain votes to leave the European Union. You are lucky enough to be out of the Eurozone – in Holland we have had billions in austerity measures, taxes being raised, just to pay for the countries in Southern Europe who are unwilling to raise taxes. It is a wealth transfer union.

    “The European project has very little support outside of the political elite. The Holland is like the United Kingdom, with so many laws coming from the European Union instead of our parliament or cabinet. Europe should be a continent of nation states who are free trading, with our own identities, not a bunch of Eurocrats nobody voted for”.

    “I really hope the people of the United Kingdom don’t vote against Europe – but vote against the European Union! That would inspire us Dutch, and the UK would be followed out by many other countries”.


      • I hope someone will translate that – sounds interesting…I dont understand Dutch (other than it is close to German), but I seem to have detected the question being about the reason why Geert Wilders organises this Mohamed drawing exhibition in the months of Ramadan.

  9. Cameroon detains 84 children after raiding Quranic schools (yahoo, June 19, 2015)

    “Cameroonian authorities have been holding 84 children — some as young as 5 years old — for months without charge after officials accused their teachers at Quranic schools of running terrorist training camps, Amnesty International said Friday.

    The international human rights organization called on Cameroon to release the children to their parents immediately, saying nearly all of them are too young to face criminal charges. The raids in the country’s far north are part of the fight against Islamic militants from the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram.

    “Detaining young children will do nothing to protect Cameroonians living under the threat of Boko Haram,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International deputy regional director for West and Central Africa.

    A government spokesman did not immediately respond to the report and said a news conference would be held Monday….”

  10. DAiLY MAiL – EGyPT – Shoppers who ate DONKEY meat passed off as beef in Egypt – forbidden under Islamic laws – are told not to worry by country’s food authority… because they’ve probably been eating dog for years as well

    Senior official says eating donkey is perfectly safe and won’t do any harm
    Admitted shoppers may have eaten donkey and dog without knowing
    Shocking comments came after Egypt was hit by a donkey meat scandal
    Man caught farming 1,500 donkeys recently insisted the meat was to feed circus lions

    A senior Egyptian government official told shoppers not to worry about eating donkey meat passed off as beef – claiming they have probably be eating it as well as dog meat for years without knowing.

    The Head of Egyptian Food Safety Authority Hussein Mansour said eating donkey meat is perfectly safe – despite it being forbidden under Islamic law.

    His surprising comments are the latest twist in an Egyptian food scandal, in which it recently emerged that donkey meat was being passed off as beef to unsuspecting shoppers.

    The official was trying to downplay public fears, claiming donkey meat is no different from other animals and that nothing bad will happen to you if you eat it, World Bulletin reports.

    Local news reported last week that Egyptian police raided a farm in Fayoum, which was found to be raising donkeys for human consumption.

    Under most interpretations of Islamic dietary laws, the meat of domesticated donkeys is forbidden for consumption – but the flesh of their wild cousin, the onager, is allowed.

  11. Palestinian kills Israeli near West Bank settlement

    Jerusalem (AFP) – A Palestinian opened fire on two Israeli men near a West Bank settlement on Friday, killing one and wounding the other, authorities said.

    Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said a “Palestinian approached a vehicle that was in the area and asked them to stop… and shot the two from close range.”

    A hospital spokeswoman confirmed that one of the men had died and the other was lightly wounded.


    Israeli man killed in West Bank terror attack named

    Danny Gonen, 25, succumbs to wounds after coming under fire near settlement of Dolev; second man in moderate condition; IDF searching for gunman

    An Israeli man who was critically injured Friday afternoon in a shooting attack in the West Bank succumbed to his wounds. He was later named as Danny Gonen, 25, from the central Israeli city of Lod.

    Gonen was shot in the upper body near the settlement of Dolev, northwest of Jerusalem. He was found unconscious and transferred to Tel Hashomer Hospital by IDF helicopter where he died over an hour after the attack.

    A second man, whose identity was not immediately known, was moderately hurt in the attack and was also being treated at Tel Hashomer.

    A large deployment of soldiers aided by Israel Police were currently searching for at least one shooter in nearby Palestinian villages.

    The two men were traveling in their car after visiting a spring near Dolev, when they were flagged down by a Palestinian man, seemingly asking them for help, and shot at point-blank range.

    IDF spokesman Peter Lerner said a “Palestinian approached a vehicle that was in the area and asked them to stop… and shot the two from close range.”

  12. Melee erupts between Yemen government supporters, Houthis in Geneva

    Shoe-throwing incident at a Geneva press conference quickly sparked fistfights amongst the audience

    Yemen peace talks descended into chaos on Thursday after a woman threw a shoe at the head of the Houthi delegation, causing fights to break out and bottles and books to be thrown.

    The woman, who has not been named, reportedly stormed into a press conference being held by the Yemeni delegates and hurled a shoe at Hamza al-Houthi, the head of the Houthi delegation in Geneva, and called him a mass murderer.

    She was quickly joined by six men who shouted slogans against the Houthi delegates and started raining blows at them, screaming: “Killers, you are spreading death and disease in South Yemen.”

    Houthi proceeded to throw the shoe back at the woman, with fistfights then breaking out amongst some members of the audience.

    The melee lasted several minutes with bottles hurled before the intruders were hauled out.

    The woman’s gesture was immediately hailed on social media in Aden, the main port city in South Yemen. […]

    Yemen peace talks in Geneva collapse

  13. State Department report: ISIS breaking new ground as new leader in terror groups (CNN, June 19, 2015)

    “The “unprecedented” spread and brutality of ISIS, its strength in recruiting foreign fighters, messaging and its ability inspire lone wolf attacks have helped the group supplant al Qaeda as the leading global terrorist group, said the State Department’s annual terrorism report. The report says both are adapting their tactics in ways which are more brutal and harder to trace.

    “The prominence of the threat one posed by core al Qaeda diminished in 2014,” the report found. In addition to significant losses of its core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it noted that “AQ leadership also appeared to lose momentum as the self-styled leader of a global movement in the face of ISIL’s rapid expansion and proclamation of a Caliphate.”

    The report, obtained by CNN, is expected to be officially released later Friday. The number of terrorist attacks in 2014 increased 35% over the previous year, but were more heavily concentrated in a handful of countries. More than 60% of all attacks took place in five countries — Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria — according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland, which compiles statistics on worldwide terrorism.

    By a wide margin, the highest number of attacks, fatalities and injuries took place in Iraq, coinciding with the expansion of ISIS.

    An 81 percent increase in fatalities last year was, in part, a result of exceptionally lethal attacks. Twenty-four Americans died last year in terrorist attacks, mostly in Afghanistan, Somalia and Jerusalem.

    The report cited increasingly aggressive tactics and brutality by terrorist in their attacks, beheading, crucifixions and mass causalities. Kidnapping and hostage-taking has also increased over the past year.

    The report singled out the Nigeria-based Boko Haram as sharing ISIS’ “penchant for the use of brutal tactics,” such as stonings and enslaving children. Although ISIS was responsible for the greatest amount of attacks last year, it was a close second to Boko Haram in number of fatalities.

    The U.S. also recognized ISIS’ prowess in using social media to spread its message and recruit followers, noting the group “has been adroit at using the most popular social and new media platforms (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) to disseminate its messages broadly.”

    ISIS’ initial publication of online propaganda is followed by near instantaneous reposting, follow-up links and translations into additional languages, the report found, adding that the groups’ members answered real-time questions from would be members about how to join the group.

    The report called the Syrian civil war a “significant factor” for many of last year’s terrorist attacks worldwide. Despite the standing up of a worldwide anti-ISIS coalition and a UN Security Council resolution making the travel of foreign fighters to and from conflict zones illegal, more than 16,000 foreign terrorist fighters traveled to Syria in 2014, according to the report — most of them to join ISIS.

    “The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria … exceeded the rate of foreign fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia at any point in the last 20 years,” the report said.

    Weak and failed governments were blamed for providing an “enabling environment” for the emergence of extremist radicalism and violence — not only in Syria and Iraq, but also in Yemen and Libya, where jihadi groups have flourished.

    The U.S. is “deeply concerned” about the growth of ISIS beyond Syria and Iraq and the birth of self-proclaimed affiliates, the report found, particularly in Libya, Egypt and Nigeria. It acknowledged questions remain about the meaning of such affiliates – whether they represent a command relationship or the groups simply share “merely opportunistic relationships” with ISIS.

    Although al-Qaida’s leadership has been weakened, the report said the group “continued to serve as a focal point of inspiration” for its worldwide network of affiliates, such as AQAP in Yemen, al-Nusra Front in Syria and al-Shabaab in Somalia.

    Even as it negotiates with the U.S. and other world powers on a nuclear deal, the report found Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism worldwide last year remained “undiminished.”

    The report pointed to Tehran’s support for Palestinian terror groups, its proxy Hezbollah and several groups in Iraq and accused Tehran of “prolonging the civil war in Syria, and worsening the human rights and refugee crisis there,” suggesting neither improved relations with the west as a result of nuclear negotiations, nor Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani has moderated Iran’s foreign policy agenda in the region.

    The report said Iran used its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force “to implement foreign policy goals, provide cover for intelligence operations, and create instability in the Middle East.” It called the Qods force Iran’s “primary mechanism “for cultivating and supporting terrorists abroad.”

    Tehran increased its assistance to Iraqi Shia militias, primarily to combat ISIS. But some of those groups “have exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq and have committed serious human rights abuses against primarily Sunni civilians,” the report said.

    It did note, however that despite Shia militias have declared opposition to the return of U.S. troops to Iraq to fight ISIS and have threatened attacks, “they refrained from launching strikes against U.S. personnel in 2014.”

    Although the report only covers 2014, US officials said there is nothing to indicate Iran’s policy has changed as the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal approaches. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to fly next week to meet with Iranian officials and other world powers to try and reach an agreement.

    The Obama administration has said a nuclear deal not alter US policy regarding Iran’s other behavior. But officials have expressed hope a nuclear pact could lead to cooperation in the Middle East, particularly against ISIS, and ultimately moderate the Iranian regime.

    The report also warned about the increase in so-called “lone wolf” attacks last year, citing attacks in Canada in October and Sydney, Australia, although it was difficult to assess whether attacks were directed or simply inspired by ISIS or al Qaeda and its affiliates.

    “These attacks may presage a new era in which centralized leadership of a terrorist organization matters less, group identity is more fluid and violent extremist narratives focus on a wider range of alleged grievances and enemies with which lone actors may identify and seek to carry out self-directed attacks,” the report found.

    The U.S. has working to “shift” it’s counterterrorism strategy to more effectively partner with countries where terrorist networks have a foothold, the report said. The US has assembled a sixty-plus nation global coalition to stop ISIS advances on the ground, counter its messaging and stem the flow of foreign fighters and financing.

    The U.S. is also working with allies in North Africa and the Middle East to strengthen their counterterrorism capabilities and help them develop new laws to address the foreign fighter issue.

    This year’s report marks the first that Cuba is not on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Cuba was originally placed on the terror list in 1982 when the U.S. government accused the Fidel Castro regime of sponsoring communist groups in Latin American and Africa. The White House took Cuba off the list last month, after President Obama’s historic opening to Cuba in December.”

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