“”France must know that it is protected, that it is safe.” Those were President Francois Hollande’s big words on 19 September, when he informed his compatriots of the first aerial attacks by Rafale jets on Islamic State positions in Iraq. The battle against terrorism harbours security risks, he acknowledged, but was also an important and great matter. Polls show that Hollande has the political trust of only 15 per cent of his country’s 65 million inhabitants. France’s involvement in the military campaign against IS in Iraq, however, is a popular move: according to an Ifop survey for the weekly newspaper “Journal du Dimanche”, one in two French voters supports it.””
A radicalized ex-military tried to recruit his ex-colleagues for the jihad. The Dutch secret security services MIVD and AIVD are investigating the case.
The ex-military approached his ex-colleagues by mail.
But because of security issues spokesperson of neither the airbase where the ex-military worked or the security services can give any information on this issue.
On social media are circulating different profiles of Muslim radicals who say to have gained military experience inside the Dutch armed forces. And even though it is never confirmed by Defence it is suspected that Volkel is the only place in the Netherlands where nuclear weapons are being stored.
January 10, 2014
The self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has released a manifesto claiming that the Koran forbids the use of violence to spread Islam. The document, published Tuesday by The Huffington Post and Britain’s Channel 4 News, marks Mohammed’s first public communication since 2009, when the US government officially accused him of terrorism.
In a major departure from his previous position, Mohammed said that “the Holy Koran forbids us to use force as a means of converting!” He also tried in the 36-page document to convince his American captors, prosecutors, lawyers and members of his military tribunal to convert to Islam.
“It is my religious duty in dealing with any non-Muslims such as the people in the court (the judge, the prosecution, attorneys, etc.) to invite them to embrace Islam,” Mohammed wrote.
“I realise very well that you have heard about Islam and know much about it. But it is my own belief that Allah will ask me on the Day of Judgment why I did not invite these people to Islam?”
Mohammed said he was “very happy” in his cell, adding: “My spirit is free even while my body is being held captive.”
Mohammed said he has been “neither sad nor distressed” in his confinement “because I have been with the Only One True God.”
The document was declassified last month by military judge James Pohl.
Defence lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment
January 22, 2014
The Defense Department today released a new instruction that details its updated policy on making religious accommodations requested by service members, Pentagon spokesman Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nathan J. Christensen said today.
A DOD instruction implements a policy or prescribes the manner or plan of action used to carry out a policy, operate a program or activity, and assign responsibilities.
“The new policy states that military departments will accommodate religious requests of service members,” Christensen said, “unless a request would have an adverse effect on military readiness, mission accomplishment, unit cohesion and good order and discipline.”
When a service member requests such an accommodation, he added, department officials balance the need of the service member against the need to accomplish the military mission. Such a request is denied only if an official determines that mission accomplishment needs outweigh the need of the service member, Christensen said.
Requests to accommodate religious practices will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, the spokesman noted.
Updated DOD Instruction Regarding Religious Accommodation: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/130017p.pdf
January 17, 2014
On a recent afternoon, Jehane Noujaim apologized for checking her cellphone in the middle of an interview. The director of “The Square,” an immersion into the Egyptian revolution, wanted to make sure her producer, Karim Amer, was going to be able to get back into the country — his country — to see an ailing relative. Such apprehension was nothing new for Noujaim.
“The Square,” nominated Thursday for an Academy Award for best documentary, opened Friday in theaters and via Netflix, but has yet to be screened in Egypt, whose tumultuous recent history is its subject. “The film is in censorship,” she said. “They won’t issue a letter to show it publicly. There’s an attempt to whitewash the last three years. That period is given intimate perspective in the film, which tracks the downfall of dictatorial Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 after 18 days of mass protests and military intimidation in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
The story continues as Mubarak’s elected successor, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, also is toppled, amid rising violence and discord between religious and secular factions. The tilts and turns meant that, shortly after winning an audience award for “The Square” at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Noujaim went back to shooting and re-editing the film. “Most of these verite films, you make up a story that you think you’re following,” said Noujaim, whose films include “Control Room” and “Startup.com.”
“You make a plan and God laughs, right? And that’s the exciting thing about making these films. You don’t know which way a story is going to go. But this story, much more than anything I’ve ever worked on, I had no idea where it was going. We had to have people ready to film at any moment.” The Harvard-educated filmmaker, 39, was born in Washington but raised in Cairo between the ages of 7 and 17. She grew up a few minutes from Tahrir Square but never imagined that one day she’d be sleeping in it.
“There was no place else I wanted to be in the world when things started happening there,” Noujaim said. It was in the square that she met the film’s key figures, each a different piece of the populist puzzle that came together in the story. “You look for people who will take you into worlds that you will never ordinarily see.”
The Academy Award nomination is the first ever for an Egyptian film. Noujaim compared the moment to “getting accepted to the World Cup for the first time.” The timing is crucial, as the country voted last week on a new constitution — backed by the military government — with presidential and parliamentary elections expected soon. “What Ahmed said when we were short-listed was, this means that despite censorship that this film will be unstoppable and our story will never be able to be obliterated or silenced,” Noujaim said. “The government will be in a very uncomfortable place, which is exactly where they need to be put for censoring a film about a hugely important chapter of Egyptian history.”
Michael Adebowale, 22, was the front seat passenger in the car that rammed the soldier before he got out of the damaged car and attacked the prone man’s body with knives, witnesses have told the court. His co-defendant, Michael Adebolajo, 29, claimed earlier this week that he was a soldier of Allah fighting a war because British troops were in Muslim countries.
He accepts that he attacked Fusilier Rigby, 25, near Woolwich barracks, southeast London, and tried to cut off his head with a cleaver. But he claimed that he pulled Mr Adebowale away from the body when the younger man started attacking him because the soldier was already dead.
Mr Adebowale’s legal team said yesterday that it would not be calling any other witnesses for his defence. “The evidence is now over. It means that the second defendant has chosen neither to give nor to call any evidence,” the trial judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, told the jury of eight women and four men. “You are not to draw any inference adverse to him from the fact that he has chosen not to give evidence.”
Mr Adebowale had claimed that the two men argued over who would carry the gun because they believed that the person who had the gun was more likely to be killed by police and achieve their goal of martyrdom. “To be killed on the battlefield is not something we shy away from and in fact this is something that Allah loves,” he told police during interviews played to the court last week. He said that he had “obeyed the command of Allah” to kill a serviceman.
The man accused of killing and trying to behead Fusilier Lee Rigby declared his love for al-Qaida in court on Monday and claimed he was a soldier for Allah in an ongoing war against the British military.
“I’m a soldier and this is war,” said Mr Adebolajo in evidence to the court on Monday. “Basically it is a war between Islam and those militaries that invade Muslim lands. One of them just happens to be the British military and therefore the war continues even to this day.”
Seated just yards from the family of his victim, Michael Adebolajo, 28, told the Old Bailey that he had no regrets about launching the attack on the defenceless soldier as he crossed the road near his barracks in Woolwich, south-east London. “I will never regret obeying the command of Allah so that’s all I can say,” he told a packed courtroom. “I’m a mujahid, I’m a soldier: I do what Allah commands me to do. I can’t do anything else.”
During comments directed towards the Rigby family, Mr Adebolajo accepted that he killed somebody that they loved. “I just hope that soldier’s life and his death might prevent the deaths of other soldiers who are being sent to die in unjust wars and save the lives of Muslims who are being bombed and killed by British forces,” he said.
Mr Adebolajo and Mr Adebowale both deny murder and attempted murder of a police officer. The case continues.
November 22, 2013
This summer the House finally passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act, catapulting military issues to the forefront of public debate.
Among these issues was the question of Humanist chaplains in the military. Currently nearly 30 percent of the military identifies as religiously unaffiliated or atheist/agnostic. Yet there is not a single atheist or Humanist chaplain to serve these brave men and women who make incredible sacrifices to protect our freedoms every day.
To understand the importance of chaplains for all service members – including atheists – one must first understand military culture, in which a visit to a psychiatrist can have a devastating impact on the member’s career.
In contrast, despite that the nonreligious outnumber the combined total of Hindus, Muslims and Jews in the armed services, all of these groups have chaplains for their respective religions.
Furthermore, atheist or non-religious family members are also being deprived of a channel of support for their questions and concerns as they deal with issues of separation, life on a base and even the death of a family member.
The military began employing chaplains because they felt that the health of service men and women was not being sufficiently maintained by medical professionals. And the very fact that the Department of Defense has employed chaplains of different faiths indicates that they believe that a chaplain of the same faith as the service member who seeks their help is the ideal situation.
Despite that the amendments failed, real progress was made. In a historical and ground-breaking moment, 150 representatives openly and on the record, voted in favor of supporting nontheists—a strong showing that was previously unheard of.
And in a heartening and spirited show of support, several representatives spoke openly about their support for the nontheistic community—an act that could have meant political suicide not long ago. Rep. Adam Smith, a Democrat from Washington, stood up for the nontheistic community, saying that nontheists do have strong belief systems, which “they value just as much as Christians value theirs.” He continued, “To say that an atheist or Humanist doesn’t believe anything is just ignorant…The response to the gentleman’s amendment makes me feel all the more the necessity of it.”
November 3, 2013
Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.
The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees”.
Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra “first do no harm” did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.
The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.
The CIA’s office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that “enhanced interrogation” methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.
Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these “changed roles for health professionals and anaemic ethical standards” remain.
“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army psychiatrist sentenced to death for the Fort Hood shooting rampage has been forcibly shaved, an Army spokesman said Tuesday.
Maj. Nidal Hasan began growing a beard in the years after the November 2009 shooting that left 13 dead and 30 wounded. The beard prompted delays to his court-martial because it violated Army grooming regulations. He was convicted of all charges last month at his court-martial at the Central Texas Army post and sentenced to death.
Now, Hasan is an inmate at the U.S. Detention Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., home to the military death row. Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt, an Army spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday that Hasan had been shaved. He did not specify when or provide details, however.
Officials at Fort Leavenworth previously had said Hasan would be subject to Army regulations.
Hasan said he grew the beard because his Muslim faith required it and was not meant as a show of disrespect. However, Col. Gregory Gross, the original judge presiding over Hasan’s court-martial, ordered Hasan to be clean-shaven or be forcibly shaved before his trial.
The dispute over that decision led to appeals that delayed the trial by more than three months before the appeals court ousted the judge. The appeals court ruled that Gross did not appear impartial while presiding over Hasan’s case and that the command, not a judge, is responsible for enforcing military grooming standards.
Three U.S. lawmakers who have generated controversy for their statements about Islam and Muslim Americans released a video Saturday praising the Egyptian military and thanking it for staging the July 3 and subsequent crackdowns against their “common enemy,” the Muslim Brotherhood. The video, apparently taken a few hours after meeting with coup leader General Abdel Fatah el-Sissi in Cairo, features Rep. Michele Bachmann reading a statement to the camera. She’s flanked by Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert.
The video, posted below, is a doozy. Bachmann, presumably supported by King and Gohmert, offers fulsome praise for the coup and the military-led government’s subsequent actions, describing its crackdowns against sit-ins and demonstrations as “the front lines” in “the war on terrorism.” She described the Muslim Brotherhood as a common enemy and a “great evil,” implying that it had been responsible for the attacks against the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. King and Gohmert offered similar but more tempered remarks.
Bachmann’s remarks appeared deeply consistent with Egyptian state propaganda that has portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as a secret terrorist organization and an internal enemy.