Spy watchdog: UK under threat from jihadi bomb makers with ‘devilish technical skill’

July 5, 2014

Britain faces a new attack from jihadi bomb makers with the skill to make explosive devices concealed in mobile phones and tablet computers, parliament’s intelligence watchdog says today.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, warns that the British public has grown complacent about the threat of a terrorist attack on UK soil and that the lack of vigilance is “seriously disturbing”. The former Foreign Secretary, who received a secret intelligence briefing on the latest transatlantic airline bomb plot, says he has “no doubt” that extra security searches at airports are necessary.

Having occupied large swathes of Iraq, the Islamic State (Isis) is also now in a position to fund the research and development of more technologically advanced bomb-making equipment.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security in Washington will issue guidance to airports across Europe asking that new security checks on flights heading to the US are implemented. It is likely to lead to more stringent checks on passengers at British airports and longer queues, coinciding with the summer holiday getaway.

Writing in today’s Sunday Telegraph, Sir Malcolm says that in his position as chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, the parliamentary committee which oversees the secret operations of MI5 and MI6, he has been shown the evidence gathered by intelligence agencies which underpin a series of new security measures being introduced at British airports and across Europe.

His comments coincide with a stark warning made by Lord Carlile, the government’s former reviewer of terror legislation, who told The Sunday Telegraph that the Islamic State (Isis) now had funding on a par with a “large multinational corporation”. Lord Carlile said: “There is evidence Isis and its followers are capable of making much more sophisticated bombs. The step-change now is that Isis is very well-funded. The public needs to be aware this is a major terrorist organisation with funding comparable to a large multinational corporation and that they have the capacity to do research and make sophisticated bombs.” Lt Gen Sir Graeme Lamb, the former head of Britain’s Special Forces, writing for the Telegraph website, said it was imperative that the Home Office begin funding “novel science and security technologies” to combat ever more sophisticated bomb-making capabilities.

While intelligence about a growing terror threat against civilian airliners has been growing for some time, the decision to order increased checks was made in the past week. The latest terror alert was sparked by US intelligence picking up signals that al-Qaeda’s Yemeni and Syrian branches were colluding to try to bring down an aircraft.

A Spaniard directed a Jihadist cell

March 14, 2014

 

The Spanish and Moroccan police have dismantled the most active jihadist cell in Spain, responsible for recruiting volunteers for the ” jihad ” terrorist groups and integrated into the orbit of Al Qaeda. Seven people, including the head of the network , have been arrested in this operation , developed in Melilla ( three detainees ), Morocco ( three ) and Malaga (one).
The leader, Mustafa Maya Amaya, is of Spanish Belgian origin and resident in Melilla. Maya Amaya , considered the ” main driving force ” of the network , had previously selected  two French citizens, who he would then prepare for immediate march to Syria.
Nowadays, Maya Amaya was responsible for organizing, coordinating and sending jihadists to Syria, to assure flights, accommodation and the shipment of funds.

 

La Razon: http://www.larazon.es/detalle_normal/noticias/5839939/un-espanol-dirigia-la-celula-yihadista-hispano-marroqui-desmantelada#Ttt1kJcIk7O9J92M

Jeh Johnson, Homeland Security chief, cites threat as some travel to fight in Syrian civil war

February 7, 2014

 

Delivering his first policy address since taking office in December, Johnson covered a broad range of topics, from appropriate uses of force by Customs and Border Protection agents to declining worker morale at Homeland Security, which has consistently received some of the lowest scores in the federal government’s annual worker-satisfaction survey.

The secretary noted that his morning intelligence briefings range in scope from “the latest terrorist plotting to a weather map,” adding that his department must constantly evolve to answer national security threats and hazards.

“Syria has become a matter of homeland security,” said Johnson, 56, the fourth Senate-confirmed secretary of Homeland Security.

Johnson said people from North America and Europe are traveling to war-torn Syria to fight, adding that “they will encounter radical, extremist influences” and possibly return to their home countries with the intent to do harm.

He also discussed home-grown terrorism, saying: “We face threats from those who self-radicalize to violence, the so-called ‘lone wolf,’ who did not train at an al-Qaeda camp overseas or become part of an enemy force, but who may be inspired by radical, violent ideology to do harm to Americans.”

He noted the Boston Marathon bombings in April that killed three people and wounded more than 200 others. The attacks were allegedly carried out by two brothers living in the United States who spent time in Muslim-dominated parts of Central Asia. One of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police, and the Justice Department has said it will seek the death penalty against the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

 

Washington Post.com: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/jeh-johnson-homeland-security-chief-cites-threat-as-some-travel-to-fight-in-syrian-civil-war/2014/02/07/b1e8635e-9038-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

The management of security and religious affairs: the disappointing results of Interior Minister Manuel Valls in 2013

February 5, 2014

 

According to the recently released 2013 report by the National Observatory of Delinquency and Penal Action, France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls has not brought down crime nor been active on the regulation of religious committees, contrary to popular perception.

Enjoying successful poll ratings, Manuel Valls has been portrayed as the ‘strong man’ of the socialist government. But according to the report on delinquency and public security, the number of burglaries and homicides has increased despite a government plan to counter crime.

In addition to calling for redefining the mission of the judiciary police and integrating new technologies into the police force, the Interior Minister called for a tighter legal measures on internet and social media networks to stop hate messages. ‘The degree of latent hate expressed on social media is of an incompatible intensity with our national ambitions’, said Valls.

Valls is also in charge of maintaining France’s religious bodies, and the 2013 assessment is particularly weak on his management of Islam in France. At the start of his position in 2012, Valls had expressed ambitious plans in this domain. But up to now, nothing new has been implemented: the ‘Islam question’ may have been deemed too risky and hazardous for an Interior Minister who came across as a hardline supporter of secularism.

Valls had initially said he planned to create another national representative body for Muslims, the CFCM (Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman) deemed too close to foreign agendas. Another project was to implement a ‘Foundation of French Islam’ intended for collecting funds transparently for the construction of places of worship. Valls let believe he wanted to reopen this project, but French Muslims have yet to see any steps forwards from the Interior Minister on this central question.

 

Source: http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/politique-securitaire-gestion-cultes-bilan-mitige-manuel-valls-7687.html

Muslim cabbie sues St. Louis, taxicab commission over clothing rules

St. Louis – A Muslim taxicab driver is suing the city of St. Louis, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission and a private security company, saying he has been harassed and arrested because he insists on wearing religious garb.

Raja Awais Naeem, who works for Harris Cab and manages a shuttle service called A-1 Shuttle, says his religious beliefs require him to wear modest, loose-fitting clothing and a hat called a kufi. But that garb has run afoul of the taxicab commission’s dress code for cabbies, Naeem claims in the suit filed Thursday morning in St. Louis Circuit Court.

Naeem, originally from Pakistan but now a U.S. citizen living in St. Louis County, said he has been told he must adhere to the commission’s rules requiring a white shirt, black pants and no kufi. Baseball caps are allowed, as long as they have no logo other than the taxi certificate holder.

He claims he has been harassed and had his taxi license suspended when he continued wearing clothing he says is required by Islam, including the kufi, a loose shirt called a kurta and loose-fitting pants called shalwar. Naeem said the clothing maintains modesty by concealing the figure.

Representatives of the city, the taxicab commission and Whelan either could not be reached for comment or declined to comment on the suit.

In his lawsuit, Naeem says he was written a citation by a Whelan Security guard in June 2011 for wearing “foreign country religious dress.” Other times he had his taxi license suspended or was told he would be arrested for trespassing if he worked in his religious clothing, he said.

He said he tried to seek approval from the taxicab commission to wear his religious dress, providing the commission an affidavit in October about the importance of the clothing he wears.

Naeem says he filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission of Missouri, which issued him right-to-sue letters on each complaint.

His suit seeks an injunction to allow religious dress for cabdrivers and civil damages including attorney’s fees and other costs.

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatches: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/muslim-cabbie-sues-st-louis-taxicab-commission-over-clothing-rules/article_5e88f07f-7c5e-5a89-85b6-fb4f67bb451d.html

Where Is Islamophobia Heading in the U.S.?

Army veteran Wade Michael Page killed six people and then himself one Sunday morning at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wis., as number of people gathered there for services last August.

The attack is being treated as a hate crime and is considered by the FBI to be domestic terrorism. Teresa Carlson, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation into the attack, told reporters that “the agency is looking into [Page’s] ties to the white supremacist movement.”

So, after the shameful, bloody shooting, we have been discussing hate crime and religious discrimination.

Daryl Johnson, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told the Huffington Post that Homeland Security has neglected to form a domestic terrorism unit to eliminate this type of attack. “Hindsight is always 20-20, but if DHS had a domestic terrorism unit today, we would definitely have sent out a warning, a threat assessment [to] Muslim-Americans being attacked. I know this was a Sikh temple, but he mistook them for Muslims,” Johnson indicated. Despite constant reports of increasing violence against mosques, “not a single intelligence report has warned these communities. … Someone’s not connecting the dots,” Johnson added.

On CNN News, Carol Costello connected the shooting with Islamophobia and pointed out that this is a national problem that needs to be discussed seriously. She also said that “many observers say Sikhs have been unfairly targeted ever since 9/11, but that implies Muslims can be fairly targeted. Well, they are targeted.”

Yes, since 9/11, Muslims have been targeted. As you may remember, a mosque was destroyed by a fire in Missouri. The residents of Murfreesboro, Tenn., have been fighting to keep a mosque from opening. In Washington, D.C., U.S. Representative Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, has held a series of congressional hearings on Muslim radicalization — including inside the military — and has claimed extremist Muslims influence the US government.

Threat Level in Netherlands Remains Set at “Substantial”

July 1 2013

 

The National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism in the Netherlands has announced that the level of threat in the country continues to be “substantial”.

The main international threat with potential consequences for the Netherlands is presently based on the situation in Syria. Other areas of consequence include Mali, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria and Afghanistan.

House committee hearing on Boston bombings Thursday, as investigators continue to trace activities of Tsarnaev brothers

The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing Thursday on the deadly bombings, which killed three and injured more than 200. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the committee’s chairman, called for the hearing to investigate and review what U.S. agencies knew about the alleged bombers before the attacks.

Some reports have suggested that one of the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, met withmilitants in the strife-torn region of Dagestan last year during his six months in Russia. But one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that issue was “still in the category of question marks.”

At the same time, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are trying to trace the gun that Tsarnaev allegedly used in a gunfight with police before he was killed April 19. They are hoping that identifying the first purchaser of the gun could shed light on where Tsarnaev obtained the firearm.

A U.S. official said that the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security are developing a formal intelligence assessment on the factors that moved the Tsarnaevs toward hard-line Islamist views, and whether there was a single development or tipping point in their alleged turn to violence.

“We need to understand it to counter it,” the official said. “From that we look at how do you put a brake in the radicalization process, and can you put something in that path to detect it.”

The official said the research, which involves experts on radicalization at NCTC and other agencies, is expected to take several months, culminating in a formal intelligence assessment that could be distributed across the executive branch.

Mosque in a High Security Court for Mafia Killings? Ok Imam

April 21, 2013

Florence – A Mosque in a high security court created for terrorism trials, which was used for the specific trials of the Monster of Florence, Pietro Pacciani who along with 3 other killed almost 16 people and Giovanni Brusca who was responsible for killing a famed judge in 1993 for the judge’s harsh stance on the mafia during the clean hands movement. The Islamic movement in Florence is prepared to acquire the property, according to Imam Izzedin Elzir. This is the same complex that heard from the famous defendants Pacciani and Brusca.

Lawmakers divided on post-9/11 program that collected info on Americans, not terrorists

WASHINGTON — Stinging criticism from Congress about a counterterrorism effort that improperly collected information about innocent Americans is turning up the heat on the Obama administration to justify the program’s continued existence and putting lawmakers who championed it on the defensive.

The administration strongly disagrees with the report’s findings, and leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee are distancing themselves from the report. The review criticized the multibillion-dollar network of “fusion centers” as ineffective in fighting terrorism and risky to civil liberties.

The intelligence reports reviewed by the subcommittee were produced by officials in the Homeland Security Department’s Intelligence and Analysis division, which was created after the Sept. 11 attacks with the hope of connecting the dots to prevent the next terrorist strike. This division has never lived up to what Congress initially hoped for.

Though fusion centers receive money from the federal government, they are operated independently. A federal law co-sponsored by Lieberman and Collins authorized that centers cover criminal or terrorist activity.

Five years later, Senate investigators found, terrorism is often a secondary focus.

The report is as much an indictment of Congress as it is the Homeland Security Department.

One of the report’s recommendations is that the department needs to do a better job of tracking how its money is spent; that’s a recommendation with which both Collins and Lieberman agree.

Despite that, Congress is unlikely to pull the plug because the program means politically important money for state and local governments, and Homeland Security officials are adamant that the money is well spent.