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Can Western Governments Stop Their Citizens From Joining Terror Groups?


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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Al Qaida Announces Formation of New Branch in Indian Subcontinent

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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AQAP's New Magazine Urges Attacks in U.S. and Britain

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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Homeland Security Pitches "If You See Something" Campaign at MLB Game

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

My response:

T-shirt available here.

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Court Releases OLC Memo on Targeted Killings

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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White House to Release Barron Memo on Targeted Killings

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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Targeted Killing Dilemma

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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Second Terror Attack in Volgograd, Concern For Olympics

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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Report on U.S. Use of Smart Bombs to Kill FARC Members

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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Undercover Terror Sting in Kansas

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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Yemen: U.S. Drone Kills 15 Civilians in Wedding Party

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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Ayman al-Zawahri Calls for More Strikes Inside U.S.

Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri yesterday called for more lone wolf and other small scale attacks against the U.S. His reasoning is that even small attacks cause us to overreact with security, which is expensive and contributes to diminishing our economy.

In an audio speech released online a day after the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 strikes, Zawahri said attacks "by one brother or a few of the brothers" would weaken the U.S. economy by triggering big spending on security, SITE reported.

..."We should bleed America economically by provoking it to continue in its massive expenditure on its security, for the weak point of America is its economy, which has already begun to stagger due to the military and security expenditure," he said.

He also wants to see big strikes -- the kind that that take ten years to plan -- against the U.S.

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UK Detains Glenn Greenwald's Partner for 9 Hours

Update: Britain has an independent reviewer of its terror legislation, David Anderson QC. He investigates and prepares reports on the legislation for submission to Parliament. Here is his latest report on terror stops at airports.

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David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained and questioned for 9 hours at Heathrow today presumably for reasons related to Glenn's disclosure of the Edward Snowden documents. He is a Brazilian citizen who resides with Glenn in Brazil. He was detained under Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act.

The law allows authorities to detain people at airports, border areas and ports for questioning in a terror-related investigation. Most interrogations last less than an hour, not 9. Also, police confiscated his "mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles." There is no right to an attorney during questioning, and refusal to answer questions is a separate criminal offense.

Glenn writes in the Guardian that the detention will have the exact opposite effect of the one intended by the Government.[More...]:

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Report: 8 Year Old Helped U.S. with Targeted Kill

Yemen expert Gregory Johnson has a fascinating article in the new Atlantic Magazine about an abandoned 8 year old in Yemen recruited as a spy to plant electronic chips on a U.S. drone target. The child, Barq al-Kulaybi , was recruited by officers of the Republican Guard, who paid his father. The father and son tell their story in a video made by al Qaida after they were caught. The father, Hafizallah al-Kulaybi, was likely killed after the video confession. Rumor has it they let the boy live but no one knows where he is.

The target of the drone strike was Adnan al-Qadhi,a military officer the U.S. believed was helping al Qaida and put on its targeted kill list. He was killed by a drone.

Johnson recounts what is on the video, which was published by al‑Malahim, in April 2013. He doesn't provide the link, but here it is on You Tube, with English subtitles. First the father confesses as Barq fidgets. Then Barq tells his story. [More...]

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Reports of AQAP Developing Liquid Explosive

Update: Already being debunked. Another report on this from yesterday here.

This sounds like more "crazy pants" to me, but a new report in the Yemen Post claims that U.S. officials are saying what prompted U.S. actions in Yemen this week is concern that AQAP has developed a hard to detect liquid explosive for terror attacks:

Senior US security officials have explained that "Clothes dipped in the liquid reportedly became explosive devices when dry and might be worn by suicide attackers." Such technology would essentially turn anyone into a terror suspect and make prevention and detection a logistical nightmare.

As several media outlets wondered on Tuesday why the Pentagon had been so keen to see its nationals leave Yemen and arrange for the return home of all its non-essential diplomatic staff, in what appeared to be a security frenzy, Wednesday brought the answer, liquid explosive.

The report says the creator of the "technological breakthrough" is alleged bombmaker Ibrahim al-Asiri.

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