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Posts tagged ‘Terrorism’

‘Unprecedented Mystery’ — US and 9 Other Nations Scour Seas for Missing Jet.


The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an “unprecedented mystery”, the civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board.

Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER which took off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

The area of the search would be widened from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.

A senior police official told Reuters that people armed with explosives and carrying false identity papers had tried to fly out of Kuala Lumpur in the past, and that current investigations were focused on two passengers who were on the missing plane with stolen passports.

“We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane,” he said. “There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details.”

Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” he told a news conference. “As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.”

Azharuddin also said the two men with stolen passports did not look like Asians, but he did not elaborate. Airport CCTV footage showed they completed all security procedures, he said.

“We are looking at the possibility of a stolen passport syndicate,” he said.

About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. The airline said other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

China urged Malaysia to speed up the search for the plane.

“This incident happened more than two days ago, and we hope that the Malaysians can fully understand the urgency of China, especially of the family members, and can step up the speed of the investigation and increase efforts on search and rescue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.

A senior source involved in preliminary investigations in Malaysia said the failure to find any debris indicated the plane may have broken up mid-flight, which could disperse wreckage over a very wide area.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said the source.

Asked about the possibility of an explosion, the source said there was no evidence of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

Still, the source said the closest parallels were the bomb explosions on board an Air India jetliner in 1985 when it was over the Atlantic Ocean and a Pan Am aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Both planes were cruising at around 31,000 feet at the time.

The United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by American spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a U.S. government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.

Hopes for a breakthrough rose briefly when Vietnam scrambled helicopters to investigate a floating yellow object it was thought could have been a life raft. But the country’s Civil Aviation Authority said on its website that the object turned out to be a “moss-covered cap of a cable reel”.

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft (10,670 metres).

Underlining the lack of hard information about the plane’s fate, a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft capable of covering 1,500 sq miles every hour was sweeping the northern part of the Strait of Malacca, on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula from where the last contact with MH370 was made.

No distress signal was sent from the lost plane, which experts said suggested a sudden catastrophic failure or explosion, but Malaysia’s air force chief said radar tracking showed it may have turned back from its scheduled route before it disappeared.

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

The passenger manifest issued by the airline included the names of two Europeans – Austrian Christian Kozel and Italian Luigi Maraldi – who were not on the plane. Their passports had been stolen in Thailand during the past two years.

An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more “suspect passports”, which were being investigated.

“Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol’s databases,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said.

A European diplomat in Kuala Lumpur cautioned that the Malaysian capital was an Asian hub for illegal migrants, many of whom used false documents and complex routes including via Beijing or West Africa to reach a final destination in Europe.

“You shouldn’t automatically think that the fact there were two people on the plane with false passports had anything to do with the disappearance of the plane,” the diplomat said.

“The more you know about the role of Kuala Lumpur in this chain, the more doubtful you are of the chances of a linkage.”

A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers using the stolen passports said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, the Financial Times reported.

The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as “Mr Ali” had asked her to book tickets for the two men on March 1.

She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and on March 6, Mr Ali had asked her to book them again. She told the newspaper she did not think Mr Ali, who paid her in cash and booked tickets with her regularly, was linked to terrorism.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Cruz: Obama ‘Most Hostile’ US President to Israel.


Image: Cruz: Obama 'Most Hostile' US President to Israel

 

By Elliot Jager

Barack Obama “has been the president most hostile to the nation of Israel in modern times,” Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper.

Obama’s Iranian policies in particular “may well be setting the stage for the slaughter of millions of Israelis – or millions of Americans,” Cruz said.

The senator was interviewed by the newspaper – which is antagonistic toward the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – during the annual pro-Israel AIPAC conference in Washington earlier this week.

Cruz warned that Obama was undermining the “special relationship” between Washington and Jerusalem.

“For the president of the United States to threaten Israel with international isolation and to not-too-subtly threaten a withdrawal of American support for Israel is profoundly misguided and dangerous [for] both the nation of Israel and to the United States,” he said.

This unsympathetic attitude was not limited to the Obama White House. He said that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had deserted Israel by blocking Kirk-Menendez  – a bill supporters say would provide a greater incentive for Iranian nuclear negotiators to bargain in good faith or face U.S. sanctions harsher than those already imposed.

Beyond his stance on Israel, Cruz criticized Obama’s overall handling of American foreign policy.

“For five years under President Obama, America’s leadership in the world has consistently receded,” Cruz said.” As a direct consequence we’ve seen the spheres of influence of Russia and Iran and China expanding. For five years President Obama has alienated and abandoned our friends and allies and has pursued appeasement in negotiations with our enemies.”

Cruz said Obama had been “hectoring” and “blackmailing” Jerusalem “to accept terms that in Israel’s judgment are inconsistent with protecting its national security.” He said Obama was “embracing a false moral equivalence between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Cruz said that there would be no peace so long as the “Palestinians continue to embrace terrorism and refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish nation.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

US, UK advocate non-military approach for Boko Haram terrorists.


 

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The governments of United States and the United Kingdom have advised the Federal Government to increase its use of non-military approach and regional collaboration to tackle the menace of Boko Haram in parts of Nigeria.

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr James Entwistle, and the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, Andrew Pocock, disclosed this separately in Lagos and Abuja, where they said the incidences of Boko Haram attacks in parts of the North required new thinking and approaches beyond military diplomacy.
The US Ambassador who was at a media roundtable in Lagos said: “The Federal Government must look at the social and economic conditions that gave rise to the insurgency in the Northern parts of the country.

“The Federal Government must look at why did it start in the first place? What drew people to this organisation in the first place? Was it lack of employment opportunity? Was it education system?

I am not sure what the reasons might be. Sometimes it is hard to do but we need to ask why is it happening in our country and what can we do better in our country to make sure that this type of thing does not happen again.

Challenge of counter-terrorism
“Part of the challenge of counter-terrorism is that you are fighting an enemy who mixes with the population and one of the most difficult things for the military is to go into a mixed setting like that and figure out who is a terrorist and who are the innocent civilians.”

“In my conversation with your government and military, I have expressed these points and I think there is a growing concern over finding an enemy who mixes with the civilian population.
“These are enormously difficult thing to do and that is why we are trying to help the Federal Government.”
He also advised Nigeria to strengthen its regional diplomacy.

According to Entwistle,”there is the need for your government to work closely with Cameroun and Chad because these guys cross the borders. The only way to deal with these guys is to collaborate with your neigbours and relevant international organisations.”

Britain to help with security challenges
In Abuja, the British High Commissioner, Mr. Andrew Pocock, who spoke in Abuja at the welcome ceremony for Nigerian Chevening scholars, said: “We have already been working closely with the Nigerian government on the security agenda. There is a lot that is going on and will continue to go on.

“The other thing we are doing is to help promote the view which I think the Nigerian government already has, that the conflict in the North-East, the kind that we see, is not going to be solved easily and purely by military means. There is need for a co-ordinated approach on the political and economic fronts.

“Our development programme is very much aimed in assisting in the two aspects in bringing new approaches to dealing with the drivers of conflict and secondly, by promoting some of the basic elements that people require, particularly in parts of the north, education, health care, sanitation, elements of infrastructure uplift, helping marginalised people to become small entrepreneurs and to have access to the form of financial systems in Nigeria.”

Pocock explained further that his government had plans to assist Nigeria in dealing with its security challenges but noted that it was actively engaged in providing training for the Nigerian military on Command and Staff College.

Nigeria’ll overcome B’Haram challenges — Onaiyekan
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria would overcome the challenges of Boko Haram insurgents.
Onaiyekan expressed the optimism at a mass to conclude the 2014 Prayer Project of Catholic Charismatic Renewal of Nigeria, at Papal Ground, Kubwa, Abuja.

He said there was nothing like Boko Haram 10 years ago and it would soon become history by the grace of God.
He said: “Let us continue to pray that God will deliver us from this ‘terrible infection’ of Boko Haram. We do not know how God will do it, but as Christians, we need deep faith and believe that God will do it.”
The cleric urged Christians to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country.

By Hugo Odiogor & Victoria Ojeme

Source: Radio Biafra.

Muslim Brotherhood Delegates Given Security Bypass at JFK.


The State Department gave special VIP treatment at New York’s JFK Airport to visiting delegates of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, allowing them to enter the United States without a routine security screening.

The New York Post reports that the expedited entry, known as “port courtesy,” was given to the officials between March and April in 2012, according to newly released documents confirming an Investigative Project on Terrorism report obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The perk, which is normally reserved for high-ranking foreign dignitaries, took place before the Brotherhood had won control of the Egyptian government in June 2012 with its candidate Mohammed Morsi elected as president.

However, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party had already won a plurality of seats in parliamentary elections.

One member of the Brotherhood delegation had been linked to a child pornography investigation in the United States years earlier, and likely would have been subjected to extra screening, according to The Algemeiner website.

Another delegate, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, was escorted through security checkpoints at Minneapolis and JFK. And an official said, “We did not hear anything further from the [Muslim Brotherhood] so we assume the departure went smoothly.”

The report said Dardery was allowed to dodge a “secondary inspection,” which allows agents to search baggage and electronic equipment of passengers who might be considered security risks, says the Post.

Algemeiner noted that the Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, which would usually have resulted in a secondary inspection for the delegation.

Morsi was overthrown in a military-backed coup in July 2013.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Drew MacKenzie

Canada names Boko Haram terror group.


 

Canadian-Flag1

Canada has designated Boko Haram and the Caucasus Emirate as terrorist organisations under the country’s Criminal Code.

Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Steven Blaney spoke in a statement on Monday in Ottawa and posted on the ministry’s website.

“Boko Haram is an organisation responsible for over 300 attacks in northern Nigeria, resulting in the death of over 1,000 people.

 

“The Caucasus Emirate has carried out terrorist activities in Russia, resulting in the death and injury of many Russian civilians and security personnel,” the statement said.

It quoted Blaney as saying that listing these organisations as terrorist entities sends a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated.

The statement added that listing terrorist entities would facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, as well as countering terrorist financing.

Source: Radio Biafra.

We Killed 56 Terrorists In Borno Over Weekend – Nigerian Military.


By SaharaReporters, New York

The Nigerian military said yesterday that it launched ground and air operations over the weekend on locations used by terrorists in the Alafa forests, 21 kilometers from Bama, Borno State.

In a statement released Monday by the Director of Defense Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, the military disclosed that at least 56 terrorists lost their lives in an intense exchange of gunfire. The statement added that two soldiers were wounded in the operation which was meant to track fleeing terrorists.

Major Olukolade the military had acted on intelligence which indicated that the terrorists were making renewed efforts to establish a new camp in the forest locations. The land and air operations inflicted heavy casualties on the insurgents who reportedly lost both men and material. According to the statement, “Air and land bombardments are continuing in different locations where terrorists have been reportedly sighted.”

In a separate development, troops of the multi-national Joint Task Force reportedly foiled an attempt by terrorists to carry out an attack on some Nigerian communities. A military source told SaharaReporters that the terrorists were massing up on an island on Lake Chad in order to stage an attack. He said the military’s preemptive strike disrupted the terrorists’ plot. He added that seven of the terrorists died, with troops still in pursuit of their number fleeing in different direction towards Niger and Chad Republics.

The military source said some of the wounded terrorists were seen in a canoe paddling towards Tumbun Telkandam in Chad.

Issa: Despite NYT, al-Qaida Involved in Benghazi.


A group affiliated with the al-Qaida terrorist organization was involved in the deadly Sept. 11, 2011 attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others, Rep. Darrell Issa insists, despite a New York Times investigation that suggests otherwise.

“There was a group that was involved that claims an affiliation with al-Qaida,” Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told NBCMeet the Press” host David Gregory Sunday.

Issa has long been one of the more outspoken critics of how the Obama administration handled the attack, including claims made by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice that the embassy attack was a mirror image of an attack in Egypt after Muslims reacted over an inflammatory video about the Prophet Muhammad.

Story continues below.

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Issa and other Republicans have maintained that the attack was a planned and organized raid backed by al-Qaida, but The New York Times lengthy investigative report, written by journalist David Kirkpatrick, concludes that local militants conducted the raid, not al-Qaida or other international terrorist groups. The report also says that while the video itself was not the entire cause of the attack, it helped inflame some of the attackers.

Issa conceded Sunday that Kirkpatrick did “very good work,” but he still has not seen conclusive evidence that the video led to the attack. Further, he said that it is time for the Obama administration to tell the truth about its misstatements.

“They went out on five stations and told the story that was at best a coverup for the CIA or at worst something that cast away this idea that there was a real terrorist operation in Benghazi,” Issa told Gregory.

Kirkpatrick, appearing at the beginning of the program, told Gregory that Issa and other Republicans may be combining the goals of Islamic groups with the al-Qaida network and its infamous leader, Osama bin Laden.

“If you’re using the term al-Qaida to describe even a local group of Islamist militants who dislike democracy or have a grudge against the United States, If you’re going to call anybody like that ‘al-Qaida,’ then, okay,” the New York Times journalist said.

Kirkpatrick denied Sunday that his piece bolsters Rice’s comments about the attacks being conducted by a mob inflamed by the video, however.

“No, we’re not bolstering that statement,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was not a street protest. This was not a copycat of Cairo. This was a group of armed men.”

But Kirkpatrick said the United States misunderstood the Libyan militias on the ground at the time.

“The attackers were the militias the Americans thought were there to protect the mission,” said Kirkpatrick.

Meanwhile, Texas Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro told Gregory that he hopes Issa and other Republicans have learned a lesson from the report.

“They crusaded for over a year over what’s basically a fairy tale,” said Castro. He noted that as in an any other major event, there was a great deal of information released that needed to be verified.

“Susan Rice and the administration were doing their best to provide information,” said Castro. “Issa and the others took it and crusaded with it.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Sandy Fitzgerald

Keane on Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Attacks ‘Will Grow’.


Image: Keane on Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood Attacks 'Will Grow'

By Wanda Carruthers

The move by the army-backed government in Egypt declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization will not silence the radical elements in group, Ret. Gen. Jack Keane said Thursday.

He predicted during an appearance on Fox News that attacks on the Egyptian government “will grow in size and scale” as militants members of the brotherhood begin to assert themselves.

“There is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood that will wait for another political opportunity. But, then there’s another part of the Muslim Brotherhood, to the right and much more radical,” Keane said.

“They are already conducting armed violence, terrorist attacks. This will grow in size and scale.”

The Egyptian government formally declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization Wednesday. The move makes the group’s activities illegal, and is seen as an effort by the army-backed government to suppress opposition.

The Brotherhood played a significant role in the government itself before former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power. Keane, a Fox News military analyst, said the Egyptian government was answering what they thought was the will of the people by getting rid of Morzi, who rose to power as a member of the brotherhood.

“The military regime believes that they are answering the clarion call of the people by suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood. They do not want them to participate in the political process again,” he said.

The current political tensions mask what Keane believes is the real problem facing Egypt — poverty among the majority of its people. He says the protests during the Arab Spring that eventually helped sweep Morsi into office were prompted by the nation’s economic and social problems.

“Remember the Arab Spring when they took to the streets a number of years ago? It was all about economic opportunity and social justice and political justice,” Keane said. ” And, hopefully, this regime will get back to trying to solve some of these problems.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Andrew McCarthy: Closing Gitmo Will Come Back to Haunt US.


A former federal prosecutor says the U.S. media have largely ignored one of the biggest stories of the year: the gradual shutting of the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, where the United States has held terrorists since the 9/11 attacks.

“They’re gradually shutting [it] down . . . by sending these guys back to their countries, including two who were sent back last week to Sudan,” Andrew C. McCarthy, a columnist for National Review, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“So, we’re now taking trained terrorists and sending them back to governments that practice terrorism and that are rabidly anti-American. Go figure.”

Story continues below video.

“So, it’s not just that we’re reining in the [National Security Agency] program,” McCarthy said. “The administration is really starting to cut off Bush counter-terrorism, which, as long as the president needed to be re-elected, he was all for Bush counter-terrorism.”

McCarthy fears the NSA stands to be weakened, “largely because the intelligence community has really done a terrible job trying to defend it.”

McCarthy, author of “Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy,” is a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who prosecuted the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993.

See the “Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Boko Haram may be operating from Cameroon.


Boko Haram 1

BOKO Haram insurgents may have struck from a new base in Cameroon, following renewed attacks on Borno villages, the military has said.

It was also learnt that the military seeks to prevail on the Federal Government to reach out to Cameroonian authorities on a bilateral campaign against the insurgents.

Last Saturday, Boko Haram attacked Arboko village, behind Gwoza Hills, killing five and burning 35 houses.

Unspecified number of insurgents were killed in a counter-attack by troops.

But investigation has linked the latest attack to a base being operated by Boko Haram in Northern Cameroon.

A military source said: “Last Saturday’s attack was not behind Sambisa Forest, but Gwoza Hills at Abroko.

“From available intelligence, the terrorists came in from Cameroon, killing five civilians and burning 35 houses.

“When we got the alert, troops were despatched to the locality, where they encountered the terrorists, killing and several of them.

“Following the superior counter-attack from our troops, the insurgents fled. The area is being searched at the moment.”

The source added: “We have strong clues that Boko Haram insurgents have shifted base to Cameroon. It is from this base that they have been invading villages and schools in Borno and Yobe states.

“What the military is doing now is to ask the Federal Government to enter into a pact with the Cameroonian government to rid the borders of insurgents.

“We are hopeful that with political understanding, it is a matter of time before the insurgents are checked.”

Defence Headquarters spokesman Maj-Gen. Chris Olubolade said: “Troops have been deployed in the village occupied by the insurgents and they have fled the area.

“We will also ensure the protection of life and property in the affected area.”

A statement by the spokesman of the 7 Division, Maiduguri, Col. Muhammad Dole, confirmed the encounters between troops on Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza Road.

Dole said the success of air raid had depleted the strength of Boko Haram.

The statement said: “The air bombardment of insurgents’ hideouts in Mainok and Mada areas of Kaga and Konduga local government areas by the Air Force claimed the lives of some Boko Haram terrorists.

“The terrorists were seen conducting a funeral for their dead members around Mudube village.

“Troops of 7 Division encountered Boko Haram insurgents on the Maiduguri-Bama-Gwoza road during which eight terrorists were killed, three vehicles and three AK 47 rifles burnt, while scores of others fled with injuries.

“Recently, due to increased offensive ground and air strikes, there is serious decimation of Boko Haram fighters.

“This forced them (Boko Haram) to embark on a forceful conscription of youths and abduction of women. The troops are on their trail to ensure the safe release of these captives.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

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