The Taliban in Afghanistan, who have tried to mold themselves into negotiating partners as they continue attacks on civilians and military across the country, issued a statement condemning the Pakistani Taliban attack on a public school that killed 145 — most of those children.
“An attack has occurred on a school in the city of Peshawar in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan this morning at around 10:00 am local time. Information from the area suggests that so far some 200 people have been killed and wounded in the incident most of whom are said to be children,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement.
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan expresses its condolences over the incident and mourns with the families of killed children,” he said. “The intentional killing of innocent people, women and children goes against the principles of Islam and every Islamic government and movement must adhere to this fundamental essence.”
“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has always condemned the killing of children and innocent people at every juncture. Messages of condolences were also released a while back regarding the blasts at a playground in Yahya Khel district of Paktika province and a mosque in Nangarhar province and those acts were considered against the principles of Islam.”
The Afghan Taliban have short memories, as just a couple of weeks ago they murdered a South African father running an education charity and his two children in Kabul. In a March attack on the Hotel Serena in Kabul, the Taliban murdered two young girls, taking out a 2-year-old boy’s entire family. Marketplace bombs indiscriminately kill young and old. The Afghan Taliban throw acid on girls as they try to go to school, and throw hand grenades into girls’ classrooms. And last month in Farah province an Afghan mother took up arms and took out a number of Taliban after they killed her son, vowing to defend her family from the terrorists to the last bullet.
At the Pentagon yesterday, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. wouldn’t “target Taliban simply by virtue of the fact that they’re Taliban.”
“It’s about what you’re doing, and if you’re going to conduct terrorist attacks, it doesn’t matter what I.D. cards you’re carrying. We have the authorities to act in our own self-defense and self-defense of our Afghan partners.”
A reporter from the region asked if the Pentagon sees a difference between Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, noting that “Talibans are Taliban, whether they’re Pakistani or Afghani, because they were all once trained and financed by the Pakistans inside Pakistan.”
“I’m sure you don’t expect me to try to defend the murder and the slaughter of innocent kids at a school. So I’m not even going to try to do that,” Kirby said.
“On your question about the Taliban, and we’ve said this before, we don’t look at them as one homogeneous group. Do they share certain ideologies? Yes. And a radical view of the Muslim faith? Yes. And a belief that terror and murder and violence is a way to pursue those goals? Yes,” he continued.
“But we also recognize that there are sub-groups within those who call themselves Taliban who have different, more specific goals and objectives, whether it’s geographically bound or ideologically bound. So, I am not an expert on all the different groups, but we know some are more directed at Afghanistan. They direct their activities in Afghanistan. Some direct their efforts more inside Pakistan against the Pakistani government and Pakistani people. The point is that they — it’s all terrorism. And it’s all a common threat that we face along that spine between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a border which exists only on the map as you look at it, and not necessarily in the eyes of the people that live there, and certainly not in the eyes of the terrorists that use it as safe haven and sanctuary. Which is why we’ve been for so long pursuing a tripartite relationship, at least from the American perspective, between us, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
In May, the Obama administration traded five senior Taliban leaders for the exchange of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. That follows long-running attempts from the White House to negotiate with the Taliban before the planned exit of U.S. troops at the end of the year.
In his first televised interview since a non-disclosure agreement was loosened, Dr. James Mitchell, an Air Force psychologist who was an integral part of the controversial CIA enhanced interrogation program, lashed out at the Senate Intelligence Committee report on Monday’s Kelly File. Mitchell, who gave very specific details about the interrogations of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, who was at the time a suspect in the attacks, told Kelly that he’s angry about the report and feels that the disclosure of his identity has put him in danger. Mitchell said, “They had a foregone conclusion.” He believes the CIA put his life and the lives of other CIA officials and their families in danger. “For some sort of moral high ground?” he asked.
He said the CIA report has accused him and fellow interrogators of “some horrible things” but they can’t be prosecuted because what they did was legal at the time. “They didn’t give us the chance to explain anything. They didn’t bother talking to the people at the CIA or the people who were no longer at the CIA who were involved, like the past directors.” He said the report has stirred up “all of the crazies and all the jihadists and so now we’re getting death threats and we’re getting all kinds of things. ”
“I do not mind giving my life for my country, but I do mind giving my life for a food fight for political reasons between two groups of people who should be able to work it out like adults,” Mitchell told Kelly when asked if his life was in danger.
”No one from the Senate committee has ever asked me a single thing. If they think I’ve abused somebody they should ask me about it. They should point at the piece of the paper, let me review the documents, and let me at least try to explain my…ourselves. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has the opportunity to address the charges against him but I don’t,” Mitchell complained.
Mitchell said he is proud of the work the interrogators did. “We saved lives. I don’t care what the Senate said. The presidents, the past three CIA directors — I got an award for the work that we did. They told us we did a good job. They told us we saved lives. And I believe that we did.”
But then the Senate report was released and Mitchell said he had no opportunity to defend himself. “And I feel horrible for the nation. I feel horrible, in part, because this puts everyone at risk, and worse yet, it shows al Qaeda and the al Qaeda 2.0 folks — ISIL — that we’re divided and that we’re easy targets. That we don’t have the will to defeat them. Because that’s what they know.”
“Well I don’t feel that I’ve been abandoned by the CIA,” Mitchell said. ”They didn’t throw me under the bus.” He said the majority of people he talks to support what was done and thank him for it.
“It’s just for me — you can probably tell that I’m a little agitated about this,” Mitchell told Kelly, “I don’t want to die because the Democrats in the Senate don’t have the courtesy to ask the CIA to explain what they view as abuses that occurred when there’s other evidence — 6 million documents — and they cherry-picked what makes their point out of it and it puts us in danger.
Watch more of the interview on the next page:
Apparently Kim Jong-un isn’t into Seth Rogen’s brand of humor.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
It has been widely suspected that North Korea is involved in the recent hacker attack on Sony performed by the “Guardians of Peace.” This email seems to confirm that suspicion:
The threat was included alongside the release of another set of emails, this time said to be those of Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Because the hackers post this information anonymously and are contacting reporters through reusable email addresses, it is possible that a separate party is behind this threat. However, that seems unlikely. The communications have been consistent, and it should be clear soon whether the leaked emails are genuine, confirming the authenticity of this note.
While Seth Rogen reportedly doesn’t regret making the film about two American TV boobs sent on a secret mission to assassinate the North Korean dictator, he and his co-star James Franco have cancelled all upcoming press appearances to promote the film. Meanwhile, the New York City police are busy ramping up for the now scaled-back screening.
The Interview is due out in theaters across the country on Christmas day.
Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in London today that international alliances are needed to battle the “almost medieval vision” of Islamist terrorists that attacked in Pakistan and Sydney this week.
“As a father, I know exactly how hard it is when you send kids out of house into the world, to school or anywhere, and particularly in today’s world,” Kerry said of the attack at the Army Public School in Peshawar, in which at least 131 were killed.
“The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror,” he said. “…This act of terror angers and shakes all people of conscience, and we condemn it in the strongest terms possible. The perpetrators must be brought to justice. And we pledge our full support to the people of Pakistan in this difficult hour and we will help them in any way that we possibly can.”
Noting the cafe siege in Sydney by an Iranian cleric that left two hostages dead, Kerry noted the U.S. “has come face to face with horrific violence on our own soil, and we have seen our citizens held hostage and murdered in faraway places for the most nihilistic, devastatingly negative purposes.”
“So we know in a very personal way what our ally Australia is going through at this very moment. And we grieve with Australia and with the families of all those terrorized, injured, and killed,” he said. “The attacks in Peshawar and Sydney underscore that threats locally are also threats globally. In today’s world, next door is everywhere. And that’s why the United States is engaged in more places with more partners on more issues than ever before, and we are committed with all those allies and partners to standing up to extremism and to the extremists themselves.”
Kerry said he’d had “very candid and constructive conversations” over the past few days in Rome with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and others. He sits down with Palestinian representatives in London today.
“Now obviously, a focus of these conversations has been our deep concern about the situation on the ground in Israel and in the West Bank and the mounting calls from the international community to pursue diplomatic measures to try to address it,” he said. “…All of the reasons that we engaged so intensely one year ago, a little more than that, and all the reasons that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas were willing to engage — those reasons are even more compelling today. The status quo is unsustainable for both parties and for the region.”
Kerry condemned an acid attack on an Israeli family last week and “indefensible price tag attacks, so-called price tag attacks” against Palestinians, “including the recent burning of a mosque near Ramallah.”
“The cycle of violence leads to more violence and to nowhere,” he said. “Peace is the only prospect, and people need to fight for it.”
A Palestinian resolution is coming before the UN Security Council on Wednesday to demand Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and declare the formation of a Palestinian state.
“It’s a particularly sensitive moment because we understand the frustrations of Palestinians. We understand the frustrations of the Palestinian Authority and President Abbas and those who are pushing hard, because they don’t see another course at this moment,” Kerry said. “So the key is to try to find out whether or not there are other options, other ways, other courses; could something be done that helps to respect the process that the Israelis are about to undergo, simultaneously respecting the needs of the region to de-escalate the tensions and avoid confrontation?”
“That’s what we hope to achieve, that’s what these discussions are all about, and we will continue to have these discussions this afternoon and on into the next days. But we’ve made no determinations other than that about any — about language, approaches, specific resolutions, any of that. We haven’t made any determinations.”
Pressed further about the fight against extremists staging attacks like those in Pakistan and Australia, Kerry replied “the threat is what the threat is.”
“If somebody decides they want to die, it’s very hard to prevent every situation from occurring,” he said.
“…I know that our friends in Pakistan and in Australia are tough and strong and prepared to stay the course. So it’s very unfortunate when this happens, but it is done precisely for the kind of effect that it gets, which is questions at a press conference and fears that are spread in various parts of the world.”
Taliban terrorists stormed a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, today, killing at least 131, according to Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
President Obama released a statement condemning the “heinous” attack on the Army Public School, but didn’t mention the Taliban by name.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and loved ones,” Obama said. “By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity.”
“We stand with the people of Pakistan, and reiterate the commitment of the United States to support the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to combat terrorism and extremism and to promote peace and stability in the region.”
A statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad also didn’t mention those responsible. “The United States strongly condemns senseless and inhumane attacks on innocent students and educators, and stands in solidarity with the people of Pakistan, and all who fight the menace of terrorism,” it said.
“Few have suffered more at the hands of terrorists and extremists than the people of Pakistan,” the statement added, saying “that is why it remains essential for the United States and Pakistan to continue to work together to secure peace and stability in the region.”
According to Dawn, initial reports said eight to 10 Taliban staged the attack and by the end six were killed. At least 100 of the dead are children, both boys and girls and mostly in their early teens, and “scores” are injured. The Pakistani Army said they have responded with airstrikes in Khyber.
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted that the terrorists planted IEDs in the building, which were delaying the rescue of survivors.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the country would observe a three-day period of mourning. “These were my children. This is my loss. This is the nation’s loss,” he said.
A Pakistan Taliban spokesman told CNN that the latest attack was “revenge for the killing of hundreds of innocent tribesmen during repeated army operations in provinces including South Waziristan, North Waziristan and the Khyber Agency.”
Malala Yousazai, the Nobel laureate who was shot in the head by Taliban in 2012 for lobbying for a girl’s right to education, issued a statement saying she was “heartbroken by this senseless and cold blooded act of terror in Peshawar that is unfolding before us.”
“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” the 17-year-old said. ”I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan whose efforts so far to address this horrific event are commendable.”
Over the weekend, the Afghanistan Taliban called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.
“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards,” the group said.
This harrowing account was relayed by a 16-year-old survivor to an Agence France-Presse reporter:
“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.
“Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Salman told AFP.
“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”
Salman said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream. The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again,” he said.
“My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me. I felt as though it was death that was approaching me,” Salman added further.
…As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Salman recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds. When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.
“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned,” Salman added.
It was not immediately clear how the female employee’s body caught fire, though her remains were also later seen by an AFP reporter in a hospital mortuary.
Some of the bodies brought to hospital during the Peshawar school attack have been headless: source
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) December 16, 2014
Leave the school as it is – with the blood of the innocents – like a macabre museum – and require all apologists to take a tour of it
— omar r quraishi (@omar_quraishi) December 16, 2014
From The Daily Star in Lebanon:
BEIRUT: Syrian jihadi and rebel militias overran a sprawling government military base in Idlib province Monday, achieving the year’s biggest victory against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, along with the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia and other allies, seized the Wadi Deif base after a fierce, two-day push that sent hundreds of regime troops fleeing the area, as regime warplanes pounded the area in a bid to secure their retreat.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime monitoring group based in Britain, said 31 government troops were killed in the assault on the base, along with a dozen fighters from the Nusra Front and its allies, although some pro-Nusra social media outlets said nearly 80 rebels had been killed.
A military commander from Ahrar al-Sham claimed in a video statement that around 200 regime troops were killed in the offensive, while several hundred were wounded.
That’s always been the tricky part of dealing with the never-ending turmoil in this part of the world-it’s often a “lesser of two evils but, wow, they’re both really evil” proposition (see: Egypt). One bad actor will just step in and take the place of another, and whatever ill the new bad guys sow will be blamed on the United States for either being too proactive or too inactive.
If there is a solution to what the West can do to “help” in Syria, it has yet to be discovered, probably because almost every foreseeable outcome with the current players is so unpalatable.
The bodies aren’t even cold yet in Sydney and already the media is tiptoeing around the elephant in the room to discover the crazed Islamic “political refugee” from Iran’s motivation. Who cares? Everything you need to know about the shooter’s “motivation” I just listed in the first sentence. Naturally, Australia’s Muslims are already whining about a “backlash”:
Religious leaders and ordinary Australians sought to defuse communal tensions on Monday, after a siege at a Sydney cafe by a gunman who forced hostages to display an Islamic flag raised fears of a backlash against the country’s Muslim minority.
Within hours of the attack on the Lindt cafe in the centre of the city, a Muslim group reported that women wearing the hijab had been spat on and the right-wing Australian Defence League called on followers to protest at two major mosques. The protests did not materialise and little is known about the true motives of the gunman.
But in the harbourside city, home to half of Australia’s 500,000 Muslims, police moved on a man shouting anti-Islamic abuse at the scene of the ongoing siege. The man strode up to a police cordon and shouted: “Someone is going to die here because of Islam! There is no such thing as moderate Islam. Wake up and smell the coffee.”
The siege coincides with growing concerns in Australia about the dangers posed by Islamist militants, with the country’s security agency raising its national terrorism public alert to “high” in September. The same month, anti-terrorism police said they had thwarted an imminent threat to behead a random member of the public and days later, a teenager in the city of Melbourne was shot dead after attacking two anti-terrorism officers with a knife.
Vox populi, vox Dei, as the old saying goes.
Iran tried to distance itself from the Iranian cleric who took over a cafe in Sydney, saying Man Haran Monis’ actions had nothing to do with Islam.
The 49-year-old, who called himself Sheikh Haron, was killed when police stormed the Lindt cafe after a 16-hour standoff. Australian authorities said they were forced to move in when they heard shots being fired inside the chocolate shop.
Monis was killed. Two hostages were killed, and a police officer was shot in the face yet is expected to survive.
The Iranian sought political asylum in Australia in 1996.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marziyeh Afkham expressed alarm about “unclear and imperfect news about the Iranian refugee,” according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, which didn’t carry the story of the shooting until the government had something to say.
IRNA said the “psychological conditions of the person, who took refuge in Australia two decades ago, had been discussed several times with the Australian officials.”
Iran’s state-owned Press TV said Afkham “emphasized on Monday that recourse to inhuman methods and terrorism has nothing to do with the divine religion of Islam.”
“She noted that the Australian police have been totally abreast of psychological conditions of the hostage taker, who had immigrated to Australia about two decades ago.”
Iran further tried to tie him to ISIS, noting that “the hostage taker had described Iran and the supporters of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as terrorists.” Monis was wearing a Shiite headband when he took over the cafe, yet reportedly asked for an ISIS flag during negotiations.
“Some blame the incident on those who support terrorism, including the United States, Israel, and certain regimes in the Middle East region that support such Takfiri groups as al-Nusra Front and ISIL,” Press TV reported.
The semi-official Fars News Agency ran with the headline: “Sydney Hostage-Taker Says He is ISIL Member.” Fars said the generic jihadi flag being waved by Monis was that of al-Nusra.
“The formerly Shiite Muslim underlines that he has converted to Sunni Islam, stressing that Shiites are blasphemous people,” read the Fars story. “He also underscores that the war in Iraq is not a sectarian strife, but a war between the Muslims (i.e. ISIL) and the hypocrites.”
After immigrating to Australia, Monis went to court over hateful letters written to the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. He was out on bail on charges of being accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and subsequently faced more than 50 charges of indecent acts and sexual assault related to his “spiritual healer” practice.
On his website, Monis posted a statement dated December 2014, “I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah.”
“Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society,” he said in a statement dated Dec. 14. “The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”
With the hostage situation resolved — hopefully with no innocent lives lost (reports just coming in – UPDATE: Reports say that one hostage as well as the gunman are dead) — and the release of the name of the hostage taker, Iranian-born Islamic cleric Man Monis aka Shiekh Haron, this seems to be yet another case of what I termed here at PJ Media several weeks ago as “Known Wolf Syndrome.”
In that article, following two separate terror attacks in Canada in which the suspects were already well-known to authorities, I noted that in the U.S., too, in many of the domestic terrorism cases the culprits had already been identified to law enforcement as problems. In the present case, not only was the suspect well-known, but he was out on bail on murder charges related to the stabbing and setting on fire of his ex-wife, with whom he was in a heated custody dispute.
Monis came to Australia in 1996 from Iran and his immigration status was that of political refugee. He has since had other well-known run-ins with law enforcement. In 2009, he sent a series of hate messages, which he deemed as “flowers of advice,” to the families of Australian military members who had been killed in action. He likened their deaths to the deaths of Hitler’s soldiers, as well as to families of Australian victims of international terrorism attacks. He was given 300 hours of community service.
In another case, Monis was charged with 50 counts of sexual assault, where it was claimed that he lured victims in and assaulted them claiming it was a “spiritual healing technique.”
We’ll undoubtedly learn more in the days to come about the intentions and motives of the suspect in the case. The evidence at hand clearly indicates that Monis was another example of the two-faced Islamic cleric. In this case, Monis claimed that he was “an Australian who wanted a safe future for our country” (HT: Stewart Bell) while simultaneously — and openly — hating the very country that gave him refuge.
Yet again, we have a case in the West in which a domestic terrorist was well-known to law enforcement authorities and yet action sufficient to prevent the tragedy at hand was never taken despite the opportunity to do so (in this instance, he was out on bail).
Nonetheless, this will be yet another case where so-called terrorism “experts” will be trotted out by the media and political officials to claim that Monis was a case of “lone wolf syndrome.” Or that his actions were entirely unpredictable, and the government will need more money for terrorism programs that won’t work, and for outreach to the very extremists who continue to murder, rape, and maim innocents. And the “voxsplaining” has begun, distancing the suspect from any known extremist group.
The Taliban has called for an international investigation into the human rights standards of the United States after the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats released a lengthy report criticizing enhanced interrogation techniques used in the war on terror.
Under Taliban rule, Afghans were subject to public floggings or executions for “violations” such as women wearing nail polish or exposing any skin, or both teachers and students trying to learn in underground schools. Women had zero rights and weren’t allowed to leave their homes except with a male relative. Nowadays, the Taliban commits acts of violence against activist or working women, and the Pakistani Taliban shot Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 while she was going to school.
“Since the inception of America’s occupation of Afghanistan, the Islamic Emirate has provided information to the international community regarding America’s barbarities and inhumane treatment of the Afghan populace. At the time, no nation dared listen to our nation’s pleas or show even slight response for fear of estranging America,” the Taliban said in a statement posted on the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan website over the weekend.
“Now after 14 years of such barbarities, the US Senate itself has lifted the curtain off of America’s intelligence arm, the CIA, and revealed the extent of their tortuous treatment of unarmed prisoners. In reality the practices of CIA mentioned in this report are only a fraction of those committed by this agency throughout America’s occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The Taliban said they hope the full Senate report — last week’s release was the executive summary — “is released to the public for passing judgment.”
“It is hoped that the full report will provide a clearer picture of the extent of these crimes,” the group added.
“…Unfortunately America’s intelligence violations continue unabated to this day. Even today America and its intelligence arms continue to operate black prisons throughout their main centers in Afghanistan. These operatives continue to violate the basic rights of ordinary citizens, they carry out night raids on civilian homes, women and children are regularly held without charges, subject them to degrading treatment, carry out indiscriminate bombings, and subject ordinary Afghans to all forms of inhumane treatment.”
The Taliban claimed the U.S. has “planted chosen individuals inside Afghanistan’s intelligence agencies as well as the local police and warlords and use these individuals to commit unspoken barbarities including kidnappings, rape and torture.”
“We call on the international community as well as those international organizations that call themselves champions of human rights, to examine America’s ongoing policy in light of these human rights standards. These human rights abuses, especially violations of international humanitarian laws, continue to be committed by American installed agents in the Kabul regime. If these human rights organizations fail to stop these abuses and then several years later claim to reveal such abuses, it is a sign of their failure and incompetent. Their failure to address such blatant violations implies that these organizations are concerned less with addressing human rights violations and more with promoting hidden agendas.”
The man who is still holding hostages in the Lindt cafe in Sydney has been identified as an Iranian cleric with a history of brushes with the law since arriving to Australia as a refugee in 1996.
Islamic accounts on Twitter identified the headband worn by the terrorist as saying “Labbayk ya Muhammad,” or “at your service, Muhammad,” leading many to believe he’s Shiite. He carried a Shahada flag.
Multiple Australian media outlets have identified the gunman as Sheikh Man Haron Monis, who went to court over sending offensive letters to the families of Australian soldiers who died in Afghanistan. It became a freedom-of-speech debate in the country’s High Court.
Earlier this year, he was charged as an accessory in the stabbing and burning death of his ex-wife, but released on bail. “Man Monis then stood outside the court wearing chains and holding a sign claiming he has been tortured in custody,” reported the ABC. In the spring, he was charged with sexual assault while acting as a “spiritual healer.”
Haron began the siege with a pump-action shotgun at 9:45 a.m. Sydney time. Three men and two women managed to escape in the hours left, leaving about 15 hostages left.
He has demanded a live, on-the-air phone call with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and has also said he’ll release one hostage in exchange for an ISIS flag.
“I used to be a Rafidi, but not anymore. Now I am a Muslim, Alhamdu Lillah,” Haron announced on his website in a message marked December 2014.
In a message dated Dec. 14, the day he took the hostages, Haron wrote, “Islam is the religion of peace, that’s why Muslims fight against the oppression and terrorism of USA and its allies including UK and Australia. If we stay silent towards the criminals we cannot have a peaceful society. The more you fight with crime, the more peaceful you are. Islam wants peace on the Earth, that’s why Muslims want to stop terrorism of America and its allies. When you speak out against crime you have taken one step towards peace.”
A New South Wales (NSW) police spokeswoman said officers were called to the Lindt chocolate cafe in Sydney, Australia at 9:44 a.m. on Monday to respond to a hostage situation in progress.
Witnesses say a middle-aged man wearing a black bandana with Arabic writing walked into the cafe with a bag containing a gun and took control of the cafe. Hostages were reportedly told to close their eyes, hold their hands up, and face the window. Lindt employees were seen holding a black flag in the front window with the words “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
7 News in Sydney, which has a studio across the street from the cafe, originally reported that there were 13 hostages and “at least one gunman.” They are now saying there may be as many as 50 people inside the building. They are reporting that a gunman is using a woman as a human shield.
A witness who owns a kiosk near the cafe told the Sydney Morning Herald, “It was about 10 past 10. They [police] came out running like a madman and said close the shop! Get out!”
Buildings in the area have been evacuated and NSW police are directing people in the vicinity of the hostage situation to remain indoors and to stay away from windows.
The Lindt cafe is located at Martin Place, the scene of a foiled terror plot by Omarjan Azari. In September, Azari was arrested after it was discovered that he was plotting to behead a random victim and then cover the body with an Islamic flag.
In addition to the September terror plot, many financial institutions are housed in Martin Place buildings adjacent to the Lindt cafe.
The Sydney Morning Herald pointed out that it is not an Islamic State flag, “but is an Islamic flag that has been co-opted by jihadist groups.”
“The flag appears to be a Shahada flag, which represents a general expression of faith in Islam, but has been co-opted by various jihadist groups,” the newspaper reported. “That means it doesn’t help confirm or rule out that the hostage-takers’ affiliation is with Islamic State or any other group.”
The government has convened a meeting of the National Security Committee. It has been warning about the possibility of a terrorist attack for months.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned after a series of September terror raids that all that is needed for an Islamic State terror attack is a “knife, iPhone and a victim.”
The prime minister gave a brief statement early Monday afternoon saying, “We don’t yet know the motivations” of the perpetrator (singular) and “this is an unfolding situation.”
“This is a very disturbing incident,” Abbott said, “our thoughts and prayers must above all go out to the individuals that are caught up in this.”
He said police have made contact with the attacker and said the NSW police will begin providing operational updates shortly.
Abbott assured the public that the ordinary business of the Australian government will go on and encouraged people to go about their normal business.
“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people out of being themselves,” Abbott said.
Earlier this month I reported here at PJ Media that U.S.-backed Syrian rebel groups were allying with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, in the south, while others were surrendering their weapons to the terror group in the north.
Now a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights indicates that Jabhat al-Nusra is using TOW anti-tank missiles, which had previously been supplied by the CIA to “vetted moderates” groups, in an assault on a Syrian army position in the north (HT: Zaid Benjamin):
Idlib province: No less than 15 soldiers in regime forces were killed by an attack by Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic fighters on their bastions in Wadi al-Deif and al-Hamdia camps, while no less than 8 fighters from the other side were killed during the clashes in the area, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic battalions have taken over the checkpoints of ” al-Za’lan, al-Raii, al-Rab’an ” around the camps. Jabhat al-Nusra devastated a tank for regime forces around Wadi al-Deif camp with an American Tao [sic] missile.
A report last month indicated that the Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm — both U.S.-backed and supplied by the CIA with TOW missiles — had surrendered or abandoned their weapons to Jabhat al-Nusra.
After a long fight led by Texas lawmakers, the Senate just passed a defense reauthorization bill that includes a provision to make victims of the Fort Hood terrorist attack eligible to receive Purple Hearts.
The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015 easily passed 89-11 as the upper chamber wraps up the final business of the 113th Congress.
The “no” votes came from Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act in September 2013, with companion legislation introduced in the House by Fort Hood Reps. John Carter (R-Texas) and Roger Williams (R-Texas). Cornyn’s bill never made it out of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The provision that was rolled into the NDAA is even broader: Fort Hood and Little Rock victims would qualify, in addition to any other acts of terrorism on U.S. soil retroactive to 9/11.
The provision requires that attacks inspired or motivated by a foreign terrorist organization be treated as an attack by an international terrorist organization for the purpose of awarding the Purple Heart. Specifically, the attacker would have to have communication with a foreign terrorist organization before the attack.
On June 1, 2009, Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who had spent time in Yemen and was an avowed jihadist, killed one soldier and wounded another in a drive-by shooting on a military recruiting office in Little Rock. He pleaded guilty to murder, avoiding trial and the death penalty, and was sentenced to life in prison.
Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army major who had email communications with senior al-Qaeda recruiter and Yemen-based cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was sentenced to death for the Nov. 5, 2009, massacre at Fort Hood in which 13 were killed and 29 wounded. He is currently on death row at Leavenworth while the appeals process plays out.
A new video from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula alludes to the Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week on enhanced interrogation techniques, claiming that jihadist brethren need to be rescued from U.S. prisons violating human rights.
The video released by AQAP’s media arm, Al-Malahem, is titled “A message for American people about killing American hostage in Yemen.”
Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi also spoke in the video threatening the life of American photojournalist Luke Somers unless their demands were met in three days. The Obama administration launched a raid to rescue Somers nearly a week ago, but he and South African hostage Pierre Korkie were killed in the attempt. A charity claimed it had negotiated Korkie’s release just before he was killed.
“This message is for American people about killing hostages in Yemen. After our message in which we gave Obama and his government three days to fulfill demands of mujahideen, with it was appeal of American hostage,” al-Ansi said in regard to Somers’ message.
“Obama was taking wrong decision which was accounted as a signature of execution order of American citizen. Despite our warning to him not to do any foolish brave things … he didn’t do anything to withhold death of hostage and to keep his life,” he continued. “… Obama and his government know fairness of our demands and they could at least negotiate with us about some clause or be sincere in this matter. But he chose military solution, which failed before and failed once again, thank to grace of Allah.”
Al-Ansi boasted that “a few members” of al-Qaeda and “brothers from the tribe” fought off the Americans despite superior U.S. weaponry and air support. He said the battle went on for three hours.
“You must know that every Muslim is mujahid and that jihad is worshipping and obligation in our religion,” he warned, referring to Yemeni tribesmen defending AQAP.
He acknowledged the appeal that Somers’ family made directly to al-Qaeda for the journalist’s release. “But it was appropriate to appeal to Obama and his government, not to us,” Al-Ansi said. “Obama made decision which caused things to go in a completely different way than we wanted.”
The AQAP official accused Obama of trying “to cover his barbaric behavior” while decrying the barbaric murder of Somers. “Obama was careless about other innocent lives,” he added, noting Korkie was soon to be released.
“I would like to present a few questions for those reasonable,” al-Ansi continued, arguing that AQAP has a right to try to free Omar Abdulrahman, the “Blind Sheikh” serving a life sentence in North Carolina. “Can they explain the fate of imprisoned Aafia Siddiqui and can they free her after two long years of injustice and torture and arrest?” The U.S.-educated Pakistani neuroscientist dubbed “Lady al-Qaeda” is in prison in Texas; ISIS sought her release in a prisoner exchange before they murdered journalist James Foley.
“We have brothers and sisters, who are jailed and put in Guantanamo Bay prison, in prisons of American collaborators in Islamic countries, and in American security prisons which are spread all over the world; they have a right to be free. We try to free them from their tragic situation and barbaric injustice which is far away from convention of human rights,” al-Ansi said.
“Is there anything in this and another list of American injustice and tyranny we can negotiate about with America? This American answer and behavior confirm the truth [about] what mujahideen think, that it is impossible to have agreement with American government except in a way of straightforward killing and facing tyranny which puts the lives of all Americans in danger, inside and outside of America, in the air, on the ground and in the sea. Would your people understand the fate which this government and this aggressive policy guides you to?” the AQAP official continued.
“You will not dream of safety until we actually live it in Palestine and all Muslim countries.”
Remember back in late 2001 when the country was united in its desire to avenge the horror of September 11th? There are some who don’t have any moments when they can forget.
The chairman of the special House committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on Benghazi says he’s seen nothing suspicious so far about Ambassador Chris Stevens’ meeting with a Turkish diplomat soon before the attack on the U.S. facility.
Theories have linked Stevens’ meeting with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin to a potential weapons shipment to Syrian rebels.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) told Fox that why Stevens was in Benghazi would be the focus of a January hearing. “I think folks would tell you that we have to be in dangerous places because you have to balance the policy with the risk and then determine the presence. But you can’t debate risk versus policy if you don’t know what the policy was,” he said.
But, Gowdy added, he’s “seen no evidence that the meeting with the Turkish diplomat was in any way related to, well, what ultimately happened to the ambassador.”
And if there’s any evidence to link the meeting with the Turk to the size of the State Department and CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Gowdy has “not seen it.”
“I’m curious why he was there. But I’m curious why we, as a country, were in Benghazi. The ambassador loved Libya. And he particularly loved the people of Benghazi. We may ultimately find out there is no more nefarious explanation other than the fact that our ambassador loved the people of Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “So we’re going to find out. But I’ve seen no evidence to suggest there was any nefarious reason for him to be in Benghazi other than the fact he loved the country and the people and he hadn’t been there in a while.”
“I honestly think at the end of that analysis we’re going to find that he and the Turkish diplomat were friends.”
When pressed on the issue by host Greta van Susteren, Gowdy replied, “I know you and I live in a world where people want to find something that is harder to understand than just a simple fact that he loved the people there, he was friends with the Turkish diplomat. Keep in mind, the night that they met, nothing was going on when they parted ways.”
The chairman said National Security Advisor Susan Rice will be called before the committee.
“She’s never been called before a committee of Congress to explain what role she played in the drafting or the giving of the White House talking points. Ben Rhodes, as I read that memo again today — and I have not discussed it with Mr. Cummings and he and I have to consult with each other before any decisions are made. But that memo was pretty important to our understanding of how a false narrative was perpetrated to our fellow citizens,” Gowdy said.
He also wants to hear from Hillary Clinton, but needs more documents from the State Department first. ”I don’t see how you can have any definitive accounting of Benghazi without talking to the secretary of state at the time,” he said.
“The State Department has not been difficult for us to work with,” Gowdy added. “And I don’t expect that that will change.”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney upgraded his assessment of the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques from “hooey” to “crap.”
“The report’s full of crap — excuse. I said hooey yesterday and let me use the real word,” Cheney said on Fox last night. “It’s OK, you can bleep it.”
The veep said the report was “deeply flawed.”
“They didn’t bother to interview key people involved in the program. And I think that it’s sort of a classic example which you see too often in Washington where a group of politicians get together and sort of throw the professionals under the bus. We have seen it happen before, I can remember, in Iran Contra,” he said.
“What happened here was that we asked the agency to go take steps and put in place programs that are designed to catch the bastards that killed 3,000 of us on 9/11 and to make sure it didn’t happen again. And that’s exactly what they did and they deserve a lot of credit, not the kind of condemnation that they’re receiving from the Senate Democrats.”
Cheney rejected the report’s conclusion that President George W. Bush was deliberately kept in the dark about the program by the CIA.
“Not true – didn’t happen,” Cheney said. “Read his book, he talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was in fact an integral part of the program. He had to approve it before we went forward with it.”
“…He had a much broader portfolio than I did and I spent a lot of my time just on national security. But I think he knew everything he needed to know and wanted to know about the program.”
Cheney said there was no effort to keep the techniques used on detainees from Bush.
“He was just as with the terrorist surveillance program. On the terrorist surveillance program, he had to personally sign off on that every 30 to 45 days. So the notion that the committee’s trying to peddle it, somehow the agency was operating on a rogue basis, and we weren’t being told or the president wasn’t being told is just a flat-out lie,” he said.
“I guess partly what really bugs me as I watch all this process unfold is the men and women of the CIA did exactly what we wanted to have them do in terms of taking on this program. We said we have got to go use enhanced techniques if we’re going to find out. We’ve got Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was the mastermind of 9/11, who has killed 3,000 Americans, taken down the World Trade Center, hit the Pentagon, would have taken out the White House or the Capitol Building if in fact it hadn’t been on for the passengers on United 93,” Cheney continued.
“He is in our possession. We know he’s the architect. What are we supposed to do kiss him on both cheeks and please, please tell us what you know? Of course not. We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and to prevent a further attack and we were successful on both parts.”
I don’t know how this guys snuck onto a CBS news show but he’s certainly not in line with the prevailing MSM narrative.
The United Nations special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights called for the prosecution of CIA officers and other government officials after the release of a report detailing enhanced interrogation techniques used against a handful of terror suspects.
Ben Emmerson, a British barrister with experience on the tribunals for the Rwanda and Khmer Rouge genocides, said in a statement that he welcomed the “belated publication” of the report, issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee days before Democrats hand over the gavels of committee chairmanships over to Republicans.
“It has taken four years since the report was finalised to reach this point. The Administration is to be commended for resisting domestic pressure to suppress these important findings,” Emmerson said, noting that in 2013 he called for the report to made public in full “without excessive and unnecessary redactions.”
“The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed – that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law,” he said.
“The identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the program.”
Emmerson said “it is now time to take action.”
“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,” he said. “The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”
He added that the CIA officers involved in the interrogations who “physically committed acts of torture therefore bear individual criminal responsibility for their conduct, and cannot hide behind the authorisation they were given by their superiors.”
“However, the heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorisation of these crimes. Former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the program should also face criminal prosecution for their acts.”
Emmerson said the first step needs to be Eric Holder making some arrests.
“President Obama made it clear more than five years ago that the US Government recognizes the use of waterboarding as torture. There is therefore no excuse for shielding the perpetrators from justice any longer. The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible,” the rapporteur continued.
“Torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction. The perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country they may travel to. However, the primary responsibility for bringing them to justice rests with the US Department of Justice and the Attorney General.”
Today the timing of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s declassified executive summary on enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush Administration raises an intriguing list of political questions. One is even about movies and another has huge implications for the 2016 presidential race.
Now that Senate Committee’s torture report is bedside reading for our enemies, when is ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban going to release their torture reports so we can all compare techniques?
With Republicans taking control of the Senate on January 3, 2015, why did the Democrats insist on releasing this controversial report today?
Today was scheduled to be “Gruber Day” when controversial MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber testified before the House Oversight Committee. As predicted, Gruber generated headlines embarrassing to President Obama and the Democrats.
There is no doubt that Gruber’s testimony would have been the lead story in the next 24-hour news cycle. But now, due to the torture report, Gruber’s apologetic, yet pathetic testimony will not get the media attention it deserves. (Gruber refused to tell the committee how much he was paid even though it was been widely reported that he pocketed over $2 million of your tax dollars.)
This leads one to ask, Was Gruber Day and the torture report release merely a news day coincidence?
Now let’s ask a Hollywood question.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report says that no useful intelligence was gained by these enhanced interrogation techniques.
Therefore, was the movie Zero Dark Thirty showing how these techniques gleaned information leading our SEALS to Osama bin Laden’s hiding place, just for the sake of Hollywood action? (Didn’t the Pentagon and CIA cooperate in the making of Zero Dark Thirty?) I am confused!
Finally, let’s think about the effect of the torture report on 2016 politics.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report has been condemned by the CIA and Republicans as PJ Media’s Bridget Johnson reported. It is also a five-year $40 million one-sided exercise in Bush-bashing, detailing how the Bush Administration’s reacted to the War on Terror covering the years 2001 – 2009.
As everyone knows, there is a potential Republican presidential candidate named Jeb Bush who just happens to be the brother of the president at the center of the report. Jeb is supposed to make his decision about whether to run for the 2016 GOP nomination early next year.
As a result of this report, will Jeb Bush decide against entering the race?
Think about it like this — in order for Jeb to run for president his family name needed to be somewhat restored. Thus today, with negative headlines around the world tied to the Bush Administration — coupled with the report’s gruesome details, the Bush family name is toxic once again.
These circumstances make Jeb’s potential candidacy highly unlikely. (His campaign trail safety too.) And that sets off an entire chain of 2016 political jockeying better left for another day.
Republican leaders slammed a new report on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in the War on Terror as slanted and “simply wrong.”
The lengthy declassified executive summary was released today, days before Democrats turn over control of Senate and committee chairmanships to the GOP.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who defended the release of the study on the Senate floor today, said the CIA redacted 7 percent of the original report.
“The CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were not an effective weapon to gather information,” Feinstein said, noting that the CIA’s program was “far more brutal than people were led to believe” with “poorly trained” interrogators who had histories of “personal problems” including violent tendencies.
The report found that the CIA “actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight” on the programs, and “impeded effective White House oversight” as well.
It also alleges that the CIA’s interrogations “complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions” while “numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections” were ignored.
It asserts that the programs “damaged the United States’ standing in the world.”
“As we have both stated before, we are opposed to this study and believe it will present serious consequences for U.S. national security,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said in a joint statement. “Regardless of what one’s opinions may be on these issues, the study by Senate Democrats is an ideologically motivated and distorted recounting of historical events.”
“The fact that the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program developed significant intelligence that helped us identify and capture important al-Qa’ida terrorists, disrupt their ongoing plotting, and take down Usama Bin Ladin is incontrovertible,” McConnell and Chambliss added. “Claims included in this report that assert the contrary are simply wrong.”
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the report “is troubling for a variety of reasons, most of which are not found in its pages.”
“Enhanced interrogation techniques employed by members of our intelligence community saved American lives, and Senate Democrats should thank these brave men and women who worked to protect us – not vilify them,” Cornyn said.
“I cannot think of a greater disservice to our men and women serving in the military and in our intelligence field than to hand terror groups like ISIL another recruiting tool and excuse to target them. Due to the political calculations of some, the American people and our allies across the globe are less safe today than they were before.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who is retiring at the end of the 113th Congress, said it was “wholly appropriate” to conduct the review but the public release could serve to “only inflame our enemies, risk the lives of those who continue to sacrifice on our behalf, and undermine the very organization we continuously ask to do the hardest jobs in the toughest places.”
The White House said yesterday that there are “some indications” that the report’s release could lead to “greater risk” for U.S. installations and Americans abroad.
President Obama issued a statement on the report noting that “in the years after 9/11, with legitimate fears of further attacks and with the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life, the previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country.”
“As I have said before, our nation did many things right in those difficult years. At the same time, some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals at home and abroad,” Obama said.
“…No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better. Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.”
CIA Director John Brennan acknowledged “that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the Agency made mistakes.”
“Yet, despite common ground with some of the findings of the Committee’s Study, we part ways with the Committee on some key points,” Brennan said in a statement. “Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.”
“…The record does not support the Study’s inference that the Agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program. Moreover, the process undertaken by the Committee when investigating the program provided an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred. As noted in the Minority views and in a number of additional views of Members, no interviews were conducted of any CIA officers involved in the program, which would have provided Members with valuable context and perspective surrounding these events.”
Two Americans have come under attack in the usually-safe United Arab Emirates, though officials there claim the woman in the niqab suspected in both crimes is not linked to any terror organizations.
Whereas the phrase “lone wolf attack” is popular with U.S. authorities, the UAE is calling the recent crimes in their country “a personal terrorist act.”
Kindergarten teacher Ibolya Ryan, 47, was stabbed to death by a veiled woman in the bathroom of a posh mall in Abu Dhabi last week. She leaves behind three kids.
The same woman is accused of planting a nail bomb outside a 55-year-old Egyptian-American doctor’s home, according to The National. Abu Dhabi officials defused the bomb and sent the man and his family to a hotel under guard.
The bomb was located by his 13-year-old son, who luckily didn’t touch it and notified his dad.
The suspect in custody, caught through the use of surveillance video despite her attempts to cloak her identity, is an Emirati national in her 30s, reportedly of Yemeni descent.
“The investigations show that the accused has recently logged into some terrorist websites through which she acquired the terrorism ideology and learnt how to manufacture explosives. After scrutiny, the seized materials used in manufacturing were shown to be primitive,” a source told The National. “She selected her victims randomly.”
Crime is low in the UAE. The government has a low tolerance for extremist activities, recently including CAIR and European Muslim organizations on its terror list.
The U.S. Embassy sent out a message to citizens at the end of October warning that an anonymous posting on a jihadist website had encouraged attacks on American teachers and international schools in the Middle East.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters last week that she didn’t want to “jump to conclusions.”
A new message to citizens was sent out Friday.
“The authorities stated their commitment to bring the perpetrator to justice and to uphold the reputation of the UAE as a country of security and safety. The U.S. Embassy is engaged at the senior-most levels of the UAE Government to ensure the safety and security of U.S. citizens in the UAE,” the Embassy message says.
“Building on our security message of December 3, we use this opportunity to remind U.S. citizens to keep their security and situational awareness levels high. We suggest that all U.S. citizens be vigilant of their surroundings and events unfolding around them. Vary your routines and schedules.”
The National, the English-language newspaper owned by the UAE government, has given extensive coverage to the attacks and even started an online condolence book for Ryan.
The paper ran an article this morning on renewed debate over whether the niqab should be worn in public:
A handful of members from the Federal National Council said the incident was not enough to call for a nationwide ban of the niqab, and all said that wearing it was a personal choice.
Ahmed Al Mansouri, a Dubai FNC member and political analyst and founder of the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum, said that even though the niqab was a cultural garment and held no religious significance in his opinion, wearing it was a personal choice that could not be denied.
“In Abu Dhabi, the face veil is associated with culture, not religion,” he said. “Some don’t want to admit it, but it is cultural.”
…Almost half of the FNC’s female members, however, suggested taking precautionary measures to avoid a re-occurrence of that type of incident.
Dr Mona Al Bahar, also a Dubai member and a sociologist, said the UAE should not suffer from one person’s wrongdoing. She said that the public should not ponder on how the niqab was abused, but how such a crime could happen and the shock that it was perpetrated by a UAE national.
“Yes it tainted the image of the niqab,” she said. “There can be measurements to ensure it doesn’t happen again,”
She suggested a possible check at mall entrances of veiled women to prove their identity.
Cell phone video shot by witness. Graphic content.
The New York Post reports:
Police shot and killed a disturbed man inside one of Brooklyn’s most prominent synagogues Tuesday morning, apparently after he asked for a Bible and then stabbed someone there, sources said.
The bloodshed happened at the world headquarters of the Lubavitch Hasidic sect at 770 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights shortly after 1 a.m., sources said.
Calvin Peters, 50, had walked into the basement of the synagogue where people were praying, sources said.
According to police sources, Peters asked for a copy of the Bible, then briefly walked out, sources said.
He returned and stabbed a an Israeli student in the side of the head for an unknown reason.
“He’s a very serious student he’d been studying all day,” witness Levi Deutsch said about the victim. “He was stabbed in the side of the head he was conscious but he was bleeding a lot.”
Another witness flagged down cops who were passing the headquarters.
Officers then confronted the man in an encounter that was captured on a dramatic video.
The cops warned Calvin Peters, believed to be homeless, to put down his knife several times. After finally putting it down, he grabbed it once more and lunged at the police officer, causing the officer to fire the fatal shot.
“Most likely it is not a hate crime,” said Mony Ender, the deputy spokesman for Chabad Lubavitch in lsrael. “The assailant was not (running) amok. He stabbed one person, with an ordinary kitchen knife, although he could have attacked many more people who were there.”
However, according to the New York Daily News, the NYPD anti-terror unit was called out to the scene:
An Israeli student praying in a Brooklyn synagogue was stabbed in the neck early Tuesday after a knife-wielding maniac burst inside and yelled “I want to kill the Jew!”
…”I will kill the Jew! I want to kill the Jew!” a witness heard the attacker yelling as he entered the 24-hour religious center.
…A 25-year-old Israeli who was in the synagogue said he saw Peters enter and leave the building an hour before the attack.
“He was looking around, He asked for a book,” that witness said. “He looked not so much crazy, but different.”
When the man returned, he was armed with a knife in his hand and anger in his voice.
“I never thought it would happen in New York,” the witness told The News. “These things don’t need to happen.”
The stabbing victim is currently hospitalized in stable condition.
The White House says it’s warned U.S. installations around the world to brace for potential violent reaction to a report on enhanced interrogation techniques to be released tomorrow by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The chairwoman of the committee, Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), has planned to release the panel report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program for some time, complaining in August that the CIA had made too many redactions in the declassified copy.
“Until these redactions are addressed to the committee’s satisfaction, the report will not be made public,” she said Aug. 5.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today that they, too, have been preparing for the report, while stressing the timing of the release has always been up to the Intel committee.
Feinstein hands over the gavel of the committee when the lawmakers leave for the holiday recess as Republicans take over chairmanships in the 114th Congress.
“There are some indications that this — that the release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world,” Earnest said. “So, the administration has taken the prudent steps to ensure that the proper security precautions are in place at U.S. facilities around the globe.”
Still, Earnest said President Obama “strongly supports” the release of the report.
“The president, on his first or second day in office, issued — took the steps using executive action to put an end to the tactics that are described in the report,” he said. ”And the president believes that, on principle, it’s important to release that report, so that people around the world and people here at home understand exactly what transpired.”
“There are obviously gonna be some limits about what can be said, given the classified nature of the program. But because of the scrupulous work of the committee and the administration and the intelligence community in particular, we’ve declassified as much of that report as we can. And we want to be sure that we can release that report, be transparent about it, and be clear about what American values are and be clear about the fact that the administration believes, and that in a way that’s consistent with American values, that something like this should never happen again.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the committee who’s been pushing for the release of the report, said the contents won’t change the hatred of those around the world “already angry at the United States because torture was used in the past.”
“The report compares very carefully what the CIA told the Congress and the American people about interrogation. And the report compares that to these internal memoranda that came from CIA officials. And the fact is, there’s a big gap between the two,” Wyden told MSNBC.
The senator stressed that the report is “meticulous,” with 38,000 footnotes.
Wyden noted how CIA Director John Brennan has said he had no interest in revisiting the matter while he was “very interested in secretly examining Senate files.”
“So again and again, the American people have not gotten the straight story. Now with a meticulously documented report, they’re going to make up their own mind,” he added.
State Department press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed today that Secretary of State John Kerry called Feinstein to discuss “the implications of the timing” of the release.
“He’s the secretary of State, and oftentimes, he makes proposals, and certainly he worked with Dianne – Senator Feinstein for decades,” Psaki said. “I’m not going to get into more specifics other than to convey that it was known he was going to make the call; it was a call to discuss, as I described, implications as the Secretary of State on our foreign policy priorities.”
Yet she veered back to the administration line, stressing Kerry
supports the release” and “believes it’s up to Senator Feinstein to determine the timing.”
“But certainly, one of the benefits of having been in the Senate for 29 years is the ability to call a former colleague and convey, ‘Look, this is what I’m seeing and hearing around the world,’ and that’s exactly what he did.”
Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a joint statement slamming the “one-sided report” that cost more than $40 million yet didn’t interview one CIA official.
“It is unconscionable that the Committee and the White House would support releasing this report despite warnings from our allies, the U.S. State Department, and a new coordinated Intelligence Community document assessing the increased risk to the United States the release of this report poses. We are concerned that this release could endanger the lives of Americans overseas, jeopardize U.S. relations with foreign partners, potentially incite violence, create political problems for our allies, and be used as a recruitment tool for our enemies,” the senators said.
“Simply put, this release is reckless and irresponsible. We have written to the administration reminding them of these concerns.”
Both the House and Senate intelligence panels have usually enjoyed a good deal of bipartisanship, but Risch and Rubio called the report “a partisan effort that divided members of the committee, and the committee against the people of the CIA.”
“We voted against this report because it is flawed, and voted against declassifying this report because we believed that its release could put American lives at risk, be used to contribute to propaganda against the United States by our enemies, and damage U.S. foreign policy and counterterrorism efforts.”
The Pentagon announced Sunday that six detainees at Guantanamo Bay had been shipped to Uruguay.
The transfer follows last month’s relocation of detainees to Slovakia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Tunisian Abdul Bin Mohammed Bin Abess Ourgy “possessed information suggesting he had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks as well as other planned suicide attacks, and had reported associations with senior al-Qaida members including Usama Bin Laden,” said a 2007 Defense Department report.
Mohammed Tahanmatan, a Palestinian, was a member of Hamas who went to Afghanistan to train with the Taliban. “During detention, detainee has stated he hates all enemies of Islam, including Americans, Jews, Christians, and Muslims who do not think as he does,” stated his 2008 report.
Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, a Syrian with terror ties from Libya to Pakistan, was captured at an al-Qaeda safe house in Lahore in 2002.
“The United States is grateful to the Government of Uruguay for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The United States coordinated with the Government of Uruguay to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
It’s the largest group of inmates to be transferred in one batch from the prison since 2009.
Uruguay is within the region that Iran and Hezbollah have been staking out to increase operations in Latin America.
The population of Gitmo now stands at 136.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach kvells some wise advice in the Jerusalem Post:
On Wednesday night, my son Mendy held a demonstration inside an event held by the Students for Justice in Palestine at New York University. They were screening a documentary by Israeli filmmaker (or should I say anti-Israeli filmmaker) Lia Tarachansky, called On the Side of the Road.
…My son sought to show the other side of the story. While there were indeed hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees, there were even more Jewish refugees driven from Arab lands and Iran beginning at the same time. The number of these refugees amounted to 850,000 Jews. My son and his fellow students held 6-foot signs displaying this number. These refugees fled their countries due to the fierce anti-Semitic atmosphere that had begun to envelop them. In the 1940s, and especially after 1948, pogroms were set against the Jews of the Middle East, with hundreds killed. In Iraq in 1941, 180 Jews were murdered, with 900 Jewish homes, schools, businesses and synagogues destroyed.
In Tripoli, 1945, 140 Jews were massacred and another 4,000 were left without homes. In 1947, 75 Jews were murdered across Syria, and another 80 were killed in the anti-Jewish Cairo bombings of 1948. That year 82 Jews were murdered in Aden, in what has come to be known as the “Yemeni Holocaust.”
These killings were not carried out by armies, but by enraged civilian populations who stormed the Jewish areas of their cities.
My son put this information onto signs and set them before SJP’s audience for all to absorb.
…There was another side to this story. The NYU students deserved to see it.
Get ready to laugh. Apparently the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) kids didn’t think Mendy’s demonstration was permitted. That’s right, professional protesters didn’t think Zionists had the right to protest. Then again, perhaps it had less to do with “right” and more to do with being shocked that college kids would dare to go against the campus trend.
When the SJP organizers saw him and the other students protesting the event, they were shocked. “Is this allowed?” asked the director.
It was, and Mendy had the papers to prove it. She was at a loss for words, and just stared at the display. In the decade that the SJP has been operating, they had never seen something like this inside the walls of their very own event.
…The fight for Israel at leading Western universities is the singles greatest PR war on campus.
It’s a war that is winnable if Jewish and pro-Israel students learn that the time has come to fight back.
Yeah, it’s that creepy.
Radical Islamists (and probably fairly traditional mainstream ones, for that matter) are already offended at Beyonce’s attempt to sex-up Islamic headwear by pairing the face-veiling niqab with a bare midriff and peek-a-boo boobs. So much for vowing to Qaddafi’s son to respect sharia law.
Mark Tapson breaks down the well-timed offense, a re-release of a nearly year-old video, over at FrontPage:
The dirge drags on as Beyoncé pouts, scowls, and growls. Her mob smashes car windows with baseball bats, hurls Molotov cocktails, and burns cop cars while Beyoncé sings: “The laws of the world never stopped us once/’Cause together we got plenty super power.” Except for the music and the ultrachic posturing, it suggests the real-life “sensitive urban zones” of Paris, where immigrant “youth” go on nightly, car-immolating rampages and challenge the police in territorial skirmishes.
As the song draws mercifully to a close, the privileged Beyoncé – having peeled off the niqab and donned a camouflage jacket that costs probably $3000 – faces off with her defiant, multicultural mob of chiseled cheekbones against a line of cops in riot gear. She stands next to a man in a balaclava reminiscent of her niqab. The two of them clasp hands Thelma and Louise-style in anticipation of the confrontation to come. The message: rioting, property destruction, anarchy, and attacking cops are cool – and nothing influences youth more than the aura of cool.
…The video was actually first released last December, long before the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Why would Beyoncé believe that this is an appropriate time to put it back in the public eye?
Ratings. Tapson’s right, incitement, too. Because as the mainstream media has taught us so well in Ferguson, incitement garners ratings. And when you’re a brand you will absolutely pursue violence and death in the name of topping the charts. Will Beyonce brand this violent form of radical Islam-meets-black power the way she has so successfully branded feminism? Let’s hope so, only because Beyonce’s “feminism” has inspired so many celebs to leave the fold, and so many women to re-think exactly what a movement about freedom and equality should really look like.
As is usual for a prime minister under fire, Bibi Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset this week in a call for early elections slated for March 2015. Those on the right rejoiced as Livni and Lapid, Leftist and Center-Leftist respectively, were kicked out of their high-ranking positions in the now defunct coalition. But, that isn’t the Right’s only reason for rejoicing. As David Horovitz reports in Times of Israel, the ultra-Right stands to claim a solid victory in March 2015:
The first three instant polls, taken late Tuesday and early Wednesday, for Channel 2, Channel 10, and Walla, predict a very different Knesset array three-and-a-half months from now. The three polls produce findings very similar to one another, indicating that Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and the former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon’s as-yet-unnamed new party will win 49-51 seats together — a staggering surge compared to the 31 won by Likud-Yisrael Beytenu last time. Jewish Home also gains five seats, in all three polls, to 17. That means the right wing could muster a 66- to 68-seat coalition — a healthy Knesset majority — with no need of outside assistance. Certainly no reliance on the likes of Livni or Lapid. And no reliance, either, on Shas or UTJ. The ultra-Orthodox parties could be invited into the coalition, but they wouldn’t have make-or-break leverage.
Let’s hope they don’t. The Israeli Left was abuzz this past September during my own visit to Israel. “Netanyahu will call for early elections. He’ll form a new coalition with the ultra-Orthodox,” they shook their heads, and with good reason. Yair Lapid may be playing politics, but the former TV news anchor-turned-politician made good points regarding Netanyahu’s timing:
The ultra-Orthodox Shas party entered the fray late Monday, with chairman Aryeh Deri reiterating his own demands for entering a post-election Netanyahu government. These included cutting the 18% sales tax on many basic grocery goods, raising the minimum hourly wage from NIS 23.12 ($5.87) to NIS 30 ($7.62), changing the recently passed ultra-Orthodox draft law, restoring some funds cut by the current government from ultra-Orthodox religious seminaries and schools – and the cancellation of Lapid’s tax-free housing program, which would only apply for those who served in the military, leaving many ultra-Orthodox out.
For months I’ve been reporting here at PJ Media about the ongoing cooperation between US-backed “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel units and designated terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria. This includes U.S.-backed rebel units who have defected wholesale to ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
Despite multiple reports of this cooperation, in September the congressional GOP leadership jumped on board with Obama’s proposal to spend an additional $500 million to arm and train the “vetted moderates” just weeks before the Obama administration abandoned the Free Syrian Army that had been the primary beneficiary of U.S. support for the past three years.
Now reports this weekend indicate growing cooperation between U.S.-backed rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra operating in southern Syria.
According to the LA Times:
Opposition activists reported intensified government bombardment in and around Sheik Maskin and the arrival of battle-tested loyalist reinforcements.
Fighting along with U.S.-backed rebels were elements of Al Nusra Front, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.
In a Facebook posting, Al Nusra supporters reported “vicious battles” in the Sheik Maskin area. Earlier posts also eulogized a prominent Al Nusra commander, Abu Humam Jazrawi, who was killed in the fighting.
Al Nusra’s participation illustrates how Western-supported rebel groups often cooperate with the Al Qaeda franchise, though both sides try to play down the extent of coordination. Recent clashes between Al Nusra Front and U.S.-backed rebels in northwestern Syria do not appear to have broken the de facto alliance between the Al Qaeda affiliate and West-backed fighters in the south. (emphasis added)
Meanwhile, in northern Syria as “vetted moderate” groups were forming an umbrella with hardcore jihadist groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, other U.S.-backed units were surrendering to Jabhat al-Nusra (a trend I noted last month) and turning over their CIA-provided arms to Ahrar al-Sham, McClatchy reports:
On Friday, as the groups were meeting here, the Nusra Front stormed the bases of two moderate rebel groups in Syria’s north: the Ansar Brigades in Idlib and the Haqq Front in Hama. The two groups, both of which were receiving U.S. support through a covert CIA program, surrendered to Nusra, delivered their weapons to Ahrar al Sham and returned to their homes. (emphasis added)
And today Syria analyst Aron Lund noted that the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army signed an agreement last week with Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham for the Qalamoun area near the Lebanese border guaranteeing the imposition of sharia and creating a mutual defense pact.
The “vetted moderate” follies continue.
The Islamic State is offering to send fighters to “help” Ferguson protesters if they convert to Islam and accept the caliph — and musing that Daesh supporters might show up anyway:
— AbuHussainAlBritani (@AbuHussain104) November 25, 2014
— Abu Dujana (@abudujana56) November 25, 2014
— Abu 3antar Britânī (@abu3antarr) November 25, 2014
You never know if Dawlah supporters are getting in on the action in Ferguson, especially since more protests are planned.
— AbuUmar8246 (@Abu_Umar__8246) November 25, 2014
— AbuUmar8246 (@Abu_Umar__8246) November 25, 2014
— Abu Dujana (@abudujana56) November 25, 2014
The spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan then had to be told by another mujahideen that he was being racist:
— Umm Sulaim (@Umm_Sulaim) November 25, 2014
Later, Abdulqahar Balkhi used the trending hashtags #FergusonDecision, #FergusonRiotTips and #Ferguson to attempt to steer Twitter users toward a new release from the Taliban’s multimedia division.
The new video, “The Land of Epic Battles,” contains “footage from Ghazni province of armed attacks against enemy bases and patrols, IED attacks of the vehicles of invaders and their stooges as well as a martyrdom attack on a base organized into three parts totalling approximately one hour and twenty three minutes,” according to the Taliban’s Cultural Commission.
After Iran bought seven more months of nuclear negotiations, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared victory against the U.S. and Tehran’s support for terrorism.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 25, 2014
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 25, 2014
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 25, 2014
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) November 25, 2014
Our latest contest photo and headline come to us from the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, who wrote at “The Fix” blog:
But, all of the reporting on the departure suggests that it was not really Hagel’s decision at all. And, judging from the body language and facial expressions on display at the announcement this morning, the reporting is right. Big time.
And to that I say, “Who needs a secretary of Defense anyway when we have such a strong commander in chief — winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?”
Caption-contest fans will find my declaration very comforting because we know a “Peace Through Strength” sign hangs in the Oval Office. (Shhhhh, Obama does not want you to know that he crossed out “Through Strength” with his famous “red line” using a Sharpie.)
For more on why Hagel “resigned” be sure to read Bridget Johnson’s report here at PJ Media. Here is my favorite line:
“You’ve always given it to me straight and for that I’ll always be grateful,” said Obama.
Now for more “straight” talk, click to the next page to find out the winners of our last contest, which posed the question:
“Is Our King Playing with a Full Deck?”
How about taking a look at your hosts…
QOM, Iran (AP) — Shiite and Sunni clerics from about 80 countries gathered in Iran’s holy city of Qom on Sunday to develop a strategy to combat extremists, including the Islamic State group that has captured large parts of Iraq and Syria.
Shiite-majority Iran has been helping Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish forces battle the Sunni extremist group on the ground while the U.S.-led coalition has been bombing it from the air. The Islamic State group views Shiites as apostates deserving of death and has massacred hundreds of captured Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, as well as Sunni rivals.
Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, the chief organizer of the conference, appealed for consensus among Islam’s two main branches, urging all Muslim clerics to work to discredit groups espousing extremism.
Such as, the regime that routinely calls the United States the “Great Satan,” Israel the “Little Satan,” and calls for the latter to be wiped off the face of the earth? No?
Some of the clerics there said helpful things about taking ISIS down. Others…not so much.
Others repeated widely-circulated conspiracy theories holding that the United States and Israel created the Islamic State group to sow discord in the Muslim world.
“IS is a pawn whose job is to deepen divisions among Muslims,” said Mahdi Alizadeh Mousavi, a lower-level Iranian Shiite cleric.
Yahoo news helpfully notes that Iran isn’t really the model state for combating terrorism.
Iran is a strong backer of the Lebanese Hezbollah — viewed as a terrorist group in the West — and supports Iraqi Shiite militias that rights groups say have abducted and killed scores of Sunni civilians in reprisal attacks.
Iran also kept the Iraqi insurgency going for years. So there’s that.