War on Terror


Majority says national security behind Trump’s travel ban

21st Jun 2017

majority of American adults believe guarding the country against potential security threats is the driving force behind President Trump’s travel ban, according to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Six in 10 adults said guarding the country against potential security threats is behind Trump’s travel ban, which would temporarily halt individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. A majority of individuals polled support the courts that have blocked the president’s executive order.

Views of Trump’s order are split among partisan lines, with 41 percent of Democrats thinking national security is behind the travel ban and 87 percent of Republicans agreeing. While 82 percent of Democrats back courts’ decisions halting the ban, 73 percent of Republicans think the courts are meddling with Trump’s authority.

While 34 percent of Republicans polled believe the order is to keep Muslims out of the United States, 64 percent of Democrats think this.

The survey was conducted from June 8 to June 11, polling 1,068 adults. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

 

 

 

source:http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/338540-majority-says-national-security-behind-trumps-travel-ban

Aust govt mulls aircraft laptop ban

16th May 2017

Australia is considering banning laptops in the cabins of inbound commercial passenger flights, amid global concerns about a new terrorist threat.

The UK and US have already banned the carrying of large electronic devices in cabins on flights arriving from certain Middle East and African countries.

“We are looking at it very closely,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in Adelaide on Tuesday.

“We are taking into account all of the information and advice we’re receiving internationally and we’re working very closely with our partners.”

Transport Minister Darren Chester said Australia had a comprehensive and strong security system in place, with the safety of the travelling public a priority.

“The government continuously monitors shifts in the threat environment domestically and overseas to ensure we have the best security arrangements in place to meet the challenges we face,” he told AAP.

US agencies preparing plans to expand the ban to other countries with conflict zones, according to Reuters.

This follows fresh intelligence militant groups like Islamic State could be gearing up for a terrorist attack involving bombs in laptops.

 

 

source: http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/aust-govt-mulls-aircraft-laptop-ban/news-story/c1e782b25d7242e0bb5b2eabc9a65da6

Suicide Pills Needed in Fight Against ISIS?

26th April 2017

(Originally published 2015)

The fate of any American captured by the Islamic State group seems clear: They will be brutally murdered with much fanfare, and footage of their tortuous death will be widely circulated in a well-produced propaganda film.

The group has beheaded American, British and Japanese journalists and humanitarians on tape and earlier this month released a film showing the grisly death of a Jordanian pilot burned to death in a cage after his plane went down while participating in U.S.-led airstrikes.

With the grim prospect of capture in mind, analysts say the military should at least consider offering  some of the troops working against the jihadi group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the means to take their own lives with a so-called “suicide pill.”

U.S. pilots bombing Islamic State locations in Syria and Iraq currently are not provided pills that would cause a quick death, nor are the 3,000 on-the-ground troops helping shore up an unreliable Iraqi military and guarding U.S. facilities, military officials say.

Suicide pills are a common element of spy thrillers and works of fiction, but only decades ago they were manufactured and distributed by the U.S. government, with shellfish poison and cyanide pills provided to pilots and spies for use to avoid capture by Nazis and Soviets.

Today, armed forces spokesmen say providing troops such pills would be inconsistent with military values, even in the face of excruciating alternatives at the hands of the sadistic self-declared caliphate that gleefully flouts Geneva Convention principles on prisoner treatment.

“Pilots are trained to evade capture or resist and escape,” says U.S. Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek, who confirmed the force’s in-theater command does not provide such pills. “If pilots do go down, the Air Force will employ all its resources to locate, protect and recover them.”

Thus far, U.S. attempts to rescue Americans, such as journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aide workers Peter “Abdul-Rahman” Kassig and Kayla Mueller, have failed. In one publicized rescue attempt, commandos stormed a suspected dungeon but were too late. And, unlike other countries who have met financial demands from the Islamic State, the public position of the U.S. government is that it will not pay ransoms to free hostages.

Like the Air Force, other military branches say they don’t provide suicide pills. Army spokesman Matthew Bourke says “suicide pills aren’t included in the solider kit bag” for troops working near the jihadis. Lt. Col. John Caldwell of the U.S. Marine Corps says it “seems highly unlikely” the service – which has about 320 members on a western Iraq air base ISIS recently attacked – would do so.

Maj. Curtis Kellogg, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, the military entity coordinating anti-Islamic State actions, says he “would bet your children’s college fund” no branch of the U.S. military offers – or would offer – suicide pills to at-risk personnel.

“The mere thought of it is not congruent with our military values whatsoever nor our code of conduct,” Kellogg says.

The government lacked such lofty convictions at various points in the last century. During World War II, the Office of Strategic Services – the CIA’s forerunner – produced two types of suicide pills for sensitive operations, and research and development continued into the first half of the Cold War

In 1975, CIA Director William Colby told Congress the agency had worked with the Army Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, Maryland, to build on OSS’s work, developing a shellfish toxin-based suicide option to supplement the agency’s cyanide “L-pills.”

Colby told members of the Church Committee – a Senate panel headed by Democratic Sen. Frank Church of Indiana that investigated intelligence practices – that “a considerable amount of work was done in developing concealment schemes” for the shellfish poison, which kills in seconds at low doses.

Colby admitted to just one instance where the shellfish poison was dispensed, in 1960, when poison hidden in a silver dollar was issued to U-2 spy pilot Francis Gary Powers, who was shot down over the Soviet Union but declined to kill himself.

Francis Gary Powers Jr. says his father removed the poison from the coin while in his parachute and contemplated using it to avoid torture. Instead, he “decided to hide it in one of his flight suit pockets in case he needed to use it once on the ground.” Powers told KGB agents what it was during a third strip search, his son says, to ensure they didn’t accidentally kill themselves. He was exchanged for a Soviet spy in 1962.

“He obviously did not use it, and was not instructed to do so; it was offered to him to provide him with the option,” said Colby, who said other pilots had been issued cyanide pills.

An inventory of a CIA building’s toxic wares published by the Church Committee recorded 18 cyanide L-pills and more than 11.4 grams of shellfish poison – enough for hundreds of thousands of lethal doses – which former CIA chemist Nathan Gordon testified was retained to “prepare supplies of suicide pills and/or any other uses.”

Some experts say it might be worth considering equipping troops with suicide pills in the present conflict – but point out it would neither be an easy decision or one that would necessary accomplish its goals.

“Perhaps the military could consider, quietly, making such [pills] available if an individual wants to have them,” say Richard Kohn, a military history expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “even if it somehow seems to buy into this awful enemy’s cult of death.”

But Kohn sees competing interests.

“We’re a society that believes in individual choice,” he says, but suggesting suicide to troops may seem to violate “the norm of ‘leave no one behind.’”

Retired Army Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a Vietnam War veteran who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, says “perhaps the issuance of such a pill … should be made a voluntary matter for the troops involved.”

But Wilkerson points out there would be “many problems and complexities” doing so

“For example, some no doubt will refuse to use the pill, believing they will survive,” he says. “Or, indeed, a soldier might use it and rescue be possible but useless since the pill has been used.”

Wilkerson, now a professor at the College of William and Mary, says on-the-ground members of the military in conflict zones almost certainly are armed and suicide pills may not augment their options.

A gun “is always an ‘out’ to prevent capture – it always has been,” he says.

Martin Cook, a professor of professional military ethics at the U.S. Naval War College, says military leaders he’s spoken with are against the idea.

Widely dispensing the pills could contribute to the military’s existing problem with suicide among members, he says.

“At most, you’d be thinking about issuing it on the eve of a specific mission that’s high-risk,” Cook says, such as on-the-ground personnel guiding of airstrikes or perhaps embedded missions with Iraqi troops.

But Cook says troops are highly trained to resist detention and generally would view suicide as needless while potential opportunities for escape exist.

“Even when they’re walking you out to the execution site, there might be a SEAL team inbound,” Cook says, adding a Navy SEAL admiral told him he’s never heard of suicide pills as a consideration.

U.S. airstrikes began against the Islamic State group in August as militants plunged into Iraqi Kurdistan after seizing Mosul. The strikes were expanded to Syria in August after the group released videos of Foley and Sotloff being beheaded

John Hall, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and a military historian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says he could see some members of the military carrying suicide pills, but doubts the practice would be widespread.

“Spies and soldiers are distant cousins with some of the same attributes but vastly different professional ethics,” he says in an email. “The expansion of the Special Operations community has, however, complicated this distinction, and the idea of deep ‘black ops’ personnel carrying suicide pills does not strike me as outrageous – nor would it anyone else, as their deaths will never be publicly acknowledged.”

But, he says, beyond that narrow category, “I don’t think American military – let alone civilian – culture would tolerate such measures.”

source: https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/19/suicide-pills-needed-in-fight-against-isis-death-cult?int=news-rec

Suspect device found in deadly Stockholm attack truck

8th April 2017

Swedish police found a suspect device in the truck that ploughed into a Stockholm crowd killing four in Europe’s latest such terror attack, officials said Saturday.

The alleged driver, who is in custody, is a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan who was already known to Swedish police, authorities said.

“We have found a device in the vehicle that doesn’t belong there … A technical examination is ongoing, we can’t go into what it is right now … whether it’s a bomb or a flammable device,” police chief Dan Eliasson told reporters.

Intelligence agency chief Anders Thornberg added that the Uzbek suspect “has appeared in our intelligence gathering in the past”.

“There is nothing to indicate that we’ve got the wrong man. On the contrary, the suspicions have strengthened,” Eliasson added.

Flags flew at half-mast across Stockholm on Saturday as the city slowly returned to normal a day after the attack.

A stolen beer truck ploughed into a crowd of people at the corner of the bustling Ahlens department store and the Drottninggatan pedestrian street on Friday afternoon, above ground from Stockholm’s central subway station.

Fifteen people were injured, nine of whom remained in hospital on Saturday.

– Latest attack in Europe –

It was the third terror attack in Europe in two weeks, coming on the heels of assaults in London and St. Petersburg, although there has been no immediate claim of responsibility.

Previous attacks using vehicles have occurred in London, Berlin and the southern French city of Nice, all of them claimed by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who said Sweden will hold a minute’s silence on Monday in memory of the victims, has beefed up Sweden’s border controls.

“Terrorists want us to be afraid, want us to change our behaviour, want us to not live our lives normally, but that is what we’re going to do. So terrorists can never defeat Sweden, never,” Lofven said.

City streets were empty early Saturday, slowly filling as the day wore on as things began to return to normal — apart from a heavy police presence, a rare scene in this normally tranquil country.

A swelling crowd milled by the security barrier erected around the scene, many placing flowers on the ground or in the security fence.

Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria, 39, was one of those laying down a bouquet, wiping tears from her cheek.

“I feel an incredible sadness, an emptiness,” she told reporters. But she said: “Society has demonstrated enormous strength and we stand together against this.”

– Suspected driver in custody –

The suspected driver was detained on Friday in Marsta, a suburb north of Stockholm. According to several media outlets, he is an IS supporter.

Intelligence agency Sapo said meanwhile it was hunting for “possible accomplices or networks that may have been involved in the attack.”

Witnesses described scenes of terror and panic on Friday.

“A massive truck starts driving … and mangles everything and just drives over exactly everything,” eyewitness Rikard Gauffin told AFP.

“It was so terrible and there were bodies lying everywhere… it was really terrifying,” he added.

The truck was towed away in the early hours of Saturday.

– ‘It was expected’ –

An attack on Stockholm was just a matter of time, the head of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, Magnus Ranstorp, told AFP.

“It was pretty expected, the police and intelligence agency have practised for this several times the past year… We just didn’t know when it was going to happen,” he said.

Friday’s attack was the latest in a string of assaults with vehicles in Europe.

The deadliest came last year in France on the July 14 Bastille Day national holiday, when a man rammed a truck into a crowd in the Mediterranean resort of Nice, killing 86 people.

In December, a man hijacked a truck and slammed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.

In London last month, Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old convert to Islam, killed five people when he drove a car at high speed into pedestrians before launching a frenzied knife attack on a policeman guarding parliament.

In 2014, IS called for attacks on citizens of Western countries and gave instructions on how they could be carried out without military equipment, using rocks or knives, or by running people over in vehicles.

Friday’s attack was the second terror attack in Stockholm.

In December 2010, a suicide bomber blew himself up, also on the Drottninggatan pedestrian street, lightly injuring several passersby.

 

source: https://www.yahoo.com/news/sweden-arrests-suspected-driver-stockholm-terrorist-crime-081823796.html

Al Gore: Global Warming a ‘Principal’ Cause of the Syrian Civil War, Brexit

dude what is

28th March 2017

Thursday in London at Advertising Week Europe 2017 during an interview with Empire Editor-in-Chief Terri White, former Vice-President Al Gore said climate change was a “principal” cause of the Syrian Civil War and Brexit.

Gore said, “I was just in the Persian Gulf region and the scientists for the lat couple of years, one of the lines of investigation they have been pursuing has led them to the conclusion that significant areas of the Middle East and North Africa are in danger of becoming uninhabitable. And, just a taste of this, to link it to some of the events that the UK and the European Union are going through and I know that’s another source of stress because we are now on the eve next week of the Brexit process – but think for a moment about what happened in Syria. You know we look at the gates of hell opening, they long since have opened, but before the gates of hell opened in Syria, what happened was a climate-related extreme drought.”

“The scientists have published these peer review studies for several years now showing exactly why it’s related to the climate crisis. From 2006 to 2010, 60 percent of the farms in Syria were destroyed and had to be abandoned and 80 per cent of the livestock were killed. The drought in the eastern Mediterranean is the worst ever on record – the records only go back 900 years, but it’s historic. And 1.5 million climate refugees were driven into the cities in Syria, where they collided with refugees from the Iraq War. And Wikileaks revealed the internal conversations in the Syrian government where they were saying to one another ‘we can’t handle this, there’s going to be a social explosion’. There are other causes of the Syrian civil war, but this was the principal one. And those in the region recognize that. And it has unleashed, with other factors an incredible flow of refugees into Europe which is creating political instability in Europe and which contributed in some ways to the desire of some in the UK to say ‘Whoa we’re not sure we want to be a part of that anymore.’ And you can go through the list of countries around the worlds where stability and political success of governance is really challenged. Some countries have a hard time even in the best of seasons but the additional stress this climate crisis is causing really poses the threat of some political disruption and chaos of a kind the world would find extremely difficult to deal with.”

 

 

source:http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/03/23/al-gore-global-warming-principal-cause-syrian-civil-war-brexit/

WikiLeaks Drops the Mother Lode With ‘Vault 7’

wikileaks

8th March 2017

WikiLeaks on Tuesday dumped a trove of documents and files hacked from the Central Intelligence Agency — the largerst ever published from within the U.S. spy agency.
The 8,761 documents code named “VAult 7” contain amazing things, such as the “weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.”
“The CIA had created, in effect, its ‘own NSA’ with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified,” WikiLeaks said in its release.
The documents show that “a specialized unit in the CIA’s Mobile Development Branch produces malware to infest, control and exfiltrate data from iPhones and other Apple products running iOS, such as iPads.”
The CIA also runs “a very substantial effort to infect and control Microsoft Windows users with its malware.”
The documents also show that “in addition to its operations in Langley, Virginia, the CIA also uses the U.S. consulate in Frankfurt as a covert base for its hackers covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“CIA hackers operating out of the Frankfurt consulate ( ‘Center for Cyber Intelligence Europe’ or CCIE) are given diplomatic (‘black’) passports and State Department cover. The instructions for incoming CIA hackers make Germany’s counter-intelligence efforts appear inconsequential: ‘Breeze through German Customs because you have your cover-for-action story down pat, and all they did was stamp your passport.’ “
“There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of ‘Year Zero’ goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective,” said WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange.

 

 

source:http://www.dailywire.com/news/14173/wikileaks-drops-mother-lode-vault-7-joseph-curl?

If the TSA can’t fire these screwups, we should fire the TSA

system-failure

24th Feb 2017

Passengers put up with endless hassles from the Transportation Security Administration in hopes it all keeps them safe. So after 11 people got past a JFK checkpoint Monday without being screened, you’d think heads would roll. Hah!

The 11 got through, apparently, because TSA staffers left a security lane open but unmanned. Three set off a metal-detector alarm and still walked on. And TSA didn’t tell Port Authority cops for two hours.

Airport police from around the country call the flap “unconscionable.” TSA has taken its “eye off the ball,” fumed American Alliance of Airport Police Officers co-founder Marshall McClain. Uh, ya think?

True, most of the 11 were tracked down and found not to be threats . . . after they landed.

The agency’s official statement on what comes next: “Once our review is complete, TSA will discipline and retrain employees.” Oh, and it has ID’d the responsible workers and “appropriate action is being taken.”

Retraining. Appropriate action. How about fired ? Sorry, no: TSA staff are a protected branch of the American Federation of Government Employees, one with the hilarious motto: “Stronger Union, Safer Skies.”

Private-sector workers who mess up so badly as to put lives in jeopardy would be gone in a heartbeat. Heck, they’d be fired for far less serious breaches.

Somewhere along the road to making America great again, Mr. President, how about privatizing the damn TSA to end all the maddening “security theater”

 

source:http:/http://nypost.com/2017/02/23/if-the-tsa-cant-fire-these-screwups-we-should-fire-the-tsa

Donald Trump wants to expand US nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’

trumpy win

24th Feb 2017

President Donald Trump has said he wants to build up the US nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity.

In a Reuters interview, Trump also said China could solve the national security challenge posed by North Korea “very easily if they want to,” ratcheting up pressure on Beijing to exert more influence to rein in Pyongyang’s increasingly bellicose actions.

In his first comments about the US nuclear arsenal since taking office on January 20, Mr Trump said the United States has “fallen behind on nuclear weapon capacity.”

“… We’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power.

“It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack,” Mr Trump said.

The new strategic arms limitation treaty, known as New START, between the US and Russia requires that by February 5, 2018, both countries must limit their arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons to equal levels for 10 years.

The treaty permits both countries to have no more than 800 deployed and non-deployed land-based intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers and heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear weapons, and contains equal limits on other nuclear weapons.

Analysts have questioned whether Mr Trump wants to abrogate New START or would begin deploying other warheads.

In the interview, Mr Trump called New START “a one-sided deal”.

“Just another bad deal that the country made, whether it’s START, whether it’s the Iran deal … We’re going to start making good deals,” he said.

The United States is in the midst of a $US1 trillion ($1.3 trillion), 30-year modernisation of its aging ballistic missile submarines, bombers and land-based missiles, a price tag that most experts say the country cannot afford.

Mr Trump also complained that the Russian deployment of a ground-based cruise missile is in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans land-based American and Russian intermediate-range missiles.

“To me it’s a big deal,” he said.

Asked if he would raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump said he would do so “if and when we meet.” He said he had no meetings scheduled as of yet with Mr Putin.

Speaking from behind his desk in the Oval Office, Mr Trump declared that “we’re very angry” at North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and said accelerating a missile defense system for US allies Japan and South Korea was among many options available.

“There’s talks of a lot more than that,” Mr Trump said, when asked about the missile defense system. “We’ll see what happens. But it’s a very dangerous situation, and China can end it very quickly in my opinion.”

 

 

source:http://www.smh.com.au/world/donald-trump-wants-to-expand-us-nuclear-arsenal-make-it-top-of-the-pack-20170223-guk6ms.html?deviceType=text

Trump urged to put GPS trackers on refugees until travel ban decided

my legs hurt

6th Feb 2017

President Trump and his Justice Department are being urged to go slow on appealing a court’s rejection of their travel ban and follow Germany’s example and put GPS ankle bracelets on visitors from the seven targeted nations until a final decision is made.

A prominent legal expert said that the administration should wait to appeal until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch gets to the court, giving Trump a 5-4 majority and in the meantime put the tracking devices on any refugee or visitor.

“Going to the Supreme Court now could result in a widely predicted 4-4 decision,” warned George Washington University Law Professor John Banzhaf.

Wait instead, he urged, and in the meantime look to Germany’s model of using trackers on those it suspects of having terror ties — not all refugees.

“Imposing such conditions on admission is fully consistent with 8 USC 1182(f) which expressly gives the president the authority to ‘impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.’ It is also more likely to be upheld since it is far less objectionable than a total ban,” he said.

Currently, ankle bracelets are widely used by law enforcement and immigration agencies and Banzhaf suggested that it can be expanded and would be accepted by the nation.

“There have now been several major terrorist incidents in which authorities pointed out that they were suspicious of the perpetrator, but did not have sufficient information to arrest him, nor the vast resources necessary to provide effective surveillance of everyone under suspicion. GPS systems incorporated in ankle bracelets permit one agent to track hundreds of suspects in real time, and provide computer generated alerts if he goes anywhere suspicious (e.g., near a nuclear power plant), meets with other persons likewise wearing ankle monitors,” he said.

 

 

source:

Kuwait Has Had a ‘Muslim Ban’ Since 2011

lols

6th Feb 2017

The majority-Muslim country of Kuwait currently has a visa ban on three of the seven countries named in President Trump’s recent executive order, calling into question the alleged Islamophobic nature of the “Muslim ban.” Islam is the official religion of Kuwait, and yet passport holders from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have reportedly not been able to obtain visas to enter the country since 2011.

Kuwaiti officials note the problematic “instability” of the countries – specifically, internal conflict and terrorism – as reasons for the travel restrictions. In 2015, a mosque in Kuwait was bombed, leading to 27 deaths.

Kuwait is not the only Arab state to take a tough stance on travel restrictions from unstable Muslim countries. Lieutenant General Khalfan, Dubai’s head of security even tweeted support for Trump’s executive order:

“We completely support Trump in his ban on entry to those who may cause a breach in America’s security.”

The United Arab Emirates also gave approval to the ban. Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said on Wednesday that Trump’s ban was not anti-Islam, and that it was a “sovereign decision” of the United States that must be respected.

It is painfully obvious that there is nothing inherently Islamophobic in Trump’s executive order. The order never uses the word Muslim, and fails to target many of the most populous Muslim countries. The order is a perfectly reasonable reaction to the threat of terrorism coming from these countries.

A threat that Kuwait identified long before Trump.

 

 

source:http://www.mrctv.org/blog/kuwait-has-had-muslim-ban-2011