BIDEN’S HOTEL BILL FOR TURKEY VISIT: $625K

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Trip lasted only 48 hours

7:01 AM, NOV 24, 2014 • BY JERYL BIER

Vice President Joe Biden just returned Sunday from a three-nation trip that concluded with a 48 hour visit to Turkey. The vice president, his wife, and his entourage arrived in Turkey via Ukraine Friday evening around 7:30 local time for meetings with President Erdogan and other government officials. Biden departed for Washington, D.C. Sunday after meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The stay in Turkey alone racked up a hotel bill of approximately $624,734.

The notice of the hotel contract was posted online uncharacteristically quickly, appearing on the very day of Biden’s departure from Turkey. The documents called for 200 rooms and one large conference room at the Hilton Harbiye in Istanbul:

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Numerous other hotels were considered but not deemed suitable due to various reasons including lack of sufficient rooms, distance from planned events, and even ongoing renovations at one facility.

Documents related to lodging for the the Moroccan and Ukrainian legs of Biden’s trip have not yet been posted.

Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas

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German authorities fear there could be as many as 7,000 Muslim extremists in the country by the end of the year. Disenfranchised youths are particularly vulnerable to being recruited, while there are around 450 German extremists in Syria and Iraq.

The extremists all follow the strict interpretation of Islam known as Salafism and believe that jihad is a legitimate tool in their fight against the West, which they believe is an enemy of Islam. Hans-Georg Maassen, who is the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency,told rbb-Inforadi that there are currently around 6,300 Islamic extremists in Germany, but this figure could rise to as many as 7,000 by the end of the year, AP reports.

There has been a steep rise in the number of Germans attracted to fundamentalist Islam. Three years ago there were only in the region of 3,800 followers of Salafism in the country, which then rose to 4,500 in 2012.

Speaking in late August in Berlin, Maassen said young Muslims are attracted to Islamic State (IS) because of its brutality. The militant group has become infamous for beheading captives amongst other things. The German domestic intelligence chief also says the group formally known as ISIS, seems to be “more authentic” than Al-Qaeda.

“There is a link between the successes IS has had so far in Iraq and the activities here in Germany and the propaganda and canvassing activities aimed at young jihadists,” said Maassen, which was reported by Reuters. “The Islamic State is, so to speak, the ‘in’ thing – much more attractive than the Nusra Front, the al Qaeda spin-off in Syria.”

“What attracts people is the intense brutality, the radicalism and rigor. That suggests to them that it is a more authentic organization even than al Qaeda,” he said. “Al Qaeda fades besides the Islamic State when it comes to brutality,” the BfV chief added.

Massen also mentioned that many young people who feel disenfranchised from society are attracted to extremist Islamic groups, as it gives them a sense of belonging and purpose. They hope that by joining such organizations, they will go “from being underdogs to top dogs.”

It is estimated that around 450 Islamic fundamentalists from Germany have travelled to Syria and Iraq. According to German authorities the majority are German nationals, with about 30 percent coming from a number of nations, which include Turkey, Morocco and Bosnia.

AP quoted a security official as saying that around a quarter of them are converts to Islam.

The BfV estimates that there are currently around 43,000 Islamists in Germany overall, with 1,000 being of serious concern, while 130 are under round-the-clock surveillance.

A report by German security officials also found that the “most important factor for radicalization” was friends. They had more of an influence than recruiters or radical imams, while the internet was also another important source to gain extremist followers.

The document states that it normally takes around a year for the vast majority of people to become radicalized, which would allow sufficient time for them to be offered help. However, identifying someone who is going through the process of radicalization is not so easy, with visible changes in behavior only taking place once the person is becoming more extremist, the report added, according to Der Spiegel.

ISIS LEAVES HUNDREDS OF HEADLESS CORPSES IN KURDISH TOWN

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ISIS takes control of town near Turkish border

JAMES RUSH Monday 13 October 2014

Survivors of the fighting in Kobani have spoken of the horrors they witnessed as Isis militants took control of parts of the town from Kurdish forces.

Refugees in Suruc, Tukey, have told The Daily Mail how relatives and neighbours were beheaded by the militants, while another spoke of how he had seen “hundreds” of decapitated corpses in the besieged town.

On Friday, the UN Syria envoy warned the hundreds still trapped in Kobani will be “massacred” by militants if the town falls, where only a small corridor remains open for people to flee.

More than 200,000 have already escaped across the border to Turkey but up to 700 remain inside the town.

The battle for the Syrian town has also sparked major protests in Turkey against its perceived inaction. Kurdish protesters have repeatedly clashed with security forces, leaving at least 31 people, including two police officers, dead.

Amin Fajar, 38, a father-of-four who left Kobani and made it across the border and into Suruc, told The Daily Mail: “I have seen tens, maybe hundreds, of bodies with their heads cut off.

“Others with just their hands or legs missing. I have seen faces with their eyes or tongues cut out – I can never forget it for as long as I live.”

Isis militants have laid siege to the town of Kobani for nearly four weeks and fought their way into it in recent days.

They have reportedly taken control of almost half of the town.

Belal Shahin, another Kobani refugee in Suruc, told MSNBC: “Isis came into the villages. They beheaded people as well as animals. They took animals and girls; they left nothing. Even animals don’t do what Isis are doing. They are doing these things and it’s not acceptable.

“But the whole world has blocked their ears in order not to hear. And they’ve become dumb. There’s nothing to stop them.”

As night fell on Sunday, the town centre of Kobani was under heavy artillery and mortar fire, Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kobani defence council, told Reuters.

Heavy clashes were under way in the east and southeast, he said, with neither side gaining ground.

Idris Nassan, deputy foreign minister in the Kurdish administration for the Kobani district, said heavy fighting had begun around nightfall in the streets.

Kurdish fighters had caught attackers in an ambush, he said.

Kurdish refugees fleeing Kobani enter Turkey at Suruc Kurdish refugees fleeing Kobani enter Turkey at Suruc
After days of advances by Isis, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Kobani’s Kurdish defenders had managed to hold their ground.

The Observatory said 36 Islamic State fighters, all foreigners, were killed the previous day, while eight Kurdish fighters had died. The figures could not be independently verified.

The news comes as a video emerged over the weekend apparently showing fighting in the streets of Kobani.

The Independent has not been able to independently verify the video, but Isis expert Shiraz Maher said it appeared to have been made for “propaganda purposes, ostensibly demonstrating the group’s strength and prowess.”

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A Turkish official today said there was no new agreement with the United States on using an air base in southern Turkey for operations against the Islamic State group.

Turkey and the US are still talking about the Incirlik air base as well as Turkish demands for the creation of a no-fly zone and a safe haven for refugees, the government official told the Associated Press.

On Sunday, United States defence officials said Turkey would let US and coalition forces use its bases against Islamic State militants.

FIGHT AGAINST ISIS BACKFIRES

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/c/embed/4e49a9bc-0d70-497d-a9f6-994ebf568ea7

By Liz Sly October 10 at 8:18 PM

REYHANLI, Turkey — The U.S.-led air war in Syria has gotten off to a rocky start, with even the Syrian rebel groups closest to the United States turning against it, U.S. ally Turkey refusing to contribute and the plight of a beleaguered Kurdish town exposing the limitations of the strategy.

U.S. officials caution that the strikes are just the beginning of a broader strategy that could take years to carry out. But the anger that the attacks have stirred risks undermining the effort, analysts and rebels say.

The main beneficiary of the strikes so far appears to be President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have taken advantage of the shift in the military balance to step up attacks against the moderate rebels designated by President Obama as partners of the United States in the war against extremists.

The U.S. targets have included oil facilities, a granary and an electricity plant under Islamic State control. The damage to those facilities has caused shortages and price hikes across the rebel-held north that are harming ordinary Syrians more than the well-funded militants, residents and activists say.

At the start of the air campaign, dozens of U.S. cruise missiles were fired into areas controlled by the moderate rebels, who are supposed to be fighting the Islamic State. Syrians who had in the past appealed for American intervention against Assad have been staging demonstrations denouncing the United States and burning the American flag.

Kurds fleeing from Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian city of Kobane find shelter in Turkey, as they wait for action to save their homes. (Reuters)
“Everyone is angry with the airstrikes. For three years we have been asking for support, and now the West decides to hit only the Islamic State?” said Abu Wassim, a rebel fighter in the northern province of Idlib. The strikes are weakening the Islamic State, he said, but “empowering the regime.”

Since the outcry about the choice of targeting in the first days of the air campaign, the majority of coalition attacks have been concentrated in the three northern and eastern provinces governed by the Islamic State as part of its self-proclaimed caliphate, which stretches across the Syrian border into Iraq.

U.S. officials say the strikes are working to achieve the core American objective — to degrade and ultimately defeat the militants.

“The airstrikes are hitting the targets they are intended to hit,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told journalists Friday. “They take out ISIL positions. They take out ISIL tanks. They take out ISIL weapons. That’s obviously helping,” she said, using an acronym for the Islamic State.

Residents of Islamic State-
controlled areas say the attacks have had a noticeable impact on the jihadist group’s tactics and behavior, forcing it to adopt a lower profile to avoid detection from the air.

In their self-styled capital of Raqqah, the foreign jihadists who until recently swept through the streets in armored convoys, showing off American Humvees and other booty captured from the Iraqi army, now drive around in regular vehicles, according to residents. A wealthy neighborhood of spacious villas has been abandoned by the Chechen, European, Arab and other foreign fighters who had moved in. They have relocated to apartments in the city center, blending in among the ordinary citizens, residents say.

Elsewhere, the militants have vacated headquarters, checkpoints, command posts, courts and other facilities, many of which had been conspicuously painted with the Islamic State’s distinctive black-and-white logo.

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Intensified airstrikes push some Islamic State militants from Kobane
OCT. 8 TO OCT. 9, 2014
U.S.-led coalition stepped up airstrikes on members of the Islamic State around the Syrian border town.
Oct. 10, 2014 Smoke rises after airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition on the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds. Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
“You don’t see them around like you used to,” said a resident of Raqqah, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The strikes are not unpopular among ordinary people in Raqqah, who yearn for an end to the militants’ harsh rule, said another resident interviewed on a visit to Turkey. He also spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is afraid. Since the U.S.-led attacks began, Syrian government airstrikes have stopped, he said.

“The big difference between the coalition strikes and the Assad strikes is that the coalition strikes are accurate and they only hit the Islamic State,” he said, speaking during a visit to relatives. “The Assad strikes only kill civilians.”

Militants unbroken
But the attacks have not loosened the militants’ grip on power, he and other residents said, or had any significant impact on the militants’ capacity to launch offensives and capture territory, as the assault on the Kurdish border town of Kobane has demonstrated. Over a two-week period, fighters swept unimpeded through a string of villages around the town. Only when they reached the town itself did the U.S. military weigh in with intensified strikes.

U.S. officials have defended the response to the Kobane battle by pointing to the broader strategy, which is primarily aimed at rolling back the Islamic State’s gains in Iraq.

“In Syria, the purpose of the airstrikes largely is to get at this group’s ability to sustain itself, to resupply, to finance, to command and control,” Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s spokesman, told reporters last week. “They use Syria as the sanctuary and safe haven so that they can operate in Iraq.”

In Iraq, however, the United States has allies beyond the borders of the Islamic State’s territories who back the airstrikes, including the Iraqi government and the leaders of the semiautonomous Kurdish region. At least in some parts of the country, those allies are in a position to dispatch ground forces to capitalize on the airstrikes.

In Syria, the strikes have highlighted the absence of U.S. partners on the ground. Moderate rebels grouped in the Free Syrian Army were pushed out of the Islamic State’s northeastern strongholds during fierce fighting over the summer and now have no presence in the areas that are the chief target of the coalition attacks.

The one front on which the rebels are battling the Islamic State, in the northern province of Aleppo, has not seen any coalition airstrikes, even though rebels say they have asked for them.

Instead, the Syrian government launched a new offensive last week aimed at cutting off rebel supply lines to Aleppo city a few miles farther south, forcing the rebels to redirect troops from the fight with the militants.

Moderate rebels at risk
In Khan Sheikhoun, a front-line town in rebel-held Idlib province, the rate of government airstrikes has tripled since the U.S.-led attacks were launched, according to activists in the town.

“There’s a disconnect between a stated American policy that recognizes you need a credible local force on the ground and a campaign that is undermining those local forces,” said Noah Bonsey, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group who is monitoring the war from Syria’s northern border with Turkey. If the U.S. government doesn’t speed up plans to support the Free Syrian Army, “a year from now there might not be any moderate rebels left,” he said.

U.S. officials say they are aware of the need to accelerate the effort to train and equip an effective rebel force in Syria. Harf said a Pentagon team will be dispatched to Turkey next week for discussions on ways to do that. The White House strategy includes a $500 million program to train and equip 5,000 Free Syrian Army fighters, but that still has not begun.

“We don’t have a willing, capable, effective partner on the ground inside Syria right now,” Kirby said Wednesday. “It’s just a fact.”

Even rebels who have received U.S. support now have withdrawn their backing for the U.S.-led air campaign, which they had initially welcomed. Harakat Hazm, the group anointed with the first deliveries of U.S.-made antitank weapons this year, issued a statement calling the American effort “a sign of failure whose devastation will spread to the whole region.”

The rebels say they have been put in a difficult position in which they are being asked to support a strategy that has so far brought them no benefits and is regarded with suspicion by ordinary Syrians. They are now insisting they will not support the strikes unless the strategy is extended to include toppling the Assad regime — a position shared by Turkey, which hosts the rebel leadership.

“We have no problem with striking the Islamic State, but people think it is Syrians who are being targeted, which makes it difficult for the Free Syrian Army to support America,” said Salim al-Birin, a commander with the Fifth Legion, another group that has received U.S. support. “That is why we want strikes against the regime as well. Then maybe people would change their minds.”

Khorasan terrorists will attack US ‘very, very soon,’ FBI director warns

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The Khorasan Group, the Al-Qaeda-linked cell that just landed on the US intelligence radar last month, allegedly has Americans in its ranks fighting in the Middle East whom the FBI cannot prevent from re-entering the country.

Last month, the world was introduced to yet another terrorist group – the Khorasan Group – a veteran group of Al-Qaeda-affiliated radicals purportedly running amok in the Middle East, which the head of the FBI says is “bent on destruction” – and most specifically in the United States.

“Khorasan was working and you know, may still be working on an effort to attack the United States or our allies, and looking to do it very, very soon,” James Comey said in an interview with 60 Minutes, a CBS news program.

The FBI chief, who has kept a low profile since becoming head of the internal intelligence agency last year, refused to put a time stamp on when an attack would occur.

“I can’t sit here and tell you whether it’s their plan is tomorrow or three weeks or three months from now,” he said. “Given our visibility we know they’re serious people, bent on destruction. And so we have to act as if it’s coming tomorrow.”

Perhaps most shocking, Comey revealed that there are about “a dozen or so” American citizens fighting in Syria on the side of Islamic fundamentalist groups. Moreover, the government knows the identity of the individuals who, as American passport holders, are free to reenter the United States.

“Ultimately, an American citizen, unless their passport’s revoked, is entitled to come back. So, someone who’s fought with ISIL, with American passport wants to come back, we will track them very carefully,” he said.

Comey admitted that he knew the identity of the Americans fighting alongside radical groups in the Middle East, while suggesting there could be others he is unaware of added, “I hesitate only because I don’t know what I don’t know.”

For many Americans, such revelations may sound incredible for a group that nobody had heard of before the United States starting bombing northern Syria last month.

Reuters / Stringer Reuters / Stringer

While all of the media chatter prior to the September 22 aerial attacks in northern Syria focused on eliminating the Islamic State (IS formerly ISIS/ISIL), the US Department of Defense announced the next day that it is attacking other groups in Syria as well.

“Separately, the United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned Al-Qaeda veterans – sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group – who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations,” the statement said.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald argued that the Obama administration, lacking justification for a bombing campaign in Syria, was forced to invent the group.

Obama administration officials “suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland,” Greenwald wrote in the Intercept.

The Khorasan Group suddenly appeared on the scene on September 13, as first detailed by Associated Press and anonymous US sources:

“While the Islamic State is getting the most attention now, another band of extremists [Khorasan] in Syria — a mix of hardened jihadis from Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and Europe — poses a more direct and imminent threat to the United States, working with Yemeni bomb-makers to target US aviation, American officials say.”

What is the ultimate purpose of this shadowy group?

According to the AP report, the Khorasan militants did not travel to Syria to fight the government of President Bashar Assad, but rather “they were sent by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to recruit Europeans and Americans whose passports allow them to board a US-bound airliner with less scrutiny from security officials.”

That is a threat the FBI chief, considering the destruction that terrorists wrought on the United States on September 11, 2001, will certainly be taking very seriously.

MANIPULATED UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS AS THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE ACCELERATES

Euro zone business growth is the weakest this year

Euro zone business growth is the weakest this year. Unemployment rate dropped to 5.9% as the labor participation rate drops to a 36 year low. US housing prices are rolling over. The US Government is pushing the fear on Ebola to remove the peoples rights. An additional 1,000 troops is now being sent to Liberia bringing to the total to 4,000. U.S. Government admits they are funding the protests in Hong Kong. The people in the middle east are taking their countries back and the U.S. waived the sanctions for children in the armed forces to issue these countries millions of dollars. Turkey just voted for a buffer – no – fly – zone exactly what the U.S. wanted.

Biden blames US allies in Middle East for rise of ISIS

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US Vice-President Joe Biden has accused America’s key allies in the Middle East of allowing the rise of the Islamic State (IS), saying they supported extremists with money and weapons in their eagerness to oust the Assad regime in Syria.

America’s “biggest problem” in Syria is its regional allies, Biden told students at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University on Thursday.

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” he said, explaining that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad,” that in a sense they started a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” by pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” towards anyone who would fight against Assad.

“And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them,” said Biden, thus disassociating the US from unleashing the civil war in Syria.

“The outcome of such a policy now is more visible,” he said, as it turned out they supplied extremists from Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda.

All of a sudden the regional powers that sponsored anti-Assad rebels awakened to the dawn of a major international security threat in the face of ISIS – now called Islamic State. After being essentially thrown out of Iraq it found open space and territory in eastern Syria and established close ties with the Al-Nusra Front which the US had earlier declared a terrorist group.

Now Washington needs a coalition of Sunni states to fight the Islamic State because “America can’t once again go in to Muslim nation and be the aggressor, it has to be led by Sunnis, to attack a Sunni organization [the IS],” Biden said, acknowledging that it is for the first time that the US uses a geopolitical strategy.

“Even if we wanted it to be, it cannot be our fight alone,” Biden said. “This cannot be turned into a US ground war against another Arab nation in the Middle East.”

“But of what I’m more astonished is of his apparent amnesia about what America and Britain were trying to ferment in Syria only a year ago. They were not only putting staff intelligence personnel on the ground, and providing logistical support to the rebels in Syria; they were spearheading the campaign to try to oust Assad,” former MI5 agent Annie Machon told RT.

She added that “Perhaps, the Vice President is finally learning some lessons from history. It does not matter who you think your friends are going to be in the region. Very often they will be taken over or subsumed into a more radical group.”