Crucial aspects of the Iran nuclear deal remain hidden from the public, and in some instances, from the American government, Bloomberg reports.
In a closed-door session with House members Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that two side deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were reached. Kerry said he neither read nor possesses the secret agreements.
According to U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Intelligence Committee who attended the closed-door session, Congress also is in the dark on these agreements.
"Kerry told me directly that he has not read the secret side deals. He told us the State Department does not have possession of these documents," Pompeo told Bloomberg View columnists Josh Rogin and Eli Lake.
Furthermore, other secret agreements kept from the public were presented to Congress on Monday – part of 18 documents the White House were required to disclose – including secret letters of understanding between the U.S., France, Germany , and the United Kingdom that outline some of the ambiguous aspects of the nuclear deal.
Seventeen of these documents are unclassified, yet they are stored in ultra-secure facilities intended for top-secret information, the Daily Beast reports. These extraordinary precautions indicate that the Obama administration is seeking to keep unclassified documents from reaching the public.
"A lot of both documents and discussion that have been held in a classified setting doesn't have classified characteristics to it... to the extent that many [documents aren't classified,] they should be made totally public, as far as I'm concerned, so that the public can evaluate for themselves," U.S. Sen Bob Menendez, D-N.J., told the Daily Beast.
IAEA officials told Pompeo and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that the two side deals involve IAEA inspections of the Parchin military complex and how Iran and the IAEA would address concerns regarding the military dimensions of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.
The Obama Administration is only required to pass documents in its possession to Congress, therefore the side deals cannot be presented to Congress or the U.S. public.
"Kerry gave no indications they are seeking these documents and there is no indication he is the least bit worried he doesn't have access to this. The Ayatollah [Khamenei] knows what's in the deal but we don't," Pompeo told Bloomberg.
These elements of secrecy regarding unclassified documents hidden from the public and side agreements without U.S. knowledge seem to directly contradict Preside Obama's argument that the Iran nuclear deal is verifiable and transparent.
Palestinian summer camps in Jerusalem and Gaza are actively indoctrinating young children with radical jihadist ideology and preparing them for martyrdom (suicide) operations, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.
In an Islamic summer camp at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, little children are subjected to a radical sheikh's lecture on the virtues of martyrdom.
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"The martyr is absolved with the first drop of his blood...the martyr also gets to vouch for seventy family members (on Judgment Day)... the martyr gets two virgins of Paradise, but the murabit [someone guarding Islam against the infidel] gets 70 – 35 times more than the martyr," preached radical cleric Khaled Al-Maghrabi.
The children generally appear like most children their age – fidgeting, looking around, some playing with toys, seemingly disinterested in the lecture. Al-Magrabi still appears determined to impart jihadist indoctrination into the next generation of Palestinians at a very early age.
A Palestinian bystander even confronts Al-Maghrabi and tells him his message isn't appropriate for children.
"Listen, sheik, they do not understand what you are saying. They are children...you are talking to them about ribat, martyrdom, and the virgins of Paradise. Shame on you. You can teach these lessons to (adults) like us, not to them," said the Palestinian man.
Unfortunately, Palestinians standing up against radicalization is all too rare of an occurrence. Al-Maghrabi carried on after the distraction, leading the children in chanting, "We shall sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, Al-Aqsa!" the children chant.
In a second video illustrating Palestinian indoctrination of its young people with hate, viewers are taken inside a Hamas summer camp called "Vanguard of Liberation." Hamas hopes to provide 25,000 children and teenagers with military training to seed future terrorist operations against Israel. Similar to the Al-Aqsa camp, the Hamas camp heavily emphasizes religious indoctrination and radical jihadist brainwashing, according to a news report translated by MEMRI.
"The goal of the camps is to instil the spirit of Jihad and of fighting in these cubs, these youth, so that they will become the next generation of liberation," says a masked Hamas operative and camp counselor.
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"Liberation" in this context means taking over all of Israel since Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state in any form.
The video features the youth running through military style courses, weapons training, and even shows a junior version of a Hamas naval commando unit dedicated to infiltrating Israel and conducting terrorist attacks.
An Israeli airstrike Wednesday reportedly killed a senior Hizballah operative in the Golan Heights; a man considered one of the most reviled terrorists in Israeli history.
Samir Kuntar reportedly was among five men killed by an Israeli airstrike in the Syrian Druze village Hader. That community is considered strongly loyal to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad
Kuntar was among five prisoners Israel released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.
Kuntar was 16 years old in 1979, when he and three other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) sneaked into Israel, killing a policeman and kidnapping a man and his 4-year-old daughter, Einat Haran. Kuntar killed the little girl by smashing her head with his rifle butt. Compounding the tragedy, Haran's other daughter, a 2-year-old, was accidentally suffocated by her mother as she tried to keep the girl from crying out as they hide from the terrorists in their apartment.
Upon his release, Kuntar said he regretted nothing and received a hero's welcome in Lebanon. More recently, Kuntar was a senior Hizballah official in the Syrian Golan Heights and was suspected of plotting attacks against Israeli soldiers and planting bombs along the border with Israel.
Last month, Israeli Druze officials blamed Kuntar for an attack on an IDF ambulance, and the lynching of a wounded Syrian fighter inside it. It was seen as an attempt to lure Israel into Syria's bloody civil war.
Eyal Zisser, a Syrian expert at Tel Aviv University's Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told the Jerusalem Post that Wednesday's strike that killed Kuntar was "a tactical matter" that "sends a clear message from Israel not to cross a redline and not to mess with us."
It wasn't the first message directed at Hizballah and its Syrian allies. Earlier this month, Israel was blamed for a car bomb that killed Kuntar's "right hand man" Mwafaq Badiyeh. Syrian rebels fighting Hizballah-backed dictator Bashar al-Assad say they killed Badiyeh in battle.
A second Israeli airstrike Wednesday targeted a military base near the Lebanon-Syria border that Syrian state television said belonged to the PFLP.
Israeli officials have not commented on the strikes.
Lackawanna resident Arafat Nagi is the latest person among more than two dozen to be charged for trying to support ISIS in recent months. It follows Tuesday's arrest in Key West, Fla. of a man who allegedly wanted to detonate a bomb packed with nails at an area beach.
According to Nagi's complaint, the FBI was tipped to his extremist beliefs by an acquaintance who also described his propensity to get into arguments with people about violent jihad. The tipster said Nagi "was angry about the killing of rebels in Yemen, which he blamed on the United States; pledged an oath to ISIL leaders; expressed agreement with ISIL tactics, including the killing of innocent men, women and children."
Nagi allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and the group's leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. He posted pro-ISIS comments on Twitter and urged people to support the group.
In April, for example, he posted a picture of a dead ISIS fighter with the caption, "Oh, you who are defaming the Islamic State, its soldiers shall be present at time of death. Those who have brains ought think & learn." In May, he posted a picture of someone being beheaded with the note: "Today, this filth has been killed in the state of Hums [city in Syria]. He waged a tougher war against Muslims. It is your paradise, rather, slaughter."
Nagi traveled to Turkey in October 2012 and July 2014 hoping to meet with ISIS members in Syria. Prior to traveling, he "purchased large number of military combat items, including a tactical vest, army combat shirt, body armor, a Shahada flag, combat boots, a backpack, burn kit, hunting knife, machete and night vision goggles."
In pursuit of his ultimate goal to fight alongside ISIS forces in Syria, the complaint says, Nagi borrowed several tactics from the ISIS eBook, "Hijrah to the Islamic State," a travel guide for wannabe jihadis that among other pointers includes ways on how best to reach Syria, how to pack and how to circumvent Turkish security forces to cross the border into Syria.
This is not the first time Lackawanna has been home to people accused of pursuing international terrorism. In 2002, six Yemeni-American men, known as the "Lackawanna Six," were inspired by an extremist imam to travel to an al-Qaida training camp in Kandahar, Afghanistan, to receive weapons training. The camp was visited by now-deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden who gave a speech to the trainees.
If convicted Nagi faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A Canadian couple, self-described converts to Islam, who were convicted of planning to bomb the British Columbia legislature, also intended to infiltrate a synagogue and kill Jewish children, according to court documents and the Victoria Times-Colonist, reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
John Nuttall told an undercover officer that his wife, Amanda Korody, believed that "grown-up Jews" go to "eternal hell" and that she would be doing Jewish children a favor by killing them and reaching paradise, police records revealed in British Columbia's Supreme Court show.
"I asked Nuttall how he thinks he will have access to Jewish kids and he said [he and his wife] were both white and could pass for Jewish...They will be regulars in the synagogue. They will gain the trust of everybody. And once they have everything they will get enough guns and ammo to go ahead with their mission," read the March 2013 record from an undercover RCMP officer.
Nuttall admitted that Jewish children were noncombatants in his view, but believed they would grow up to hate Arabs and Muslims. However, Nuttall stated that "you never know, they may convert [to Islam] in their adulthood."
Earlier this year, Nuttall and Korody were found guilty of planning to explode homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the British Columbia legislature during Canada Day celebrations in 2013.
During the investigation, police obtained a hard drive including a "terrorist plan, as well as videos and recordings of Osama Bin Laden lectures and shortcut to Inspire magazine and the Anarchist Cookbook", according to a British Columbia Supreme Court document outlining details of the investigation and terrorist plan.
Terrorism experts often warn that converts to Islam may be more likely to embrace radical jihad. A 2004 Canadian Security and Intelligence Services (CSIS) report warned that "converts in particular are prone to extreme views because of their newfound zeal." The report, "Canadian Converts to Radical Islam," shows that al-Qaida and other jihadist terrorist groups were "aware of the usefulness of converts for a variety of purposes" including propaganda and evading Western security authorities.
Iranian leader Ali Khamanei reiterated the "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" slogans and called the United States a state sponsor of terrorism in two public addresses marking the conclusion of the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, the Middle East Monitoring and Research Institute (MEMRI) reports.
"The slogans of the Iranian nation on Al-Qods Day show what its position is. The slogans 'Death to Israel' and 'Death to America' have resounded throughout the country, and are not limited to Tehran and the other large cities. The entire country is under the umbrella of this great movement [of 'Death to America']," Khamanei said while holding a rifle, during a public address broadcasted on IRINN TV and translated by MEMRI.
On the same day, Khamenei addressed diplomats and special guests, accusing the U.S. for promoting terrorism and defended Hizballah.
"What, [the American politician] are calling [Hizballah] terrorists?! They call Iran a 'defender of terrorist' because of its support for [Hizballah]. Defenders of terrorists?! It is you! You are the ones who have created ISIS! You are the ones who have been cultivating terrorism! You are the ones who have been nurturing the filthy terrorist Zionist! You are the defenders of terrorists, and you should be brought to trial for supporting and assisting terrorism," said Khamenei in a speech aired on Iranian Channel 1, according to MEMRI's translation.
Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani claimed that the world superpowers recognized a nuclear Iran immediately after the announcement of a deal regarding Iran's nuclear weapons program. He also boasted that Iran will maintain over 6,000 centrifuges.
It is important to emphasize that issues related to Iran's human rights record and global sponsorship of terrorism were not part of the negotiations. Many experts and critics of the deal believe that sanction relief and the lifting of weapons embargoes will enable the Islamic Republic to enhance its regional hegemonic ambitions and international terrorist activity.
British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a remarkable and powerful speech Monday on combatting radical Islamist extremism, a topic many other Western leaders including President Obama avoid tackling head on.
Cameron, speaking at a Birmingham school, appropriately distinguished between "Islamist extremism" – a fundamentalist political ideology with religious underpinnings and "Islam the religion." He directly addressed moderate British Muslims, framing the struggle against radical Islam as a phenomenon that is plaguing the Muslim community.
"I know too how much you hate the extremists who are seeking to divide our communities and how you loathe that damage they do," he said.
Cameron defined what he saw as the roots of the threat. While many point to poverty or Western wars in the Middle East, Cameron explicitly called out Islamist ideology and radicalization as driving the violent threat facing British and other societies.
There is no single path to radicalization, he said, but even non-violent ideology can be a "gateway" to violence.
"It may begin with hearing about the so-called Jewish conspiracy and then develop into hostility to the West and fundamental liberal values, before finally becoming a cultish attachment to death," Cameron said.
The speech was part of a five-year plan Cameron is implementing this fall in hopes of curbing Islamist extremist influences. It calls on empowering British Iraqis, Syrians and Kurds, who can speak about the devastation ISIS is wreaking in their native countries.
Cameron also invited "some pretty uncomfortable debates – especially cultural ones. Too often we have lacked the confidence to enforce our values, for fear of causing offence."
But a true debate would give greater influence to Muslims who oppose and challenge the radical narrative, he said. "There are so many strong, positive Muslim voices that are being drowned out. Ask yourself, how is it possible that when young teenagers leave their London homes to fight for ISIL, the debate all too often focuses on whether the security services are to blame? And how can it be that after the tragic events at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, weeks were spent discussing the limits of free speech and satire, rather than whether terrorists should be executing people full stop? When we allow the extremists to set the terms of the debate in this way, is it any wonder that people are attracted to this ideology?"
He also addressed young British Muslims who might be tempted to travel to Iraq or Syria to wage jihad.
"You won't be some valued member of a movement," Cameron warned. "You are cannon fodder for them. They will use you. If you are a boy, they will brainwash you, strap bombs to your body and blow you up. If you are a girl, they will enslave and abuse you."
The speech is significant because of Cameron's direct approach and specific references to "radical Islamist ideology." That something many other Western leaders, including President Obama, avoid as a matter of policy. The Islamic State, the president has said, "is not 'Islamic.'"
Cameron, in contrast, said it is not enough to condemn ISIS or al-Qaida.
"This means confronting groups and organizations that may not advocate violence – but which do promote other parts of the extremist narrative," he said. "We've got to show that if you say 'yes I condemn terror – but the Kuffar are inferior', or 'violence in London isn't justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter' – then you too are part of the problem. Unwittingly or not, and in a lot of cases it's not unwittingly, you are providing succor to those who want to commit, or get others to commit to, violence."
This applies directly to many Islamist groups in the United States and the West which, acting as civil liberties organizations, justify terrorism in some contexts especially against Israeli civilians.
According to Cameron, their doublespeak and double standards only serve to promote the extremist narrative.
World superpowers now recognize a nuclear Iran, the Islamic Republic's President Hassan Rouhani claimed Tuesday immediately after the announcement of an agreement over Iran's nuclear weapons program.
He also boasted that Iran will maintain over 6,000 centrifuges, according to a Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translation of his speech published by Tasnim news agency.
Tuesday marked "a day when, historically, the largest countries in the world and the superpowers officially recognized Iran's nuclear activity," Rouhani said after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was released between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna.
Iran, he said, accomplished its four main objectives from the negotiations.
"The first was to continue the nuclear capabilities, the nuclear technology, and even the nuclear activity. The second was to remove the mistaken, oppressive, and inhuman sanctions. The third was to remove the Security Council resolutions that we see as illegitimate. The fourth was to remove the nuclear dossier from Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the Security Council in general."
More importantly, Rouhani outlined specific concessions won from the P5+1 over nuclear centrifuges Iran will be allowed to retain.
"At the start of the negotiations, the other side would tell us that during the period of restrictions – which today is set at eight years – Iran could have only 100 centrifuges. After many deliberations, they arrived at 1,000. Because of great opposition [on our part], they said 4,000 and that this would not change. Today, the agreement is carried out under conditions that state that [Iran] will retain over 6,000 centrifuges, over 5,000 of which will be at Natanz and over 1,000 at Fordo. All centrifuges at Natanz will continue to enrich [uranium]."
Initially, the negotiations envisioned no centrifuges at the Fordo uranium enrichment plant, but "I will be brief and say that today, over 1,000 centrifuges will be installed at Fordo, and part of Fordo will be used for R&D on stable isotopes."
Rouhani devoted part of his address to highlighting P5+1 capitulations. For example, initial demands limited Iran for 20 years, with negotiators insisting "'we will not capitulate any more.' But in the final days of the negotiations, they went down to eight years."
Rouhani described similar success in eliminating economic sanctions against Iran and in ending arms embargoes.
According to Rouhani, it went from "'Months must pass and you must earn [our] trust so that later the sanctions can be gradually frozen – not lifted,'" to his boast that, "Today I announce to the Iranian nation that under this agreement, on the day the agreement is implemented all the sanctions – even the embargo on weapons, missiles, and proliferation – will be lifted as stated in the [Security Council] resolution. All the financial and banking sanctions, and those related to insurance, transportation, petrochemical [industries], precious metals, and all economic sanctions will be completely lifted, not frozen. Even the arms embargo will be stopped. There will be a type of restrictions for five years, and after that they will be lifted."
It is important to note that issues related to Iran's human rights record and global sponsorship of terrorism were not part of the negotiations. Many experts and critics of the deal believe that sanction relief and the lifting of weapons embargos will enable the Islamic Republic to enhance its regional hegemonic ambitions and international terrorist activity.
Rouhani concluded his address by mocking Israel's criticism of the negotiations.
Not only Iranians are happy, he said, "but also the people in Gaza, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Lebanon are happy too because the hollow efforts of the oppressive Zionist regime to thwart the negotiations during the past 23 months have failed... And finally, [to the] nations of the region and neighboring countries: Do not be misled by the propaganda of the Zionist regime and the evil-mongers of this [Iranian] nation. Iran and its might are always your might. We see the security of the region as our security, and the stability of the region as our stability."
The Islamic Republic has consistently called for the destruction of the Jewish state and remains committed to "wiping Israel off the map."
Israel and most Sunni Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, are highly skeptical of this agreement and fear a nuclear Iran will be further emboldened to increase its destabilizing presence in the region.
Read the full MEMRI report here.
The British government saw "Abdullah al Andalusi" as a trusted adviser, someone qualified to help oversee Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which supervises UK police counter-terrorism policy and reactions to attacks.
Andalusi may have enjoyed access to classified information in that role. That stopped when someone in the HMIC hierarchy recently saw Andalusi on television, defending extremist ideology offered by the Saudi-financed Muslim Debate Initiative, the Sunday Telegraph's Andrew Gilligan reported.
Andalusi's Islamist activities were done under his real name, Mouloud Farid, while government officials failed to realize he secured government work with a fake name. Farid is close with the radical Hizb ut Tahrir, a global Islamist movement that has been described as a "conveyor belt" for jihadist terror.
Andalusi, speaking under his real name Farid, preached that ISIS terrorists were "no different to Western armies," and said the British government wanted to destroy Islam.
"He despised Britain, yet worked for the British government," an unidentified associate told Gilligan. "He would talk about the right of oppressed people to take up arms against the oppressor and yet he was overseeing the police."
Within the inspectorate, Andalusi was promoted to a management position described as "at the heart of the security establishment." People in similar positions have "access to highly sensitive and classified police and intelligence information to carry out their inspections," Gilligan reported.
Andalusi has said Muslims "would be jubilant at the return of the caliphate [Islamic state], which is a vital obligation upon Muslims that has been conspicuously missing for so long."
Members of Parliament are demanding an investigation into how Andalusi's dual lives were missed by government officials. "This man's unsuitability for sensitive work should have been obvious from the start," said Labour MP Khalid Mahmood.
Read the full Telegraph story here.
Yasser Arafat was notorious for his double speech: Nice and peaceful in English, harsh and extremist in Arabic.
The tactic came to mind Friday, when the Washington Post published an opinion piece written by Labib Al Nahass, the head of the foreign bureau of Ahrar Al Sham, a group founded in Syria with the help of al-Qaida leader Ayman Al Zawahiri.
Al Nahass portrays Ahrar al Sham in a moderate light and fails to detail the group's nefarious agenda. He claims that his group was founded by Syrians and fights on their behalf. "We believe that Syria needs a national unifying project that cannot be controlled or delivered by a single party or group and should not be bound to a single ideology," he wrote. "We believe in striking a balance that respects the legitimate aspirations of the majority as well as protects minority communities and enables them to play a real and positive role in Syria's future. We believe in a moderate future for Syria that preserves the state and institutes reforms that benefit all Syrians."
The Post offers no independent verification or context, so readers would not know that Ahrar Al Sham was founded in 2011 by Abu Khaled Al Souri, who fled to Afghanistan during the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood uprising in the 1980s. According to a February 2014 report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Spanish court document that investigated the 2004 Madrid Train bombings identified Al Souri as an Osama bin Laden courier in Europe.
When the Al Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaida in Syria), and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had a dispute over merging of the two groups, Al Zawahiri sent a letter naming Abu Khaled Al Souri as his delegate in Syria where he assigned him to "oversee the implementation" of agreements between ISIS and Al Nusra. The Long War Journal describes Al Souri as "an influential al Qaeda ideologue whose work is regularly cited in jihadist literature, including al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine."
Domestically Ahrar al Sham is no different than al-Qaida. In the Syrian city of Idlib, it works with Al Nusra to govern the area under Sharia law, force Druze to convert to Islam, and ban Christians from displaying the crosses on their houses of worship. A video published on YouTube by Ahrar Al Sham shows a member of Ahrar Al Sham publicly flogging two Muslim men for not participating in Jumaa (Friday) prayers.