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Former pilots for Saddam's air force are reportedly teaching ISIS to fly. Among the aircraft: MI-G fighter planes they got from Syria in battle. The fighter jets have been spotted over Aleppo in Syria.
Islamic State (Isis) is takings its first steps towards building an air force by training pilots to fly captured fighter planes, according to a group monitoring the conflict in Syria.
Isis is using lots of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and Jeeps taken from the Syrian and Iraqi armies but this is the first report that it has planes in the air.
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An employee at a luxury hotel in Brasilia has been taken hostage, handcuffed, strapped in a suicide vest and paraded on the balcony of a room on the 13th floor, with a gun to his head. The hotel has been evacuated and police are trying to get the hostage taker to release him. Photo here.
Unconfirmed reports are that the hostage taker checked into the hotel this morning, is a minor public official who is demanding the President of Brazil step down. (There was a televised debate last night in the upcoming presidential election.) Negotiators are on scene.[More....]
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As grave as the situation is, we will give in to no blackmail, no pressure, no ultimatum," he said. "No terrorist group can in any way influence France's position, will, and freedom."
The group in Algeria is called Jund al-Khilafa. It recently pledged allegiance to ISIS.
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Here's the latest video message from ISIS hostage John Cantlie. Watch now, because You Tube keeps taking it down. He quotes a lot of U.S. officials and argues Obama was caught off guard and the air strikes won't succeed.
He says Iran is running Iraq, and the appointment of "a new puppet" in Iraq is an important piece of the puzzle of America's Gulf War III.
He points out the pre-911 Afghans are already back in control of large parts of Afhanistan. He says not since Vietnam, have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making. [More...]
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Source: Rayat al Tawheed Tumbler
Western nations are trying to stop citizens from leaving to fight with groups like ISIS.
What do counter-terror officials propose?
Counterterrorism officials recommend that countries share data to detect the recruitment of foreign fighters, monitor online communications more aggressively, share airline passenger information in advance, and criminalize travel abroad to fight.
How will they limit the surveillance to those who may want to join ISIS as opposed to regular citizens? My answer: They can't. So the rest of us should get used to to to the idea of ramped up intrusions on our civil liberties.
Most of the recruits are young -- in their 20's. Arresting them on their return, as some countries are proposing, or as they are about to leave, and giving them long jail sentences is a bad idea. Prison will further radicalize them. They will become more marginalized and feel more oppressed.
I doubt this will prevent any young adults from wanting to join them. [More...]
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As if the West doesn't have enough headaches with ISIS, here comes al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to announce the formation of a new branch in the Indian subcontinent, including Burma, Kashmir, Gujarat, Bangladesh, Ahmedabad and Assam. al-Zawahiri says the Indian subcontinent was part of the Muslim world before it was invaded, and they want to restore Islam to it. He also reaffirms the group's loyalty to Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
No mention is made of ISIS, and al-Zawahiri has yet to issue a statement about the group. But ISIS won't be pleased to learn that one of the six goals of the new group is to establish a Caliphate state through Jihad.
al-Zawahiri says this has been in the works for two years. It is a unification effort to unite all the Muslims in the region into one group. This is consistent with Osama bin Laden's strategy. [More...]
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Is AQAP (al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula) getting jealous of ISIS? Its new magazine, an offshoot of Inspire by Al-Malahem English Production, is called Palestine: Betrayal of the Guilty Conscience. It urges lone wolf attacks in the U.S. and Britain and some other places. There are photos of the Tsarnaev brothers and the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad (background here).
It also provides a pictorial with instructions and a shopping list for ingredients for pressure cooker bombs and car bombs (which I'm not re-publishing, but you can read the magazine for yourself here, courtesy of Jihadology. See pages 14 to 18.)
Here is its pitch, and the list of suggested targets: [More...]
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The Department of Homeland Security sent out a tweet today:
“If You See Something, Say Something” materials will be visible during tonight's @MLB All Star Game
T-shirt available here.
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The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has released a redacted version of a July, 2010 memo by acting chief David Barron of the Office of Legal Counsel on targeted killings. You can read it here. The memo was the subject of an FOIA lawsuit by the ACLU and New York Times, and was authority for the 2011 killings of cleric Anwar al-Awlaki his son, and Samir Kahn, all of whom were U.S. citizens.
The Court also re-issued its opinion from April removing some redactions the Government still wanted to keep secret. The Court said there is no longer any reason for secrecy as to what country Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in and that the CIA was involved. Both had been disclosed by Administration officials in the White Paper and in media interviews. The ACLU has highlighted the unredacted portions in the decision here.
The ACLU will be posting analysis of the memo here.
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President Obama really wants Law Professor David Barron on the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The problem is getting him confirmed, since he authored two of the Office of Legal Counsel memos authorizing targeted killings of American citizens. The memos are classified, and the NY Times and ACLU both filed FOIA lawsuits to obtain them. Last month, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that redacted versions be publicly disclosed (opinion here).
As a Justice Department lawyer, Mr. Barron wrote two memos concluding that it would be lawful to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen living in Yemen, based on intelligence agencies’ conclusion that he was a senior operational terrorist plotting attacks against the United States and that his capture was not feasible. The lawsuit focused on the second and longer of those memos. Mr. Awlaki was killed by an American drone strike in September 2011.
Solicitor General, Donald B. Verrilli Jr., has decided not to appeal the Second Circuit order and to release redacted copies of the memos. [More...]
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There are articles on every major media site this morning about the Obama Administration wrestling with a decision whether to target an American for killing who is working for al Qaeda in another country and planning a terror attack against the U.S.
While the country and person aren't named, it sounds like the Administration's chief purpose in releasing this information is to let the target know what's in store for him and observe his response, rather than transparency on policy decisions at home.
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In the last two days, there have been two terror attacks in Volograd, Russia, one at a train station and one on a trolley, raising concern for safety at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. At least 27 people have been killed, and at least 45 were maimed or wounded.
The suicide bomber at the train station has been identified by the Siberia Times as a 26 year old female named Oksana Aslanova. She is known as a "black widow," having been married to two deceased Islamic terror leaders in North Caucasus. Both her husbands were killed by Russian forces, and she was on a watch list. [More...]
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There is a fascinating report in today's Washington Post about the U.S. providing Colombia with smart bombs to kill FARC members. The program, which of course includes major NSA surveillance and the CIA and JSOC, began under George W. Bush and has continued under Obama. It is funded by a "multi-billion dollar black budget." ($52 billion to be exact, here's a related report on the numbers.)
The covert program in Colombia provides two essential services to the nation’s battle against the FARC and a smaller insurgent group, the National Liberation Army (ELN): Real-time intelligence that allows Colombian forces to hunt down individual FARC leaders and, beginning in 2006, one particularly effective tool with which to kill them.
That weapon is a $30,000 GPS guidance kit that transforms a less-than-accurate 500-pound gravity bomb into a highly accurate smart bomb. Smart bombs, also called precision-guided munitions or PGMs, are capable of killing an individual in triple-canopy jungle if his exact location can be determined and geo-coordinates are programmed into the bomb’s small computer brain.
It all began as part of the War on Drugs. Similar programs exist in other countries where "violent drug cartels have caused instability." Examples: Mexico and West Africa.
The Office of Legal Counsel signed off on the targeted assassinations/killings. [More...]
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The FBI is still at it -- instigating and then foiling terror plots that would never have existed but for their prodding. The latest is in Kansas.
Quoted in the article is the excellent Topeka defense attorney Dan Monnat. Without judging this case, he says of terror stings in general:
"If the fragile mental state of an otherwise upstanding individual is exploited to commit a crime that the individual otherwise would not have taken steps to commit, how does that make us safe and why spend taxpayer money on prosecution?" Monnat said Saturday.
"If that is what happened here, we have to ask ourselves is grooming terrorists the best use of our taxpayer money for security if the person otherwise would never have taken further steps in furtherance of terrorism. What is the point?"
On a related note, once charged, the Government is likely to deny discovery to these targeted defendants claiming it is classified. [More...]
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A U.S. drone in Yemen has mistakenly killed 15 civilians en route to a wedding. They were mistaken for an al Qaeda convoy.
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