Category Archives: Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL

Shocker, not: Refugees eyed in British subway terrorist attack

sadiq khan

From Fox News: Authorities named one of two Middle Eastern refugees believed to be responsible for last week’s London subway bombing, as new details emerged about their troubled time being fostered by a British couple previously honored by Queen Elizabeth II.

Yahyah Farroukh, 21, was identified as one of the suspects being held by London police, Sky News reported. Farroukh was arrested at a fried chicken shop, where he worked, in Hounslow in west London Saturday night. Suleman Sarwar, 43, who owns the chicken shop, said the 21-year-old suspect was arrested after he finished his shift.

“He was very normal,” Sarwar told Sky News. “I don’t know how long he worked here. It was surprising seeing him on the news.”

Farroukh’s Facebook profile indicated he was from Damascus and studied English in West Thamas College between 2013 and 2015. He was living in Stanwell, Surrey, where officials conducted a search on Sunday, but also most recently was registered to live with Penelope and Ronald Jones, who were honored by the queen for fostering more than 200 children – including refugees from Middle Eastern countries affected by conflicts. Another unidentified 18-year-old man who was arrested earlier in the day at Dover ferry port, where boats to France leave, was also fostered by the couple.

Both men are being held under the Terrorism Act and questioned by London police about Friday’s attack, when an improvised explosive device partially detonated aboard a subway train at Parsons Green station during morning rush hour, injuring 30 people.

But trouble with the couple’s foster children was reportedly visible beforehand – when police visited the Sunbury house two or three weeks ago, according to neighbor Stephen Griffiths.

“The police were there multiple times over the span of about a month — a few times a week,” Griffiths said. “You always think foster kids are going to have a bit of trouble, but you don’t think terrorism.”

The 18-year-old man is believed to be an Iraqi orphan who moved to the United Kingdom when he was 15 years old, after his parents died. The man was reportedly a “problem” for the foster parents and they had been contacting officials before the attack, according to the Telegraph. He lived with the Joneses, but hadn’t been arrested “in the last couple of weeks” despite the police activity at the Jones house, a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman told Sky News.

The news of frequent police visits could shed light on a tweet sent soon after the attack by President Trump in which he appeared to criticize British authorities for not acting sooner to prevent the attack.

“Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!” Trump wrote.

Images of the 18-year-old suspect, who is believed to have planted the bomb, have not emerged.

ITV News, however, obtained CCTV footage showing a man near Joneses’ Sunbury house Friday morning carrying a bag from Lidl supermarket. Images after the device detonated on Friday showed it was carried in a Lidl bag.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, but British officials said there’s no proof yet the terror group was actively involved in the planning, preparation or carrying out of the attack. British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the city’s terror threat level to “critical” – meaning an attack is imminent – but downgraded it Sunday to “severe” – meaning an attack is highly likely.

“Severe still means that an attack is highly likely, so I would urge everybody to be vigilant but not alarmed,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.

DCG

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Student who mocked ISIS on Facebook is investigated for “Islamophobia”

islam-religion-of-peace

From The Independent: A student who mocked Isis on Facebook is being investigated over claims his post put “minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear.”

Robbie Travers, a 21-year-old third-year law student, is being probed by the University of Edinburgh over claims he committed a “hate crime,” even though no criminal investigation by the police has taken place.

The complaint came when he shared a comment after the US Air Force dropped a massive ordnance air blast (MOAB, or “mother of all bombs”) on a network of Isis tunnels in Afghanistan in April.

Mr. Travers wrote on Facebook: “Excellent news that the US administration and Trump ordered an accurate strike on an Isis network of tunnels in Afghanistan. I’m glad we could bring these barbarians a step closer to collecting their 72 virgins”.

Esme Allman, a second-year history student, accused Mr. Travers of “blatant Islamophobia.”

In a complaint to the university seen by The Times, Ms. Allman wrote: “Not only do I believe this behaviour to be in breach of the student code of conduct, but his decision to target the BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Liberation Group at the University of Edinburgh, and how he has chosen to do so, puts minority students at risk and in a state of panic and fear while attending the University of Edinburgh.”

But Mr. Travers said the complaint against him came in retaliation to him pointing out how Ms. Allman had allegedly referred to black men as “trash,” before adding “all men are trash.”

A spokesman for the university confirmed complains alleging misconduct against Mr. Travers were being investigated, telling the paper: “We are committed to providing an environment in which all members of the university community treat each other with dignity and respect and our code of student conduct sets out clear expectations of behaviour.”

DCG

Pope Francis says refugees’ wellbeing trumps national security

Wall that surrounds the Vatican

The AP reports (via Breitbart) that yesterday, Aug. 21, 2017, just four days after Islamic State Muslims drove a van into a crowd of tourists in Barcelona, Spain, killing at least 13 and injuring 100, Pope Francis urged countries to greatly improve their welcome to migrants and stop collective expulsions, saying migrants’ dignity and right to protection trumps the host countries’ national security concerns — that the principle of ensuring each person’s dignity “obliges us to always prioritize personal safety over national security.”

Francis’ politically pointed message was made in view of the Catholic Church’s 2018 world refugee day that was celebrated on January 14, amid mounting anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe and the U.S.

In the message, Francis demanded that:

  • Governments welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants, saying Jesus’ message of love is rooted in welcoming the “rejected strangers of every age.”
  • A simplified process of granting humanitarian and temporary visas, rejecting arbitrary and collective expulsions as “unsuitable.”
  • Border guards must be trained to protect migrants.
  • Each new migrant, regardless of legal status, must be guaranteed access to basic services beyond health care, to include access to consulates, the justice system and the ability to open a bank account and survive financially.
  • Even greater protection for “unaccompanied minors,” including guaranteeing them citizenship and access to schooling, as well as foster programs rather than detention centers.
  • Policies that support family reunification, employment opportunities and accelerated citizenship procedures to improve migrants’ abilities to integrate.

Francis’ call was immediately rejected by the leader of Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party, which has opposed government proposals to change Italy’s law to accelerate citizenship for children born in Italy to non-Italians. Matteo Salvini, the leader of Northern League and a member of the European Parliament, wrote on Facebook:

“If you want to do it in the Vatican, go ahead. But as a Catholic, I don’t think Italy can welcome and support the whole world.”

I have a message for Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis” is a job title):

Why don’t you mind your own business and attend to your Vatican’s cesspool of child porn, child rape, homosexual and cocaine orgy, and that disgusting homoerotic cathedral mural?

See also:

~Eowyn

“Hug a terrorist” program aims to stop extremism in Denmark

islam-religion-of-peace

Who knew all it took was a hug from us infidels?

From Fox News: Police in Denmark have set up a controversial new program to stop the spread of radicalization and terror attacks.

In Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, authorities are using a method referred to by some as the “hug a terrorist” or “hug a jihadi” model of de-radicalization.

They are trying to change the minds of potential Islamic extremists by supporting them and offering them kindness rather than treating them as outcasts and criminals.

From SBS (Australian public broadcasting network):

“The program has been referred by some in the media as the ‘hug a terrorist’ model of deradicalisation. So far, it’s been remarkably effective.

In this week’s Dateline, reporter Evan Williams meets Jamal*, who several years ago says he was so angry with society he almost became a terrorist.

Jamal’s extremist views started developing after a high school debate on Islam. Jamal vehemently defended his religion against his classmates.  But the teacher interpreted something he said as a threat and the school referred Jamal to the police.

The ordeal resulted in Jamal getting suspended from school, and his home raided by police.  He told Dateline that he was made to feel like a criminal, when he hadn’t broken the law. As a result he surrounded himself with other young Muslims who shared his feelings of isolation. They watched radical sermons online and talked of jihad. Before long, they were planning to leave Denmark for Pakistan.

“In my mind I was like, ‘they treated me as a terrorist. If they want a terrorist, they will get a terrorist’,” he says.

But a phone call from one police officer changed everything for Jamal.

The officer apologised, telling Jamal his case was handled poorly, and asked if he would meet with a Muslim mentor.  At first Jamal was suspicious of the offer, but agreed to meet the mentor.

After several meetings and long conversations about the unique difficulties of being Muslim in Denmark, Jamal began reconsider his views. All it took was someone to reach out and offer empathy and understanding. In Jamal’s case, a punitive, disciplinary response from authorities to suspicions he was becoming radicalised, only further radicalised him. What turned him away from extremism was the offer of an open hand.

Read the rest of this “remarkably effective” program here.

DCG

Acid attacks in the UK now so widespread that public need training in helping victims, warn doctors

acid attack victim

Southampton acid attack victim in September 2015/BBC photo

Gee, I wonder why acid attacks are on the rise…

From Telegraph via Yahoo: Acid attacks are now so prevalent that the public needs to be trained in helping victims, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has said. In London alone, the number of attacks rocketed from 261 in 2015, to 454 last year, an increase of 73 per cent.

Doctors at the RCEM and Barts Health NHS Trust say that bystanders who come to the aid of victims should be taught to quickly remove contaminated clothing and wash off the acid with copious amounts of water, which can lessen scarring and the need for plastic surgery.

They also called for legislation to make the carrying of corrosive substances in the street illegal.

“The number of high profile “acid” attacks has been increasing in recent years, especially in London,” said Johann Grundlingh consultant emergency physician at Barts Health Trust, writing in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“The attacks, involving a range of corrosive substances, have brought into sharp focus the need for clinicians, law enforcement officers, and our lawmakers to find ways to deal with this latest menace on our streets. The assailants’ intention is not to kill, but to maim and disfigure. Corrosive substances now seem to be a replacement for carrying knives.”

“Bystanders who come to the aid of the victim of an attack can have an important role in minimising further injury.”

Carrying corrosive substances is currently legal with no restrictions on volume or strength, although the government is considering changing the law.

In 2002, after similar attacks, Bangladesh banned the open sale of acid and imposed stringent punishment of offenders, which saw the number of attacks fall by 15-20 per cent a year.

India and Cambodia have also implemented legislation to combat acid attacks but have yet to introduce laws restricting the ease and availability of acid.

Last month two teenage boys were arrested following six acid attacks in the streets of London in a 72 minute spree.  Just days before a man was arrested for flinging acid into the face of an aspiring model in the capital.

Although acid attacks are rarely deadly, victims are often left scarred, blinded and heavily traumatised.

The substance used is usually sulphuric or nitric acid and, unlike most other countries, in the UK men are more likely to be victims than women. Since police clamped down on knife crime, gang members frequently conceal acid in water bottles.

DCG

Just as German elections heat up, Merkel takes holiday break

merkel2

Apparently German citizens really don’t want to hear about the election right now. I am done with any empathy for the German folks if they re-elect this womyn to a fourth term.

From Yahoo: (BERLIN Reuters) With a comfortable lead in opinion polls, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has left the stage for a quiet three-week summer holiday shrouded in secrecy – even though just two months remain before the election.

But her mid-campaign vacation – which local media say she will spend at the opera and in the Italian Alps – is less a reflection of her confidence she will win a fourth term or a natural human desire to recharge the batteries, and more a shrewd strategy to minimize the chances of any news that could swing the polls.

The point is to tranquilize the electorate and signal to voters that she is above the political fray – and her timing is spot on, just when most Germans will taking a large portion of their six weeks’ annual leave.

Analysts note Germans cherish their holidays and will completely understand their leader taking time off too, even if the break happens to come just before the election – inconceivable as that may be in many other countries.

“She’s attempting to cool the whole campaign down by demonstratively taking a break and going on holiday in the middle of what has already been a dull campaign,” said Nils Diederich, political scientist at Berlin’s Free University. “She’s sending a signal that she’s above having to campaign for her re-election.”

Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), hold a comfortable lead over her challenger Martin Schulz and his center-left Social Democrats (SPD) ahead of the Sept. 24 vote.

A poll on Friday by Electoral Research Group had the CDU/CSU winning 40 percent of the vote and the SPD 24 percent. If those polls are confirmed on election day, the CDU/CSU would have multiple possible coalition partners but the SPD just one.

What voters like so much about Merkel is how she always stays calm,” Manfred Guellner, managing director of the Forsa polling institute in Berlin.

They like her attitude that she ‘is too busy running the government to go out and campaign’. Most Germans are on holiday themselves right now and the last thing they want to hear about is the election and issues,” he said.

Guellner added that Merkel was a master of a tactic known as “asymmetrical demobilization”, under which her party hopes that – after a campaign devoid of hot issues – more potential SPD voters stay home on election day than CDU/CSU voters.

The SPD’s Schulz has tried to step into the void and criticized Merkel for not addressing a rising tide of refugees arriving in fellow European Unions state Italy.

Analysts said that approach would not help the SPD but rather perhaps only boost support for the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

A government spokesman declined to say exactly when and where Merkel would be on holiday.

“The chancellor is always on duty,” he said in an emailed response to a query. “She is always reachable, able to work and always kept informed on current events. But she will also take a few days to relax this year as well. Unfortunately, we can’t provide any further details about the duration or location.”

Dieter Weirich, a columnist for the Frankfurter Neue Presse and a former senior figure in the CDU, said Merkel would win over German voters and their “harmony addiction” again. “She is presiding like a president above the party rivalries,” Weirich wrote. “She wouldn’t dream of upsetting voters with issues such as Turkey, the euro zone crisis, the G20 riots or energy policies.”

DCG

Turkey claims U.S. has 10 military bases in northern Syria

We’re getting very mixed signals from the Trump Administration regarding U.S. policy in Syria.

On Wednesday, July 19, 2017, it was reported that President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program of arming and training so-called Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad.

As I explained and demonstrated in my post, “President Trump ends Obama administration’s insane policy of arming Syrian jihadists,” those “rebels” include Al Qaeda jihadists — which the State Department had known since at least 2012 when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. The proof is an email from Jacob Sullivan, the State Department’s then Director of Policy Planning, in which Sullivan, referring to Al Qaeda, wrote that “AQ is on our side in Syria”.

President Trump’s sensible decision would seem to indicate that the U. S. is withdrawing from the Obama administration’s wrong-headed involvement in the Syrian civil war.

But according to an article published on July 18 by Anadolu Agency, the state-run news agency of the Turkish government, the United States is “speeding up” its military aid to the Kurdish PKK/PYD in northern Syria, which seeks to overthrow the Assad government and which Turkey regards as a terrorist organization.

Note:

  • PKK = Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a left-wing Kurdish separatist organization based in Turkey and Iraq, which has been in an armed conflict against the Turkish state since 1984.
  • PYD = Democratic Union Party, a Kurdish democratic confederalist political party founded in 2003 in northern Syria.

More importantly, the Anadolu report claims that the United States actually has 10 military bases in PKK/PYD-held areas in northern Syria — a level of military involvement in Syria hitherto undisclosed to the American people. The 10 U.S. military bases consist of:

  • Two air bases in Harab Isk and Rmeilan.
  • Eight “military points” in Ayn Dadad, Ushariya, Sabt, Ayn al-Arab, Ayn Issah, Tal Tamir, Tal Baydar, and Ash Shaddadi.

Click map to enlarge

The Turkish government regards PKK/PYD as the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist organization PKK, which means that for Ankara, the U.S. is aiding and abetting terrorists. Turkey is a member of NATO. As the Anadolu Agency report puts it:

“According to the Pentagon, the U.S. military aid to several armed groups in Syria, including the PKK/PYD, comprises of 12,000 Kalashnikovs, 6,000 machine guns, 3,500 heavy machine guns, 3,000 RPG-7s, 1,000 American AT-4 or Russian SPG-9 anti-tanks, 235 mortar guns of different calibers, 100 sniper rifles, 450 PV-7 night vision binoculars and 150 binoculars with infrared laser illuminator….

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU, has waged a terror campaign against Turkey [for Kurdish independence] for more than 30 years, during which more than 40,000 people have been killed. It is also involved in illicit drug production, manufacture, and trafficking.

However, the U.S. sees the PKK/PYD, which is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as an ally in the fight against Daesh.”

Note:

  • The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is an alliance of 40% Kurdish and 60% Arab militias in the Syrian civil war, aiming to overthrow the secular government of Assad.
  • Daesh is the Arabic language acronym for ISIS or the Islamic State.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has opposed the Trump administration’s decision back in early May to arm the PKK/PYD Kurdish militia.

Reacting to the Anadolu report, the Pentagon said it had conveyed its concern to the Turkish government. Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesman, said in an emailed statement:

“While we cannot independently verify the sources that contributed to this story, we would be very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information. The release of sensitive military information exposes Coalition forces to unnecessary risk and has the potential to disrupt ongoing operations to defeat ISIS.”

Levent Tok, an Anadolu Agency reporter on the story, said the information about U.S. military bases in northern Syria was based on field work by Anadolu’s Syria reporters and information that had been broadcast on social media by Kurdish fighters. Tok said, “The U.S. should have thought about this before it cooperated with a terrorist organization.” (Geopolitica)

See also:

~Eowyn