It’s been a while since we’ve heard a lot about the so-called Islamic State. Since the "defeat" of ISIS in Iraq and the majority of Syria, much of the focus in the war-torn regions of the Middle East has been on: the ongoing pissing match between the United States, Russia and Turkey in Syria, what will become of the civilians whose lives were shattered during the Syrian Civil War, hostilities between Iran and damn near everyone, Palestinian rights, and what the Israelis have cooking in regards to Gaza and the protection of their populace from a variety of aggressors.
Would you be surprised to learn that ISIS is still kind of a big deal? Because it sort of sounds like the United Nations was. According to the CBC, a report from U.N. Terrorism experts says that ISIS is still doing fine, thank you very much, boasting as many as 30,000 members stationed in Syria and Iraq. However, after multiple ass-kickings at the hands of professional and volunteer military forces across the Middle East, they’ve decided to tone things down a bit. That overt, "we're gonna build a freaking caliphate" look of theirs? SO last year. Currently, ISIS is playing it cool by conducting covert operations in its bases of operation while the terrorist group regroups and rebuilds.
From The CBC:
Read the rest
While many ISIS fighters, planners and commanders have been killed in fighting, and many other fighters and supporters have left the immediate conflict zone, the experts said many still remain in the two countries — some engaged militarily, "and others hiding out in sympathetic communities and urban areas."
Documents obtained by CNN outline a plan to eliminate TSA security screenings at more than 150 small and medium sized airports that mostly service planes with 60 seats or fewer. Read the rest
On Wednesday, the CIA released nearly 500,000 files recovered from the 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan hideout. According to the CIA's web page
, the files are "temporarily unavailable pending resolution of a technical issue." From Wired
Read the rest
Hailed by researchers and international relations experts as a valuable gesture of transparency, the stash offers a window into the former Al-Qaeda leader's approach and plans, and insight into the terrorist group's global organizational structure, global network, and allies.
It also contains hallmarks of any person who uses the internet: copies of venerable film classics like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Final Fantasy VII, episodes of Tom and Jerry, an IMAX version of Mysteries of Egypt, a download of the Charlie Bit My Finger viral YouTube video, a Mr. Bean episode, and 28 crocheting tutorials—including one for an "iPod Sock."
“It’s like, ‘ooh Osama bin Laden is a Tom and Jerry fan!’ And maybe he is, it’s quite possible. I like Tom and Jerry, too,” says Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the editor of its Long War Journal, which got early access to the trove from the CIA. “But I suspect a lot of the sort of frivolous or the personal stuff was more for his family...."
Other gems include a lot of clip art, a video called "HORSE_DANCE," numerous episodes of a Jackie Chan television show, image files of the Yahoo logo, a few "funny cat" videos, and an image of a cute stuffed animal monkey.
The driver of a Home Depot truck who plowed into people in a Lower Manhattan bike lane today is said to have shouted 'Allahu Akbar' while he killed them. Read the rest
58 are dead and hundreds more injured after 64-year-old gunman Stephen Paddock began shooting into a concert crowd on the Las Vegas strip. Taking aim from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, he killed himself as officers charged into his room,
was killed by officers reports the BBC.
The attack is the worst mass shooting in recent US history.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo described the shooting as a "lone wolf" attack. He added that police were now confident they had located a woman, earlier named as Marilou Danley, who was suspected of travelling with the gunman before the attack.
Sheriff Lombardo said he was unable to give accurate details of dead and wounded, but confirmed two off-duty police officers were among those killed.
A video taken by a concertgoer shows the moment automatic gunfire erupted. No victims are depicted in this footage.
Extended footage here show the first minutes of the attack. Three bouts of gunfire, each 10-20 seconds long with about 30 seconds between, into the crowd, followed by more shots and muffled automatic fire about a minute later. If that was the end of it, it was all over in 2 minutes.
This is more harrowing footage illustrating the view of the crowd that Paddock had from the Mandalay Bay and the helpless panic as more shots were fired. Read the rest
On September 11, 2001, this was astronaut Frank Culbertson's view of New York City from the International Space Station.
"The world changed today," Station Commander Culbertson wrote the next day. "What I say or do is very minor compared to the significance of what happened to our country today when it was attacked...
"It's horrible to see smoke pouring from wounds in your own country from such a fantastic vantage point. The dichotomy of being on a spacecraft dedicated to improving life on the earth and watching life being destroyed by such willful, terrible acts is jolting to the psyche, no matter who you are."
(NASA) Read the rest
What's left of the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday the number of terrorist attacks worldwide and deaths from such attacks dropped in 2016 for the second straight year. The global downward trend is attributed to decreases in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen. Read the rest
A police officer was stabbed in the neck today by a man at Bishop Int'l. Airport in Flint, Michigan. The FBI says the attack is now being investigated as an act of terrorism, and that while it's early in the investigation, they view the suspect "as a lone wolf attacker." Read the rest
Even Fox News has its faintly-drawn limits, and one of them appears to lie a few inches short of "let's have Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins on to say we should round up the Muslims." Read the rest
A noose was found inside an exhibit on segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in the nation's capital today. Read the rest
Bad taste. And I'm not just talking about the drink. Crushed has just deleted the Tweet.
(via Reddit and @CrushedUK) Read the rest
Here's a video of people in Manchester singing "Don't Look Back In Anger" after a moment's silence for the 22 people killed in this week's terror attack.
Read the rest
Britain's Home Secretary is "irritated" that U.S. intelligence officials leaked "confidential" information about the Manchester terror attack to American media, allowing them to reveal key details before U.K. media were cleared to do so. The attacker's name, the high death toll, and the fact that it was a suicide bombing were among the facts finding their way to CBS and NBC before being disclosed to local outlets.
Amber Rudd said US conduct had been "irritating" and said she had made clear to her American counterparts that such leaks "shouldn't happen again".
The episode comes just a week after US president Donald Trump defended his right to leak classified intelligence to other countries' leaders. Mr Trump has also criticised leaking from the US intelligence establishment.
Asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the US leaks, Ms Rudd said: "The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise.
"So it is irritating when it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again."
There are so many interesting prongs here: echelons of the U.S. security apparatus that don't care about intelligence partners, sources in the White House and elsewhere leaking whatever they get their hands on, the futility of trying to manage what the media knows in the presence of all this, the presumed inability of America's intelligence partners (such as the UK) to extricate themselves... Read the rest
A white supremacist U.S. military veteran who had a known history of obsessively hating black men told police in New York that he stabbed a homeless black man to death to make a statement. Read the rest
Authorities say in recent weeks there has been an unprecedented wave of hate crimes targeting library buildings, books, and the people who read them. The officials told the New York Times they'd rarely seen such before. These crimes are intended to terrorize, and they follow a recent report by the F.B.I. which says hate crimes against Muslim people in America shot up over the past year.
Read the rest
Hey, you know Ahmad Khan Rahami, right? Yeah mate, google that mug. He's our man, tell us if you spot him.
The real text message, sent to New Yorkers using an emergency response system, was a little less casual: "WANTED: Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28-yr-old male. See media for pic. Call 9–1–1 if seen." But it's annoyed critics of sloppy policing and convinced some area Muslims that it's not a good day to be out on the streets.
The wireless emergency alert system is for Amber Alerts, alerts from the President, and imminent threats to public safety. It's a bad idea to use such a rudimentary, text-only, in-your-face alert system to directly deputize 13m people in the search of a man with a common Arab name.
It provides no useful contextual information, warns of no imminent danger. It essentially deputizes the five boroughs and encourages people to treat anyone who looks like he might be named “Ahmad Khan Rahami” with suspicion. In a country where people are routinely harassed and assaulted for just appearing to be Muslim, this is remarkably ill-advised.
It's a good example of how something's intended strengths—emergency management systems, terror legislation, and so forth—are exposed as weaknesses when the authorities abuse them in the hope of a quick collaring or easier prosecutions. They should know that whatever their intentions, the result of this foolish message would be a "Muslim hunt" more suited to a subreddit than the streets of New York City. Read the rest
Late Tuesday in Thailand, two explosions are reported to have killed two people and wounded dozens at a hotel popular with tourists. The car bombs went off minutes apart in Pattani, in Thailand's deep South.
“It was unclear whether the bombs were set off by timers or electrical signal,” the Bangkok Post reported. Read the rest