About these ads

BOOTS + GROUND: U.S. Forces Carry Out Operation Against Al-Shabaab in Somalia

us-forces

U.S. Navy SEAL Team (AFP Photo / Robert J. Fluegel)

Reuters reports: U.S. military forces carried out an operation on Monday against al Shabaab militants in Somalia, a U.S. Department of Defense spokesman said.soomaaliya

“We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.”

– Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby

No further details about the operation in the African country were immediately available.

Al Shabaab is an Islamist group affiliated with al Qaeda that wants to impose its own strict version of Islam in Somalia. It ruled most of the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when African peacekeeping troops marched into the capital, Mogadishu.

African and Somali forces have regained several towns this year, but rebels still hold other centers and tracts of countryside.   Read the rest of this entry »

About these ads

Islamic State Reportedly Bans Uploading Beheadings to Social Media

James-Foley-beheading-w-test

 reports: The jihadist terror group Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS, has become a particularly dangerous threat to the West through its guerrilla-style war tactics and decentralized organization, making targeting leaders more difficult for Western militaries.

“The ban on beheading videos appears to be a response to an increase in Islamic State beheading footage circulating on the Internet since the execution of James Wright Foley.” 

ISIS leaders are now cracking down on social media, however, according to reports that leaders are calling for a ban on uploading beheading footage to the Internet.

“A complete switch from videos of children singing the Islamic State’s official song to videos of violent beheadings threatens to scare away Westerners who may have a soft spot for the concept of jihad; thus, the crackdown on beheading videos.”

A report first appearing in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, and later in Israel’s i24 News and Iran’s Ahlul Bayt News Agency, claims that Islamic State leaders are calling for jihadi commanders to order their underlings to stop uploading beheading videos online “without explicit permission.” Reports from i24 state that it is believed that these leaders are cracking down on the graphic footage because of fear that a deluge of violent social media coverage will damage the jihadist organization’s reputation. Read the rest of this entry »


3 Detained Americans In North Korea Call For US To Send High-Ranking Rep To Free Them

NKOREA-POLITICS-MILITARY

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea gave foreign media access on Monday to three detained Americans who said they have been able to contact their families and — watched by officials as they spoke — called for Washington to send a high-ranking representative to negotiate for their freedom.

“Securing the release of U.S. citizens is a top priority and we have followed these cases closely in the White House…We continue to do all we can to secure their earliest possible release.”

– National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell

Jeffrey Fowle and Mathew Miller said they expect to face trial within a month. But they said they do not know what punishment they could face or what the specific charges against them are. Kenneth Bae, who already is serving a 15-year term, said his health has deteriorated at the labor camp where he works eight hours a day.

North Korean soldiers patrol the bank of the Yalu River which separates the North Korean town of Sinuiju from the Chinese border town of Dandong, northeast China (Getty)

North Korean soldiers patrol the bank of the Yalu River which separates the North Korean town of Sinuiju from the Chinese border town of Dandong, northeast China  (Getty)

The three were allowed to speak briefly with The Associated Press at a meeting center in Pyongyang. North Korean officials were present during the interviews, conducted separately and in different rooms, but did not censor the questions that were asked. The three said they did not know they were going to be interviewed until immediately beforehand. Read the rest of this entry »


Pro-Democracy Update: Back to the Drawing Board for Hong Kong Election Reform?

Pro-democracy lawmakers display placards against Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, during a briefing session in Hong Kong Monday, Sept. 1, 2014.  Associated Press

Pro-democracy lawmakers display placards against Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress’ Standing Committee, during a briefing session in Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2014. Associated Press

WSJ’s Jeffrey Ng reports:  Beijing’s plans to allow Hong Kong people to elect their next leader—albeit only from among prescreened candidates and effectively denying an open vote—will need approval of two-thirds of the city’s 70-member strong legislature.

What happens if the reform package gets voted down?

By constituting a bloc of more than a third, the city’s 27 pro-democratic legislators hold the veto on any such plans. On Monday, these legislators voiced their disapproval by interrupting a speech by a senior Chinese official, chanting slogans while holding up banners condemning China’s decision as “shameful,” before storming out of a briefing session on political reform. Read the rest of this entry »


Protesters Seize Pakistan’s State TV

Pakistan-tv

Pakistani opposition protesters run toward police during clashes near the prime minister’s residence in Islamabad on Monday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Clashes Continue Between Antigovernment Crowds and Police

ISLAMABAD—Antigovernment protesters on Monday briefly occupied the headquarters of the country’s state television, causing its broadcast to go blank, in a further escalation of the political crisis that is threatening to bring down the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistani policemen wearing riot gear standby in case of violence near the protest venue of Pakistan’s fiery Muslim cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, Aug 30, 2014. ANJUM NAVEED — AP  Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2014/08/30/3650276/pakistan-protesters-march-on-pms.html#storylink=cpy

Pakistani policemen wearing riot gear standby in case of violence near the protest venue of Pakistan’s fiery Muslim cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri near the parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan . Anjum Naveed — AP

“The government claims that we are only 5,000 people. So we decided to show them what ‘5,000’ people can do, we chased the police from here.”

– Amir Shahzad, one of the protesters

Armed soldiers and paramilitary Rangers forces arrived at the scene by noon local time, prompting the protesters leave the building. The soldiers surrounded the compound. Read the rest of this entry »


LONDON: Thousands Gather In Massive Demonstration Against UK Anti-Semitism

london-rally

For Breitbart London reports: Over 4,500 people thronged the streets of London outside the Royal Courts of Justice today to protest about the rise of anti-Semitism on the streets. The attendees carried banners reading “zero tolerance for antisemitism” and “prosecute hate before it’s too late” as they listened to speakers including Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Maajid Nawaz from the Quilliam Foundation, and Douglas Murray.

“Yes, there is a rising tide of antisemitism and yes, it is terrifying, but it will only get worse unless we stand up for ourselves.”

It was organised by the group Campaign Against Antisemitism UK, who describe themselves as “a network of activists committed to countering the rising tide of antisemitism spreading throughout the UK and Europe.” Advertising the event on their Facebook page, the campaigners explained the need for the rally:

“We must stand together to turn the tide.”

“We have all been having dinner table conversations about “the situation”. We worry together about the rise in antisemitism and commiserate: “It’s terrifying, isn’t it?” People are even wondering aloud whether the UK, our country, where we are rooted, is a safe place for Jews to bring up children. Read the rest of this entry »


Global Panic of August 2014’s Hong Kong Pepper Spray Extravaganza

hk-struggle

Pro-democracy lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung is dragged away by security guards as he protests against Li Fei, deputy general secretary of the National People’s Congress standing committee. Reuters

“The police started using pepper spray on us without any warning. We are here to protest in a peaceful manner.”

– Kit, a social worker and activist

HONG KONG—Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong Monday said police used pepper spray against demonstrators outside a news conference given by a top Chinese official on Beijing‘s decision on how the city should elect its leader.

“Since the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the sovereignty, security and development interests of the country are at stake, there is a need to proceed in a prudent and steady manner.”

– From Beijing’s ruling Sunday

Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, gave a briefing at the AsiaWorld-Expo, near Hong Kong’s airport, to explain the decision to chaotic scenes of protests both inside and outside the venue.

Outside, a 21-year-old social worker identifying himself only as Kit said he and four others in his group of activist were pepper-sprayed by police. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Hey, it Still Might Work’

95 Percent of BBC Viewers Think Multiculturalism Has Failed

A whopping 95 percent of respondents to a BBC straw poll have said that they think multiculturalism in Britain is a failure. The poll was taken yesterday morning during the BBC’s Saturday Morning Live show, and asked “Is multiculturalism working?” Just 5 percent said “Yes”; 95 percent said “No”.Screen Shot 20140831 at 144923

“fortunately the actually scientific polling suggests that’s quite a pessimistic answer.”

Breitbart LondonJames Delingpole was a guest on the show. During the discussion of the results, he said: “I think the thwacking great majority in that poll says it all. The multicultural experiment in Britain has failed totally and people have finally realised how much it has failed. Rotherham was just one example; we’re seeing cases all around the country. It has been a disaster. I think that this is going to be the turning point.”

Also on the show was the left-wing journalist Owen Jones, who extolled the virtues of interracial sex and claimed: “fortunately the actually scientific polling suggests that’s quite a pessimistic answer. Yes there are always tensions which we need to work on. We need to bring our communities together. But Britain has one of the highest levels of interracial relationships in the whole world.”

"We're investigating that other 5%'"

“I’m investigating that other 5%, but so far we haven’t found anyone willing to go on the record.'”

“We need to break down segregation like faith schools. We concentrate poor people in particular areas because of the lack of social housing, and that disproportionately affects people from black and minority ethnic communities.” Read the rest of this entry »


A Sea of Phones Illuminating Tamar Park, Connecting the Executive and Legislative Hearts of Hong Kong


UPDATED [VIDEO] Perks: Islamists Throw Pool Party at US Embassy Compound in Libya


Japan’s Defense Ministry Asks for Record Budget Increase in Response to China’s Heightened Military Aggression

A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014. Reuters
A Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force Type 90 armored tank fires during an annual training session near Mount Fuji in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, Aug. 19, 2014.  – Reuters

TOKYO—Took Sekiguchi reports: Japan’s Defense Ministry has requested a budget of ¥4.899 trillion ($47.1 billion) for the coming fiscal year starting April 1, a 2.4% increase over the amount for the current year. If granted, it would be the third year in a row Japan has expanded its military spending following a decade of cuts.

“We have an immediate neighbor whose military expenditures are at least twice as large as Japan’s and second only to the U.S. defense budget.”

– Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

The figure, requested by ministry Friday, doesn’t include spending related to U.S. bases in Japan, or for the purchase of a new government airplane for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. If these items are included, the total budget request would be ¥5.054 trillion, the largest ever for the ministry. It would also come as Mr. Abe continues his program to beef up the country’s defense capabilities.

“So call me a right-wing militarist if you want..”

Citing the continuing need for ocean surveillance amid tensions with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry is requesting 20 patrol planes and five patrol helicopters. It is also looking into acquiring an early-warning radar system and aerial drones. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Showdown: China Warns Against ‘Foreign Meddling’

Hong Kong Democracy Showdown

Protesters are taken away by police officers after hundreds of protesters staged a peaceful sit-ins overnight on a street in the financial district in Hong Kong. Hong Kong’s simmering summer of discontent gets even hotter on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 when Beijing is expected to recommend restricting the first direct elections for the Chinese-controlled financial hub’s leader, stepping up chances of a showdown with democracy groups. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

BEIJING (AP) — China warned against foreign meddling in Hong Kong’s politics Saturday ahead of an expected announcement to recommend highly contentious restrictions on the first direct elections for the leader of the Chinese-controlled financial hub.hk-protest

An article in the ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper People’s Daily said that some in the former British colony were colluding with outside forces to interfere in Hong Kong’s governance.

“Not only are they undermining Hong Kong’s stability and development, but they’re also attempting to turn Hong Kong into a bridgehead for subverting and infiltrating the Chinese mainland,” said the article.

[Also see - Hong Kong Tensions Rise as Beijing Critic's Home Raided - WSJ]

“This can absolutely not be permitted,” it said, citing an unidentified official in the Foreign Ministry‘s department for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan affairs. Read the rest of this entry »


Europe’s Wasted Youth: French Teenagers Planned Suicide Bombing at Lyon Synagogue

lyonjpg

Two girls arrested last week were part of network of young Islamists monitored by authorities

Two teenage French girls, arrested last week in a crackdown on citizens who consider traveling to other countries to join “jihad,” were planning to attack a synagogue in Lyon with a suicide bomb, French media revealed Friday.

“These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services.”

The two, 15 and 17 years old, were detained and interrogated last week in Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon in southeastern France, and Tarbes, a town in the south, after French authorities uncovered a plan to bomb the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were charged for conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Two had never met but communicated via social media, the investigation revealed. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Commander in Chief: Leader of Western World Speech About Global Terror Threat

Hint: this isn’t from the White House. Britain raised the terror threat level from substantial to severe, meaning that a terrorist attack is considered highly likely. The UK’s Prime Minister also said officials are trying to stop UK suspects from traveling by seizing their passports

Cameron: UK Raises Terror Threat Level to Severe


ISIS Plans to Weaponize Bubonic Plague for Bio-Warfare Found on Jihadist’s Crappy Dell

laptop_isis-doom

Buried in a Dell computer captured in Syria are lessons for making bubonic plague bombs and missives on using weapons of mass destruction

Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa reporting, for Foreign Policy, ANTAKYA, Turkey — Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group in northern Syria, proudly shows a black laptop partly covered in dust. “We took it this year from an ISIS hideout,” he says.gpoa-stamp

“The ISIS laptop contains more than the typical propaganda and instruction manuals used by jihadists. The documents also suggest that the laptop’s owner was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry.”

Abu Ali says the fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which have since rebranded themselves as the Islamic State, all fled before he and his men attacked the building. The attack occurred in January in a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, close to the border with Turkey, as part of a larger anti-ISIS offensive occurring at the time. “We found the laptop and the power cord in a room,” he continued, “I took it with me. But I have no clue if it still works or if it contains anything interesting.”

isis-laptop-doom

As we switched on the Dell laptop, it indeed still worked. Nor was it password-protected. But then came a huge disappointment: After we clicked on “My Computer,” all the drives appeared empty.

Appearances, however, can be deceiving. Upon closer inspection, the ISIS laptop wasn’t empty at all: Buried in the “hidden files” section of the computer were 146 gigabytes of material, containing a total of 35,347 files in 2,367 folders. Abu Ali allowed us to copy all these files — which included documents in French, English, and Arabic — onto an external hard drive.

140828_overview12

A screenshot of material found on the computer. The files appear to be videos of speeches by jihadist clerics. (Click to enlarge.)

The laptop’s contents turn out to be a treasure trove of documents that provide ideological justifications for jihadi organizations — and practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State’s deadly campaigns. They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises in order to avoid getting arrested while traveling from one jihadi hot spot to another.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Most Secretive Place on Earth: Inside North Korea with Will Ripley

This is the oldest theater in Pyongyang built after the Korean war, a time of rapid growth for North Korea.

This is the oldest theater in Pyongyang built after the Korean war, a time of rapid growth for North Korea.

“I asked our government minders if they’d be willing to show us what life is really like for regular people in North Korea.”

Pyongyang (CNN) – Will Ripley: It is exceedingly rare for Western journalists to be allowed inside the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) — commonly known as North Korea. It is even less common for an American reporter to visit this reclusive nation, home to nearly 25 million people who are essentially isolated from the rest of the world.

“They said they’d ask their superiors and get back to us.”

Yet here I am, an American member of a CNN crew, reporting from Pyongyang about the latest high profile sporting event to sweep this city since a bizarre basketball tournament earlier this year.

Our hotel, the Yanggakdo, is on its own little island inside Pyongyang but still apart from it. Water separates us from everyone else.

Our hotel, the Yanggakdo, is on its own little island inside Pyongyang but still apart from it. Water separates us from everyone else.

Even though decades of isolation and crippling sanctions have left North Korea struggling economically and lagging far behind much of the developed world in terms of technology and infrastructure — the nation is nearly unrivaled in its ability to mobilize tens of thousands of citizens to put on a spectacular show.

You probably remember when American NBA star Dennis Rodman organized a basketball tournament in Pyongyang.

rodman-kim

Rodman was widely criticized in the United States for befriending the DPRK’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, whose authoritarian regime has been accused by a United Nations panel of widespread human rights abuses, charges that North Korea strongly denies.

Haircuts are chosen by number, here 1--15. We're told the most popular is 7.

Haircuts are chosen by number, here 1–15. We’re told the most popular is 7.

‘Sports diplomacy’

Outside press were not invited to cover Rodman’s trip. This time, CNN is among a handful of news organizations granted rare access to Pyongyang to cover the International Pro Wrestling Festival.

[Also see: Japan Lawmaker Kanji ‘Antonio’ Inoki Takes Sport Diplomacy to North Korea]

Don’t miss this Pundit Planet Exclusive: Mashup: Dennis Rodman and Marylin Monroe sing Happy Birthday to Kim Jong-Un]

Retired Japanese wrestling star turned politician Kanji “Antonio” Inoki is organizing the event. In his professional heyday, Inoki fought in a memorable and bizarre 1976 match in Tokyo with boxing great Muhammad Ali. Today, as an aging member of the Japanese parliament, he is once again in the headlines for his latest attempt at what he calls “sports diplomacy” between Japan and North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »


Sacré Bleu! McDonalds: Vive la France!

A customer enters a McDonald's in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty images/Tim Boyle)

A customer enters a McDonald’s in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty images/Tim Boyle)

 reports: I have never eaten at a McDonald’s in France. But evidently a lot of French men and women do. Business Insider reports that France is McDonald’s most profitable country after the United States. So much for all the French cuisine snobs who lament the presence of McDonald’s in la belle France…(read more)

WashingtonExaminer.com


Sacré Bleu!! France’s New Economy Minister Stirs Tempête de Merde on his First Day Freaking Out the Socialists with Suggestion they Ditch the 35-Hour Work Week

France Cabinet Reshuffle

“We could allow companies and sectors … to depart from the rules on working time and pay. This is already possible for companies in difficulty.”

Francois Hollande’s economy minister caused a storm on his first day in office Friday by casting doubt on a central pillar of French Socialism: the 35-hour working week.

French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands with new French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron while French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, centre, looks on, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris,on Wednesday. Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press

French President Francois Hollande, left, shakes hands with new French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron while French Finance Minister Michel Sapin, centre, looks on, after the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris,on Wednesday. Remy de la Mauviniere / Associated Press

“Why not extend it to all companies, provided there is a broad agreement with the employees?”

– French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron, a 36-year-old former Rothschild banker, told Le Point, a weekly magazine, that he supported companies and sectors of the economy that wished to “depart from” the law. Read the rest of this entry »


International Bank of Terror: Islamic State Economy Runs on Extortion, 
Oil Piracy

islamic-militants-tank

The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat.

“Can you prevent ISIS from taking assets? Not really, because they’re sitting on a lot of assets already.”

That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State—the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria—is a largely self-financed organization.

P1-BR156_ISFUND_G_20140827183613

Money from outside donors “pales in comparison to their self-funding through criminal and terrorist activities,” a U.S. State Department official said, adding that those activities generate millions of dollars a month.

“So you must disrupt the network of trade. But if you disrupt trade in commodities like food, for example, then you risk starving thousands of civilians.”

For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls. Read the rest of this entry »


Grits with that Scone? If Britain were a U.S. State, it Would be the Second-Poorest, Behind Alabama and before Mississippi

London-getty
For the The Washington Post, Hunter Schwarz: If Britain were to join the United States, it would be the second-poorest state, behind Alabama and ahead of Mississippi.

The ranking, determined by Fraser Nelson, an editor of The Spectator magazine, was made by dividing the gross domestic product of each state by its population, and it  took into account purchasing power parity for cost of living. Several other European countries were also included in the ranking.

“No one beats up America better than Americans.”

Ranking by GDP per capita instead of just GDP means that states with mega-economies such as California, which has the top GDP in the United States (its GDP is also larger than most countries’), was knocked down to 14th place among the states when divided by its more than 38 million residents. Alaska comes in first, with a GDP of more than $59 billion divided by a population of 735,000. Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,256 other followers