ISIS leader calls on Muslims in Ramadan message to build ‘Islamic state’

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi demands that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him in audiotape.

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Sinan Salaheddin Jul. 1, 2014 | 8:27 PM

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa.

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. Photo by Reuters

AP – The leader of the extremist group that has swept over much of northern Syria and Iraq called on Muslims Tuesday to immigrate to the territory his group has seized to help build an Islamic state.

The 19-minute audiotape from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two days after his organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria unilaterally declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land it controls. It also proclaimed al-Baghdadi the caliph, and demanded that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him. Continue reading

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A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far.

Friday, January 17, 2014 – 09:20 AM

By Jody Avirgan : Associate Producer, The Brian Lehrer Show

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National Security Agency (NSA) (Chris Hardie/flickr)

Update: Shane Harris, Senior Writer at Foreign Policy and author of The Watchers, joined Brian Lehrer to discuss the list and provide context. Audio available to stream and download above.

The trove of documents leaked by Edward Snowden has revealed the elaborate tricks the NSA can use to monitor communications and data around the world. Here, a running list of things we now know the NSA can do, based on media reports and other publicly available documents — so far. If we missed any, let us know in the comments page or by tweeting @brianlehrer.

  • It can track the numbers of both parties on a phone call, as well location, time and duration. (More)
  • It can hack Chinese phones and text messages. (More)
  • It can set up fake internet cafes. (More)
  • It can spy on foreign leaders’ cell phones. (More)

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Forum Working Group on Counter-Terrorism Meet

English: Logotype of Committee of Experts on t...

English: Logotype of Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) Русский: Логотип Комитета экспертов Совета Европы по оценке мер борьбы с отмыванием денег и финансированием терроризма (МАНИВЭЛ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BY PACIFC ISLANDS FORUM SECRETARIAT

The eighth meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Working Group on Counter-Terrorism was held in Suva, Fiji on 5 June 2012.

The Working Group meets annually and allows Members and regional law enforcement secretariats to discuss national, regional and international developments in counter-terrorism, including transnational organised crime, human trafficking and people smuggling, money-laundering and nuclear security issues.

The Working Group meeting provided Member countries the further opportunity to identify national constraints in ensuring compliance with international counter-terrorism standards, and to consider available solutions, resources and models to support their respective efforts.

In opening the 2012 meeting of the Working Group, Deputy Secretary General Andie Fong Toy of the Forum Secretariat observed that “the Working Group, with the support of the Forum Secretariat, has been at the forefront of coordinating regional counter-terrorism initiatives. Support through policy and legislative development as well as capacity building activities continues to be undertaken both regionally and bilaterally.”

Concerns raised by Member countries on a broad range of experience and perspectives on counter-terrorism also reflected the views of various police services, immigration departments, offices of attorney-general and justice ministries.

The Working Group continued to support the recommendation of Exercise Ready Pasifika II for Pacific island countries to hold their own national-level counter-terrorism exercises and acknowledged the continuation of counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance from Australia and New Zealand and other donors. Continue reading

Russian FM due in Syria amid escalating violence

Associated Press   Monday, February 6, 2012

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The Associated Press

A member of the Free Syrian Army stands guard as anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a demonstration in Idlib, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. The U.S. closed its Syrian embassy Monday and Britain recalled its ambassador to Damascus in a dramatic escalation of Western pressure on President Bashar Assad to give up power, just days after diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to end the crisis collapsed. (AP Photo)

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The Associated Press

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011 file photo, the U.S. embassy building is seen in Damascus, Syria. The Obama administration has closed the U.S. Embassy in Damascus and pulled all American diplomats out of Syria Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Bassem Tellawi, File)

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The Associated Press

This image from amateur video made available by Shaam News Network on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, purports to show people outside a hospital in Homs, Syria. Government forces shelled the central Syrian city of Homs on Monday, striking a makeshift medical clinic and residential areas and killing more than a dozen people in the third day of a new assault on the epicenter of the country’s uprising, activists said. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network via APTN) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE CONTENT, DATE, LOCATION OR AUTHENTICITY OF THIS MATERIAL. TV OUT

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The Associated Press

Anti-Syrian regime protesters hold a demonstration in Idlib, Syria, Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. The U.S. closed its Syrian embassy Monday and Britain recalled its ambassador to Damascus in a dramatic escalation of Western pressure on President Bashar Assad to give up power, just days after diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to end the crisis collapsed. (AP Photo)

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Security Council: Somalia risks losing support

UN Security Council Chamber in New York.

Image via Wikipedia

NAIROBI, Kenya – The U.N. Security Council is warning Somali leaders that they risk losing financial support if they can’t agree on how to carry out upcoming elections.

Somalia‘s government depends on international support for almost everything, including the salaries of soldiers and lawmakers. Around 9,000 African Union troops are stationed in Mogadishu to prevent the government from being overrun by militants. Continue reading

Sanctions hold up Iran nuclear drive: UN report

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AFP/File – Iranian technicians are seen at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facilities (UCF), 420 kms south of Tehran …

– Thu May 12, 1:57 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – International sanctions are slowing Iran’s nuclear program but the Islamic Republic has repeatedly sought to breach an arms embargo by shipping weapons to Syria, UN investigators said in a report.

Six of the nine violations of a UN ban on conventional arms shipments by Iran involve Syria, said the report, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

The UN Security Council has passed four rounds of sanctions against Iran over its uranium enrichment, which western nations say is a front for a nuclear arms drive. A panel of experts which monitors the sanctions said Iran is circumventing the action but that nuclear work has been hit.

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Lebanese coalition collapses in turmoil over probe

Lebanese coalition collapses in turmoil over probe

Move sparks fear of civil war

A covered statue of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri stands in Beirut. Eleven of 30 Lebanese Cabinet members, all supporters of Hezbollah, resigned Wednesday, sinking the coalition government after months of disagreement over how to respond to a U.N. probe into the assassination. (Associated Press)

By Shaun Waterman

The Washington Times

8:36 p.m., Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lebanon‘s year-old coalition government collapsed Wednesday amid fears that a United Nations report into the 2005 assassination of the country’s prime minister will trigger a new civil war and plunge the Middle East into another conflict.

“We may well be seeing the opening moves of the next Middle East war,” said Bruce Riedel, a veteran U.S. national security official who is now a Middle East scholar at the Brookings Institution.

The government in Beirut fell after 11 of 30 Cabinet ministers, all supporters of the Hezbollah-backed March 8 bloc, resigned – the culmination of a long tussle with other elements of the coalition over how to respond to a U.N. special tribunal investigating the killing. Hezbollah, a Shiite extremist group backed by Iran and Syria that the United States has designated a terrorist organization, is a legal political party with a large parliamentary caucus in Lebanon. Following inconclusive elections in 2009 and months of haggling, Hezbollah and its allies joined a unity government in Beirut. Continue reading