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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Satellite 2015


Don’t get left out of the conversation. The top leaders in the government and military sector will be at SATELLITE 2015, and you need to be too. Take advantage of special Military/Government rates on registration and register today to engage with every U.S. government and military agency that works with the satellite community.

See the content, tools and resources provided to you by Defense Daily come to life by attending targeted sessions at SATELLITE 2015. Presented by the Satellite Industry Association (SIA), the newly expanded Government and Military Forum covers satellite advancements in the international government, military and civil space sectors, and features a robust lineup of the top thought leaders in the industry.

Take a look at a virtual “Who’s Who” of the government and military market that will be at SATELLITE 2015:

  • Col. Chris Crawford, Director, Space Policy Implementation, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy (OSD)
  • Michael Gazarik, NASA Associate Administrator of the Space Technology Mission Directorate
  • Phil Liebrecht, Assistant Deputy Associate Administrator and Deputy Program Manager, Space Communications and Navigation, NASA
  • Tina Harrington, Director, SIGINT Acquisitions Directorate, National Reconnaissance Office
  • Eron Miller, Chief, Services Division, COMSATCOM Center, Network Services, Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA)
  • And more!
If you are in the government and military satellite communications business, you need to be at SATELLITE 2015. Register today to secure your spot among the experts and be a part of the conversation.

Spotlight on Global Jihad

A new bulletin recently issued by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

Spotlight on Global Jihad (February 5-11, 2015)
Issued on: 11/02/2015   Type: Article  
Following the murder of the Jordanian pilot, the Royal Jordanian Air Force carried out 
intensive airstrikes against ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq (up to now, the Jordanians 
have only carried out airstrikes in Syria). ISIS claimed that one of the Jordania...
More      |    Full Document in PDF Format  

Who Are the Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Leaders Obama Met?

The White House has released the names of senior American Muslim leaders that President Obama met with personally last week. The list of names was included on the transcript of the White House daily press briefing on Thursday, despite journalists having requested the information much sooner. Prior to that, the White House had refused to name the leaders.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the President meeting with representatives from any faith community and with the Muslim community in particular. Yet some of the individuals who met with the President have alarming links to the Muslim Brotherhood

Anatomy of a Bad Iran Deal

Anatomy of a Bad Iran Deal: A Preliminary Assessment

Dore Gold

The lead editorial of the Washington Post on February 5, 2015, expressed the growing concern in elite circles with the contours of the emerging nuclear accord between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany). Part of the concern emanates from the change in the goals of Western negotiators: rather than eliminate Iran’s potential to build nuclear weapons, they now want to restrict Iranian capabilities, which would leave Tehran in a position to break out of any restrictions in the future.

The best way to evaluate the impending nuclear agreement is to look at the statements of high-levels officials who have been involved in the negotiations. While not all of the details of the agreement have been made public, elements have been disclosed in the international media that are deeply worrying.

For example, there is the issue of the number of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to retain. A centrifuge is a machine that separates uranium gas into two isotopes: U-238, which does not release nuclear energy, and U-235, which, when split, can release the energy for either a nuclear reactor or an atomic bomb. The enrichment process involves producing uranium with increasing percentages of U-235. At 90 percent purity, the uranium is characterized as weapons-grade.
Iran currently has 19,000 centrifuges, 9,000 of which are running and 10,000 that are installed but not operating. Israel's position is that Iran should have zero centrifuges. The reason is that if Iran truly needs enriched uranium for civilian purposes, it could import enriched uranium as do roughly 15 other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, and Spain. The Israeli position is in line with six UN Security Council resolutions that were adopted between 2006 and 2010, with the support of Russia and China. If Iran eliminated all of its centrifuges and then chose to build new centrifuges, the process would take four to five years. There would be ample time to detect Iran's efforts to enrich uranium beyond what is needed for civilian purposes and to organize an international response.

According to Gary Samore, President Obama’s former non-proliferation adviser, at the beginning of the current round of negotiations, the United States was demanding that Iran significantly reduce its stock of centrifuges to 1,500, but in doing so dropped the longstanding U.S. policy that Iran eliminate its centrifuges completely.

The numbers are important. In a scenario of "breakout,” in which the Iranians race to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for their first atomic bomb, the number of centrifuges largely determines the amount of time the Iranians will need to accomplish this goal.

In addition to the number of centrifuges that Iran has, there is also the issue of the amount of enriched uranium that Iran has already stockpiled. With enough low-enriched uranium, Iran can make a final push to weapons-grade uranium for an atomic bomb. Robert Einhorn, the former special advisor for nonproliferation and arms control during the Obama administration, has calculated that if Iran uses 1,500 kilograms of low-enriched uranium and inserts it into 2,000 centrifuges, Iran will have one bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium in 12 to 14 months.4
But from what we know today about the impending nuclear deal, Iran will need much less time to "breakout" to a bomb. According to multiple press reports, Western negotiators have raised the ceiling for the number of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to have: they have gone from 1,500 to 4,500, and they now appear to be ready to let the Iranians have 6,000 centrifuges. According to Einhorn’s calculations mentioned above, with 1,500 kilograms of enriched uranium and 6,000 centrifuges, Iran can produce enough weapons-grade uranium for an atomic bomb in six months.

David Albright, formerly with the International Atomic Energy Agency, has estimated that with just 2,000-4,000 centrifuges Iran could achieve "breakout" in six months.7 Others suggest that the breakout timeline is even less than six months. For example, Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the HouseForeign AffairsCommittee, has warned that on the basis of expert testimony given to his committee, should Iran be permitted to keep just 4,000 centrifuges, it would have a breakout time of only three months.

There are other factors that can shorten this breakout time even more. Iran has second-generation IR-2 centrifuges that are more sophisticated and powerful which have not been activated yet. The IR-5, with an even higher rate of enrichment, is in advanced stages of research and was already tested last fall. If these advanced centrifuges are activated, the Iranian breakout time will be cut precipitously.

Albright concluded that a six-month breakout time would be the minimum needed to allow for an effective international response – presumably U.S.-led – to an Iranian violation. Thus, the 6,000 centrifuge limit that the P5+1 negotiators are presently proposing will not allow sufficient time to respond to an Iranian breakout.

However, if the Obama administration decides to proceed, countries in the Middle East are likely to conclude that under these conditions, the United States has reached a bad agreement with Iran. The evaluation here is largely based on the number of centrifuges the agreement allows.
There are other dimensions to the nuclear deal with Iran that are no less important. Dennis Ross, who also served in the Obama administration and worked on the Iran file, co-authored an article on Jan. 23 expressing similar concerns. "During the course of the nuclear negotiations over the past year, Iran has been the beneficiary of a generous catalogue of concessions from the West," Ross wrote. "The 5-plus-1 has conceded to Iranian enrichment, agreed that Tehran need not scale back the number of its centrifuges significantly or dismantle any facilities and could have an industrial-size program after passage of a period of time."

Undoubtedly, other countries in the Middle East will react to these concessions by accelerating their own nuclear programs. It was not surprising to see the news report on Feb. 10 that Egypt was to procure a new nuclear reactor from Russia. Nuclear proliferation is likely to spread to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, and others. A multipolar Middle East, which is currently facing a radical Islamist wave, will have none of the stability of the East-West balance during the Cold War. A bad agreement with Iran, in short, will leave the world a much more dangerous place. 

Listen Before You Decide


Dear Michael

On March 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on the topic of Iran's nuclear program.  We cannot think of a more important issue for the United States, Israel and the entire West.  And we cannot think of a more important voice on this issue than the leader of our front-line ally, Israel. 

But will your Congressmen be there to hear him?  Don't be so sure. 

To our great disappointment, Vice President Biden and over a dozen members of Congress have already announced that they won't be attending this speech.  They've cited concerns about the manner in which Speaker of the House Boehner invited the Prime Minister to Washington.  But given the late hour and the high stakes, such excuses could not be more petty. 

Your representatives in Washington may or may not agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  But shame on any member of Congress who presumes to vote on Iran sanctions without even hearing him out. 

Please click here now to let your representatives know that you expect them to attend this speech!

Please click here now to make sure that Prime Minister Netanyahu's important voice is heard!

Attending this speech is not merely an opportunity for our representatives; it is their responsibility.  

CRM-Team Islam Radicalization

Sehr geehrter Herr Rohr,

ich danke Ihnen für Ihre Zuschrift.

Vier Millionen Muslime leben in Deutschland, zwei Millionen haben die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit. Sie sind ein Teil von Deutschland, und der Glaube, der ihnen wichtig ist, ist es inzwischen auch. Sie sind Bürgerinnen und Bürger dieses Landes, sie fühlen sich Deutschland verpflichtet und bringen sich mit ihrer Kraft hier ein.

Wir erwarten, dass sie die deutsche Sprache sprechen, wir erwarten, dass sie sich zu unserer Rechtsordnung bekennen, und sie dürfen von uns erwarten, dass wir sie dann auch als zu uns gehörig annehmen. Eine Ausgrenzung entspricht nicht unserem Verständnis von Staat und Menschenwürde.

Angesichts des islamistischen Terrors dürfen Muslime in Deutschland nicht unter Generalverdacht gestellt werden. Die allermeisten Muslime in Deutschland sind rechtschaffene, verfassungstreue Bürger. Der Glaube des Islam kann in Deutschland im Rahmen unserer Verfassung und der übrigen Gesetze frei ausgeübt werden. Bekämpfen werden wir jede Form islamistischer Gewalt mit der ganzen Entschlossenheit unseres Rechtsstaates.

Es wäre unverantwortlich, Muslime mit Islamisten gleichzusetzen. Muslime sind Menschen, die vor allem an einen Gott glauben und friedfertig sind. Islamisten berufen sich zwar auf „Gott“, sind aber in Wahrheit gewaltbereit. Wir sind dankbar, dass die Muslime selbst die Trennlinie ziehen und sich klar gegen Gewalt wenden.

Das Gedankengut der Salafisten hingegen ist gefährlich und mit unserer freiheitlich-demokratischen Grundordnung unvereinbar. Was die Salafisten fordern, entspricht nicht dem, wie die überwiegende Mehrheit der Muslime in Deutschland leben will. Unter dem Deckmantel der Religionsfreiheit werben sie für extremistische Ziele und befürworten Gewalt gegen vermeintlich Ungläubige. Zu Recht werden sie vom Verfassungsschutz beobachtet.

Wenn eine radikal-islamische Minderheit auf unseren Straßen einen religiösen Verhaltenskodex propagiert, werden wir dies nicht hinnehmen. Die Scharia wird auf deutschem Boden ebenso wenig geduldet wie die Abschottung in islamischen Parallelgesellschaften und Paralleljustiz.

Radikal-islamischen Umtrieben muss mit allen rechtsstaatlichen Mitteln Einhalt geboten werden. Dazu gehören eine konsequente Strafverfolgung, die Prüfung der Ausweisung Einzelner sowie die Prüfung von Vereinsverboten.

Bundesinnenminister de Maizière ist entschlossen gegen die Anhänger der Terrormiliz Islamischer Staat in Deutschland vorgegangen. Mit dem von ihm ausgesprochenen Betätigungsverbot dürfen Anhänger der Terrormiliz ab sofort keine Flaggen oder Symbole öffentlich zeigen und dürfen nicht für ihre verbrecherischen Ziele werben. Damit ist klargestellt: Für den IS ist in Deutschland kein Platz.

Für ausländische Straftäter wollen wir das Ausweisungsrecht verschärfen. Wer einen Bezug zu terroristischen Vereinigungen hat, religiösen Hass predigt oder Gewalt zur Durchsetzung seiner religiösen Ziele anwendet, missachtet unsere Grundwerte und muss damit rechnen, ausgewiesen zu werden.

Das Werben um Sympathie für eine ausländische terroristische Vereinigung bereitet den Nährboden für Radikalisierung bis hin zu terroristischer Gewalt. Dies belegen zahlreiche Fälle von islamistischen Tätern aus Deutschland und Europa. Es war ein Fehler von Rot-Grün, im Jahr 2002 Sympathiewerbung für kriminelle oder terroristische Vereinigungen als Straftatbestand abzuschaffen. Wir wollen, dass dieses Werben wieder unter Strafe gestellt wird.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Sabrina Merten


Bürgerservice der CDU-Bundesgeschäftsstelle

Iran reveals 'new' fighter type

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

09 February 2015
The 'second generation' Saeghe-2 jet was revealed on 9 February. Source: Iranian MoD
Iran has unveiled the 'second generation' of its indigenously developed Saeghe (Thunderbolt) combat aircraft, state media announced on 9 February.
The Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces Logistics agency announced the unveiling of the Saeghe-2 jet, and its delivery to the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF), the Mehr news agency reported.
While the original Saeghe was based on the single-seat Northrop F-5E Tiger II fighter, the Saeghe-2 is modelled on the twin-seat F-5F operational trainer. On the surface, the Saeghe-2 bears the same twin-tail modification as the Saeghe, although it is not possible to ascertain what internal improvements may have been made to either model.
The IRIAF is believed to have 17 F-5F aircraft remaining in its inventory, which may be suitable for conversion to the Saeghe-2 configuration.

Related articles:

The Saeghe-2 is modelled on the twin-seat F-5F Tiger II operational trainer. (Iranian MoD)

The Saeghe-2 is modelled on the twin-seat F-5F Tiger II operational trainer. (Iranian MoD)Like the single-seat Saeghe, the Saeghe-2 features a twin-tail configuration. (Iranian MoD)
Like the single-seat Saeghe, the Saeghe-2 features a twin-tail configuration. (Iranian MoD)The IRIAF is believed to have 17 F-5F aircraft remaining in its inventory, which may be suitable for conversion to the Saeghe-2 configuration. (Iranian MoD)
The IRIAF is believed to have 17 F-5F aircraft remaining in its inventory, which may be suitable for conversion to the Saeghe-2 configuration. (Iranian MoD)

Last US Islamic State hostage Kayla Mueller confirmed dead

The US has confirmed the death of aid worker Kayla Mueller, the last American hostage known to be held by Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria.

Her family said they were "heartbroken" to learn the news, and released a letter written during her captivity.

Paying tribute to her, President Obama said "she represents what is best about America".

Islamic State said she had died in a Jordanian air strike, but the Pentagon says there is "no doubt" IS killed her.

US Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby added that officials have not learned yet how Kayla Mueller died.

"Let's not forget in whose hands this woman died. And let's not forget who's ultimately responsible for it," he said.

Jordan also denied that Ms Mueller had been killed in air strikes launched following the burning alive of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by IS.

Lies From the White House

President Obama: "We always devote enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world"

Ms Mueller, 26, was abducted while working in Aleppo, Syria in 2013.

"Our hearts are breaking for our only daughter, but we will continue on in peace, dignity, and love for her," her family said in a statement.

In a letter written in 2014, Ms Mueller tries to reassure her family, saying that she had been treated with "utmost respect + kindness".

"I could only but write the letter a paragraph at a time, just the thought of you all sends me into a fit of tears," she wrote.

"I know you would want me to remain strong. That is exactly what I am doing."

Ms Mueller's death was determined after her family was contacted privately by her IS captors over the weekend, with US intelligence then confirming the details of the message.

"She has been taken from us, but her legacy endures, inspiring all those who fight, each in their own way, for what is just and what is decent," President Obama said in a statement. 

"No matter how long it takes, the United States will find and bring to justice the terrorists who are responsible for Kayla's captivity and death."

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the president also rejected the suggestion that the US could have done more to free Ms Mueller.

Mr Obama said that he had launched a rescue operation in 2014 to free Ms Mueller and other hostages but that it had "missed them by a day or two". 

He added: "We devoted enormous resources and always devote enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world."

War by Other Means

BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that the West will be "victorious" in the power struggle with Moscow. Merkel told the Munich Security Conference on the weekend that the Ukraine conflict "cannot be won" with military means. That is why "a new way must be found." Comparing the current power struggle to the Cold War, she reaffirmed, "I am a hundred percent convinced that, with our principles, we will win." Earlier, Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, had expressed a similar view proposing that a "double strategy" be applied in the West's power struggle with Russia. According to the journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the power struggle, which currently cannot won with military means, should be returned "from the military to the economic level." To this effect, Berlin has launched a diplomatic offensive that should lead to talks in Minsk on Wednesday.


Russia selects new assault rifles

The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern as new standard issue firearms for the Russian Ratnik soldier modernisation programme.

"We have already made a deal and selected assault rifles from Izhmash. It won in cost to effectiveness terms. The quality is also acceptable for us," Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov stated on Russian radio on 24 January.

Borisov stated that two assault rifles manufactured by Kalashnikov Concern were selected by the Armed Forces: the AK-12, chambered in 5.45x39 mm, and the 7.62x39 mm AK-103-4.
"We also increase the number of ordered Ratnik systems from 50,000 to 70,000", Borisov added.
According to Borisov, the AK-12 is quite similar to its predecessor, the AK-74M, and has some common parts. The Russian army is expecting the price of the AK-12 will be 25% more than the AK-74M.

The AK-12 is a fifth generation AK-pattern rifle, featuring several ergonomic improvements, a bolt catch, accessory rails, and a telescopic buttstock. The AK-12 is also has a lower recoil impulse than the AK-74M. Design work on the AK-12 began in August 2011 with the first prototype unveiled on 24 January 2012. The rifle is fed from 30 round AK-74 box magazines, but 60 and 95 rounds magazines are also available.

The 7.62 mm chambered AK-103-4 is the newest revision of the AK-47. It is also equipped with a Picatinny rail, telescopic folding buttstock and effective muzzle device.

The AK-12 is set to be used by only the elite Russian units equipped with Ratnik system. The remainder of the Army is expected to use an upgraded AK-74M, developed by Kalashnikov under military requirements and was shown for the first time at the Oboronexpo fair in August 2014.
Meanwhile, a carbine variant of the AK-12, chambered in 7.62 mm, was selected by the Russian Federal Protective Service (FSO) to replace its current AKS-74U and AK-104 carbines and AK-103 rifles.

The Ratnik soldier modernisation programme is designed to provide the effectiveness soldiers on the battlefield. The system consists of 50 components, including small arms, sights, ballistic protection, as well as communication and navigation devices.
The Russian Army tested four assault rifles to be part of the Ratnik system, two chambered in 5.45x39 mm and two in the 7.62x39 mm cartridge: the AK-12 and AK-103-4 rifles designed by the Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izmash), and the A-545 and A-762 rifles from the Degtyarev Plant. The latter are updated variants of the AEK-971/973 rifles designed in early 1980s for the AK-74M replacement programme, but which lost to the Nikonov AN-94 rifle (which was never adopted in large numbers).
In December 2014, the Russian MoD announced that all the rifles had passed the trial programme.


The selection of the Kalashnikov Concern rifles is surprising as previous information suggested that the Russian Army preferred the A-545 over the AK-12. The A-545 was recognised as a truly modern rifle design, which as a result of its counter-balanced recoil system was said to offer a 10-15% reduction in recoil compared to the AK-12.
Indeed, the AK-12 was not originally accepted for the state trials in 2012. The army subsequently allowed the rifle to be tested under political pressure, albeit at the expense of the manufacturer - the testing of the A-545 and A-762 were funded by the military.
One reason cited for the selection of the AK-12 was the existing manufacturing capability of Kalashnikov Concern, while the Degtyarev Plant would have had to build a new production line from scratch. As a result Izhevsk won the programme on the basis of a lower production cost.
Winning the prize of this large-scale contract, the Kalashnikov Concern should help the firm to survive any US and EU sanctions, as well as assist the firm in exporting its new generation AK-pattern rifles.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

To fallen soldiers let us sing

To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord

No more weeping,
No more fight,
No friends bleeding through the night,
Just Devine embrace,
Eternal light,
In the Mansions of the Lord

Where no mothers cry
And no children weep,
We shall stand and guard
Though the angels sleep,
Oh, through the ages let us keep
The Mansions of the Lord

Friday, 6 February 2015

Site Launches To Track Warrant Canaries

In the years since Edward Snowden began putting much of the NSA's business in the street, including its reliance on the secret FISA court and National security Letters, warrant canaries have emerged as a key method for ISPs, telecoms, and other technology providers to let the public know whether they have received any secret orders. But keeping track of the various canaries scattered around the Web is difficult, so a group of legal and civil liberties organizations have come together to launch a new site to monitor the known warrant canaries.

The Canary Watch site is the work of the EFF, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and NYU's Technology Law and Policy Center and it works on a simple concept. The site maintains a list of all of the known warrant canaries and periodically checks each organization's site to see whether the canary is still there and then lists any changes to the status. Right now, Canary Watch lists 11 organizations, including Lookout, Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr.

"Canarywatch lists the warrant canaries we know about, tracks changes or disappearances of those canaries, and allows users to submit canaries not listed on the site. For people with interest in a particular canary, the site will show any changes we know about," Nadia Kayyali of the EFF said in a blog post.

Jordan vows to ‘eradicate’ Islamic State

AMMAN, Jordan (AFP) — Jordan vowed further retaliation against the Islamic State group for the burning alive of one of its pilots, as thousands rallied in Amman Friday in solidarity with his grieving family.

The Jordanian military said “dozens of jet fighters” struck IS targets on Thursday, hitting training camps as well as weapons and ammunition depots.

IS earlier this week released a highly choreographed video of the horrifying murder of pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, whose death has sparked grief and deep anger in Jordan.

Judeh declined to reveal Jordan’s military plans but said it would hit the militants with all its might.
“We’re upping the ante. We’re going after them wherever they are, with everything that we have,” he said.

“We’re going to go after them and we will eradicate them… We are at the forefront. This is our fight.”

American F-16 and F-22 jets provided security to the Jordanian fighter planes, with additional support from refueling tankers and surveillance aircraft, US officials said.

Thousands marched in the capital on Friday in a show of solidarity for the murdered pilot.
Protesters gathered after weekly prayers at the Al-Husseini mosque in central Amman, waving Jordanian flags and pictures of Kaseasbeh.

“We are all Mu’ath… We are all Jordan,” the crowd chanted.

Placards were also held aloft that read: “Yes to punishment. Yes to the eradication of terrorism.”
On Thursday, King Abdullah II visited Kaseasbeh’s family, which has urged the government to “destroy” the jihadists, to pay his condolences. Hundreds of people gathered as the king sat next to the 26-year-old first lieutenant’s father.

Safi al-Kaseasbeh branded IS “infidels and terrorists who know no humanity or human rights,” and said the “international community must destroy” the group.
Abdullah cut short a US visit and returned to Amman after the video of Kaseasbeh’s killing emerged.
This still image made from a video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the SITE Intelligence Group website on February 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)
This still image made from a video released by Islamic State group militants and posted on the SITE Intelligence Group website on February 3, 2015, purportedly shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh standing in a cage just before being burned to death by his captors. (photo credit: AP/SITE Intelligence Group)

On Wednesday, in response, Jordan executed two Iraqis on death row — female would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and Al-Qaeda operative Ziad al-Karboli.

IS had offered to spare Kaseasbeh’s life and free Japanese journalist Kenji Goto — who was later beheaded — in exchange for Rishawi’s release.

Rishawi, 44, was sentenced to death for her role in triple hotel bombings in Amman in 2005 that killed 60 people.

Jordanian television suggested Kaseasbeh was killed on January 3, before IS offered to spare him and free Goto in return for Rishawi’s release.

Following the airman’s capture, another member of the US-led coalition, the United Arab Emirates, withdrew from air strike missions over fears for the safety of its pilots, a US official said.
The UAE government daily Al-Ittihad said Friday that Abu Dhabi was concerned over the coalition’s failure to arm Sunni tribes in Iraq, which are helping government forces and other militia to battle IS in the western Anbar province.

“Neither air strikes nor a media war are sufficient to defeat” IS, the paper said.
On Thursday, the US military said it was deploying search and rescue planes to northern Iraq in a move designed to shorten the response time needed to reach pilots who end up in IS-held territory.

IS has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and last year declared a “caliphate” in areas under its control, imposing its brutal interpretation of Islam and committing widespread atrocities.
Jihadists have flocked to Syria since anti-government protests broke out in 2011 and escalated into a multi-sided civil war in which more than 200,000 people have died.

At least 82 people, including 18 children, have been killed since Thursday by regime bombardment on a rebel-held area near Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

LATAS Released into Airspace

PrecisionHawk, UAV manufacturer and Aerial Data Processing and Analysis Company, recently released its Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System (LATAS) to aid with the integration of UAVs into the National Airspace (NAS).

This automated traffic control system for UAVs can provide flight planning, tracking and avoidance for all UAVs using real-time flight data transmission on global cellular networks. LATAS is designed to be integrated into a UAV’s circuit during manufacturing, and is operational on network speeds as low as 2G.

Tuilery Gardens, Paris

The Eurasian Illusion

President Vladimir Putin and President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan at the Kremlin in December 2014
On the first day of 2015, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia officially launched the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a trade bloc that Moscow hoped would one day bring the former Soviet nations back together. The initiative, however, appears to be a failure. The EEU is nothing more than an illusion—and an unconvincing one at that.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Jordan Now 'In'

Jordanian security forces leave Swaqa prison, after the executions of Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the Jordan's capital, Amman, Feb. 4, 2015.
Jordanian security forces leave Swaqa prison, after the executions of Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al-Qaida, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the Jordan's capital, Amman, Feb. 4, 2015.
Jordan's King Abdullah has vowed to take tough action against Islamic State militants following the group's gruesome killing of a Jordanian pilot captured after his plane went down during a mission targeting the militants in Syria.

The murder of pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh triggered international condemnation and prompted Jordanian authorities to execute two Iraqi prisoners, failed suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi and al-Qaida operative Ziad al-Karbouly.

King Abdullah stressed that Jordan would be "relentless" in the war against Islamic State.
"We are waging this war to protect our faith, our values and human principles. And our war for their sake will be relentless and will hit them in their own ground," he said.

Jordan hanged al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman, and l-Karbouly, another Iraqi with ties to al-Qaida. 

The Islamic State group had demanded al-Rishawi's release as part of a prisoner exchange, but Jordan refused to move forward without proof that pilot al-Kaseasbeh was still alive.

A video emerged online Tuesday purporting to show the pilot locked inside a cage, then a militant lighting a trail of gasoline that traveled to the cage and burned him to death.

"The U.S. intelligence community has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the video," said Brian P. Hale, director of public relations for the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Jordan said the pilot was apparently killed a month ago. He was captured in Syria after his plane went down while flying as part of the U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Islamic State targets. 

"This is cowardly terror by a criminal group that has no relation to Islam," a grim-looking King Abdullah told the Jordanian people from Washington on Tuesday. "The brave pilot gave his life defending his faith, country and nation, and joined other Jordanian martyrs."

President Barack Obama, who met briefly with King Abdullah, said the video is just one more indication of the Islamic State's "viciousness and barbarity."

"And it, I think, will redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated," the president told reporters.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the pilot's murder and said Islamic State is a terrorist group with no regard for human life.

Jordan's participation in the airstrikes against fellow Muslims has been unpopular within the country.

But General Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, which oversees the coalition fighting the militants, said Tuesday Kaseasbeh "served his country courageously and honorably," and was an important member of the team fighting the Islamic State group.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordan's Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh signed a memorandum of understanding under which the U.S. will provide $1 billion a year to Jordan through 2017.

Kerry said the U.S. also is adding to the $467 million it already has contributed to help Jordan care for refugees from both Syria and Iraq.

Via terror plot suspects ‘motivated by Islamic extremism,’ trial hears

Two men accused of planning a terrorist attack on a passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S. were motivated by Islamic extremism and spent months plotting to murder as many people as they could, their trial heard on Monday.

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier both face multiple charges in the alleged Via Rail plot. Not-guilty pleas have been entered for both of them.

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On the first day of the trial, Crown lawyer Croft Michaelson said the pair made up a terrorist group operating in Canada in 2012.

“Mr. Esseghaier and Mr. Jaser, motivated by Islamic extremism, agreed that they would murder persons to instil fear in the community,” Michaelson said in his opening remarks.

“They did this so that Canadians and Americans would remove their troops from Muslim lands.”
Esseghaier, a Tunisian national who was doing doctoral research on nanosensors in Quebec, travelled to Iran in early 2012 and met with people who were, in his words, “carrying out jihad for the sake of Allah,” Michaelson said.

“Mr. Esseghaier returned to Canada intent on establishing a terrorist cell to facilitate and carry out terrorist acts in Canada,” he said.

Jaser, a permanent resident of Palestinian descent, got involved with Esseghaier and wanted to “conduct multiple missions so people in Canada would realize they would not be safe until they left the lands overseas,” Michaelson said.

An undercover FBI officer, however, was able to gain the pair’s trust, which was how conversations about the men’s plans were recorded, forming crucial evidence in the case.
The undercover officer, posing as a wealthy businessman involved in real estate, first met Esseghaier in June 2012 on a flight to California.

That officer testified Monday afternoon that the relationship he built with Esseghaier led to the man calling him one of his brothers.

A conversation that took place at Esseghaier’s apartment was played for the trial, in which he spoke about his time in Iran and “a Palestinian friend” in Toronto – a reference to Jaser – who was “in the jihad truly,” court heard.
“Him and I, we have projects together,” Esseghaier said in Arabic in the intercepted conversation.
One project was the alleged attack on a train between New York and Toronto.

“Mr. Esseghaier explained that their plan was to make a five-to-six-metre hole in a railway bridge, which would cause a ‘big accident,’ ” Michaelson said. “He said it was to be executed in December.”

Part of the plan was also a video, which would be posted online to deliver a message after the attack that “it’s just the beginning, if you don’t get out of our land we will do more,” Michaelson said.

The undercover officer was introduced to Jaser by Esseghaier and got involved in their plans, Michaelson said, at which point more conversations were intercepted.

“Mr. Jaser stated that he could care less who dies. He said that everyone is a target,” Michaelson said.

Jaser also told the undercover officer of a “long-term” plan to use a sniper to target leaders in Canada, he added.

Jaser and Esseghaier took trips to at least two railway bridges as they plotted their attack and determined the ideal location would be a bridge on the eastern edge of Toronto.

At one point, however, Jaser became concerned about the impact their attack would have, court heard.

“Jaser said that it seemed like too much work for a small result. He indicated that the train plot would result in the killing of a few ‘sheep,’ ” Michaelson said. “He said, ‘We don’t want the sheep. We want the wolf.’ ”

In late September, 2012, during a scouting trip to a bridge, the pair’s plot started to unravel when they were approached by uniformed police officers who questioned them and took down their identification information, court heard.

It was at that point that Jaser explained he didn’t want to get caught because he wanted to “continuously fight.”

Esseghaier, who was angry at Jaser for abandoning the train plan, remained intent on carrying out the plot, court heard, and sought to reach out to his contacts overseas while trying to recruit others in Canada to join him.

Jaser and Esseghaier were arrested in April, 2013.

Apostasy in the Final Days

There is an unprecedented event which will happen in the very near future. That event is the Rapture of the Ekklesia (the called out body of Christ) and every Christian should be listening in anticipation for our Lord to call us all Home. Can you imagine the joy of being snatched away from this sin-filled world and being in the presence of Jesus? What a wonder that will be! Until then we live in a fallen world with all of its struggles and strife. Though we don't know what day the Rapture will happen, we can see the signs of its approach. One of those signs is apostasy, or falling away. "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" 2 Thessalonians 2:3. "Falling away" is translated from the Greek word "apostasia". According to Strong's Concordance it means "a falling away, defection, apostasy". When you look around at the various congregations do you see any apostasy? How about in your own congregation? There is a huge falling away - apostasy - from the pure truth of God.

Apostasy is a fact and sadly it is now in full swing. What exactly is apostasy? Any deviation from God's word is apostasy, and in these last days apostasy is running rampant. Homosexual bishops, woman preachers, New Age, emerging church, yoga, contemplative prayer, replacement theology...the list is long. None of these doctrines are Biblical, but they are seeping into our congregations. These doctrines are entering through the teaching of preachers who try to make Christianity more "user friendly", or should I say "seeker friendly". The goal is to keep the congregation happy no matter what heresy is embraced. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. The congregation doesn't want to hear that they are doing anything wrong, so they won't stand for listening to God's truth. Rather than standing firm on the word of God, the man in the pulpit makes life easy for the flock. He waters down God's word so as not to step on any toes. He preaches to the itching ears of the congregation and apostasy reigns.

The fact of the matter is our foundation must be built on Jesus Christ. God's Word must be the final authority in all matters and it must rule our life. As folks move away from sound doctrine the false teachers are able to change God's truth into doctrines of devils, and so the apostasy begins. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" 1 Timothy 4:1. We are living in the "latter times", and rather than heed Scripture, people want to do what is right in their own eyes. We can see that apostasy has a firm hold on many people.

This falling away also comes by the false teaching that all religious groups worship the same god. Well, Christianity worships one God in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The others follow the doctrines of devils. There is a movement which is adding to the apostasy. Some religious leaders are trying to unite all religions into one group. Christians cannot unite with any other faith or we lose our foundation. Salvation is through Christ and Christ alone. Do you think that a Muslim would ever pray in the name of Jesus? Do you think a Jehovah's Witness will ever confess the deity of Christ? "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Luke 13:23-24. There is no room for false teaching when it comes to salvation. Christians know that there is no other way of salvation except through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" John 14:6. Don't be among those who are apostate; don't fall away. Follow the strait road and do not waver. There is no other way to come unto the Father but through Jesus.

False prophets who lead the gullible down the broad road to destruction aren't new. Jesus gave a warning to be on the lookout for these wicked ones. "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:15. Jesus said that there will be teachers (false prophets) who seem to be learned in God's word and will be accepted by many people as teaching biblical truth. Although their words will appear to be sound and correct, these deceivers will actually be ravening wolves (emissaries of Satan). Because of their convincing style, their ability to present themselves in a good light, and their seemingly truthful message, they will lead many down the treacherous path of apostasy. Not everyone who writes a book or stands in the pulpit speaks God's truth. "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Titus 1:16. The false teachers/false prophets are quite adept in leading the sheep who don't know their Bible into apostasy. Although their deceptions may rely heavily on the incessant use of the name "Jesus" it's all just a facade as there's no indwelling by the Holy Spirit. Does your pastor preach the true Gospel, or is it watered down so as not to step on toes? Avoid these ravening wolves by knowing for yourself what God's word teaches. Read it...study it...apply it to your life.There was a time when the Bible was not available to ordinary people. The power hungry, government controlled clergy wouldn't preach the truth. Today we have the blessing of God's word being readily available in most languages and in easily understood translations. There is no excuse for anyone to be led into apostasy. Amos tells us there will come a famine in the land (the whole earth), but it will be a famine of hearing the Word of God. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it."

Amos 8:11-12. People will seek to hear God's truth, but they will be fed counterfeit lies, as the true Word of God will have gone missing. It isn't that God's word isn't available, they just hear apostate lies instead of the words of the Lord and they don't read and study on their own. Therefore it is easy for them to be lead down the broad road of apostasy and destruction. We are in those days.

As Jesus speaks of the apostasy that will be widespread in the last days, He describes the apostates themselves. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" Matthew 7:22. You might be asking yourself, "What's the problem?" It seems as if these zealots did everything correct, right? Did they not declare the name of Jesus in all their activities? They prophesied, cast out demons, and did many other wonderful works in His name. They're active, they're persuasive, and they're adept at convincing the masses of their spirituality simply by evoking the name of our Lord. So what's the problem? Just this, He (Jesus Christ) is not their Lord. Satan is able perform pseudo-miracles and wonders, and the apostates will be in league with him. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1. If you know the Scripture these purveyors of lies/false doctrines will not be able to deceive you or lead you into apostasy. They may speak of Jesus as if they know Him but Jesus Himself says "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matthew 7:23. Even though these folks are apparently successful in casting out demons, make prophetic predictions, and achieve a level of wondrous signs, their doctrine was one of apostasy. The Holy Spirit is not indwelling them as they never truly believed in Messiah Jesus. They have helped many to fall away, and in these last days these false teachers are everywhere.

Study God's word, not seeker friendly drivel that leads to apostasy. "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:1-2. Paul's words to Timothy are as important today as they were so long ago. Instead of approving of every type of behavior we need to reprove. That means we bring into conviction things that go against God's word. If we see a Christian who is making choices that are not Biblical, rebuke that person. That means make them aware of their sin; use Scripture and love. Patiently urge the one who is falling away to get back on track. If that person has truly accepted Christ they will heed your words because those words will be of God. If they are merely "in name only" Christians, they will continue in their apostasy. Don't compromise God's word.

Time is short. The falling away is in full swing but it has to happen before the Rapture. Then the man of sin will be revealed and Daniel's 70th week will start sometime after that. Those who continue in their apostasy will not be a part of the Rapture because they were never truly a part of the Body of Christ. Only those who know Christ as their Saviour will follow Him on that strait road to eternal life. Turn away from the doctrine of devils and know that eternal life is yours because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Don't be a part of the apostasy that is all around in these final days. Keep watching for the Lord to descend and the voice of the archangel to call you. "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. I can hardly wait.