From The Religion Of Peace:
Armenian Genocide: 100-Year Anniversary. A Turkish Muslim teases starving Armenians with a piece of bread.
From the BuzzFeed:
The Italian government said Friday it was arresting 18 people accused of working with al-Qaeda to carry out terror attacks on Pope Benedict XVI and the Pakistani government.
Some of those arrested allegedly boasted that they were Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguards, the Associated Press reported.
“In a wiretapped conversation, one of them…boasted that Bin Laden sent him personally to Italy,” investigator Mario Carta said. “We believe they were in touch with people who knew the whereabouts of bin Laden, to the point that they would frequently ask over the phone about his health while he was in hiding.”The group allegedly planned one 2010 attack on Pope Benedict while he was at the Vatican, but didn’t carry it out, NBC reported. They also planned to topple the Pakistani government.
From The Guardian:
A man arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks in the Paris area has been charged with murder and attempted murder as well as having links with a terrorist organisation.
Sid Ahmed Ghlam was taken into custody by police on Sunday after he called an ambulance having apparently shot himself in the leg. Investigators believe he was planning an “imminent” attack in Paris or the city’s suburbs.
Investigators found an arsenal of weapons in his car, which was parked nearby, and at his student accommodation. The arms cache included several Kalashnikovs, a police-issue pistol, reported stolen, and a number of bullet-proof vests. There were also police armbands and a blue flashing light.
Documents found at his home and in a search of his computer and telephone, suggested Ghlam was in contact with a French speaker in Syria who had ordered him to carry out an attack on a church.
The 24-year-old computer student born in Algeria, was also mise en examen (put under investigation) – the equivalent of being charged – for the murder of a 32-year-old woman, who was found in the passenger seat of her own burning car on Sunday.
Dance instructor Aurélie Châtelain, a mother of one, who had just attended a Pilates class, died after she was shot three times in the head, in what police believe may have been an attempt by Ghlam to hijack her car.
After five days of questioning, Ghlam, who is still in hospital, was formally charged on Friday with “murder, attempted murder, association with criminals with a view to commit crimes against people” and for other infractions “connected to a terrorist organisation”.
The charges carry a life sentence, meaning a minimum of 18 years in prison and a maximum €225,000 (£161,000) fine.
rench secret services said Ghlam was on their radar, having publicly expressed his wish to travel to Syria to fight with jihadists. He was reported to have travelled to Turkey in February and was arrested and cautioned by police on his return. However, the French authorities say there was nothing to suggest he was a serious threat.
François Molins, the Paris public prosecutor, said Ghlam had expressed “fantasist” explanations after his arrest, then refused to speak.
An officer close to the police inquiry said the student had shown “a strange attitude”.
“Something between wanting to speak, but motivated by something forcing him to say nothing”, the source told AFP.
Police are still searching for possible accomplices. A 25-year-old woman, described as a burka-wearing French convert to Islam who claimed to be Ghlam’s girlfriend was released from police custody on Friday. However, investigators say the pair sent “encrypted messages” suggesting she knew about the planned attacks.
Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, said French intelligence services had foiled at least five planned terrorist attacks in France since the series of Islamist assaults in January that began at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper and left 17 dead in three days of bloodshed.
From The Independent:
I challenge you to come up with a selection of sillier statements about the soon-to-be-former-Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
An election court today found that Rahman had "driven a coach and horses" through local authority law and "engaged in corrupt and illegal practices" to win elections. According to the Court, which ruled on a case brought against the Mayor for ballot-rigging, intimidation and racism in the electoral campaign of 2014, rather than being a "democratic success story", Rahman trashed the electoral process in a "ruthless and dishonest manner". To make matters worse the Mayor silenced critics using spurious accusations of Islamophobia and racism.
Those of us who have lived in Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets in recent years had a fair idea that something wasn’t right. An atmosphere of menace and intimidation prevailed at council meetings and a cult of personality was thrown up around Rahman himself, with posters carrying the Mayor’s face (and little else) increasingly ubiquitous in the borough. Extremist preachers were invited to speak in council chambers and council grants were directed away from secular organisations in favour of groups which mainly served the Bangladeshi and Muslim communities...
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Attorneys for four Minnesota men accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group questioned the government's use of a paid informant, and argued Thursday that the case against their clients is slim...
From the NY Post:
The unrepentant bastard has pure contempt for America. Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev flipped the bird to a jailhouse security camera in a damning video played for jurors yesterday in the death penalty phase of his terror trial.
Prosectors say the image clearly shows the 21-year-old is a remorseless killer who deserves to die for the 2013 attack, in which he and his late brother, Tamerlan, killed three people and maimed 260 others at the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line before blowing away a campus cop.
“This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini told jurors after showing them the image. “Unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged.” The federal prosecutors on Tuesday introduced only a single frame grab from the surveillance tape, showing Tsarnaev giving the middle finger to a camera in his holding cell on July 10, 2013 at US Federal District Court in Boston. “He’s simply callous and indifferent to human life,” she emphasized to the jurors, who will decide whether the bomber is put to death or spends the rest of his life behind bars.
“It’s his character that makes the death penalty appropriate and just.” The display of disdain by the now-convicted terrorist was so powerful, his defense went to desperate lengths Wednesday to dampen its effects, asking that the entire video be played...
From Business Insider:
A former physics teacher from Mosul has been installed as a new temporary leader for the terror group Islamic State after its leader was reportedly injured in an air strike in March, an Iraqi government adviser told Newsweek.
Newsweek describes Abu Alaa Afri as a "rising star" within Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), and the Iraqi government adviser, Hisham al Hashimi, said he has become even more important that the injured "caliph" of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "More important, and smarter, and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and strong charisma," Hashimi told Newsweek.
"All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration." Afri will reportedly become ISIS's new permanent leader if Baghdadi dies, according to Hashimi. He is reportedly a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri, a prominent jihadi scholar, and used to teach physics in the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.
Having a caliph with a background of religious education is important to ISIS, which has shaped its self-proclaimed "caliphate" around a strict interpretation of sharia law. The group recruits people to come live in its territory in Iraq and Syria by marketing it as an Islamic utopia.
Der Spiegel reported recently that early leaders of ISIS, many of whom are former Iraqi intelligence officers from ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, decided to make Baghdadi caliph because he, as an "educated cleric" who "would give the group a religious face." Afri reportedly became Baghdadi's right-hand man after Baghdadi took a step back from decision-making for security reasons, Newsweek reports.
He has served as a link between ISIS's top leaders and its lower ranks and helps with coordination between the upper ranks and the emirs in different regional provinces. Osama bin Laden reportedly tapped Afri to run Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS's predecessor, after the death of senior officials in 2010, according to Newsweek.
Afri became a senior member of the group and was known to be "very strict," Hashimi said. Newsweek reports that Afri is thought to desire reconciliation with Al Qaeda and its affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front, a chief rival of ISIS in Syria. ISIS used to be aligned with Al Qaeda until Al Qaeda leadership denounced ISIS after the group defied its directives and continued releasing brutal propaganda.
The two terror groups have been competing for territory in Syria since then, and Western air strikes targeting ISIS in Syria have hurt that group while allowing Nusra to rise, the Associated Press reported last month...