UK jets launch first attacks against ISIS in Iraq

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Tornado bombers from Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) have carried out their first attacks against the Islamic State in Iraq, according to the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

“This action is part of the international coalition’s operations to support the democratic Iraqi government,” the MoD said in a statement.

“In the course of an armed reconnaissance mission from RAF Akrotiri, two Tornados were tasked to assist Kurdish troops in north-west Iraq who were under attack from Isil (Isis) terrorists,” the statement continued.

Two Tornado GR4 aircraft were used, which are now based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. The Tornado is an all-weather day and night fighter bomber, which has been in use by the RAF since the 1980s and is now becoming a little long in the tooth.

According to the statement, the patrol identified a heavy weapon position belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), which was attacking Kurdish forces in the area.

The planes used a Paveway IV guided bomb and a Brimstone anti-armor missile to take out the position, as well as an armed pick-up truck.

Until now, RAF Tornados have been limited to flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq, and only began armed patrols after the UK parliament agreed to authorize military action against ISIS on Friday.

UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has said that RAF planes could be engaged in bombing ISIS for years to come.

Although there is widespread skepticism of the effectiveness of airstrikes, Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that they are crucial in the future destruction of the hardline Islamist group, adding that the most important tools in the fight against the Islamic State are better armed Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and better trained Iraqi troops.

British hostage in new ISIS propaganda video panning Obama strategy

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The Islamic State (IS) has released a third video showing John Cantlie, a British journalist held prisoner for two years, in which he delivers a scripted propaganda speech criticizing US President Barack Obama’s strategy against IS in Iraq and Syria.

Cantlie slams Obama’s tactics of using airstrikes and coalition plans to use Iraqi troops, Kurdish Peshmerga and Syrian rebels to fight the IS. The journalist delivered a response to Obama’s recent speech on the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which he described as “prideful chest banging.”

“It was all disappointingly predictable; America is good, the Islamic State [formerly ISIS] is bad; and they will be defeated using aircraft and a motley collection of fighters on the ground,” he said, commenting on Obama’s speech.

Criticizing the US airstrikes in Iraq, Cantlie said, “Air power is good at taking out specific targets, but it is not good at taking and holding ground. For that you need effective and disciplined troops and it’s hard to see how this hodgepodge army with a long history of underperforming is going to be any form of credible infantry.”

The British hostage says organizing the Iraqi army will take months, and he dismissed the Free Syrian Army as an “undisciplined, corrupt and largely ineffective fighting force.” Cantlie adds that weapons, that the West provides to Syrian rebels, are sold by the rebels on the black market and then end up in the hands of IS fighters.

The five-minute, 34-second video was uploaded on Monday night. Cantlie, just like in the previous two videos, sits behind a desk in an orange jumpsuit, a reference to Guantanamo Bay detainees.

In an effort to rebuild the Iraqi army to be able to fight against IS, the Iraqi military command launched a campaign to re-enlist soldiers and officers who previously abandoned their units, so-called deserters. The New York Times reports that the de facto amnesty for deserters shows that the Iraqi army “desperately needs experienced soldiers.”

Abu Ismail, the owner of a plastics factory that was targeted on Sunday by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes, gestures while standing at his destroyed factory in the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa September 29, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)Abu Ismail, the owner of a plastics factory that was targeted on Sunday by what activists said were U.S.-led air strikes, gestures while standing at his destroyed factory in the Islamic State’s stronghold of Raqqa September 29, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

The video appears to have been filmed before last Friday, as there is no mention of the British decision to join the US-led campaign. Cantlie makes no reference to British or US action in the regions, including US-led coalition airstrikes on Syrian oilfields and IS checkpoints, over recent days.

While the video was released on September 29, in the video Cantlie only talks about Obama’s 9/11 address and how the media reacted to his speech.

Cantlie quotes approvingly from a New York Times article critical of Obama’s strategy, written a day after Obama’s speech.

At the end of the video, Cantlie says “the Islamic State say they welcome meeting Obama’s under-construction army.”

Cantlie, who has worked for the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times, was kidnapped in Syria at the end of 2012. He had previously been captured in Syria in July 2012, but escaped after one week with the help from the Free Syrian Army.

Since August, the militant group released three gruesome videos showing the beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and most recently of the British aid worker David Haines. The IS has threatened to execute another British hostage, Alan Henning, if airstrikes hitting IS targets don’t stop.

Meanwhile, the UK has completed five missions over northern Iraq. RAF Tornado jets have not dropped any bombs on IS targets yet, however, and are currently engaged in reconnaissance missions, gathering intelligence of the area and searching for suitable targets.

Just like in the first two videos, Cantlie concludes by saying, “Join me again for the next program.”


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Prime minister calls Spanish state a “indissoluble unity”

By Associated Press September 29 at 8:40 AM
MADRID — Spain’s government has filed appeals before the country’s top court to try to halt the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia from staging an independence referendum, the prime minister said Monday.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the Nov. 9 referendum called by Catalan regional leader Artur Mas represented “a grave attack on the rights of all Spaniards,” who under the 1979 Spanish Constitution were the only ones who could vote on issues of sovereignty.

He stressed that the Constitution “was based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish state” and that while the charter could be amended in the future, right now the government’s priority was to defend it. He spoke after a special Cabinet meeting called to discuss the crisis.

He said the government is challenging both the referendum call and a law passed by the Catalan government that allowed Mas to call the vote.

If the Constitutional Court takes on the appeals, as is widely expected to happen this week, both the law and the referendum will automatically be suspended while the court deliberates, a process that could take months or years.

Unhappy at Spain’s refusal to give it more powers, Catalonia has vowed for months to hold the referendum. The move is the latest secession push in Europe following Scotland’s recent vote to remain in Britain.

Polls indicate most Catalans favor holding the referendum but are roughly evenly split on independence.

Mas insists the vote will take place but at the same time says he won’t do anything illegal.

Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona, has prepared ballot boxes and begun publicity campaigns to inform the region’s 5 million voters about the referendum.

Rajoy said it was not too late for the Catalan government to change direction, adding that he remained opened to talks.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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British ISIS recruiter suspect arrested in Bangladesh

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Bangladesh police have arrested a British citizen on Sunday suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight with Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front jihadists in Syria.

The suspect has been identified as Samiun Rahman, a 24-year-old resident of London.

He is believed to have arrived in Bangladesh six months ago to scout for potential recruits for both IS and the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.

“He has plans to recruit and send a team from Bangladesh to fight in Syria,” Dhaka police spokesman Monirul Islam said at a news conference. “He also went to Morocco and Mauritius, but we are yet to know the reason behind his trips.”

“During primary interrogation, he told police he was staying in Bangladesh to recruit jihadists for the IS and Nusra brigade,” Dhaka metropolitan police said in a statement.

It is believed that Rahman travelled to Syria with a friend from Britain to join rebels in their fight against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He became a member of the al-Nusra brigade and “took part in jihadi activities” in Syria between September and December 2013, according to police.

Monirul Islam said Rahman, alias Ibn Hamdan, planned to send Bangladeshi militants to Syria, and also wanted to set up an al-Qaida network inside Bangladesh and neighbouring Myanmar. Rahman had connected with a young man in Bangladesh via Facebook before arriving in the South Asian country, according to the police.

Rahman was born in the United Kingdom, but his parents were from a town northeast of Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital, police said. Rahman had been recruiting potential IS fighters in Dhaka and in Sylhet, in the north of the country, where his family reportedly has relatives.

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul.(Reuters / Stringer)A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul.(Reuters / Stringer)

A neighbour said Rahman had converted to Islam while serving a prison sentence, the Telegraph reports. She told the Telegraph: “Before he went to prison, he wasn’t religious at all. He drank all the time and took drugs. He was completely antisocial and always arguing with his older brother about this and that.”

The neighbour reportedly said Rahman started going to the mosque frequently and then he left for the Middle East. “I know his mum told one of the neighbours she was worried he’d gone to fight with ISIS. It must be terrible for her.”

Bangladesh police arrested three alleged recruits last week, including the son of a retired judge and the other the son of a senior civil servant. The young men had been told they would travel to Syria via Turkey posing as followers of the Tabligh Jamaat, a moderate Islamic religious study group.

Last week, police arrested seven Islamic militants, who are suspected members of the banned militant organization Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh.

The arrests come after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri announced earlier in September the creation of an Indian branch of his militant group to “raise the flag of jihad” across South Asia.

This comes amid growing concerns that radicalized UK citizens returning from Syria and Iraq could launch attacks on British soil. Prime Minister David Cameron has called British jihadists one of the biggest threats to national security.

Around 500 Britons have gone to Syria to join jihadist militant groups, according to official estimates. Security officials have said that around 250 British “extremist tourists” have already returned to the UK.

Islamic State Terrorist Makes Chilling Threat, Says They’ll “Make Some Attacks in New York Soon” (Video)

Sep, 2014

by Duane Lester

Is there any doubt there are already ISIS terrorists in the United States, what with our border as open as it is?

That’s what makes this threat even more dangerous:

Farah Shirdon, also known as Abu Usamah Somali, is a Canadian citizen who left his native country to fight with the Islamic State in Iraq. He is seen in a recent propaganda video burning his passport and promising to destroy the U.S. and Canada.

“[We] will make some attacks in New York soon,” he told VICE News. “A lot of brothers there are mobilizing right now. … Mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend.”

So many targets. And only a fool thinks they are only looking at New York.

While that may be what this sub-human said, he could be lying. Especially when you look at the recent events at the White House.

Intel gathering, or coincidence?

Me? I don’t believe in coincidence. What about you?


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Imam of mosque suspect attended linked to Muslim Brotherhood


Alton Nolan, the man accused of beheading a coworker in Oklahoma City, attended a mosque run by an iman tied to Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda operative who dined at the Pentagon a few months after the 9/11 attacks.

Suhaib Webb presided over the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, a mosque attended by Nolan, and currently serves as the iman of a sister organization in Boston, according to Breitbart. The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is connected to the alleged Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

Zubeidat K. Tsarnaeva, the mother of Dzhokar and Tamerlan, said last April her eldest son Tamerlan was under the control of the FBI. “How could this happen?… They were controlling every step of him, and they are telling today that this is a terrorist attack,” she said. In addition to the FBI, the CIA was apparently also monitoring Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The FBI is notorious for recruiting and framing terror patsies. A report compiled by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley found that of the 158 prosecutions carried out on terrorism charges since 9/11, 49 defendants participated in plots that were arranged by FBI agent provocateurs. “They’re creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror,” explained Martin Stolar, a lawyer who represented a suspect involved in a New York City bombing plot contrived by FBI agents.

FBI documents state “Webb and Awlaki may be associated with the Muslim American Society,” an organization reportedly “founded as the United States Chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

The Muslim Brotherhood has served as an intelligence asset for nearly a century. According to former British intelligence agent John Coleman, the organization as created by the British to “keep the Middle East backward so that its natural resource, oil, could continue to be looted.” The organization was also used by the CIA to fight against Egyptian leader and Arab nationalist Gamal Nasser and other secular forces.

Currently there is no evidence Alton Nolan was an FBI patsy. However, the suspicious connections of Suhaib Webb and past incidents of terror operations run out of mosques in the United States and Britain warrant more investigation.

On Saturday, the FBI insisted there are no connections to Nolan and terrorists. “A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told the AP that while there was indication that Nolan was a Muslim convert and was trying to convert others to Islam, there is so far no connection to terrorism and no evidence of any worrisome travel,” the Associated Press reports.

Despite caution by the FBI and the government, the incident is certainly feeding into the propaganda effort directed against Muslims as the United States escalates its war against ISIS, a war predicted to last indefinitely.

Far-right to blockade UK-French border in anti-immigration rally ‘in support of truckers’

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Far right activists will protest against illegal immigration by blockading one of the biggest borders between the UK and France this weekend.

The protest, which will take place in the British port town of Dover, is taking place to highlight the financial burdens being placed onto truck drivers by illegal immigrants hiding in their vehicles as they attempt to enter the UK.

According to the protest’s organisers, who have set up a Facebook page called, “Support the Calais to Dover Truckers,” drivers can be fined up to £2,000 if illegal immigrants are found in their vehicles, regardless of whether the driver was involved.

The group, which has more than 2,000 likes on Facebook, says that their campaign is “in support for truckers who are under constant attack from illegal immigrants and are being fined for their [sic] illegal entry into Britain.”

They have also listed a wide variety of reasons behind the protest, ranging from the threat from ISIS, the Ebola outbreak and to stop the entry of “rapists” and “child molesters”.

The group is also pushing the slogan: “Enough is Enough: Support our Truckers, Secure our Borders”.

While there is no explicit link to other political or activist groups, the campaign has attracted many associated with Britain’s far right political parties, including the English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP).