Iraq

ISIS beheads another innocent journalist

ISIS has beheaded another journalists, this time it is US journalist Steve Sotloff.

An internet video posted online purported to show the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group, which called it retribution for continued US airstrikes in Iraq.

Sotloff, 31, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013 until he appeared in a video released online last month by the Islamic State group that showed the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the US stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

In the video distributed and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he was purportedly beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

The Associated Press could not immediately verify the video’s authenticity. The SITE Intelligence Group, a US terrorism watchdog, first reported about the video’s existence.

The fighter who beheads Sotloff in the video called it retribution for Obama’s continued airstrikes against the group in Iraq.    Read more »

An insiders guide to reporting on Israel/Gaza conflict

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot   Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Tablet has an essay about the media manipulations in reporting the Israel/Gaza conflict.

It is by  Matti Friedman who is a former AP correspondent who explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters. What she writes echoes what I saw in Israel.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

She looks at the disproportionate staffing and reporting on Israel compared with other countries.

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel. I don’t mean to pick on the AP—the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else.

The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.

News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

That is an indictment in itself right there. That is a massive news imbalance.    Read more »

Ex-Aussie Army Boss says we need to be prepared to fight Islam for a 100 years

With Islamic fundamentalism on the rise in Australia and  radicalised Australians joining various jihad it is hard not to agree with those that want to prevent Muslim immigration into New Zealand.

Australia is far further down the track on this and as a result you are witnessing increased anti-semitism, creation of no go areas in major cities and not far off seeing demands for Sharia law in those same areas.

Australia has a problem and I don’t think we will escape it either.

Their former Army boss says Australia needs to prepare to fight, and on their own soil too.

AUSTRALIA needs to prepare for an increasingly savage, 100-year war against radical Islam that will be fought on home soil as well as foreign lands, the former head of the army, Peter Leahy, has warned.

Professor Leahy, a leading defence and strategic analyst, told The Weekend Australian the country was ill-prepared for the high cost of fighting a war that would be paid in “blood and treasure” and would require pre-emptive as well as reactive action.

“Australia is involved in the early stages of a war which is likely to last for the rest of the century,” he said. “We must be ready to protect ourselves and, where necessary, act pre-emptively to neutralise the evident threat. Get ready for a long war.”

Senior intelligence officials have moved to shore up public support for the Abbott government’s tough new security laws, including enhanced data-retention capabilities enabling agencies to track suspect computer usage.

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation director-general David Irvine said the proposed data laws, which require phone and internet companies to retain records for two years, were “absolutely crucial” to counter the jihadist terror threat.

The government’s security package also includes a $630 million funding boost to intelligence agencies and police to help prevent domestic terrorist attacks.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The Islamic State (IS) has forced shopkeepers in the Iraqi city of Mosul to veil the faces of mannequins in store windows, as part of the "application of Islamic law" in the areas under its control. NBC News published an image of one of the shops in Mosul in which the faces of mannequins were covered with a black veil. Several global news sites said that the decision did not discriminate between female and male mannequins, because anything depicting the human body is completely forbidden, and that mannequins are similar to idols.

The Islamic State (IS) has forced shopkeepers in the Iraqi city of Mosul to veil the faces of mannequins in store windows, as part of the “application of Islamic law” in the areas under its control. NBC News published an image of one of the shops in Mosul in which the faces of mannequins were covered with a black veil. Several global news sites said that the decision did not discriminate between female and male mannequins, because anything depicting the human body is completely forbidden, and that mannequins are similar to idols.

Hundreds of Yazidi Women Held Captive by Islamic State

Read more »

Compare and Contrast: Part three

Welcome to part three of my series of posts where I invite you to compare and contrast what happened in the past with what is happening now.

Lets look at how Germany kept its preparations for war hidden from the world prior to WWII and what Hamas has successfully hidden from the world until now.

Read more »

Is Wiremu Curtis a terrorist, fanatical dreamer or a genuine man of peace?

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The full video is available here: TVNZ Ondemand

Recently TVNZ’s Sunday program screened an article on Wiremu Curtis a former Black Power member, also known as ‘Haroon’. Haroon who insisted he was going to the Middle East to get an ‘education’ was allegedly stopped at the airport by SIS agents, and according to Haroon allegedly shown papers that show he had in what he describes in his own words “weapons of mass destructions.”

Now I’m going to be honest, I didn’t actually watch the program when it screened at the time, but after having my attention drawn to it from other sources prompted me to watch it and analyse it a little closer. Immediately things struck me as a bit odd, such as his comment that the SIS showed him papers proving he had “weapons of mass destructions.” It is all well and good asserting these types of comments in the public domain, as the SIS will never publicly comment on operational matters.   Read more »

Photo Of The Day

The all-female al-Khansaa's brigade in Syria. Radicalized Islamic men aren't the only ones punishing non-compliant civilians in Syria. Now women zero in on other women for not following the group's strict brand of Sharia law.

The all-female al-Khansaa’s brigade in Syria.
Radicalized Islamic men aren’t the only ones punishing non-compliant civilians in Syria. Now women zero in on other women for not following the group’s strict brand of Sharia law.

Women Terrorizing Women for ISIS, Syria’s Female Jihad

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Fakestinian social media b.s.

via BBC

Graphic images are being shared on social media to show how people have been affected by the renewed tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

A #BBCtrending investigation has found that while some accurate images are being shared, many #GazaUnderAttack images are not from the latest conflict and often not even from Gaza. Some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

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Aussies actively preventing jihadists from returning

The Aussies have got their head screwed on right.

Tony Abbott says if you go off to fight in Syria and Iraq as a jihadist then don’t expect to come back to Australia…ever.

AUSTRALIAN jihadists who are “trained killers” and who “hate our way of life” must be stopped from re-entering the country, Prime Minister Tony Abbott warns.

IN his strongest words yet about Australians fighting in Iraq and Syria, Mr Abbott said the government had “absolute determination” to prevent “returning jihadis”.

“The important thing is to ensure that as far as is humanly possible, they don’t come back into our country,” he told Macquarie Radio on Friday.

“And if they do come back into our country, (that) they are taken into detention.”

Australia can’t have “trained killers who hate our way of life, who hate us, making mischief with the potential to cause mayhem in our country”, he said.  Read more »

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Huh?

When looking at photos in an article about a mass killing in Iraq I was stunned to read the following caption.

This image appears to show militants from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo / AP

Huh? What do they mean appears to show? I do not recall ever seeing that kind of qualifier before when the press have posted what turned out to be staged propaganda photos of  supposed killings by the Israelis.

These photos were taken by the  Islamic militants and it is the Islamic militants who are proudly crowing about the massacre so why the hesitation to accept them as factual?

It would make more sense given historical incidents of staged photos and video to question the photos if they were supplied by those killed in the images rather than those who claim to have both taken the photos and massacred the unarmed soldiers.

This image appears to show militants from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo / AP

This image appears to show militants from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo / AP

The Islamic militants who overran cities and towns in Iraq last week posted graphic photos that appeared to show their gunmen massacring scores of captured Iraqi soldiers, while the prime minister vowed to “liberate every inch” of captured territory.

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