TUNIS — At least 12 people were killed on Tuesday after an explosion tore through a bus full of Tunisian presidential guards in an attack one source said was probably carried out by a bomber detonating his explosives in the vehicle.
Ambulances rushed wounded from the scene and security forces closed off streets around Mohamed V Avenue, one of the major streets in the capital Tunis and where the charred wreckage of the bus lay not far from the interior ministry.
It is the third major attack to strike Tunisia this year after a militant killed 38 foreigners at a beach hotel in June and gunmen killed 21 tourists at the Bardo Museum in Tunis in March. Islamic State claimed both those attacks.
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) Egyptian branch claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed four people in a hotel in North Sinai capital al-Arish on Tuesday where judges overseeing a parliamentary election were staying.
A suicide bomber tried to drive a car bomb into the hotel before security forces opened fire on him, causing the car to explode, security sources said. At least two judges were among the injured, authorities added
The statement by the Sinai Province group was circulated by its supporters on Twitter and the encrypted messaging system Telegram.
“A brother ... seeking martyrdom hit with his car bomb the security force protecting the Swiss (Inn) hotel were 50 judges were staying only to be followed by a lion ... who broke into the judges’ base with his automatic weapon ... then blew up his explosive belt among them,” read the statement.
Why did Premier Valls Raise the CBW Threat after the Paris Attacks?
Microscopic Cryptosporidium oocysts
Last Sunday’s Lisa Benson Show had a segment on the possible Chemical and Biological threat posed by ISIS to Europe and the West in the wake of the November 13th Massacres in Paris and the battle in the predominately Muslim St. Denis banlieuse suburb. Belgium and especially Brussels continues under lockdown as there could be another series of devastating attacks by ISIS operatives given the significant presence in the significant Muslim population with radicalized elements in suburban Molenbeek. On the Lisa Benson Show segment we asked why French Premier Manuel Valls had raised concerns over possible ISIS operatives use of chemical and biological agents? Dr. Jill Bellamy, noted bio-warfare threat reduction expert, whom we have interviewed in the NER, provided some answers. See our January 2013 interview her, The Dangers of Syria’s Bio-Warfare Complex Should Assad Fall.
In May 2013, we posted on the possible terrorist to US water supply systems after two incidents had occurred. We refer to the arrest and arraignment by federal prosecutors in Manhattan of Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian national and chemical engineering graduate of Laval University in Quebec, on Asylum fraud and an alleged WMD attack on a municipal water system, the Quabbin reservoir in Massachusetts. The possible biological agent involved is cryptosporidium (Crypto). We noted:
In the US we have had two mass Crypto outbreaks in water supply systems in Carrollton, Georgia in 1987 and in Milwaukee in 1993. The Georgia outbreak affected 13,000 out of 16,000 residents. Because the Milwaukee water supply system draws from Lake Michigan, Crypto pathogens might have entered from drainage or in ice breakup during the early spring. In the Milwaukee case, the epidemiologists and public health specialists estimate that more than 400,000 succumbed to Crypto causing massive outbreaks of watery diarrhea over a period of two weeks or more. 108 deaths occurred involving those with immune deficiencies from cancer treatment, AIDS and other maladies. Within immunocompromised communities, exposure frequently leads to severe and permanent diarrhea, decreasing absorption of nutrients resulting in progressive dehydration and eventual death.
Here are excerpts from Dr. Bellamy’s Biological Warfare post.
On the missing bio-protection suits and Eau de Paris water supply.
While France and Belgium prepare their populations for continued terrorist attacks and the possible use of chemical or biological weapons, other EU states avoid the obvious conclusion that a prepared public is better than an unprepared one. Several smaller states, excluding Spain and Germany, continue the drum beat that there is no significant threat to them or their civilian populations. In study after study this has not been proven to be the case and public preparedness has been shown to reduce casualties. PM Valls statement on the bio-chem threat was in part motivated by the apparent loss of several bio-chem suits from a Paris hospital. While its possible these suits were misplaced or that inventory lists were incorrect, and warnings are not based singularly on bio-chem suits being unaccounted for, the French have taken appropriate measures. Belgium has increased security at its nuclear facilities and France has increased protection for water supply facilities taking note of analysis by French intelligence that ISIS is capable of producing crude chemical agents.
"Eau de Paris, the capital's state-run water company, has banned access to six sensitive sites to all but key personnel following the Government's decision to declare a state of emergency for three months.”Our eight security agents are the only ones to be accredited by the defense ministry and are in permanent contact with the terrorism cell of Paris police headquarters," a spokesman told Le Parisien." "The storage and treatment sites have protective fencing and special sensors to detect intrusion. To limit the risk of contamination, Eau de Paris has increase the amount of chlorine added to water at five supply sites." "The dose injected has been raised," said Celia Blauel, president of Eau de Paris. Chlorine is a key indicator of any anomaly in the water. "When the chlorine level drops, it means there is a biological contamination." she said."
"It emerged last week that hospitals and emergency services across France have been supplied with the most powerful antidote to sarin and other nerve gas chemicals for the first time. Under a November 14 decree, the army's medical service was ordered to distribute stocks of the drug atropine. Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said that the country could rule nothing out when it came to terrorists bent on mass murder, including "chemical and biological weapons".
On French and Belgian CBW intelligence and threat reduction capabilities.
The security services of both France and Belgium are to be commended. Both countries share similar population demographics and have extensive experience with terrorism. Additionally, they have both worked, since 911, to prepare their populations for such bio-chem attacks, some of these scenarios I developed and ran myself with their government officials in attendance. Far from being the weakest link, as some media outlets have portrayed the situation, they are in fact the best prepared within the EU to counter such threats. The weakest link are those countries who have not prepared their public, are currently bombing IS and have announced it on the nightly news without one moment of thought to the risk they have placed their population in and no counter-terrorism or counter intelligence experience to fall back on.
In 2005, French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin called for international cooperation against bioterrorism at an Interpol meeting in Lyon. He promoted the idea of creating a joint database and a rapid alert network for theft, diversion and illegal transfer of biological agents, as well as a list of designated groups and individuals of concern. De Villepin also proposed the creation of an international center for monitoring bio terrorist threats. Mr. de Villepin went on to plead for a better coordination of Biotox style (the French government response to the deliberate introduction of the smallpox virus) plans at European level. "Why not to imagine for example a European reaction plan against a biological attack?"he asked. Furthermore, he added, the EU should initiative an update on reserves of vaccines so that each country knows the nearest country to turn to in case of emergency." See: http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/23453_en.html.
For over a decade the French government has established itself as the gold standard when it comes to bio-security, bio-safety and certainly countering, on the ground threats from would be bio-terrorists. In 2003, French authorities discovered ricin like substances in Gare du Lyon train station. Subsequently nine suspects of North African descent, who had trained in the Pankisi Gorge and were associated with AQ were arrested. While this is just one high profile example of a possible bio-threat, the French have developed outstanding and what I would describe as comprehensive capabilities to counter the threat of bio-terrorism. This depth of expertise offers a lot from which Member States within the EU could well benefit.
As well, as we trust the US and UK bio-terrorism threat reduction programs.
How horrible is it to be a mischievous and malignant hypocrite. In recent days in November 2015, religious and American academic groups have unabashedly illustrated that false face hides what the false heart knows.
On this seventieth anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi criminals, it is well to remember the words of Robert H. Jackson, the chief American prosecutor, on November 21, 1945. He spoke of the wrongs that have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated. He urged prosecution of those Nazi leaders who had possessed great power, who used it to set evils in motion, and who terrified the world.
Some mainstream religious groups, the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches, are not as willing as was Jackson to label and name those responsible, those gangsters and militarists, in the modern world for racial hatreds, terrorism and violence, arrogance and cruelty of power.
The two religious groups have issued statements on the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015. Both of those statements, well-meaning in their usual fashion, suffer from refusal, hypocritical or not, to tell the whole truth. They do not identify the people and the ideology that committed evil.
The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches on November 14, 2015 stated in English, French, and Arabic that “the people of Paris again confronted terror, violence and death, following attacks that left more 120 people dead and hundreds more injured.” The WCC articulated that its hearts and minds were with the victims, but was silent about who were the murderers. Surely the WCC does not really believe that aliens from outer space were responsible for the evil act of terror in Paris. Or does it, since the name of the Islamist terrorism by the Islamic State, ISIS, or that of any other group, is never mentioned?
Similarly, Jim Winkler, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, condemned the November 13 attacks. He urged, “these acts of horrific violence not be mistaken as part of a war between Christianity and Islam.” Mr. Winkler not only has forgotten the name of the perpetrators in Paris but also the events of history. The last Christian Crusade to defend Holy Places against Muslims ended in 1291 when the last city controlled by the Crusaders, the town of Acre, was captured by Muslim forces.
In this respect it is unfortunate that President Barack Obama on February 5, 2015 made an ill-advised moral comparison when speaking of “the terrible deeds in the name of Christ” committed during the Crusades and the Inquisition. Of course, Christians have committed terrible deeds in the past, but Obama’s emphasis on the atrocities of Christians can be seen as an example of moral equivalence between Christians and Muslims. The non-Muslim world has not declared war on Islam, but only on Islamist terrorism which has declared war on the civilized world, terrorism which the WCC and the NCC have difficulty in specifically condemning.
It is symptomatic of the political correctness, shameful ignorance and unsatisfactory nature of present day academics in American universities that they seem ignorant of, or dismiss as irrelevant, the existing menace to world civilization by Islamist terrorists and those responsible for the evils committed in Paris, Brussels, Beirut, and Mali, to take only the most recent. Instead, whether out of prejudice or bias, or as a result of weakly succumbing to unremitting Palestinian pressure organizations, some academics register indignation and urge action against what they see as the one, and only, violator of human rights in the universe, the State of Israel.
Apart from a lunatic Arab fringe element, no political or religious group has attributed the massacre of 130 people in Paris to instructions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to citizens of the State of Israel or in particular to the ubiquitous Mossad that the fringe element regards as engrossed in plots of world conspiracy.
Certainly members of the American Anthropological Association do not believe this, or at least have not started it publicly. But they did, after three years of Palestinian organization and pressure, on November 20, 2015 at a meeting in Denver of 1,400 of its members, pass a resolution by 1040 to 36 calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions. A final vote on this resolution will be taken by all AAA 10,000 members at its annual meeting in April 2016.
The brutality and criminality of ISIS actions should be denounced by everyone, especially those genuinely concerned with the maintenance of human rights. The actions have gone far beyond any moral parameters of human behavior. All true humanitarians are mourning the deaths and injuries of hundreds in Paris and should urge that the evil ISIS perpetrators be brought to justice.
Even admitting that real problems exist in Israeli-Palestinian relations and must be solved, it appears weird if not pathological for supposed scholars, few of whom in the AAA have any real expertise in the complexities of Middle East affairs, to focus on what it calls Israel’s systematic maintenance of the occupation and denial of basic rights to Palestinians. Instead of stressing compassion and comfort for the victims of ISIS terrorism, and calling for a response to it, the AAA fritters away its time and calls for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions until these institutions end their (unstated) complicity in violating (unstated) Palestinian rights.
The AAA resolution is the result of prejudice against the Jewish State, and is counterproductive in excusing and even abetting the Palestinian unwillingness to come to the bargaining table to make peace. But like the statements of the WCC and the NCC that of the AAA is hypocritical. Indeed, it gives hypocrisy a bad name. The AAA resolves that the boycott, part of the broader BDS movement, pertains only to Israeli academic institutions and not to individual scholars. One is left wondering who remains in the academic institutions who are not individual scholars. The answer can only be the janitors and cleaners of the building.
Those janitors should complain to the International Criminal Court that their basic human rights are being violated by the leaders of the American Anthropological Association, and those leaders should stand judgment at a modern version of Nuremberg, not for abstract speculation of which scholars are fond, but for practical harm they are causing to innocent and hard-working Israeli people.
CAIRO — Militants attacked a hotel in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt with explosives and gunfire early on Tuesday, killing at least three people, including a judge, according to the military.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which took place at the Swiss Inn Resort in El Arish. The hotel was housing judges who were monitoring voting in Egypt’s parliamentary elections.
Militants belonging to an affiliate of the Islamic State have carried out numerous attacks in the northern Sinai, and last month they claimed responsibility for bringing down a Russian plane carrying tourists from the Sinai resort of Sharm el Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. They were also behind a bombing at a police club in El Arish this month that killed four officers.
The murders in Paris on November 13 did not halt the invasion of Europe by the forces of Islam. Muslim masses are still on the march toward Europe, by the hundreds of thousands this year alone, joining the tens of millions of Muslims already in Europe who came during the last few decades. These Muslims arrive as “refugees” claiming a “right of asylum.” They claim this right because they are fleeing something. What is that something? It’s the chaos and cruelty, the internecine violence, of Muslim peoples and polities. Many Muslims would like to flee these places. Were they able to make the connection between the chaos and cruelty and Islam itself, that would be one thing. But they do not make that connection. They do not flee from Islam itself, but bring it with them in their mental baggage.
Some of those “Muslim refugees” take Islam very much to heart, others perhaps not quite as much. But many non-Muslims to whom we look for guidance — writers for The Guardian, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Hillary Clinton – are quite definite in their dismissal: they continue to assure us that “the attacks in Paris had nothing to do with Islam.” What you think of that assertion? What texts were in the minds of those killers in Paris? What models of conduct did they have in mind? When someone tells you that Muslims in the Islamic State, or Al Qaeda, or just plain-vanilla Muslims, when they carefully quote the Qur’an, or adduce a hundred Hadith, to explain and justify their behavior, don’t you worry a little bit about their grasp of Islam? Don’t you wonder why they continue to hold up for inspection and discussion such prompters of hostility and hate toward non-Muslims as Qur’an 9.5 and 9.29, among more than one hundred “Jihad verses,” and in addition to the Qur’anic passages, many hundreds of “authentic” Hadith from authoritative (sahih) collections, especially those by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, offering the words and deeds of Muhammad himself, so full of malevolence toward Infidels?
Is the desire to flee violence enough to earn, for Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, right of entry into non-Muslim lands, into the heart of the civilization of the West? Are we not a little too quick with our compassion, a little too willing to welcome, a little too incurious about the ideology of Islam? Millions of Muslim refugees have fled Iraq and Syria for such neighboring Muslim countries as Jordan and Turkey. Do they not have such places still available to them? And are there not vast areas in many other Muslim countries where they ought reasonably to find or expect refuge? Why must the Infidels of Germany, or Sweden, or France be expected to admit them into their Infidel midst? Why must they go to Germany, or Sweden, or Norway? For Shi’a, there are still plenty of places – Iran or Hezbollah-controlled parts of Lebanon, to start with, and still much of Syria, and Baghdad, and southern Iraq – where Shi’a are in control and where other Shi’a could find security. And Sunni Arabs who want to flee the violence of Iraq and Syria have Turkey and Jordan, to which so many have already fled, and instead of being made Europe’s responsibility, the refugees could be asked to knock on the doors of Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, all of which have need of foreign workers, and none of which have to date taken in more than a handful of those Muslim refugees who might serve as those workers.
Why don’t we ask the obvious question: why do 800,000 Muslims seek refuge just in Germany alone this year, and none of those 800,000 seek refuge closer to home? Why aren’t those Muslim refugees requesting admission to Kuwait, Qatar, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia? And why aren’t Kuwait, Qatar, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, requesting those Muslim refugees to come on in, because they are needed?
Remember: Muslims are taught – all Muslims, not just members of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda – that they have a duty to conduct the struggle, or Jihad, to remove all obstacles to the spread and then the dominance of Islam, so that ultimately, all over the world, Islam will dominate and Muslims rule. Now given that, why should any non-Muslims anywhere make that Jihad easier? Or why should Europeans pretend that that solemn duty of Jihad is an islamophobic figment, or try to convince themselves that thoroughly modern Muslims don’t take that duty to heart? This is a policy that could please only a Pollyanna – or a Hillary Clinton.
Now there is a category of people fleeing Syria and Iraq who, unlike Muslims, really are without any place of refuge in the Middle East (save, of course, for these people possibly settling in the “West Bank” in an an exchange of populations, where they would be traded for Muslim “Palestinians”). We call these people “Christians.” Assyrians and Chaldeans in Iraq, Catholics and Orthodox and Armenians in Syria, Copts in Egypt – these people, to varying degrees, and at various times (sometimes more, sometimes less) have suffered the same fate at the hands of Muslims: attacks on their churches, disruption of their ceremonies, kidnapping and forced conversion and rape and enslavement of their women, murder of their menfolk. But the Muslims who seek to enter Europe neither need nor deserve that refuge, for there are vast areas of the Muslim world that could be open to them.
These Muslim “refugees” are obviously interested in more than just a refuge...
Another reason Turkey has no business being part of NATO. They are completely unreliable and they are helping ISIS fight the Kurds in Syria and Iraq - at what point do their interests coincide with the other NATO members? This moronic move is in no one's best interest.
A man, who just two years ago was the poster boy for the far-Left media's attacks against the U.S. government's no-fly list for "unfairly" targeting Muslims, finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison -- arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell.
It's a long way from 2013 when Saadiq Long's cause was being championed by MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Glenn Greenwald, and Mother Jones, and was being represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) terror front.
His story got considerable media attention when his CAIR media representatives here pushed the story that Long wanted to return to his native Oklahoma from his current home in Qatar to visit his ailing mother but couldn't because he was on the TSA's no-fly list. They said his case represented institutional "Islamophobia."
Long's cause got international attention when Glenn Greenwald published an article at The Guardian saying that Long was "effectively exiled from his own country." Kevin Drum of Mother Jones branded it the "Kafkaesque World of the No-Fly List." CAIR has 22 article entries related to Long's case on its website.
After several months of wrangling between his CAIR attorneys and the Department of Homeland Security, Long was temporarily removed from the no-fly list and allowed to return to Oklahoma.
Once home, however, he was still subject to FBI surveillance according to claims he made during a press conference with his CAIR handlers.
After an incident with local police and the FBI, Long was apparently placed back on the no-fly list, preventing his return to Qatar.
That prompted even more outrage from the far-Left media and garnered him an appearance with his CAIR handler on Chris Hayes' MSNBC show.
U.S. and Turkish officials confirmed Long's arrest to PJ Media, saying that he was arrested along with eight others operating along the Turkish-Syrian border. So far, no U.S. media outlet has reported on his arrest.
A secret British cell of Islamist women is brainwashing young female Muslims in the UK and encouraging them to join Isil, an undercover investigation has revealed.
One of the women resides at the same address as a well known British extremist while another lives with another fanatic.
They were caught on camera, at meetings were young children were present, attacking the “filthy Jews” and telling young Muslim women that Britain is waging against them.
One of the meetings is held in a local Government-funded community centre without the managers realising what is going on.
Police were on Monday examining the footage and one former senior prosecutor said some of the comments may have broken the law.
One of the leading members of the group is a woman who goes by the Twitter name Umm L. Her real name is Rubana, a mother-of-four who lives in London with a known extremist and leading member of a now banned organisation. She also once set up the women’s wing of the now banned al-Muhajiroun group. There are dots to be joined here, does 2+2 = 4?
Another of the women is called Umm Saalihah, who has lived at the same address as Mohammed Shamsuddin, who was arrested last year on suspicion of encouraging terrorism and being a member of al-Muhajiroun.
A third woman, under the name Umm Usmaan, wrote on Twitter: “Go to Sham (Syria) for it is the best of Allahs lands on earth.”
In Jersey City, within hours of two jetliners' plowing into the World Trade Center, law enforcement authorities detained and questioned a number of people who were allegedly seen celebrating the attacks and holding tailgate-style parties on rooftops while they watched the devastation on the other side of the river.
I remember that too. It was a clear sign of sedition during wartime.
Ahmed Mohamed family wants $15 million from Irving, Irving ISD
This should be laughed out of court, but Obama's DOJ will probably put pressue on Irving to settle. Fox News:
Give us $15 million – or else.
That’s the demand from the family of the world’s most famous clockmaker, Ahmed Mohamed, to the City of Irving and Irving ISD. The city and district were each sent letters on Monday demanding money or else a lawsuit would be filed.
The family wants $10 million from the City of Irving and $5 million from Irving ISD for damages it claims Ahmed and the family suffered after the teen was arrested. The family also wants an apology from the two entities.
Mohamed, 14, was arrested by Irving police in September after he brought a homemade digital clock to school that was mistaken for a bomb by Irving MacArthur High School faculty. The subsequent fallout made international headlines.
Mohamed and his immediately family are now overseas in Qatar and enrolling in school after a foundation has offered to pay for his education. The letter demanding money from the city and district says that the family wants “more than anything to come home” to Irving.
The letter gives both the city and the district 60 days to pay up or else face a lawsuit.
City and district officials didn’t have any immediate comment on the letter.
Fearing the overthrow of Bashaar Al-Assad's regime, an emboldened Islamic Republic of Iran has drastically increased its involvement in Syria, despite suffering heavy losses among its elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
That finding is detailed in a new report by Raz Zimmit of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
Since the 2011 start of Syria's civil war, Iran has directed the military campaign to maintain the Assad regime's control over Damascus and strategic strongholds in the north. Until recently, Iran's presence in Syria resembled interventions in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen – involving several hundred advisors and thousands of Shi'ite fighters – including Hizballah – under the direction of the IRGC's Quds Force. However, Iran deployed 1,500-2,000 of its own troops to support Syria's northern military offensive launched in early October.
A joint Iranian-Syrian operations room was created in Aleppo to serve as a command and control center for the purposes of coordinating the offensive – involving the IRGC, Syria's military and Iranian sponsored Shi'ite militias under the cover of Russian aerial support. However by the end of October, rebel organizations including al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State, maintained control over key areas targeted by the Iranian-led offensive.
At least 53 IRGC troops have been killed since, marking a significant increase in Iranian casualties. According to the analysis, the vast majority of Iranians killed are from the IRGC's regular fighting units – including high-ranking officers – indicating that they are fighting on the front lines. Moreover, IRGC's elite Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani personally directs the military operations in northwestern Syria, suggesting that Iran is diverting critical assets from Iraq to the Syrian theater.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to enhance terrorist networks in the Golan Heights, using Hizballah, Druze, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operatives to strike Israel. In August, PIJ terrorists – reportedly under Iran's directions – fired four rockets at Israeli territory.
Further examination of the Iranians recently killed shows that many of the fighters hail from special, highly trained units, including the Ansar al-Mahdi security unit and the Saberin brigade. The sharp increase in deaths has forced Iran to justify its involvement in Syria, launching a media campaign to bolster public support for the military intervention. This campaign emphasizes the importance of protecting Shi'ite religious shrines in Syria and the extent to which the Assad regime serves the Islamic Republic's national interests.
Growing dissention among the IRGC ranks surfaced amid reports that several senior commanders, along with junior officers, reportedly refused to obey orders to continue the military campaign in Syria. Growing defiance has forced Iran to court-martial several personnel for "mutiny and treason," as the rising death toll contributes to deteriorating morale among the IRGC ranks. There may even be some disagreement among Iran's leadership concerning continued involvement in Syria. In a recent address to a group of students, IRGC commander Mohammad-Ali Jafari suggested that some Iranian officials questioned Iran's steadfast support for Assad.
Despite rising casualties and internal dissention, Iran's leadership appears firmly committed to propping up the Assad regime in its bid to maintain a critical ally that serves the Islamic Republic's expansion and regional hegemonic ambitions.
Jurors in the trial of an alleged suicide bomb plotter have been shown a film said to show him experimenting with home-made explosives.The footage appears to show Mohammed Rehman filming himself detonating a bomb next to a child's bicycle in his back garden, the court was told.
Prosecutors said Rehman, 25, planned to "up-scale" the explosives for a deadly attack in London ahead of the 10th anniversary of the 7/7 bombings.
Rehman is on trial with his secret wife Sana Ahmed Khan, 24, who is accused of helping him plan the atrocity.
An image of a hunting knife, similar to the one brandished by British Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jidahi John", was also among the evidence presented at the Old Bailey. The knife was found at Rehman's home in Reading when the pair were arrested on 28 May.
Extremely dangerous chemicals, including more than 10kg of urea nitrate, which is extremely explosive and had the potential to cause "multiple fatalities", were also discovered, the court heard. A bomb was just days from being completed, jurors were told.
Rehman is accused of buying ingredients for the explosives on eBay with the help of his wife.
He also allegedly claimed to have planted explosives at his bedside which could be triggered at the touch of a button, saying: "Nobody gets in the way of my Jihad"...
Captivity, the newly translated novel by the Hungarian writer György Spiró, offers a good reminder not to judge a book by its cover. When I first saw this particular cover, with its black background, stark white typography, and surreally floating sculptured bust, the imagery—combined with the book’s Central European provenance, gloomy title, and Jewish focus—made me think that this would be a brooding modernist enigma of a book, perhaps along the lines of Imre Kertész’s Holocaust fictions. In fact, Captivity turns out to be just the opposite—a sprawling (more than 800 pages), picturesque, old-fashioned historical novel about the Roman Empire, in the showy tradition of Ben Hur and I, Claudius. In fact, both Jesus and Claudius, the main characters of those books, make cameo appearances in Captivity, as do other boldface names of the 1st century CE, including Caligula, Pontius Pilate, and Philo of Alexandria. What sets Captivity apart is that it makes the rare attempt to view all these historical phenomena—from the rise of Christianity to the flamboyant vices of the emperors—through a distinctively Jewish lens.
Considering how little we know about the ancient world in general, the first century CE is a surprisingly well-documented era. In creating his pageant of Jewish Rome, Spiró can draw on the Roman histories of Tacitus and Suetonius, the Jewish writings of Josephus and Philo, and the Christian New Testament—in addition to the Talmud, which preserves many features of Second Temple-era Jewish life. These sources tell us about three distinct Roman cultures, each focused on a different metropolis: the grand politics of imperial Rome, the religious fervor of Jerusalem, and the ethnic strife of commercial Alexandria. Accordingly, these are the cities in which Captivity is set, in the period roughly spanning the death of Jesus, in 33 CE, and the destruction of the Temple, in the year 70.
Our tour guide through these cities and their Jewish communities is Gaius Theodorus—or, to use his Jewish name, Uri. When the novel begins, Uri is a very unpromising young man, living with his poor family in a hovel in the Jewish neighborhood of Rome—Transtiberim, the neighborhood “across the Tiber” from Rome proper. (It’s now familiar under the Italian version of the name, Trastevere.) He is brainy and good at languages, but physically unprepossessing, ugly and scrawny; and his bad eyesight keeps him from doing any useful labor. Still, he is, crucially, a Roman citizen—unlike his grandfather, who had been a slave, or his father, a mere freedman—and this entitles him to free provisions from the government. In this way, Uri helps to provide for his family—both the mother he disdains and the father who disdains him.
From the first chapter, Captivity makes clear that its main concern is not plot or character, but setting. Uri is almost a nullity, an undistinguished person about to be thrust into the wide world, like Voltaire’s Candide. His passivity means that he seldom does anything; rather, things happen to him, and he serves as a fly on the wall during the great historical events he chances to blunder through. Spiró is not particularly concerned even about the consistency of the few character traits Uri is assigned. He starts out weak and myopic, but when necessary he’s capable of surviving harsh ordeals and describing fine details.
Where Spiró excels is dramatizing the world through which Uri moves—its political institutions and social arrangements, its sights and smells. In just the first section of the book, set in Rome, we are treated to gladiatorial combat, a client’s morning visit to his patron, and a brutal public execution. These archetypal scenes of Roman life shock us into realizing the ways in which the ancient world differed from our own—the extreme brutality, the fixed and undisguised hierarchy, the omnipresent corruption.
These features interact to make the lives of all Romans, from imperial courtiers to poor plebs living on the dole, highly insecure. A typical predicament arises when Uri’s father, a middling merchant, is casually asked for a huge loan by Agrippa, a Jewish prince who is the bosom friend of Caligula. Saying no is not an option—in this society, the lower ranks always oblige the higher—and so Uri’s father is forced to go deeply into debt, knowing all the while that Agrippa has no intention of repaying him, and that there is no way to compel him to do so. Later in the book, Uri learns that the whole amount Agrippa borrowed—200,000 sesterces, a fortune—was spent on a single banquet.
Doing Agrippa a favor, however, means getting a favor in return, and what Uri’s father asks for is permission for his feckless son to join a group of Jewish pilgrims traveling from Rome to Jerusalem, bearing the annual tribute for the Temple’s upkeep. (This feature of ancient Jewish life is described in detail in the Talmud’s Tractate Shekalim, which Spiró has clearly drawn on—just as he makes use of the Talmud’s rules about eruvs, and its description of the splendid Basilica in Alexandria.) Though Uri dreads the prospect of leaving home and setting out on a long, dangerous journey, this turns out to be his big break, narrative-wise. He escapes Rome’s Jewish ghetto and ends up visiting two major capitals of ancient Judaism—Jerusalem, the religious center, and Alexandria, the commercial center.
There is always something a little comic about historical fiction that enlists real personalities as characters. The comedy comes from the overdetermination: The only witness to life in Jewish Alexandria that we possess is Philo, the philosopher, and so it is inevitable for Uri to become Philo’s confidant. Likewise, no novel set in Judea in 33 CE is going to miss the chance to bring Jesus on stage, and Spiró does just that. Indeed, circumstances work out perfectly for Uri to be thrown in jail in the very same cell with Jesus and the two thieves on the eve of the crucifixion. But Spiró handles this episode with a light touch—Jesus goes unnamed, and it takes the reader a moment to realize that the middle-aged, balding, puffy prisoner is actually the Christian messiah. Uri himself doesn’t realize this until much later in the book, when the growing cult of “the Nazarenes” has turned Jesus into the Son of God. “I saw him! I spoke with him!” Uri tells his own son, Marcellus, who has converted to Christianity. “He was human just like you or me! … He was a man, a wretched, decent, and honest man like you or me!”
Where another novel—like Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur, whose subtitle is “a story of the Christ”—would place this encounter at its center, in Captivity it is just one of many strands that go to make up a complex and thoughtful portrait of what Judaism meant in ancient Rome. If Spiró has a message, it is that Judaism was, and has always been, a diverse civilization, rather than a coherent ethnic or religious identity. Uri’s own family is a case in point: In Rome, he observes, most of the Jewish men came to the city as slaves and either converted to Judaism or married women who did. Uri has no idea what his own ancestors looked like—they could have been German or Greek or African as easily as Judaean.
PODCAST: Humanitarian Jihad and Refugees as ISIS Weaponized CBW Vectors, Morten Storm, Dr. Jill Bellamy and Nidra Poller
Listen to an extraordinarily informative Lisa Benson Show for National Security that aired Sunday November 22, 2015 on KKNT960The Patriot in the aftermath of the ISIS jihad in Paris. Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon and special guest Richard Cutting co-hosted this show.
Our guests were:
Morten Storm . Storm is a former Muslim convert and apostate who became a double agent for Danish Security and Intelligence Service and CIA who penetrated Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula targeting the late Anwar al Awlaki. He is the author of Agent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA and been frequently, interviewed on Fox News and CNN. Storm picked up on a private discussion this past week with more than 100 callers including members of the National Security Task Force of America launching a “know your Imam” campaign. He did that this past weekend. In the private NSTFA call he stressed not to be complacent about additional ISIS attacks in Belgian, France and major EU countries now inundated with hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants, especially young men in detention camps.
Dr. S.Jill. Bellamy was interviewed by both Cutting and Gordon in a segment on possible ISIS Chemical and Biological agent threats to Europe and the US. Bellamy is a recognized international expert on biological warfare and is a member of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Task Force. She has previously developed and run NATO sponsored policy programs on biological terrorism and has published extensively in related fields. Her papers have appeared in the National Review, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Le Monde, Le Temps, New English Review and the Jerusalem Post. Over the past twenty five years she has worked in non-proliferation and counter terrorism. She has developed and run nuclear and biological war games and scenarios supported by European Ministries of Defense. Currently she advises governments on national strategic stockpiling and force protection. She is the founding Director of Warfare Technology Analytics. Bellamy suggested that French Premier Valls expressions of concerns over possible use of CBW by ISIS in terror attacks in the West were reflective of recent uses of chemical weapons by the Islamic State in Syria . She suggested that was reflected in confirmed reports on mustard gas against both Syrian Kurdish YPG and Iraqi Peshmerga forces, as well as Sarin gas that may have been used to kill hundreds of civilians in a suburb near Damascus in 2013. Those reports led to the Hague based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that removed only a fraction of the Assad Regimes stockpile. She pointed out that ISIS ,and other Islamic terror groups like al Nusrah and Hezbollah, wouldn’t refrain from using CBW, as they simply consider them another weapon in their inventory. She said they would have no compunction against the use of such silent killers given the burning alive of a downed Jordanian pilot. That would extend to using the hoards of teeming refugees in UN camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as the equivalent of human weaponized vectors to spread disease and pathogens causing a pandemic. She also responded to queries about major silent killers Anthrax, Smallpox and botulinum toxin developed by the Syria Scientific Research Center that might fall into the hands of ISIS and other terror groups like Hezbollah. It has been reported that ISIS may have established laboratories and acquired research scientific personnel which could pose a threat to the EU and the US. Bellamy covered the extent of protection against these silent killers under US and international vaccine stockpile programs.
Nidra Pollerprovided an eye witness report of what was unfolding in France. Poller is a Lisa Benson Show Advisory Board Member, American writer and translator, resident of Paris, France, since 1972, contributor to The Wall Street Journal, National Review, FrontPage Magazine, The New York Sun and New English Review, author of the forthcoming, The Black Flag of Jihad stalks la Republique. Poller spoke of her experiences in Paris following the November 13th massacres and the November 18th St. Denis banlieuse battle that resulted in the deaths of the alleged Belgian born ‘mastermind’ Abdelhamid Abaaoud, his French born cousin Hasna Ait Boulahcen and third, as yet to be identified suicide bomber. In a New English Review/ Iconoclast post, “Bonjour Tristesse”, she considered them as “punk’ jihadis akin to those who burned vehicles banlieuse nightly in Paris and other French cities for weeks in 2005. She spoke of the muted aftermath following the recent terror events in Paris and the myopia of the international media following these stories forgetting about rallies in July 2014 at which the ISIS banners were prominent in rallies condemning Israel during Operation Defensive Edge fighting Hamas at the statue of Marianne, the symbol of France, at la place de la Republique. She also returned to the theme of , Humanitarian Jihad, a chapter in her latest book, to describe how the conflict in Syria with ISIS and other terror groups had sent hundreds of thousands refugees and illegal migrants bursting the open borders of Europe’s Schengen system . She said that was an unwarranted intrusion of national sovereignty and western values with reports of destructive behavior by migrant Muslim young men in reception centers in EU countries. She said that was triggered by the EU and international response to the imagery a drowning victim, Aylan Kurdi, a three year old Syrian Kurdish child from an overloaded a life raft provided by Turkey headed for the Greek Island of Leros.
'British Muslims report big rise in Islamophobia' said the headlines of an article in the Guardian for 12 November. From the headline, I thought I would read that there had been an increase in the number of vicious attacks on Muslims qua Muslims, or at least of acts of physical desecration.
Not a bit of it. What I read instead were things like the following, taken from a survey of Muslim opinion:
More than two-thirds of Muslims told the survey that they
had heard anti-Islamic comments by politicians, and half
thought that politicians condoned Islamophobic acts.
Subtle effects of discrimination are also on the rise, the study
suggests, with 63% reporting “being talked down to or treated
as if you were stupid; having your opinion minimised or
devalued”, up from 38% in 2010.
These figures by themselves mean very little. They could indeed mean that more anti-Islamic remarks are being passed, or they could mean that Muslims are increasingly sensitive to mistakenly-perceived slights, or indeed both. We do, after all, live in a society in which complaints such as 'having your opinion minimised' are treated as justified just because they have been made. The definition of bullying in the hospital in which I worked was that someone felt bullied, with no necessity for there to be an objective correlative of the feeling. Needless to say, complaints of bullying increased because they were auto-justifying.
Feeling that you have been talked down may be as much in the receiving ear as in the transmitting mouth, but in any case is hardly evidence of an unreasoning hatred or fear of Islam. I dare say that if I were to search my memory, I could find an instance of having been talked down to in the last year. Even if there are instances of Muslims being talked down to because they are Muslim, this is not necessarily because of hatred or fear of Islam: condescension is often a manifestation of a misguided attempt to be kind or understanding.
A man described as a Professor of Racism Studies, who therefore has a vested interest in the survival of racism, is reported as saying that there 'is increasing hostility on the streets in terms of physical attacks and abuse,' and I am prepared to believe that there might have been; in view of the activities of at least some of the followers of Mohammed, and the crudity of so many of our fellow-countrymen, it would be surprising if there had not. But it is curious how the article gives no figures for actual physical attacks. I wonder why not?
DAMASCUS, Syria — Syrian troops backed by Russian airstrikes captured areas from the Islamic State group in the central province of Homs on Monday, in the latest push since the aerial campaign began nearly two months ago, state media and a monitoring group said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops backed by pro-government gunmen entered the town of Mheen and the nearby village of Hawareen after midnight Sunday and were in full control of the area hours later.
Syrian state TV also reported that Mheen and Hawareen were captured, adding that government forces are now removing the mines and explosives left behind by the extremist group to try to slow down the army's advance.
"A big victory was achieved by our heroes," said a Syrian TV reporter embedded with government troops in Mheen.
France Gets Its Priorities Right in the War against Islamist Terrorism
The terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015 have called for strong, decisive action in response to the real threat facing Western Europe, the U.S., and Russia. The correct choice should be made. The priority in the Middle East should be determined action against the perpetrators of an act of war by a terrorist army of ISIS and countering the Islamist terrorism of al-Qaeda, the chief threats to civilization.
Differences exist about policy regarding Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and about the degree to which his ruthlessness has produced a vacuum that has allowed terrorism to thrive in Syria and Iraq. Assad is a brutal murderer, responsible for thousands of deaths and millions of displaced persons as a result of the civil war in his country. But he is not a killer of Americans or Western Europeans, nor is he a danger to the outside world. His removal from power is highly desirable, but it is not a solution to the real threat facing the Western democratic countries or Western civilization.
Assad's brutality deserves condemnation but it is the murder of westerners, which ISIS has made a specialty, that motivates young would-be jihadists, causes anxiety and fear in democratic countries, and attracts more attention by the media and TV. Differences among Europeans, the US, and Russia, over Assad's removal from power should not prevent decisive action by all countries to oppose Islamist terrorism, whether by the Islamic State (ISIS or Daesh) or by the various al-Qaeda organizations. Islamist terrorism is a global phenomenon.
French President François Hollande immediately recognized the problem and unexpectedly became the leader in what he correctly called the war on terror. Regrettably, President Barack Obama and his administration have a problem with language when terrorist attacks occur. French prime minister Manuel Valls has no such problem: he tells his people, "We are at war, abroad and at home." In contrast, Obama uses euphemistic or oblique language like "international terrorism" and "extremism," without naming the perpetrators. For him, ISIS is not a state, but a "network of killers," and therefore it must be countered by counter-terrorism operations.
The Islamic State, the new caliphate, the most vicious of all the Arab dictatorships, is not so shy about revealing its responsibility for the recent murders in Paris. Nor is its objective a secret. It is seeking not only influence, but also world domination. The self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has told us that Islam is not a religion of peace. The terrorist Islamic State does give fair notice of its intentions. In February 2015, it announced in Dabiq, its highly sophisticated internet magazine, its plans for the democratic West: "We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women." Every Muslim was instructed to kill a "Crusader."
What is baffling about Obama is the misaligned nature of his memory. He is unable to remember that it is ISIS that was responsible for the Paris attacks or that the democratic world is engaged in war against a modern evil, but he has an acute memory for the faults of the U.S., not to mention those of the government of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Accordingly, Obama remind us, since we have faulty memories, that we must not forget about the 60 million people who have been displaced around the globe, and that he will veto any bill that halts or delays the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. despite concern that terrorists might be among them. His memory was acute on November 19, 2015, when he informed young Asian leaders in Malaysia that the U.S. suffers from "pitfalls" such as income inequality, a political system controlled by the wealthy, and political parties divided along racial lines. The truth is out: Obama is giving political correctness a bad name.
The Obama policy of "leading from behind" is nonsensical. Britain is now using the RAF Tornados to help the Kurds, who are being attacked by ISIS in Syria. France is using its jets in considerable force to bomb Raqqi, the ISIS capital, and has been aggressive against terrorists in West Africa, especially in Mali and Libya. Russia, long concerned about terrorists in Chechyna and the subject of a number of attacks by Chechens as well as of the downing of its jet plane in Sinai, is now playing an active role against ISIS.
Strong measures and emergency legislation are essential to stem the tide of Islamist terrorism. Civil libertarians are understandably concerned that restrictions might go too far in curtailing freedom of speech or movement, or discriminating against Muslim populations. Nevertheless, President Hollande, now essentially the Western commander in chief, is reimposing controls of people at France's borders and calling for EU checks on people within the Schengen border-free travel zone. France is proposing to widen its emergency powers, to detain suspects, to outlaw associations that incite terrorism, and to control websites. French police have carried out hundreds of raids and made arrests without prior legal approval. The police are also being allowed when off duty to carry arms and to use them. Belgium is preparing to take similar action.
These restrictions, of course, curtail civil liberties and can be abused, but exceptional measures are needed. What is frightening is the degree to which the modern-day Islamist barbarians are making use of all digital channels. Young Islamists greeted the Paris attacks with joy, as was shown on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat by their repeated images of the slaughter. Estimates suggest that nearly 50,000 Twitter accounts can be attributed to ISIS members and supporters, and that more than 1,000 videos, about half praising the violence carried out by ISIS and the other half portraying the Islamic State as a paradise, are circulating on the internet. The German psychologist Ahmad Mansour has written that though mosques are still important, many young Muslims get most of their information about Islam from the web.
The West must mobilize pop culture to overcome ISIS. The question is whether young Muslims can overcome their possible cultural alienation in Western countries, particularly France, with the largest Muslim population in Europe. That alienation must be ended, or the fight against Islamist terrorism will not succeed, and we will witness the real possibility of Islamist triumph and conquest.
Next week Channel 4 will broadcast a 12-month extensive undercover investigation into the British women who are supporting Isis – right here in the UK. The 1 x 60 film, ISIS: The British Women Supporters Unveiled, will air on Monday 23rd November at 9pm on Channel 4.
Penetrating their secret world, this programme comes face-to-face with the British women glorifying jihadis and promoting an ideology that is supportive of the Islamic State. Investigating their activities on social media and infiltrating their clandestine meetings, the undercover reporter discovers the identities of some of the leading female Islamic State sympathisers in Britain who are urging Muslims to abandon democracy and travel to Syria to join Isis.
Preaching messages of hatred and segregation, these women play a part in promoting extremism and furthering the ideological cause of the Islamic State – telling young Muslim women Britain is waging a war against them. Whilst careful not to incite acts of violence, the ideology propagated by the women is considered ‘extremely dangerous’ by legal and counter-terrorism experts.
SECRET recordings reveal the anti-semitic and pro-Isis ranting of two female Muslim community leaders at “study groups” attended by mothers and children in London. The identity of the woman, who was born in Britain, is known to The Sunday Times and the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, which filmed the two women, but she cannot be named for legal reasons.
Calling herself Umm Luqman, she is the former self-proclaimed leader of the female wing of al- Muhajiroun, a British-based terrorist group that was proscribed by the government in 2010.
Undercover investigators filmed Luqman, a 41-year-old mother of four based in London, rejecting democracy and praising the birth of Isis as a true Islamic caliphate, saying the “good days have already begun”.
She accused “filthy Jews” of “audacity and arrogance” and of encouraging the “killing of Muslim children and Muslim women”. “This is a fight against Muslims and Islam; that’s what we need to remember,” she told a meeting . . . Isis would defeat its enemies. “Don’t ever lose hope, there is the plan of Allah, that we can’t see unfolding already, very soon we will be seeing . . .They may be making all these plans in the corridors of Whitehall, in 10 Downing Street and in the White House and wherever they may be, but the same thing has happened time and time again. Do you think anyone ever defeated Allah?”
The full identity of the other female hate preacher, who calls herself Umm Saalihah, is not known. She is certainly a big fan of Omar Bakri "my wonderful sheikh"and her fans include a lot of sixth form girl students, and rather too many teachers for my liking. During a secret meeting of a study circle for fundamentalist Muslim women in east London, she was filmed praising Isis jihadists who “look down into the barrel of a gun and see paradise”. Saalihah told the group that the coalition airstrikes against Isis were being carried out by “cowards” unwilling “to come down and show their boots on the ground”.
The Dispatches programme suggests high levels of sympathy for Isis among some British Muslim women.
The secret filming also shows that government pressure on mosques to ban hate preaching has driven it underground, in some cases playing out in private living rooms.
Luqman tells her listeners that the government’s counter-extremism strategy is failing and leading to more radicalisation. “If they thought it was a plan to deradicalise people, God, they got it wrong, because, if anything, more and more people are becoming what they call radicalised,” she says.“If extremism is to have a voice or actions against British values and democracy, they couldn’t have done anything worse than what they have done, because this is really changing the way Muslims feel in this country.”
SIX Pakistani-born British men have been arrested in Belgium after being spotted in old ambulances near Brussels while the capital was in lock down amid fears of a Paris-style terror attack. A heavily-armed anti-terror unit swooped on the group near a petrol station which is regularly used by Salah Abdeslam - the fugitive terrorist still at large eight days after 130 people were killed in the French capital. Six armoured trucks and a police car rushed in after the old ambulances were parked in a rest area beside the E411 highway in Bierges, south-east of Brussels, at around 2pm local time on Saturday.
One of the men is understood to be known to British police who are assisting Belgian authorities.
The arrests came as it was revealed the alleged mastermind behind the Paris attacks was part of an extremist network linked to at least six hate preachers from Britain.
Paris ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud - who was killed in an anti-terror raid by French authorities in Saint-Denis after the atrocities in the French capital on November 13 - was associated with a banned terrorist group called Sharia4Belgium.
The militant group, which has sent more than 50 Belgian fighters to join ISIS in Syria, was founded by in 2010 by Fouad Belkacem after he travelled to London to seek inspiration from a radical British cleric.
The cleric, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has described Belkacem as a “dear friend” and told how he was asked to help “start something in Belgium”.
Sharia4Belgium quickly began recruiting impressionable young men from places such as Molenbeek - the Brussels district which has been dubbed Europe's "jihadi haven" after it emerged several of the Paris attackers came from the troubled town.
Members of the group also approached Omar Bakri Muhammad, the former London-based hate preacher who was banned from Britain in 2005, while he was living in exile in Lebanon to help gain access to jihadis in Syria.
It is understood at least three other extremists from the UK travelled together to Belgium to help Belkacem promote sharia on the streets.
They included Abu Rahin Aziz, a father-of-two from Luton who fled to Syria and became an ISIS bombmaker. Britons Asfor Ali and Saiful Islam (also from Luton - his exploits include the business at the Royal Anglian homecoming that was the catalyst to the forming of the EDL) are also thought to have helped Sharia4Belgium leader Belkacem spread his extreme views in his native country. A fourth extremist from the UK, who cannot be named for legal reasons, travelled to Belgium in 2012 to initiate Sharia4Belgium members in "military tactics".
“The most significant cause of Belgium’s current jihadist problem, and the largest number of fighters with Isis, was the establishment of the radical group Sharia4Belgium in 2010,” said Guy Van Vlierden, a terrorism expert at the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Belkacem was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Belgium's largest-ever terrorism trial in February 2015.
In general, we want to encourage politicians to do after they win elections what they promised they would do before the election, and from that perspective it is hard to blame Justin Trudeau for continuing to promise to withdraw Canada’s CF-18’s from the air war against the Islamic State (ISIS). I don’t think it was a pledge that ever should have been made, and I commended the Bloc Québécois leader, Gilles Duceppe, in the one shining moment of his campaign, for supporting Stephen Harper on this point. Duceppe’s position was consistent with the Quebec nationalists’ absurd preoccupation with banning the niqab at the ceremony for admission to the citizenship of Canada (which Duceppe wishes Quebec to abandon). And the Trudeau position was consistent with his unjust imputation of misplaced macho aggressiveness to former prime minister Stephen Harper in deploying the aircraft in the first place. In a blending of hope with benign intuition and a sliver of first-hand information, I attributed Trudeau’s pledge to withdraw Canada’s very small air contingent from the Allied force attacking ISIS to well-founded reservations about American leadership of the coalition. The whole effort was only mounted after U.S. President Barack Obama’s pretense that that there were no more terrorists had been exposed as completely fraudulent after his abrupt and churlish departure from Iraq, leaving most Iraqis in the hand of Iran, and control of Sunni Iraq torn between Iran and ISIS. This was the farthest possible outcome from American ambitions when the U.S. invaded that country in 2003.
What ensued was a desultory effort to train the battered hulk of Iraq’s Sunni military and a Western air campaign in the tradition of the Yugoslav Wars: bombing from such high altitudes it was a war worth killing for but not worth dying for. The action, replete with astonishing affronts from the Russians, who purported to shoulder the U.S. out of Syrian air space when they felt like doing so, plodded along in this unconvincing manner, with Obama portentously announcing on Nov. 13 that ISIS had been “contained.” This was shortly after what he had called the “JV team” (Junior Varsity) killed 224 people in a Russian airliner blown up in Egyptian airspace, and mere hours before it murdered 129 innocents in Paris. Obama has continued his unutterably irritating practice of referring to “extreme behaviour” but not to Islamist terrorism. But France has declared a state of emergency in response to what it considers an act of war, and has invoked the European Union’s Lisbon pledge requiring all members to assist one of the EU countries that has been attacked. France has been one of Europe’s most influential countries since the beginning of the nation state, and its responses to the Paris outrages will be consequential. French President François Hollande is trying to co-ordinate a vastly escalated counter-offensive against ISIS with Russia, the United States, and other countries, and Obama’s virtual combat against a supposedly gasping rag-tag of demented amateurs has suddenly become much more purposeful.
Where the American president had infamously drawn a “red line” over Syrian president Assad’s gassing of his own citizens, and then abdicated the prerogatives of the commander-in-chief to the hydra-headed Congress before dumping the issue into the lap of the mischief-making Russian President Vladimir Putin, French and Russian fleets are now to rendezvous in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will bring 40 warplanes into the theatre for intensive and continuous attacks on ISIS. It is probably too much to hope that Obama’s inexplicable mental block against taking the anti-ISIS effort seriously can be entirely overcome, and he has never shown the slightest interest in keeping the Western Alliance ticking over. But even he may have some concerns if the French and Russians stampede almost every other serious country into concerted and severe action, which is entirely justified, long overdue, and would be successful, and effectively set themselves at the head of a coalition of everyone who wants to do something about ISIS slaughtering civilians almost indiscriminately over an ever-wider arc of territory and in increasingly more appalling massacres. Obama’s aim has appeared to be not only to do nothing, but to discourage others from doing anything that might disturb his effort to appease Muslim extremists, whether sectarian zealots like the Iranian theocracy or secular despots like Assad.
His policy is insane, and has been a conspicuous failure, unless the recent acquiescence in an eventual Iranian nuclear military capability miraculously makes the world safer. But he is assumedly sincere and thinks turning the other cheek will accomplish something useful. The Paris outrages and Russian airliner bombing may not convince him to change direction, but they may effectively depose the United States as the world’s chief alliance leader, until it chooses to resume that role. Such a development would spike Obama’s offensive of pre-emptive concessions. An unlikely group of countries making common cause, probably including both the moderate Muslims like Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel and even Iran, will then be interim trustees for the United States as principal power in the world while Obama plays out his pacifistic fantasies in solitude (no other country takes this charade of his seriously), until the next U.S. president is installed. Neither Mrs. Clinton nor any of the serious Republicans will continue Obama’s replacement of foreign policy with psychiatry and his transformation of the Pentagon into the Peace Corps.
In all of these circumstances, Prime Minister Trudeau should reconsider his strategy and the country’s interest. He is unambiguous in his animosity to ISIS and his desire to increase the contribution to training anti-ISIS Sunni Muslim forces is good policy. Our air contribution has been tokenistic (six CF-18’s and three support planes), but the whole campaign has been tokenistic up to now — a few missions a day and certainly nothing on a scale that anyone would expect to be more than a nuisance to ISIS. It now appears possible that substantial special forces from major military powers will be inserted to lead and support local forces against ISIS and that the air war will be heavily intensified, with, if past French and Russian practice are any guide, a more philosophical view of the misfortunes of collateral damage. ISIS only has about 50,000 active warriors and one of the many irritations of this entire subject has been the failure, despite the unspeakable barbarity of the enemy, as these latest incidents highlight, to apply a level of force that had any chance of success. There should now be a constant offensive, led by exceptionally qualified special forces of serious powers and with overwhelming close air support. The amenable locals should be armed and encouraged properly and the entire operation supported by no-fly zones where appropriate and the immediate strangulation of any oil revenues or trans-border crossing points to the terrorists. First things first, and once ISIS has been exterminated, the chief authors of that action should be able to work out a ceasefire in Syria and Iraq; it certainly can’t happen while ISIS is still completely out of control and murdering hundreds of Europeans every few weeks.
If any such scenario as this unfolds over the next few days, as the French president visits his American and Russian analogues to co-ordinate such a response, Justin Trudeau should arrange for President Hollande to ask him to reconsider his decision to withdraw the CF-18s and to confirm his decision to increase the training and co-ordination effort, and the prime minister should comply with the request. Circumstances have changed and this is a Manichaean conflict between comparative good and absolute evil, and it is an unconditional moral imperative that Canada be on the right side and in proper strength. No reasonable person would criticize the new government for adjusting its policy to sharply changed circumstances.
It should, however, stick to its promise of accepting 25,000 refugees. Obviously, they have to be screened carefully, a process that would be made easier if a large proportion of them were Christians, the first victims of these Islamist lunatics. There are no Christian jihadists, and the principal and most numerous victims of ISIS should not be revictimized, whether Christian or Muslim, because the West is finally awakening to the proportions of the evil the refugees are fleeing.
Nor can we engage in any wholesale disparagements. The cardinal-archbishop of Paris rightly said last weekend that the Muslims are not our enemies but that they must solve these internecine problems, and the rest of us can do what we can to help, including the military destruction of ISIS, but this is not a war between entire religions or cultures; it is a war with the most extreme enemies of civilization. I agree entirely with the efforts of the Muslim mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, in seeking to avoid negative typecasting. I would take his efforts a bit more seriously if he had not stomped out, huffing and thumping absurdly, from a speech I gave in his province a few weeks ago, when I made the point that while Canada’s native people were the victims of many injustices, they were never the subject of an official Canadian policy of any form of genocide. When so defamed, and particularly by ourselves, we white Christian Canadians are victims too, though only of slander, but the enlightened Muslim mayor of a great Canadian city should have no part of it.
Opposite ISIS, we are all in this together, and the more efficiently we kill them in Iraq and Syria, the less likely they are to penetrate Canada.