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[VIDEO] Fearless Female Kurdish Sniper Laughs as ISIS Bullet Barely Misses Her Head 

Sam Webb reports: An astonishing video showing a Kurdish sniper laughing after a bullet fired by an ISIS terrorist narrowly misses her head has emerged online.

The YPJ (Women’s Protection Units) sharpshooter is seen taking aim through a window during fighting in Raqqa, the terror group’s besieged Syrian stronghold.

After she takes her own shot, a chunk of the wall just behind her head explodes, showering the room with dust and plaster.

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She immediately ducks down and laughs at her close brush with death — and is even seen sticking her tongue out sheepishly.

The footage, which has not been verified, was posted online by a Kurdish journalist embedded with the YPJ fighters.

The reporter, Hemze Hamza, tweeted: “Kurdish women know no fear. Your average human being would be scared for life after being so close to death but she kept laughing.” Read the rest of this entry »

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OH YES HE DID: Canadian Sniper Sets World Record with 2.2-Mile Pickoff of ISIS Fighter

Michael Obel reports: A Canadian sniper set what appears to be a record, picking off an ISIS fighter from some 2.2 miles away, and disrupting a potentially deadly operation by the terror group in Iraq.

Shooting experts say the fatal shot at a world-record distance of 11,316 feet underscores how stunningly sophisticated military snipers are becoming. The feat, pulled off by a special forces sniper from Canada’s Joint Task Force 2, smashed the previous distance record for successful sniper shots by some 3,280 feet, a record set by a British sniper.

“ … the true challenge here was being able to calculate the actual wind speed and direction all the way to the target.”

Ryan Cleckner, former U.S. Army Ranger sniper

“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of the Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target from 3,540 metres [2.2 miles],” the Canadian military said in a statement.

While officials would not say where the shot took place, the statement noted the command “provides its expertise to Iraqi security force to detect, identify and defeat Daesh activities from well behind the Iraqi security force front line in Mosul.”

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The new record was set using a McMillan TAC-50, a .50-caliber weapon and the largest shoulder-fired firearm in existence.

Ryan Cleckner, a former U.S. Army Ranger sniper who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and wrote the authoritative “Long Range Shooting Handbook,” called the feat an “incredible” accomplishment, one that owes as much if not more to the spotter’s expertise than the shooter’s skill.

“The spotter would have had to successfully calculate five factors: distance, wind, atmospheric conditions and the speed of the earth’s rotation at their latitude,” Cleckner told Fox News.

“Because wind speed and direction would vary over the two miles the bullet traveled, the true challenge here was being able to calculate the actual wind speed and direction all the way to the target.”

Atmospheric conditions also would have posed a huge challenge for the spotter.

“To get the atmospheric conditions just right, the spotter would have had to understand the temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of the air the round had to travel through. Read the rest of this entry »


The Authoritarian Media

The New York Times has crossed a moral line, writes James Taranto.

Jan. 11, 2011, James Taranto wrote: After the horrific shooting spree, the editorial board of New York Times offered a voice of reasoned circumspection: “In the aftermath of this unforgivable attack, it will be important to avoid drawing prejudicial conclusions . . .,” the paper counseled.

Here’s how the sentence continued: “. . . from the fact that Major Hasan is an American Muslim whose parents came from the Middle East.”

The Tucson Safeway massacre prompted exactly the opposite reaction. What was once known as the paper of record egged on its readers to draw invidious conclusions that are not only prejudicial but contrary to fact. In doing so, the Times has crossed a moral line.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s editorial:

It is facile and mistaken to attribute this particular madman’s act directly to Republicans or Tea Party members. But it is legitimate to hold Republicans and particularly their most virulent supporters in the media responsible for the gale of anger that has produced the vast majority of these threats, setting the nation on edge. Many on the right have exploited the arguments of division, reaping political power by demonizing immigrants, or welfare recipients, or bureaucrats. They seem to have persuaded many Americans that the government is not just misguided, but the enemy of the people.

That whirlwind has touched down most forcefully in Arizona, which Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described after the shooting as the capital of “the anger, the hatred and the bigotry that goes on in this country.” Anti-immigrant sentiment in the state, firmly opposed by Ms. Giffords, has reached the point where Latino studies programs that advocate ethnic solidarity have actually been made illegal. . . .

Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.

To describe the Tucson massacre as an act of “political violence” is, quite simply, a lie. Read the rest of this entry »


Happy Birthday, F. A. Hayek

Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of F. A. Hayek, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century.

David Boaz writes: Back in 2010, as the tea party movement was on the verge of delivering an electoral rebuke to President Obama’s big-government policies, the New York Times derided the movement for reviving “long-dormant ideas [found in] once-obscure texts by dead writers.” They meant Hayek especially. But a more astute journalist might not have regarded Hayek as obscure.

Who was Hayek? He was an economist born and educated in Vienna. After the Nazi conquest of Austria, he became a British citizen and taught there and at the University of Chicago for most of his career. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. President Ronald Reagan called him one of the two or three people who had most influenced him, and so did some of the dissidents behind the Iron Curtain. President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom. Margaret Thatcher banged his great book “The Constitution of Liberty” on the table at Conservative Party headquarters and declared “This is what we believe.” Milton Friedman described him as “the most important social thinker of the 20th century.”

But respect for Hayek extended far beyond libertarians and conservatives. Lawrence H. Summers, former president of Harvard and a top economic adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama, called him the author of “the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today” — that markets mostly work without plans or direction. He is the hero of “The Commanding Heights,” the book and PBS series on the battle of economic ideas in the 20th century. His most popular book, “The Road to Serfdom,” has never gone out of print and saw its sales explode during the financial crisis and Wall Street bailouts. John Cassidy wrote in the New Yorker that “on the biggest issue of all, the vitality of capitalism, he was vindicated to such an extent that it is hardly an exaggeration to refer to the 20th century as the Hayek century.”

In much of his work Hayek explored how society can best make use of “the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.” Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State Beheads Man Accused of Performing ‘Magic’

Ali Waked reports: According to group members, IS police officers beheaded the man in the town of Tasil in the Dara district in southern Syria.

In an accompanying statement, the terrorist organization said that the man was beheaded with a sword and had performed “magic and sorcery.”

In the photos, one member of IS can be seen reading the ruling of the Sharia court, noting the Islamic penalty for the alleged transgressions.

Those who carried out the punishment of beheading, according to IS, were members of the Khaled Bin Waleed militia – a jihadist militia affiliated with IS active in southern Syria in the triangular area between the borders of Syria, Jordan and Israel. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Reports of Syria Removing Its Chemical Weapons Were Greatly Exaggerated

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images


[VIDEO] President El-Sisi On Russia’s Involvement with Libya and Syria


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: Obama Was Soft on Iran, Trump Says ‘Those Days Are Over’

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[VIDEO] Asra Nomani: How the American Left is Helping the Muslim Right 

‘Standing Alone’ Author and the Muslim Reform Movement Co-Founder Asra Nomani on why the leftist media and 51zwncrqcxl-_sl250_Muslim right are creating anti-American hysteria.

[Order Asra Nomani’ book “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam” from Amazon.com]


[VIDEO] PragerU: What’s Holding the Arab World Back? 

What’s holding the Arab world back? Why, by nearly every measure, are Muslim nations so far behind the West economically, culturally and scientifically? Bret Stephens, Global View columnist for the Wall Street Journal, explains, for PragerU.

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In the judo competition of the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, an Israeli heavyweight judo fighter named Or Sasson defeated his Egyptian opponent, Islam El Shehaby, in a first-round match. The Egyptian then refused to shake the Israeli’s extended hand, earning boos from the crowd.

If you want the short answer for why the Arab world is sliding into the abyss, look no further than this little incident. It illustrates how hatred of Israel and Jews corrupts every element of Arab society.

You won’t find this explanation for the Arab world’s decline among journalists and academics. They reflexively blame the usual suspects: the legacy of colonialism, unemployed youth, the Sunni-Shia sectarian divide, and every other politically correct excuse they can think of. For them, hatred of Israel is treated like sand in Arabia — just part of the landscape.

Yet the fact remains that over the past 70 years the Arab world expelled virtually all of its Jews, some 900,000 people, while holding on to its hatred of them. Over time the result proved fatal: a combination of lost human capital, expensive wars against Israel, and an intellectual life perverted by conspiracy theories and a perpetual search for scapegoats. The Arab world’s problems are a problem of the Arab mindset, and the name of that problem is anti-Semitism.

As a historical phenomenon, this is not unique. Historian Paul Johnson has noted that wherever anti-Semitism took hold, social and political decline almost inevitably followed. Just a few examples:

Spain expelled its Jews in 1492. The effect, Johnson noted, “was to deprive Spain (and its colonies) of a class already notable for the astute handling of finance.”

In czarist Russia, the adoption of numerous anti-Semitic laws ultimately weakened and corrupted the entire Russian government. These laws also led to mass Jewish emigration, resulting in a breathtaking loss of intellectual and human capital. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Former CIA Analyst Who Interrogated Saddam Hussein Breaks Silence 

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[VIDEO] REWIND: General James Mattis Rips Obama Foreign Policy at Hearing

Gen. James Mattis questions White House strategy in Iraq and Afghanistasn, ponders what’s happening in Syria and bemoans America’s lack of influence in the Middle East.

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Can You Find the Hidden Word to Explain Venezuela’s Escape Economic Collapse?

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 The New York Times Can’t.

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Nicholas Case reports: The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.

Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Can you guess what word NYT’s Nicholas Casey failed to use even one time in his report on Venezuela’s economic crisis?

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Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.

But Ms. Bello could not swim.

As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.

“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her, “are going after one thing — food.”

Maria Piñero at an empty grocery store in La Vela, Venezuela. “I’m nervous,” she said. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.” Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

[Read the full story here, at he New York Times]

But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.

Hundreds of Venezuelans lined up at a grocery store in La Vela in September to see if food would be delivered.Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

“It’s hard to see a solution to this problem because hunger is involved. Venezuela doesn’t have enough food for its people, so some are coming here.”

— Mayor Altemir Campos

And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.

“We have seen a great acceleration,” said Tomás Páez, a professor who studies immigration at the Central University of Venezuela. He says that as many as 200,000 Venezuelans have left in the last 18 months, driven by how much harder it is to get food, work and medicine — not to mention the crime that such scarcities have fueled.

“Parents will say: I would rather say goodbye to my son in the airport than in the cemetery,” he said.

Two would-be migrants waiting for the boat that will take them from Venezuela. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.

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But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.

“It has all totally changed,” said Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. About 60 percent more Venezuelans fled the country this year than during the year before, he added.
Read the rest of this entry »


Israel Fires: Tens of Thousands Flee; Arson Suspected

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Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated as wildfires rage through parts of the Israeli city of Haifa, the third largest in the country. On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.

Huge flames are being fanned by strong winds in residential areas in the north of the city of about 250,000.

“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic. I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”

— Roni Alsheich

Fires are also threatening homes near Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Israel’s police chief said arson was suspected in some cases and hinted that some of it could be politically motivated.

“It’s likely that where it was arson, it goes in the direction of nationalistic,” Roni Alsheich told reporters, adding: “I don’t want to disturb the investigation.”

Map showing Haifa

“Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when ‘someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids’ in an industrial zone.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing religious Jewish Home party, said on Twitter in Hebrew: “Only those to whom the country does not belong are capable of burning it.”

On social media, the Arabic-language hashtag #Israel_on_fire began trending, with most tweets expressing pleasure over the outbreak.

Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav said there were indications that one of the fires started when “someone tossed a cigarette in an area full of oil and flammable fluids” in an industrial zone.

Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.

Car passing fire in Haifa

Months of dry weather have left the country vulnerable to fires – Reuters

“Four Palestinians have been arrested in connection with a fire near Jerusalem and are due to appear in court on suspicion of starting a bonfire negligently.”

The Palestinian Authority has offered to help Israel’s fire department, a senior Israeli security official told the BBC, but has not yet received a reply.

Meanwhile, hundreds of military reservists have been called up to help battle the three-day outbreak of fires. Read the rest of this entry »


Kosovo Arrests 19 in Islamic State Plot to Attack Israel Soccer Match 

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Suspects planned ‘synchronized’ attacks in Kosovo and Albania, police say; weapons, ammunition and a drone seized in sweep

Police said the arrests were made over the past 10 days and that the suspects had planned “synchronized terror attacks,” without going into further detail.

Israel's Eran Zahavi (center) celebrates after scoring a goal during the World Cup 2018 qualifier football match Albania versus Israel at the Elbasan Arena stadium in Elbasan on November 12, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / GENT SHKULLAKU)

“They were planning to commit terrorist attacks in Kosovo and also [an attack] against [the] Israeli football team and their fans during the Albania-Israel match,” Kosovo police said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that weapons, explosives, ammunition and a drone were seized during the sweep.

The police said the suspects were communicating and receiving orders from an Islamic State member, Lavdrim Muhaxheri, the self-declared “commander of Albanians in Syria and Iraq.” Read the rest of this entry »


Victor Davis Hanson: America’s Civilizational Paralysis

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Our nation faces many existential challenges that our politicians refuse to address.

Victor Davis Hansonvictor-davis-H writes: The Greek city-states in the fourth-century BC, fifth-century AD Rome, and the Western European democracies after World War I all knew they could not continue as usual with their fiscal, social, political, and economic behavior. But all these states and societies feared far more the self-imposed sacrifices that might have saved them.

“We seem to be reaching that point of stasis in postmodern America. Once simple and logical solutions to our fiscal and social problems are now seen as too radical even to discuss.”

Mid-fifteenth-century Byzantium was facing endemic corruption, a radically declining birthrate and shrinking population, and the end of civic militarism—all the last-gasp symptoms of an irreversible decline. Its affluent ruling and religious orders and expansive government services could no longer be supported by disappearing agrarians and the overtaxed mercantile middle class.

[Read the full story here, at Hoover Institution]

Returning to the values of the Emperor Justinian’s sixth-century empire that had once ensured a vibrant Byzantine culture of stability and prosperity throughout the old Roman east remained a nostalgic daydream. Given the hardship and sacrifice that would have been required to change the late Byzantine mindset, most residents of Constantinople plodded on to their rendezvous with oblivion in 1453.

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We seem to be reaching that point of stasis in postmodern America. Once simple and logical solutions to our fiscal and social problems are now seen as too radical even to discuss. Consider the $20-trillion national debt. Most Americans accept that current annual $500 billion budget deficits are not sustainable—but they also see them as less extreme than the recently more normal $1 trillion in annual red ink.

Riot police clear demonstrators from a street in Ferguson

“Race relations pose comparable paradoxes. Inner-city Chicago has turned into a war zone with over 500 murders so far this year alone.”

Americans also accept that the Obama administration doubled the national debt on the expectation of permanent near-zero interest rates, which cannot continue. When interest rates return to more normal historical levels of 4-5% per annum, the costs of servicing the debt—along with unsustainable Social Security and Medicare entitlement costs—will begin to undermine the entire budget.

Doors Are Opened To Migrants At Budapest Railway Station

“Illegal immigration, like the deficits, must cease, but stopping it would be too politically incorrect and painful even to ponder. The mess in Europe—millions of indigent and illegal immigrants who have fled their own failed states to become dependent on the largess of their generous adopted countries, but without any desire to embrace their hosts’ culture—is apparently America’s future.”

Count up current local, state and federal income taxes, payroll taxes, property and sales taxes, and new health care taxes, and it will be hard to find the necessary additional revenue from a strapped and overtaxed middle class, much less from the forty-seven percent of Americans who currently pay no federal income taxes.

[Read the full text here, at Hoover Institution]

The Obama administration has tried to reduce the budget by issuing defense cuts and tax hikes—but it has refused to touch entitlement spending, where the real gains could be made. The result is more debt, even as, paradoxically, our military was weakened, taxes rose, revenue increased, and economic growth remained anemic at well below 2% per annum.

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“…there are few multiracial societies of the past that have avoided descending into destructive ethnic chauvinism and tribalism once assimilation and integration were replaced by salad-bowl identity politics. Common words and phrases such as ‘illegal alien’ or ‘deportation’ are now considered taboo, while ‘sanctuary city’ is a euphemism for a neo-Confederate nullification of federal immigration laws by renegade states and municipalities.”

Illegal immigration poses a similar dilemma. No nation can remain stable when 10-20 million foreign nationals have crashed through what has become an open border and reside unlawfully in the United States—any more than a homeowner can have neighbors traipsing through and camping in his unfenced yard. Read the rest of this entry »


Majority of Paris Attackers Entered Europe Posing as Refugees

The attackers were part of a group of 14 who plotted their way into Western Europe by riding the wave of the migrant crisis last year, according to Hungarian security officials.

By using fake Syrian passports, many of the attackers, already on European terror watch-lists, were able to slip back into Europe undetected, along with thousands of other refugees.

SAMU members and French police participate in a raid in Saint-Denis. ETIENNE LAURENT/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY Hooded police officers walked on a street in Saint-Denis Wednesday. A woman wearing an explosive suicide vest blew herself up as heavily armed police tried to storm a suburban Paris apartment where the suspected mastermind of last week's attacks was believed to be holed up, police said. PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

PETER DEJONG/ASSOCIATED PRESS

One hundred and thirty people were killed in November when a group of gunmen and suicide bombers launched a wave of attacks across Paris, targeting the Bataclan concert hall, the Stade De France and several restaurants and bars. Three hundred sixty-eight people were also injured in the attacks, almost 100 of them seriously.

Some of the remaining terrorists in the group participated in the Brussels attacks earlier this year in three coordinated suicide bombings at Brussels Airport and at Maalbeek metro station killed 32 people. Read the rest of this entry »


ISIS Leader Commits Suicide After Trying to Recruit Two Millennials 

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Mohammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman of ISIS and one of its most senior members, has died in Syria, reportedly as a result of an online Facebook exchange.

“Brother al-Adani suffered a nervous breakdown after trying to recruit a couple of students from Portland, Oregon. Whilst promoting Jihad, his message was drowned out by the snotty little gamers who spend their days throwing a Frisbee, dressing like Superman and singing along to carpool Karaoke. After enduring six hours of whining about parents, bragging about new iPhones and arguments about energy drinks, our leader logged off, drove to the nearest cliff, and hung himself with an iPod charger,” ISIS said. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] OH YES HE DOES: Does Donald Trump Take Every Side of Every Issue? 

At NRODavid French writes:

…One of the more frustrating and fruitless conversations in modern politics is with a Trump supporter who just insists that Trump can be trusted. But trusted to do what? If you want boots on the ground in the Middle East, Trump’s your guy. If you want America to stop sending its soldiers to die on foreign soil, Trump’s your guy. If you want higher taxes, Trump’s your guy. If you want lower taxes, Trump’s your guy. The list goes on…

Read more at NRO.

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Source: National Review


[VIDEO] Iran IRIB Documentary ‘Rule of the Game’ Releasing of 4 American Spies


Gates: White House Doing Disservice to Troops Fighting ISIS by Avoiding Term ‘Combat’ 


Glenn Reynolds – Bernie’s plan: Make America European again!

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The socialist utopias of Sanders’ dreams bear little resemblance to reality across the Atlantic.

In conventional political thought, Democrats are always trying to make America more European — Higher taxes! Free college! A smaller military! — while Republicans are a passel of cowboys who view Europe as a bunch of socialist libertines.

But, as with much of conventional political thought, this isn’t quite right. And if the Republicans really want to mess with Democrats’ minds, perhaps they should launch a new campaign to make America more like Europe.

[Read the full story here, at  USAToday]

A good place to start would be with the Scandinavian countries that Bernie Sandersoften uses as a model. Sanders’ problem is that the Scandinavia he has in mind is the Scandinavia of the 1970s. Scandinavians today have learned a few things since then, which Bernie seems to have missed.

COLUMBIA, SC - APRIL 25: Potential Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (R) (I-VT) delivers remarks at the South Carolina Democratic Party state convention April 25, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. Sanders joined former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in speaking to the convention. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Swedish pundit Johan Norberg writes: “Sanders is right: America would benefit hugely from modeling her economic and social policies after her Scandinavian sisters. But Sanders should be careful what he wishes for. When he asks for ‘trade policies that work for the working families of our nation and not just the CEOs of large, multi-national corporations,’ Social Democrats in Sweden would take this to mean trade liberalization — which would have the benefit of exposing monopolist fat cats to competition — not the protectionism that Sanders favors. … Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.”

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Likewise, as Charles Lane writes in The Washington Post, Donald Trump’s programs would actually make America more like Denmark. “Actually, the package Trump offers — ‘save Social Security without cuts,’ a vaguely pro-single-payer position on health care, plus temporarily banning Muslims and walling off Mexico — bears an eerie resemblance to the Danish government’s current policy mix.” Read the rest of this entry »


The Ethnic Cleansing of Christians Around the World is One of the Great Crimes of Our Age

Islamist fighters demonstrate with their weapons during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus...Islamist fighters demonstrate with their weapons during their graduation ceremony at a camp in eastern al-Ghouta, near Damascus November 28, 2013. The newly graduated fighters, who went through military training, will operate under the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham brigade. Picture taken November 28. REUTERS/Diaa Al-Din (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY)

Jonathan Sacks writes:  have been in New York these past few days to give a talk at the 9/11 Museum that has been erected on the site where once the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center stood. It is a place of collective grief and remembrance, where the exhibits are fragments of twisted wreckage and the debris of destruction.

Most moving are the memorial fountains that occupy the footprint of the original buildings. Around the side, engraved in bronze, are the names of the almost 3,000 victims. Unlike most other fountains, though, here the water flows downward and in the centre disappears into a black hole, an abyss. The intention was to symbolise lives lost that can never be recovered. No matter how much water flows, the emptiness is never filled.

After the tragedies of the past few days and weeks, however, the memorial seems to have another message also. The violence never ends. Innocent blood continues to flow. Every few days there are more newly bereaved families and yet more tears.

A story is beginning to emerge that becomes clearer over time. Asad Shah, the 40-year-old shopkeeper in Glasgow, was a deeply-loved man who represented all that is good in religious faith. His crime was to wish his Christian friends and customers a happy Easter. He wanted to express gratitude to a Christian nation that had given him and his family a home where he could practise his faith without fear. He was an Amaddiya, member of an Islamic sect regarded by some Muslims as heretical. He was murdered, it seems, not just to silence him but to 41HWvObbQ3L._SL250_intimidate others who might have followed him on the path to religious tolerance. One must not forget that of the hundreds of Muslims dying daily, the majority are at the hands of fellow Muslims.

[Order Lord Sacks’s book “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” from Amazon.co]

The suicide bombings in Lahore are part of a pattern in which Christians have been terrorised across an ever widening swathe of countries across the world. To be sure, the attack was not on a Christian site but a park open to people of all faiths. But the bombers chose to attack at Easter, knowing that many victims would be Christians on their way to or from prayer.

Christians are being persecuted in some 50 countries, among them North Korea, Syria, Somalia and Sudan. In 2003 there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today a few thousand. In Mosul, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, Christians were forced to flee by Islamic State (Isil) in the summer of 2014. In Afghanistan the last church was burned to the ground in 2010. In Gaza in 2007, after the rise of Hamas, the last Christian bookshop was destroyed and its owner murdered. In Yemen, on Good Friday, Father Tom Uzhunnallil, an Indian Catholic priest, was crucified by IsilThe ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the Middle East is one of the crimes against humanity of our time, and I am appalled that there has been little serious international protest.

But the real target is not Christianity but freedom. Nor is this a war. Wars are fought between nations, by armies, and the intended victims are combatants. Terrorists wear no uniforms, and their intended victims are innocent civilians. I for one will never forget the episode two weeks ago on the Ivory Coast where terrorists gunned down a five-year-old child begging for his life.

There have been ages of terror before, but never on this scale, and never with the kind of technology that has given the jihadists the ability to radicalise individuals throughout the world, some acting as lone wolves, others, like the attackers in Paris and Brussels, working in small groups, often involving family members. Read the rest of this entry »


Bahrain Cartoons: Iran & the American Sailors

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via Twitter – @YusufAlJamri via 


‘We Caved’: How Barack Obama’s Idealistic Rhetoric Collided With the Cold Realities of War and Dictatorship in the Middle East

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The persistent problem of how to deal with American-allied strongmen has long tripped up an inflexible president who boasts of his preference for ‘pragmatic solutions’ over moral purity but has been unable to find much of either in the Middle East.

Michael Crowley writes: On a late July day this past summer, a roar filled the sky over Cairo. It was the sound of Barack Obama’s capitulation to a dictator.

Eight new American fighter jets, freshly delivered from Washington, swooped low over the city, F-16s flying in formation. As they banked hard over the city’s center, they trailed plumes of red, white and black smoke—the colors of the Egyptian flag.

“The rhetoric got way ahead of the policymaking. It … raised expectations that everything was going to change.”

— Michael Posner, who served as Obama’s top State Department official for human rights and democracy in his first term

For Egypt’s brutally repressive president, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the spectacle was a triumph, symbolizing not only his militaristic power at home, but also his victory over an American president who had tried to punish him before surrendering to the cold realities of geopolitics.

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“He’s never quite melded his rhetoric with his policies.”

— Dennis Ross, who served as Obama’s top Middle East aide in his first term

Just two years earlier, Sisi had seized power in a military coup, toppling Mohamed Morsi, the democratically elected successor to Hosni Mubarak, himself a strongman of 30 years pushed out in early 2011 by mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. In the summer of 2013, Sisi followed his coup with a brutal crackdown that would have done Saddam Hussein proud. His security forces arrested thousands of people, including much of his political opposition, and in one bloody day that summer, they gunned down some 1,000 pro-Morsi protesters (or more) who were staging peaceful sit-ins. The massacre was shocking even by the standards of Egypt’s long-dismal human rights record.

“It seems like we are swinging back to the idea that we must make a choice between supporting dictators or being safe.”

— Robert Ford, who was Obama’s ambassador to Syria before resigning in frustration over the president’s policy there

Obama was appalled. “We can’t return to business as usual,” he declared after the slaughter. “We have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions that we think run contrary to our values and ideals.”

[Read the full text here, at POLITICO Magazine]

Several weeks later, Obama halted the planned delivery of U.S. military hardware to Cairo, including attack helicopters, Harpoon missiles and several F-16 fighter jets, as well as $260 million in cash transfers. He also cast doubt on the future of America’s $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt—a subsidy on which Cairo depends heavily, and much more than the United States sends to any country in the world aside from Israel.

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But a fierce internal debate soon broke out over whether and how to sanction Egypt further, a fight that many officials told me was one of the most agonizing of the Obama administration’s seven years, as the president’s most powerful advisers spent months engaged in what one called “trench warfare” against each other. It was an excruciating test of how to balance American values with its cold-blooded security interests in an age of terrorism. Some of Obama’s top White House aides, including his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, and the celebrated human rights champion Samantha Power, now U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, urged the president to link further military aid to clear progress by Sisi on human rights and democracy. But Secretary of State John Kerry, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Hagel’s successor, Ash Carter, argued for restoring the aid. Trying to punish Sisi would have little effect on his behavior, they said, while alienating a bulwark against Islamic radicalism in an imploding Middle East. “Egypt was one of the most significant policy divides between the White House and the State Department and the Department of Defense,” says Matthew Spence, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Muslim Group Pegida to Hold Cologne Rally After Mass Sexual Assault 

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Pegida spokesperson says mass sexual assaults at Cologne train station vindicates her group’s call for a freeze on immigrants entering Germany.

The German anti-Muslim group Pegida will hold a rally outside the Cologne train station where dozens of women were sexually assaulted by a group of men on New Year’s Eve.

“Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers said speculation that the attackers were refugees was ‘absolutely inadmissible’”.

Witnesses and police said that the men involved were of Arab or North African appearance. Pegida are looking to capitalize on anti-immigrant fears in the wake of the attacks, and announced on its Facebook page that it will hold a rally on Saturday outside the train station.

“We don’t currently have any suspects, so we don’t know who the perpetrators were,” he said. “All we know is that the police at the scene perceived that it was mostly young men aged 18 to 35 from the Arab or North African region.”

— Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers

Pegida spokesperson Tatjana Festerling said that the attacks vindicated her group’s call for a freeze on immigrants entering Germany.

“They are exactly what we have been warning for over a year,” she told Russia Today.

Pegida supporters rally outside Cologne cathedral in January 2015

Pegida supporters rally outside Cologne cathedral in January 2015

“In Germany, this so-called ‘welcome culture’ is like a religion, and everybody who criticizes uncontrolled flooding with mostly Muslim young men is called a Nazi and has to shut up.”

— Pegida spokesperson Tatjana Festerlin

She claimed that the assaults would rightfully boost anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, as “one cannot blame people that they have become more radical facing this attack on our liberal order”, she said.

“In Germany, this so-called ‘welcome culture’ is like a religion, and everybody who criticizes uncontrolled flooding with mostly Muslim young men is called a Nazi and has to shut up,” she said.

On 31 December, a crowd of around 1,000 men, many of whom were drunk and aggressive, had gathered in the square outside the station and started letting off fireworks. Police eventually evacuated the area because of the risk of injury from the fireworks.

However, gangs of young men soon returned and carried out dozens of attacks and robberies over a number of hours, with little apparent response from the local authorities until well after midnight.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed outrage over the “disgusting attacks” and interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has criticized the police for their handling of the attack.

On 5 January, over 300 people took part in a demonstration against sexual violence outside Cologne station.

“Mrs Merkel, where are you? What do you say? This is scary,” read a sign held by one demonstrator.

Cologne authorities have warned that it is too early to blame immigrants for the attacks, with nobody having yet been arrested or charged in connection with the incident. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Rep ‘Baghdad Jim’ McDermott Retires 

Jim McDermott Retires – Seattle Times

[Also see – Before he reached out to the IRS, Rep. Jim McDermott reached out to Saddam Hussein – spectator.org]

[More – We don’t call him “Baghdad Jim” for nothing – Michelle Malkin]

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REWIND: March 26, 2008, Michelle Malkin writes:

Back in 2002, Stephen Hayes reported on how Baghdad Democrats David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson took a trip to Iraq in the run up to the invasion and followed up with a report on how Saddam’s cash paid for the junkets.

Now, the AP has a new report on the payments:

Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.

An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.

In exchange, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: U.S. Carrier Harry S. Truman Has Close Call With Iranian Rockets

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 and The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman came about 1,500 yards from an Iranian rocket in the Strait of Hormuz last week, two U.S. military officials told NBC News on Tuesday.

As the Truman was transiting the strait, which connects the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards conducted a live-fire exercise right near the U.S. carrier Saturday, officials said.

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Meanwhile, in Hawaii

A U.S. military official said an Iranian navy fast and short attack craft began conducting a live-fire exercise at the same time the carrier was nearing the end of the strait, firing off several unguided rockets. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Buckley and other commercial traffic were also in the area.

[Read the full report here, at NBC News]

The official said the U.S. ships were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, not in any territorial waters, when the Iranian navy announced over maritime radio that it was about to conduct a live-fire exercise and asked other vessels to remain clear. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] There IS an ISIS Recruitment Video Which Features a Prominent American Politician, But It’s Not Donald Trump

isis bill clinton

At the Democratic Party debate on Saturday night, Hillary Clinton falsely claimed that Donald Trump is being used in ISIS recruitment videos.

The media tried to shrug it off, even after the claim was proven false.

There is an ISIS recruitment video which features a prominent American politician, but it’s not Donald Trump. It’s Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton.
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The Islamic State released a recruitment video in late November promising to expand their present caliphate. The video was titled “No Respite”. Read the rest of this entry »


$1.6 Billion Omnibus to Resettle Illegal Immigrants Through 2018

U.S. government data showed that over 10,500 unaccompanied immigrant children crossed the southern border with Mexico.

 reports: A massive appropriations bill expected to be approved by Congress would provide more than $1.6 billion to resettle illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S. border through 2018.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services has begun a process to expand its temporary capacity to house unaccompanied children.”

— Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement

Congress would award the massive check to the government just as the U.S. is experiencing a surge in arrivals of immigrant children at the southern border. Last week, federal agencies said they were opening two temporary shelters with 1,000 beds in South Texas to cope with the surge. A 400-bed shelter is also to be opened in Southern California.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the Department of Health and Human Services has begun a process to expand its temporary capacity to house unaccompanied children,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement last Monday. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Oil Prices Under Pressure, Fall to New Lows


PANTSUIT REPORT: ‘Spinning Up As We Speak’: Email Shows Pentagon Was Ready to Roll as Benghazi Attack Occurred 

Benghazi questions yet unanswered ahead of Clinton testimony.

As the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was unfolding, a high-ranking Pentagon official urgently messaged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s top deputies to offer military help, accordingPANTSUIT-REPORT to an email obtained by Judicial Watch.

The revelation appears to contradict testimony Defense Secretary Leon Panetta gave lawmakers in 2013, when he said there was no time to get forces to the scene in Libya, where four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

“I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton],” reads the email, from Panetta’s chief of staff Jeremy Bash. “After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”

” … we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”

– Jeremy Bash, Pentagon chief of staff

The email was sent out at 7:19 p.m. ET on Sept. 11, 2012, in the early stages of the eight-hour siege that also claimed the lives of Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, private CIA contractors who raced to the aid of embattled State Department workers.

Although the email came after the first wave of the attack at the consulate, it occurred before a mortar strike on the CIA annex killed Woods and Doherty.

“This leaves no doubt military assets were offered and ready to go, and awaiting State Department signoff, which did not come,” Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog said in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama pardons Turkey. Putin does not. #Thanksgiving

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 via Twitter 

 


GLOBAL PANIC UPDATE: Anonymous Says ISIS Planning Attacks in U.S., Paris, Sunday 

Bradford Richardson reports: The hacker collective Anonymous says the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is planning to launch attacks in the U.S., Paris, Indonesia, Italy and Lebanon on non-stop-panic-pearlsSunday.

“All proof was submitted to official authorities all around the globe days ago. They have it and it is their responsibility to do something with it. But because they have not done anything with it yet and it’s almost the 22nd, we have matters into our own hands.”

OpParisIntel, the name of Anonymous’ mission against ISIS, released a statement Saturday saying it had uncovered information regarding new terror plots “on Paris and the world” scheduled for Nov. 22.
A man wears a mask of the Anonymous hacker group as he and other people take part in a protest for the cause of late Chinese dissident Li Wangyang in Hong Kong on June 10, 2012. Li, 62, who spent 22 years in jail for his role in the Tiananmen democracy protests died in allegedly suspicious circumstances in his hospital ward in central China's Hunan province on June 6 by his sister and brother-in-law. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

“The goal is to make sure the whole world, or at least the people going to these events, know that there have been threats and that there is possibility of an attack to happen.”

“All proof was submitted to official authorities all around the globe days ago,” the statement said, as first reported by the International Business Times. “They have it and it is their responsibility to do something with it. But because they have not done anything with it yet and it’s almost the 22nd, we have matters into our own hands.”

“We only take the responsibility of warning civilians (incase the authorities do not act well enough),” the statement added. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Gets Really Angry — at Americans

He could have acknowledged people’s qualms as legitimate and argued at greater length…But that would have meant not taking cheap shots against the political opposition at home — the people who really make him angry.

Michael BaroneBarone-3 writes: Three days after the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans were primed to hear their president express heartfelt anger, which he did in his press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of the G-20 Conference. And they did hear him describe the Islamic State as “this barbaric terrorist organization” and acknowledge that “the terrible events in Paris were a terrible and sickening setback.”

“What really got him angry, as the transcript and videotape make clear, were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against the Islamic State and Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq.”

[Read the full text Michael Barone’s article here, at Washington Examiner]

But what really got him angry, as the transcript and videotape make clear, were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against the Islamic State and Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq. As well as critics of his decision to allow 10,000 Syrians into the United States.

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“The reporters did not seem this time to be absorbing his patient instruction.”

The reporters did not seem this time to be absorbing his patient instruction. The Islamic State “controls less territory than it did before,” he stated — but not much less, and is still holding Iraq’s second largest city and a huge swath of Iraqi and Syrian desert. Our bombs did pulverize the British-born Islamic State beheader. “We’ve obama-incandescentbeen coordinating internationally to reduce their financing capabilities.

“Most Americans want people who behead Americans destroyed considerably sooner than that. They wonder why the world’s greatest military can’t do that.”

Our military could dislodge them, he admitted, but explained that then we’d have to occupy and administer the places we capture. In other words, we’d be facing the kind of messy situations we faced, until the surge strategy he opposed, in Iraq.

But in his self-described goal, “to degrade and ultimately destroy,” the word “ultimately” looms uncomfortable large. Most Americans want people who behead Americans destroyed considerably sooner than that. They wonder why the world’s greatest military can’t do that.

[Read the full text Michael Barone’s article here, at Washington Examiner]

Such action, Obama suggested, might be bad public relations. The Islamic State has “a twisted ideology,” and we play into its “narrative” by treating it as a state and using “routine military tactics.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] REWIND, 2007: President Bush Warns What Would Happen if the U.S. Withdrew from Iraq Too Early


President Faily McWorsethancarter Scolds Governors for Being ‘Scared of Orphans’

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President Obama reportedly phoned home tonight to brief federal officials on the security protocols for resettling Syrian refugees in the United States and assured them that American citizens are safe; however, he took a moment to express his anger with those opposed to accepting refugees, calling them “scared of widows and 3-year-old orphans.”

Here’s a few examples of social media blowback. Read more here.

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Source: twitchy.com


‘Faux Passeport Syrien’: Paris Stadium Attacker Got to Europe Using Fake Syrian Passport 

Greece’s migration minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, during a news conference in Athens on Sunday. Greek authorities say the man posing as Ahmad AlMohammad took a ferry to the port of Piraeus, arriving on Oct. 8, before traveling north through the Balkans. Photo: angelos tzortzinis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

ATHENS — Marcus Walker and Noemie Bisserbe report: Mystery deepened over a Paris attacker who traveled to Europe via Greece and the Balkans, after French officials said Monday that the Syrian passport he had used was indeed a fake.

“Greek authorities on islands such as Leros, Lesbos and Chios have confronted thousands of arrivals every day in recent months as refugees and other migrants make the short sea crossing from Turkey in inflatable boats.”

Authorities in France and Greece have said that fingerprints taken from the remains of a suicide bomber outside France’s national sports stadium, the Stade de France, match the prints of a man who entered Europe via the Aegean island of Leros on Oct. 3.

“Short of staff and equipment, Greek police carry out only a simple procedure that involves taking people’s data and fingerprints, and sometimes asking them a few questions, before giving them permission to travel onward, deeper into Europe.”

Police on Leros registered the man under the identity in the passport he showed them: Ahmad AlMohammad, 25, from Syria. The same passport was found near the man’s body outside the stadium on Friday night.

[Read the full story here, at the WSJ]

Whoever the man was, he posed as one of the many refugees fleeing Syria’s war—including the violence of Islamic State—to enter Europe through its lightly controlled frontier in the Aegean Sea. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Raw: French Jets Takeoff for Raqqa Airstrike

The original video posted here is no longer available. (it appeared here as a broken link) As a substitute, the above video is of fighter jets taking off from France, en route to Raqqa.

Aftermath footage of 30 airstrikes conducted by France targeting the outskirts of IS controlled Raqqa


BREAKING: French Jets Begin Major Airstrikes, Bombing Defacto ISIS Capital of Raqqa, French Defense Ministry Says

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France has launched a series of airstrikes on the ISIL-held Syrian city of Raqqa in the wake of the deadly Paris terror attacks.

The French Defence Ministry says 10 jets dropped 20 bombs on the terror group’s de-facto capital.

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The attack included 12 warplanes.

“The first target destroyed was used by Daesh (another Arabic acronym for IS) as a command post, jihadist recruitment centre and arms and munitions depot,” a ministry statement said.

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“The second held a terrorist training camp.”

The warplanes left for Syria from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, the Ministry said….(read more)

Source: 9news.com,au

mirror.co.uk. reports: France retaliated to the Paris terror attack by launching deadly airstrikes on an Islamic State jihadi training camp in Syria tonight.

Yesterday French president Francois Hollande vowed to crush the extremist group who massacred 129 people on Friday night.

Less than 24 hours later, some 10 fighter jets pummeled the ISIS-held city of Raqqa with at least 20 bombs, according to the French defence ministry.

French President Francois Hollande in the security control room at the Stade de France stadium in Saint-Denis

The jets hit command and control center, jihadi recruitment center, munitions depot and a training camp. AFP/Getty

President Hollande was told his country is under attack while watching France take on Germany in a friendly at the Stade de France.

His bodyguard is seen whispering into Francois Hollande’s ear 15 minutes into watching France take on Germany

Mr Hollande was immediately escorted upstairs to a secure area where he was briefed to the full extent of the situation before being scrambled away to a secure location. Read the rest of this entry »