Syria: Young ‘Gangsters’ Flock to Fight and Die in British Brigade of Jihadists

By   June 5, 2014 07:30 BST

Rayat al-Tawheed
The logo of Syrian extremist rebel group Rayat al-Tawheed, or Banner of GodRayat al-Tawheed
Rayat al-Tawheed: Islamist Group Recruits Brits For Jihad in Syria

The reported killing of two Britons fighting in Syria, has drawn fresh attention to an extremist rebel group that has made extensive use of social media to recruit would-be jihadists in the UK.

Rayat al-Tawheed, or Banner of God, has been posting videos and photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to glamourise jihad and lure British Muslims to join the fight against the regime of Basha al-Assad and rival rebel groups in Syria. Continue reading

British hate preacher managed London strip club

08 May 2014 07:58

British hate preacher Abu Hamza has told his US terror trial how he once jointly managed a London strip club in his quest to live a Western, movie-style life.

NEW YORK: British hate preacher Abu Hamza told his US terror trial on Wednesday how he once jointly managed a London strip club in his quest to live a Western, movie-style life.

Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, 56, better known in Britain as Abu Hamza al-Masri, has pleaded not guilty to 11 kidnapping and terror counts that pre-date the 9/11 attacks.

Blind in one eye and with both hands blown off in an explosion in Afghanistan, he faces life in prison in a maximum security US prison if convicted by jury at the New York court.

Taking the stand for the first time in his trial, wearing tracksuit bottoms, a blue T-shirt and orange socks, the Egyptian-born former civil engineer spoke softly. Continue reading

How to tackle a problem like the IED


Defence IQ recently investigated the current gamut of new gadgets on offer to military and police forces confronted with the task of defeating the growing tide of explosive ordnance being used among insurgencies, terrorists, and even criminal organisations.

At a London-based industry event, we met up with Major Chris Hunter QGM, a former British Army Bomb Disposal Operator in Iraq, now a senior IED analyst, and the inspiration and advisor on the recent Hollywood film ‘The Hurt Locker’.

On the subject of counter-IED technology, Hunter points first to the nature of the bomb itself and the ease with which it grows in sophistication.

“If you look at the IRA, for example, who were our primary threat for thirty years, the level of sophistication they achieved in that time – and they were the best bombmakers in the world – was superseded in just 12 months when we went into Iraq in 2003-2004,” he says.

“That’s just continued at a rapid and alarming rate. It was superseded in Afghanistan in just 18 months.”


As the IED presents a variety of problems, Hunter confirms that there is now a need for technology to respond in kind, offering technologies that are not specific to one solution, but to many.

“As every IED specialists will say, there is no silver bullet. But if you’re talking about the Defeat the Device component, where we’re looking at technologies to detect and neutralise, we have to really focus on multi-sensor technologies.

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British, Spanish ships almost come to blows over ‘The Rock’

The British navy and Spanish civil guard faced off today over a fishing dispute off the Gibraltar coast. Spain maintains it only ceded Gibraltar to the British, not the waters around it.

By Andrés Cala, Correspondent / May 24, 2012

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The rock (back) of the British Colony of Gibraltar is seen at dusk from La Linea de la Concepcion, southern Spain on May 18.

Jon Nazca/Reuters Enlarge      –Madrid

The British Royal Navy and Spain’s Civil Guard engaged in a testy three hour standoff this morning over the sovereignty of waters off Gibraltar that devolved into bad-mouthing and at least one small collision.

Spanish boats were fishing in waters claimed by both Spain and the UK when Gibraltarian police speedboats, backed up by the British Royal Navy, encircled them. Spanish Civil Guard armed patrollers and a helicopter came to the fishermen’s defense, prompting the Royal Navy ship to intervene, setting off a shouting match, and causing at least one minor, and apparently accidental, collision.

IN PICTURES – The Queen’s diamond jubilee

It’s not the first standoff at sea between Spain and Britain, but it is the most serious in decades. The new Gibraltar government said when it came to power in December that a 1999 agreement that gave Spain rights to fish off its coast was unconstitutional and began forcing back Spanish ships. Spain insists on returning to the 1999 agreement, but refuses to negotiate with Gibraltar.

The spat is exacerbating strains that began last week, when Spain’s monarchy snubbed Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee in protest of next month’s planned official visit to Gibraltar of Britain’s Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth, and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Continue reading

A further demonstration of the rewards of a long career in terrorism

PUBLISHED: 14:17 GMT, 26

By Steve Doughty

March 2012 | UPDATED: 17:29 GMT, 26 March 2012

You love life and we love death, Al Qaeda once proclaimed. The slogan now needs a little reworking to make room for Abu Qatada, who loves his large house in north west London.

Something like you love life, we love death, but only for other people.
Abu Qatada, you will recollect, is the man once described by a judge as Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe. He is living in Britain courtesy of the European Court of Human Rights, which has ruled he could not get a fair trial if he were deported to his native Jordan. The Strasbourg judges fear evidence gained through torture could be used against him.

We know that Qatada is enjoying life because we have it from his brother in Jordan, who has said that ‘right now he is the happiest man in England’.


Rehoused: Qatada has been handed a more expensive taxpayer-funded home

This is a major endorsement for the Court of Human Rights, the European human rights convention which it enforces, and of course the Human Rights Act, which gives these rules precedence in our own law. In America, the Declaration of Independence offers the right only to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness.

Here the European court will give you happiness on a plate, although there has to be some doubt about the life bit if Abu Qatada is allowed to hang around for long.

According to his brother Ibrahim Othman, Qatada spends his days with his wife and five children living the simple life, watching Islamic TV channels and reading Islamic texts.

I’m surprised he’s not a Rolling Stones fan. You may remember Keith Richards saying happiness is not a Lear Jet to fly home on.

But if we are to believe Mr Othman, the main source of Qatada’s happiness is not his piety but his house. Let him tell it: ‘They have now given him a very nice new place, bigger than the first house he went to.

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Pakistan Security Brief – February 10, 2012

The coat of arms of Pakistan displays the nati...

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Pakistan’s Supreme Court rejects Prime Minister Gilani’s appeal; Supreme Court gives Inter-Services Intelligence until February 13 to present missing detainees; “Memogate” commission says Mansoor Ijaz may record statement from London; Interior Minister Malik says Pakistan is ready to begin talks with Baloch separatists; Police disperse protest rally in Karachi; Pakistan “strongly rejects” findings of U.S. Congressional hearing on Balochistan; Malik says NATO is not sending supplies through Pakistani airspace; PTI Chairman Imran Khan says his party will “shoot down” U.S. drones if it gains power; Pakistani security forces kill 11 militants in Kurram agency; Indian government releases five Pakistani prisoners; President Zardari suggests increasing bilateral trade with Sri-Lanka; Pakistani government allegedly arrests suspected assassins of former Afghan president.

Domestic Politics

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Ex-KGB spy Litvinenko was working for MI6 when he died

January 30, 2012 by Joseph Fitsanakis

clip_image001Confidential documents leaked to the British press show that a leading medical examiner wants to reinspect the 2006 death of a former Soviet intelligence officer, in light of new revelations. Alexander Litvinenko was an employee of the Soviet KGB and its successor organization, the FSB, who in 2000 defected with his family to the United Kingdom. He soon became known as an increasingly vocal critic of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2006, Litvinenko came down with radioactive poisoning soon after meeting a former colleague, Andrey Lugovoy, in a London restaurant. The latter is believed by British authorities to have assassinated Litvinenko “with the backing of the Russian state”. Although much of the case remains shrouded in mystery, an important new clue was added to the equation in October, when Litvinenko’s widow publicly admitted that her husband had been a paid employee of British intelligence services MI5 and MI6. Marina Litvinenko told British tabloid newspaper The Mail on Sunday that Alexander had advised both agencies on “combat[ing] Russian organized crime in Europe”.

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AI reports ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy in Syria

Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text ...

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Published: May 27, 2011 at 7:33 AM

LONDON, May 27 (UPI) — Amnesty International says it obtained video of Syrian forces engaged in “what appears to be a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy” against anti-government demonstrators.

The human rights group said in London the video, smuggled out of Syria by protesters, shows security forces shooting unarmed protesters in the head, raiding a mosque being used as a field hospital for injured demonstrators, and soldiers and armed men in the mosque filming bodies on the floor and exclaiming, “Take pictures, we killed them, they are traitors.” Continue reading

Government to publish counter terrorism review – News

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 8:35AM GMT | UK & Ireland

Government to publish counter terrorism reviewPress eye

Reforms to controversial counter terrorism laws in the UK will be announced by the British government today.

Restrictions under control orders for suspected terrorists are expected to be reduced.

Stop and searches by police on counter terrorism grounds will be suspended in all but a few exceptionary circumstances. Continue reading