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The Battle for Syria

Syrian Forces Seize More Rebel-Held Districts In Aleppo As Assault Gains Momentum

November 30th 2016

Syria fighting injured baby

Syrian government forces seized full control of northeast Aleppo on Monday, overrunning a third of what remained of the rebel enclave and sending thousands of civilians into panicked flight.

The area’s recapture brings President Bashar al-Assad’s troops closer than ever to realizing their biggest victory of the five-year-old civil war: retaking full control of what was once Syria’s commercial capital.

The reconquered neighborhoods in Aleppo had been among the first to throw off government control in 2012. On Nov. 15, government forces launched a final push to take them back, supported by Russian warplanes and Iranian-backed troops. Read more ..


The US and China

China vs America-- Competing Economic Superpowers

November 29th 2016

Bank of China

Depending on how one crunches the numbers, China’s economy has either already surpassed, in size, that of the United States, or will do so in a within a couple of years.  According to data from the World Bank, it is the former, China’s nominal GDP was $19.3 trillion in 2015, while U.S. GDP came in at $17.9 trillion.  One difficulty in comparing national economies is calculating each country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in a common currency—usually in U.S. dollars.  A second is adjusting the GDP numbers to take into account purchasing power parity (PPP).

Whether or not China’s economy is larger than the U.S., the former’s economic growth over the past three decades is nothing if not incredible.  In turn, it has created some angst among Americans.  Mike Patton writes in Forbes:  “China’s economy will become more significant than America’s.  How is this possible?  Is the golden era of “Made in America” in our rearview mirror?  Is China entering a modern-day economic dynasty?”  Based solely on the dollar size of GDP, yes China is projected to far surpass the U.S. in the coming years. Read more ..


Obama and Israel

Bolton Warns Obama on Israel Action at UN

November 22nd 2016

Obama and Israel

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton warned Sunday that President Obama should not take any actions before leaving office that could hurt Israel at the U.N.

Bolton said during an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis that there is "a lot of speculation over in Turtle Bay at U.N. headquarters about resolutions that recognize a Palestinian state or that try and set a boundary for Israel based on the 1967 ceasefire lines."

"I think that’d be very inadvisable for the president to do that," he said. Obama said during his final speech as president at the U.N. General Assembly that Israel would be in a better position if it did not “permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land" and Palestinians would be better off if they were to “reject incitement," according to the Jerusalem Post.

Read more ..

The Trump Era

Obamacare’s Days May be Numbered

November 12th 2016

Medical bag

Obamacare’s days may be numbered. The Affordable Care Act has survived dozens of recall attempts by the House of Representatives and two challenges brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.  But with a Donald Trump presidency and a new Republican-led House and Senate, the bill—or at least certain key provisions—is almost certainly headed for the chopping block.

The question now is what provisions may survive and when the death knell of the others will sound.

President-elect Trump campaigned on repealing the law and its requirement for Americans to carry health insurance. Trump says the private market should step in with the sale of insurance plans across state lines to help drive down costs through competition. He has said he will dismantle Medicaid and transform it into a system of state grants to provide assistance for low-income residents.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

WikiLeaks: Julian Assange Reveals 'Most Significant' of Hillary Clinton's Emails Politics

November 6th 2016

Hillary Clinton

In a far-ranging interview with Australian journalist John Pilger, open-government activist Julian Assange spoke of revelations not only about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising among foreign nations for the Clinton Foundation, but also linkage to funding for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks hacking organization, claimed that there is a broad conspiracy to obstruct Donald Trump’s candidacy. Broadcast on Russian state television, Assange was asked by journalist John Pilger to comment on the significance of the reopening of the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.
Assange started the conversation by denying that WikiLeaks has anything to do with the Russian security apparatus, as asserted by the Obama administration and trumpeted by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign has sought to link Russia and the embarrassing hacked emails to Donald Trump as well. 
Read more ..

The Battle for Iraq

Mosul Embattled Again 100 Years After Lunge for Oil

November 3rd 2016

Oil fields near Ramadi

Mosul is dominating news headlines worldwide. Daesh is making its last stand in the Iraqi city as an international coalition moves in to expel them. 

But this is not the first time Mosul is at the centre of a global struggle. A 100 years ago, Britain, France, Germany, Turkey, the United States and Russia were trying to make their mark on the city. 

The reason: oil. 

Here is a brief account of what was happening around Mosul a century ago. But at that time Mosul was the name used to represent a larger region in north-west Iraq. 

Spoils of War

Not a hole had been drilled and not a barrel pumped out in 1916 but oil was what everyone wanted.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

E-Voting Refuses to Die Even Though It's Neither Secure nor Secret

November 2nd 2016

Vote Buttons

In theory, using the internet or e-mail to vote for the U.S. president sounds like a good idea. It would be easier than rushing to the nearest polling station before or after work, and it might pull in notoriously apathetic younger voters already living most of their lives via screens. But in reality these online channels have proved to be terribly insecure, plagued by cyber attacks and malicious software able to penetrate supposedly well-protected financial, medical and even military systems.

Such security concerns are the most frequent and convincing arguments against online voting—there is no way to fully secure e-voting systems from cyber attack. Online voting systems are also expensive and often require voters to waive their right to a secret ballot.

Still, at least 31 states and the District of Columbia do let military and expatriate voters use the internet to submit marked ballots via e-mailed attachments, fax software or a Web portal according to Verified Voting, a nonprofit organization that studies the security of electronic voting systems. Twenty-one of those states and D.C. let voters e-mail or fax in their ballots, and another five states allow some people to cast their votes via special Web sites. “You can make voting more secret with a Web site because there is no e-mail address to trace a vote back to but the information about a person’s vote and their voter ID number are still out there on a server,” says Jeremy Epstein, a senior computer scientist at nonprofit research organization SRI International. Read more ..


Vote 2016

Clinton Emails -- A Dark Sampling

October 28th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Most Americans know very little about the leaked Clinton emails.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Major news organizations buried the most damaging. So we’re sharing some with you.

The FBI and State Department used the term “quid pro quo” in secret negotiations to alter the Clinton investigation in exchange for more embassy assignments.

The campaign strategized on political contributions from lobbyists of foreign governments.

The term “pay-to-play” was used in selling ambassadorships to donors.

The New York Times coordinated its criticism of Trump with Clinton officials.

The campaign chair [John Podesta] was disappointed the San Bernardino terrorist was Muslim and not a white guy.

[A lobbyist offered $5,000 in return for a White House meeting.

Staffers consider Chelsea “a spoiled brat kid.”]

Chelsea used charity money in her for-profit business.

Obama used Clinton’s private email while claiming he didn’t know about it.

Staff mocked Catholics, evangelicals, Bernie Sanders voters and Hispanics. And called southern states the “confederacy.” Read more ..


Vote 2016

Concern Grows Over Soros-Linked Voting Machines

October 25th 2016

Voting Booth

Concern is growing over revelations that voting machines in a significant number of states could be linked to a company tied directly to billionaire leftist George Soros and his personal quest to create a nationless, borderless global state.

The U.K.-based Smartmatic company posted a flow-chart on its website that it had provided voting machines for 16 states, including important battleground states like Florida and Arizona. Smartmatic Chairman Mark Malloch-Brown is a former U.N. official and sits on the board of Soros’ Open Society Foundations. Since the story first broke, the flow-chart has disappeared from Smartmatic’s website, raising further questions about the real status of the Soros-tied voting equipment and whether it is truly being deployed in U.S. elections. Read more ..


Cybersecurity

What We Know About That Massive Internet Outage

October 23rd 2016

Fiber Optics

Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ WIRED.com. For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard.

This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it. Read more ..


After the Holocaust

Glenn Oswald and Cheryl Guyer Remain Silent on Detroit Museum Future

October 20th 2016

Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center

Cheryl Guyer, interim director of Detroit's Holocaust Memorial Center, and the museum's outside publicist Glenn Oswald, have both maintained silence about the beloved museum's future, this despite global attention focussed on the institution's plan for a so-called "new direction."

 

Guyer also functions as fundraiser for the museum. Oswald also serves in the Marx Layne public relations firm.

 

Despite eight phone and email requests for comment over a period of days, neither Oswald or Guyer have responded. The unusual silence comes in the wake of an article about the museum and its unclear future that was syndicated to numerous newspapers here and abroad, including the Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, History Network News, Spero Forum, The Cutting Edge News, the Algemeiner and other leading Jewish and non-Jewish publications.

Read more ..

Vote 2016

Coordinated Voter Fraud Revealed by James O'Keefe video

October 19th 2016

Hilary Clinton

Activist videographer James O’Keefe released today the second video in a series that has already made explosive allegations about the Democratic National Committee and its involvement with leftist organizations that have fomented rioting and disturbances at rallies for Donald Trump this year. In the video, operatives for the Democrats reveal how to commit voter fraud in an effort to win the presidency for Hillary Clinton. The first video had more than 2.6 million views on YouTube as press time.
 
 
In one segment, leftist Scott Foval admits that the Democrats have been rigging elections for the last fifty years through the liberal application of cash. He also described how Democrats bused people across state lines to cast their ballots in a rigged election in Iowa. Undercover journalists for Project Veritas Action caught Scott Foval, the National Field Director for Americans United for Change, saying, “we’ve been bussing people in to deal with you fuckin’ assholes [Republicans] for fifty years and we’re not going to stop now, we’re just going to find a different way to do it.” An operative for the Democratic National Committee, he admitted that he is “no white knight” while saying Democrats have rigged elections for years.
 
Foval explained how he and his associates avoid detection. One of the undercover reporters asks why they cannot simply “bus in” voters, but get them to use their own personal vehicles. Foval describes how they avoid being detected and free of criminal charges. “Would they charge each individual of voter fraud? Or are they going to go after the facilitator for conspiracy, which they could prove? It’s one thing if all these people drive up in their personal cars. If there’s a bus involved? That changes the dynamic.”
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Podesta Leaks: The Obama-Clinton E-mails

October 16th 2016

Obama downcast

Among the most noteworthy of the hacked e-mails from John Podesta’s accounts is an exchange in which Podesta consults Clinton consigliere Cheryl Mills about the private e-mail exchanges between President Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
 
As readers may recall, I have long maintained (see here and here) that the principal reason why Mrs. Clinton was not prosecuted, despite a mountain of evidence that she committed felony mishandling of classified information, is the fact that Obama engaged in the same kind of misconduct. The president’s use of a private, non-secure channel to discuss sensitive matters with high level officials may not have been systematic, as Mrs. Clinton’s was. (Obama’s disturbing use of an alias, however, suggests that Clinton was not the only one he was privately e-mailing.) Nevertheless, the fact that the president was e-mailing Clinton means he not only participated in her misconduct but also that the Obama-Clinton e-mails would have been admissible evidence in any criminal trial of Clinton.
Read more ..

Edge of Cybersecurity

After Claiming Cyberattack is Russian, the Most Likely Response Is Non-Cyber

October 15th 2016

Cyber Warfare

Almost four months after the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike claimed that two Russian hacker groups were behind the theft of data from computers at the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations, the U.S. government has publicly attributed the attacks to Russia. In a joint statement from the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community declared that it was “confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.” According to the statement, the hack was not the work of an individual calling himself Guccifer 2.0 or a 400 pound hacker sitting on a bed, but was: intended to interfere with the U.S. elections; consistent with other Russian efforts to influence public opinion in Europe and Eurasia; and was likely to have been authorized at the highest levels of the Russian government. Read more ..


The Edge of Health

The Next Zikas

October 13th 2016

mosquito biting

Disease detectives are on the lookout for obscure viruses that can be spread among people by traveling insects, and quickly become a widespread problem. Scientific papers are filled with illnesses to watch. Four particular viruses now stand out to virologists and epidemiologists, although it is not certain any of the ailments will become the next Zika or West Nile virus. But researchers give several reasons to keep a close eye on this quartet:

 

MAYARO

“For 10 years now I’ve been thinking that Mayaro is right on the cusp of being able to amplify in humans and being transmitted efficiently by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes,” says Scott Weaver, a virologist  at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Mayaro causes a disease that is clinically indistinguishable from the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus: fever, chills, rash and the characteristic joint pain that can last longer than a year. It does matter, though, which of these viruses circulates in your body. Once there are vaccines against Mayaro and chikungunya, and drugs to treat them (so far there are none), they will likely be virus-specific.

Read more ..

Financing the Flames

Britain Suspends Millions Of Aid Payments To Palestine Over Terrorist Salaries

October 10th 2016

British-pounds

BRITAIN is suspending millions of pounds-worth of aid payments to the Palestinian Authority amid staggering claims taxpayers cash is ending up in the hands of terrorists.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel has ordered a freeze pending an investigation. Priti Patel has ordered a freeze on Palestinian aid pending an investigation

Earlier this summer furious MPs demanded action after revelations UK aid supposedly paying for civil servants in Gaza was being transferred to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

One Hamas master bomber was alleged to have been given £100,000 by the PLO.

Other ‘salaries’ is said to have gone to families of suicide bombers and teenagers attacking Israel. Read more ..


The Edge of warfare

Future World War: Intensely Lethal, No borders

October 5th 2016

Cyber Warfare

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said recently that the world will soon witness a ground-shaking change in the conduct of warfare on the ground. It is a revolution that is about ten years away, while the Army is preparing to confront the modernized war machines of China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia. “We are on the cusp of a fundamental change in the character of ground warfare,” said Milley, who expects to see warfare that “is going to be intensely lethal, the likes of which the United States Army, the United States military, has not experienced…since World War II.”
 
There will be war, unlike our fathers’ and grandfathers’ war. Long-range weapons, said Milley, will be used to destroy large, obvious targets (such as the Pentagon itself) and force all sides to break down into smaller units that can operate independently and without anything looking like a frontline, as was the case during the World Wars of the last century. Jamming and hacking, electronic and cyber warfare, will disrupt communications and logistics will disrupt the command structure and force more junior commanders to show initiative as never before.
Read more ..

Vote 2016

Discovery: Battleground State Hides Illegal Alien Voters

October 4th 2016

Vote Buttons

Virginia, a key battleground state in the coming presidential election, has at least 1,046 illegal alien voters registered to go to the polls this November. These illegally registered voters are found in eight different districts in Virginia. Even while it is a felony to commit fraud in voter registration, there is no requirement for positive identification or proof of citizenship.

Virginia joins other states where the integrity of the voting process has been brought into question. A recent study by the Public Interest Foundation (PILF), in cooperation with Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), suggests that as many as 1,046 illegal alien voters may be registered to vote in as many as six voting districts among the 833 in the Old Dominion state. Entitled “Alien Invasion in Virginia,” the study has led the president of the watchdog group to conclude that Virginia officials are unconcerned by the number of ineligible foreigners who are registered to vote. J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Foundation, also suggested that Virginia officials are actually covering up the practice. Read more ..


Significant Lives

Israel Mourns Loss of Shimon Peres

September 28th 2016

Shimon Peres

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife expressed their condolences early Wednesday morning at the passing of Israel’s ninth president and internationally cherished diplomat emeritus Shimon Peres. Few are the people in Israel's history who have done as much for the state and the Jewish people as Shimon Peres, Netanyahu said in a statement released just before a special cabinet meeting he is convening to honor the former president. “Like all the citizens of Israel, the whole Jewish people, and many in the world, I bow my head in memory of our beloved Shimon Peres,” he said in a statement.

Peres, who dedicated his life to Israel's independence, was a visionary who looked to the future, Netanyahu said. But he was also a man for whom security was utmost in his mind, and who buttressed the country's security capacities in many ways, some of which are still not publicly known to this day.

Read more ..

The Toxic Edge

Deadly Pathogens Repeatedly Dispatched By U.S. Labs To Unsecure Sites

September 27th 2016

Worker contemplates nuclear waste

Public, academic and private laboratories that work with deadly diseases have mistakenly transferred highly contagious viruses and bacteria to unsecure locations at least twenty-one times in the past 13 years, a frequency more than double what the officials overseeing such work previously said their data showed, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

In each case, the scientists and officials involved wrongly concluded that the deadly pathogens had been inactivated and thus were safe to transport elsewhere. One of the incidents, involving mistaken shipments by a Defense Department laboratory of live anthrax bacteria, attracted wide notice in 2015. But the GAO report said key government agencies have been slow to fix managerial and policy lapses that contributed to that event and might provoke additional errors.

Read more ..

After the Holocaust

Detroit Holocaust Museum Enters New Phase -- Cheryl Guyer Stays Strangely Mum

September 23rd 2016

Detroit Holocaust Memorial Center

Of the many local and regional Holocaust memorials and museums scattered across America, one stands out among the best: The Holocaust Memorial Center in suburban Detroit. For me, the legacy and future of the institution is personal.

 

Correctly billed as America’s “first Holocaust museum,” the Detroit enterprise was conceived fourteen years before the dominant United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. was even commissioned by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. The Detroit museum opened its original doors at its first location in suburban West Bloomfield, Michigan in 1984. Subsequently, the Washington D.C. museum opened its doors in 1993. Read more ..


Israeli and Palestinians

A Palestinian State Free of Jews?

September 23rd 2016

Shomron

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provoked a storm of diplomatic disapproval last week, when he pointed out that “the Palestinian Authority actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews.” The Obama Administration responded that it is “inappropriate” to speak of demands for a removal of settlers in such terms. Removing the settlers, Netanyahu’s critics say, is natural and appropriate: their presence in a Palestinian state would cause tension and problems, and in any case, they should not have been there in the first place.

While it is not surprising that the head of the U.N. was unhappy with Netanyahu’s remarks, the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, also joined in. But neither actually addressed the central issue that Netanyahu raised: why it is legitimate for the Palestinians to ask for a Jew-free state? Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

The New York Bomber Was Not a Lone Wolf

September 22nd 2016

NYPD and flag

It was no surprise that in the first hours after the New York and New Jersey bombing attacks, the culprit was widely suggested to be a “lone wolf.” The term, used to describe an individual inspired by others but acting on his or her own, has become the counterterrorism metaphor-of-choice in the age of the Islamic State.

It’s time, however, to put the lone-wolf metaphor, and its associated counterterrorism analysis, out to pasture. According to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, we now live in a world where terrorism is “carried out by those who live among us in the homeland and self-radicalize, inspired by terrorist propaganda on the internet.”But if that diagnosis isn’t wrong, it is incomplete. The New York bomber may have been “self-radicalized,” but it’s very unlikely he was merely “inspired” by terrorist groups. Read more ..


North Korea's Nukes

U.S. Nuclear Deterrent to North Korea

September 21st 2016

Kim Jong Un

Can the United States provide sufficient help to offset the growing North Korean and Chinese threat to the independence and security of South Korea and Japan? It can. It should put Pershing missiles in both countries.

How should the U.S. respond to North Korea?  Thus far the U.S. response has had little or no effect on the North Korean drive to test nuclear weapons, work on miniaturization of warheads, launch ballistic missiles in the Sea of Japan and move forward on a submarine-launched ballistic missile threat.

The U.S. has shown some determination by flying B-1B nuclear bombers over South Korea.  But they departed almost as soon as they arrived, and while a point was made it had no impact on North Korea’s programs.  Read more ..


The Caliphate

The Balkan’s ISIS Training Grounds

September 18th 2016

ISIS Group with Flags

The individuals involved with the January and the November 2015 attacks in Paris, the June 2016 attack at Atatűrk International Airport in Istanbul, and the July 2016 Ansbach suicide-bombing in Germany had one thing in common; all spent time in or transited through the Balkans in the preceding period.

None of this is surprising. Already in May 2007, an American observer of Balkan Islam had noted that “a visitor to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia encountered unmistakable evidence that extremist intruders are opening a Balkan front in the global jihad.”  In January 2010 Israeli officials warned that the Balkan region “is global jihad’s next destination for creating an infrastructure and recruiting activists.”

Read more ..

The Caliphate

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani & Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed

September 5th 2016

ISIS Army

The Islamic State (IS) has recently announced the death of its official spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, first via its auxiliary outlet Amaq News and then through an official posting under Wilayat Halab (‘Aleppo Province’). It seems most likely that he was killed in a U.S. strike on the al-Bab area in north Aleppo, the last remaining stronghold in the area amid rebel advances along the border with Turkey. Thus, it is unsurprising that the announcements of his death mention he was ‘inspecting’ IS military operations in Aleppo. It is also of note that the Wilayat Halab posting describes Adnani as a Husseini (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad’s household) and Qurashi (of the Quraysh tribe to which the Prophet belonged). Read more ..


The Edge of Space

Earth-like and Nearby

August 26th 2016

New Earth Sized Planets

It was just over 20 years ago—a blink of a cosmic eye—that astronomers found the first planets orbiting stars other than our sun. All these new worlds were gas-shrouded giants like Jupiter or Saturn and utterly inhospitable to life as we know it. But for years each discovery was dutifully reported as front-page news, while scientists and the public alike dreamed of a day when we would find a habitable world. An Earth-like place with plentiful surface water, neither frozen nor vaporized but in the liquid state so essential to life. Back then the safe bet was to guess that the discovery of such a planet would only come after many decades, and that when a promising new world’s misty shores materialized on the other side of our telescopes, it would prove too faraway and faint to study in any detail.

Evidently the safe bet was wrong. On Wednesday astronomers made the kind of announcement that can only occur once in human history: the discovery of the nearest potentially habitable world beyond our solar system. This world may be rocky like ours and whirls in a temperate orbit around the sun’s closest stellar neighbor, the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri just over four light-years away. Their findings are reported in a study in Nature. Read more ..


Jewry on Edge

Grass Roots Jewish Organizations Roar

August 17th 2016

Edwin Black

Richard Allen is not a careful, polished Jewish communal leader with a seasoned staff operating from a mid-town Manhattan office, ensconced behind a stylized logo, fortified by tax-exempt donations and burnished advisors. Allen is a private businessman. He wields his entire “organization” from a computer in his office and, not infrequently, from a phone in his pocket. One moment he can be alone with his message, staring at his device screen with no one peering over his shoulder or blue-lining his message. Then, an instant later—from his office, from his home, from a sidewalk in New York City— he hits the SEND button.

 

Instantly, he is no longer alone. Like an excitated neutron firing on a neural network, he is connected to 10,000 recipients who believe that he is a one-man crusade for Jewish issues, especially where establishment Jewish organizations have, from their perspective, failed to do the right thing. Those 10,000 recipients repeat, re-fire, and forward Allen’s calls-to-arms throughout their overlapping networks. Social media lights start blinking. Within minutes, a community of like-minded believers is mobilized against what they perceive as threats to Jewish and Israeli interests. Read more ..


Israel on Edge

Towards a Third Lebanon War

August 10th 2016

Military observers

Anyone travelling this summer through the northern part of Israel or, more specifically along the northern border, will see another, different border. The sun beats down hard when you drive along the border, but if you listen to the assessments of senior IDF officers, this summer will only be hot because of the temperatures. This time, Hezbollah will try to avoid engaging in a confrontation with Israel. Every warfighter, officer and reservist reporting to the Lebanese border memorizes the following axiom from the very first second: the beautiful green scenery around here is misleading. It can change from heaven into hell in the blink of an eye. The only question is in whose shift will evil arrive and the Lebanon border will become the focal point of a war the likes of which the Israeli rear area never experienced.
Read more ..

The Edge of Sport

Magic Blood and Carbon-Fiber Legs at the Brave New Olympics

August 8th 2016

African soccer

I knew Eero Mäntyranta had magic blood, but I hadn’t expected to see it in his face. I had tracked him down above the Arctic Circle in Finland where he was—what else?—a reindeer farmer.

He was all red. Not just the crimson sweater with knitted reindeer crossing his belly, but his actual skin. It was cardinal dappled with violet, his nose a bulbous purple plum. In the pictures I’d seen of him in Sports Illustrated in the 1960s—when he’d won three Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing—he was still white. But now, as an older man, his special blood had turned him red.

Mäntyranta, who passed away in late 2013, had a rare gene mutation that spurred his bone marrow to wildly overproduce red blood cells. Red cells convey oxygen to the muscles and the more you have, the better your endurance. That’s why some endurance athletes—most prominently Lance Armstrong—inject erythropoietin (EPO), the hormone that cues your bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Mäntyranta had about 50 percent more red blood cells than a normal man. If Armstrong had as many red blood cells as Mäntyranta, cycling rules would have barred him from even starting a race, unless he could prove it was a natural condition.

Read more ..

The Race for Autonomous Cars

Car Hacking Remains a Viable Threat

August 4th 2016

new cars close up

In last year’s hack, which led to Chrysler’s recall for 1.4 million vehicles, Miller and Valasek focused on pulling off “wireless attack” on the Jeep.

The two at that time exploited a Harman “head unit,” which offers a Wi-Fi hot spot — in a 2014 Jeep Cherokee — to get into the vehicle’s network. Later the hackers invaded the car through its cellular connection, via Sprint’s wireless network.

This year, the security experts turned their attention to injecting rogue messages into a vehicle’s CAN bus, which resulted in a full-speed attack on the Jeep’s steering and acceleration.

Instead of getting into the guts of a car wirelessly, Miller and Valasek this year used a laptop directly plugged into the Jeep’s CAN network through a port under its dashboard. They confirmed that they used the patched Jeep for this hacking. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Internal Dissent in Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed?

August 2nd 2016

ISIS on the Street

Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed (The Army of Khalid ibn al-Waleed)- named for a companion of the Prophet who helped secure the Muslim conquest of the Levant through the crucial Battle of Yarmouk- is a group linked to the Islamic State (IS) based in the Yarmouk Valley/Basin (Wadi/Hawdh al-Yarmouk) of southwest Deraa province on the border with the Golan Heights. The group was formed in late May 2016 from the following components:

. Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmouk (the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade: LSY)- the main component of Jaysh Khalid ibn al-Waleed. Once aligned with the Western-backed Southern Front, it first established connections with IS around summer 2014 and began overtly displaying affinities with IS after heavy clashes with Jabhat al-Nusra in December 2014, which accused LSY at the time of being aligned with IS even as observers were widely sceptical.

Read more ..

Turkey on Edge

Coup Attempt in Turkey: A Feast of Pretexts

July 24th 2016

Turkish military parade with flags

Everything looked surreal in Turkey; soldiers inviting the head of the police anti-terror squad for a "meeting" only to shoot him in the head; top brass, including the chief of the military general staff, air force commander, land forces commander and gendarmerie commander, being taken hostage by their own aide-de-camps; then people taking to the streets in their thousands to resist the coup d'état, taking over tanks, getting killed, soldiers opening fire at the civilians, and finally the victorious pro-Erdogan people lynching coup-staging soldiers wherever they could grab them.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his formerly staunchest political ally, a Muslim cleric in exile in the United States, Fethullah Gulen, and his loyalists within the military. Appearing before a crowd of party fans, Erdogan pleaded to Washington for "the terrorist" Gulen's extradition. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

A Kurdish Moment?

July 5th 2016

ISIS Battle Position

Before the so-called Islamic State emerged in the Middle East, not too many had heard of the Kurds. Commonly referred to as “the world’s largest nation without a state” following World War I, international actors skipped over the Kurds when awarding statehood to various actors in the region. As a result, the group was left at the mercy of strong and antagonistic central governments in Ankara, Baghdad, Damascus, and Tehran. As a minority, they remained isolated from international actors, who feared provoking irredentism.

Since the emergence of IS, however, many in the West have become convinced that openly supporting, and even arming, the Kurds in Iraq and Syria is one of the best ways to combat the Salafi-jihadist group. IS has presented the Kurds with their opportunity to solidify their relations with international actors and increase their autonomy en route to their treasured status of independence. Read more ..


Farhud 75

When Iraq Expelled Its Jews to Israel -- The Inside Story

June 4th 2016

Edwin Black

After Hitler's defeat in May 1945, many Nazis melted away from the Reich, smuggled out by such organizations as the infamous Odessa group and the lesser-known Catholic lay network Intermarium, as well as the CIA and KGB. They ensured the continuation of the Nazi legacy in the postwar Arab world.

Egypt was a prime destination for German Nazi relocation in the Arab world. Dr. Aribert Heim was notoriously known as "Dr. Death" for his grotesque pseudo-medical experiments on Jewish prisoners in the Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald, and Mauthausen concentration camps. He was fond of surgical procedures including organ removals without anesthesia, injecting gasoline into prisoners to observe the manner of death, and decapitating Jews with healthy teeth so he could cook the skulls clean to make desk decorations. Dr. Heim converted to Islam and became "Uncle Tarek" Hussein Farid in Cairo, Egypt, where he lived a happy life as a medical doctor for the Egyptian police.

 

Two of Goebbels's Nazi propagandists, Alfred Zingler and Dr. Johann von Leers, became Mahmoud Saleh and Omar Amin respectively, working in the Egyptian Information Department. In 1955, Zingler and von Leers helped establish the virulently anti-Semitic Institute for the Study of Zionism in Cairo. Hans Appler, another Goebbels propagandist, became Saleh Shafar who, in 1955, became an expert for an Egyptian unit specializing in anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist hate propaganda. Erich Altern, a Gestapo agent, Himmler coordinator in Poland, and expert in Jewish affairs became Ali Bella, working as a military instructor in training camps for Palestinian terrorists. A German newspaper estimated there were fully 2,000 Nazis working openly and under state protection in Egypt. Read more ..


Farhud 75

Why the World Must Remember The Farhud

May 31st 2016

Rashid Ali Al-Gaylani and Haj Amin al-Husseini
The Mufti of Jerusalem celebrates The Farhud in Nazi Germany

June 1-2 is the 75th Anniversary of the 1941 Farhud pogrom, the pro-Nazi Arab attempt to exterminate the Jews of Baghdad. Hundreds were murdered, raped, and many Jewish homes and business looted and burned during a two-day orgy of hate and violence orchestrated by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini. This heinous rampage was the Farhud. In Arabic, it means “violent dispossession.” This forgotten Holocaust-era pogrom was the first step toward the extinguishing the 26 centuries of Jewish life in Iraq. It led to the eventual mass expulsion of some 850,000 Jews from Arab lands into Israel, penniless and stateless.

 

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Farhud, I will race across the time zones to lead ceremonies of commemoration with Jewish groups and senior Israeli diplomats in four cities spanning the continents. It was the next logical step after the inauguration of International Farhud Day, which was proclaimed in an official live global event at United Nations Headquarters on June 1, 2015. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Iran Orders Hezbollah to target Saudi Arabia

May 18th 2016

Hezbollah

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands. Read more ..


Confronting the Holocaust

Nazi Policy and Black Victims--Before, During, and After the Holocaust--from Africa to Berlin to North Carolina

May 5th 2016

Surviving Herreros

In recent years, some in the African-American community have expressed a disconnect to Holocaust topics, seeing the genocide of Jews as someone else's nightmare. After all, African-Americans are still struggling to achieve general recognition of the barbarity of the Middle Passage, the inhumanity of slavery, the oppression of Jim Crow, and the battle for modern civil rights. For many in that community, the murder of six million Jews and millions of other Europeans happened to other minorities in a faraway place where they had no involvement. Read more ..


Destination Israel

For Many, Israel is Geopolitical Tourist Destination

April 28th 2016

El Al Boeing 747-200

For a hard-core segment of travelers to Jerusalem, when the sun sets at the Sabbath, the magic in the air is not just the serene image of a peaceful dusk in an enchanted land. It is the empowering knowledge that the sun still shines on a Jewish State surrounded by fiery military and diplomatic turmoil. Israel remains a nation determined to survive and preserve its sense of magnetic amazement. In the minds of many, a visit to Israel is more than just a vacation. It is a geopolitical destination. Traveling to and enjoying Israel makes a statement to the world and to history. It reflects the steeled determination to be happy and fulfilled in one of the most treasured places on earth, despite a virtual siege around every corner. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Saudi Arabia, The Golden Chain -- and The Missing 28 Pages

April 24th 2016

Twin Towers 9/11
Prince Bandar

The American media, which continues to concentrate on a bill making its way through Congress that would allow American citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for losses suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks, paid no attention to the Golden Chain.

The victims claim that the release of the 28 pages missing from the 9/11 Commission Report is of crucial importance to their case. Those pages, they say, would show the interrelationship that ties the hijackers to the Saudi regime itself and therefore would offer a damning indictment of the Kingdom. But President Obama, like President Bush before him, refuses to make it public. And the Saudi Royal Family that vehemently denies funding al Qaeda, threatened that if the 28 pages are released, they would sell more than $750 billion of Saudi investments in the U.S.

Of equal if not of greater importance than the missing 28 pages, is the forgotten investigation of the Bosnia-BIF office. Crucially, among the boxes and files was found a note ostensibly written by Osama Bin Laden that lists a "Golden Chain" of twenty Arab plutocrats who were and remain suspected of financing international terrorism, including the funding of al Qaeda. Read more ..



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