Michael Zehaf-Bibeau and Martin Couture-Rouleau: How Canada tracks homegrown radicals

Compiled Reports CBC

Parliament Hill, Quebec attacks renew concerns about home-grown extremists

Brazen attacks on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., last week have renewed concerns about homegrown extremists and the ability of Canadian security agencies to identify and monitor potential threats.

On Wednesday, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau went on a shooting spree in the nation’s capital, fatally wounding a soldier at the National War Memorial and entering Parliament Hill before being shot dead.

Earlier in the week, Martin (Ahmad) Couture-Rouleau rammed two Canadian soldiers in a parking lot in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

One of the soldiers, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, later died of his injuries. Couture-Rouleau was killed after a police pursuit.

The RCMP says Couture-Rouleau was on a list of 90 people under surveillance in Canada because they’re suspected of wanting to join militants fighting abroad.

- Martin Rouleau had passport revoked, was monitored by RCMP
Martin Rouleau, Quebec driver shot by police, ‘radicalized': RCMP

Here’s a look at the agencies involved in identifying and trying to neutralize the threat of radicalism in Canada.

CSIS: Canada’s spy agency

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) looks for threats inside Canada and is essentially the “clearing house where all the security intelligence threads come together,” says Christian Leuprecht, a security expert affiliated with the Royal Military College and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

According to the agency’s website, “countering terrorist violence is the top priority for CSIS.”

Through a combination of agents in the field and electronic surveillance, CSIS investigates threats and produces intelligence for the government.

While CSIS has the ability to monitor a suspicious individual, the way it gathers evidence does not necessarily meet the standards for a criminal conviction, says Leuprecht.

He says that when CSIS feels there is enough evidence on a suspect for a criminal investigation — say, reasonable cause to suspect a person is planning to carry out an attack — it will hand the file over to the RCMP.

CSEC: Canada’s cyberspy agency

The Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) monitors email, telephone and satellite communications — also known as “signals intelligence” — to identify security threats to Canada outside the country.

While CSEC says it only looks at foreign communications and does not actively track Canadians, the agency has acknowledged that it cannot do its job without gathering at least some Canadian information.

When it comes to potential radicals, CSEC shares information with CSIS as well as Canada’s allies in the Five Eyes, a transnational intelligence-sharing agreement.

This is the colloquial name for a treaty involving Canada, the U.S., Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to share all electronic intelligence on mutual threats.

FinTRAC: Looking at money trails

One of the federal government’s priorities in confronting the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat is identifying people who may be supporting extremist groups financially. One instrument for that is the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, or FinTRAC.

The hitch, says Leuprecht, is that it us up to banking institutions to bring such activity to FinTRAC’s attention.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, FinTRAC director Gerald Cossette said the centre’s main role in Canada’s current anti-terrorism campaign is “to respond, basically, to the demand for information from our security partners — be it CSIS or the RCMP.”

FinTRAC, Canadian financial intelligence agency, tracks funds to ISIS
RCMP

Bob Paulson, the current RCMP commissioner, recently told a House of Commons public safety committee that his agency is engaged in 63 active national security investigations into 90 suspects identified by CSIS.

Canada’s national law-enforcement agency not only carries out investigations of suspected radicals but has also created an outreach program to forge links with Muslim communities in Canada. The idea is to make people in those communities feel comfortable enough to provide tips in the case of suspected radicals.

Lorne Dawson, chair of the department of sociology and legal studies at the University of Waterloo and an expert in radicalization, says that RCMP personnel have shown they are “well-informed, well-intentioned and have the capacity to make sincere contact” with members of the Muslim community.

Dawson acknowledges that some people in Canada’s Muslim community are resistant to the outreach because they feel it reinforces a stigma that all Muslims are extremists.

But he says the RCMP’s initiative “seems to be working,” citing multiple instances where tips from the community have led to significant investigations, including the thwarted VIA bomb plot.

Via bomb plot suspect: Canada wrong to ‘colonize’ Afghanistan
INSET: A multi-agency anti-terrorism initiative

After the 9/11 attacks, the Canadian government formed the Integrated National Security Enforcement Teams (INSET) to “track, deter, disrupt and prevent criminal activities of terrorist groups or individuals who pose a threat to Canada’s national security.”

Led by the RCMP, these specialized teams include officers from the RCMP, CSIS, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada and police forces at the municipal and provincial levels.

According to Public Safety Canada, INSET teams are operating in Alberta, B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

Local police forces

In recent years, police forces at both the provincial and municipal levels have become more engaged in combatting the terror threat, says Scott Tod, deputy commissioner of investigations and organized crime with the Ontario Provincial Police.

Tod is also co-chair of the Counter Terrorism and National Security Committee, an initiative created by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to share information and training on how to neutralize “violent extremism in our communities in Canada.”

Tod says that like the RCMP, police services across the country have created outreach programs to trade information with Muslim communities.

“It’s about building trust with communities,” says Tod. “There are still people that don’t trust and will doubt our intentions,” but he says that these programs are “vital.”

- ISIS threat to Canada not imminent but real, CSIS director warns
80 people have returned to Canada from suspected terrorism-related trips abroad, committee hears

The threat of ISIS to Canada is real, but Canada’s spy agency has no information suggesting it’s imminent, CSIS director Michel Coulombe told the House public safety committee on Wednesday.

-The comment by Coulombe, head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), runs counter to repeated warnings by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other government MPs that jihadists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria could attack Canada.

“It does pose a real threat, but like I mentioned, we have no information indicating an imminent attack,” Coulombe told MPs.

“We don’t want to sound alarmist. We’re telling people that they should go about their daily life, but we have to be vigilant,” he said.

NBC News reported Wednesday that its sources said Canadian authorities tracking would-be terrorists heard them discussing potential ISIS-inspired “knife and gun” attacks against U.S. and Canadian targets inside Canada.

NBC reporter Pete Williams told CBC News Network’s Heather Hiscox on Thursday that one of the plots targeted a shopping mall, but that authorities stepped in at the very early stages, before there was even a timeline planned for an attack. NBC sources described the attack planning as being at the “aspirational” stage.

CBC has not confirmed the NBC report. The public safety minister’s office says it won’t comment on “operational matters of national security.”

Coulombe also provided more information about an August report detailing more than 130 Canadians who had travelled abroad to join in alleged terrorist activities and 80 individuals “who have returned to Canada after travel abroad for a variety of suspected terrorism-related purposes.”

Some of those individuals could be involved in related work like fundraising or propaganda, Coulombe said.

“I don’t want people to believe that we have 80 returnees who were hard fighters in Iraq and Syria, because that is not the picture we have at the moment, although we have some of them.”

‘We know where they are’

The number of Canadians who have travelled abroad to join in alleged terrorist activities, Coulombe said, varies between 130 and 145. And while others estimate the number to be much higher, Coulombe said CSIS works with facts and has confirmed the 130 who are overseas, as well as the 80 back in Canada.

“It’s a firm number that we’re aware of. And yes, we know where they are,” Coulombe said.

Coulombe appeared at the committee along with Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney and RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson. They were there to discuss the risk posed by the Sunni jihadist group ISIS to Canadians at home, and what can be done about Canadians going abroad to fight for it and other militant groups.

The head of the RCMP said the Mounties’ record speaks for itself and that law enforcement agencies are working appropriately.

“It’s nothing for Canadians to be alarmed about,” Paulson told the committee.

Paulson said there are 63 active national security investigations into 90 suspects identified by CSIS.

Information sharing

Blaney said, in response to an NDP question, that Canada won’t implement exit controls at its borders, telling MPs that’s the domain of totalitarian states.

“Let me be very clear: We are really not contemplating exit controls; we’ll leave it to totalitarian [states],” Blaney said in response to an NDP question.

Canada and the U.S. exchange “entry” information on citizens of other countries as a form of exit control; Public Safety Canada’s website explains that entry into one country confirms exit from the other.

Blaney’s office later clarified that when the minister said Canada won’t implement exit controls at the border, he meant Canada would not block people from leaving. The minister does support sharing exit information, his office told Radio-Canada.

The Canadian Press reported last month that Canada was three months behind on implementing a tracking system to stop people in Canada from joining overseas conflicts. Under the Canada-U.S. perimeter security pact, the federal government pledged to begin collecting records as of last June 30 on people leaving Canada on international flights.

“This is part of the tool we can provide our law enforcement agency to have more information on the influx of people and especially those representing a threat. So we are indeed working on information-sharing,” he said.

Revoking passports

Their appearance before the committee comes one day after Parliament voted to send CF-18 fighter jets to assist the U.S.-led air war in Iraq.

Throughout the debate about the mission, the Canadian government has asserted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, is a danger to people in Canada.

On Wednesday, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander reaffirmed his department has revoked passports for terrorism-related activities on “multiple occasions.” But the minister once again did not give a number.

Conservative MP Darryl Kramp, who chairs the public safety committee, told reporters Wednesday that it’s hard to know what lies at the root of homegrown extremism.

“A lot of people feel it’s from basically, let’s just say, fundamentalist teachings. I’m just not even that sure if that is the genesis of all of this. Maybe part of it is … people who have a weakness and all of a sudden, there’s a violent video game and as they grow a little bit older, they outgrow that and maybe think they can take a little dose of reality to some of that fantasy that exists in that world,” Kramp said.

“So who knows. I don’t have the answer to that, but it is a troubling phenomenon, no doubt about it.​”

In August, Liberal MP Wayne Easter called on the public safety committee to launch a full-scale parliamentary inquiry into the national security threat posed by individuals who return to Canada after becoming involved with overseas entities, particularly ISIS.

Young Canadian radicals who’ve travelled overseas
7 Extremists killed in battle, pursued by authorities for terror attacks

radicals

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DER SPIEGEL ONLINE : ISIS Recruiter : ‘Democracy Is For Infidels’

ACD

How does Islamic State think? How do its followers see the world? SPIEGEL ONLINE met up with an Islamic State recruiter in Turkey to hear about the extremist group’s vision for the future.

The conditions laid out by the Islamist are strict: no photos and no audio recording. He also keeps his real name secret as well as his country of origin, and is only willing to disclose that he is Arab. His English is polished and he speaks with a British accent.

He calls himself Abu Sattar, appears to be around 30 years old and wears a thick, black beard that reaches down to his chest. His top lip is shaved as is his head and he wears a black robe that stretches all the way to the floor. He keeps a copy of the Koran, carefully wrapped in black cloth, in his black leather bag.

Abu Sattar recruits fighters for the terrorist militia Islamic State in Turkey. Radical Islamists travel to Turkey from all over the world to join the “holy war” in Iraq or Syria and Abu Sattar examines their motives and the depth of their religious beliefs. Several Islamic State members independently recommended Abu Sattar as a potential interview partner — as someone who could explain what Islamic State stands for. Many see him as something like an ideological mentor.

He only agreed to an interview following a period of hesitation. But after agreeing to a time and saying he would name a place in due time, he let the appointment fall through. The next day, though, he arranged another meeting time, to take place in a public venue. And this time, he appears: a man with brown eyes behind frameless glasses. He seems self-confident and combative. He orders a tea and, throughout the duration of our meeting, slides his wooden prayer beads through his hands.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: As-salamu alaykum.

Abu Sattar: Are you Muslim?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why does that matter? Religion is a private matter for me.

Abu Sattar: Then why did you say “as-salamu alaykum”?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Because it means “peace be with you” and I see it as a friendly greeting.

Abu Sattar: So you’re not a Muslim. I knew it!

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why is Islamic State so eager to divide the world into believers and infidels? Why does Islamic State see everything as either black or white, “us against the world”?
Abu Sattar: Who started it? Who conquered the world and sought to subordinate all foreign cultures and religions? The history of colonialism is long and bloody. And it continues today, in the shape of Western arrogance vis-à-vis everyone else. “Us against the rest of the world” is the formula that drives the West. We Muslims are now finally offering successful resistance.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are spreading fear and horror and are killing innocents, most of them Muslim. You call that successful resistance?

Abu Sattar: We are following Allah’s word. We believe that humanity’s only duty is to honor Allah and his prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are implementing what is written in the Koran. If we manage to do so, then of course it will be a success.

For Salafists like Abu Sattar, the Koran is the only valid law. They are literalists and refuse to interpret scripture, much less to abstract from it. Abu Sattar and the Islamic State idealize the Muslim community that existed during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, believing that it was the epitome of Islamic practice and that the religion was only able to rapidly expand for that reason. Islamic State would like to revive that interpretation and emulate the early Muslims.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do you believe that those who behead others are good Muslims?

Abu Sattar: Let me ask you this: Do you believe that those who launch air strikes on Afghan weddings or who march into a country like Iraq on specious grounds are good Christians? Are those responsible for Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib good Christians?

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are dodging the question. The events you speak of were not undertaken in the name of a religion and were heavily criticized in the West. Once again: What is a good Muslim for you? What kinds of people are you recruiting?

Abu Sattar: A Muslim is a person who follows Allah’s laws without question. Sharia is our law. No interpretation is needed, nor are laws made by men. Allah is the only lawmaker. We have determined that there are plenty of people, in Germany too, who perceive the emptiness of the modern world and who yearn for values of the kind embodied by Islam. Those who are opposed to Sharia are not Muslims. We talk to the people who come to us and evaluate on the basis of dialogue how deep their faith is.

Turkey is seen as a key site for Islamic State recruiting. People from around the world — from Europe, the United States and Central and South Asia — travel to Istanbul and establish contacts with the extremists. According to Turkish officials, around 1,000 of the country’s citizens are also fighting for Islamic State.

The government in Ankara denies that it is supporting Islamic State, but has in the past allowed jihadists to travel to Iraq and Syria via Turkey. There are also indications that the extremists receive food, medical supplies, weapons and munitions via Turkey and that injured terrorists have been treated in Turkish hospitals.
In the last three years, Turkey has been actively seeking the fall of Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad and has been supporting all groups fighting against him, including Islamist groups. At the very least, it tolerated Islamic State recruitment activities within Turkey.
Abu Sattar periodically glances around to see if he is being watched. He says he is able to continue recruiting, but that “a bit of restraint” is necessary.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today. Many are very democratic, some are liberal while others are conservative and, just imagine, there are heterosexual Muslims and homosexual Muslims among them. Most of them do not share your ideology. But you act as though there were only one kind of Muslim, namely those who think like you do. That is absurd!

Abu Sattar: Democracy is for infidels. A real Muslim is not a democrat because he doesn’t care about the opinions of majorities and minorities don’t interest him. He is only interested in what Islam says. Furthermore, democracy is a hegemonic tool of the West and contrary to Islam. Why do you act as though the entire world needs democracy? And when it comes to homosexuality, the issue is clearly dealt with by the Koran. It says it is forbidden and should be punished.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Such statements help cast suspicion on all Muslims. In many countries, they are under pressure to distance themselves from Islamic State even though they have nothing at all to do with terror.

Abu Sattar: So? Are they speaking out against us? (Laughs) I think we enjoy much more support than you would like to believe. Those who demand that Muslims take sides are totally right. We go even a step further: All people should disclose whether they submit to Allah or not. Those who are against us are our enemies and must be fought. That includes people who call themselves Muslims but who don’t lead their lives as such — people who drink, who don’t pray, who don’t fast, who have constantly changing partners and who are unable to recite the Koran.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: There are many Muslims who have consciously chosen such a lifestyle.

Abu Sattar: That may be true, but that is not Allah’s will. When we someday have power, inshallah, in the entire world, then Sharia will be imposed. Such people will then have to atone for their behavior.

Religious fundamentalism is as old as religion itself. Islamic State, however, is applying it with the most brutal of consequences. A self-contained worldview that clearly delineates between good and bad, friend and foe, makes it simple for its followers to find their way in a complicated world. Muslims who interpret Islam differently than the Salafists are simply declared to be unbelievers, a practice of excommunication known as “takfir.” For those declared unbelievers, it is akin to a death sentence because turning away from Islam is forbidden. The extremists have also shown no compunctions about using religion to justify war crimes. In Abu Sattar’s view, all means are legitimate in the fight for “true faith.” It is an approach that thousands of people clearly find attractive.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You kidnap non-Muslim women and turn them into sex slaves. You crucify or behead those of other faiths, including children. How does that conform to Islam?

Abu Sattar: Why didn’t anybody get upset about the many people that Syrian President Bashar Assad has on his conscience? But now that we want to establish a caliphate, it is suddenly a problem? To answer your question: It is every Muslim’s duty to fight those of a different belief until only Allah is worshipped around the world. Everybody has the opportunity to accept Allah and to change to the right path. (Recited in Arabic from the Koran, 5. Sura, Verse 33) “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off on the opposite sides, or be exiled from the land.”

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Most non-Muslims aren’t waging war against anybody. Billions of people, no matter what their religion, are living peacefully with each other, or at least next to one another.
Abu Sattar: (Once again recites in Arabic, this time Sura 4, Verse 89) “They (the Unbelievers) wish that you reject Faith as they have rejected Faith, and thus that you all become equal. So take not protectors or friends from them till they emigrate in the Way of Allah. But if they turn back from Islam, take hold of them and kill them wherever you find them and take neither protectors nor friends nor helpers from them.”

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You are avoiding the question by confronting a complex reality with religious texts. But if you really want to conduct such an argument: It also says in the Koran that there is no compulsion in religion. In a different spot it says that one is not permitted to “transgress due balance” because God does not love imbalance. What you are doing is a transgression of balance.

Abu Sattar: Yes, that is in the second Sura. But it also says that one should kill or expel unbelievers wherever one finds them.

This is a typical strategy employed by fundamentalists: They choose those sources that support their position while ignoring those that contradict them.

Abu Sattar says that he has been responsible for “several dozen” young men joining Islamic State. He says they were strictly separated according to their countries of origins and would remain separated during their training in camps in Syrian territory. Contrary to some reports, he emphasizes that no training takes place on Turkish soil. Men with battlefield experience, such as those who fought in places like Chechnya or Afghanistan, are particularly highly valued.

Islamic State concentrates exclusively on the fight and the implementation of their version of Islam. The militias even reject mosques because they distract from faith. Monuments and works of art are likewise destroyed because they see them as idols.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the golden age of Islam, there was music, dancing, painting, calligraphy and architecture. Yet you are propagating an Islam free of culture and art. It is time to discuss religious content and find a modern interpretation, don’t you think.

Abu Sattar: It is not up to us to interpret God’s word. There have been repeated errors and lapses in Muslim societies. That which you refer to as the “golden age” was one of them.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Then you should at least be in favor of allowing people to read the Koran in their own language so that they understand how they are supposed to live. Most are unable to speak or understand Arabic. Do you believe that the many calls for fighting and killing would be well received were people to be able to read them in their own language?

Abu Sattar: It is Allah’s word just as it is in the Koran. We are also not allowed to translate it. It is unimportant whether what it says is well received or not. We are not allowed to question even a single word.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You keep the people uneducated to build up your power. That is a strategy used by all extremists.

Abu Sattar: You have your viewpoint and we have ours.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But you fight against all those who don’t share your worldview.

Abu Sattar: Christians and Jews go after those who have access to raw materials but who prevent access to them. Oil is the best example. The US and its allies are constantly intervening in countries where they don’t belong only to defend their prosperity. Is that any better? We aren’t fighting because we are greedy and selfish, rather we are fighting for values and morals.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: When one looks at your actions in Iraq and Syria, morals and values are difficult to discern. One gets the impression that your actions are driven by an inferiority complex. The same holds true of your recruits: They tend to be people who feel like they don’t belong and finally see an opportunity to live out their fantasies of power.

Abu Sattar: It is not true that only those people come to us who have experienced no success in life. Among them are many people who have university degrees, people who were well-established. But they all see the inequities that we Muslims have long experienced and want to fight against them.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You constantly speak of fighting. Do Muslims not constantly speak of Islam being a religion of peace?

Abu Sattar: It is when people submit to Allah. Allah is merciful and forgives those who follow him.

* This article was originally published on Spiegel Online and viewed on October 29, 2014. The interviewer was Hasnain Kazim.

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LIFE IS A BITCH THEN WE DIE: CROSS MY LEGS HOPE TO GET MONEY: Former Playboy Model Now A Beggar: Dorothy Christa McKenna-Americans Dont Give Her More Than 7 Dollars A Day

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ITS QATAR: ISIS Acquires Air Defence Missile System Capable of Shooting Down Passenger Airlines, Qatar blamed

news au

GERMAN intelligence has now backed coalition forces fears Islamic State has acquired an advanced air defence missile system capable of shooting down passenger airlines.

Earlier this month, US and Iraqi forces suspected ISIS had acquired advanced air defence systems with Strela thermal anti-aircraft missiles.

Their fears were based on the shooting down of two Iraqi fighter jets in Baiji north ofTikrit and it was believed the systems were seized during the over running of Iraqi military bases or from previously attacked bases in Syria.

Worrying...Rebel fighters unpack a Chinese made manportable surface-to-air missile north

Worrying…Rebel fighters unpack a Chinese made manportable surface-to-air missile north of Aleppo. Picture: AFP.Source: AFP

Concern was also raised about the acquirement and its posed threat to airspace when US Apache attack helicopters were used earlier this month to attack an ISIS advance on Baghdad airport.

The rockets cannot fire to great height but could effectively shut down airspace over an airport with attacks on aircraft landing and taking off.

Now Germany’s intelligence service BND briefed law makers in Berlin it believed they had details ISIS had acquired a range of former Syrian stocks of anti-aircraft weapons, some that dated from the 1970s while others were more modern and advanced but all capable of bringing down aircraft.

Fighting ongoing...Rebel fighters during clashes with Syrian regime soldiers, north of Al

Fighting ongoing…Rebel fighters during clashes with Syrian regime soldiers, north of Aleppo. Picture: AFP. Source: AFP

The weapons were believed to have been supplied to Syrian rebels by Qatar and the German spy group has attained footage of the Chinese-made FN6 shoulder mounted missiles in the hands of ISIS it said had also previously brought down an Iraqi helicopter.

The US had protested loudly about arming Syrian rebels with surface to air missiles, despite the then daily bombardment of civilians by the Syrian Assad regime, since it was deemed to be a “game changer” nobody wanted to risk.

Game changer...the US had protested loudly about arming Syrian rebels with surface to air

Game changer…the US had protested loudly about arming Syrian rebels with surface to air missiles. Picture: AFP.Source: AFP

But Qatar, which has been under intense pressure for months from Western Allies for financially supporting ISIS, supplied the armaments to the rebels last year anyway.

The latest revelation will give British Prime Minister David Cameron more points for discussion when he meets this week with the Emir of Qatar Sheik Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani who is visiting London.

The British press has been running a campaign for weeks urging the government to take a strong stand against the Gulf State over evidence it had been supplying funds to ISIS and other extremist Islamic groups. The US intelligence has named both Qatar and Kuwait as fertile grounds for terror funding.

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FOOL ME ONCE: Dumb Wi-Fi Network Name Delays Flight for Four Hours

GIZMODO

Dumb Wi-Fi Network Name Delays Flight for Four Hours

Some asshat at Los Angeles International Airport ruined a plane-full of people’s days on Sunday night. He named a Wi-Fi network “Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork,” and a passenger about to take off on a 9am flight to London noticed it. The plane didn’t take off until 1pm as a result.

The plane was taxiing to the runway, when the one passenger reported the suspicious Wi-Fi network, and the airline told passengers that they were being delayed due to some sort of maintenance issue. After they landed, they learned from the local news that said maintenance issue was actually some asshat trying to be funny. And despite the fact that this was clearly a (bad) joke, police are now involved and presumably tracking him down, though likely not for his bad sense of humor.

Come on man, airports are already horrible without your stupid joke. [ABC7]
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BLUE EYES…IMAM’S GOT BLUE EYES: It’s ‘Code Red’ for American Muslims

CNN

The mosque in Roxbury was crowded past capacity, with about 1,200 college students, urban hipsters and East Africans lining the hallways and front stairs.

They wanted to hear Imam Suhaib Webb, resident scholar of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center and widely considered one of the country’s most influential Muslims, respond to Sam Harris and Bill Maher, who recently called Islam the “mother lode of bad ideas” and compared Muslims to the Mafia.

The lanky, blue-eyed imam, a convert originally from Oklahoma, is known for tackling taboo topics and spicing his sermons with pop culture references.

Before Friday’s sermon, the last time the Roxbury mosque had been this crowded, Webb said, was when he preached about the finale of “Breaking Bad.”

(On the Sunday after his sermon, Webb, who has extensive training in classical Islamic learning, answered religious questions on Twitterabout “The Walking Dead.”)

Instead of attacking Maher and Harris, though, Webb challenged his fellow Muslims.

“It’s code red,” he preached last Friday, pounding the minbar for emphasis. “People do not like us, and we need to get with it!”

“One day we’re attacked by Fox News, the next day we’re attacked by Muslims who actually pay to have Facebook ads about us,” Webb said.

“I mean, that’s the level of attacks that we’re dealing with as a community and as a people. One brother told me, like what’s going to happen next? It’s like a soap opera.”

Webb himself has been subject to some of those attacks, as conservative media outlets have sought to tie him toAlton Nolen, an Oklahoma man accused of beheading a co-worker, and the Tsarnaev brothers, suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.

Webb said he never met the three men. “It’s guilt by nonassociation,” he said with a sardonic laugh.

At one point during his sermon last Friday, a man interrupted to argue that Muslims shouldn’t care about what others say about them.

But when even avowed liberals like Maher and Harris lash out against Islam, Webb said, then it’s time to worry.

“The last bastion of support we’ll find in this country are among the liberals and some moderately conservative people,” Webb said.

“What happened on that show that night was to challenge that community and its traditional support of religious minorities in this country, and if we don’t think that’s something we should be worried about, then basically we are building our own coffins.”

Those are strong words, Webb acknowledged in a phone interview after his sermon, which was posted on YouTube last Friday. But necessary ones for American Muslims, who find themselves caught between Islamophobes and Islamists like ISIS, he said.

“No community survives that fails to identify itself,” Webb said, “and right now the rhetoric and the perception of the Muslim community, whether we believe it or not, is not very good.”

Instead, American Muslims frequently find themselves judged by how Islam is practiced overseas: stories about the group calling itself Islamic State, death sentences in Sudan, and restricted rights for women in Saudi Arabia.

“What is constantly invoked is that Muslims are bad because of what is happening overseas, or Muslims are good because of what is happening overseas,” Webb said.

“In other words, we are being measured and weighed and determined by events that are completely outside of our hands.”

Webb challenged Muslims to assert control of their image in three ways: by forging an American-Islamic identity, building institutions and shifting away from the view that male scholars have the final view on the faith.

“We need to appreciate the value of being seen as trusted … that’s the key to having a license to speak about religion,” Webb said.

“It’s a beautiful thing in this country: that if you want to talk about God, you have to be someone who has a certain type of character.”

You can view Webb’s full sermon here. In addition to his role as resident scholar at Boston’s Islamic society, he is also founder of the Ella Collins Institute.

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TERRORISM COMES IN DIFFERENT FACES: KAZAKHSTAN: UN REVIEW TO HIGHLIGHT ABUSES

EURASIA REVIEW

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United Nations member countries should use an upcoming UN review of Kazakhstan’s rights record to urge its government to adopt overdue reforms. Kazakhstan’s rights record will be in international spotlight during the country’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on October 30, 2014.

“Kazakhstan’s rights record has taken a serious turn for the worse in recent years,” said Mihra Rittmann, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The UPR is a key opportunity for Kazakhstan’s partners to show concern about this trend, and tell the government that it needs to institute meaningful reforms.”

The human rights situation in Kazakhstan has significantly deteriorated since its previous scrutiny under the UPR procedure in 2010, with authorities cracking down on free speech and peaceful dissent, imprisoning government critics, and tightening controls over freedom of association, religion, and assembly.

At its previous UPR, Kazakhstan accepted key recommendations concerning freedom of speech, including amending legislation criminalizing libel; freedom of assembly, including adopting a new law on public assemblies; freedom of religion, specifically agreeing to allow religious groups to carry out their peaceful activities free from government interference; to uphold fair trial standards; and to apply a zero tolerance approach to torture.

Yet, the record shows that Kazakhstan has fallen far short of these commitments, ignoring some and further backsliding with respect to others.

While Kazakhstan has long limited key civil and political rights, authorities began an overt crackdown on fundamental freedoms following extended, unresolved labor strikes in the oil sector which ended in violent clashes in December 2011, when police killed 12 people.

In a submission ahead of the UPR, Human Rights Watch documented how the Kazakhstan government failed to live up to previous UPR commitments and to international human rights standards more generally, in particular by:

Suppressing free speech and dissent through misuse of overly broad laws such as the offense of “inciting social discord”;
Limiting peaceful assembly by fining and imprisoning dozens of people who have attempted to stage peaceful protests;
Imprisoning several government critics and labor rights activists in trials that did not meet international fair trial standards, in particular opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov, labor activists Rosa Tuletaeva and Maksat Dosmagambetov, and civil society activist Vadim Kuramshin. In addition, authorities are holding Zinaida Mukhortova, a lawyer, in forced psychiatric detention;
Failing to investigate serious and credible allegations of ill-treatment and torture, thereby allowing perpetrators to go free and denying victims justice;
Ushering in a highly restrictive religion law in October 2011 that resulted in the closure of hundreds of small religious groups unable to meet membership requirements for re-registration.
“Kazakhstan made a number of important human rights pledges during the previous review that it has not fulfilled,” Rittmann said. “The upcoming UN review is a critical moment to flag Kazakhstan’s unfulfilled promises and underscore its need to implement them without further delay.”

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TUNISIA’S BORDERS: TERRORISM AND REGIONAL POLARISATION

EURASIA REVIEW

The growing link between cartels and armed jihadi militants along Tunisia’s borders with Algeria and Libya, combined with heightened ideological polarisation, could form an explosive mix ahead of Tunisia’s legislative and presidential elections.

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In its latest briefing, Tunisia’s Borders (II): Terrorism and Regional Polarisation, the International Crisis Group builds on its November 2013 report and analyses the alarming security threats at Tunisia’s borders with Algeria and Libya. It argues that, in order to address the growing link between terrorism and organised crime, Tunisia needs a consensual, balanced and depoliticised approach to facing growing security challenges. This means delinking security challenges from the polarised political environment through new socio-economic and development initiatives that would ensure border communities’ trust in and support for the state.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

Whatever the results of the legislative and presidential elections, the Tunisian government needs to confront its critical security challenges by implementing a consensual, balanced and depoliticised approach to anti-terrorism. This means dealing with the economic, social and ideological dimensions of terrorism.
The security situation along the Tunisia-Algeria and Tunisia-Libya borders could become an alarming threat if Tunisia fails to initiate talks with certain contraband cartels, strengthen the state’s presence in the border regions through socio-economic and development policies, and win back the trust of local communities who otherwise could be tempted to join militant jihadi groups and indulge in lucrative transborder trafficking, including in dangerous goods.
The government should also increase security cooperation with neighbouring Algeria, and pursue the creation of a new National Intelligence Agency to merge intelligence and counter-terrorism.
“It is crucial for the main political, trade union and civil society forces – both Islamist and non-Islamist – to maintain a consensual approach to public security and for the authorities to adopt a calmer anti-terrorist discourse so as to prevent renewed polarisation”, says Michael Béchir Ayari, Senior Tunisia Analyst.

“A deepening security crackdown, combined with reprisals by weakened jihadi groups, could form a vicious circle”, says Issandr El Amrani, North Africa Project Director. “The risk is that a major terrorist attack would deepen polarisation between Islamists and secularists”.

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BANGLADESH: ANOTHER WAR CRIMINAL GONE, BUT ISLAMISTS REORGANISING – ANALYSIS

By Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty

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With the death of Gholam Azam a painful and bloody chapter in Bangladesh’s history has been laid to rest. The erstwhile Ameer of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the leading Islamist party in Bangladesh, died as a prisoner in Dhaka’s Medical University Hospital on Oct 23, 2014 at the age of 92.

He was serving a 90 year sentence following his conviction for war crimes committed during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971. Azam is the second war criminal to die in a hospital prison ward after the death of convicted war criminal Abdul Alim. Earlier, a convicted war criminal Quader Mollah, also from the Jamaat, was sentenced to death and executed.

War criminal Azams’ death has provoked demonstrations in his home district of Brahmanbaria where people have demanded that his body not be allowed to be buried there. Secular and progressive Bangladeshi organizations have called for his body to be sent to Pakistan for burial, since the soil of Bangladesh was soaked with the “sacred blood of martyrs and should not be polluted with the body of a traitor”.

Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971 remains an emotive issue. Azam’s role as a staunch supporter of Pakistan made him a top traitor in Bangladeshi eyes. The memory of millions killed and tortured, the agony of hundreds of thousands of women raped by Pakistani officers and soldiers and the travails of millions of refugees still remains a raw wound in the collective public memory in Bangladesh. Azam, his cohorts and organizations helped and took part in these atrocities, as collaborators of the Pakistani Army.

Azam campaigned extensively against Bangladesh’s freedom struggle and continued his ideological movement for a united Pakistan even after 1971. The Jamaat-e-Islami party, its student wing Islami Chhatra Sangha (later renamed Islami Chhatra Shibir) were involved in Azam’s campaign. These organizations had played important roles in forming the Peace Committees and other pro-Pakistani collaborator outfits, like the Razakar, Al-Badr and Al-Shams. Azam and his collaborators called the freedom fighters “miscreants”, “Indian agents” and “malaun” (a pejorative word used against Hindus) and “infiltrators”.

Azam became the symbol of war crimes in Bangladesh and the leading collaborator in one of the world’s worst genocide. In one of the most despicable acts of revenge, Azam masterminded the killing of Bangladeshi intellectuals by the Pakistani Army and his local collaborators on Dec 14, 1971 when Pakistan was on the verge of defeat and sought to deprive a newly independent Bangladesh of its leading intellectuals. The government of newly independent Bangladesh banned the Jamaat-e-Islami and cancelled Azam’s citizenship. Azam fled to Pakistan.

He campaigned until 1973 to build public opinion in the Islamic world to prevent the recognition of Bangladesh as an independent nation. He visited Saudi Arabia in March 1975 and told King Faisal that Hindus had captured East Pakistan, killed Muslims, burnt the holy Quran, destroyed mosques and converted them into temples. By purveying such blatant lies, Azam collected funds from the Middle East for rebuilding mosques and madrassas.

After the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father and first president of Bangladesh, in August 1975, Bangladesh went through a turbulent political phase which led to General Zia-ur-Rahman usurping power. As president, Zia allowed Azam to return to Bangladesh on a Pakistani passport. Zia’s objective was to promote Islamization and roll back the secular tradition of the Liberation War and Bangladesh’s constitution as an independent nation.

He saw Bangladesh as a mirror image of Pakistan and people like Azam helped him to further this objective. Ghulam Azam was officially declared Ameer of Jamaat in the early 1990s. In 1991, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by Zia, formed the government with support from the Jamaat. Azam’s Bangladeshi citizenship was restored by a court order in 1994.

Azam’s murky past caught up with him when in July last year, Bangladesh’s International Crimes Tribunal handed down a life sentence after finding him guilty of the offences of conspiracy, planning, incitement, complicity in crimes against humanity and genocide and murders during the Liberation War and other wartime offences in 1971. The judges said Azam deserved the gallows but he was given a prison term due to his old age. “We are convinced in holding that accused Prof Ghulam Azam was the pivot of crimes and all the atrocities revolved around him during the War of Liberation,” the three judges said in their verdict. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government set up the tribunal in 2010 after she had pledged before the 2008 election to prosecute those responsible for war crimes. She won a landslide victory and the demand for punishment for war crimes grew into a mass movement.

The Tribunal has been criticized as a political tool of the ruling Awami League (AL) party for persecution of the BNP and the Jamaat. But the people of Bangladesh have supported the Tribunal and demanded the death penalty for all convicted war criminals. The Islamists in Bangladesh are down, but not out.

The murky details of the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JMB) re-organizing in West Bengal and indulging in bomb making for use in Bangladesh clearly points to a nexus between them and Islamists in West Bengal. The state government’s role in this whole affair is under the scanner. Bangladesh is rightly worried that Islamist elements who want to remove Hasina’s government are conspiring to create violence in Bangladesh, perhaps with the help of Islamists elements in West Bengal.

This will complicate India’s relations with Bangladesh and the Indian government must act decisively to eradicate these elements. The West Bengal government appears to have turned a blind eye for narrow electoral politics and the central government must ensure that national security is paramount and petty local politics does not stand in the way.

(Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty is a former diplomat who has served as India’s High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

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Ex-CBS reporter: ( Sharyl Atkisson) Government agency bugged my computer

A former CBS News reporter who quit the network over claims it kills stories that put President Obama in a bad lightsays she was spied on by a “government-related entity” that planted classified documents on her computer.

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In her new memoir, Sharyl Attkisson says a source who arranged to have her laptop checked for spyware in 2013 was “shocked” and “flabbergasted” at what the analysis revealed.

“This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America,” Attkisson quotes the source saying.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.

“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”

This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did.

Attkisson says her source — identified only as “Number One” — told her the spying was most likely not court-authorized because it went on far longer than most legal taps.

But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”

“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.

http://nypost.com/2014/10/27/ex-cbs-reporter-government-related-entity-bugged-my-computer/

Anyone still have any doubts that we live in a police state?

Read all of Ms. Atkisson’s stuff on Fast and Furious-and Benghazi-then look into when and why she was shitcanned by CBS-and who in Obama’s White House was related to the CBS execs…

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