KEY PIECE OF VIDEO “EVIDENCE” FOR RUSSIAN RESPONSIBILITY FOR MALAYSIAN PLANE SHOOTDOWN DEBUNKED

Video of Rebel Buk Launchers Headed Back to Russia? No – Images From Ukraine-Held Territory Since May

by WASHINGTON’S BLOG | JULY 22, 2014

Mish is a highly-respected financial blogger. His Global Economic Analysis site routinely wins awards such as:

New York Times:NYT 10th Annual Year in Ideas – #1 Idea of the Year ‘Do-It-Yourself Macroeconomics’

Time Magazine:Best 25 Financial Blogs

Bloomberg:Financial Blogs: The Best of the Bunch

CNBC:Best Alternative Financial Websites

One of Mish’s trademarks is to speak with knowledgeable people in various subject areas, and report on what they said.

Today, Mish debunked one of the main pieces of video “evidence” claimed by the mainstream media to prove that Russia was behind the shootdown of the Malaysian plane over Ukraine:

Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian provided this update three hours ago.

Hello Mish,

On Friday, the Daily Mail, one of the major UK tabloids carried photos and video of what was alleged to be a rebel “Buk” launcher heading back to Russia. The article carried a claim from some Ukrainian source that the launcher was missing several missiles after having shot them at the Malaysian 777. The article was prominently linked to the Drudge Report, and so was probably viewed by several million people.

Today, this meme made it into Uncle Sam’s official narrative, as per the following New York Times excerpt:

On the CBS program “Face the Nation,” Mr. Kerry referred to a video that the Ukrainians have made public showing an SA-11 unit heading back to Russia after the downing of the plane with “a missing missile or so.”

The video referenced by the New York Times was, in fact, posted on the Facebook account of the Ukrainian Interior Minister. The allegation was that the launcher was crossing the border with Russia.

However, going by the billboard and other features of the scenery, Russian bloggers and news sources claim to have identified the road in the video as having been taken in or near the town of Krasnoarmeisk (“Krasnoarmiysk” in Ukrainian), which has been under Kiev’s control since May.

In fact, the billboard is supposedly advertising a Krasnoarmeisk car dealership. Also, one of the structures in the background is said to be a construction materials store on Gorkii Street, Krasnoarmeisk.

Please note that this town is (very roughly) 120 kilometers from the Russian border and 80 kilometers from where the Malaysian 777 went down. And again, it has been under Kiev’s control since May.

At least one other clip of the “Russian Buk” that has been made available also suggests that the Ukrainians are showing their own equipment. I’m still working on researching that one for you.

Jacob
Video in Question

It is beyond incredibly sloppy for Ukraine to release such a video with a clear billboard of something in Ukraine-held territory, purportedly showing a Buk missile launcher headed back to Russia.

And we are supposed to believe Kiev? Kerry?

Please be serious. If you are really interested in the truth, you do not resort to such easily disproved and sloppy bullsheet.
This is – of course – not the first piece of video “evidence” trumpeted by the MSM which has been debunked.

MORE WESTERN FIGHTERS JOINING MILITANTS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 4.29.13 PM

Fresh concern about potential terrorist plots aimed at U.S. or its allies

By BRIAN BENNETT, RICHARD A. SERRANO

As many as 10,000 foreign fighters have joined Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq
Militants in Syria, Iraq may include 3,000 with Western passports, perhaps 100 American
U.S. officials alarmed by Westerners’ growing role in Islamic insurgency
Thousands of foreign fighters have bolstered the ranks of militant groups in Syria and Iraq in recent months, according to U.S. officials, driving fresh concern about potential terrorist plots aimed at the United States or its allies.

The surge, as well as intelligence that Yemeni terrorists have developed a powerful cellphone bomb designed to avoid detection at airports, is behind the Obama administration’s increasingly urgent warnings that a European or American passport holder might try to take down a passenger jet or plan other deadly mayhem.

As many as 10,000 foreign fighters — a third more than in February — have joined the militias seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Islamic State fighters who have swept across northern Iraq, said a counter-terrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments.

Islamic State
A fighter with the Islamic State insurgent group hands out a copy of the Koran in Mosul, Iraq. The extremist group has proved to be highly organized. (Associated Press)
As many as 3,000 of them hold European or other Western passports and thus can travel easily across most borders. Several dozen, perhaps as many as 100, hold U.S. passports, and officials say that number is growing.

The potential partnership between some of those Westerners and sophisticated bomb makers from the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long viewed as the terrorist network’s most dangerous offshoot, has raised alarm in Washington and other capitals.

“It’s something that gives us really extreme, extreme concern,” Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. told ABC News last week. “In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.”

FBI Director James B. Comey told reporters in Washington that the threat “keeps me up at night.” He sees the region as a “launching ground” for potential Sept. 11-style mass-casualty attacks in this country.

lRelated Eric Holder urges international cooperation on terrorism in Syria
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Two U.S. citizens have been arrested on terrorism-related charges since April before boarding flights to Turkey, suspected of being on their way to help the militants. One is said to have paid his way with his federal tax refund. In May, a Florida man became a suicide bomber in northern Syria.

“It’s the largest number of Western fighters we have ever seen in a jihadist theater,” said Seth G. Jones, a former U.S. counter-terrorism official now with the Rand Corp. think tank.

“The scale of this is huge,” said Daniel L. Byman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

Some of the Western militants are joining Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate that is focused on defeating the Assad government in Syria. Others have rallied to the Islamic State, which broke away from Al Qaeda and has seized territory in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

Eric Holder
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said he was alarmed by the connection between Westerners and Islamic militant movements. “In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” he told ABC News. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Although the rebels in Syria are struggling, the stunning battlefield success of the Islamic State fighters, and its calls for an Islamic caliphate, have energized recruiting efforts for all the militant groups. Several have used YouTube videos of battles and updates posted to Twitter in English to draw supporters to their ranks.

So far the Islamic State has focused only on capturing and consolidating territory in Syria and Iraq, but that could change. The Sunni Muslim group, recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is so innovative and is growing so quickly that one U.S. national security official called it the “Silicon Valley” of militant organizations.

“The concern is not what is happening today, but in four or five years,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. “If they get their own state, take on new projects, turn from looking inward to outward … we want to get in front of it.”

cComments
Those in the Middle East are very seductive as is Islam and factor the matter is that they simply have more emotional intelligence and Westerners don't use logic to rely on emotion seduce young into a very radical system
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The Transportation Security Administration said early this month that it had asked some overseas airports to stiffen security measures, especially checking cellphones and other electronic devices to make sure they’re not concealing explosives.

Intelligence agencies also have stepped up screening of passenger manifests of flights in and out of Turkey, the main entry point to Syria, officials said. In many cases, would-be fighters take a bus to the border and walk across.

A special counter-terrorism task force of FBI agents and federal prosecutors is investigating dozens of Americans who have traveled or who officials believe intend to travel to Syria to aid the militants, officials said.

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to identify those who go [to Syria] so we can know who they are when they come back,” Comey told reporters.

It’s the largest number of Western fighters we have ever seen in a jihadist theater.
- Seth G. Jones, a former U.S. counter-terrorism official
The task force leader, veteran prosecutor Stephen Ponticello, joined Holder in Europe this month for meetings with allies that focused on the threat. Holder urged them to share intelligence on suspects, to conduct more undercover investigations and to enact stronger laws criminalizing support for terrorist groups.

The expanding conflict has become “a cradle of violent extremism,” Holder said in a speech in Norway. “But the world cannot simply sit back and let it become a training ground from which our nationals can return and launch attacks.”

With French and British citizens forming the largest bloc of Western passport holders in Syria, authorities in London and Paris already have begun to crack down.

Between January and March, at least 40 people in Britain were arrested on charges related to supporting militant groups in Syria, officials said. The British Home Office, empowered by a law Parliament passed in May, has stripped at least 20 people of their citizenship for suspected terrorism support or disloyalty, British officials said.

France is considering giving authorities additional power to block militant websites that seek to recruit foreign fighters, and to strengthen the ability of police to stop French citizens from traveling abroad to fight.

Americans have joined the conflict in Syria since it began in 2011, and at least one was killed. But their role as foreign fighters was little noticed until this May, when a 22-year-old Florida man blew himself up in a truck packed with explosives in northern Syria, killing more than a dozen government soldiers.

Born in West Palm Beach, Moner Mohammad Abusalha had an American mother and a Palestinian father. Known as “Mo,” he liked to play basketball, was a fan of the Miami Heat and thought of a career as a physical therapist’s assistant.

Abusalha went to Jordan in 2012, telling his family he would study nursing. He instead crossed into Syria and spent two months in an Al Nusra Front training camp, U.S. officials said.

Some Arabic speakers refer to one another by the name of their oldest child, but Abusalha had no children. He loved cats, though, so fighters called him “Abu Hurayra,” which means father of kittens.

After his death, Al Nusra Front posted a propaganda video online that shows Abusalha stroking a gray and white cat and smiling. The video then cuts to a truck, with Abusalha apparently driving, approaching a building. Both are demolished moments later in plumes of fire and smoke.

The Americans arrested in recent months followed a similarly unlikely path.

Michael Wolfe
Michael Wolfe, a Houston native, planned to use his federal tax refund to join Islamic militants in Syria, U.S. prosecutors say. He pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. (Austin Police Department)
Michael Wolfe, a native of Houston, told undercover FBI employees he would use a $5,000 federal income tax refund to take his wife and two children to Turkey and that he would then join the fighting in Syria, according to court documents. He would give any leftover cash to his mother-in-law, he said.

Wolfe, who has slicked-back black hair and a long goatee, was arrested in June by FBI agents at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as he prepared to board the first in a series of flights to Turkey.

Wolfe pleaded guilty in June to one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Two months earlier, Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old nurse’s aide from Arvada, Colo., was arrested at Denver International Airport as she prepared to fly to Adana, Turkey, less than 100 miles from the Syrian border.

Once she got to Syria, according to the charging documents, Conley planned to marry a 32-year-old Tunisian militant whom she had met on the Internet. She planned to use her medical training to help his cause.

Her plans were disrupted after a Faith Bible Chapel pastor in Arvada told local police in November that a young woman was acting suspiciously. Colorado state police called the FBI after Conley told an officer she intended to go overseas to wage jihad, according to the criminal complaint.

Conley told the FBI that she would engage in combat “if absolutely necessary” and that she had briefly joined the U.S. Army Explorers, a nonprofit youth program, to learn basic military skills. FBI agents and Conley’s parents could not persuade her to change her mind, the documents state.

cComments
Those in the Middle East are very seductive as is Islam and factor the matter is that they simply have more emotional intelligence and Westerners don't use logic to rely on emotion seduce young into a very radical system
HARVARD.DISPUTE
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She was arrested at the airport on April 8. FBI agents who searched her luggage found DVDs labeled “Anwar al-Awlaki,” the name of the American-born cleric and leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Recordings of Awlaki’s English-language speeches are seen as powerful recruiting tools for Al Qaeda.

She pleaded not guilty on April 22 to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

‘Test it on Brits:’ Snowden says GCHQ even worse than NSA

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British intelligence is permitted to go further in surveillance than similar agencies in other Western countries, according to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who spoke of GCHQ’s lack of oversight in a recent interview to the Guardian.

Snowden’s life in Russia: ‘Much happier than be unfairly tried in US’

Snowden believes the powers of the British intelligence are not restricted effectively enough by “law or policy”. Despite the UK government publicly claiming that regulations over the spy activity are strict, GCHQ’s private documents suggest the opposite is true.

“You’ve got their own admission in their own documents that ‘we’ve got a much lighter oversight regime than we should have,’ full stop,” Snowden said. “That’s what they’re talking about. They enjoy authorities that they really shouldn’t be entitled to.”

The lack of legal restrictions leads to UK intelligence being able to target more people than is necessary.

“Tempora [GCHQ’s internet surveillance program] is really proof … that GCHQ has much less-strict legal restrictions than other Western government intelligence.”

Taking that into account, Snowden is sure the UK citizens could be ones on whom intelligence techniques could be tested to then be used by all of the other so-called Five Eyes partners – Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

AFP Photo / Frederick Florin AFP Photo / Frederick Florin

“And what that means is UK citizens and UK intelligence platforms are used as a testing ground for all of the other Five Eyes partners,” he said.

In May, a group of British MPs called for more accountability on the part of the country’s intelligence. They said the confidential files, leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the “embarrassing” state of legal oversight into the British surveillance system.

US knew about Snowden file destruction at UK newspaper

Snowden recalled a raid on the Guardian’s offices a year ago to obtain and destroyed hard drives with leaked files as another example of the country’s intelligence going too far in its activity.

“It seemed like a clear intent to intimidate the press into pulling back and not reporting,” Snowden said. “And I think that was why it was inappropriate, but tremendously beneficial for the public conversation because they gave everyone who was concerned about the abuses of power a clear and specific example.”

The raid was not only intimidating, but also “stupid”, Snowden added, ridiculing the idea of someone trying to “grind data out of existence when we have a global interconnected internet.”

Teachers implicated in plot to Islamize UK schools allowed to ‘keep jobs’

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A deal struck with the Department of Education will allow teachers, who tried to Islamize their schools, to keep their jobs, reports UK press. The so-called ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal forced governors to resign for pushing an “aggressive Muslim agenda.”

In spite of inquiries that have condemned a plot to spread a hardline Islamic ethos in Birmingham schools, the senior teachers involved will keep their jobs, reported the Daily Telegraph.

Citing a letter sent to the parents of children studying at three schools where a strong Islamic agenda was pushed, the publication said senior teacher would stay on because they are “recognized as having strong track records in raising achievement and will have a big contribution to the future leadership of the academies.”

In the wake of the ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal the governors of the schools involved were forced to resign, including Tahir Alam who was described as the plot’s ringleader. However, the teachers who will retain their positions in the problem schools were also found to have been active in enforcing strong Islamic policies.

The Telegraph writes that the headmaster of Park View school, Mozz Hussain, had spread “mind-blowing” anti-American ideas in school assembles. In addition, the deputy head of Nansen school Razwan Faraz ran a group called “Educational Activists that was found to be pushing an “Islamizing agenda.”

A report on 25 schools in Birmingham due to be published later this week was leaked to the UK press on Friday. Written by the former head of the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism unit, Peter Clark, the document identifies a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city.”

“It goes beyond the social conservatism practiced in some faith schools which may be consistent with universal human rights and respectful of other communities. It appears to be a deliberate attempt to convert secular state schools into exclusive faith schools in all but name,” wrote the draft report.

Reports of the Trojan Horse scandal in a Birmingham school first emerged in March when an unverified, anonymous letter thought to have been written by hardline Islamists found its way into government hands. The letter contains information on a plot to Islamize British schools from within.

Since then UK media has reported on various hardline policies being enforced in Birmingham schools, including segregation of boys and girls, forced praying and intimidation and bullying of teachers that did not share the same hardline ethos.

Last month five schools in the area were placed on special measures in the wake of an Ofsted (education inspectorate) inspection that described a culture of fear and intimidation taking hold in some schools.

Obama’s ratings tumble in Germany, Russia in wake of NSA spying, Ukraine crisis

obama20shhhh3-300x225

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Revelations of the National Security Agency’s global spy program, together with civil strife in Ukraine has severely damaged Barack Obama’s popularity among Brazilians, Germans and Russians, a major US polling agency reported.

Thanks to a series of global scandals, the United States in general, and its commander-in-chief in particular, have suffered a drop in favorability among the majority of countries polled by Pew Research.

“In 22 of 36 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, people are significantly less likely to believe the US government respects the personal freedoms of its citizens,” the report said.

Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew ResearchSpring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew Research

Among privacy-loving Germans – many of whom have even refused to allow the Google Maps car to film their homes – Obama’s reputation nosedived when it was revealed that the NSA was collecting communication metadata not only on average Germans, but also on Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose personal mobile phone had been hacked by US intelligence.

Germans’ confidence in Obama sunk to 71 percent, 17 points down from 2013.

Tensions between NATO’s two biggest members escalated this month German authorities arrested a Defense Ministry official suspected of passing secrets to the US. This shocking incident came just one week after the arrest of a German intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the Americans.

German authorities took the unprecedented step of ordering the expulsion of the Berlin CIA station chief.

“Revelations that Washington systematically reads both Americans’ and some foreigners’ emails and listens in on their telephone conversations appears to have significantly damaged Obama’s approval in only one European Union country: Germany,” Pew reported.

Brazilians’ confidence in the first black American leader dropped from 69 percent in 2013 to 52 percent presently.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was also the victim of NSA snooping on her personal communications, expressed her anger at those revelations by canceling an official visit to Washington in October.

Finally, Russia, which is watching neighboring Ukraine teeter on the edge of full-blown civil war, sees an American hand provoking the situation behind the scenes, especially after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich decided against signing as association agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Moscow.

The decision by sparked a violent showdown in the capital Kiev, which has led to nationwide civil strife that continues today.

“Russian faith in Obama, already quite low in 2013, is down 14 points (to 15 percent), a likely casualty of the Ukraine confrontation,” Pew said.

Meanwhile, America’s once invincible reputation for protecting individual liberties has suffered a major reality check following damning revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance from whistleblower Edward Snowden, presently living in Russia, where he has been granted asylum.

Belief that the US government respects personal freedoms plummeted 25 points in Brazil to 50 percent over the last year; 23 points in Germany to 58 percent; 20 points to 40 percent in Russia; and 11 points to 69 percent in France. Meanwhile, even the United Kingdom, a trusted ally, appears to have experienced a chilling effect by America’s recent naughtiness, dropping 10 points to 65 percent.

Germany expels Berlin CIA chief

US drone strikes have also struck a negative chord among allies and enemies alike, including in NATO member states like Britain, France and Spain. In 37 of 44 surveyed countries, half or more of the public expressed disapproval of drone attacks.

SNOWDEN STRIKES AGAIN: UK intelligence used FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE to manipulate online behavior…

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Summary: A fresh set of documents leaked by Edward Snowden show how the UK intelligence agency can manipulate online polls and debates, spread messages, snoop on YouTube and track Facebook users.

By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | July 15, 2014 — 08:10 GMT (01:10 PDT)

GCHQ has developed a toolkit of software programs used to manipulate online traffic, infiltrate users’ computers and spread select messages across social media sites including Facebook and YouTube.

Read more
The UK spy agency’s dark arts were revealed in documents first published by The Intercept, and each piece of software is described in a wiki document written up by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The document, which reads like a software inventory, calls the tools part of the agency’s “weaponised capability.”

Some of the most interesting capabilities of the tools on the list include the ability to seed the web with false information — such as tweaking the results of online polls — inflating pageview counts, censoring video content deemed “extremist” and the use of psychological manipulation on targets — something similar to a research project conducted with Facebook’s approval, which resulted in heavy criticism and outrage levied at the social media site.

A number of interesting tools and their short descriptions are below:

ASTRAL PROJECTION: Remote GSM secure covert Internet proxy using TOR hidden service
POISON ARROW: Safe malware download capability
AIRWOLF: YouTube profile, comment and video collection
BIRDSTRIKE: Twitter monitoring and profile collection
GLASSBACK: Technique of getting a target’s IP address by pretending to be a spammer and ringing them. Target does not need to answer.
MINIATURE HERO: Active skype capability. Provision of realtime call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.
PHOTON TORPEDO: A technique to actively grab the IP address of MSN messenger user
SPRING-BISHOP: Finding private photos of targets on Facebook
BOMB BAY: The capacity to increase website hits, rankings
BURLESQUE: The capacity to send spoofed SMS messages
GESTATOR: Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (YouTube)
SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE: Perfect spoofing of emails from Blackberry targets
SUNBLOCK: Ability to deny functionality to send/receive email or view material online
SWAMP DONKEY: A tool that will silently locate all predefined types of file and encrypt them on a targets machine
UNDERPASS: Change outcome of online polls (previously known as NUBILO).
WARPATH: Mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign.
HUSK: Secure one-on-one web based dead-drop messaging platform.
The list, dated from 2012, says that most of the tools are “fully operational, tested and reliable,” and adds: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”

“We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready,” the document notes.

The release of these documents comes in the same week that the UK intelligence agency’s spying activities are being investigated by surveillance watchdog the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). Civil liberty groups set a legal challenge against the GCHQ in order to question the legal standing of schemes such as Tempora — a project revealed in the NSA scandal that showed the agency placed data interceptors on fiber-optic cables that carry Internet traffic to and from the UK.

UK Military’s Secret Plan to Train Syrian Rebels to Topple Bashar al-Assad

General Sir David Richards’ bid for 100,000-strong force had support from US heavyweights but was shelved as too risky

The British military drew up a secret plan two years ago to train a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel force aimed at toppling president Bashar al-Assad.

The plan was the brainchild of General Sir David Richards, then chief of staff. The military regularly draws up contingency plans for all kinds of scenarios, but this one was considered more seriously than most and widely circulated – including to Downing Street and senior US military staff. It was shelved as being too risky.

The Ministry of Defence declined to confirm or comment. But according to the BBC, Richards proposed an international coalition to vet and train an army of moderate Syrian rebels at bases in Turkey and Jordan for about a year.

It would then march on Damascus, with air cover from western forces and Gulf allies. The plan was drawn up at a time of strong support in the UK and US governments for intervention in the Syrian civil war by arming and training the rebels. Among prominent supporters in the US were then secretary of state Hillary Clinton, then defence secretary Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, who served as the head of the CIA as well as the head of US central command and the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

But Barack Obama, who had devoted much of his presidency to getting US troops out of Iraq, opposed the prospect of becoming caught up in another Middle East conflict – particularly arming rebels from hardline militant groups hostile to the US.

Any chance of British involvement was finally scuppered when MPs voted against action in August last year.

Lord Richards’ proposal was aimed at ending a civil war estimated to have cost more than 100,000 lives.

Two years on, Obama – worried about increased instability in the region – has had a rethink as hardline militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is taking over swaths of Iraq and parts of Syria. He has asked Congress to approve $500m (£291m) in funding to train Syrian rebels.

Monzer Akbik, from opposition group the Syrian National Coalition, told the BBC: “A huge opportunity was missed and that opportunity could have saved tens of thousands of lives actually and could have saved also a huge humanitarian catastrophe.

“The international community did not intervene to prevent those crimes and at the same time it did not actively support the moderate elements on the ground.”

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UK terror alert: body searches at British airports

Holidaymakers face invasive physical checks and lengthy delays at Britain’s airports amid fears that jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria plan to target transatlantic flights with laptop explosives and ‘body bombs’
Security has been stepped up at British airports

By Tom Whitehead, Nick Collins and David Millward9:44PM BST 03 Jul 2014
Holidaymakers face invasive physical checks and lengthy delays at Britain’s airports amid fears that jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria plan to target transatlantic flights with laptop explosives and “body bombs”.
A tough new security regime was imposed on passengers after American intelligence suggested that al-Qaeda was plotting to use Western fanatics to bring down a US-bound plane.
Travellers at Heathrow were subjected to “vigorous” body searches and clothing and shoes were swabbed for traces of explosive. Passengers were ordered to switch on laptops, mobile phones and other electronic devices, and bags were taking twice as long to pass through scanners, according to reports.
Passengers boarding American-bound planes were understood to have undergone a second round of checks before boarding their flights.
A memo sent to all airports by the Department of Transport urged staff to enhance checks, with laptops subject to particular scrutiny.
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In Manchester, a passenger reported taking an hour to pass through security.
David Cameron said the safety of passengers “must come first” while Nick Clegg, his deputy, warned travellers that the new checks would be a permanent feature. It is feared that the measures will lead to a summer of long queues and delays for holidaymakers, just weeks after the chaos surrounding the passport applications backlog.
Airport security was stepped up across the UK, the US and other countries amid fears that al-Qaeda bomb experts have successfully designed an explosive that can bypass current checks. It is feared that Western jihadists fighting in Syria and Iraq, including hundreds of Britons, have been recruited as would-be suicide bombers.
Intelligence suggests that al-Qaeda in Yemen, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and specifically its master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, have linked up with the Jabhat al-Nusra jihadists in Syria and passed on bomb-making skills.
It was unclear whether the suspected new explosive could be deployed in an electronic item such as a laptop, soaked on clothing or surgically implanted in a bomber. All such techniques have been tried by Asiri in the past.

Beefed-up security at foreign airports with direct flights to the US was requested by Jeh Johnson, the American secretary of homeland security. The move underlined growing White House unease at the apparent failure of the UK and other European countries to stop young Muslims heading to Syria and Iraq to join Islamist groups.
The Prime Minister said: “We take these decisions looking at the evidence in front of us and working with our partners. This is something we’ve discussed with the Americans and what we have done is put in place some extra precautions and extra checks. The safety of the travelling public must come first. We mustn’t take any risks with that. I hope this won’t lead to unnecessary delays but it’s very important that we always put safety first.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said most passengers should not experience “significant disruption”, but Mr Clegg said the new checks were unlikely to be “a one-off, temporary thing”.
“This is the world we now live in,” he said on his weekly LBC radio phone-in. “I don’t want people to think that this is some sort of blip for a week. This is part of an evolving and constant review.”
The alert centred on fears that Asiri, who was behind the “underpants bomb” on a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009, is passing on his expertise to fighters in Syria because he knows he could be killed at any point.
Mr Johnson said: “We in national security are very concerned about the foreign fighter flow, going into Syria in particular, from the United States, from European countries, other countries, and we’re tracking that population.” The US government added that there was a “real time” and “credible” threat.
At Heathrow, Lisa Simeone, 57, an American journalist, said security staff were carrying out “vigorous” physical searches which she likened to assault, as well as extra tests for explosives. She claimed men and women manning the scanners