Posts Tagged ‘radical Islam’

Swedish security service says extremist views on the rise — People with sympathies for radical Islam outnumber all other groups — Historic challenge to governments

June 16, 2017

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Swedish security service SAPO says the number of people in Sweden with extremist views has grown to several thousands, mainly among people with sympathies for radical Islam.

Its head, Anders Thornberg, says “we have never seen anything like it” and propaganda from the Islamic State group was a key factor.

He says the figure was in the hundreds a few years ago, adding it was “a historic challenge with extremist environments growing.”

Thornberg told Sweden’s news agency TT Friday that SAPO gets about 6,000 pieces of intelligence every month, up from 2,000 five years ago. He didn’t go into specifics.

Sweden’s threat assessment remains three on a five-level scale. On April 7, the driver of stolen truck killed five pedestrians and injured 14 in central Stockholm.

‘We’re following you’: Sweden's security service trolls citizens with sarcastic first tweet

Paris gunman who killed police officer known to security forces — Spent 15 years in prison for shooting officers — On watch list after recent arrest — Informants last month said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’

April 21, 2017

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Paris Police secure the Champs-Elysees after one police officer was killed and another wounded in a shooting in Paris, France, April 20, 2017. REUTERS – Christian Hartmann

French security services are today facing troubling questions as to how they failed to prevent an ISIS gunman from slaughtering one policeman and wounding two other officers when he was already on a terror watch list.

Champs-Elysees killer Karim Cheurfi had been detained only last month, it has emerged, after informants said he was ‘seeking to obtain weapons to kill policemen’.

But the 39-year-old, who used the war name ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, had to be released because anti-terror police did not have enough evidence to hold him.

The homegrown fanatic, who officials confirmed was a French national despite his nickname, had also been released early from prison – where it is thought he was radicalised – having been jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to kill two policemen.

Cheurfi opened fire five times with a .38 revolver following a car chase in 2001, leaving the officers and a third victim wounded.

He had fled on foot before the driver of the other car and the passenger – a trainee police officer – caught up with him. He fired twice, seriously wounding both men in the chest. All three survived the attack in Roissy-en-Brie, in the Seine-et-Marne department of northern France.

Cheurfi was arrested and placed in custody under a false name. Two days later he seriously injured an officer who was taking him out of his cell, seizing his weapon and firing several times.

Two French officials said this morning that Cheurfi was detained in February for threatening police before being freed, although a warrant for his arrest is dated March 6.

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The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

The killer was known to security services in France, according to reports this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening

One police officer was shot dead and two more seriously injured by a gunman carrying a Kalashnikov in Paris this evening

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Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France's Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the 'targeted attack'

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The arrest warrant issued for Cheurfi before he was detained at the beginning of last month

The ISIS killer is believed to have been released in 2016 following the triple assassination attempt, at a time when he was known for drug offences, car theft and robbery.

Despite having the nickname ‘Abu Yousuf the Belgian’, Cheurfi was a French national, Belgian interior minister Jan Jambon told public broadcaster VRT.

It has been claimed Cheurfi was making dark threats on messaging app Telegram before launching his attack on the Champs Elysees in Paris last night.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, which was carried out with a Kalashnikov weapon. A female foreign terrorist was also injured when a bullet ricocheted off the police car before Cheurfi was shot dead.

The fatal incident unfolded as presidential candidates, including National Front party leader Marine Le Pen, debated on a TV show nearby before Sunday’s election.

French President Francois Hollande said he was convinced it was a terrorist attack, adding that he would hold a security cabinet meeting this morning.

The French-born killer lived in Chelles, a commuter town close to Paris in the Seine-et-Marne department.

In 2003 he was sentenced to 20 years inside a high security prison following the attacks in Roissy-en-Brie, also in Seine-et-Marne.

But he was let out early following an appeal ruling, giving him the freedom to carry out tonight’s attack.

Gunshot-like noise forces BBC crew in Paris to run off the street

WHAT IS TELEGRAM? THE APP ALLEGEDLY USED BY KILLER

The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from 'snoopers'

The app makers have boasted of security settings which keep messages safe from ‘snoopers’

Telegram is a messaging app which focuses on speed and security, according to its makers.

It allows users to send messages, photos, videos and files to groups of up to 5,000 and broadcast to unlimited audiences.

A statement on Telegram’s website about security says: ‘Big internet companies like Facebook or Google have effectively hijacked the privacy discourse in the recent years.

‘Their marketers managed to convince the public that the most important things about privacy are superficial tools that allow hiding your public posts or your profile pictures from the people around you. Adding these superficial tools enables companies to calm down the public and change nothing in how they are turning over private data to marketers and other third parties.

‘At Telegram we think that the two most important components of Internet privacy should be instead:

  • Protecting your private conversations from snooping third parties, such as officials, employers, etc
  • Protecting your personal data from third parties, such as marketers, advertisers, etc

‘This is what everybody should care about, and these are some of our top priorities. Telegram’s aim is to create a truly free messenger, without the usual caveats. This means that instead of diverting public attention with low-impact settings, we can afford to focus on the real privacy issues that exist in the modern world.’

Cheurfi was the registered keeper of the grey Audi used in last night’s attack. A raid on his home later found guns and ammunition, intelligence sources said.

He had targeted a parked patrol car full of traffic control officers working to the Paris prefecture.

The officer killed was at the wheel and was having an evening snack at the time of his death.

French television network BFMTV reports that Cheurfi had used the Telegram internet messaging service, which extremists have previously been claimed to favour because of its encryption.

Police are searching the home of the shooter in eastern Paris, and following the attack French presidential candidate Francois Fillon has called for the election campaign to be suspended.

Pierre-Henry Brandet, spokesman for France’s Interior Ministry, confirmed that one police officer was dead and two seriously wounded following the ‘targeted attack’.

He said a ‘car pulled up just after 9pm’ next to a police patrol car which was parked up on the busy avenue.

Police search the car reportedly used in Paris attack

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for 'State-security'

Intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday 

Police officers searched the home of the suspected gunman in east Paris following the attack in the capital on Thursday

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital 

Officers searched the home of the suspected gunman on Thursday evening after they travelled to his home in the east part of the capital

A man jumped out with a weapon and started firing indiscriminately into the police vehicle, hitting the unidentified officer who died directly in the head.

The assailant then ran off, pursued by other officers. Two of them were wounded as they killed him.

Mr Brandet said ‘all lines of investigation were being pursued’, while intelligence sources said the dead assailant was a known radical on a so-called S-file, for ‘State-security’.

This means he would have been under surveillance, because he was a known risk to the country.

Mr Brandet later said a possible accomplice had turned himself over to Belgian police, but it was ‘too early to say’ if he had played a significant part in the attack.

President Hollande, speaking from the Elysee palace close to the scene of the shooting, said: ‘A national tribute will be paid to this policeman who was killed in such a cowardly way.

‘A passerby was hit. The assailant was neutralised by other police officers. The entire area has been cordoned off. The people present have been evacuated.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4430542/Paris-killer-talked-wanting-kill-Telegram.html#ixzz4esXKdx3z
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Updated 9:35 PM ET, Thu April 20, 2017

Paris (CNN)  A man who killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees Thursday night was known to French security services for radical Islamist activities and had shot and wounded an officer in the past, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

The suspect, who was shot dead by French police, was the subject of a “Fiche S” surveillance file and was on the radar of the French domestic security service DGSI, the source said.
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The man was a French national who shot two officers in 2001 after being stopped by a police car, the source said. He was taken into custody but while being questioned grabbed another officer’s gun and shot him three times, the source said. He was convicted in that attack and had a criminal record because of involvement in violent robberies, the source said.
The source said French investigators now believe this was in all likelihood a terrorist attack. They believe there was just one attacker, and the danger is likely over, the source said.
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ISIS issued a statement saying an Islamic State “fighter” carried out the attack. The ISIS claim comes via a statement released by the group’s media wing, Amaq. The ISIS statement identified the attacker and called him “the Belgian.” CNN has not confirmed the attacker’s association with Belgium.
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Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said he will reveal the shooter’s identity on Friday at a news conference. He said officers are searching the man’s residence in Chelles, Seine-et-Marne, a Paris suburb, and are trying to determine if he had accomplices.
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The shooting has not officially been declared a terrorist act but anti-terrorist forces are leading the investigation, French President Francois Hollande said.
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“The people who were present have been evacuated and we are convinced that the leads which point us to this case, and which will allow us to uncover the truth, are of a terrorist nature,” he said.

Elections on Sunday

The shooting happened about 9 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) when a car stopped at 102 Champs-Elysees in front of a police van, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre Henry Brandet said.
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A man emerged from the car and opened fire on the van with an “automatic weapon,” killing one officer instantly, he said. The man “then ran away, managing to shoot and wound two other policemen. Other policemen engaged and shot and killed the attacker,” Brandet said.
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The slain officer was 30 years old, Molin said. One of the wounded officers was critically injured but is improving, he said. Also wounded was a female tourist.
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The shooting shut down the famed Champs-Elysees, one of Paris’ top tourist attractions and home to the iconic Arc de Triomphe monument. The avenue was clear of residents and tourists but teeming with security officers Thursday night.
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It comes three days before French voters start elections for a new president. Candidates went ahead with a debate Thursday night.
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France has been in a state of emergency since the 2015 Paris attacks, which left 130 people dead. Parliament voted in December to extend the extraordinary provisions to ensure the protection of upcoming presidential and general elections.
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Security has been tight because of the vote. Just two days ago French authorities arrested two men in Marseille who were allegedly planning an attack in a run-up to the election.
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Police officers block access to the Champs-Elysees.

At least three underground train stations of the Paris Metro — the Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau, George V and F. Roosevelt stations — have been “closed off” near the site of the police operation on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, BFMTV reported.

Trump: ‘What can you say?’

Paris resident Daoud Kal, 29, said he was walking in the area near a metro station when he heard four to five shots. He looked around, but couldn’t identify where the shots were coming from. People panicked and ran away from the scene and he joined them.
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The CNN Paris bureau is on this street and staffers reported hearing a dozen shots. At least 20 police vehicles were seen on the street.
Officers could be seen forcibly removing innocent citizens from the area as they attempted to get them to safety.
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President Donald Trump, speaking at a news conference in Washington with the visiting Italian Prime Minister, offered condolences to the people of France after the shooting, saying it “looks like another terrorist attack.”
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“What can you say? It never ends,” the President said.
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The Champs-Elysees is a main road lined with restaurants, cafes, exclusive designer boutiques and tourist shops. At one end is the Arc de Triomphe, surrounded by a several-lane-wide roundabout, and the other end stops at the Place de la Concorde, known for its obelisk monument.
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The presidential palace, the Elysee, is a few blocks away.
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French police tweeted, “Police intervention underway in the area of the #ChampsElysees avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the police forces.”

French candidates respond

The US State Department put out a cautionary tweet, saying: “If you’re in #Paris, monitor local news. #ChampsElysees has been closed. Authorities are telling people to avoid the area after a shooting.”

One police officer was killed in a shooting on the Champs-Elysees.

The shooting comes three days before French general elections and Paris was already in a state of heightened alert. French politicians immediately reacted on social media.
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French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen tweeted, “My emotions and solidarity for the police, once again targeted.”
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Conservative French presidential hopeful Francois Fillon tweeted, “Paying homage to police who give their lives to protect ours, #ChampsElysees.”
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Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve tweeted: “Paying homage to the policeman killed on the champs elysees. Thoughts are with his family. Solidarity with his injured colleagues and those close to them.”
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Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy tweeted: “To our law enforcement: support, strength, courage. They are paying again a heavy price. Our Nation’s tribute must be total NS”
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Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted: “We won’t give up, not bow and remain united facing these odious and insidious threats that weigh on our cities.”
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She also extended a message of solidarity and thanks to the retailers on the Champs-Elysees who gave people shelter during the attack.
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This developing story has been updated to clarify details about the attacker’s nationality.
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http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/20/europe/champs-elyses-in-paris-closed/

France: Emmanuel Macron says not to “give in to fear” — Le Pen says reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists

April 21, 2017

After Paris Attack

LE PEN: EXPEL FOREIGNERS WHO ARE ON WATCH LISTS

BYREUTERS APRIL 21, 2017 12:49

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En Marche candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.

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Marine Le Pen delivers a speech during a political rally near Toulon. (photo credit REUTERS)

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said on Friday that France should immediately reinstate border checks and expel foreigners who are on the watch lists of intelligence services, adding that these were steps she would take, if elected.

Seizing on Thursday night’s killing of a police officer in an attack claimed by Islamic State, Le Pen, who has been campaigning on a hardline anti-EU, anti-immigration platform, urged the Socialist government to carry out immediately measures that are included in her campaign manifesto.

 

“We cannot afford to lose this war. But for the past ten years, left-wing and right-wing governments have done everything they can for us to lose it. We need a presidency which acts and protects us,” Le Pen told reporters at her campaign headquarters.

French voters elect a president in a two-round vote on April 23 and May 7. Opinion polls have for months forecast that Le Pen would make it through to the run-off, but then lose in the final vote.

Until now, Le Pen had struggled to get the campaign to focus on her party’s trademark tough security and immigration stance. By contrast, she has been thrown on the defensive over her position to pull out of the euro zone, a proposal that lacks wide support.

Referring disparagingly to outgoing Socialist President Francois Hollande as “notoriously feeble,” Le Pen said: “I only ask one last-ditch effort from him before leaving power: I solemnly ask him to effectively reinstate our borders.”

She added: “Elected president of the Republic, I would immediately, and with no hesitation, carry out the battle plan against Islamist terrorism and against judicial laxity.”

Several other presidential candidates made public statements in response to the Champs Elysees shooting.

French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron urged the country not to “give in to fear” in the wake of the attack.

“We clearly see that the challenge we have in front of us over the coming years will continue to be fighting against terrorism. Because we will not erase it overnight, and for the final stretch of this campaign our challenge is, on the one hand, to bring about the response, to shed light on the democratic choice in this context. But to never give in to fear,” the En Marche candidate said on Friday.

Conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon also spoke on Friday, saying that the fight against “Islamist totalitarianism” should be the priority of France’s next president.

Fillon, who has been campaigning on a hardline security platform, told reporters: “We are at war, there is no alternative, it’s us or them.”

“Radical Islam is challenging our values and our strength of character.”

It is unclear what impact the attack will have on the first round of already very unpredictable presidential elections on Sunday.

With their hardline view on security and immigration, Le Pen and Francois Fillon may resonate with some voters.

But other attacks that took place shortly before elections – the November 2015 attacks in Paris ahead of regional elections and the shooting in a Jewish school before the 2012 presidential elections – did not have any effect on those ballots.

Related:

Germany Raids 24 Locations Across Berlin Including Mosque Suspected of Being a Meeting Point for Radical Islamists

February 28, 2017

More than 400 police officers took part in raids linked to the mosque. Prosecutors have launched criminal investigations into the association’s activity, which is suspected of being a meeting point for radical Islamists.

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Berlin’s office of the interior banned the mosque association known as “Fussilet 33” on Tuesday. The organization is suspected of being a meeting point for radical Islamists, prosecutors said.

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Anis Amri, a Tunisian national who launched an attack on a Berlin Christmas market in December that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured, frequented the mosque, according to authorities.

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Last week, authorities in Berlin arrested three men suspected of links to the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (IS) militant group in an anti-terror raid. Police said the men had visited the mosque operated by the association.

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Police raided 24 locations across Berlin early Tuesday morning with more than 400 law enforcement officers participating in the operation, local authorities said in a tweet.

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Authorities closed the mosque following raids last week. The mosque has been under surveillance since 2015 for its suspected links in recruitment activities. It had also raised donations to support terrorist attacks in Syria.
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Counterterrorism measures.
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Banning the association means that the group is formally disbanded and can no longer rent mosques for their activities.
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Germany has taken proactive measures to curb terrorist threats and tackle radicalization following the Berlin attack.
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The measures include launching dozens of raids across the country and proposing legislation to detain foreign nationals suspected of extremist activity who have been denied residency, a precursor for deportation.
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According to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, more than 500 individuals have been classified as a potential threat in Germany, of which roughly half of them are non-German nationals.
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Indonesia police say bomber ‘possibly’ linked to IS sympathisers

February 27, 2017

Mon Feb 27, 2017 | 2:51am EST

Reuters

Police are seen outside a local government office following an explosion in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia February 27, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Novrian Arbi/ via REUTERS
By Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Gayatri Suroyo | JAKARTA

A militant killed by police in Indonesia after detonating a small bomb in the city of Bandung on Monday was “possibly” part of a radical network sympathetic to Islamic State, police said.

The blast in the courtyard of a government office in the capital of West Java province did not cause any casualties and the bomber was shot by police after running into the building.

The militant had arrived at the office on a motorbike and placed his home-made bomb, assembled using a pressure cooker, in the corner of the courtyard.

The attacker had demanded that Indonesia’s anti-terror police unit, Densus 88, release all its detainees, according to provincial police chief Anton Charliyan.

The police chief speculated that he may have been linked to Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a group on a U.S. State Department “terrorist” list.

“There’s a possibility of JAD,” Charliyan said, when asked which group the militant belonged to.

JAD is an umbrella organization that is estimated by Indonesian authorities to include hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers in the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia, a secular state with the world’s largest Muslim population, has recently come under attack from radical Islamist groups.

An assault by suicide bombers and gunmen on the capital Jakarta in January 2016 was claimed by Islamic State. It was the first time that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for an attack in Indonesia.

Islamist militant attacks had been relatively rare in Bandung, about three hours away from Jakarta. Provincial police spokesman Yusri Yunus said the situation was “under control” in Bandung after the bomber was killed.

(Reporting by Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Gayatri Suroyo; Additional reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Writing by Ed Davies and Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Michael Perry & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Bill Maher on Brexit, Immigration — Is it Really Xenophobia if we are trying to protect against radical Islamist terrorist that want to kill us?

February 4, 2017

What if we had radicalized Muslim ghettos here like they do in Brussels?

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 Bill Maher Facebook photo

Liberal comedian Bill Maher certainly has his moments. During his Friday evening broadcast, the HBO host invoked the recent Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s call to temporarily halt immigration from Islamic countries, asking if it is really “xenophobia” if “you have something to be afraid of?”

Clinton consultant Paul Begala chimed in, trying to compare radical U.K. Muslims who think homosexuality should be illegal with members of the Republican Party. Fortunately, Maher rightfully called such a comparison, “bullsh*t.”

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Paul Begala — File Photo

Former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele and Daily Beast political reporter Betsy Woodruff joined in the discussion. Newsbusters provides the transcript and video:

BEGALA: It’s bizarre and stupid to try and ban every Muslim from coming to America.

MAHER: I agree …

BEGALA: It’s insane …

MAHER: … but it’s not wr-, but his point was also not wrong. I mean, I hear a lot of talk today about xenophobia and is it really phobia if you have something to be afraid of? Fifty-two percent of British Muslims think being gay should be illegal.

BEGALA: What percentage of American Republicans believe that? (tepid laughter from audience). Can we deport them?

STEELE (inexplicably): Not just American Republicans.

MAHER (demonstrating that he’s more Republican than Steele): Not many.

BEGALA: Shoot!

MAHER (incredulously): They think it should be illegal?!

BEGALA: Sure.

MAHER: No, I don’t, that’s bulls**t, Paul, that’s bull.

While Maher harbors a number of political views with which we can disagree, it can’t be said that he doesn’t get things right on the topic of radical Islam. What’s more, he routinely calls out fellow liberals for employing a double standard when it comes to Islam and defending the religion even when its tenets are anathema to true liberal ideals.

http://www.truthrevolt.org/news/bill-maher-brexit-immigration-it-really-xenophobia-if-you-have-something-fear

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Donald Tusk says Donald Trump poses existential threat to Europe

February 3, 2017

European Council President says Russia, China and US administration will be greatest challenges to face the bloc

By Lucy Pasha-Robinson
The Independent
Tuesday 31 January 2017

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Mr Tusk’s comments among most hard-hitting to be directed at new President EPA

European Council President Donald Tusk has called Donald Trump an existential threat to Europe, in an extraordinary attack on the new US President.

In an open letter delivered to leaders of the 27 member states, Mr Tusk included the new American President as part of a group of “dangerous” challenges facing the bloc, citing Russia, China and radical Islam as other threats.

He issued a call for “political solidarity” before a summit in Malta later this week, where Europe’s heads of states will gather to discuss the future of the bloc.

Poland’s former Prime Minister said an assertive China, Russia’s aggressive policy, “terror and anarchy” in the Middle East and “worrying declarations by the new American administration” put the future of Europe in jeopardy.

“Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy,” he wrote.

“The disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China.”

Mr Tusk’s comments came as Theresa May faced a revolt from her own MPs over her refusal to condemn Mr Trump’s immigration ban.

Many European leaders were categorical in their condemnation of the suspension of immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and of refugee resettlement.

However, Ms May was criticised for her slow response to the events.

“Only together can we be fully independent,” Mr Tusk wrote. “We must therefore take assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level.”

European diplomats said senior national officials and diplomats discussed a possible EU response to Trump at a meeting in Brussels. However, some governments were cautious that Europeans should not be hasty to alienate a key ally.

It came as British Chancellor Philip Hammond warned the new President would have more of a destabilising effect on the bloc than Brexit.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/donald-tusk-donald-trump-existential-threat-europe-brexit-eu-theresa-may-a7555061.html

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Malaysia says it detained suspected Islamic State supporter planning attacks in Myanmar

January 4, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities have detained a suspected Islamic State (IS) follower planning to head to Myanmar to carry out attacks, Malaysia’s top counter-terrorism official said.

In an interview, the head of the Malaysian police counter-terrorism division, Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, added that Myanmar faces a growing danger of attacks by foreign IS supporters recruited from Southeast Asian networks in support of persecuted Muslim Rohingyas.

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Malaysian police

The suspect, an Indonesian whom he did not identify, was detained in Malaysia last month. The suspect was scheduled to be charged on Wednesday for possession of materials linked to terrorist groups, which carries a seven-year jail term or fine, Ayob Khan said.

More militants are likely to try to follow his lead in support of the Rohingya cause, Ayob Khan added.

“He was planning to perform jihad in Myanmar, fighting against the Myanmar government for this Rohingya group in Rakhine State.”

A Myanmar army sweep since October in the north of Rakhine State, on its border with Bangladesh, has sent about 34,000 members of the Rohingya minority fleeing into Bangladesh, the United Nations says.

Residents and rights groups accuse security forces in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar of summary executions and rape in the army operation, launched in response to attacks on police posts on Oct. 9 that killed nine officers. The government of Aung San Suu Kyi denies the accusations of abuse.

Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay told Reuters an official report into October’s violence in Rakhine state found no evidence of an IS presence there or that the attacks were linked to IS.

LIGHTNING ROD

The conflict in Rakhine risks becoming a lightning rod for Islamists in a shadowy network stretching from the Philippines to Indonesia and Malaysia, with links to Islamic State in the Middle East, security analysts and officials say.

Scores of Southeast Asian Muslims, most from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, have travelled to the Middle East to join IS, counter-terrorism police in the region said.

Over the past year, IS has claimed several attacks – or been linked to foiled plots – in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“There is a high possibility that Muslims, be it from IS or other groups, will find the ways and means to go to Myanmar to help their Rohingya Muslim brothers,” Ayob Khan said.

The Indonesian suspect was among seven people arrested for suspected links to IS. The suspect was also involved in a plot to smuggle weapons to Indonesia’s Poso region, on Sulawesi island, Ayob Khan said.

Indonesian authorities have detained several suspected foreign militants trying to reach Poso.

Ayob Khan did not say what group the suspect, a factory worker who had been in Malaysia since 2014, was trying to link up with in Myanmar. He said the suspect, was in contact with Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi, a Syria-based Malaysian militant who claimed responsibility on behalf of IS for a grenade attack on a bar in June last year.

The International Crisis Group think-tank said in a report last month the coordinated attacks on Myanmar police in Rakhine State were carried out by a group called Harakah al-Yakin. While the group had links to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, it would be wrong to “over-interpret the significance of the international links”, ICG said.

“Nevertheless, the longer violence continues, the greater the risks become of such links deepening and potentially becoming operational,” it said.

LARGE POOL OF RECRUITS

Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia, which has the world’s biggest Muslim population, have led calls in Southeast Asia for Myanmar to stop the violence against the Rohingya.

Rohingya have for years been fleeing persecution in Myanmar, which denies them citizenship because it sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They often wash up on Southeast Asian shores in rickety boats seeking asylum.

More than 55,000 Rohingyas are registered with the United Nations in Malaysia. Non-profit groups estimate as many as 200,000 Rohingyas are living in Malaysia, many working in restaurants and constructions sites.

Analysts warn the large number of Rohingya migrants are a potential pool of recruits for militants.

“The network between Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Rohingyas is there,” said Badrul Hisham Ismail, programme executive director of the Malaysian counter-militancy group, Iman Research.

Ismail said his group had discovered Malaysian militants involved in recruiting Rohingyas and sending them to Poso for training.

Rohan Gunaratna, a security expert at Singapore’s Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said Islamic State operatives in the region were “determined to mount attacks both inside Myanmar and against Myanmar targets overseas”.

In November, Indonesian authorities detained an Islamic State-linked militant for planning an attack on the Myanmar embassy there.

“The highest threat to Myanmar emanates from Islamic State networks,” Rohan said.

“The Rohingya conflict is emerging as one of the rallying issues for IS. At a strategic level, Myanmar should resolve the Rohingya conflict to prevent IS influence and expansion.”

(Additional reporting by Shwe Yee Saw Myint in Yangon; Editing by Robert Birsel and Bill Tarrant)

Trump Aide Michael Flynn Partnered With Firm Run by Man With Alleged KGB Ties

December 23, 2016
Bloomberg News
December 23, 2016, 5:00 AM EST
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Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn. Photographer: John Angelillo/Pool via Bloomberg

Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, partnered this year with a controversial technology company co-run by a man once convicted of trying to sell stolen biotech material to the Russian KGB espionage agency.

Subu Kota, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to selling the material to an FBI agent posing as a Russian spy, is one of two board directors at the company, Boston-based Brainwave Science. During years of federal court proceedings, prosecutors presented evidence they said showed that between 1985 and 1990 Kota met repeatedly with a KGB agent and was part of a spy ring that made hundreds of thousands of dollars selling U.S. missile defense technology to Russian spies. Kota denied being part of a spy ring, reached a plea agreement in the biotech case and admitted to selling a sketch of a military helicopter to his co-defendant, who was later convicted of being a KGB operative.

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Subu Kota

Flynn served more than three decades in the military and rose to become director of the Defense Intelligence Agency before he was fired by President Barack Obama in 2014 over policy disagreements. He formed a private consulting firm, Flynn Intel Group, which has sought business with an array of cyber security firms and defense contractors. He began collaborating with Brainwave Science last spring.

Flynn, who has been widely criticized for close associations with Russia, has declined repeated requests during the past month to be interviewed about his company’s business ties. A spokesman for the Trump transition team, Jason Miller, said in an email that Flynn has never met or spoken with Kota and that he has ended his association with Brainwave Science.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Kota described his criminal charges and dealings with the KGB as misunderstandings. He acknowledged selling biotech material to a federal agent posing as a Russian spy, but said the incident was a patent dispute, not espionage.

‘Brain Fingerprinting’

Brainwave is seeking to develop a market for its innovative -– but broadly disputed — technology called “brain fingerprinting” which tries to assess an interrogation subject’s honesty through a brain scan. Flynn was brought onto the company’s board of advisers to help sell the product to defense and law enforcement agencies, Brainwave President Krishna Ika said in an interview.

Ika said the company has not sold anything to U.S. federal agencies yet and is looking for investors. He runs the day-to-day operations while Kota brings business and technological expertise and helps make strategic decisions.

Although undercover federal agents testified that Kota bragged of his involvement in a KGB spy ring, Kota says he has never been a spy. He acknowledges meeting with Vladimir Galkin, a KGB agent, on at least four occasions and receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for information about technology related to U.S. missile defense systems. But Kota said he thought Galkin was a businessman and that the information he provided was from public sources. Galkin was arrested at Kennedy Airport in 1996. Prosecutors were unable to build a case in the military spy ring they said he ran involving Kota and others after the U.S. State Department allowed him to leave the country.

Since pleading guilty to the biotech and tax evasion charges, Kota said he has steered clear of anything remotely illegal.

“Not even a parking ticket,” he said.

Kota also runs a consulting company called The Boston Group. Federal court records show that after pleading guilty in the biotech case, he testified against his co-defendant and received a reduced sentence of four years’ probation and a $50,000 fine.

Flynn has met with Brainwave officials at least 10 times, according to Ika, and signed a collaboration agreement to help drum up new business with U.S. agencies. Flynn also agreed to train any national security or law enforcement agency that purchased Brainwave products at Flynn Intel Group headquarters, Ika said. Flynn’s company, based in the Washington suburb of Fairfax, Virginia, promised to provide “world-class training services led by qualified security professionals with experience in intelligence and investigation,” Brainwave’s website says.

Headpiece With SensorsFlynn tested the product himself, Ika said. He put on the helmet-like headpiece fitted with sensors, which is said to read a subject’s brainwaves in an attempt to detect information.

“He found it very convincing,” Ika said.

Flynn’s activities with the company continued after he began receiving classified intelligence briefings in mid-August as part of Trump’s campaign. In late September, Ika said, he and Flynn pitched Brainwave to officials from the Bangladeshi defense forces during a meeting at Flynn’s offices.

After Trump won the election in November and named Flynn his national security adviser, the collaboration stalled, Ika said. Lawyers are now negotiating how to continue Brainwave’s collaboration with other partners from Flynn Intel Group.

Russia Today

Flynn has been criticized for making a paid speech at Russia Today, a state-run news agency, and sitting with President Vladimir Putin at a dinner in Moscow in 2015 to celebrate RT’s anniversary. Flynn and his son also helped spread internet conspiracies on social media, and last February the elder Flynn tweeted, “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, center left, shown at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, last December in Moscow. The event marked the 10th anniversary of RT, a 24-hour English-language TV news channel in Russia.ENLARGE
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, center left, shown at a dinner with Russian President Vladimir Putin, center right, last December in Moscow. The event marked the 10th anniversary of RT, a 24-hour English-language TV news channel in Russia. PHOTO: AP

For defense employees and private-sector military contractors such as Flynn who want to check on potential business partners, the Department of Defense publishes a periodic report entitled “Espionage and Other Compromises of National Security.” The 2009 edition, available online, includes a description of Kota’s conviction.

Brainwave’s product line is built on a technique developed by inventor Lawrence Farwell in the 1990s. The process received so much attention as a potential breakthrough for law enforcement that Congress ordered the General Accounting Office to study it. In a report released in 2001, the GAO found that its claims of effectiveness could not be validated and were not worth trying.

Ika said that after the 9/11 terror attacks, which inspired him to use his background to help fight terrorism, he heard about the technique and eventually collaborated with Farwell. Ika said he was convinced that skepticism about brain fingerprinting had been fomented by the “polygraph lobby” which did not want to lose business to a more effective technology. Brainwave now markets its product as an enhancement to polygraphs.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-23/trump-aide-partnered-with-firm-run-by-man-with-alleged-kgb-ties

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Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn Clashed With Intelligence Community, Pentagon

Donald Trump’s pick for national security adviser has become known as a maverick

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who clashed with the Obama administration’s Pentagon and intelligence establishment over the U.S. fight against global extremism, has been selected as President-elect Donald Trump’s White House national security adviser, putting him in the upper ring of the nation’s security policies.

Name: Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (retired)

Age: 57

Education: University of Rhode Island, Golden Gate University (Calif.), Ft. Leavenworth (Kan.), United States Naval War College.

Background: Gen. Flynn served in many military intelligence posts throughout his 33-year career, including as director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and intelligence adviser to Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Outlook: He became known as a maverick within the ranks of the normally deferential and apolitical corps of “general officers,” the military’s top-ranking officials. In 2010, Gen. Flynn published a paper lambasting the military intelligence community for deficiencies in its approach to intelligence collection, taking the unusual step of releasing the study through the Center for a New American Security, a center-left think tank in Washington.

Still, he rose through the ranks. His military career culminated in his 2012 appointment to run the Defense Intelligence Agency. During his two-year tenure there, Gen. Flynn tried to overhaul the way the U.S. military treats intelligence but also clashed with superiors and counterparts, officials and colleagues said.

Ultimately, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Vickers, then-undersecretary of defense for intelligence, removed him from the post in 2014, forcing his retirement. In a July 9, 2016, article in the New York Post, Gen. Flynn wrote that he had been fired for the stand he took “on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements,” describing his anger at the decision.

Gen. Flynn argued that the Obama administration rested on its laurels after killing Osama bin Laden in 2011 and underestimated the depth of the threat from al Qaeda and its remnants.

Others suggested different reasons for Gen. Flynn’s dismissal. Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and onetime chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, described Gen. Flynn in a July 19, 2016, email as someone who was “abusive with staff, didn’t listen, worked against policy, bad management, etc.” That email and others was stolen by hackers and released.

Gen. Flynn in recent months promoted a view, backed by Mr. Trump on the campaign trail, that the Pentagon shouldn’t talk about its campaign to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State and instead conceal its operations. Defense Secretary Ash Carter later disputed the matter, saying Islamic State followers needed to see that the attack was occurring to undercut the group’s claims to the establishment of a caliphate. Former military officials also questioned whether a large-scale concealed attack on Mosul, a city of about a million people, would be possible given the size and scope of the campaign.

Write to Paul Sonne at paul.sonne@wsj.com

http://www.wsj.com/articles/lt-gen-michael-flynn-has-clashed-with-intelligence-community-pentagon-1479506677

Obama’s speech on counter-terrorism expected to emphasise alliances

December 6, 2016

Partnerships across the world serve US well, outgoing president will say, with civilian prosecutions and rejection of torture helping to bring and keep allies

Barack Obama will defend his approach to counter-terrorism and the use of military force.
Barack Obama will defend his approach to counter-terrorism and the use of military force. Photograph: Ralf Hirschberger/AP

With one eye on history and the other on Donald Trump, Barack Obama plans to deliver a forceful defense of his counter-terrorism legacy.

In his final speech on war and peace as president, Obama will travel on Tuesday to MacDill air base, the home of US Special Operations Command and Central Command, to forcefully argue that his approach to the use of force is a template for an assertive but judicious response to the terrorism threat – a position under assault by both the right and the left.

While aides said the speech would not be not a direct rebuke or instruction to Trump, the president-elect’s victory ensures Obama has a successor whose stated views on counter-terrorism are either mercurial or diametrically opposed to his own.

Trump and his aides, particularly incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn, speak of Islam as the wellspring of terrorism, while Obama’s view is that jihadists attempt to hijack a religion of 1.7 billion people. Trump has waxed enthusiastic about CIA torture that Obama forbade, t

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https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/06/obama-counterterrorism-speech-at-macdill-alliances

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