Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Two dead after Houthis attack Saudi warship

Yemen continues to be one helluva powder keg.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

Two dead after Houthis attack Saudi warship

A Saudi frigate warship has come under a terrorist attack by three suicide boats belonging to Houthi militias while it was on patrol west of Yemen’s Hodeida port.

The command of the coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen confirmed the attack in a statement on Monday and said that the Saudi ship “dealt with the boats as necessary.”

One of the Houthi boats collided with the rear of the Saudi warship, resulting in the explosion of the boat and a fire at the rear of the ship. The crew were able to extinguish the fire but two members of the ship’s crew were killed in the attack while three others were injured and are said to be in stable conditions.

“The Saudi ship has continued its patrol duties in the area of operations, while the air force and the coalition forces' ships continued to chase the fleeing boats to deal with them,” the statement read.

“The command of the coalition asserts that the continuation of the Houthi militias' use of the port of Hodeida as a launching pad for terrorist operations is a serious development that would affect the international navigation and the flow of humanitarian and medical assistance into the port for Yemeni citizens,” the statement added.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Senior AQAP leader killed in US raid in central Yemen

What? No where to run?  No where to hide?

Big downside to this is that America lost one of it's heroes in the raid.  My thoughts and prayers go out to that soldier's family.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

Senior AQAP leader killed in US raid in central Yemen

An American soldier was killed and three more were injured during a raid in central Yemen that killed a senior Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader and 13 other fighters. A number of civilians may have also been killed or wounded in the fighting.

Details of the raid are still emerging. According to Reuters, US special operations forces targeted the home of senior AQAP leader Abdulrauf al Dhahab in the remote district of Yakla. The district is in the central province of Al Baydah, a focal point of US military operations over the past month. Officials told the wire service that warplanes struck Abdulrauf’s home, then US troops descended from helicopters and clashed with local fighters. American helicopters destroyed other homes as the fighting intensified and the troops withdrew.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed the raid against al Qaeda and said that 14 AQAP fighters and one US soldier were killed during the raid. Three more troops were wounded in the fighting, and another soldier was injured as a helicopter had to make a “hard landing.”

The reason for the helicopter crash was not disclosed. CENTCOM said that the helicopter was “intentionally destroyed in place” because it could not fly. AQAP claimed that “the mujahideen shot down an American Apache,” according to a statement obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group.

During the raid on Adbulrauf’s home, according to CENTCOM, American forces seized “information that will likely provide insight into the planning of future terror plots.”

AQAP has vacillated on its reports of civilian casualties. The group first claimed: “Only women and children were killed in the raid together with some tribal leaders who have no connections to Al-Qaedah.” Then AQAP confirmed that Abdulrauf was killed in the raid and described him as a “martyr” and “holy warrior,” Reuters reported. Yemeni officials claimed civilians, including 10 women and three children, were among 30 people killed.

According to jihadi social media sites, the eight year-old daughter of Anwar al Awlaki, a radical cleric who was killed by the US in 2011, was among those killed. Jihadis affiliated with AQAP released a graphic photo set purportedly showing the bodies of multiple children and other civilians killed during the operation.

The raid in central Yemen is the first of its kind by US forces since 2014, when US special operations soldiers attempted to free hostages held by the terror group.

The US has stepped up its targeting of AQAP in Al Baydah province, which has become a hub for AQAP. All five American strikes that have been reported against AQAP in Yemen this year have taken place in the province. Seven of the last nine strikes reported since the end of Nov. 2016 have occurred in Al Baydah. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Charting the data for US airstrikes in Yemen, 2002 – 2017.]

Abdulrauf al Dhahab’s family members have been key players in AQAP

Abdulrauf has been on the radar of US intelligence in the past. The US has targeted Abdulrauf, whose family has held key positions within AQAP, at least one time in the past five years. On Sept. 9, 2012, a US drone targeted him as he was traveling in a car near the town of Rada in Al Baydah. He survived the strike. [See Threat Matrix report, US drones targeted local AQAP leader in Yemen.]

Abdulrauf’s brothers – Tariq, Kaid, and Nabil – have all held key leadership positions within AQAP. The Dhahabs were brothers-in-law of Anwar al Awlaki, the US citizen who served as a senior al Qaeda operational commander and ideologue.

Tariq seized control of Rada in Jan. 2012. He released a videotape in which he swore allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri and al Qaeda, saying “the Islamic Caliphate is coming.” His fighters flew the terror group’s banner over the town’s citadel. In Feb. 2012, Tariq abdicated control of Rada to local tribal leaders, including his brother Hazam, after they threatened to launch an offensive to retake the town. Later that month, Hazam killed Tariq. Tariq’s followers then retaliated and killed Hazam.

After Tariq’s death, Kaid and Nabil took control of AQAP’s operations in Al Baydah province. They were targeted by a US drone strike on May 28, 2012, but survived.

Kaid served as AQAP’s emir for Al Baydah after the death of Tariq and established a training camp for the terror group. The US killed Kaid in a drone strike in Aug. 2013 in Al Baydah.

The US killed Nabil, who became the emir for Al Baydah after Kaid’s death, in a Nov. 2014 drone strike. The bombing also killed Shawki Ali Ahmed al Badani, an AQAP leader who was involved in the 2013 plot that forced the US to close more than one dozen diplomatic facilities across the world [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Wanted AQAP leader involved in embassies plot, provincial emir killed in US drone strike.]

The US military has justified strikes and raids against AQAP by stating that the group remains a significant threat to America and its allies. AQAP has plotted multiple attacks agains the US, including sophisticated attempts to blow up airliners.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Is US ‘terror tag’ likely for Muslim Brotherhood?

I, for one, would like to know WHAT Trump advisors are advising AGAINST the Muslim Brotherhood being designated as a terrorist group.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

Is US ‘terror tag’ likely for Muslim Brotherhood?

A debate is under way in the Trump administration about whether the United States should declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization and subject it to US sanctions, according to US officials and people close to President Donald Trump’s transition team.

A faction led by Michael Flynn, Trump’s National Security Advisor, wants to add the Brotherhood to the State Department and US Treasury lists of foreign terrorist organizations, the sources said. “I know it has been discussed. I’m in favor of it,” said a Trump transition advisor, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The advisor said Flynn’s team discussed adding the group to the US list of terrorist groups but said it was ultimately unclear when or even if the administration ultimately would go ahead with such a move.

Other Trump advisors, as well as many veteran national security, diplomatic, law enforcement and intelligence officials argue the Brotherhood has evolved peacefully in some countries, according to officials and people close to Trump’s entourage. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the country’s oldest Islamist movement, was designated as a terrorist organization in that country in 2013.

It is not clear which faction within the US administration has the upper hand, and Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Mario Diaz-Balart this month introduced legislation to add the Brotherhood to the terrorist list. There was no immediate comment from the White House.
Mixed record

Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, described the Brotherhood an “an agent of radical Islam”, during his Senate confirmation hearing.

US criminal law prohibits people in the United States from knowingly providing “material support” to designated terrorist organizations, and members of such groups are banned from entering the United States. Some conservative and anti-Muslim activists have argued for years that the Brotherhood has been a breeding ground for terrorists.

Some branches of the Brotherhood, including the Palestinian group Hamas, have engaged in anti-government violence and provoked violent government reactions. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda, was once a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

Sisi and Trump spoke by phone this week and the two leaders discussed ways to boost the fight against terrorism and extremism. A US official who declined to be identified told Reuters there had been discussions at the State Department which looked at intelligence and information on the group in which it was thought “it would be difficult to justify legally, in terms of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, to meet the criteria”.

“It’s one thing to say one group’s ideology has been used to influence a terrorist organization and another thing to say that this group is a terrorist organization,” said the US official.

A British government review into Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood published in December 2015 concluded that membership of or links to the political group should be considered a possible indicator of extremism but stopped short of recommending that it should be banned.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Netanyahu hopeful world's attitudes toward Iran will change because of Trump

I truly hope this partnership between Trump and Israel blossoms - it's way past time that the so-called palestinians were relegated to oblivion.

The story comes from The Jerusalem Post.

Netanyahu hopeful world's attitudes toward Iran will change because of Trump

In a speech made at Yad Vashem a day prior to International Holocaust Memorial Day, Netanyahu addressed the Iranian threat and pointed to the new American president as a strong ally.

The world's attitude toward Iran is likely to change with US President Donald Trump in the White House, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated on Thursday during a speech at Yad Vashem to the diplomatic corps in Israel.

The prime minister, during an address marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day which is commemorated around the world on January 27, said that even as antisemitism is on the rise in Europe, the greatest hatred of the Jewish people and the Jewish state comes from the East.

“It comes from Iran,” he said. “It comes from the ayatollah regime that is fanning these flames and calling outright for the destruction of the Jewish state. ”

This is the second time in a week that Netanyahu has made public comments regarding the Iranian threat, after an extended period when this was not at the center of his public remarks.

On Saturday night, just a day after Trump's inauguration and in what appeared to be an effort to put the issue back on the international agenda just as Trump took office, Netanyahu posted a video on social media saying he planned to speak with the new president “about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime, which calls for Israel's destruction.”

He picked up on this theme at Yad Vashem.

“I want you to think about a regime that openly declared its intention to eliminate every black person, every gay person, every European. I think the entire world would be outraged, and rightly so,” he said.

“But when a regime [Iran] merely calls to wipe out every Israeli – which is what they say day in day out, their most prominent leaders, they say it – what do we encounter? A deafening silence.”

Now, he said, this may change.

“I hope it will change. I believe it will change,” he said. “Because I spoke a few days ago to President Trump and he spoke about the Iranian aggression. He spoke about Iran's commitment to destroy Israel. He spoke about the nature of this nuclear agreement and the danger it poses. We spoke about it together.”

Netanyahu and former president Barack Obama were at loggerheads for years over the Iranian issue.

Netanyahu said that he will not be silent in the face of those saying they want to destroy the Jewish people or Jewish state.

“I haven't been silent, and we don't intend to be inactive either,” he said. “We don't merely intend to speak out but we will take all the measures we need to defend ourselves, and we will take all the measures necessary to prevent Iran from getting the means of mass murder to carry out their horrible plans. ”

Netanyahu noted that “the regime that spawned the Holocaust ended up in the dustbin of history,” saying that this is a lesson for Iran and all enemies of the Jewish people and the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, the United Nations will hold a special ceremony in the General Assembly on Friday to mark the day. The ceremony will include speeches by the new Secretary General of the UN António Guterres; the President of the GA Peter Thomson; Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon; and the Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN Michele Sison.

The keynote speech of the event will be delivered by Auschwitz camp survivor Noah Klieger, who has dedicated his life to educating the next generations about the horrors of the Holocaust.

"The UN must take a leading role in combating antisemitism and preserving the memory of the Holocaust," Danon said. "The members of the UN must all pledge to speak out against hate and never allow the parliament of nations to become a platform for the promotion of intolerance.”

Last week, Guterres spoke at an annual Saturday morning service in memory of the victims of the Holocaust at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue and told worshipers he would be on the front lines of denouncing antisemitism and condemning all forms of expressions of it. He also pledged to work so “the Holocaust will never be forgotten.”

“Antisemitism is not a quest about religion, but a manifestation of racism,” the secretary-general stated.

He added that he is troubled by the “new forms and expressions” of hatred against Jews, which shows that “antisemitism is alive and well.”

Thursday, January 26, 2017

So, Who You Gonna Ship Your Next Package With? FedEx or UPS?

Video: So Portland Protester Pussy, How's That Traffic Blocking Maneuver Working?

Finally, America Has a President Who Appreciates India

You know, when you consider all of the damn issues America has had with every effing Muslim country on this planet, you would think that every U.S. President's closest friend, strongest ally would be India who struggles with Islamic terror just as bad.  But hell no, Barack Hussein Obama treated India like shit. 

Well, that is achangin' folks!  And it's about damn time.

The story comes from DAWN.

Modi vows to work closely with US after Trump invite

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged Wednesday to work closely with Donald Trump after the new US president invited him to Washington, looking to ensure an upturn in ties survives a change at the White House.

After their first phone call since Trump's inauguration, the leaders of the world's two largest democracies both indicated they had had a warm conversation and extended mutual invitations to their respective capitals.

But while both leaders share similar backgrounds as establishment outsiders, analysts say their two governments could clash on issues such as trade and visas for Indians wanting to work in the United States.

Statements issued after Tuesday night's phone call indicated both men are keen to build on the recent improvement in ties that began under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

Writing on Twitter, Modi said he “had a warm conversation” with the new US president and they had “agreed to work closely in the coming days to further strengthen our bilateral ties”.

“Have also invited President Trump to visit India,” Modi added after the White House revealed Washington had extended a similar invitation.

Modi, a Hindu nationalist, was effectively barred from the United States for years after deadly communal riots in the western state of Gujarat during his time as chief minister. Most of those killed were Muslims.

But after his landslide election victory, Modi built a strong rapport with Obama who became the first sitting US president to pay a second visit to India during the 2015 Republic Day celebrations.

A surprisingly convivial conversation in November between Trump and Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif caused alarm within Modi's administration which has been portraying its rival regime in Islamabad as the “mothership of terrorism”.
'True friend'

But during the call, Trump emphasised the United States “considers India a true friend and partner in addressing challenges around the world,” according to a White House readout of the call.

“The two discussed opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and India in broad areas such as the economy and defense.

“President Trump looked forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in the United States later this year.”

Several commentators have argued that Modi and Trump should have a natural affinity as political outsiders who have risen to power in part by castigating the traditional ruling elite on a nationalist platform.

Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon described Modi's victory in India's 2014 general election as the first phase in a “global revolt” against the existing order that culminated with Trump's victory in November.

But in a speech last week, Modi castigated “rising parochial and protectionist attitudes” which was interpreted as a dig at Trump who has vowed to put “America first” as his governing mantra.

Modi's flagship “Make In India” policy is designed to fire up his country's manufacturing sector and ramp up exports, a goal that appears at odds with Trump's protectionist instincts.

Major US firms such as Walmart and Apple have in turn grown frustrated by the regulations and tariffs imposed by Indian authorities as they seek to crack what is a potentially massive market.

Rajrishi Singhal, a Mumbai-based geopolitical analyst, said other potential problem areas included Trump's reservations over an existing visa scheme allowing high-skilled foreign workers into the US.

“There are also issues with the pharma industry -- the US thinks our patent regime is too lenient -- and the US wants access to the Indian agriculture market,” he told AFP.

“These issues have been on the boil for the last few years. It won't result in a trade war right away as the leaders will gauge each other first. Later, maybe a year down the line, we will have to see.”

During his election campaign, Trump courted Indian-American voters and even released a campaign advertisement in Hindi for Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights -- albeit in a thick US accent.

The new president's hardline rhetoric towards Muslims during his campaign found favour in some quarters in India, which has had its fair share of tensions between the majority Hindu population and its Muslim minority.

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, editor of India's Economic and Political Weekly, said there were “uncanny similarities” between Modi and Trump who both “have scant regard for the minorities and the media”.

“They are two highly polarising figures,” he added.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen: We Have a New Entrant In The Dumbest American Woman Contest

Islamic State offensive against Assad regime cuts city of Deir Ezzor in two

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

Islamic State offensive against Assad regime cuts city of Deir Ezzor in two

On Jan. 15, the Islamic State launched a new offensive in Deir Ezzor. The eastern Syrian city has been divided between the so-called caliphate and Bashar al Assad’s regime since July 2014. In the two and half years since, the jihadists and Assad’s loyalists have regularly clashed, leading to an ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The situation has become even more dire in recent days. Despite fighting on multiple fronts throughout Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State was able to muster enough forces for a significant push into the city.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s men have “effectively cut the besieged enclave in two.” Deir Ezzor’s airport and two neighborhoods in the east have been cut off from the city’s more populous western neighborhoods.

An OCHA map of the current situation in Deir Ezzor can be seen above.

An estimated 93,500 people, “including over 40,000 children,” live in the parts of the city controlled by the Assad regime. The Islamic State’s prolonged siege has deprived them of “regular access to food, medicines and other essentials” since mid-2014. For months, humanitarian organizations delivered provisions and foodstuffs “through high altitude air drops.” But the Islamic State’s new assault on Deir Ezzor has made that impossible, according to OCHA, as the jihadis have taken “control of the drop-zone which is located three kilometers west of the airport.” The offensive has only exacerbated the ongoing crisis, with regular shortages in the supply of food, water, medicines, electricity and other necessary items.

Islamic State propaganda from the offensive

The Islamic State frequently clashes with the Assad regime, as well as allied militias and conscripts, in Deir Ezzor.

Amaq News Agency, one of the Islamic State’s chief propaganda outlets, has eagerly advertised the exchanges, using captured regime fighters and militiamen in its videos. The captives are often made to renounce the Assad regime. Amaq has also provided a steady stream of other videos and images, including clips of the jihadis using anti-tank weapons against regime tanks and other assets.

An infographic produced by Amaq in early January listed 1,112 “martyrdom operations” (suicide attacks) in Iraq and Syria throughout 2016. Thirty-six (36) of these bombings supposedly took place in Deir Ezzor province. Although suicide bombers are deployed more regularly in other areas of Syria, Deir Ezzor was still tied with Raqqa for the third most frequently targeted province. Only the Aleppo (150) and Hasakah (49) provinces witnessed more suicide bombings, according to Amaq.

Amaq has published numerous videos and photos from the recent offensive. On Jan. 16, the propaganda outlet said that the jihadis had captured key positions “west of the Deir Ezzor airbase,” destroying a bus that was “transporting troops and three other vehicles” during the battle. The airbase quickly came under siege from “all sides,” according to Amaq, and approximately 40 Syrian troops were killed during the early hours of the fighting.

On Jan. 18, Amaq announced that Islamic State fighters had captured “the electrical substation, its checkpoint” and a plaza “northwest of the airbase.” This was reportedly followed by advances on “the Syrian army field hospital,” and other key points. An Amaq video contained footage from inside the hospital, a crude facility with pockmarks from mortar shells and other ammunition scattered throughout the walls.

Other Amaq statements on Jan. 19 and Jan. 20 claimed that the jihadis have destroyed a “field artillery piece” and a tank belonging to the Syrian regime.

Russian warplanes have run bombing missions over the city in support of the Syrian Army, as well as the irregulars who have been pressed into service. An Amaq video released on Jan. 21 purportedly showed the destruction caused by the Russian bombings, with buildings reduced to rubble. A screen shot from the video can be seen above.

Continuous fighting between Islamic State, Assad regime in Deir Ezzor

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has published regular reports on the fighting in and around Deir Ezzor since 2014. But the Islamic State’s offensive in the city appears to be its most significant effort in the area since early 2016.

During a press briefing on Jan. 29, 2016, Colonel Steve Warren, who was then the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), discussed the Islamic State’s operations in Deir Ezzor.

Col. Warren said that the city was “split” between the Islamic State and the regime, with each controlling about 50 percent. The jihadists had been “battling regime forces” for some time, Warren noted, but used “the cover a sandstorm” to gain ground in “single neighborhood.” This temporarily increased the Islamic State’s control “from 50 percent to maybe 56 percent,” but the Assad regime “gained some of it back when the weather cleared and they were able to bring some air power to bear.” In Warren’s view, the Islamic State’s short-lived gains did not amount to a “major tactical event.” Other accounts claimed that the jihadis massacred civilians and Syrian forces during the Jan. 2016 raid.

The two sides continued to clash in and around Deir Ezzor in the year since.

During a press briefing on Aug. 16, 2016, Colonel Christopher Garver, another OIR spokesman, confirmed that the city was still “divided.” The Islamic State had been in the city for “many months” at that point, with the US flying missions against the group both inside Deir Ezzor and in the area around it. The US and its allies had “certainly attacked a lot of the oil infrastructure…outside of Deir Ezzor and in that area,” Garver said. Meanwhile, the Islamic State and the Syrian Army had “been fighting over that city for quite a long time.”

The Islamic State has earned significant oil revenues from wells outside of Deir Ezzor city. And as Garver explained, the oil fields have been a frequent American target. The US has continued to bomb oil wells and related infrastructure even as the jihadis surged in the city this month.

The US air campaign in Deir Ezzor led to an international incident in Sept. 2016, when American bombers mistakenly struck fighters allied with the Syrian regime. According to the Defense Department, the Americans believed they were bombing Islamic State positions, an indication of just how close the front lines between the two sides were at the time. Indeed, the two foes have been at each other’s throats in Deir Ezzor for two and a half years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Women's March: "My Body. My Choice. Except My Clitoris Which Is All Yours Islam"

'Dump Trump': Thousands join global march (also known as MarchoftheLesMiserables)


Lord knows the Europeans know a good leader when they see one - remember when Obama went to Germany?  The people lined up for days to see the Boy Wonder.  Took 'em about six months to figure out the guy was just another Marxist elitist like every one of THEIR damn politicians.

By the way, when are the "DUMP ISIS" marches going to start?  

The story comes from DAWN.

'Dump Trump': Thousands join global march

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London, Paris and other cities across the world chanting “dump Trump” in solidarity with US protesters, a day after America's new president was inaugurated.

In London, a largely female crowd, which also had many men and children, packed a Trafalgar Square rally in solidarity with women-led demonstrations throughout the United States.

“Our Rights Are Not For Grabs — Neither Are We” were among the banners held aloft, along with “We shall overcomb” and “Make bigotry wrong again”.

Hannah Bryant, a 34-year-old museum worker, brought her four-year-old daughter — both of them wearing the bright pink “pussy hats” worn by US demonstrators.

“I've been teaching her about equality and prejudice,” she said.

“It's a feeling of solidarity — not in our name,” said Jill Pickering, a 56-year-old American student.

“I'm angry — I didn't vote for Trump.”

Organisers said 100,000 attended the London march, although there was no independent verification as police do not give an estimate.

In Paris, at least 2,000 people gathered near the Eiffel Tower, holding up banners that read “liberty, equality, sorority”, in a reference to France's national motto.

“I am here for women and for all minorities because Trump is a threat to all humanity,” said a US national Kendra Wergin, who is in her mid-30s.

Andreia Rossi, a 39-year-old Brazilian, told AFP she was taking part “because I am a woman, but also because I want to protest against everything Trump represents.”

She added: “It's very dangerous, he has lied to all those who voted for him, and that can happen in France too.”

Right-wing populists and nationalist groups in France and elsewhere in Europe have been emboldened by Trump's victory as well as by Britain's vote last year to leave the European Union.

While Trump won 42 per cent of the women's vote in the US, many worry that gender rights and other progress on women's health, contraception and abortion could be chipped away.
'Bridges not walls'

In Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Geneva too, protesters were enraged by Trump's derogatory remarks on women.

“We are here for women and for human rights,” one of a large contingent of American expatriate women told SkyTG24 news channel in Rome.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Video of the Day: “ Like a Vir....Felon "


Trump tells CIA ‘evil ISIS’ to be eradicated

There's a rumor in the Arab world that America has a new President....

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

Trump tells CIA ‘evil ISIS’ to be eradicated

New US President Donald Trump told the CIA they will eradicate “evil ISIS” together in an impassioned speech to around 300 members of the intelligence community on Saturday,

Trump told the CIA it had his full support as he paid a visit to mend fences after publicly rejecting its assessment that Russia tried to help him win the US election.

"I am with you 1,000 percent," Trump said in a short address to CIA staff after his visit to the agency headquarters in Virginia.

In his first full day in office, Trump moved swiftly to confront simmering tensions left by US intelligence findings that Russia interfered in the US election to try to tip the outcome in Trump's favor.

"I love you, I respect you," he told members of the US intelligence community.

"We're all on the same wavelength, right?" he asked, referring in particular to the fight against ISIS.

"We have not used the real abilities that we have. We've been restrained. We have to get rid of ISIS."

Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick to lead the CIA, has not yet been confirmed by the US Senate.

A 53-year-old Republican lawmaker, Pompeo is considered a foreign policy hawk and was an ardent opponent of former president Barack Obama's administration.

Outgoing CIA director John Brennan had stern words for Trump last Sunday, saying he needed to be more "disciplined" in his public comments.

"I don't think he has a full appreciation of Russian capabilities, Russia's intentions and actions," Brennan said of Trump on Fox News Sunday.

Trump, likening US intelligence to Nazis, suggested Brennan himself may have leaked an unsubstantiated report that the Russians had gathered damaging salacious personal information about him.

The intelligence agencies had given both Trump and Obama a summary of the dossier, which later was published in full by BuzzFeed.

Brennan said the US intelligence chiefs considered it their responsibility to make Trump aware that it was in circulation.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Photo of the Day: The Women's March In One Easy Lesson

American B-52 Sends 100 al Qaeda in Syria Off On a Virgin Search

I'd like to think that Obama's last order to release 100 al Qaeda from Gitmo was miscontrued by the incoming Department of Defense under Maddog Mattis.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

US kills more than 100 al Qaeda operatives in strike on Syrian training camp

Last evening, the US military killed more than 100 al Qaeda fighters in an airstrike on a training camp in Syria. The US has launched five attacks against al Qaeda’s network in Syria since the beginning of 2017.

A B-52 bomber and a number of remotely piloted aircraft, more commonly known as drones, were involved in the strike, US officials told The Associated Press. It is unclear if any senior al Qaeda leaders were killed.

The Pentagon later released a statement confirming the attack, and said it targeted the “Shaykh Sulayman Training Camp”, which “was operational since at least 2013.” It is unclear why the Pentagon allowed this camp to operate for more than 3 years before targeting it.

“The removal of this training camp disrupts training operations and discourages hardline Islamist and Syrian opposition groups from joining or cooperating with al Qaeda on the battlefield,” the Pentagon said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that last evening an “unidentified drone” targeted “Regiment 111,” a base in western Aleppo near the border of Idlib province, near the town of Shaykh Sulayman. Regiment 111 is controlled by Jabhat Fatah al Sham, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria that was formally known as the Al Nusrah Front, and Nur al Din al Zanki, a group allied with JFS. The Observatory later reported that 40 JFS fighters and three Nur al Din al Zanki fighters were killed. The strike described by the military and the one by the Observatory do appear to be one and the same.

The Pentagon has stepped up its targeting of al Qaeda and Jabhat Fatah al Sham. Last evening’s strike is the fifth against al Qaeda’s network in Syria since the beginning of the month. At the beginning of January, more than 20 al Qaeda operatives were killed in a pair of airstrikes in Syria. On Jan. 1, US warplanes hit a convoy of al Qaeda operatives as they left a headquarters near Sarmada. The Pentagon estimated that five fighters were killed.

Two days later, on Jan. 3, the Pentagon estimated that it killed more than 15 al Qaeda personnel when it targeted multiple buildings and vehicles in the Sarmada headquarters. Among those reported killed were Abu Khattab al-Qahtani, another al Qaeda veteran who is said to have fought in Afghanistan and Yemen, and Abu Omar al-Turkistani, a senior member in the al Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party who is reported to have served as a leader in JFS. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Pentagon: Airstrikes kill 20 or more al Qaeda fighters in northern Syria.]

Yesterday, the Pentagon announced that two al Qaeda leaders were killed in bombings in Syria on Jan. 12 and Jan. 17. Among those killed were Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi, who was described as an external operations leader, and Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, an al Qaeda veteran of Afghanistan and Syria who was trained by the Taliban and supported attacks against the West. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, US kills al Qaeda facilitator and external ops planner in Syrian airstrikes.]

The US military has targeted al Qaeda’s cadre in Syria since September 2014, and has killed multiple high profile leaders over the past several years. However, the Islamic State has been the focus of the vast majority of the 6,647 Coalition airstrikes in Syria as of Jan. 19, 2017, according to Operation Inherent Resolve. With five strikes against al Qaeda in Syria already over the past 20 days, the US military may be signaling that the global jihadist group will get more attention over the coming months.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

To Our Men and Women In Blue Who Serve and Protect

The Latest: Hillary Lost Election Because She Didn't Pander To Muslims In Dearborn

And now, from completely out in left field, we have the Pakistani Muslim analysis of the U.S. Presidential election results...

Oh, and the Pakistanis even get in a little threat to America's NEW President...

So Trump didn’t win in the heart of Arab America because its people voted for him. He won because they didn’t vote for Clinton. And that was her fault. Later, I suspect, the Middle East will reach out and grab Trump by his collar and shake him badly — it always does that to US presidents. Then he’ll wish he, too, had spent a bit of time in Dearborn.

From DAWN.

A Trump presidency could have been avoided if Clinton had listened to Arab-Americans

IF only Hillary had thought about the Arabs. They might have brought her a lot closer to the presidency if she’d taken the trouble of going to the largest Arab community in America, the predominantly Lebanese-Iraqi city of Dearborn, Michigan. Its streets are lined with Lebanese restaurants and cedar tree flags and they are proud Americans but — against the best advice of her own regional organising director in the city — Hillary Clinton didn’t bother with them.

Nicholas Noe was Hillary’s senior man in Michigan, the beating heart of 186,000 residents who claim Arab ancestry. Noe also lives in Beirut where he runs Middle East Wire, which translates the Arab media, and writes long — sometimes over-wordy but often all too accurate — analyses of the Arab world.

“We lost Michigan with its 16 electoral votes — and we lost it by a little more than 10,000 votes,” Noe says. “We were never able to get Hillary herself in front of the Arab community to listen to them. She went to Detroit but she never came to see this community — even though she was nearby”.

It’s easy to think that Hillary, whose sense of entitlement never stopped her currying up to the wealthiest or most powerful lobby groups in Washington and New York, was frightened of offending the pro-Israeli lobby and thus avoided Dearborn and its residents’ questions on “Palestine” and Israel. But so far as Noe is concerned, “most pundits believed that Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric would be sufficient to give the Arab-American vote to Hillary — but they needed to hear from the candidate herself.”

The would-be US president made similar mistakes in the other swing states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where she failed to address white working class or African-American voters. Even Bill Clinton was urging her to speak to the communities there that had serious social problems. Some of Clinton’s campaign workers — including Noe and his colleagues — partly blame a computer algorithm called ADA (of which more later, readers!) which supposedly knew how to parse opinions, guess voting patterns, deploy the candidate and run 400,000 electoral race simulations a day — according to The Washington Post — but which wasn’t very good at working out how poor people feared for their future or what Arab-Americans thought about their country’s role in the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton’s supporters in Michigan knew they had a problem when Bernie Sanders pulled off the electoral primary and beat Clinton by 17,000 votes in March 2016. More important still, Bernie won the Arab-American majority districts by two-to-one.

“That was a huge turnout in Bernie’s favour,” Noe says. “So we knew we had a problem. In the months between then and the presidential, I led an effort to register new Arab-American votes in and around Dearborn. Our problem was that we registered a lot of voters who failed to turn out in the kind of numbers that would have put Clinton over the top.”

For the first time in its history, The Arab American News, the largest newspaper of its kind in the area, refused to endorse a presidential candidate. Noe’s interpretation was simple: “It wasn’t just the policies of Hillary Clinton they had a problem with. She never engaged with the community — she took the Arab-American vote for granted because of Trump. A whole lot of Arab-Americans were not convinced by this approach. When I tell people back in Lebanon now that we failed to get those 10,000 votes from the Lebanese and Iraqis in Dearborn, they laugh. Because if you listen to these people’s concerns, if you engage community leaders and then you mobilise a modest number of extended families, they will vote on election day.”

Not the least of their problems — real ones which I’ve witnessed for myself at American airports when they’ve joined the queues for boarding — is the treatment they receive from security staff when they’re flying, their origin immediately drawing suspicion — even though they are full American citizens.

“I worked for Hillary in 1999 and 2000 when she won the Senate race,” Noe remarks. “She spent a month on a ‘listening tour’, listening to residents. But when it came to the Arab-American vote in this election, there was no ‘listening tour’ on the cards. They didn’t hear from the candidate herself.”

Now to ADA.

Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace, a 19th-century English mathematician and the only legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, is regarded as the first computer programmer. The Clinton campaign named their top-secret computer algorithm after Ada — which could have burnished Hillary’s feminist credentials among the few who knew about the wretched machine, but whose results may also have cost her the presidency. It picked up the importance of Pennsylvania, according to the Post, but missed out on Michigan until the end — when Clinton still didn’t visit Dearborn — and lost out on Wisconsin.

“It crunched the data about Arab Americans, blacks and working class people,” says Noe, “and told the Clinton campaigners where to put resources. Artificial intelligence was going to win a presidential campaign for the first time. It rejected advice from people like me to urge the candidate to devote resources to Dearborn.”

So Trump didn’t win in the heart of Arab America because its people voted for him. He won because they didn’t vote for Clinton. And that was her fault. Later, I suspect, the Middle East will reach out and grab Trump by his collar and shake him badly — it always does that to US presidents. Then he’ll wish he, too, had spent a bit of time in Dearborn.

Video: These People WILL Pay

Friday, January 20, 2017

January 20, 2017 - The End of Tyranny

Today, the King is Dead.

The Devil's spawn no longer breathes
Descending angels and fallen kings
Raise your hands, what do you hold?
The Devil's bleeding crown!
(Volbeat, The Devil's Bleeding Crown)



Video: When Snowflakes Explode

(Hat Tip: Kristophr @Sondrakistan.com Comments)


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Just Who ARE These Fellas That Barack Obama Is Letting Out of Gitmo?

Leave it to The Long War Journal to inform the American public just what kind of threat, what kind of stain on humanity that Barack Hussein Obama is releasing from Gitmo.

America's Worst President.


Guantanamo detainee selected for aborted 9/11 hijacking transferred to Oman

The Defense Department has released a list of ten now former Guantanamo detainees who were transferred to Oman earlier this week. One of them is Mohammed Al Ansi, a Yemeni who was captured in northern Pakistan in late 2001 and transferred to the detention facility in Cuba in Jan. 2002.

US authorities repeatedly found that Ansi (seen on the right) may have been selected to take part in an aborted part of the 9/11 hijackings.

Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) concluded in a leaked threat assessment, dated May 17, 2008, that Ansi “swore bayat (oath of allegiance) to” Osama bin Laden “and received specialized close combat training for his role as a suicide operative in an aborted component of the 11 September 2001 al Qaeda attacks.”

Another version of the allegation was included in a summary prepared by the Obama administration for the Periodic Review Board (PRB) process at Guantanamo.

“Judging from other detainee statements and corroborating information,” the Oct. 14, 2015 summary reads, Ansi “participated in advanced combat training and may have met with al Qaeda external operations chief Khalid Shaykh Mohammed … in Karachi and been considered for participation in a suicide attack or deployment in the West.”

Al Qaeda originally considered hijacking US airliners leaving from airports in Southeast Asia as part of the 9/11 plot. But bin Laden reportedly canceled this part of the operation because he thought it would be difficult to coordinate the additional hijackings.

According to the US government’s files, one of the ringleaders for the canceled 9/11 hijackings was Walid Bin Attash, a senior al Qaeda operative who helped plot the Oct. 2000 USS Cole bombing. Bin Attash allegedly performed surveillance on American airliners operating in Southeast Asia. After his part of the plot was called off, Bin Attash turned his attention to other al Qaeda plans.

Bin Attash, who is currently held at Guantanamo, fingered Ansi and three other detainees as would-be participants in the airliner plot. Leaked threat assessments prepared by JTF-GTMO, as well as files prepared for the detainees’ PRB hearings, link all four of them to the initial plan. Two of them were previously transferred by the Obama administration. Abdul Rahman Shalabi, a Saudi, was transferred to his home country on Sept. 22, 2015. Abd al Malik Abd al Wahab, a Yemeni, was transferred to Montenegro on June 22, 2016.

Only the fourth detainee identified by Bin Attash as being part of the plot, a Yemeni named Zuhail Abdo Anam Said al Sharabi, remains in US custody at Guantanamo. A summary prepared for Sharabi’s PRB hearing notes that he traveled to Malaysia, where he stayed with Bin Attash and two of the 9/11 hijackers. Sharabi apparently denied this allegation during questioning, but also described the pair of 9/11 hijackers as “martyrs.” JTF-GTMO’s analysts found that Sharabi’s trip to Malaysia with Bin Attash was ordered by Osama bin Laden himself as “part of the pre-planning for the hijacking plot.” The pair stayed at the home of Hambali, a notorious al Qaeda leader in Southeast Asia who is also still detained at Guantanamo.

Bin Attash told authorities that, just two months prior to 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) took the four (including Ansi), as well as two others, “to Karachi to teach them English language and American culture.”

Bodyguards for Osama bin Laden

Ansi, Shalabi, and Wahab were all captured on Dec. 15, 2001, as they crossed the Afghan border into Pakistan. All three were assessed to be bodyguards for Osama bin Laden. They were captured after allegedly fleeing the Battle of Tora Bora. The group they belonged to was dubbed the “Dirty 30” by US intelligence. Its most infamous member is Mohammed al Qahtani, who was slated to take part in the 9/11 hijackings, but was denied entry into the US in the summer of 2001.

JTF-GTMO found that Sharabi was also a bodyguard for bin Laden, but he was detained separately during a raid in Karachi in Feb. 2002. A senior al Qaeda facilitator and more than one dozen other al Qaeda fighters were captured alongside him.

Deemed “high” risks and denied transfer for years

JTF-GTMO deemed all four of the conspirators, including Ansi, “high” risks to the US, its interests and allies. As of 2008, JTF-GTMO also recommended that they remain in continued detention.

President Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, which finished its work in Jan. 2010, agreed with JTF-GTMO’s recommendations. The task force concluded that Ansi, Shalabi, and Wahab should remain in US custody under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), because they were too dangerous to transfer but prosecution was considered infeasible. Sharabi was referred for prosecution, but he still hasn’t been tried seven years later.

Ansi, Shalabi, and Wahab were eventually approved for transfer during the PRB process, which was established by President Obama in 2011. But the decision to transfer them does not mean that they were suddenly deemed innocent, or that the PRB considered them to be risk-free.

In fact, the PRB even ruled against Ansi less than one year ago.

In its Mar. 23, 2016 decision, the PRB determined that “continued law of war detention of the detainee [Ansi] remains necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.”

“In making this determination,” the decision continued, “the Board considered the significant derogatory information regarding the detainee’s past activities in Afghanistan.” The PRB “noted” Ansi’s “lack of candor resulting in an inability to assess the detainee’s credibility and therefore his further intentions.”

The PRB left the door open for Ansi to win approval for transfer just several months later. “The Board looks forward to reviewing the detainee’s file in six months and encourages the detainee to continue to be compliant, continue taking advantage of educational opportunities and continue working with the doctors to maintain his health,” the PRB wrote. “The Board encourages the detainee to be increasingly forthcoming in communications with the Board.”

Less than nine months later, on Dec. 9. 2016, the PRB reversed its previous decision, finding that Ansi’s detention “is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.” In March, Ansi lacked candor. But by December Ansi had suddenly “demonstrated candor and provided details of his pre-detention activities and mindset.” He also supposedly did “not appear to be driven to reengage by extremist ideology,” the PRB wrote.

The PRB still did not say that Ansi could be outright released. Instead, the board stated that the “threat” Ansi “presents can be adequately mitigated,” as long as he was transferred to a country with a “strong rehabilitation and reintegration program” and “appropriate security assurances” were put in place. The PRB previously issued similar rulings for both Shalabi and Wahab.

Just over one month after the PRB’s revised decision, Ansi was transferred along with nine others to Oman.

Of the four detainees identified by Bin Attash as participants in the aborted 9/11 plot, only Sharabi has been denied transfer by the PRB. The review board cited Sharabi’s “possible participation in KSM’s plot to conduct 9/11-style attacks in Southeast Asia.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Turkey's Government Gets Closer To Making Erdogan Supreme Dictator

Believe me, there aren't many walking the Earth more dangerous than Turkey's Erdogan.

The story comes from DAWN.

Turkey takes key step to expanding Erdogan powers

ISTANBUL: Turkey was a key step closer on Monday to dramatically expanding the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after parliament approved, on first reading, a bill critics fear will lead to one-man rule.

The parliament backed the two final sections of the 18-article new constitution late on Sunday after a marathon week of debating that began on Jan 9 and included sessions that often lasted late into the night.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mustered the necessary 330 or more votes — a three-fifths majority — needed to adopt the constitutional change and send it to a referendum for final approval.

The constitution plan will now go to a second reading in the Ankara parliament expected to start on Wednesday where the 18 articles will again be debated one by one.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus wrote on Twitter that with the changes “God willing, Turkey will reach a more efficient governance model.” He later told A-Haber television in an interview that it was possible the referendum would take place as soon as the start of April.
‘No good news’

The debates have been fractious and last week saw some of the worst fighting in years in the parliament with punches thrown, deputies bloodied and one lawmaker even claiming to have been bitten in the leg.

The proposed changes, which would create an executive presidency for the first time in modern Turkey, are controversial and far-reaching.

The president would have the power to appoint and fire ministers, while the post of prime minister will be abolished for the first time in Turkey’s history. Instead, there would be a vice president, or possibly several.

With Turkey already under a state of emergency for almost six months following the July 15 failed coup, the proposed changes would also widen the scope of conditions in which the president can declare an emergency.

Parliamentary elections and presidential ballots would be held simultaneously, with the draft giving Nov 3, 2019 as the poll date.

The changes are opposed by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The third largest party, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is boycotting the vote.

“The constitutional changes pressed by the ruling party are not good news for Turkey,” said Faruk Logoglu, former deputy leader of the CHP.

He claimed the plan would prove problematic on a wide range of issues from democracy to judicial independence.

In a symbolic gesture, CHP MPs piled up copies of the current constitution by the voting boxes in parliament as they cast their ballots. The AKP, which has 317 seats in the 550-MP chamber, lacks the necessary three-fifths super majority. But the changes have won the support of most MPs from the fourth party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The MHP’s enigmatic leader Devlet Bahceli, who took up the reins of the party in 1997, has emerged as the main ally of the AKP in the constitutional change.