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Posts tagged ‘Winter Olympic Games’

Olympics-Bound Airlines Warned of Toothpaste Bombs.


Airlines bound for Russia and the Winter Olympics in Sochi are being warned to be on the lookout for toothpaste tubes that could contain bomb-making ingredients and may be smuggled aboard by terrorists, reports said Wednesday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, [the Department of Homeland Security] regularly shares relevant information with domestic and international partners, including those associated with international events such as the Sochi Olympics,” says an agency statement obtained by ABC News, NBC News and CNN.

“While we are not aware of a specific threat to the homeland at this time, this routine communication is an important part of our commitment to making sure we meet that priority,” the statement says.

“As always, our security apparatus includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, and DHS will continue to adjust security measures to fit an ever-evolving threat environment.”

Earlier Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that “anybody who wants to go to the Olympics, which are just a great event, should go. And we’re not telling people not to go.”

Kerry’s comments came before the advisory was reported, however.

A federal law enforcement source told ABC News the advisory is aimed at foreign airliners — and doesn’t relate to the United States. The Russian government has been informed.

But New York Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence, told CNN the threat should be a heads-up for U.S. travelers, the airlines and officials at the Olympic Games.

“Any type of explosive, concealed explosive, can be extremely damaging,” he said. “It could be enough to bring down a plane . . . This is the type of threat that we’re very concerned about.”

Security in Sochi has been tightened for months, with an eye on Islamic militants in the region. Last month, Russian authorities announced that no liquids would be allowed on planes to Sochi, ABC News reported.

The Games begin Friday.

Sochi is 300 miles from the north Caucasus region, where Islamic militancy is well known.

ABC News reported that Doku Umarov, known as “Russia’s Osama bin Laden,” reportedly told followers last summer that they should do what they could to disrupt the Games, which he called a “satanic dance” on the bones of their ancestors, ABC News reported.

On Tuesday, counter-terrorism official Matthew Olsen spoke before Congress on whether those Muslim fundamentalists could attack selected targets, CNN reported.

“There are a number of specific threats of varying degrees of credibility that we’re tracking,” he said. “And we’re working very closely with the Russians and with other partners to monitor any threats we see and to disrupt those.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy BurkeMuslim

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Bolton: Americans Should Be on Guard After Terrorism in Russia.


Terrorists could target sporting events in the United States before the Sochi Olympics in Russia in February, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton warned Tuesday.

“I suspect that law enforcement and intelligence in this country are focused on the risk that Chechen terrorists might try to one-up the Boston Marathon bombing in this country, as a prelude to the Sochi Olympics,” Bolton said on Fox News’America’s Newsroom.”

Story continues below video.

Terrorists struck twice in Russia over the weekend, hitting targets in the southern city of Volgograd, formerly known as Stalingrad.

More than 30 people died in separate attacks at a train station and on a trolley bus. Officials suspect Islamic militants from Chechnya were responsible.

Bolton said Americans should bring “situational awareness” of the potential for terrorist attacks to any sporting events that draw large numbers of people, either in the United States or abroad.

He said the Winter Olympics next month are especially vulnerable because events are spread out over a wide area.

“There still will be tens of thousands of spectators all over the area. If you secure one area, if you make the skiing venue safer, it simply means that other targets may end up being softer, more attractive to the terrorists — bus depots, hotels, that kind of thing,” he said.

Bolton explained that the animosity between the factions fighting in Russia “goes back centuries.” Russian extremists would view the Olympics as a “real opportunity to get their message out worldwide,” he said.

“When the entire world’s attention is focused on Sochi, it’s a perfect opportunity for Chechens and other terrorists to use it to attack.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Wanda Carruthers

Ted Cruz Hints He Might Vote for ‘Terrific’ Rick Perry in 2016.


Image: Ted Cruz Hints He Might Vote for 'Terrific' Rick Perry in 2016

By Lisa Barron

Sen. Ted Cruz says Texas Gov. Rick Perry is “terrific,” despite the Republican governor’s past swipes at the state’s junior senator for his involvement in the government shutdown, among other things.

Cruz told the Dallas Morning News in a recent interview that under Perry, the Lone Star State‘s economy has been “remarkable.” He even suggested he might vote for Perry in the GOP primary should the governor decide to repeat his 2012 bid for the White House in 2016.

“Rick Perry’s been a terrific governor,” he said, adding: “I can tell you this: as a voter, the person for whom I intend to vote in the 2016 Republican primary is whoever is standing up and leading, effectively fighting for free-market principles and the Constitution.”

Perry, who has not announced whether he will seek the presidency again, has insulted Cruz in recent months. During a trip to Israel and England in October, he called the government shutdown in October that was championed by his fellow Republican “political theater” and told the Washington Times that the senator’s name had not been mentioned overseas.

Cruz has also been mentioned as a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate, but a November survey by Public Policy Polling found both good and bad news for the tea party favorite.

While he is by far the top choice of Texas Republicans to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2016, 50 percent of all Texans say Cruz has been bad for the state’s reputation, compared to 37 percent who think he’s been good for it.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

John Bolton: Groups Will Keep Trying to Terrorize Olympics.


The terrorists who bombed a Russian city twice in the past two days, less than two months before the Winter Olympics, will likely attempt more attacks, says John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

We should be concerned. I have no doubt . . . that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will pull out all the stops for security,” Bolton told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“But by the same token, the terrorists will respond in kind. These bombings . . . are obviously intended to show they can hit vulnerable civilian targets,” Bolton said Monday.

Story continues below video.

Earlier Monday, a suicide bomb killed at least 14 people in the city of Volgograd, just a day after an explosion at Volgograd’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35. Authorities declared both bombings terrorist attacks.

Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said he fears the terrorists “are going to do everything they can to infiltrate and make their terrorist case again.”

“I’m not myself aware of the prior Olympic games where we’ve had this level of threat of terrorism . . . If I were on the American team, I would be taking extra precaution.”

Bolton said he was disturbed by a New York Times investigative report into the attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, calling it “an editorial disguised as a news story.”

The report by David Kirkpatrick intimated the attack was the work of local militia groups and not al-Qaida.

“They should be embarrassed about this, but I’m sure they’re not. It really is a tribute to their ideology that they can put this out there and hope that it will go unchallenged,” Bolton said.

“It’s just filled, not only with the inaccuracies and contradictions, [but] it contradicts previous New York Times reporting about the involvement of al-Qaida.

“So, I am just amazed that anybody would give this thing credibility. It’s filled with irrelevant facts to make it look like a news story, but its basic conclusion isn’t supported by the reporting that’s actually done.”

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

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

In Wake of Bombings, US Offers Security Help For Sochi Olympics.


Image: In Wake of Bombings, US Offers Security Help For Sochi OlympicsAn aerial view of Olympic Park in the Adler district of the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

The U.S. government is concerned Islamist militants may be preparing attacks aimed at disrupting the Winter Olympic games in Sochi in February and is offering closer cooperation on security with Russia despite strains earlier this year.Two bombings in the Russian city of Volgograd in the past two days – one at the city’s central railway station and another on a bus – killed dozens of people and raised anxieties about the safety of the Olympics.

One militant group issued explicit direct threats to disrupt the Olympics, a State Department official said. Other officials said that regions near Sochi were among the areas of Russia currently most prone to Islamic militancy and other unrest.

“There are clearly sensitivities in our relationship with Moscow but enhancing Olympic security and counterterrorism efforts more broadly are areas of clear mutual interest,” one U.S. official said.

“The Volgograd bombings underscore the threat and the need to work hand in hand with Russia in order to ensure the protection of U.S. citizens participating in and attending the games in Sochi,” the official said.

U.S. security officials said the government was not surprised by the Volgograd bombings and had anticipated that such attacks might well occur in the run-up to the games.

The officials said U.S. and Russian authorities have engaged in extensive contacts regarding security preparations for the Olympics. The United States is expected to share with Russia information it might collect about possible threats to the games.

“We’re taking lots of security precautions” related to the Winter Games, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday.

The U.S. Olympic Committee says it’s cooperating with the State Department and law enforcement agencies to help ensure the protection of its athletes.

“We are always concerned with the safety of our delegation, and the Sochi Games are no different in that regard,” USOC spokesman Patrick Sandusky told Newsmax on Monday.

“We will continue to work closely with the local organizing committee, our State Department and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all appropriate measures are in place.

“We offer our sincere condolences to those affected by the bombings in Russia,” Sandusky said.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden condemned the Volgograd attacks, which were blamed on suicide bombers.

She said the U.S. government had “offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants.”

The State Department is expected to caution U.S. travelers on Monday about possible bombings and hostage takings in Russia, particularly in the North Caucasus region, which is less than 100 miles from Sochi.

The U.S. offer for closer cooperation with Russia follows two issues earlier this year that raised tensions between U.S. and Russian security agencies: the involvement of two Chechen brothers in the Boston Marathon bombing and Russia’s granting temporary asylum to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Nonetheless, in November, Matthew Olsen, director of the government’s U.S. National Counter-terrorism Center, said his agency was “coordinating and integrating the intelligence community’s support … to the Winter Olympics in Sochi.”

Newsmax reporter Cynthia Fagen contributed to this report.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Bill Rodgers: Terrorists Won’t Stop Olympic Games.


The Winter Olympics will not be stopped by the cowardly terrorists who staged two deadly bombings in Russia this week, former Olympic runner and four-time New York City and Boston Marathon winner Bill Rodgers says.

“I’m confident the American athletes and athletes from around the world are going to go to Sochi, it’s going to be a great Olympic games,” Rodgers told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

 

“You’re not going to stop the Olympic Games — not anywhere. I don’t believe so.”

On Monday, a suicide bomb killed at least 14 people in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, just a day after an explosion at Volgograd’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35.

Russian authorities have declared both bombings to be terrorist attacks.

”[It’s] another attempt to get attention for a cause . . . We’re taking a look at a small, isolated group of religious extremists,” Rodgers said.

“You can’t defeat the world, you know? In this sense, it kind of gives the rest of the world an understanding of what we have to do, which is to unite and don’t let people stand in your way and stop you.”

Rodgers, 66, who competed in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, believes Russia has expert security forces to prevent terrorism at the Olympics, which will take place in February.

“The Russians stopped the Nazi invasion in World War II and the Russian people are very tough. I raced against the top Russians back in the ’70s and ’80s,” he said.

“The political leaders will take a look at this and they’ll come to a solution in the end.”

Rodgers, author of “Marathon Man: My 26.2-Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World,” said athletes live by a saying: have no fear.

“It’s the way we live and . . . athletes always do their best and try to rise above.”

Rodgers says he vehemently disagrees with Brian Stelter of “CNN Newsroom,” who suggested on Friday that news outlets may have had an “overreaction” to the Boston Marathon bombings last April that killed three and injured 264.

“I disagree completely. It is political terrorism. It’s a worldwide issue because there is this small group of extremists and they travel here and there and they’re around the world, to an extent,” he said.

“But, overall, the majority of all people are against these extremists so that’s why they cannot win.”

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

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Putin Defends Russian Conservative Values.


Image: Putin Defends Russian Conservative Values

President Vladimir Putin cast Russia Thursday as a defender of conservative values against the “genderless and infertileWestern tolerance that he said equates good and evil.

Putin’s 70-minute state-of-the nation address marked a determined effort to burnish Russia’s image that has been dented by Western criticism of an anti-gay law which has stoked calls for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, his pet project.

Putin’s speech also contained a strong warning to those abroad who he claimed were seeking a military edge over Russia – a clear nod at the U.S. effort to develop long range non-nuclear weapons that Russia sees as a threat to its nuclear deterrent.

Russia has insisted that a law banning “propaganda of non-traditional relations” does not discriminate against gays, but gay rights group say it has given a green light to harassment and intimidation.

Without directly referring to the anti-gay law, Putin focused on upholding traditional family values, which he said were the foundation of Russia’s greatness and a bulwark against “so-called tolerance – genderless and infertile.”

Putin’s posture as a protector of conservative values and his scathing criticism of the West have been part of efforts to shore up his domestic support base of blue-collar workers, farmers and state employees against mounting criticism from the urban middle class. But his speech also was pitched to conservatives worldwide.

“Many countries today are reviewing moral norms and erasing national traditions and distinctions between nationalities and cultures,” Putin said. “The society is now required to demonstrate not only the sensible recognition of everyone’s right to freedom of conscience, political outlook and private life, but also the mandatory recognition of the equivalence of good and evil, no matter how odd that may seem.”

He argued that the “destruction of traditional values from the top” going on in other countries is “inherently undemocratic because it is based on abstract ideas and runs counter to the will of the majority of people.”

Without naming any specific country, he blasted “attempts to enforce allegedly more progressive development models” on other nations, saying they have led only to “decline, barbarity and big blood” in the Middle East and North Africa.

In an apparent jab at the U.S., Putin said that Russia is not “seeking a superpower status or trying to claim a global or regional hegemony … not trying to patronize or teach anyone.”

He denied that Russia was trying to coerce Ukraine into joining a Moscow-led free trade pact. The Ukrainian president’s decision last month to spurn an alliance with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia has triggered massive protests in Ukraine’s capital that have been going on for three weeks.

Without naming the United States, Putin described the U.S. program of developing “prompt global strike” weapons as an attempt to tilt the strategic balance in its favor and vowed to counter it.

The U.S. program envisages creating long-range non-nuclear weapons that could strike targets anywhere in the world in as little as an hour with deadly precision.

Putin said that Russia sees the effort a threat to its nuclear deterrent and will take countermeasures.

“Expanding the potential of strategic non-nuclear precision weapons along with developing missile defense systems could nullify all earlier nuclear arms reduction agreements and upset the strategic balance,” Putin said. “Russia will respond to all those challenges, both political and technological. No one should have an illusion that it’s possible to achieve a military superiority over Russia.”

He boasted about the nation’s nuclear arsenal, saying that foreign powers will have to catch up with the level of new Russian nuclear weapons.

A day earlier, a senior Russian official warned that Moscow reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to a conventional strike.

Russia-U.S. relations long have been strained by a dispute over the U.S.-led NATO missile defense system, Moscow’s human rights record, and, most recently, Ukraine.

Putin also announced a sweeping crackdown on Russian offshore companies to bring billions of dollars home.

“You want to have offshores? Fine. But get the money here,” he said.

For years, many Russian companies registered in countries such as Cyprus or Luxembourg to avoid Moscow’s heavy-handed regulation and unpredictable legal and tax practices.

Putin insisted that foreign-registered companies that operate in Russia and are owned by Russian citizens should be obliged to pay taxes in Russia.

He said that Russian companies registered offshore will not be allowed to bid for state contracts, a major source of income for many Russian businesses.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

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