In a dramatic televised address to the American public, President John F. Kennedy announces that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear weapons in Cuba and, in response, the United States will establish a blockade around the island to prevent any other offensive weapons from entering Castro’s state. Kennedy also warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be construed as an act of war, and that the United States would retaliate in kind.
Kennedy charged the Soviet Union with subterfuge and outright deception in what he referred to as a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.” He dismissed Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko‘s claim that the weapons in Cuba were of a purely defensive nature as “false.” Harking back to efforts to contain German, Italian, and Japanese aggression in the 1930s, Kennedy argued that war-like behavior, “if allowed to grow unchecked and unchallenged, ultimately leads to war. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the slain 32-year-old suspected killer of a Canadian Forces soldier near Parliament Hill, was a labourer and small-time criminal – a man who had had a religious awakening and seemed to have become mentally unstable.
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau was born in 1982 and was the son of Bulgasem Zehaf, a Quebec businessman who appears to have fought in 2011 in Libya, and Susan Bibeau, the deputy chairperson of a division of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board. The two were divorced in 1999.
Ms. Bibeau did not answer e-mails Wednesday, and staff at her offices declined to comment. No one answered the door at her Montreal townhouse. Mr. Zehaf also could not be reached.
Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau grew up in Eastern Canada, including Ottawa and Montreal, and had spent time in Libya before moving to Western Canada to become a miner and labourer, according to friend Dave Bathurst.
Mr. Bathurst said he met Mr. Zehaf-Bibeau in a Burnaby, B.C., mosque about three years ago. He said his friend did not at first appear to have extremist views or inclinations toward violence – but at times exhibited a disturbing side. Read the rest of this entry »
Emergency Agencies are Practicing for a Disaster
The city’s Office of Emergency Management ran a training exercise Wednesday that simulated a response to a 10-kiloton nuclear device exploding at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue in Times Square, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“What’s the message? Shelter in place, evacuate, seek medical aid. How would we do that? Social media, if it’s up and running.”
According to the exercise, 100,000 people were instantly killed; a wave of overpressure took down buildings for a half-mile radius and did damage for up to two miles; and a radiation cloud swept over the region.
“We know a lot of this is going to be down for a time period, so we know that a big part of it would be radios. The best thing would be portable radios.”
– OEM Commissioner Joe Esposito
The drill’s scenario also included a shutdown of subway service and interruptions to cellphone service. Read the rest of this entry »
Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS
Because They Want the Same Things Teenage Boys Want: A Strong Sense of Meaning and Purpose
For Tablet Magazine, Lee Smith writes: Teenage girls are the West’s center of gravity: Virtually all of Western pop culture, the key to our soft power, is tailored to the tastes of teenage girls. Through the wonders of information technology, the mobile phone mass-produced the mores and habits of phone-mad teenage girls locked in their bedrooms. Indeed, Western civilization is a success largely insofar as it has made the world a safe place for teenage girls—to go to school, get a job, and decide who and when to marry, or if they want to marry. When teenage girls turn away from One Direction and embrace ISIS, it means the West is losing.
[Order Lee Smith's "The Consequences of Syria (The Great Unraveling: The Remaking of the Middle East)"]
“The idea of a caliphate, ripped from the pages of Muslim history, resonates with a kind of existential authenticity missing from the vast and drab European suburbs warehousing Muslim youth.”
A Washington Institute poll last week showed that the Islamic State has more support in Europe than it does in the Middle East. The poll reported that only 3 percent of Egyptians, 5 percent of Saudis, and under 1 percent of Lebanese “expressed a positive opinion of the IS.” On the other hand, 7 percent of U.K. respondents had a favorable view of the group, as did 16 percent of French polled—with 27 percent of French citizens between 18-24 responding favorably.
“So, why given a choice between a comfortable, if somewhat boring, life as a pharmacist in Hamburg, or fighting and dying in the desert, are thousands of Western Muslims opting for the latter?”
The numbers should hardly come as a surprise. Thousands of young European Muslims have already left the continent for the Middle East to help the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, build an authentic Islamic caliphate. Doubtless thousands more are on their way, to kill and die for an idea they believe in.
“Because, for all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning. “
It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marryIslamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like the 15-year-old French Jewish girlNora el-Bathy, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in. Read the rest of this entry »
Shots Fired Inside Canadian Parliament Building
Paul Vieira And Alistair MacDonald – Updated Oct. 22, 2014 1:57 p.m. ET OTTAWA—Canada’s Parliament building and other government offices were locked down after an armed attack left at least one soldier dead at the country’s main war memorial.
One shooter was also killed, according to a person familiar with the matter. Ottawa police said that there were “possibly three” shooters and that shots had been fired at three separate locations in the capital, including inside Parliament.
Police were searching for the assailants as armed officers locked down the Canada’s Parliament building and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was moved out of the area. Mr. Harper canceled planned appearances in Toronto after the Ottawa shootings.
Tony Clement, a senior cabinet minister, tweeted that at least 30 shots were fired. “I’m safe with two colleagues but we’re still at risk,” he said.
The shooting left downtown Ottawa locked down, including the U.S. Embassy there, and provincial parliaments elsewhere in Canada tightened their security as heavily armed police combed the Canadian capital.
The war memorial in Ottawa, which honors Canadian forces’ service abroad, is the site of the Canadian government’s annual official Remembrance Day ceremony
Medics could be seen attending to a person on the ground near the memorial, which is close to Canada’s House of Commons, before the person was taken away in an ambulance. A witness said she heard four shots and saw a person running away with a rifle. Read the rest of this entry »
It was not immediately known if there were further injuries.
Alain Merisier. who works at the cafeteria in the Parliament building, told CBC News that said he saw a man in a car at the Centre Block with a long gun.
Witnesses said they then heard shots fired, and there was an unconfirmed report of a person injured outside the Library of Parliament.
Police confirmed the shooting at the War Memorial, and sealed off the area while the injured soldier was given emergency medical aid. He was later put into an ambulance. Read the rest of this entry »
Apple iCloud users in mainland China have a cyber issue on their hands as the service is hit by an attack that could allow access to personal data
WSJ‘s Scott Thurm reports: Apple Inc. ’s iCloud service for users in mainland China has been hit by an attack that could allow perpetrators to intercept and see usernames, passwords and other personal data, activists and security analysts said.
“It’s evident that it’s quite massive.”
—Erik Hjelmvik, analyst
“That’s what she said.”
Though the perpetrator’s identity was unclear, the attack came as tensions between the U.S. and Chinese governments have simmered over accusations of cyberespionage and hacking attacks.
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The online censorship watchdog GreatFire.org claimed Chinese authorities were behind the attack, though other experts said the source couldn’t be determined. A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said she was unaware of the matter and reiterated Beijing’s position that it opposes cyberattacks.
Apple said in a statement on its website that it is aware of “intermittent organized network attacks” aimed at obtaining user information from iCloud.com. The company added that the attacks don’t compromise the company’s iCloud servers and don’t affect iCloud sign-in on Apple devices running its iOS mobile software or Macs running OS X Yosemite using its Safari browser.
Apple said users should not sign into iCloud.com if they receive a warning from their browser that it is not a trusted site. This suggests that the user has been compromised.
Apple did not mention China in its statement. Read the rest of this entry »
When 19-year-old Dilar and her girlfriends learned last spring that a woman who taught at a local school had died fighting Islamic State, they made a pact: They would join an all-female Syrian Kurdish brigade named in the teacher’s honor.
“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me. My bravery shames them.”
Her unit, the Martyr Warsin Brigade, saw action this summer in a tough battle against the extremist fighters for Ras al-Ayn, a town along the Turkish border. Dilar came away without injury and returned home to a hero’s welcome.
[Also see The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp]
Now, during her downtime, she and her female comrades stride with a swagger through their villages east of the embattled city of Kobani.
“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me,” said Dilar, who didn’t want to give her family name. “My bravery shames them.”
“Really we have no differences. We do what the men do.”
As debate flares in Washington and other capitals about whether the battle against Islamic State can succeed without more boots—even U.S. ones—on the ground, Kurdish women have stepped up to defend their lands in Syria and Iraq. An estimated one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say, a figure that mirrors their role in other significant battles across Kurdish territories this year.
The monthlong battle over the city on the Turkish border is straining Islamic State, Kurdish politicians and U.S. officials say, and hampering its overall expansion strategy.
The overriding motivation that Kurds give for fighting the insurgents is to save their ancestral homeland from destruction. Yet many women combatants also cite a more personal crusade. Across the territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls, Islamic State has reinstituted slavery, prohibited women from working and threatened to kill those Muslims, including Kurds, who don’t adhere to their ideology.
“Sometimes we are so close to them without knowing it, because they hide in empty buildings.”
“Islamic State are terrorists, inhuman,” said a 28-year-old female commander of both men and women in Kobani who uses the nom-de-guerre Afsin Kobane.
Ms. Kobane was a kindergarten teacher when she decided last year to join the female unit of the Syrian Kurdish resistance force, known as YPJ. Speaking by telephone from her post in the besieged city on the Turkish border, she said her mixed-gender unit had been fighting for more than a month and was holding a position only a half-mile from Islamic State fighters. Read the rest of this entry »
The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands
Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.
“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”
The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.
All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.
“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”
Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.
Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.
But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.
The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.
The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.
The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »
Ahmed Abu Khatallah to face 17 new charges over alleged involvement on September 2012 attacks on US diplomatic compound in Benghazi that saw four US citizens killed
A US federal grand jury issued a new indictment on Tuesday that includes a possible death penalty against Ahmed Abu Khatallah, a Libyan militant accused of involvement in the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
“Obama administration officials, including Susan Rice, currently White House National Security Adviser, stoked political controversy by initially saying the attack was a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video.”
The indictment supersedes earlier accusations brought against Khatallah in July, and adds 17 new charges, including allegations he led an extremist militia group and conspired with others to attack the facilities and kill U.S. citizens.
Khatallah was captured in Libya in June by a US military and FBI team and transported to the United States aboard a U.S. Navy ship to face charges in Washington federal court.
A lawyer for Khatallah did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
Four Americans were killed in the attack, including the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens. The attack ignited a political firestorm in Washington that could still resonate if Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State at the time of the attack, runs for president as expected in 2016.
Russian hackers use ‘zero-day’ in cyber-spy campaign
For The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima reports: A Russian hacking group probably working for the government has been exploiting a previously unknown flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to spy on NATO, the Ukrainian government, a U.S. university researcher and other national security targets, according to a new report.
“This is consistent with espionage activity. All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
– iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward
The group has been active since at least 2009, according to research by iSight Partners, a cybersecurity firm.
Its targets in the recent campaign also included a Polish energy firm, a Western European government agency and a French telecommunications firm.
“This is consistent with espionage activity,” said iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward. “All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
“The firm began monitoring the hackers’ activity in late 2013 and discovered the vulnerability in August…The flaw is present in every Windows operating system from Vista to 8.1, he said, except Windows XP.”
There is no indication that the group was behind a recent spate of intrusions into U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Ward said.
“ISight dubbed the recently detected hacking group SandWorm because of references embedded in its code to the science-fiction novel ‘Dune.’ There were various mentions in Russian to the fictional desert planet of Arrakis, for instance.”
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials say the capabilities of Russian hackers are on par with those of the United States and Israel. Read the rest of this entry »
“We all need to recognize that those who say that what is happening in Israel is like apartheid South Africa are minimizing the suffering that black South Africans endured. They are taking the sting out of the pain that we suffered in South Africa. If South African apartheid was what people are seeing in Israel, there would never have been any need for an armed struggle. There would never have been any need for a Nelson Mandela to go to prison because he would have all the rights Arabs in Israel have.”
Who better to answer that charge than a Black South African who lived through apartheid? Kenneth Meshoe, a member of the South African parliament, fits that bill. He examines the evidence against Israel and draws a compelling conclusion.
There is widespread allegation — really a slander — that Israel is an apartheid state.
That notion is simply wrong.
It is inaccurate and it is malicious.
And it will not help to promote peace and harmony in the Middle East. Its only purpose is to demonize Israel, and to isolate her in an attempt to de-legitimize Israel’s existence.
And because it is so inaccurate, it betrays the memory of those who suffered through a real apartheid.
As a black South African, who was born under apartheid, in the administrative capital of South Africa, Pretoria, I know what apartheid is. I’ve experienced it. My parents experienced it.
But having been to Israel on a number of occasions, I know that nothing is happening in that country — that I have either seen or read — that can be compared to apartheid in South Africa.
Let’s remember the major reason Nelson Mandela went to prison — why he was involved with the armed struggle. He was fighting for the right to vote, for the right to choose the leaders who one believes in, for the right to move and travel freely, to live wherever one wants, to be educated, and to be admitted to the hospital or medical facility of your choice. Read the rest of this entry »
Islamic State Militants Advance Despite Airstrikes: ‘Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control…the situation is getting worse’Posted: October 13, 2014
ISIS Gains Territory Despite Weeks of Bombing by U.S., Allies, Raising Questions About Strategy
“The strategy’s biggest weakness in Iraq, officials there say, is the glacial pace of cobbling together an Iraqi political alliance between Sunnis willing to join with the Shiite-controlled central government to rebuild a national military force to fight Islamic State more effectively.”
In Syria, fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have taken large sections of the city of Kobani in recent days, said Ismet Sheikh Hasan, the defense minister of the city’s Kurdish administration. “Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control,” he said. “The situation is getting worse.”
This comes despite a week of heavy airstrikes around the city to help local Syrian Kurdish fighters keep Islamic State forces from the city center.
“The call for American ground troops, however unlikely to be met, caused fresh rifts in Anbar which threatened to weaken the already shaky coalition of government forces working with tribal fighters to fend off the Islamic State assault.”
In Iraq, militant forces operating in a swath of territory the size of California have extended their control of the roads and commercial routes in strategically vital Anbar Province, which connects the capital Baghdad to Jordan and Syria.
Anbar, which has critical infrastructure and whose eastern edge lies only about 25 miles from Baghdad’s center, is also in danger of falling wholly under Islamic State control despite weeks of U.S. strikes aimed at weakening the group, local officials say.
“While the militant group is yet to take the provincial capital of Ramadi, officials in Anbar warn that they are losing their grip on the city to a highly organized and disciplined insurgency that has surrounded military bases and put a choke hold on trade from Jordan, effectively controlling movements of goods and people in the region.”
The province’s chief of police was killed in a bombing Sunday, officials said, heightening unease over the government’s ability to fend off Islamic State forces. Read the rest of this entry »
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 10, 2014
President Obama laid out “a mighty ambitious goal” when he said he would destroy the Islamic State, and thus far his strategy has been ineffective, says the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward on Fox News Sunday.