GCHQ leak lists UK cyber-spies’ hacking tools

BBC

A document that appears to list a wide variety of GCHQ’s cyber-spy tools and techniques has been leaked online.
It indicates the agency worked on ways to alter the outcome of online polls, find private Facebook photos, and send spoof emails that appeared to be from Blackberry users, among other things.
The document is alleged to have been among those leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.
One expert said the release, published on the site Intercept, was “damaging”.
Alan Woodward, a security consultant who has done work for GCHQ, the UK’s intelligence agency, said: “If you read the mission statement of any signals intelligence organisation, all the listed techniques are what you’d expect them to be doing.
“But it’s very unhelpful for the details to leak out because as soon as you reveal to people how something is being done they can potentially take steps to avoid their information being collected.
GCWiki
The leaked document lists the techniques in the style of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia
“We’ve already seen it happen when various forms of interception were revealed previously with the Snowden leaks.”
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published the latest document, noted in his article that an earlier inquiry by the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee had called into question the “legality, necessity and proportionality” of the data-collection activities of GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA), for which Mr Snowden worked.
He also highlighted that the article’s publication coincided with the start of a legal challenge brought by Privacy International, Liberty and other civil rights groups that claimed the UK’s security agencies had acted unlawfully.
However, GCHQ denies it is at fault.
“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters,” it said in a statement.
“Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the secretary of state, the interception and intelligence services commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee.”
Swamp donkey
More than 100 projects are included in the document, which appears to be from a Wikipedia-style listing for GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group.
Second Life
The leak indicates that GCHQ created a tool to help agents make use of Second Life
Many involve eccentric codenames.
For example, the ability to send an audio message to a large number of telephones and/or “repeatedly bomb” a target number with the same message is called Concrete Donkey – the name of a weapon in the video game Worms.

Other examples include:
Angry Pirate – a tool to permanently disable a target’s account on their computer
Bomb Bay – the capacity to increase website hits/rankings
Cannonball – the ability to send repeated text messages to a single target
Gestator – a tool to make a message, normally a video, more visible on websites including YouTube
Glitterball – software to help agents carry out operations in Second Life and other online games
Birdstrike – Twitter monitoring and profile collection
Fatyak – public data collection from the business-focused social network LinkedIn
Spring Bishop – a tool to find private pictures of targets on Facebook
Changeling – the ability to spoof any email address and send messages under that identity
Bearscrape – a tool to extract a computer’s wi-fi connection history
Miniature Hero – the ability to source real-time call records, instant messages and contact lists from Skype
Swamp donkey – a way to send a modified Excel spreadsheet document that silently extracts and runs malware on the target’s computer
Underpass – a tool to change the result of online polls
Some of the schemes are listed as being operational while others are said to be still at the design, development or pilot stages.

Analysis: Gordon Corera, security correspondent
The latest revelations suggest that GCHQ is developing a wide range of capabilities which go beyond the simple gathering of information and into the realms of covert action.
This is another traditional part of the work of spy agencies but one they prefer to keep clandestine and therefore “deniable”.
According to the documents, this appears to range from disrupting an individual’s online activity to broader “information operations” to influence opinion in other countries.
What is not clear from the document is how far these capabilities have actually been deployed and put into action and against whom.

Almost every state is secretly developing capabilities to disrupt their opponents in cyberspace but they do not like talking about them or having them revealed in public.

‘Chinese menu’
It is not clear exactly how out-of-date the list is.

The document states it was last modified in July 2012, but includes a note saying: “We don’t update this page anymore, it became somewhat of a Chinese menu for effects operations.”

Staff are instead directed to an alternative page, which has not been leaked.

“The accusation that GCHQ has been manipulating polls and influencing and distorting political discourse is incredibly serious,” said Emma Carr, acting director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group.

“The UK is always the first to point the finger at countries if there is a whiff of corruption or interference within a democratic process, so if senior ministers are aware that this is taking place then this absolutely stinks of hypocrisy.

“It is essential that the government directly addresses these accusations, otherwise they are at risk of losing the international moral high ground.”

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ISIS Orders All Girls And Women In Mosul To Undergo FGM-UN Report says

GUARDIAN

Report says ‘fatwa’ issued by militant group in and around Iraqi city could affect 4 million, but doubts expressed on social media

he United Nations said on Thursday that militant group Islamic State (Isis) had ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq’s northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation.

But doubts emerged on social media about the basis for the report. One document posted on Twitter suggested it may be a year old and have been issued by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, the group’s previous name.

Other internet comments, including from Middle East analysts, questioned whether the order fitted with the cultural traditions of the region.

A UN spokesman in Geneva said that it was seeking clarity and trying to establish the facts.

Such a “fatwa” issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock told reporters in Geneva by videolink from Arbil.

“We have current reports of imposition of a directive that all female girl children and women up to the age of 49 must be circumcised. This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed,” Badcock said.

“This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists,” she added.

There was no immediate comment from Islamic State which has led an offensive through northern and western Iraq.

The world body has “zero contact” with Islamic State, but works through tribal leaders in the affected areas, Badcock said. “I can’t give you any more details until we have been on the ground to get information,” she said of the directive.

FGM, the partial or total removal of external female genitalia, is a tradition practised widely in many African and Muslim countries and often justified as a means of suppressing a woman’s sexual desire to prevent “immoral” behaviour.

Worldwide, more than 130 million girls and women have undergone FGM and more than 700 million women alive today were children when they were married.

The practice of FGM previously occurred only in isolated pockets of Iraq, mainly Kurdistan, according to Badcock.

Mosul city currently has about two million residents, more than half of whom are women as there are many female-headed households in the area, she said.

Several more million people live in surrounding areas, she added.

“There are reports of rapes of women, of forced marriages,” Badcock added.

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Is ISIS going to establish a Caliphate and liberate Palestine?

By: Franklin Lamb

One need not be prescient to understand the unfolding “Jihadi Spring” is fueling the plans and perhaps destiny of ascendant Islamists in this region with the increasing help of in-country nationalists, including remnants of the Iraqi Baath Party.

This, according to more than a dozen ardent supporters of The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), known locally as DAASH whose representatives allowed this observer over the past six months to interview some of its supporters to discuss what they found inaccurate in a piece I wrote about DAASH actions in Raqqa, Syria. In that article I claimed that DAASH was selling Syria’s archeological treasures, just as they are selling Syria’s oil and in some instances, food warehouse contents, to the highest foreign bidder. There is no paucity of the latter.

The final “S” in the acronym “ISIS” relates to the Arabic word “al-Sham” which itself is variously used to refer to the Levant, Syria or even Damascus. But DAASH (ISIS) means the Levant or Eastern Mediterranean including Cyprus, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and southern Turkey. ISIS has just announced that Raqqa, the only one of 14 Governorates its controls in Syria, is now the “Capital” of their emerging “Caliphate” which so far is a swathe of territory encompassing much of eastern and northern Syria and western and northern Iraq. The Emir is to be their military strategist and leader and successor of Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi, Dr. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Those interviewed at length include sympathizers, students of politics and of the Islamist ‘spring’ in Syria and Iraq, as well as a few shadowy claimed jihadist recruiters, some working with a claimed new specialized DAASH unit organized at the beginning of 2013 and which focuses exclusively on destroying the Zionist regime occupying Palestine. DAASH’s “Al Quds Unit” (AQU) is currently working to broaden its influence in more than 60 Palestinian camps and gatherings from Gaza, across Occupied Palestine, to Jordan, and Lebanon up to the north of Syria seeking to enlist support as it prepares to liberate Palestine.

DAASH believes, according to one of its claimed academic advisers, that the ummat al-Islamiyah (Islamic community), as a US Foreign Relations staffer, on 6/18/14 advised this observer, that the White House estimates that approximately six million Iraqi Sunni have recently become supportive of the armed action by DAASH. The support excludes its strict, indeed anti-social societal mores and abhorrence of current harsh realities of life in DAASH territory. The Islamist organization believes it currently has massive regional support for it rapidly expanding “revolution of the oppressed.” Large numbers in this region do appear to appreciate its recent successes, despite its history of calculated brutality for political purposes. DAASH urges the public to study its remarkable history that reaches back to 2003 when Abu Mus‘ab Zarqawi got out of prison in Jordan and headed to Afghanistan, gained valuable experience from if not the trust of Osama Bin Laden, and then crossed over to Iraq to wage jihad against America. DAASH appears to be using sectarian appeals in Iraq and Syria much the same way Zawqawi did when he confronted the ascendant Shia militia following the US invasion and occupation.

DAASH supporters claim that it has been joined by more than a dozen Sunni groups such as one called Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order.” JRTN as it is known locally, was established in 2007 following the execution of Saadam Hussein and is made up of former Hussein regime loyalists, including intelligence officers and soldiers from his Republican Guards. If its alliance with DAASH holds, JRTN can contribute thousands of fighters with strong social roots in the community. One JRTN interlocutor explained to this observer, “As Sunni Muslims, DAASH can resolve differences between its views of Islam and those of the Ummah. First we need victory and to achieve that we need each other and if our Baathist partners decide to position themselves to be secular guardians of Sunni Arab nationalism that can be discussed later. The official website of the Naqshbandi Army includes a 1/1/2014 announcement: “To all our brothers and families of the tribes and factions we tell you, you are not alone in this battlefield.”

DAASH insists that it has become less active in killing anyone who works for the government of Syria or Iraq including rubbish collectors, a barbaric practice that alienated the Sunni population and that their support is growing as they increasingly provide the essential social services in the forming proto-Caliphate. “Zionists call us masked, sociopathic murderers but we are much more complicated and representative of those seeking justice than they portray us. Are we more barbaric than the Zionist terrorists who massacred at Dier Yassin, Shatila twice at Qana, and committed dozens of other massacres? History will judge us after we free Palestine.” A few years ago the CIA and others estimated that the Zionist occupation of Palestine will collapse in less than a decade. DAASH claims it can do the job in 72 months.

With respect to events surrounding its takeover of Mosel and other social media broadcast exhibitions of mass brutality, ISIS claims it was done for a purpose, the same purpose that other state and non-state actors have used over the past two decade and that is for 90% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims (Sunni) to free themselves from the oppression of the 10% (Shia).

Several reasons were given as to why Palestinians should hold out hope for ISIS succeeding in their cause when all other Arab, Muslim, and Western claimed Resistance supporters have been abject failures and invariably end up benefiting the Zionist occupation regime terrorizing Palestine. “All countries in this region are playing the sectarian card just as they have long played the Palestinian card but the difference with ISIS is that we are serious about Palestine and they are not. Tel Aviv will fall as fast as Mosul when the time is right”, a DAASH ally explained. Another gentleman insisted, “DAASH will fight where no one else is willing.”

ISIS appears uniformly contemptuous of the Zionist regime and its army and also appears eager to fight them in the near future despite expectation that the regime will use nuclear weapons. “Do you think that we do not have access to nuclear devises? The Zionists know that we do and if we ever believe they are about to use theirs we will not hesitate. After the Zionists are gone, Palestine will have to be decontaminated and rebuilt just like areas where there has been radiation released.”

DAASH supporters claim that it reaches out to local notables and tribal leaders and discuss their differences and seek their tribal counsel. DAASH claims that the Roman Catholic Vatican supports its own claims that when they captured Mosul last week they did not harm Christian residents or desecrate churches. In this they are supported by Archbishop Giorgio Lingua, the Apostolic Nuncio (Pope’s envoy) in Iraq who this week told the media: “The guerrillas who are in control of Mosul have to date not committed any violent act or damaged the churches there.”

It is becoming clear that DAASH has set up well organized local administrations in areas it controls, including an Islamic court system and a local non-hostile police force which support public safety with measures such as closing shops for selling poor products in the souks and supermarkets and on the street, destroying cigarettes and whipping some individuals for disrespecting and insulting their neighbors, confiscating counterfeit medicines in addition to some death sentences for apostasy.

DAASH supporters claim that as soon as they ‘liberate” an area they invest in public works such as the new souk in Raqqa, installs new power lines and conducts training sessions on how citizens can do-it-yourself for more self-reliance with fixing infrastructure problems. In addition DAASH claims that it quickly fixes potholes, runs a low fare bus system, has established a ‘green’ program to build parks and plant trees and flowers, helps farmers with harvests and runs a zakat (alms-giving) organization. Moreover, ISIS has established a number of religious schools for children, including ones for girls where they can memorize the Koran and receive awards if successful, while also holding ‘fun days’ for kids including all the ice cream they can eat and inflatable slides. For their older counterparts, ISIS has established training sessions for new imams and preachers. Schedules for prayers and Koran lessons are posted at mosques. In a more worrisome development, ISIS runs training camps for “cub scouts” and houses these recruits for ‘instruction’. Several social media reports and a few eyewitness accounts appear to confirm that DAASH has developed health and welfare programs, operates bread factories and distributes free fruits and vegetables to needy families, passing the goods out personally as well as setting up a free food kitchen in Raqqa and an adoption agency to place orphans with families in their areas. Unlike the Taliban and some other regimes which exhibit paranoia about vaccination campaigns, DAASH claims to be more ‘modern” and actively promotes polio-vaccination in its areas to try stop its spread.

The social services that DAASH provides obviously do not ameliorate the deadly violence it carries out, but does suggest it is well-organized and has caught the interest of the Sunni Muslims who feel besieged by Shia. According to an al-Bagdadi relative, nearly the half a billion dollars that was snatched from Mosul’s central bank this month will help to win hearts and minds and correct some of its “bad press”. DAASH appears to ascribe to the cliché that half of any war is a rumor. It condemns the project of many satellite channels and claims that they do not objectively report the news but mainly spread rumors with sectarian instigation as the goal. On this point who can refute them?

DAASH supporters deny any interest in training and directing foreign fighters to attack Europe and other places, claiming that their goals are to establish an al-Sham Caliphate and liberate Palestine. With respect to exactly how DAASH intends to liberate Palestine, the Iraqi’s and now the Obama administration are in possession of an encyclopedia of information about detailed DAASH plans, and tactics it will confront the Zionist occupiers with, according to a congressional staffer via email with this observer. Reportedly the employment of large numbers of militarily untrained foreign volunteers as suicide bombers, moving on foot wearing suicide vests, or driving vehicles packed with explosives is just the tip of a deep iceberg of what DAASH is planning.

The trove reportedly came from Iraqi intelligence sources that came upon it less than 48 hours before Mosul fell. Apparently a fellow known as “Abu Hajjar” a captured trusted DAASH messenger broke under Iraqi torture and turned over more than 160 computer flash sticks which contained the most detailed information to date about DAASH. The US intelligence community are still decrypting and analyzing the flash sticks.

Predictably, no sooner that this information reached the US Congress, than Congresswoman and Israeli agent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen former Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and her partners at AIPAC went to work trying to get ahold copies of the flash sticks and share them with the Israeli Embassy and no doubt the Mossad. The current sense on Capitol Hill is reported to be that the Obama administration in not in the mood to share anything with Israel these days and certainly not with the Netanyahu regime which it loathes.

Time will reveal if DAASH achieves one or both of its objectives. Many believe if they eject the Zionist regime from Palestine, the expanding Islamist group will set in motion historic currents that in all likelihood will be rather different from the Ehud Omert-Condeleeza Rice fantasy of “a New Middle East.”

In any event, it is unlikely that Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon, among other countries in this region, are going to look much like what George Bush and Dick Cheney and their still active neocon advisers had in mind when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq, Libya, and now Syria and Iran.

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Congress Must Investigate the UN Role in Gaza

PJ MEDIA
Congressional committees have a lot on their plate these days with the IRS, Benghazi, the VA fiasco, etc., but recent events dictate they must add one more — the role of the United Nations in Gaza.
The United States provides more financial support to the UN than any other country. As Claudia Rosett wrote in Forbes in 2011 (“Magic for U. S. Money for the United Nations“): “The U.S. is by far the biggest donor to the U.N., bankrolling 22% of the U.N.’s core budget, and roughly one-quarter of its far larger and murkier system-wide spending (estimated at somewhere upward of $25 billion).”
In other words, the UN takes a bucket of your cash and mine at a time when many people in our country are suffering. It therefore behooves Congress to make sure this money is being spent for good, or at the very least benign, purposes.
Unfortunately, evidence developing from the ongoing conflagration between Israel and Hamas appears to suggest the reverse. The UN — specifically the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency), but other agencies as well — may have been actively supporting terrorism and terrorists in the Gaza Strip, even aiding with the storage of Hamas weaponry (missiles), whether deliberately or accidentally is unclear.

From the Jerusalem Post:
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman decreed in a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday that not only were rockets found in UNRWA schools in Gaza, but also that UNRWA then turned them over to Hamas, rather than to Israel.
UNRWA admitted itself on two different occasions since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge began 16 days ago that they discovered rockets in their facilities.
Liberman said Israel was very “troubled” by these developments. “UNRWA schools were established to educate children in Gaza, but instead they are providing a hiding place for rockets meant to kill children in Israel,” he said.
Just what were those missiles doing in the UN schools and why did Hamas suppose that would be a good place to store them? The UN denies their culpability and says this was the “first time” such a thing has happened. But is that true?
This is not a new story. Israelis have been claiming the UNRWA has been assisting terrorists for years.
From a report by the Center for Near East Policy Research (it’s worth reading the whole thing) on the UN refugee camps:”Hints of the radicalism that pertained in the camps were provided by 1997, if not sooner, with reports such as that of the Washington Jewish Week. vii This included photographs of UNRWA schools decorated with Hamas and PFLP graffiti, and a map of “Palestine” that ran from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and was covered with pictures of machine guns. It is doubtful that anyone was paying attention back then.”

Broad scale exposure came in the spring of 2002. In response to the terrorism emanating from UNRWA refugee camps in Judea and Samaria as part of the “Second Intifada,” Israel launched “Operation Defensive Shield.” At that time, the IDF went into the camps and laid bare the facts regarding the refugees’ connection to terrorism.
Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, was in Jenin in April 2002 as a consultant to the IDF and himself witnessed presence of shahid (martyr) posters on the walls in the homes of UNRWA workers. “It was clear,” he said “that UNRWA workers were doubling as Hamas operatives.’”

It’s not a long leap from that to stowing missiles.

But it gets worse. The situation in Gaza now is incomparably more dangerous for all concerned. As those who pay attention know by now, the entire Strip and much of Southern Israel are riddled with a mammoth network of terror tunnels designed to murder and kidnap Israelis and store weapons while protecting the mega-rich Hamas leadership. Liel Leibovitz wrote in a ground-breaking (sorry for the pun) article in Tablet today (“Some Concrete Facts About Hamas“):”Israeli troops entering Gaza last week have so far uncovered 18 tunnels used by Hamas to send armed terrorists into Israel and built using an estimated 800,000 tons of concrete.”
What else might that much concrete build? Erecting Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, required 110,000 tons of concrete. Hamas, then, could’ve treated itself to seven such monstrosities and still had a few tens of thousands of tons to spare. If it wanted to build kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters, like Israel has built for the besieged citizens of Sderot, for example—after all, noted military strategists like Jon Stewart have spent last week proclaiming that Gaza’s citizens had nowhere to hide from Israel’s artillery—Hamas could have used its leftovers to whip up about two that were each as big as Giants Stadium. And that’s just 18 tunnels. Egypt, on its end, recently claimed to have destroyed an additional 1,370. That’s a lot of concrete.
Indeed. And how did it get there? That concrete was supposedly shipped into Gaza for “humanitarian purposes.” Isn’t that purportedly the province of the UN? What was there role in it exactly? How did this stunning amount of concrete slip in to be used for evil purposes? Is the American taxpayer innocently being used to finance mass murder? Inquiring minds want to know — the moral ones anyway.
Yes, the United Nations is outside the legal jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, but a formal investigation should be launched. Some people will have a lot say — and I am sure it will be interesting. The American people can make up their own minds.

Congress, over to you.

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TUNNEL VISION: Terrorists and the Media

PJ MEDIA

Too many in the media fixate on finding fault with those who fight terrorists.
Whether in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq or Iran, terrorists (and their tyrant backers) have moved underground, carrying out their operations in tunnels, literally digging under their enemies, waiting to blow them up or kidnap them.

That’s how Hamas abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006.That’s how Hizballah grabbed the bodies of two soldiers and started a war in Lebanon in 2006.

This week they tried again. Hamas sent teams of fighters (dressed in Israeli uniforms) into four tunnels from Gaza that came up not far from dining rooms of several kibbutzim inside Israel. They wanted to grab or kill as many civilians as possible. Terror groups in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have similar goals.

For them, success means killing or abducting the enemy, grabbing a headline, not building anything. Hamas and Hizballah have not built anything but tunnels and bunkers. Al-Qaeda and its copy-cats have not built anything, not a road or one school. Most of the imported cement in Gaza has gone to line tunnels two or three miles long.

Terrorists fear facing Israeli forces or U.S., British or French soldiers in daylight. They and the tyrants who aid them — such as Iran — work underground, literally.

Most Hamas attacks, most Hizballah assaults, and the bomb-making of Iran take place not just in the shadows, but literally under the ground. They fear Western “eyes in the sky” that allow countries like Israel and the U.S. to discover and stop terror smuggling and weapons development.

In some ways, too many journalists think like the Hamas maniacs in Gaza (Sunni Islam) and Hizballah’s homicidal hooligans in Lebanon (Shiite Islam). They have narrow tunnel vision, trying to grab an easy headline.

When it comes to terror, many in the media avoid the hard and dangerous work of investigating terror groups and focus almost monomaniacally on one thing: alleged bad behavior by the West/Israel in fighting terror.

The terrorists have their fixation on destroying something or someone (Israel, U.S., Britain, Western democracy etc.) and all too many reporters, editors and producers fixate on finding fault with those who fight terrorists.

That’s why many journalists miss the story — and not for the first time.

In post-9/11-Iraq, many in the news media built a case that the U.S. went into Iraq and Afghanistan in order to torture Muslims. That’s a distorted view from the tunnel.

Here’s the big picture: the U.S. deposed a sadistic despot who gassed Iraq’s citizens and wanted to gas and bomb Israel and Iran. The US flubbed finding weapons of mass destruction, but that also happened in the 1991 Iraq war. Still, one thing is sure: Saddam used WMD, but he will not build any more bombs anymore.

Further tunnel vision: Many in the media focused on a few cases of U.S. alleged infractions at interrogation centers in Guantanamo, Cuba, and at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

Here’s what really happened: most inmates got humane care, interrogators found Osama bin Laden, interrogators blocked several major terror plots (e.g. Bojinka, London, Los Angeles etc.), and the U.S. did something unprecedented — pushed a major Arab country on the road to democracy.

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WORLD TERRORISM ON THE RISE

itv

- China, Egypt, Kenya and Libya are most likely to experience significant increases in terrorist attacks, according to risk experts.
Maplecroft’s Terrorism and Security Dashboard found:
Twelve countries are classed as “extreme risk”; Iraq topped the list, followed by Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Libya.
It also includes the growth economies of Nigeria, the Philippines, Colombia and Kenya.
Iraq, rated as the highest risk country, recorded more than three times as many acts of terrorism as Pakistan with 3,158 attacks resulting in 5,929 deaths – an increase of 2,188 on the previous year.
In Nigeria, the campaign of violence by Islamic militant group Boko Haram saw the country record the highest number of fatalities per attack, resulting in 3,477 killed – an average of 24 people killed per attack, compared to two deaths per attack in Iraq.

- Number killed by terrorism ‘risen by nearly a third’
The number of civilians killed in a terrorist attack has risen by nearly a third in a year, British experts have found.
Risk analysis company Maplecroft found deaths across the globe from acts of terrorism rose 30% compared to the previous five-year average.
Maplecroft found in the 12 months before July 1 there were 18,668 fatalities compared to an average of 14,443 for the five years before that – a 29.3% increase.
According to a Maplecroft dashboard, Iraq has endured the highest number of attacks in the last year with 3,158 incidents, while terrorism in Nigeria is the world’s deadliest, recording the highest number of deaths per attack, with an average of 24.

- Investor confidence ‘has been hurt’ by terrorism
Investor confidence “has been hurt” by terrorist attacks carried out in emerging economies rich in natural resources, an expert has warned.
Jordan Perry, a principal political risk analyst at Maplecroft, said:
Libya, Kenya and Egypt are among a handful of countries to witness a significant increase in risk…and investor confidence in key sectors, including tourism and oil and gas, has been hurt.
When faced with rising security costs and decreasing safety for their personnel, companies can, and do, reconsider their country-level commitments.

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SIS Using Bitcoin to Finance Terrorism?

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Anal jihad: Militant Islamists accused of gay sex

BY TRIS REID-SMITH

An Egyptian cleric has accused extreme Islamists and terrorists of having gay anal sex together while fighting in the name of Allah

An Egyptian cleric has accused extreme Islamists and terrorists of having gay anal sex together while fighting in the name of Allah
23 JULY 2014 | BY TRIS REID-SMITH
Mazar Shahin claims the Muslim Brotherhood are allowing their fighters to have gay anal sex with each other.
Militant Islamists and terrorists are waging ‘anal jihad’ by having gay anal sex with each other, an Egyptian cleric has claimed.

There is even a ‘fatwa’ or religious edict allowing it, says Mazhar Shahin.

But others have claimed Shahin may be simply trying to discredit the Muslim Brotherhood, who were kicked out of power last year in Egypt and who he fiercely opposes.

A video picked up by progressive online news show The Young Turks shows Shahin describing ‘anal jihad’ on Egyptian channel al-Tahrir.

He says it is practiced by Muslim fighters who are away from their wives.

And he claims there is even a video in which one of their sheiks issues the fatwa, formally permitting anal sex if they are ‘waging jihad’ or ‘on a long journey’.

Shahin, as translated by the liberal Middle East Media Research Institute, says: ‘They practice homosexuality with each other, thinking wrongly that this constitutes jihad for the sake of Allah.’

He accuses the Muslim Brotherhood, considered a terrorist organization by Egypt, of ‘foolishness, stupidity, filth and so on’ saying ‘this anal jihad is proof of this’.

Commenting on the story, the popular founder of The Young Turks channel, Cenk Uygur, implies he is gay-friendly himself.

‘Hard to argue anal jihad is anything but a catastrophe,’ he comments.

He points out the Egyptian government is well motivated to have people on TV spreading propaganda about the Muslim Brotherhood so it may be made up.

But he adds the claims could be true.

Uygur explains: ‘There was a real fatwa in Afghanistan where the Taliban told Taliban fighters “Stop having sex with the young boys who have come to assist you.”

‘Oftentimes the excuse is “we are away from our wives and battling”. And they actually had to write out a fatwa saying “Stop having sex with underage boys”.

‘Its not clear if anal jihad is real or not in Egypt and with the Muslim Brotherhood, but it some ways it exists throughout the world.’

Watch the video here:

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HAMAS AND QATAR’S COLLATERAL DAMAGE

PJ MEDIA \ JONATHAN SPYER

The Gaza War should be seen as an effort by Qatar and Hamas to re-establish their importance in the region.

The fight between Israel and Hamas in Gaza is presented in the global media as a local conflict featuring a well-organized state with its army, against a small Islamist organization. This picture is misleading. Hamas is not an isolated or even an entirely independent player. Rather, it is a member of a broader regional alliance, which is seeking to benefit from the current situation.

This is the alliance of Muslim Brotherhood forces in the Middle East. Qatar is the main financier and cheerleader for this group. Erdogan’s Turkey is also linked to it.

The Gaza war is best understood as this alliance’s war on Israel. How so? Let’s take a look.

The Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar alliance has not been doing very well of late. It was the main winner of the first year of the “Arab Spring.”

Aided by Qatari money, and by the enthusiastic support of Qatar’s tame al-Jazeera channel, the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power in Egypt and in Tunisia. MB-associated groups formed a strong presence for a time in the Syrian rebellion, too. Turkey, ruled by the MB-associated AKP, was a strong supporter of this process. Ankara forged close links with the Morsi government in Egypt. Turkey also offered support to MB-type militias in Syria.

Hamas chose to place its bets on this emergent Muslim Brotherhood/Qatar power bloc. Formerly closely aligned with Iran, the movement’s leadership departed from Iran-allied Syria, and supported the rebellion against the Assad regime. Iranian funding slowed (though it didn’t entirely stop, and Iranian weapons have similarly been much in evidence in Hamas’s attacks). But Qatari money, and most importantly, the support of the Morsi regime in Cairo, seemed set to handily replace this.

Not much of all this remains. Hamas made a bad bet. Last year, 2013, was a terrible year for the Muslim Brothers. Morsi was ousted in Egypt. The Brotherhood-associated Nahda party left office in Tunisia. The Syrian rebels were turned back by Assad and his allies and began to fight among themselves.

So Hamas entered 2014 in a much chastened state. While some elements within it were seeking to rebuild the connection to Iran, the levels of support were clearly nowhere close to the pre-2011 period.

Things got worse after the new Egyptian regime of General Abd al Fattah al-Sisi destroyed the system of tunnels that provided Gazans with readily available goods and the rulers of the Strip with a major source of income. Power cuts and shortages followed.

So the camp of which Hamas was a part was on the ropes in mid-2014.

The decision to escalate the tensions with Israel to an all-out conflict clearly derives from this situation. Hamas unexpectedly proved unamenable to an Egyptian proposal that, in essence, would have restored the status quo ante.

Instead, the movement rejected the proposal, began to launch terror raids against Israel’s civilian populations starting on July 8th, ignored a UN temporary “humanitarian ceasefire,” and then launched a failed raid from a tunnel carefully laid into Israeli territory.

These actions made a large-scale Israeli response inevitable. Clearly, Hamas had made a decision to invite this.

As of now, the movement and its backers are probably quite satisfied at the results of their endeavor. Qatar is once more at the center of regional diplomacy. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas were there last week, to hear Hamas’s latest demands for a ceasefire. Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is acting as the “channel of communication” to the international community.

The UN chief chose the Qatari capital as the place from which to castigate Israel’s “atrocious” actions in Gaza.

Hamas, by all accounts, is improving its standing on the “Palestinian street,” according to the latter’s gauge, whereby anyone engaging in attempts to kill Israelis automatically acquires both moral and political authority.

This was notable, for example, in the waves of celebration that hit Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and the West Bank last Sunday when TV reports began to carry a Hamas claim to have kidnapped an IDF soldier.

As it turned out, the IDF soldier, Shaul Aaron, turned out to be a product of the vivid Islamist imagination. But this didn’t prevent the initial jubilation in Palestinian areas far from Gaza at the news of his supposed misfortune. It also didn’t prevent the Qatari propaganda channel al-Jazeera from broadcasting the claims rapidly and with prominence.

Hamas, which began to be seen as a kind of semi collaborationist group in recent months because of its preventing of other groups from firing rockets, is now once more able to don the mantle of “resistance.” Qatar, which looked outflanked by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and reduced by them to its appropriate dimensions, is now back at the center of regional diplomacy.

So mission accomplished, after a fashion. The dead Palestinians and the dead Israelis, presumably, are seen by the Hamas leaders Mashaal and Haniyeh, both of whom own mansions in Doha, and by the rich-as-Croesus Qatari emir, as acceptable collateral damage in return for their improved diplomatic and strategic position.

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