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."
This past Friday, the citizens of Nicaragua declared a national strike in protest of their president, Daniel Ortega, and his oh-so corrupt government. In the city of Managua, pro-government paramilitaries and the police cornered roughly 200 protesters in a church and opened fire on the building. During the siege, the pro-Ortega forces murdered two of the unarmed protesters trapped inside of the church and wounded several others.
The Pro government El 19 called the protestors “terrorists” and “thieves”: in effect, they declared the people, brave enough to demand that a dictator return their country to them, an enemy of the people. This labelling of Nicaraguans who would dare to speak out against their government as terrorists, is kind of a thing now. According to El Nuevo Diario, Roger Martinez, a respected psychologist with a practice in the Nicaraguan city of Granada, has been given the same label. He was picked up, along with 23 others by, you guessed it, police and paramilitaries, during a national “cleanup operation.” At the time that this post was written, Martinez was still in prison. Yesterday, Dr. Blanca Cajina and Dr. Irvin Escobar, were whisked away from their lives as well. They’re the latest in the growing number of professionals and intellectuals and community leaders, to be accused of terrorism by the Ortega government. As this handy guide from the U.S. Holocaust Museum notes, cracking down on a nation's intellectuals is one of the signs that your nation is well on its way to being controlled by a fascist regime. Read the rest
Shoko Asahara, leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, was executed today for orchestrating a 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway system that killed 13 and hurt thousands. Six of his liutenants joined him at the noose.
On 20 March 1995, cult members released the Sarin on the Tokyo subway.
They left punctured bags filled with liquid nerve agent on central train lines. The toxin struck victims down in a matter of seconds, leaving them choking and vomiting, some blinded and paralysed. Rescue workers had to wear hazmat suits and gas masks to help the injured and deal with the poison. ... The cult began as a spiritual group mixing Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, later including elements of apocalyptic Christian prophesies.
Aum always had big plans.
Read the rest
About 25 members of Aum Shinrikyo came to Australia to stay at Banjawarn in 1993, and while the group had come to the attention of Australian Customs upon their arrival in the country because of the vast amount of excess luggage they brought with them — reportedly $30,000 worth — few members of the public knew of the cult's existence.
The bizarre inventory they carried with them to Australia included generators, ditch diggers, gas masks, lab equipment and chemicals — including hydrochloric acid transported in large glass bottles labelled "hand soap".
A young Muslim woman is suing Chicago police who decided she was a "lone wolf" terrorist because she wore a hijab, or headscarf, and was walking briskly out of a city subway station on the Fourth of July last year while wearing a backpack. Read the rest
Congress today publicly released 28 previously secret pages of its 9/11 inquiry that detail possible connections between officials in the Saudi government, and the hijackers who carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Read the rest
UPDATE, 1034am PT: NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton says NYC got the same threats as LAUSD did, and determined it to be a hoax. Bratton says LA authorities are massively overreacting. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck disagrees.
Wouldn't be a Tuesday in America without an incident of mass violence or a threat of one.
“Officials closed all Los Angeles Unified School District campuses Tuesday morning after receiving a 'credible threat' of violence involving backpacks and packages left at campuses,” the Los Angeles Times was among the first to report today. LAUSD is America's second-largest school district, with more than 700,000 students. Read the rest
A mother in northeast France received a text from a phone traced to Syria: “Your son died as a martyr Nov. 13.” Read the rest
ISIS, or as they hate to be called, Daesh, released a video online Wednesday threatening an imminent attack on New York City.
Read the rest
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. Read the rest
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. Read the rest
Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, known for kidnapping hundreds of school girls, are fleeing their forest hideouts to escape "mystical bees" and "mysterious snakes" that are physical manifestations of the people they have killed. Read the rest
Two days after a group of Somali islamist militants vowed to execute Kenyan hostages, and tweeted a video of a captive pleading for the Kenyan government to help free them, the Al-Shabaab Twitter account @HSMPress was suspended. A Google cache is visible here. Warning: includes gruesome photos. The group took a French intelligence officer hostage, then apparently murdered him after an unsuccessful attempted raid by the French military which the US assisted). An @HSMPress press release about that killing is available on Twitlonger.
The Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen Twitter account has been around since 2011, promoting the group's vision of strict sharia law in Somalia, 140 characters at a time. The US State Department was reportedly looking in to shutting it down ages ago. Wonder what took them so long?
For its part, Al Shabaab blames its "Christian enemies" for suspending its Twitter account. And they do sound rather miffed about being blocked on the popular social networking platform. Read the rest
Via the BB Submitterator, reader Keith Irwin writes,
Carlos Miller reports that there's a new TSA poster which seems to suggest that people who photograph airplanes are suspicious. The TSA blog has responded saying that 1) the poster isn't new and 2) the pictures on the poster just show general things which happen around airports and are not meant to cast photographers as terrorists. That their current group of posters includes pictures of a stewardess and a maintenance person probably backs up their story. Just in case, though, I fixed it to help us be alert of the real threat which photographers pose.
TSA publishes new posters depicting photographers as terrorists Read the rest