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UN: Iran has executed at least 80 people in 2014

UN: Iran has executed at least 80 people in 2014 | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Most convictions were for drug-related offenses, says human rights body

GENEVA — The UN’s human rights office says it is “deeply concerned” about the high number of executions in Iran this year

The Geneva-based office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says at least 80 people have been executed in the past seven weeks, seven of them publicly.

It cites “reliable sources” that the number of executions could be as high as 95.

Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said Friday that most of the executions were for drug-related offenses that aren’t among the “most serious crimes” for which international law allows the death penalty.

Shamdasani said the global body regretted that the reformist government, which came into office last August, didn’t change Iran’s approach to the death penalty.

Last year between 500 and 625 people were executed in Iran.

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UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST
Awakening Christians throughout the world to the dangerous evil of Islam.
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Iraq War Casualty Pictures..WARNING ! IMAGES HERE ARE EXTREMELY GRAPHIC !!! XXXXX

Iraq War Casualty Pictures..WARNING ! IMAGES HERE ARE EXTREMELY GRAPHIC !!!  XXXXX | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

A REMINDER OF THE REALITY OF THE HORRORS OF WARFARE

Not for the squeamish!!..... but to illustrate what horrors have been endured by both sides in Iraq.....as we sit cocooned and protected with our laptops and computers,whilst others to do our dirty work ....

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London child aged THREE in terror alert over radicalisation

London child aged THREE in terror alert over radicalisation | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

A three-year-old child is among hundreds of young Londoners who have been identified as potential future extremists or at risk of radicalisation.

The disturbing tally, revealed today by the Evening Standard, is contained in new statistics which paint the most detailed picture so far of the scale of the security challenge facing police and intelligence agencies in the capital.

They show that a total of 1,069 Londoners have been referred to the government’s “Channel” counter-extremism programme since the start of 2012.

That means that the capital accounts for about a quarter of the 4,000 referrals to the programme nationwide since then. The Standard, which obtained the figures from the London Assembly, can also reveal that:

Since September last year, 400 Channel referrals were made for teenagers and children under 18.

450 Londoners, including 300 under-18s, are part of the Met’s “Prevent Case Management” process, linked to Channel.

The three-year-old is from Tower Hamlets and was referred as “part of a wider family group” that had been displaying alarming behaviour.

Experts warned that the spike in young people being identified will continue and is being fuelled by an explosion of online Islamic State propaganda and the sight of British fighters taking part in the conflict in Syria.
 
A new statutory duty on public bodies, such as schools, hospitals and councils, to prevent people being drawn into extremism is also thought to have contributed to the surge in referrals.

Scotland Yard today welcomed the figures, saying it shows Londoners “understand the dangers of extremism and the need to speak out”. But MPs and campaigners called for more resources to face the surge.

London Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who obtained the figures from Mayor Boris Johnson, said the capital’s fight against extremism should be led by schools in a community, rather than police-led, approach.

He said: “The figures certainly show the extent of it and this now needs to move into the educational arena.

“It’s useful for the Met to be on top of the issue. But we need to see a community approach, with schools and education at the forefront of that.

“Simple history lessons about Islamic states which have failed in the past could be useful, as opposed to some of the propaganda from other sources.”

Hannah Stuart, a researcher on extremism from the Henry Jackson Society think tank, said: “These figures confirm the fact that London is, and has always been, the centre of Islamist inspired terrorism, radicalisation and extremism in this country. That pattern will remain.”

Channel involves social workers, police, medical staff and  others working with adults and young people who are judged to be  either vulnerable to or engaged in extremism.

The aim is to divert them away from potential violence through early intervention as part of the Government’s wider “Prevent” programme.

Commander Richard Walton, the head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “The earlier we can intervene to prevent radicalisation the better.

“It is good that we are receiving more referrals as it shows that the people of London understand the dangers of extremism and the need to speak out. Everyone can play a part in keeping London safe.”

Security minister John Hayes added: “As a country, we have a duty to challenge, at every turn, the twisted narrative that has corrupted some of our vulnerable young people.

“Referrals to Channel have increased since 2014 but we have dedicated sufficient resources to the programme to cope with demand. We will keep this position under close review.”

Although most counter-extremism schemes focus on older children and adults, primary or nursery age youngsters can also be referred under the Prevent scheme because of concerns about the conduct of their families. Police have used the family courts 30 times to bring care proceedings to protect young children. Measures include removing the children’s passports.

London has several “priority” boroughs which receive extra government funding for providing such counter-extremism programmes.

A planned initiative is set to see them “buddy-up” with non-priority ones to share information.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper claimed that support had been cut too far. She said: “The Government has substantially cut support for community-led action to counter extremists’ lies. The police can’t do this alone. Countering extremism is much more effective if it involves local community groups.

“We know young people are particularly at risk of radicalisation, yet the Channel programme is not sufficiently resourced or prepared to manage the referrals being made.”

Haras Rafiq, managing director of counter-extremism think tank Quilliam, said: “Generally, across London, Channel alone is already bursting at the seams. It is a particular London problem when we know that about half the people who have gone to Iraq and Syria are from London and there are parts of London where this ideology needs to be challenged.”

The programme’s effectiveness came under fire last week as it emerged Britain’s youngest terrorist, a 15-year-old schoolboy who admitted inciting Australian teenagers to carry out a beheading, was placed on Channel two years ago. He was the second convicted terrorist this year in which counter-extremism programmes failed.

Nearly half of the 4,000 Channel referrals across the country relate to under-18s and referrals had increased 58 per cent at the beginning of this year.

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DC: Muslim accused of fundraising and recruiting for jihad terror group

DC: Muslim accused of fundraising and recruiting for jihad terror group | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

He faces charges that he “raised money and recruited fighters for a foreign terrorist organization battling the Afghan government and its allies, including U.S. troops.” So many misunderstanders of Islam!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Dutch-Turkish national accused of raising funds and recruiting in Europe for an Islamist militant group active in Afghanistan has been extradited to the United States and charged with terrorism offenses, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

Irfan Demirtas, 56, accused of providing support for the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, appeared in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on Monday, the Justice Department said in a statement.

He faces charges that he “raised money and recruited fighters for a foreign terrorist organization battling the Afghan government and its allies, including U.S. troops,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Vincent Cohen Jr.

Demirtas, also known as Nasrullah, was arrested in Germany in January on a warrant and extradited to the United States on Friday, the statement said….

Demirtas’ activities allegedly took place in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Jordan, the Netherlands, France and elsewhere outside the United States, it said.


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Explosions hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad cars in Gaza

Explosions hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad cars in Gaza | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
GAZA (Reuters) - Explosions destroyed six cars belonging to members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups in Gaza City on Sunday, witnesses said, injuring no one but drawing threats of a response.
The blasts hit a district dominated by supporters of Hamas and disrupted celebrations for the Muslim Eid el Fitr holiday.
The targeted groups issued a joint statement condemning the attackers as "traitors" - suggesting they thought the perpetrators were fellow Palestinians - and promising that they would be "found and punished".
No one claimed responsibility, but Hamas, which dominates the coastal enclave, has in recent months faced violent challenges from Palestinians sympathetic to Islamic State or al Qaeda, and who seek stringent religious rule in Gaza and open war with Israel.
Palestinian sources said security officials suspected the attacks were triggered by timers placed near explosives planted in and near the vehicles.
Salafists claiming allegiance to Islamic State have begun launching rockets at Israel in defiance of Hamas' truce with the Jewish state since a war a year ago in which 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis were killed.
Last month Islamic State militants fighting Egyptian forces in neighboring Sinai released a video threatening to turn Gaza into another "fiefdom" as in parts of Iraq and Syria.
Palestinians seek a state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
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Iraq launches military assault on Islamic State in Anbar

Iraq launches military assault on Islamic State in Anbar | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Iraqi troops and Shi'ite Muslim militia forces attacked Islamic State fighters on several fronts in the country's largest province on Monday, saying the battle to drive the hardline militants out of Anbar was under way.

A spokesman for the joint operations command said the offensive, which began at dawn, brought together the army, mainly Shi'ite Hashid Shaabi militias, special forces, police and local Sunni Muslim tribal fighters.

Military sources in Anbar said they met fierce resistance from the insurgents, who deployed five suicide car bombs and fired rockets to repel their advance on the city of Falluja, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad.

There were also reports of fighting around the provincial capital Ramadi, captured by Islamic State two months ago.

"At 5 o'clock this morning operations to liberate Anbar were launched," the military spokesman said.

Islamic State's capture of Ramadi two months ago marked the biggest defeat for the Baghdad government since the militants swept through the north of the country last June and declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq straddling the border.

Until Ramadi's fall, Iraqi troops and Hashid Shaabi forces, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, had been pushing Islamic State back, recapturing the eastern province of Diyala and former leader Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit, with the ultimate target of retaking the northern city of Mosul.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, angered at the army's withdrawal from Ramadi in mid-May, initially promised a swift counter-attack.

Although Ramadi remains the strategic target, military sources and Shi'ite militia leaders have said the initial focus will be on Falluja, which was the first city in Iraq to fall under militant control 18 months ago.

FIRST JETS ARRIVE FROM U.S.

A U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab air forces has been bombing Islamic State positions across Iraq, supporting Baghdad's ground forces and its poorly equipped air force.

Iraq has sought to redress its own lack of air power by purchasing F-16 fighter jets from the United States, but deliveries of the 36 aircraft were delayed because of security concerns after the Islamic State offensive last summer.

On Monday, a first batch of four F-16s landed at Balad air base north of Baghdad, an Iraqi air force officer said.

It was not clear whether the planes would take an immediate role in the operations in Anbar.

Hadi al-Ameri, commander of the largest Shi'ite force, the Badr Organisation, told Iraqi television on Sunday he expected the main assault on Falluja to take place after the Eid holiday which starts later this week.

Residents in Falluja and Ramadi reported heavy bombardment of both cities early on Monday.

Falluja saw the fiercest fighting of the U.S. occupation which followed Washington's 2003 invasion to topple Saddam, and has also been a centre of Sunni hostility to the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad.

Abadi initially sought to keep Shi'ite militias on the sidelines in Anbar for fear of inflaming sectarian sensitivities, but the fall of Ramadi in May undermined his position.

In Baghdad on Sunday at least 35 people were killed in a series of car bombs and suicide attacks in mainly Shi'ite districts. A statement in the name of Islamic State, issued on Monday, claimed responsibility for some of the blasts.
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Baghdad car bombs and suicide attacks kill 35 - sources

Baghdad car bombs and suicide attacks kill 35 - sources | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Car bombs and suicide attacks targeting mainly Shi'ite Muslim districts of Baghdad killed 35 people on Sunday, one of the heaviest recent tolls in the Iraqi capital, which has faced a wave of bombings by Islamic State militants.

The deadliest attack hit the northern Shaab neighbourhood, where a car bomb followed by a suicide blast killed 19 people, security and medical sources said. The car exploded near a crowded market and, as police and bystanders gathered, an attacker detonated explosives strapped to his body.

In Bunouk district in the capital's northeast, a bomb in a car killed nine people, the sources said. Security forces were sweeping areas nearby, some with sniffer dogs, after receiving information about two further possible bombs, they said.

More than 100 people were wounded in the three explosions.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Islamic State militants who control much of northern Iraq and the province of Anbar west of Baghdad regularly send bombers into the capital.

Earlier on Sunday, a suicide bomber killed five people in Kadhimiya neighbourhood, home to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines, shortly before dusk and the end of the daily Ramadan fast. Another bomb in the Iskan district of western Baghdad killed two people, medical sources said.
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Yemeni Police Arrest Members of Terrorist Band in Female Dress

Yemeni Police Arrest Members of Terrorist Band in Female Dress | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Informed sources in Marib province confirmed on Friday that the province's police forces alongside the popular forces have arrested a terrorist group, whose members tried to go through the police checkpoint in female clothing.

The sources disclosed that the detained terrorists planned to enter the capital Sana'a and carry out terrorist actions against government and residential areas.

The sources said that the detained terrorists have been handed over to the relevant authorities for further investigations and interrogation.

On June 20, the same story happened in another police checkpoint in the outskirts of Marib province.

Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen in the last 107 days to bring its ally, fugitive president Mansour Hadi, back to power.

The airstrikes have so far claimed the lives of more than 5,024 civilians, mostly women and children.

In addition to the Saudi-lad aggressions against the country, Riyadh officials have forwarded scores of al-Qaeda terrorists to Yemen in a bid to destabilize the Muslim nation's security and face it further internal problems.
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The Latest Rage in Rachel's Tomb Terror: Slingshot Explosives

The Latest Rage in Rachel's Tomb Terror: Slingshot Explosives | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

Rachel's Tomb located adjacent to Bethlehem in Judea, which is the site where the Jewish Biblical matriarch Rachel is buried, has turned into a key terror target - now a new trend has flared up with Arab assailants firing explosive charges into the compound.

A., a member of the compound staff, spoke to Arutz Sheva on Friday about the new scourge, noting that there have long been rock attack attempts and riots given the proximity to the hostile Arab population in Bethlehem.

"Thank G-d the Border Patrol warriors in the area know how to deal with it strongly and effectively," said A. of the status quo until now. 

But recently to the rock throwing and protests has been added a new attack which hasn't garnered attention in the media, apparently because up until now no one has been wounded by even though the danger is life-threatening to the extreme.

"Recently explosives have started falling. That's new," said A., explaining that the explosives were fired in by a sort of catapult slingshot that has been used in a smaller form to launch rocks.

The terrorists fire the explosives at a distance of roughly 100 meters (around 330 feet) from the protective walls of the compound, and aim at a section of the wall that is slightly lower - the point is where students of the compound's yeshiva go outside to get some fresh air, and is also a parking area for visitors to the site.

The last attack took place on Thursday at 11:05 p.m. A. relates that he sat adjacent to the yeshiva when he heard the explosion, and immediately he and his companions ran to the site of the attack only to be told to return and take cover for fear of follow up explosives.

Saturday was the last explosive attack before that; in that attack likewise no one was wounded, although shrapnel from the explosive hit the door of the dormitories of students at the yeshiva and embedded deeply in it. The students who were standing nearby were unharmed.

A. emphasized that the earnest work of the Border Patrol warriors is preventing the daily attacks from inflicting a toll in human life. He expressed his hopes that the forces will be able to provide a response to the new and dangerous phenomenon before anyone is wounded.

Terror at the tomb

Just last Monday a female Border Patrol guard was stabbed in the neckat Rachel's Tomb by a female Arab terrorist. She was seriously wounded but miraculously survived the attempt on her life and her condition has stabilized.

Rachel's Tomb has been a target for terror attacks since the outbreak of the Second Intifada or Oslo War in 2000, and as a result the compound has been heavily fortified.

While the recent slingshot-explosive trend may be a newly deployed tactic in recent days, there is in fact a history of explosive attacks at the compound from several years ago.

The IDF told Knesset Members in mid-2013 that about 200 firebombs and 90 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) had been thrown at the compound since November 2012's Pillar of Defense counter-terror operation in Gaza, indicating an average of almost two bombs a day.

The military said that the nine-meter (almost 30-feet) high walls that have been constructed around the Tomb compound have not sufficed to provide security, with suggestions raised at the time to build a roof to protect the site from attacks from all angles.

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Argentine president rapped for ‘Merchant of Venice’ link to nation’s money woes

Argentine president rapped for ‘Merchant of Venice’ link to nation’s money woes | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League criticized Argentina’s president for evoking classic anti-Semitic stereotypes linking Jews to the cause of Argentina’s financial challenges.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner recommended in a visit last week to an elementary school in the shanty town of Lugano that the students read “The Merchant of Venice,” with its anti-Semitic portrayal of a vengeful Jewish moneylender, to understand Argentina’s economic troubles. Following the visit, the president continued to tweet the recommendation, appearing to try to soften her stance by confirming in a tweet that Shakespeare is performed by Israeli theater companies.

Kirchner called on the students to read the play to understand vulture funds, which are seeking to collect on Argentina’s national debt, in arrears since 2001.


She repeated the recommendation on Twitter to her more than 3.8 million followers and added in another tweet: “No, don’t laugh. Usury and the bloodsuckers were immortalized by the best literature for centuries.”

Abraham Foxman, ADL’s national director, in a statement this week repudiated Kirshner’s statements.

“‘The Merchant of Venice’ — with its nefarious character Shylock — reinforces stereotypes of Jews and presents them as money-hungry, conniving and cruel, and by suggesting students to study this play, she is sending a message to Argentina’s youth that Jews are somehow connected to the economic woes of her country,” Foxman said. “We stand with the Jewish community of Argentina in repudiation of the President’s statements and her repeated implications of Jewish involvement in this issue,” Foxman said.

The Argentine Jewish political umbrella DAIA also decried the president’s recommendation in a statement issued the day after her July 2 school visit.

On Monday, Kirchner posted on Twitter that Israel’s national theater company, Habima, performs “The Merchant of Venice,” citing an invitation to one of its performances of the play in Spain in 2013.

“The piece? “The Merchant of Venice.” The company producing? Habima, Israel’s national theater,” she tweeted.

And in another tweet, Kirshner wrote: “Who’s inviting? The Israeli Embassy in Spain. Notably, in Israel they like good literature and the best theater.” Finally, she wrote: “Goodness. Someone deserves the donkey’s head, as Shakespeare did in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

Kirchner has not apologized for her remarks.

It is not the first time that the Argentine president has linked the country’s national debt to global Jewish leaders.

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Who, What, Why: Is it illegal to display an IS flag?

Who, What, Why: Is it illegal to display an IS flag? | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Police have been criticised for not arresting a man who walked through Westminster displaying the black flag associated with the Islamic State group. Is such an act against the law, asks Finlo Rohrer.
The man, with a small child on his shoulders also holding a flag, walked near the Houses of Parliament while draped in the black flag, apparently similar to that used by the Islamist militant group.
The Metropolitan Police said they stopped him but then let him go on his way. "This man was spoken to by officers, with consideration given to relevant legislation, particularly the Public Order Act, and the decision was taken by officers at the time that the man was acting within the law. He was not arrested.
"Wearing, carrying or displaying of an emblem or flag, by itself, is not an offence unless the way in which, or the circumstance in which, the emblem is worn, carried or displayed is such as to cause reasonable suspicion that the person is a supporter or member of a proscribed organisation. While support of and membership of [IS] is unlawful it is not a criminal offence to advocate the creation of an independent state."
The answer

Police decided it was not an offence under Public Order Act 1986 or Terrorism Act 2000
But the latter does ban display of clothing showing someone is a supporter of a banned group
The black flag with a white shahada [Islamic creed] has been used by other militant groups before Islamic State.
One relevant passage from the Public Order Act 1986, which covers England and Wales, says someone is guilty of causing "harassment, alarm or distress" if they "display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening or abusive within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby".
The pan-UK Terrorism Act 2000 is also relevant. "A person in a public place commits an offence if he (a) wears an item of clothing, or (b) wears, carries or displays an article, in such a way or in such circumstances as to arouse reasonable suspicion that he is a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation."
The Islamic State grouping has been proscribed in the UK since last year. This offence carries a prison sentence of up to six months and a fine.
"I'm surprised the police didn't at least arrest him," says Edward Elwyn Jones, senior associate solicitor at Hodge, Jones & Allen. "I've seen people legitimately protesting arrested for less than this."
Jones cited the Rankin v Murray case from 2004 where it was established that a ring inscribed with "UVF" (Ulster Volunteer Force) was sufficient for a conviction.
"But having spoken to the [flag wearer] they might have taken a view that he was genuinely not supporting IS," Jones adds.
Gary Watt, professor of law at Warwick University, says: "The police might have been justified in concluding that it didn't breach any strict statutory wording."
But regardless of the Terrorism Act and Public Order Act, Watt says it is interesting that the police didn't think the flag constituted a "breach of the peace" under common law.
"Had this been a naked person walking down the street would the police have intervened? They probably would have intervened even though there is no strict letter of the law against being naked in public."
The key issue is where the offence was felt, Watt says. In this instance there was apparently little reaction from the crowds of tourists passing the man, possibly with some or many unaware of the significance of the flag.
"The real outrage has been a social media outrage," says Watt. And there is currently no suggestion from anyone that the police should be taking into account the global reaction to an event when trying to maintain the peace locally.
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74 children executed by ISIS for 'crimes' that include refusal to fast, report says

74 children executed by ISIS for 'crimes' that include refusal to fast, report says | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it

The blood-soaked executioners of ISIS have spared neither women nor children since the jihadist army established its caliphate a year ago, putting an estimated 74 kids and even more women to death for such offenses as practicing “magic” and refusing to fast during Ramadan.

A total of 3,027 people have been executed by ISIS since it declared itself a state under strict Islamic law in Syria and Iraq last June, according to a new report by the UK-based group, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"Many of the charges against those executed are recorded as blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practicing as a Shia Muslim," the report states.

"Many of the charges against those executed are recorded as blasphemy and spying, but others include sorcery, sodomy, practicing as a Shia Muslim."

Just this week, two children whose ages were not known were crucified in the Mayadin, Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria after ISIS accused them of not properly fasting during Ramadan. The children’s bodies, put on public display on crossbars, each bore a sign explaining their violation during the holy month for Muslims that runs June 17 to July 17. With each execution justified by ISIS' medieval interpretation of the Koran, the group is attempting to portray itself as the true practitioners of Islam, say experts.

“Underlying all these executions is the apocalypse ideology of the final battle between the believers and the unbelievers,” said Jasmine Opperman, the director of Southern Africa Operations at the Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium. “ISIS is using executions to show its followers -- and would-be followers -- that the group is the only true representative of believers, not only in word, but action, which is why executions are featured so prominently.”

Other children died fighting for their lives.

“The violent Islamist group appears to demonstrate a particular interest in children, releasing videos of children fighting in cages and undertaking military training,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said. “The report also details moves undertaken by the group to entice children to join, which include setting up offices called "cubs of the caliphate" that recruit children to fight for ISIS.”

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report in February, documenting the many horrors ISIS has imposed on children who are Kurdish, Yazidi, Christian and even Muslim. Children – even those who are mentally challenged – are being tortured, crucified, buried alive, used as suicide bombers and sold as sex slaves, the report said.

“ISIS is hoping to spur current supporters around the world who are dormant, of which there are millions, into joining their caliphate by advertising acts like these, of which there are millions,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism. “They know that they can greatly increase their numbers by appealing to current radicals rather than the broader masses.”

Women are not spared the cruel brutality of ISIS, either.

The Syrian Observatory found that the terror group carried out more executions this week, murdering two married couples by beheading them publicly with a sword for “sorcery.”

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” Rami Abdel Rahman, of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told the Daily Mail.

Other citizens suspected of practicing black magic or sorcery also have been killed, the organization reports, including a magician beheaded in recent weeks in the Iraqi province of Salahuddin.

“The practicing of anything that is not approved by Islamic State under their very strict interpretation of Islam is ‘Haram’ or forbidden,” said Veryan Khan, editorial director for the Florida-based Terrorism, Research & Analysis Consortium. “If the Islamic State thinks that sorcery is real, then black magic would be a threat to them and seen as a danger.”

ISIS stepped up its killing spree this week as it celebrated both Ramadan and its one-year anniversary as a caliphate in Iraq and Syria with three straight days of ruthless public punishments and executions. On June 30, 11 workers from al-Miadin endured live crucifixion and were forced to wear signs saying "70 lashes and to be crucified for 1 day for breaking the fast in Ramadan." 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the most recent killing spree is less than a week, after ISIS released a video of 15 men executed in three terrible ways: Drowned in cages, having their head blown off with explosives and burning them alive in a car hit with a rocket launcher.

Last Friday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the death of 38 people in Tunisia who were gunned down, and another 27 people who died after a bomb rocked a Shia mosque in Kuwait.

“Islamic State executions are not merely retribution by the state for behavior seen as illegal,” said Khan, noting executions by the Islamic State include everything from burning alive victims, firing squads, beatings and beheadings, to drowning, explosions, and throwing people off of buildings. “The Islamic State uses executions to intimidate and dominate the local population, for diplomatic communiqués to world leaders, for recruitment purposes and to demonstrate the organization is in complete control.”

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South Wales UK: Operation Imperial: Man, 62, arrested on suspicion of slavery

South Wales UK: Operation Imperial: Man, 62, arrested on suspicion of slavery | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
A 62-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of slavery, servitude and forced labour offences.
The man, from Peterstone, near Newport, was arrested by officers from Gwent Police's Operation Imperial team on Wednesday.
Operation Imperial is an ongoing investigation into serious offences against vulnerable adults.
Det Supt Paul Griffiths also appealed to an anonymous caller who called police on 27 May to contact the team.
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'Man decapitated' in French attack - BBC News

'Man decapitated' in French attack - BBC News | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
A man has been beheaded and at least one other person injured in a suspected Islamist attack on a factory near the French city of Lyon.
Several small explosive devices were also set off at the Air Products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, sources said.
The alleged attacker is said to have been carrying an Islamist flag, which was found nearby.
A man has been arrested, officials say.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is said to be on his way to the scene.
The attack occurred around 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT), according to local media.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has ordered that security be stepped up at sensitive sites around Lyon.
The attack comes nearly six months after Islamist attacks in and around Paris that killed 17 people.
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Planned Parenthood, Not Confederate Flag, Killed 90,000 Black Babies in 2014

Planned Parenthood, Not Confederate Flag, Killed 90,000 Black Babies in 2014 | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Sarah Palin pulled no punches when calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood on Sunday, pointing out that it was Planned Parenthood, not the Confederate flag, which killed 90,000 black babies in 2014.

In a Facebook status update, Palin posted a picture of the Confederate flag next to the Planned Parenthood logo, then asked, “Which symbol killed 90,000 black babies last year? #Defund Planned Parenthood.” By Monday, the post had garnered almost 111,000 likes and 59,000 shares.

Palin has consistently updated her Facebook page following the revelation that Planned Parenthood executives allegedly confessed selling fetal body parts.

Planned Parenthood receives roughly $500 million in government funding every year, although federal funding is barred from paying for abortions. Planned Parenthood performed 327,000 abortions in 2014.

Palin has been a consistent and ardent foe of abortion. In her 2009 book, Going Rogue, she outlined her uncompromising position:

But the debate moderator decided to personalize his hypotheticals with a series of “what if…” questions:

Q: If a woman were, say, raped…

A: I would choose life.

Q: If your daughter were pregnant…

A: Again, I would choose life.”

Q: If your teenage daughter got pregnant…

A: I’d counsel a young parent to choose life & consider adoption.

GOP leaders are acting to remove funding for Planned Parenthood; on Friday, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)52%
(R-Ky.) completed a fast-track process for legislation removing the funding; Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)66%
has brought the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 before the House. House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)45%
wants the funding for Planned Parenthood stopped until an investigation of the alleged sale of fetal body parts has been completed.
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Sylvie Beghal, wife of terrorist, loses human rights court battle - BBC News

Sylvie Beghal, wife of terrorist, loses human rights court battle - BBC News | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
The wife of a convicted terrorist, who was prosecuted after refusing to submit to a police interrogation, has lost her human rights case in the Supreme Court.
Sylvie Beghal claimed her rights were violated when she was questioned by police under anti-terrorism legislation while at East Midlands Airport in 2011.
Her husband Djamel Beghal was jailed in France for terrorism offences in 2005.
Five Supreme Court justices first analysed her case in November and have now ruled against her.
They concluded the police action was "proportionate" and necessary for the investigation of terrorism.
Mrs Beghal, who is French, had been detained for no longer than was necessary, they added.
She had already lost a case in the High Court, when three judges ruled against her in August 2013.
They ruled that schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 did not breach human rights. This law allows police to hold someone for up to nine hours and question them about whether they are involved in terrorism.
But they had suggested there might be "room for improvement" to anti-terror legislation which gave police the power to "stop, question and detain" those entering or leaving the country.
Questions unanswered
Mrs Beghal's husband is an Algerian man who was convicted and jailed in France on charges of leading a plot to blow up the US embassy in Paris.
He claims he was tortured and that his conviction is unfair.
The Supreme Court heard how Mrs Beghal had arrived back in England after visiting her husband with her three children when she was stopped.
Although not suspected of being a terrorist, police said they wanted to talk to her regarding "possible involvement" in terrorism.
Following the stop, Mrs Beghal refused to answer police questions without the presence of a solicitor.
She was allowed to speak to a lawyer on the phone before police asked her about her movements. When she refused to answer the questions, she was charged and later convicted of failing to comply with the order.
Mrs Beghal argued that the process of stopping and questioning "without reasonable suspicion" breached the European Convention on Human Rights.
Supreme Court justices also heard that Mrs Beghal appeared before magistrates in Leicester, where she was convicted of failing to comply with a duty to answer questions.
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Briton jailed in U.S. for supporting Taliban is released

Briton jailed in U.S. for supporting Taliban is released | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
LONDON (Reuters) - A British man who was last year sentenced by a U.S. court to 12-1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to running a website that supported the Taliban, has been released, his family said on Sunday.
Babar Ahmad's sentence included 10 years he had already served. U.S. prosecutors had said his crimes included recruiting fighters for the Taliban and al Qaeda in the run-up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington.
But the judge who sentenced Ahmad said she had not given him the maximum penalty of 25 years as she did not believe he had been directly involved with al Qaeda and was not at risk of being involved in future crimes.
"We, the family of Babar Ahmad, are delighted to announce that ... Babar has returned home to us after 11 years in prison," his family said in a statement.
Ahmad was extradited from Britain in 2012 along with a second man, Syed Talha Ahsan. Both were charged in Connecticut as authorities argued they used an Internet service provider in the state to run at least one of their websites.
Ahmad's lawyers had argued that while he tried to help Muslims under attack in Bosnia and Chechnya through his publications in the 1990s, he regretted supporting the Taliban and condemned the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Eleven years of solitary confinement and isolation in ten different prisons has been an experience too profound to sum up in a few words here and now," Ahmad said. "In time, I look forward to sharing reflections on my experience to help inform others."
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Islamic State claims kidnapping of three African Christians in Libya

Islamic State claims kidnapping of three African Christians in Libya | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Islamic State has kidnapped three African Christians in eastern Libya, the group said, publishing their passport pictures.
The men come from Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana, Islamic State said in a statement on social media, without elaborating.
The kidnapping took place in Noufliyah, an Islamic State stronghold southeast of the city of Sirte, said a resident, asking not to be named.
Mohamed El Hejazi, a military spokesman loyal to the internationally recognized government based in the east, also said the abduction happened in the small town.
The militant group has expanded in the North African country by exploiting chaos and a security vacuum like it did in Iraq and Syria.
Islamic State militants have beheaded dozens and attacked foreign missions in Tripoli, while also fighting forces loyal to Libya's two government.
The official government has been based in the east since losing control of the capital Tripoli a year ago when a rival group called Libya Dawn seized it, setting up its own parliament and government.
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Islamic State says Afghanistan leader still alive

Islamic State says Afghanistan leader still alive | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Islamic State on Monday released an audio tape it said was of the movement's leader for Afghanistan, contradicting reports that he was killed in a U.S. drone strike.

The message purportedly from Hafez Saeed was posted to an IS website two days after the Afghan intelligence agency said he had been killed.

The audio could not be independently verified.

Saeed, a Pakistani, was reportedly killed in the Achin district of Nangarhar province late on Friday, the intelligence agency said.

Saeed switched allegiance last year from the Taliban to Islamic State in Afghanistan.

Islamic State figures have been targets for U.S drone strikes, which killed three other IS commanders in the same area in a week, including Shahidullah Shahid and Gul Zaman.

After pushing out the Taliban insurgents, Islamic State fighters have in the past two months gained ground in several districts of Nangarhar province, which shares a long and porous border with lawless areas inside Pakistan.

Achin fell to the IS militants last month after heavy clashes with the Taliban.
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CatholicHerald.co.uk » Nigerian bishop condemns suicide bombing by mother with a baby

CatholicHerald.co.uk » Nigerian bishop condemns suicide bombing by mother with a baby | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Bishop George Dodo condemns attack that killed at least 24 government workers

A Nigerian bishop has condemned a suicide bombing by a suspected Boko Haram insurgent in the town of Zaria that killed at least 24 government workers.

Bishop George Dodo of Zaria spoke to the US Catholic News Service by phone, the day after a woman with a baby strapped to her back detonated an improvised explosive device inside a local government building in Zaria.

Civil servants were undergoing staff verification, and Bishop Dodo said the bomber capitalised on lax security.

The bishop said he was at a loss as to why people would want to serve as suicide bombers, destroying their own lives and those of other innocent people.

“This is because of the wrong religious indoctrination such people have been exposed to by some disgruntled leaders hiding under religion,” the bishop told CNS.

Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency campaign in north-eastern Nigeria, is a Muslim militant group.

“It is not about unemployment or poverty that we attributed the insurgency to when it initially reared its ugly head in 2009 but, rather, it is due to wrong religious indoctrination,” Bishop Dodo said.

“Our youths must, therefore, be careful and guard against being used by such leaders to achieve their diabolical intentions,” he said.

He added that young people must realise that no religion preaches destruction of lives. Rather, religions preach peace, tolerance and value for lives.

He also advised the government to provide employment opportunities for young people so that they would not fall prey into the hands of those he described as predators.

“Unemployed youths will always fall prey to little money dangled at them by those who wish to use them to perpetrate evil,” he said.
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ISIS Releases UK-Specific Jihadi Guide

ISIS Releases UK-Specific Jihadi Guide | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Islamic State (ISIS) has released another guide for inspiring jihadists - this time, one aimed specifically at the United Kingdom (UK). 

The terror group's previous guides have included instructions on how to defraud Westerners through online scams to build funds for attacks and on how to build homemade weapons.

However, while those guides have been more universal, this one reveals how to skirt gun laws in the UK, according to the Daily Mail, and contains numerous references to UK terror attacks. 

The guidebook, which remains unnamed, uses the cover of an Islamic charity organization, the daily added. 

Other instructions include how to build a bomb out of a soda can, how to build pressure cooker bombs, and how to build car bombs - as well as how to skirt anti-terror tactics from the British police. 

Terror activity in Britain has skyrocketed over the past several years, and ISIS has particularly used popular British cities as a prime recruiting ground. 

Just two weeks ago, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that the group was planning "terrible attacks" in the UK and that it posed an existential threat to the West. 
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At least 20 dead in Bangladesh stampede - CNN.com

At least 20 dead in Bangladesh stampede - CNN.com | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Dhaka, Bangladesh (CNN)A rush to receive donated clothes resulted in a stampede in central Bangladesh that killed at least 20 people Friday, police said.

The stampede, which took place in Mymensingh district, injured dozens more, District Police Chief Moinul Haque told reporters.

Authorities fear the death toll may rise.

According to local reports, more than 1,500 gathered outside the gates of the tobacco factory before dawn after receiving word the owners would be handing out free clothes. The stampede occurred when many tried to force their way in, the reoprts said.

As the Muslim holy month of Ramadan draws to an end, the faithful perform 'Zakat,' or an act of charity. Often, it comes in the form of providing clothing or money to the needy.

In the past, such well-meaning acts have also sometimes resulted in stampedes.
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45 ISIS Soldiers Sat Down for Dinner — But Probably Should've Checked Who Was Cooking Their Meal

45 ISIS Soldiers Sat Down for Dinner — But Probably Should've Checked Who Was Cooking Their Meal | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
ISIS militants are known for their extreme brutality across the globe, but recently they got a taste of their own medicine.

Iraqi state media is reporting that 45 ISIS militants died after eating poisoned food during an Iftar dinner, which is celebrated during the annual Ramadan fasting.

Haaretz reports:

“According to the Kurdish party spokesman, 145 ISIS fighters participated in the iftar meal, and 45 of them died a short time later.”
Haaretz also noted the attack took place in Mosul, Iraq, which was been controlled by ISIS for more than a year.

Whether the poisonings were intended or by accident has yet to be confirmed. However, The Mirror reported last November an attack involved members of the Syrian Free Army infiltrating ISIS with poison.

Rebel soldiers posed as chefs and poisoned dozens of ISIS militants at the Fath El-Sahel camp in Syria. Though, multiple outlets have since attempted to dispute the legitimacy of the original report.

Meanwhile, President Obama has finally outlined what his administration believes is the proper strategy to defeat ISIS, saying:

“The strong consensus is that in order for us to succeed long-term in this fight against [ISIS], we have to develop local security forces that can sustain progress. It is not enough for us to simply send in American troops to temporarily set back organizations like [ISIS], but then as soon as we leave see that void filled again by extremists.”
The President also added that U.S.-led coalition forces will “ultimately prevail” in the fight against ISIS.

The President’s remarks came after he met with more than 30 top defense officials, spanning multiple branches of the military as well as intelligence agencies.
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Pakistani commentator Zaid Hamid sentenced to prison, lashing in Saudi Arabia

Pakistani commentator Zaid Hamid sentenced to prison, lashing in Saudi Arabia | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Islamabad/ Pakistan: A controversial Pakistani commentator has been jailed in Saudi Arabia and reportedly sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes for allegedly criticizing the Saudi government and its military campaign in Yemen while on a religious pilgrimage.

Saudi authorities have so far denied consular access to Zaid Hamid, who was arrested last month in the holy city of Madinah while traveling with his wife.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Qazi Khalilullah, confirmed Hamid’s arrest but said Saudi officials had not disclosed his sentence. Pakistani diplomats in Riyadh were in touch with Hamid’s family, including his wife, who was able to visit him in the prison at Madinah, Khalilullah said.

This year, a Saudi blogger who ran a website that was seen to be ridiculing the kingdom’s religious police was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes spread over 20 weeks. Hamid is believed to be close to Pakistan’s military establishment and despises the country’s civilian leadership. He has also been openly critical of US policies in the region, accusing the CIA of trying to “demolish Pakistan.”

About one-third of the kingdom’s population of 30 million are foreign nationals, according to government statistics. Saudi press reports estimate that more than 1.5 million Pakistanis live in the country.
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Foreign Office ‘did not stop Iraq making chemical weapons’

Foreign Office ‘did not stop Iraq making chemical weapons’ | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Papers from 1983 show diplomats knew of poison before it was used against Iran but did not act because British firm was involved in trade

The government delayed taking action to prevent Iraq obtaining chemical weapons partially because British exporters were involved in the trade, according to Foreign Office documents.

Newly released papers from 1983 show that even before Iraq began widespread use of poison gas to repel Iranian attacks, diplomats were aware of Baghdad’s covert technology programme.

The secret file, entitled Chemical Weapon Manufacture in Iraq, records how officials agonised over whether to intervene. It is released to the National Archives in Kew, west London.

In April 1983, at the height of the Iran-Iraq war, the ambassador in Baghdad, Sir John Moberly, telegrammed the FCO and defence intelligence sections about the “manufacture and use of mustard gas by the Iraqi army”.

He added: “The UK company Weir Pumps has supplied a number of pumps to Indian contractors, Somdat Builders, who are building a factory at Samarra to manufacture pesticide.”

Weir Pumps, he said, had been frustrated in its attempts to discover technical information about the project.

Moberly added: “It would therefore seem fairly certain that part of the Samarra pesticide factory may also be used to produce materials for chemical warfare, including the manufacture of mustard gas.”

But the FCO’s arms control department declined to impose export restrictions. A longer memorandum considered whether it was “feasible” or “desirable” to intervene. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was, at that stage, far closer to the west than revolutionary Iran.

An internal letter pointed out that there was no “non-proliferation regime” banning chemical weapons, and noted: “Britain alone could take limited action to control exports, but this would do little good. Global action might eventually be effective but would probably require public presentation of our evidence and would be very slow. Given that the Iraqi programme is already far advanced, I am skeptical about the feasibility of effective action.”

In terms of the desirability of intervening, the letter continued: “Iraq is acting within her rights acquiring [chemical weapons], and this has a bearing on the desirability of taking action against her.”

Iraq would only be breaching international law if it could be proved that it used the weapons first. The memorandum added: “It would be far easier for Iran to bring this case than us. Our own position on CW exports is not invulnerable.

“We do not … at present possess any means of controlling trade in precursor chemicals or chemical-related equipment … The Department of Trade says we could extend the list by administrative action though there could be commercial objections.

“Caution may be in order since our own trade in CS gas has not escaped criticism. Another relevant factor is that a British company, Weir Pumps, has apparently supplied pumps to the Samarra factory under the impression that they were for use in making pesticides.”

An estimated 20,000 Iranians were killed by mustard gas and nerve agents during the war. Many more still suffer lingering after-effects. The Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons and precursors, did not come into force until 1997. International outrage over Iraqi use of poison gas was pivotal in changing attitudes.

On the FCO letter in April 1983, a senior official wrote that the UK should take no action at the UN security council or the international court of justice. The FCO did, however, begin to talk to its allies about the issue.

A later telegram to the Baghdad embassy recorded that the FCO intended to “at least slow down and perhaps frustrate Iraqi ambitions in this field”. By July that year, officials were expressing frustration about the US government’s reluctance to release intelligence on French and German companies involved in supplying chemicals to Iraq.

 
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Arrests made over Kuwait Shia mosque attack

Arrests made over Kuwait Shia mosque attack | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
Kuwait has arrested several people in connection with the suicide bombing of a Shia Muslim mosque on Friday that killed 27 people, according to a security source.

A mass funeral will be held on Saturday after the Gulf country’s worst militant attack in years, which has been claimed by Islamic State (Isis). More than 220 others were wounded in the al-Imam al-Sadiq mosque, the first attack on a Muslim place of worship in the emirate.

The interior ministry said an unspecified number of suspects were being questioned in connection with the attack, including the owner of the vehicle that took the bomber to the mosque. Officials were now looking for the driver of the Japanese-made car, who left the mosque immediately after the bombing.

Mosque authorities said that “Kuwait martyrs” will be laid to rest at the Shia cemetery, west of the capital. Saturday has been declared an official day of mourning. At the Grand Mosque, the largest place of worship for Sunni Muslims, worshippers were being encouraged to come to pay tribute to the dead in a show of solidarity.

Shias form a third of Kuwait’s 1.3 million native population, and Sunni groups have been quick to condemn the attack that Kuwait’s emir, the government, parliament and clerics have said was aimed at igniting sectarian tensions.

The nation’s leader, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, visiting the site of the bombing, said that the “criminal attack is a desperate and evil attempt targeting Kuwait’s national unity”.

A group in Saudi Arabia, calling itself Najd Province, which said it is affiliated with Isis, named Abu Suleiman al-Muwahhid as the mosque bomber. The group said that the mosque had been promoting Shia Islam, which it considers to be heresy.

The statement on Twitter said the bomber had targeted a “temple of the apostates”. The same group had claimed responsibility for a pair of bombing attacks on Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks.

The Kuwaiti justice, religious endowment and Islamic affairs minister, Yacoub al-Sanna, described the attack as a “terrorist and cowardly action which threatens our nation and works at tearing apart the national unity”.

Sanna told the official state agency Kuna that the government would take all necessary measures to ensure protection of houses of worship. “Kuwait was, and will remain, the oasis of security and safety to all components of the Kuwaiti society and sects,” he said.

Kuwait also has increased security to the highest level at state-run oil companies.
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ISIS could get hacked info on millions of Americans

ISIS could get hacked info on millions of Americans | UNITED CRUSADERS AGAINST ISLAMIFICATION OF THE WEST | Scoop.it
The massive breach of government databases storing sensitive information on millions of current and former federal employees is growing more worrisome, with China having access to files that include Social Security Numbers, personal financial data and other sensitive information.

China could decide to use the data for its own purposes, sell it to the highest bidder purely for profit, or to sell it to a foreign enemy of the United States, national security experts told WND.

The breach at the Office of Personnel Management is considered the largest cyber attack ever to successfully reach inside of a U.S. government computer network.

Some 4.2 million federal employees had their personal information compromised and possibly stolen by the Chinese government, the OPM reported earlier this month.

And now a second breach is being disclosed, which could be even more devastating.

At a hearing Tuesday before the Senate subcommittee on financial services and general government, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said she was not yet prepared to say how many people were compromised in the second breach. Some media outlets reported that as many as another 10 million Americans could have had their IDs stolen.

“This separate breach continues to be investigated by OPM and our investigative partners,” Archuleta said at Tuesday’s hearing. “There was a high degree of compromise related to current, former and prospective government employees and any of those for whom a federal background investigation may have been conducted.”

Terrorist enemies could purchase the data

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, now serving as executive director of the Family Research Council, said the prospect of military or civilian leaders having their personal information sold to terrorists is a very real threat that must be taken seriously.

“First of all you have to ask yourself what could an individual citizen in America do with your personally identifiable information?” Boykin told WND. “Stolen identities are big business and very problematic and the Chinese could use that for the same thing a criminal would, don’t kid yourself.”

He said China could steal the IDs from the OPM database and then sell them to Iran, ISIS or some other foreign enemy.

“I think that’s a very real possibility, particularly given that they have been major supporters of Iran,” he said. “Now, the other thing is, keep in mind that many of these government officials who’ve had their identities stolen are high-profile people that have enemies. And those enemies may be ISIS or Hezbollah or al-Qaida. But the fact their identity has been compromised would not take even a teenager very long to look up tax records and determine where these people live and that could put them in physical danger.

“You can’t downplay that or underestimate it in today’s world where we know the terrorists are motivated to go after high-profile people,” he added. “Once they compromise your identity it doesn’t take them very long to find out where you live. OPM probably has the largest database of civilian government employees. Also military, and possibly some contractors.”

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., chairman of the subcommittee on financial services and general government, said Tuesday’s hearing on the breach was “one of the most important hearings we’ve had this year, and we will be following up to make sure the recommendations are being followed.”

The hearing continued behind closed doors Tuesday afternoon as the talks moved to classified information.

Archuleta refused to take “personal responsibility” for the breach, saying she inherited decades-old problems of aging computer networks and mismanagement at OPM. She said the agency is now in the middle of a massive systems upgrade, converting data in old “legacy” networks over to modern systems. This is a process that will take another 18 to 24 months to complete.

She said the blame should be shifted to the attackers.

“Government and non-government entities are under constant threats,” from criminals and from other governments, she said. But the Chinese government was never named in Tuesday’s hearing as the culprit.

“Unfortunately these attacks will not stop. They will increase,” Archuleta said, adding that her goal is to modernize and better confront emerging cyber threats.

In June 2014 OPM began to completely redesign its current network.

“We implemented new firewalls and limited privileged access,” she said. “We are also working on further encryption.”

She said the attack was detected by new cyber security tools placed on the older networks, but it was not detected until months after it had occurred. She also conceded that this particular attack could not have been prevented by encryption.

In fact, even a couple of the agency’s newer systems got hacked.

“OPM immediately contacted DHS and the FBI and initiated an investigation to determine the scope of the intrusion,” she said. “In early June OPM informed Congress and the public that notification would be sent to affected individuals June 8 through June 19. We are continuing to learn more about the compromised data.”

About 4.2 million federal employee across all branches of government whose records were submitted to OPM were compromised and possibly stolen, she said. Later in May the inner agency response team concluded additional systems were likely compromised.

“But for the fact that OPM implemented more stringent security tools we would never have known that the breach occurred,” Archuleta said.

OPM “clearly has a great deal of work to do to secure its modernization project,” said Michael Esser, assistant inspector general for audits with OPM.

Other federal agencies just as vulnerable

In a chilling warning, Esser told the congressional committee that “most” other agencies in the federal government are facing the same issues of having to upgrade to more modern systems while at the same time learning to use protective tools against hackers who are able to penetrate even the newest systems.

Michele Bachmann, a former Republican congresswoman from Minnesota who served on the intelligence committee, said China’s breach of the system could yield a windfall of sensitive data that could have multiple uses.

“Any opportunist could use sensitive, potentially embarrassing information to blackmail, extort or steal from an individual or commit any manner of abuses,” Bachmann told WND.

“Repeatedly during the Obamacare debate, many of us warned loudly and often that healthcare.gov could be the portal for misuse of the most personal information any American has,” she said. “We learn from experts that sites have links, meaning one government site may allow entry into another.”

Poison pills lurking?

The Chinese are far and away the most prolific global hackers, Bachmann said.

“They use the information to advance their economy, national defenses and military, but they also may sell it, and they are capable of leaving cyber poison pills behind in the database they’ve hacked,” she said. “As much as electronic record keeping is a blessing, unfortunately it can also prove to be a tragic undoing.”

Bachmann, like Boykin, said one of the most frightening scenarios would be if China decided to sell its bag full of personal data on military and law enforcement personnel to a terrorist organization such as ISIS.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on CBS Face the Nation Sunday and said America is dealing with “the highest threat level we have ever faced in this country.” He was referring to the unknown numbers of Americans who have left the country to fight for ISIS. They will return at some point as hardened terrorists looking to carry out attacks.

ISIS is also the richest terrorist organization in the world, with access to much of Iraq’s oil wealth. It could easily afford to pay a handsome price for stolen data.

Jack Langer, press secretary for Nunes, said the intelligence chairman was speaking strictly of the young people who get radicalized and leave the country to fight for ISIS and the threat that they pose to Western countries on their return.

“Obviously the OPM hack has engendered widespread concern across the U.S. government but I don’t think that was what he was expressing in his comments on the show,” Langer told WND. “That (OPM hack) is a separate, major concern of the congressman at this time.”

Warnings given

Esser said his office issued a special “flash alert audit” on June 17, warning of OPM’s vulnerabilities to hackers. The urgency was meant “to bring to your immediate attention serious concerns we have” that require “immediate action.”

“There is a high risk that this project will fail to meet the objectives of providing a secure operating environment for OPM systems and applications,” the audit said.

Discovery in April of the first breach that happened a year ago, gave China 12 months to sift through the data and decide what was most valuable and worthy of stealing.

The second breach penetrated a computer system that stores background data for security clearances on millions more federal workers and prospective federal employees.

OPM has a long history of systemic failures to protect its own network, Esser said. Three primary areas of concern were identified in audits over the last three years.

1. Information security governance. OPM has managed its security clearances for years in decentralized manner and this has had a negative impact on security, Esser said. By 2014 steps taken to centralize resulted in many improvements. However it is still impacted by the many years of decentralized control over who enters the system, he said.

2. Assessment, to ensure it meets security needs, is lacking, and problems with system authorizations reappeared. OPM recently put new authorizations on hold while it implements its modernization.

3. Use of technical security controls. OPM has implemented a variety of them to make system more secure. “While this is a positive step we found they weren’t all being used properly. And without a comprehensive list of (computer) assets, they can’t be adequately protected. Many are old legacy systems that are very vulnerable. But some are modern and could be better secured,” Esser said.
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