• Oregon siege: the U.S. militia movement is resurgent – and evolving

    For several days now, a small group of armed men have occupied an office of the National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, 300 miles from Portland. There is of course a long history of distrust towards the federal government in America, one of which the militias of recent decades are acutely aware. Drawing on anti-Communist organizations of the 1950s and the paranoia of the Cold War, militia culture grew towards a fever pitch in the 1980s and 1990s. The popularity of this newly radicalized “paranoid style,” however, came to a sudden halt on the second anniversary of the burning of the Waco compound (April 1993), when Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in what was then the most significant terrorist incident in American history, killing 168 people. The new coalition of anti-government activists, as represented by the people who seized the buildings in Oregon, is broad and ideologically diverse, and its principal spokesmen explicitly repudiate racism. Some of its leaders promote the goal of a theocratic society: The invasion of the wildlife sanctuary may also demonstrate the power of social media to do for American militia culture what Facebook and Twitter contributed to the Arab Spring.

  • Israeli Jewish passengers demand removal of Arab Israeli passengers from flight

    Israeli Jewish passengers on an Aegean Airlines flight from Athens to Israel had asked Greek security officials to remove two Arab Israeli passengers from the airplane because these two passengers looked “suspicious.” The police was called to examine the two Arab Israelis’ papers and luggage, and check their names against European terrorist watch-list. The police found nothing unusual, but the Jewish Israeli passengers insisted on the removal of the two Arab Israelis, and the two accepted the captain’s offer to stay one more night in Athens at Aegean Airline’s expense.

  • Sunni states cut Iran ties; Syrian regime uses sarin gas; ISIS’s Libyan oil terminal; European borders closing

    Bahrain, Kuwait, and Sudan cut their ties with Iran, while the UAE downgraded its relations; a UN fact-finding mission has found evidence for the use sarin gas in Syria; ISIS launched a coordinated gun and suicide car bomb attack on the Sidra oil port on Libya’s Mediterranean coast.; Denmark and Sweden reintroduced border controls in an effort to stem the wave of refugees trying to enter the two countries.

  • Terror threats, attacks are the new normal for Europe: Experts

    Following the 13 November attacks in Paris, terrorism analysts in the United Kingdom and Europe say the continent’s intelligence and security services have accepted the reality that ISIS appears not only to have the intention to continue to attack targets in Europe, but also the capability professionally to plan and execute such attacks.

  • Jewish extremists indicted in Israel for killing Palestinian family in arson attack

    Israel has indicted two Jewish extremists for killing three members of a Palestinian family and seriously injuring a fourth in an arson attack on a home in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank. The attack also prompted the Israeli security services to begin to pay more attention to, and take action against, a small but growing group of violent Jewish religious fanatics, many of them living in illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories. These fanatics call not only for the expulsion of all Muslims and Christians from Israel, but also for the dismantling of Israeli democracy and the installation of a king of would rule over a Jewish kingdom run according to Old Testament laws.

  • Refugees in Germany; Swedish border checks; ISIS’s British medics; U.K. flood defenses

    German economist says Germany should expect a tough competition between refugees and poorer Germans; Sweden, as of midnight Sunday, began to impose strict identity checks of all travelers from Denmark; a British delegation, including an imam from London, has traveled to Sudan to try to dissuade young British doctors from joining ISIS; as parts of the United Kingdom braced themselves for more misery, the government’s storm-related actions are criticized.

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  • 2 killed, 8 injured in terrorist attack in Tel Aviv

    Three hours ago a gunman shot and killed two people and injured eight – four of them seriously – at the center of Tel Aviv. Hundreds of police officers, using drones and sniffing dogs, have been searching for the gunman. Half an hour or so after the shooting, an abandoned taxi was found on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, with blood on the front seat and dashboard. It is not yet known whether there is a connection between the shooting and the abandoned taxi. The immediate suspicion among Israeli security experts is that the shooting is related to the recent surge in attacks by Palestinians on Israeli citizens. Most of these attacks were perpetrated by knife-wielding youths, so the use of an automatic weapon at the center of Tel Aviv should be regarded as an escalation of the campaign.

  • Israel concerned about ISIS-affiliated groups in Syria attacking Israel

    Israel security officials worry about the possibility that Shuhada al-Yarmuc, a small , ISIS-affiliated Jihadi organization operating in the southern area of the Syrian Golan Heights, would, in line with the emerging ISIS strategy of staging spectacular attacks in Western countries, try something similar in Israel.

  • Rail safety delays; Chicago’s trigger-happy police; killing Bangladeshi bloggers

    In October the Congress agreed to extend the deadline for installing the systems to 2018, but earlier this month Congress extended the deadline for deploying speed-control systems yet again, this time until the end of 2020; By June 2016, all Chicago police officers will be equipped with non-lethal Tasers. The move is part of a plan by city authorities to curb the sharp rise in the number of people – all of them African Americans — killed by police shooting; in 2015 alone, at least four pro-democracy bloggers and a publisher were murdered while others went into hiding, or fled abroad, prompting widespread calls for protection of free speech in Bangladesh from the threat of radical Islamists.

  • Examining how ISIS’s martyrdom appeals affect the brains of potential recruits

    Understanding the reasons why young people are susceptible to recruitment by violent extremist organizations like the ISIS is a formidable undertaking requiring a multidisciplinary approach. An ambitious U Chicago research — the Social and Neurological Construction of Martyrdom Project – will use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural pathways through which martyrdom appeals evoke sympathy in the viewer. They aim to uncover exactly what is happening in the brain when an individual is persuaded to change their beliefs. Until now, there has not been a method to study whether it is a message’s intellectual content or emotional impact that resonates with a viewer. By using fMRI, researchers can see what areas of the brain “light up” when specific messages are heard. The project has been awarded $3.4 million by the Defense Department’s Minerva Research Initiative.

  • Majority of Americans believe it is sometimes necessary for govt. to sacrifice freedoms

    Survey conducted after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks finds a majority of respondents from both parties think it is acceptable for the government to analyze the Internet activities and communications of American citizens without a warrant.

  • Study links insurgency phase of Iraq War to higher PTSD rates

    Guerilla tactics such as suicide attacks and roadside bombs may trigger more posttraumatic stress than conventional warfare, suggests a Veterans Affairs study of 738 men and women who served in Iraq. The study found that among the men — about half the overall group — the insurgency-phase veterans were more than twice as likely to have a diagnosis of PTSD, compared with those who served in either of the other two phases.

  • Jihadi cyberattacks; ISIS’s sex slaves; Iran’s missile test

    Hackers affiliated with the Jihadist group have been developing the capabilities to attack U.S. government and civilian targets, and such targets in other countries; Theologians working with ISIS have issued detailed and specific ruling on women slaves – explaining when “owners” of these women can have sex with them and who else among ISIS members may be entitled for sex services from enslaved women; On 26 December, the Iranian navy fired several rockets near three Western warships in the Gulf of Hormuz.

  • U.K. unprepared for terror attacks outside London: Experts

    Security experts in the United Kingdom have expressed concerns about whether the United Kingdom has sufficient resources to respond to acts of terrorism outside of London. The questions were raised against the backdrop of reports that a “friendly” intelligence agency —- presumably, the CIA – has warned the governments of several European countries, the United Kingdom among them, that terrorists were planning a large-scale attack in a European capital on New Year’s Eve.

  • Tighter airport employee security; ISIS senior operative killed; Norway tightens asylum laws; West Bank settlements

    The TSA is increasing the number of random checks of employees – of both airports and airlines — who hold badges which allow them to enter restricted area at airports; The Pentagon said that Charaffe al-Mouadan, a French national who had joined ISIS in Syria, was killed in a 24 December U.S. airstrike; The Norwegian government said that it is planning to ask the Norwegian parliament to change forty or so major and minor asylum laws in order to tighten the country’s asylum policy; Israel continues to plan for building in the E1 area of the West Bank — if the plan is implemented, it would, in effect, cut the West Bank in half, making the creation of a contiguous, viable Palestinian state impossible.