Tag Archives: chemical weapons

Over 40,000 Foreign Terrorists From 100 Countries Fight in Syria

More than 40,000 foreigners from over a hundred caountries arrived to Syria to fight for various factions like Daesh extremist group, the US Stet Deaprtment said citing intelligence sources.

WASHINGTON — The number of foreign terrorists participating in the Syrian conflict has exceeded 40,000, US Department of State Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism Justin Siberell said in a briefing on Thursday.

“An excess of 40,000 total foreign fighters have gone to the conflict [in Syria] from over a hundred countries,” Siberell stated.

The official said the number has been provided by the US intelligence community.

Siberell added that international efforts have made it more difficult for terrorists to enter the conflict zone.

Syria has been mired in civil war since March 2011, with opposition factions and extremist groups, including terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, fighting the Syrian Arab Army and government forces loyal to the country’s legitimate President Bashar Assad.

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At least 88 killed, dozens more injured in triple car bombings across Baghdad

The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, has been rocked by three successive bombings that claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, according to police sources and media. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the so-far deadliest of the attacks.

The car bombing attack in the city’s district of Sadr City killed at least 63 people and injured dozens of others, AP reported citing Iraqi officials.

An SUV rigged with explosives was parked near a beauty salon in a busy market in the Sadr City neighborhood, Iraqi police reported.

The bomb was detonated by a suicide bomber, a media outlet that sympathizes with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) reported.

The blast killed over 20 people on the spot while others succumbed to their wounds shortly after. At least 60 people were injured by the blast, and many remain in critical condition.

Shortly after the first blast, two more attacks were recorded in the city. One of them occurred in the Kadhimiya district of northern Baghdad – an area of the city considered a center of Shiite Islam. The attack claimed the lives of 18 people, Iraqi police and hospital officials told AP on condition of anonymity, adding that at least 34 people have been injured.

One more bomb that went off in the Sunni district of Jamiya killed seven and wounded at least 22 people.

The officials told Reuters that the death toll figures are likely to rise.

IS targeted Sadr City in February in a twin bombing attack, which claimed the lives of 70 people.

The group is ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim and considers Muslims adhering to other sects of Islam apostates and their enemies.

Sectarian violence remains one of the biggest security challenges in Iraq, since the US invasion of Iraq deposed its Sunni minority in power and installed a Shiite majority government.

Military officers and former officials of Saddam Hussein’s government, whose careers were ruined by the change of regime in Baghdad, were instrumental in Islamic State’s rise from a little-known Iraqi ally of Al-Qaeda to the most-publicized terrorist threat in the modern world.

 

Baghdad promises revenge after ‘600 wounded,’ 3yo girl killed in ISIS chemical attacks on Iraq

A three-year-old girl has been killed and 600 more people injured after Islamic State militants reportedly carried out two chemical attacks in northern Iraq, local authorities say. The Iraqi government vows that the attackers will pay for the atrocity.

The attacks, which forced hundreds to flee for safety, took place in the city of Kirkuk and the village Taza, according to an AP report citing Iraqi officials.

“What the Daesh [Arabic derogatory term for IS] terrorist gangs did in the city of Taza will not go unpunished. The perpetrators will pay dearly,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.

Hundreds of wounded are now suffering from chemical burns, suffocation, and dehydration, according to Helmi Hamdi, a Taza-based nurse, who added that eight people had even had to be sent to Baghdad for treatment.

“There is fear and panic among the women and children. They’re calling for the central government to save them,” Adel Hussein, a local official in Taza, said.

Hussein confirmed that German and US forensics teams had arrived in the area to test for the presence of chemical agents.

Sameer Wais, father of three-year-old Fatima Wais, who was killed in the attack, fights for the local Shiite forces. After learning of the tragedy, he ran home and took his daughter to a clinic and then a hospital in Kirkuk.

The girl seemed better the next day, and the family took her home. However, things took a terrible turn in the evening.

“By midnight she started to get worse. Her face puffed up and her eyes bulged. Then she turned black and pieces of her skin started to come off,” Sameer said, as cited by AP.

The girl died early in the morning. Hundreds of people reportedly attended Fatima’s funeral, some showing their discontent with the government and calling on authorities to protect the population from IS attacks.

Fatima’s father said that he was returning to the frontline as soon as possible.

“Now I will fight Daesh more than before, for Fatima.”

Last month, US special forces reportedly detained the head of an IS unit that attempted to develop chemical weapons. The US-led coalition also reportedly began conducting airstrikes and raids on chemical weapons infrastructure two months ago.

The chemicals used by IS so far include chlorine and a low-grade sulfur mustard.

On Friday, when asked how big of a hazard such substances present, US Army Colonel Steve Warren told journalists, “It’s a legitimate threat. It’s not a high threat. We’re not, frankly, losing too much sleep over it.”

The latest attacks come just a few days since Taza was shelled with “poisonous substances,” after which dozens suffered from choking and skin irritation.

Iraq isn’t the only country that Islamic State has attacked with chemical weapons recently. Syrian Kurdish fighters came under a chemical attack by jihadists on Tuesday.

Last month, some 30 Kurdish militia members were injured in a mortar attack that supposedly involved shells armed with chlorine.

Tripoli Endorses Possible Italy-Led Anti-Terrorist Operation in Libya – FM

Tripoli endorses the fact that Italy might take a leading role in the international fight against Daesh terrorist organization in Libya, Foreign Minister of the Tripoli-based General National Congress, Ali Ramadan Abuzaakouk, said Thursday.

ROME (Sputnik) — There are currently two rival governments in Libya: the internationally-recognized Council of Deputies (House of Representatives) based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress (GNC).

“We endorse the fact that Italy might assume the role of international intervention leader in the war against the growing IS forces in Libya,” Abuzaakouk told the Italian Corriere della Sera newspaper.

The foreign minister underscored that it was necessary for Italy to carefully coordinate with the Tripoli government and military forces, to avoid any potential operation changing from a legitimate fight against terrorism into an open violation of Tripoli sovereignty.

In 2011, as civil war broke out in Libya, a multi-state coalition, consisting mostly of NATO members, began a military intervention in the country with the declared aim of establishing an immediate ceasefire.The operation ended with a decisive NATO victory, which led to the escalation of the conflict in the country and the subsequent killing of the country’s long-standing leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Earlier, in December 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said that the issue of an international military operation in Libya was not on the agenda.

According to the newspaper, on February 10, the Italian Council of Ministers allegedly decided to send 50 soldiers to Libya.

 

Besides joint naval drills, Russia and Egypt may hold anti-terrorist exercises — minister

According to Shoigu, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with Egypt has satisfactory positive dynamics in all spheres – aviation, navy, air defense and ground forces

CAIRO, November 24. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt can conduct anti-terrorist exercises besides naval maneuvers, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday at the second meeting of the Russian-Egyptian military-technical cooperation commission.

The Defense Ministry “seeks to further develop relations between the armed forces of Russia and Egypt in all spheres in the interests of our countries’ security,” Shoigu said.

According to him, joint exercises are among the most significant types of military cooperation. We propose to add anti-terrorist exercises to our joint maneuvers, including naval, the minister said.

According to Shoigu, Russia’s military-technical cooperation with Egypt has satisfactory positive dynamics in all spheres – aviation, navy, air defense and ground forces.

“Egypt has been and remains Russia’s strategic partner in North Africa and the Middle East,” the minister said.

“We are determined to continue effective cooperation with Egypt in the political, economic and, of course, military and military-technical spheres,” Shoigu said.

13 Ways Obama Is Ruining America, According to Dick Cheney’s New Memoir

File photo of former US Vice President Cheney speaking about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney

“We are, as a matter of empirical fact and undeniable history, the greatest force for good the world has ever known…the exceptional nation,” writes former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz in their new book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America, out Tuesday. But according to the duo, something is getting in the way of our greatness: President Obama.

“In the seventy years since World War II,” they continue, “no American president has done more damage to our nation’s defenses than Barack Obama.”

Below are 13 instances in which the Cheneys use a book release as an occasion to get worked up, double down and blame Obama.

  1. The Iraq War? Still a good idea.
    As the Cheneys explain it, going to war with Saddam’s Iraq was a no-brainer. It was the most likely place for terrorists to gain access to weapons, and the administration had a heightened obligation after 9/11 to do everything possible to contain terrorists. “Those who say the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a mistake [like Obama],” the Cheneys write, “are essentially saying we would be better off if Saddam Hussein were still in power.”
  2. Obama’s incompetence probably helped ISIS gain power.
    Of more concern to the Cheneys than whether invading Iraq was a mistake is Obama’s withdrawal. “President Obama’s decision not to leave any U.S. forces behind created the space and the conditions for the rebirth of al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS,” they write. “The terrorists President Obama described as the ‘jayvee team’ would soon control more resource and territory than any other terrorist group in history.”
  3. We should definitely not leave Afghanistan again.
    “Though we have seen progress there,” they write, “President Obama’s decision to deploy 25 percent fewer surge forces than his commanders requested, coupled with his decision to withdraw them early to meet a U.S. political timetable, means that there are still safe havens in Afghanistan that will be exploited by America’s enemies if we walk away.” The Cheneys argue that America must reverse direction and maintain its presence in the country until Afghan national security forces are truly able to secure the nation. “Walking away again,” they write, “would be the height of recklessness.”
  4. People should stop picking on the NSA.
    In the aftermath of 9/11, the then director of the National Security Agency asked President Bush for additional intelligence capabilities, to which Bush readily agreed. Despite the controversial revelations that followed—namely, the leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency’s many surveillance programs—the Cheneys still insist Bush “imposed tight conditions” to ensure the programs didn’t violate citizens’ civil liberties. “Those who oppose the program,” they add, “will be accountable for explaining to the American people why they fought to make it more difficult for the United States government to effectively track the communications—and therefore the plans—of terrorists inside the United States.”
  5. The Cheneys aren’t saying Edward Snowden is a Russian spy—but they’re also not not saying that.
    “The ‘reset’ with Russia [has] failed,” the Cheneys write, pointing to “Russian president Vladimir Putin welcom[ing] Edward Snowden to Moscow, [and] granting asylum to the traitor responsible for one of the greatest thefts of American intelligence in history.” They add, “Whether Snowden was a Russian operative at the time he stole the U.S. secrets is the subject of debate, although it is hard to conceive of his landing in Moscow as a coincidence. What is clear is that he is fully Putin’s tool now.”
  6. The U.S. shouldn’t even consider closing Guantanamo.
    As the Obama administration explores closing arguably the most tangible vestige of the Bush administration, the Cheneys strike a familiar note: “The facility at Guantanamo Bay was and remains safe, secure, humane, and necessary.” They continue: “In efforts led by the State Department, some detainees were released during the George W. Bush administration. President Obama has accelerated releases, even though by the time he took office, the detainees left in Guantanamo were the worst of the worst, men whose home countries often refused to take them back.”
  7. Whatever the Senate Intelligence Committee says, enhanced interrogation works.
    In December, 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a long-awaited report assessing the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program. Among its many findings, the report concluded that “ the CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.” But the Cheneys maintain that “it works.” They add: “No moral value held dear by the American people obliges public servants ever to sacrifice innocent lives to spare a captured terrorist from unpleasant things.”
  8. But if you think torture was our policy, it’s all Obama’s fault.
    As the Obama administration fights court rulings ordering the release of thousands of images depicting detainee abuse that go beyond Abu Ghraib in both location and brutality, the Cheneys argue it was actually Obama who made detainee abuse under the Bush administration appear to be policy. “As he issued a call to avoid humiliating terrorists who slaughter innocents, President Obama also perpetuated a falsehood that America’s critics were peddling—that what happened at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad represented official policy, that it had something to do with or was related to America’s enhanced interrogation program.”
  9. Benghazi was an Al-Qaeda attack and Obama lied about it.
    The Cheneys contend that in the middle of an election cycle, especially one in which Obama had been touting the progress made combating Al-Qaeda, the president could not admit there was an Al-Qaeda attack on the anniversary of September 11. Instead, they write, “administration officials misled the American people about what had happened, attempting to cast the attacks as spontaneous uprisings in response to an anti-Islamic Internet video, though there was no evidence of such a claim.”
  10. Syria has been an abject failure, and that too is all Obama’s fault.
    In 2012, Obama drew a red line regarding Syria; the use of chemical weapons would “change [his] calculus.” But the following year, when Syria did cross that line, Obama vacillated and ultimately failed to act. This, the Cheneys argue, irrevocably hurt the reputation of the U.S. It was used as ISIS propaganda, they say, “to convince Syrians that they couldn’t count on the United States.” The actions the Obama administration did take, however, didn’t fare any better. “The $500 million program to train Syrian rebels is a national embarrassment, having produced, according to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, sixty vetted candidates,” the Cheneys write. “America and its allies are not winning.”
  11. Also, the Iran deal will lead to all-out nuclear war, which will also be all Obama’s fault.
    The first problem with Obama’s Iran deal, the Cheneys say, is Obama entered the negotiations apologizing for failing to engage with Iran. “In his view, there wasn’t any moral distinction between the way America and Iran had operated on the world stage,” they write. But the most damaging concession of all, according to the Cheneys, is the administration’s willingness to allow Iran to continue enriching uranium. “Munich led to World War II,” they write. “The Obama agreement will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, and more than likely, the first use of a nuclear weapon since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”
  12. Cyberwarfare threatens to challenge our competitive edge.
    “For the last seventy years, the United States has had no peers in terms of the power of our military,” the Cheneys write. “The advent of cyberwarfare and the technological advances being made by our adversaries threaten to change that. “Referencing breaches like the Office of Personnel Management hack, the Cheneys argue, “we must impose significant costs on China for engaging in cyberespionage and other forms of cyberattack.”
  13. If China overtakes us, it will probably also be Obama’s fault.
    Though the Cheney’s book is filled with the threats America faces, they argue no challenge is greater than the one posed by China. “While we’ve been undertaking massive [military] cuts, China has been building the military forces necessary to become a global power,” they write. “Their defense spending increased more than 12 percent between 2013 and 2014, and with the exception of 2010, has increased every year since 1989 by double digits.” They add, “The misguided cuts being made now will have long-lasting negative effects on the nation.”

France eyes strikes against ISIS in Syria – report

France is considering carrying out strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria, French newspaper Le Monde reported on Saturday citing an anonymous “high-level source.”

President Francois Hollande will give a news conference on Monday to clarify the matter, but government officials are refusing to comment on the report yet.

The issue was allegedly discussed at a defense meeting with the president on Friday, and over the last few days unnamed top officials hinted to the French paper that the decision had been made.

In the coming months, an “informed source” said, reconnaissance missions could be conducted in Syria by the Dassault Mirage 2000 jet fighters based in Jordan.

Currently, France provides advice and arms to what it describes as “moderate” rebels in Syria.

Previously, French leaders ruled out the possibility of participating in the US-led coalition, despite having been the first state to join the US in their attacks on IS in Iraq.

Le Monde added that the change of policy could be caused by Europe’s refugee crisis, and the inability of pushing back Islamic State.

Some 3,000 people were killed in Syria by IS, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ report in June

BOOM! Witness Tells Benghazi Select Committee Chairman to Ask Former U.S. Ambassador To EGYPT Why Stevens Was in Benghazi

Muslim brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and US Ambassador Anne Patterson in Cairo - Archive

Muslim brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie and US Ambassador Anne Patterson in Cairo – Archive

The second House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing took place today. In many ways, it was sadly more uneventful than the first hearing, which took place in September. However, there was ONE MAJOR EXCEPTION and it had to do with a name given by one of the witnesses, who was being questioned by Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

When Asst Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr – who testified at the first hearing – was asked by Gowdy who the Committee needed to get answers from about why Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi, Starr attempted to point Gowdy to the Near East Asia or Near Eastern Affairs (NEA) Bureau. Gowdy told Starr he wanted a name. After suggesting that the individual he was about to identify might not ever speak to him again, Starr invoked the name Anne Patterson, the Assistant Secretary of NEA.

Starr then rightly pointed out that Patterson was the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time of the Benghazi attacks.

The relevant portion of the exchange begins at the 2:45 mark.

As has long been maintained, in the “Ironclad” Report, there is an indisputable Egyptian connection to the Benghazi attacks that political leaders and media have gone out of their way to downplay and avoid.

The admission by Starr that the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt at the time of the Benghazi attacks – who has been despised by Egyptians who demanded the removal of Mohammed Mursi in 2013 – is more than just slightly significant. Evidence of Egyptian involvement in Benghazi, coupled with Patterson’s alleged collaboration with that Muslim Brotherhood government could have serious implications. Hopefully, this admission by Starr will prompt the committee to call Patterson to testify. If that happens, the questions had better be sharper than they were in either the first or second hearing.

If Gowdy really wanted the answer to that question as to why Stevens was in Benghazi, he would depose House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI). In November of last year, Rogers confessed to Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that Stevens met with his committee in the days before his murder. In so doing, Rogers has already tacitly and publicly admitted to knowing more about why Stevens was in Benghazi than Patterson has. Here is the video:

 

As has been reported, if Gowdy is truly interested in a bi-partisan hearing, the deposition of a Republican in Rogers should help him achieve just that.

Noteworthy but less newsworthy was Gowdy’s reference to the ‘smoking gun’ email released by Judicial Watch earlier this year and analyzed. In fact, it was this email that served as the straw that broke the camel’s back and caused Speaker Boehner to name a Select Committee to investigate Benghazi. Gowdy invoked the document prior to the more explosive exchange that culminated with Starr naming Patterson, but referred to it as a “memo” and avoided our discovery that revealed the background of one of the recipients of that email as being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Instead, Gowdy referenced the more commonly referred to second bullet point item, which references Ben Rhodes’ instruction for then UN Ambassador Susan Rice to point to the anti-Muhammad video as the impetus for the attacks. As has been reported, that video likely had more to do with the attacks in Benghazi than conservatives are willing to admit but that’s an argument for another day.

After the first hearing, Chairman Gowdy made a surprise appearance on Fox News Channel’s Special Report with Bret Baier and the Fox News panel. During the panel, Gowdy pledged that future hearings “will be sharper”. Today’s hearing was not. In fact, it was less so.

Again, the second hearing was largely uneventful. Based on Gowdy’s pledge that it not become a “circus”, much of that likely has to do with his desire to tightly control the proceedings and keep tight parameters around the committee members’ line of questioning. Another factor could have to do with the fact that technically, the committee is set to expire at the end of the current session of Congress. Speaker John Boehner must hold a voe in the House to ensure the Committee’s work continues in 2015 and beyond.

A major blunder by one of the members could have conceivably caused problems on that front, especially in light of some reports that Boehner knew much more about what was going on in Benghazi than he is letting on. Giving him a reason to discontinue the Committee would not be advisable.

Nonetheless, it was interesting to consider that the current Inspector General of the State Department was the other witness that testified. His name is Steve A. Linick.

Prior to Linick being confirmed, a man by the name of Harold Geisel served as the Acting Inspector General at State. One of the Benghazi Select Committee members – Rep. Lynn Westmoreland – is all too familiar with this reality. On June 13, 2012, Westmoreland joined Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and four other three other Congressman in signing a letter to Geisel that inquired about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the State Department. Close adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin was named.

Geisel was given exactly 90 days to respond to that letter and never did. As was reported, Westmoreland is the ONLY one of those five Congressmen who sits on the Benghazi Select Committee and who knows the dangers of Muslim Brothehrood infiltration of the State Department.

The Benghazi attacks took place exactly 90 days later. Westmoreland knows this. Yet, he spent the majority of his time in the second Benghazi hearing questioning Starr. Toward the end of his time, Westmoreland questioned Linick but those questions were largely innocuous:

Here is Part 1 of Westmoreland:

Here is Part 2 of Westmoreland:

Of the Republicans on the Committee, Gowdy, Westmoreland and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) are the only ones who demonstrated the bare minimum requirement of knowledge when it comes to understanding the Muslim Brotherhood threat to western civilization. As has been reported, other than Gowdy, Westmoreland and Jordan every other Republican on the Committee voted to arm the Syrian rebels as recently as this past September; this should disqualify all but those three from serving on the Committee.

In a semi-interesting exchange with Sarr, Rep. Jordan asks why the U.S. was in Benghazi and why the U.S. installation was identified by a term that was something completely different from all of the 285 diplomatic facilities across the world. Jordan’s reason for pounding on this had to do with concerns that re-naming the compound could help to prevent it from being required to meet certain standards. One thing to watch out for is how Jordan tweaks Starr’s ego by suggesting that despite having the opportunity to demand a seat at the adult table, Starr chose to remain silent and remain seated at the children’s table.

Starr did not like that.

Here is Part 1:

Here is Part 2:

Here is video of Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL). Again, mildly interesting but not as explosive as is warranted. He also makes reference to the tweaking of Starr’s ego by Jordan:

New evidence Bush misled Americans into Iraq war – senator

The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee has released new information claiming the Bush administration misled the American people in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said on Thursday that a 2003 CIA cable warns the administration of former President George W. Bush against making reference to claims that Mohammad Atta – the leader of the 9/11 hijackers – had met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in the Czech Republic before the attacks.

Levin, who is retiring, maintains that Bush officials used the unconfirmed meeting to link Iraq to 9/11 and Al-Qaeda in order to justify the US invasion in Iraq.

There was a concerted campaign on the part of the Bush administration to connect Iraq in the public mind with the horror of the Sept. 11 attacks. That campaign succeeded,” said Levin, who cited opinion polls from that time showing that many Americans believed former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was involved in the attacks. “Of course, connections between Saddam and 9/11 or Al-Qaida were fiction.”

Levin has called for the full declassification of the Prague CIA cable and has repeatedly called on the directors of the CIA to make it public. Levin said the war in Iraq was the most significant event in his 36 years as a United States senator, and the cable is an important historical record showcasing why the US went to war in Iraq in 2003.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin

On Thursday, he read into the Congressional Record a letter he received from CIA Director John Brennan on March 13, 2014, declassifying for the first time a statement from the cable.

[T]here is not one USG [counterterrorism] or FBI expert that…has said they have evidence or ‘know’ that [Atta] was in indeed [in Prague]. In fact the analysis has been quite the opposite.”

In his speech, Levin referred to an appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney on ‘Meet the Press‘ on December 9, 2001, where Cheney said: “It’s been pretty well confirmed that he (Atta) did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.”

Levin said that, far from “pretty well confirmed,” there was almost no evidence that such a meeting took place, or records to indicate that it had. He said, in fact, that Atta was almost certainly in the United States at the time of the purported meeting in Prague.

Mr. President, those statements were simple not true. We did know. We did know there was no evidence that such a meeting had taken place,” he said. “The Vice President (Dick Cheney) recklessly disregarded the truth, and he did so in a way calculated to maintain support for the administration’s decision to go to war in Iraq.”

Levin said he is bringing up the CIA cable from a decade ago because it is about giving the American people a full account of the march to war as new information becomes available. He said it is about trying to hold leaders who misled the public accountable, and about warning future leaders that they must not commit sons and daughters to battle on the basis of false statements.

Levin said that at the time, the Bush administration campaign was successful in convincing more than half of Americans that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the attacks. He added that in a poll taken six months after the invasion of Iraq, 70 percent of Americans believed it was likely that Hussein was personally involved in the September 11 attacks.

Levin also referred to a memoir published by the former head of the Czech Republic’s counterintelligence, Jiri Ruzek, who wrote: “It is becoming more and more clear that we had not met expectations and not provide the ‘right’ intelligence output…The Americans showed me that anything can be violated, including the rules they themselves taught us.”

Levin said that Director Brennan’s apparent refusal to declassify the cable or ask the Czech government if it objects to the release of the cable “takes on the character of continuing cover-up.”

 

Global terrorism on rise: Fivefold increase in terror-related deaths since 2000

Militant Islamist fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of northern Raqqa province.

Almost 18,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2013, a 61 percent increase from the 2012. Four terrorist groups, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram were responsible for two thirds of all such deaths around the globe.

Almost 18,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2013, a 61 percent increase from the 2012. Four terrorist groups, the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Boko Haram were responsible for two thirds of all such deaths around the globe.

The Global Terrorism Index, produced by the London-based Institute for Economics and Peace, also found that 80 percent of terrorist attack fatalities occurred in only five countries; Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.

Worryingly, the 63 percent increase from 11,133 terrorist deaths in 2012 to 17,958 in 2013 is the biggest year-on-year escalation since records began in 2000. Since the turn of the millennium, the number of deaths due to terrorist activates has increased fivefold, which also coincided with US military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There has also been a sharp increase in the number of terrorist attacks, with almost 10,000 occurring in 2013. However, the report also showed that around 50 percent of terrorist attacks did not claim any lives.

Since 2000, the Taliban has been responsible for the most deaths, 8763, from terror attacks, closely followed by Al-Qaeda with 8585. The Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) and Boko Haram both became more active in 2009, which was the first year that either group killed over 300 people. Based on data up to the end of 2013, these two groups have killed in excess of 3,000 people in four years, half of which was in 2013 alone.

However, things could get even worse next year, as the publication does not include the mass killings carried out by the militant IS, which have been taking place in Iraq and Syria since the summer.

“There is no doubt it is a growing problem. The causes are complex but the four groups responsible for most of the deaths all have their roots in fundamentalist Islam,” said the Institute for Economics and Peace founder Steve Killelea.

“They are particularly angry about the spread of Western education. That makes any attempt at the kind of social mobilizing you need to stop them particularly difficult – it can just antagonize them more,” he said.

The report states that, “The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq. This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent.”

However, despite the US spending tens of billions of dollars on counterterrorism operations, figures produced by the Rand Corporation shows that only seven percent of terrorist groups have been quelled due to military action. The organization says that policing and negotiations are the most successful way of countering terrorist groups, with the two having a combined success rate of 83 percent.

“The majority of terrorist groups ended by joining the political process, or were destroyed by policing and intelligence agencies breaking up the group and either arresting or killing key members. Military force in of itself was rarely responsible for ending terrorist groups,” the report, published in the General Terrorism Index (GTI), stated.

However, terrorist groups are now targeting police and security forces with even greater frequency, thus making it much harder to try and manage the problem, according to Killelea. He added that this can lead to rights abuses against the civilian population, which can sometimes inflame an already-volatile situation even further.

Terrorist incidents have increased significantly in Iraq during 2013 with the number of deaths rising by 162 percent from 2012. Bombings are the tactics almost exclusively used by terrorist groups, with this method accounting for 87 percent of deaths and 97 percent of injuries. Suicide attacks also continue to be used, with a very high cost to human life – an average of over seven deaths per suicide attack.

Since the civil war in Syria started in 2011, there has been amassive increase in terror activity. From 1998 to 2010 there were a combined total of just 27 deaths. However, since the start of unrest to try and topple President Bashar Assad, that number has already jumped to well over a thousand by the end of 2013.

Since 2000, suicide attacks have accounted for 5 percent of deaths in terror activities, while the tactic is most favored by militant group Hamas. The Palestinian organization has carried out 195 attacks, 24 percent of which have been suicide missions. However, their last suicide attack was in 2008, according to data in the report, which also stated that 60 percent of attacks involved explosives, 20 percent firearms and 10 percent through other actions, such as arson or attacks with motor vehicles.

Both Syria and Iraq have witnessed religious struggles between Sunni and Shia Muslims, which has led to an increase in terrorist activity.

“Religion as a driving ideology for terrorism has dramatically increased since 2000. Prior to 2000 nationalist separatist agendas were the biggest drivers of terrorist organizations,” the report adds.

The report also showed that the number of countries which experienced deaths as a result of terrorist attacks had reached a new high of 24 in 2013, up from the previous record of 19 nations in 2008.

Over the past 14 years, five percent of all terrorist deaths have taken place in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The data excludes the September 11 terrorist attacks, but shows that Turkey and Israel have experienced the highest number of deaths.

Although not as frequent as in the Middle East and Africa, OECD countries have experienced some of the heaviest-casualty terrorist attacks, such as the London bombings in July 2005 and the Madrid train bombings in March 2004.

“Terrorism as a tactic of sustained mass destruction on a large scale is mostly ineffective. However, large scale explosions and mass deaths cause large, unpredictable and unintended consequences, whereas individual deaths have much smaller flow-on effects,” the report added.

Although terrorist attacks are constantly in the news, figures show that 40 times more people are murdered around the globe every year, in comparison to those losing their lives as a consequence of terrorist activities.

 

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