Government

  • Alarm in Israel: Hezbollah, Assad army fight to take areas near Israel border from rebels

    In a move viewed with growing alarm in Israel, Syrian and Hezbollah forces, under the command of senior Iranian officers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, have launched a sweeping campaign to take over areas on the Syrian side of the Israel-Syria border on the Golan Heights. These areas have been under the control of moderate anti-Assad rebels since the spring of 2014. Iran, eager to increase the military pressure on Israel, has decided to gain control of areas to the east of Israel’s northern Galilee, now under the control of moderate Syrian rebels. Hezbollah’s control of south and south-east Lebanon already allows Iran presence immediately to the west and north Israel’s northern Galilee region.

  • Most DHS employees would go on working even if budget is not approved

    The critical responsibilities of many DHS components require approximately 200,000 of the agency’s 230,000 employees to continue working even if Congress fails to fund the agency, as most DHS employees perform work considered necessary to protect human life and property. Still, withholding funding for DHS could delay the department’s employees’ paychecks until the shutdown ends.

  • Illinois mother of four to stay in jail until she goes on trial for supporting terrorism

    A federal judge has refusedto release 34-year old mother of four, Mediha Medy Salkicevic, a Bosnian native residing in Schiller Park, Illinois, accused of conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and providing material support to terrorists including the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Iraq. Salkicevic is member of a 6-person ring scheduled to go on trial in St. Louis on charges of providing material support to terrorist organization.

  • Florida under-age sex scandal continues to reverberate

    Six years after financier Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to charges involving soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14-years of age, the case has resurfaced with recent allegations that late last year, Britain’s Prince Andrew and American politicians, business people, and society high-flyers had sex with a 17-year old girl paid for by Epstein. Virginia Roberts, one of four women who claimed to have been victimized by Epstein, has submitted a 23-page affidavit detailing dates and locations of the times Epstein forced her and other women to have sex with his friends.

  • U.K. military examined feasibility, impact of terrorists using weaponized Ebola virus

    At the height of the Ebola crisis in West Africa last year, British military experts were asked to investigate the feasibility and likely impact of a an Ebola virus “weaponized” by terrorists. The report was prepared last October, and the U.K. Ministry of Defense on Friday released a heavily redacted version of it. The report identified three potential scenarios of terrorists exploiting the Ebola virus for bioterrorism. Details of the first scenario are completely blacked out, as are most of details of the second scenario, which is described as “logistically and technically challenging for a non-state group to undertake.” The third scenario, the details of which are also mostly redacted, was described as the “most technically challenging.”

  • Mystery surrounding Argentinian prosecutor’s death deepens

    Iranian intelligence operatives, using Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad agents, plotted and carried out two massive bombings in Buenos Aires twenty years ago: In 1992 a bomb destroyed the Israeli embassy, killing twenty-nine and injuring 242. In 1994, a powerful car-bomb exploded outside a Jewish Federation building, killing eighty-five and injuring 150. Former president Carlos Menem is already facing charges of being bribed by Iran to help hide the involvement of Iranian officials and their local accomplices in the two attacks. Alberto Nisman, a federal prosecutor investigating the involvement of the current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in the cover-up, announced that a 320-page report he had prepared, and a large volume of supporting evidence, conclusively proved that Fernandez and her foreign minister,Héctor Timerman, negotiated a secret deal with Iran to keep Iran’s responsibility for the early 1990s’ attacks under wraps in exchange for a lucrative grain-for-oil deal. A day before Nisman was to present his findings to the Argentine parliament, he was found dead in his apartment.

  • Cybersecurity sector welcomes Obama’s $14 billion cybersecurity initiatives in 2016 budget

    Massachusetts cybersecurity firms applauded President Barack Obama proposed$14 billion toward cybersecurity initiatives in his 2016 budget. If approved, the federal government would spend more money on intrusion detection and prevention capabilities, as well as cyber offensive measures. Waltham-based defense contractor Raytheon, whose government clients already use the firm for its cybersecurity capabilities and expertise, believes the cybersecurity industry is expected to grow even faster in the coming years.

  • Six charged in St. Louis for supporting terrorism

    In a terrorism-related investigation that involved the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, the U. S. Postal Inspection Service, , and police in St. Louis and St. Louis County, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged three St. Louis County residents, two New York residents, and one person from Illinois – all immigrated to the United States from Bosnia —with conspiring to provide material support and resources to terrorists and for providing material support to terrorists. The six raised and sent money and supplies to Jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.

  • Nigeria delays election by six weeks, citing war with Boko Haram

    The government of Nigeria has postponed the election, originally scheduled for the coming weekend, saying the reason for the postponement was the need to allow international forces to take areas in the country’s north-east from the Islamist Boko Haram. Nigeria’s electoral commission said on Saturday that the election, rather than being held on 14 February, will be held on 28 March. Observers both inside and outside Nigeria said the election delay has political undertones, and that the postponement has more to do with a desperate last-ditch effort by President Jonathan to shore-up his declining political fortunes than with security considerations.

  • Measles outbreak sparks bid to strengthen California vaccine law

    State lawmakers in California introduced legislation Wednesday that would require children to be fully vaccinated before going to school, a response to a measles outbreak that started in Southern California and has reached 107 cases in fourteen states. California is one of nineteen states that allow parents to enroll their children in school unvaccinated through a “personal belief exemption” to public health laws. The outbreak of measles that began in December in Anaheim’s Disneyland amusement park has spread more quickly in communities where many parents claim the exemption.

  • U.K. counter-radicalization mentoring program proves successful

    In 2006, the U.K. Home Office launched the Channelprogram to engage vulnerable youths with mentors who could steer them away from extremist propaganda, be it anti-immigrant politics or Islamist militancy. Only eighty young adults were referred to the program during its first two years, but last year, 1,281 were referred. To date, a total of 3,934 people have been referred to participate in Channel. About 20 percent of them were considered to require further consultation with mentors.

  • ISIS releases an instructional manual for women in ISIS-controlled areas

    An all-female militia set up by the Islamic State (ISIS) has published a 10,000-word manifesto on how women in Islam should live according to the group’s interpretation of the Quran. Girls are told to marry at the age of nine, women are banned from going to work, and both must remain indoors and leave the house only in exceptional circumstances.The document, “Women of the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study,” was released in Arabic last month on a jihadi forum.

  • Why do women in West turn to Islamic State? For the same reasons as men

    What makes someone want to travel to some of the most dangerous places on earth to fight alongside terrorists? It’s a question we’ve been asking about young people for more than a decade. But the rise of the Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq has seen the onset of a particular phenomenon – more and more young women are now leaving the West to support the group in its controlled territories. Many of the reasons given by female migrants to IS territories are the same as those espoused by their male peers, that is, it appears that religious revivalist tendencies inspire female activists, who ultimately seek to embrace “a new vision for society.” These young men and women have been radicalized by a selective ideology, which draws upon an alarmist worldview (for example that Islam and Muslims are under threat). This promotes a rapid response, as the threat posed is perceived as immediate. Salafi-jihadist groups in the U.K. and elsewhere have been extremely effective at turning this rhetoric into a significant operation. Authorities must target these Islamist groups acting as a recruitment base for both men and women migrating to IS territories.

  • Emergence of the Internet of Things significantly weakens privacy protection

    Researchers are urging consumers to take a proactive approach to ensure Internet privacy, particularly with companies that use and share Internet data to influence consumer behavior. They warn that privacy “approaches that rely exclusively on informing or ‘empowering’ the individual are unlikely to provide adequate protection against the risks posed by recent information technologies.”Those emerging risks include information compiled by Internet-connected appliances, cars, and health monitors.

  • U.S. Muslim leaders uneasy about counter-radicalization pilot program

    Later this month, the White House and the Justice Departmentwill hostthe Countering Violent Extremism summit and meet with leaders of America’s Muslim communities to launch a programaimed at curbing Islamist radicalization in the United States. The Twin Cities, Boston, and Los Angeles have been selected as pilot cities for the program, but some Muslim leaders are concerned that federal law enforcement agencies will use the program to gather intelligence. American Muslim leaders want to be reassured that the program will not be used for blanket surveillance of their communities.