Video time-lapse of terrorist attacks from 2000-2015


Designer Milan R. Vuckovic produced this video time-lapse of terrorist attacks around the world over the last 15 years. Only attacks with 20 or more fatalities were included. Read the rest

22 killed, many hostages reportedly taken in Mali hotel attack


22 are reported dead after gunmen stormed the luxury Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali's capital earlier today.

The attackers reportedly took up to 170 hostages before Malian special forces stormed the building to free the captives. The government of France, Mali's former colonial power, has dispatched 50 commandos to the Saharan nation.

The remaining hostages were freed in the shootout, reports USA Today, and the gunmen killed.

Mali is in the grip of unrest following a 2012 military coup and Islamist insurgency in the north of the country.

Reuters reports that al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Mourabitoun has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes soon after 129 died in a series of bombings and shootings across Paris.

UPDATED Nov. 22 with death toll. Read the rest

Boko Haram, not ISIS, is the world's deadliest terrorist group

Weapons captured from Boko Haram. [Reuters]

A new Global Terrorism Index annual report claims Boko Haram in Nigeria is the world's deadliest extremist group, with the grim honor of having killed more people than ISIS (or “Daesh”), to which it is linked.

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ISIS threatens NYC and DC

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 10.00.03 PM

ISIS, or as they hate to be called, Daesh, released a video online Wednesday threatening an imminent attack on New York City.

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Jewish teacher in France stabbed in anti-Semitic hate crime by terrorism supporters

Trench soldiers patrol in the subway in Marseille, France, Nov. 15, 2015, following the series of deadly attacks in Paris on Friday. REUTERS

In France, police are searching for three terrorism supporters who stabbed a Jewish school teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille.

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Carnage returns to Nigeria as Boko Haram terrorist attack kills 30, wounds 80 or more


An overnight blast blamed on the Islamic extremist terror organization Boko Haram killed 32 people and wounded 80 Tuesday at a truck stop in northeastern Nigeria.

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Beard club members taking a selfie were mistaken for terrorists by Swedish police

Beard club members at their photoshoot. [Bearded Villians/YouTube]

Swedish police swarmed on this gentlemanly beard club who were taking a group photo, because the cops received a call from a worried onlooker who believed the group was a a terrorist meet-up. It was not ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda, or anything like that. Just a meeting of a beard enthusiast club. Wonder if the ending would have been as mellow if they hadn't all been white guys.

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Organized crime gangs keep trying to sell radioactive material to terrorists


In the last five years, criminal gangs in Moldova have been stopped four times from selling radioactive materials, including bomb-grade uranium, on the black market. You have to wonder if they have also succeeded one or more times, and we just don't know about it yet.

From AP:

In that operation, wiretaps and interviews with investigators show, a middleman for the gang repeatedly ranted with hatred for America as he focused on smuggling the essential material for an atomic bomb and blueprints for a dirty bomb to a Middle Eastern buyer.

In wiretaps, videotaped arrests, photographs of bomb-grade material, documents and interviews, AP found that smugglers are explicitly targeting buyers who are enemies of the West. The developments represent the fulfillment of a long-feared scenario in which organized crime gangs are trying to link up with groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida — both of which have made clear their ambition to use weapons of mass destruction.

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CIA boss John Brennan drafted this never-sent apology letter to senators over the CIA hacking

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.
“The CIA accidentally released a document to me under FOIA and then asked that I refrain from posting it,” says VICE reporter Jason Leopold. He declined their request.

Suspect in custody after 9 killed in gun massacre at church


A suspect is reportedly in custody after a gunman entered a church in Charleston, Carolina then shot dead nine worshippers. Read the rest

Turkey blocks Twitter and YouTube

The BBC reports that the courts want to prevent the spread of photos from last week's deadly siege which ended in the deaths of two terrorists and their hostage. Read the rest

Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah campus appearance after threats of a "Montreal-style massacre"

Sarkeesian was willing to go on with the show at Utah State University -- as she's done after all the other death threats that she's received as a speaker -- but wanted attendees checked for firearms. Ogden, UT cops refused, citing Utah's open-carry firearms law. At least one of the threats cited Gamergate. Read the rest

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 reported shot down in Ukraine near Russian border

Around 11:00AM ET today, Interfax, CNN, and other news agencies began reporting that Malaysia Airlines flight 17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Some 280 passengers and at least 15 crew members, a total of 295 lives, are believed to have been on board the Boeing 777 passenger jet. This is the second crash involving Malaysia Airlines within the past few months.

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Obama administration proves why we need someone to leak CIA Torture Report

image: Reuters

It’s now been over a month since the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to force the Obama administration to declassify parts of the Committee’s landmark report on CIA torture, and the public still has not seen a word of the 6,000 page investigation. Read the rest

Will US condemn UK for using terrorism laws to suppress journalism?

Journalist Glenn Greenwald after being reunited with his partner, David Miranda, in Rio de Janeiro's International Airport after British authorities used anti-terrorism powers to detain Miranda. RICARDO MORAES/REUTERS

In a disturbing ruling for democracy, a lower court in United Kingdom announced today that the detainment of journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was lawful under the Terrorism Act, despite the fact that the UK government knew Miranda never was a terrorist. This disgraceful opinion equates acts of journalism with terrorism and puts the UK on par with some of the world’s most repressive regimes. Miranda has vowed to appeal the ruling.

Glenn Greenwald has much more on what this means for press freedom, but I’d like to expand on one particular point: Read the rest

Doctors were compelled by US military and CIA to harm detainees, report says

A guard walks through a cellblock inside Camp V, a prison used to house detainees at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters.

Post-9/11 detainee interrogration policies of the US Defense Department and CIA forced medical professionals to abandon the ethical obligation to "do no harm" to the humans in their care, and engage in prohibited practices such as force-feeding of hunger strikers, according to a report out this week. "Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror" [PDF Link] was produced by 19-member task force of Columbia University's Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundations. The LA Times has a summary here. Read the rest

Why terrorist bosses are micro-managing dicks

Jacob N. Shapiro, author of The Terrorist's Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organizations , sets out his thesis about the micromanagement style of terrorist leaders in a fascinating piece in Foreign Affairs. It comes down to this: people willing to join terrorist groups are, by definition, undisciplined, passionate, and unbalanced, so you have to watch them closely and coordinate their campaigns. From the IRA to al Qaeda, successful terrorist leaders end up keeping fine-grained records of who's getting paid, what they're planning, and how they're spending. This means that in many cases, the capture of terrorist leaders leads to the unraveling of their organizations, but the alternative is apparently even worse -- a chaotic series of overlapping, self-defeating attacks and out-of-control spending.

Recall that Moktar Belmoktar was hounded out of the Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in part over his sloppy expense reporting, and that he went on to found the group that took more than 800 hostages in a gas plant in Algeria. This kind of budget-niggling is apparently common: Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al Qaeda since 2011, was reportedly furious that Yemeni affiliates had bought a new fax machine, because the old one worked just fine. Read the rest

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