Sound ‘contained’? NATO commander warns ISIS ‘spreading like a cancer’ among refugees

President Obama has in the past referred to ISIS as the “JV team” and said the terror group is “contained.” Obama has also chided Republican opposition to massive influx of refugees without thorough vetting, saying GOP critics are scared of “widows and orphans.”

Reality, however, says otherwise when it comes to all of the above:

From The Guardian:

Refugees from the Middle East and north Africa are masking the movement of terrorists and criminals, Natos top commander told Congress on Tuesday, despite the protests of human rights groups who say that refugees overwhelmingly have no ulterior motive but escape.

In testimony to the Senate armed services committee, US general Philip Breedlove said that the Islamic State terror group is spreading like a cancer among refugees. The groups members are taking advantage of paths of least resistance, threatening European nations and our own, he added.

What say you, President Obama?

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Three Brooklyn Residents Charged With Planning To Join ISIS And Attack The President

  • The three men came to the attention of the authorities after posting pro-ISIS messages online.
  • They planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS or, failing that, attack targets in the U.S.
  • One of the defendants allegedly admitted to federal agents that he would kill President Obama if ordered to do so by ISIS.
  • A confidential informant wearing a wire approached the men at their mosque and recorded them discussing their plans.

In this courtroom sketch, defendants Akhror Saidakhmetov, third from left, and Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, fourth from right, stand in Federal Court at their arraignment, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Jane Rosenberg / AP

NEW YORK — Three Brooklyn residents were arrested on Wednesday on charges of plotting to join ISIS in Syria and conspiring with the terror organization to launch attacks in the United States, according to federal prosecutors.

The defendants — Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, age 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, age 19, and Abror Habibov, age 30 — were all charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Juraboev, a citizen of Uzbekistan, allegedly offered to bomb Coney Island, a theme park in Brooklyn, and attack President Obama. Saidakhmetov, a citizen of Kazakhstan, allegedly said he wanted to buy a machine gun and shoot at police officers and soldiers. Habibov, also a citizen of Uzbekistan, allegedly provided financial support for their attempts to travel to the Middle East.

The men were arrested by agents with the FBI and the New York Police Department. They will be prosecuted by Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for Brooklyn and a candidate to succeed Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general.

“The flow of foreign fighters to Syria represents an evolving threat to our country and to our allies,” Lynch said in a statement. “We will vigorously prosecute those who attempt to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad on behalf of ISIL and those who support them.”

The three men came to the attention of the authorities in August 2014, after Juraboev allegedly posted pro-ISIS comments in an Uzbek-language website, the complaint said. After seeing the comments, agents with the FBI paid several visits to Juraboev.

During those visits, Juraboev allegedly admitted in writing that he was planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS, and that he would kill President Obama or bomb Coney Island if ordered to do so. He also allegedly told the agents that Saidakhmetov shared his views.

Juraboev continued to plan his travel to ISIS after speaking to the FBI, the complaint alleges. Two days after the last interview with the federal agents, the teenager sent several messages to an ISIS representative.

“If right now I decide to go to the airport and go anywhere, except for Uzbekistan, they may arrest me,” Juraboev allegedly told the ISIS representative, according to the complaint. “It’s because of what I told them about Obama. […] I need to sneak out of here with extreme caution without being noticed by them.”

A few days later, in September 2014, Juraboev and Saidakhmetov allegedly discussed their plans to travel to Syria, according to the complaint.

“The only way to get there is via Turkey, via Istanbul,” Juraboev allegedly wrote Saidakhmetov, according to the complaint. “Supposedly none of them can help. In other words, since they don’t know us, they won’t help us.”

A month after that exchange, the FBI sent a confidential informant to Juraboev’s mosque, according to the complaint. The informant, who was wearing a wire, posed as an “ideologically sympathetic individual.” Juraboev and Saidakhmetov then allegedly tried to convince the informant to travel to Syria with them and join ISIS.

Saidakhmetov also told the informant that his mother had taken his passport away to prevent him from joining ISIS, according to the complaint. He also told the informant that if he was not able to travel to Syria, he would try to kill law enforcement officers in the United States.

“I will just go and buy a machine gun, AK-47, and shoot all police,” the defendant allegedly said. “It is legal in America to carry a gun. We will go and purchase one handgun, then go and shoot one police officer. Then we will take his gun, bullets, and bulletproof vest. Then we will go to the FBI headquarters, kill the FBI people.”

Earlier this year, Juraboev and Saidakhmetov procured travel documents and bought tickets to travel to Turkey, the complaint said. Saidakhmetov was scheduled to travel on Wednesday, while Juraboev was planning to fly next month.

Saidakhmetov was arrested Wednesday morning at John F. Kennedy airport while attempting to fly to Turkey. Juraboev was arrested in his apartment in Brooklyn. Habibov was arrested in Florida.

The defendants are expected to have their first court appearance later on Wednesday. It was unclear if any of them had retained attorneys.

If convicted, the men face up to 15 years behind bars.

CBS reports this is Abror Habibov, the defendant accused of providing financial support to the other two, who was arrested in Florida on Wednesday.

A Google+ page appearing to belong to the 19-year-old Saidakhmetov shows many pro-ISIS videos and comments.

He commented, “Allahu akbar,” meaning “God is great,” when he shared an official ISIS video on his page.

Saidakhmetov also posted and commented on a video of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-declared leader of ISIS.

Read the full complaint here:

View this embed ›

This is a developing story. Follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter for more updates.

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‘In such numbers some are turned away’: Long lines in Paris to donate blood [photos]

After terrorists killed at least 127 people and left hundreds more injured last night, people were encouraged to donate blood:

And people are answering the call:

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Turkey Criticises Britain Over London Schoolgirls Thought To Be Heading To Syria

Deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said British authorities should have alerted Turkey earlier about the missing teenagers. This post has been updated with the Metropolitan police’s reply.

1. Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, has criticised the UK for taking three days to inform his country about three missing London schoolgirls who are believed to have made their way to Syria via Istanbul.

Adem Altan / Getty Images

Police said Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, boarded a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul on Tuesday, and are concerned the trio are intending to join ISIS extremists.

Arinc said British authorities should have informed Turkey earlier about the missing teenagers.

2. “It is a condemnable act for Britain to let three girls … come to Istanbul and then let us know three days later,” the deputy prime minister said.

“They haven’t taken the necessary measures. The search is ongoing. It would be great if we can find them. But if we can’t, it is not us who will be responsible, but the British.”

3. The three teenagers are pupils at Bethnal Green Academy in east London. In December, another girl from the school travelled to Syria.

Metropolitan police

Police officers from the UK have now travelled to Turkey as the search for the girls continues, the BBC reported.


Scotland Yard has now responded to Arinc’s claims and said it actually alerted the Turkish authorities a day after the teenagers went missing, The Guardian reported.

The police force reportedly said in a statement: “Once we established that the girls had travelled to Turkey, police made contact with the foreign liaison officer at the Turkish Embassy in London on Wednesday, 18 February.

“Since then we have been working closely with the Turkish authorities who are providing great assistance and support to our investigation.” BF_STATIC.timequeue.push(function () { document.getElementById(“update_article_update_time_5072832”).innerHTML = UI.dateFormat.get_formatted_date(‘2015-02-24 11:30:34 -0500’, ‘update’); });

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Donald Trump repeats his desire to ‘penetrate the Internet’

Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is about the only person who tookDonald Trump seriously Tuesday night when he repeated his strategy to “close up” parts of the Internet that ISIS is using to recruit members and coordinate attacks.

Even if it could be done, would it be a good idea?

Expect to this hear this gem quite a bit tomorrow.

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Libya Is Now In Utter Chaos And This Is Why

Three and a half years after Qaddafi’s fall, Libya is both in the midst of a civil war and facing a new campaign against ISIS camps on its territory. Here’s how it got here.

Libya is back in the news again as Egypt began bombing the country after ISIS beheaded a group of Egyptian Coptic Christians in the Libyan city of Derna, just over the border the two countries share.

An Egyptian fighter jet lands in Egypt Egyptian Defense Ministry / AP

That — understandably — could leave you confused. ISIS has been operating in Iraq and Syria, where they’ve carved out a sizable chunk of territory and the U.S. and other countries are fighting them. But now Libya? Egypt?

Marvel Studios / Via

So let’s backtrack and see how we got here.

Back in 2011, at the apex of the “Arab Spring,” Libyans rose up in protest again longtime ruler Muammar al-Qaddafi. The United States, France, the United Kingdom, and the rest of NATO got a United Nations mandate to launch a No-Fly Zone to prevent the mass murder of civilians in the eastern city of Benghazi. That mission soon expanded, however, and ended with Qaddafi being overthrown, captured, and murdered on camera by rebels.

NATO initially declared their Libya campaign a success. A transitional government was installed and the country declared itself a democracy, holding historic elections. It also tried to rebuild a civil society that had gone stagnant under Qaddafi.

An election worker explains a ballot to a woman at a polling center during parliamentary elections last June Mohammed Ben Khalifa / AP

Those efforts were hampered by the fact that, though NATO provided air support, the civil war in Libya was won by a bunch of disparate militias, allied only to take out Qaddafi. Afterwards, the new government tried to rein them in but that went poorly.

Also, some of the militias have tanks Reuters

Some militias opted to be placed under the nominal control of the Libyan Defense Ministry.

The February 17th Brigade in particular was considered friendly enough that the United States thought that they would help protect the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Others were less supportive but seen as being more moderate while still wanting Libya to be a state run under rules supported by the Quran. Others, like Ansar al-Sharia, are decidedly more devoted to a hardline interpretation of Islam to the point that several of them are either communicating with or outright aligned with al-Qaeda. Both of the latter groups have been lumped together as “Islamist” groups at certain times, depending on the context.

But the death of four Americans in Benghazi in 2012 was the biggest red flag that transitioning from Qaddafi would be nowhere near easy.

Libyan military guards examine the aftermath of the 2012 attack Mohammad Hannon / AP

Also problematic: these militias have been fighting each other since days immediately after Qaddafi fell. Add in a vast surplus of weapons that are still up for grabs and Libya was looking awful rough even in early 2012.

Fighters prepare for clashes between rival militias in 2012 Anis Mili / Reuters

About a year ago, one of Qaddafi’s former general’s launched “Operation Dignity” — a mission to take out the so-called Islamist groups that he believed had hijacked Libya’s parliament. Which he then tried to overthrow.

Members of a brigade loyal to Gen. Khalifa Haftar Abdullah Doma / Via AFP / Getty

The resulting fighting managed to nearly blow up the capital city, Tripoli, and forced Libya’s parliament to flee and basically try to run the country from a boat.

Not the actual ship, but you get the metaphor Paramount Pictures / Via

The Libyan parliament eventually decided to align themselves with Operation Dignity and its leader Gen. Khalifa Haftar against the various Islamist groups — who call themselves “Libya Dawn.” And now Libya is in the middle of a civil war:

Haftar’s actions led to the effective split of the country: his forces control most of eastern Libya, but, notably, neither Derna nor Benghazi, where heavy fighting continues; and a coalition of Islamists controls the central cities of Tripoli, Misrata, and Sirte. A tribal militia allied with Haftar controls parts of western and southern Libya, but large swaths of the southern desert are effectively out of control, with armed bands claiming affiliation with ISIS and a group called Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb both operating there.


Complicating matters still further, last August Egypt and the United Arab Emirates stepped in on behalf of Haftar and launched bombing runs against the Libya Dawn groups.

All of this fighting has left a lot of ungoverned space in Libya, which is where ISIS comes in. Last fall, jihadis in the Libyan city of Derna declared themselves the newest ISIS branch.

Libyan followers of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades and other Islamic militias protest in 2012 AP

Then on Saturday, the Libyan ISIS branch released a video showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. Which leads us to Egypt’s latest airstrikes.


And now it seems that Libya Dawn has begun launching airstrikes of its own against the Libyan government and Operation Dignity. And a triple car bombing occurred in the eastern city of al-Qubbah on Friday, possibly in retaliation for Egypt’s strikes.

An armed motorcade belonging to members of Derna’s Islamic Youth Council, who swore allegiance to ISIS, in October 2014 Reuters

The United States isn’t condemning or condoning Egypt’s strikes inside of Libya for now. But with reports that the ISIS-linked jihadis have taken over a university in central Libya, the struggle for the country’s future seems far from over.

A Libyan military soldier stands guard at the entrance of a town near Sirte, Libya Mohamed Ben Khalifa / AP

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Obama On Kayla Mueller: Telling Families U.S. Won’t Pay Ransom Is “As Tough As Anything I Do”

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the president focuses on “what she stood for — and how it stands in contrast with the barbaric organization that held her captive.”

Photograph by Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed News

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Tuesday he is heartbroken by the death of American hostage Kayla Jane Mueller, who had been held by ISIS for more than a year.

Obama, who said telling hostages’ families that the U.S. won’t pay ransom is “as tough as anything I do,” also said that Mueller was one of the hostages the United States sought — and failed — to rescue in a raid in Syria last summer.

“She was an outstanding young woman and a great spirit — and I think that spirit will live on,” Obama said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “The more people learn about her, the more they appreciate what she stood for — and how it stands in contrast with the barbaric organization that held her captive.”

Obama said his “immediate reaction was heartbreak” to the confirmation that Mueller, a 26-year-old aid worker from Arizona who was kidnapped in Syria, is dead.

Mueller Handout / Reuters

The United States, unlike some European countries, has a blanket policy of refusing to pay ransom for hostages, a policy initially intended to discourage the financially motivated kidnapping that has become common from Mexico to the waters off Somalia. That policy has come under pressure with the rise of ideological terrorists like ISIS (which the White House refers to as ISIL), who see an advantage in gory, public murder, and President Obama last fall commissioned a sweeping review of U.S. hostage policy.

Obama objected to the suggestion that the United States had not done everything it could to free Mueller.

“I don’t think it’s accurate … to say that the United States government hasn’t done everything we could,” Obama said. “We devoted enormous resources and always devote enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world.”

“I deployed an entire operation — at significant risk — to rescue not only her but the other individuals who had been held, and probably missed them by a day or two, precisely because we had that commitment,” Obama said, referring to what has been reported as a raid by Delta Force commandos on an oil refinery in northern Syria. His comment was the first official suggestion that the White House believed Mueller had been at the site of the raid.

“The one thing that we have held to is a policy of not paying ransoms with an organization like ISIL. And the reason is once we start doing that, not only are we financing their slaughter of innocent people and strengthening their organization, but we’re actually making Americans even greater targets for future kidnappings,” he said. Citizens of many European countries, including France, Germany, and Italy, have been freed after ransoms were paid.

Obama said he understood that hostages’ families find that policy hard to accept.

“It’s as tough as anything I do — having the conversation with parents who understandably want by any means necessary for their children to be safe,” he said. “We will do everything we can short of providing an incentive for future Americans to be caught.”

Obama signaled that the review — which National Security Advisor Susan Rice said last week would focus on “how we can support and be more responsive to the needs of the families” — will not include a re-evaluation of that principle.

“Just as a general rule, what we don’t want to do is make other American citizens riper targets for the actions of organizations like this,” Obama said in response to a question about the panel.

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