Category: Retaliation


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People Are Waking Up to the Dark Side of American Policing, and Cops Don’t Like It One Bit

Pushing back against a creeping police state.

If you’ve been listening to various police agencies and their supporters, then you know what the future holds: anarchy is coming — and it’s all the fault of activists.

In May, a Wall Street Journal op-ed warned of a “new nationwide crime wave” thanks to “intense agitation against American police departments” over the previous year. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went further. Talking recently with the host of CBS’s Face the Nation, the Republican presidential hopeful asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement wasn’t about reform but something far more sinister. “They’ve been chanting in the streets for the murder of police officers,” he insisted. Even the nation’s top cop, FBI Director James Comey, weighed in at the University of Chicago Law School, speaking of “a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”

According to these figures and others like them, lawlessness has been sweeping the nation as the so-called Ferguson effect spreads. Criminals have been emboldened as police officers are forced to think twice about doing their jobs for fear of the infamy of starring in the next viral video. The police have supposedly become the targets of assassins intoxicated by “anti-cop rhetoric,” just as departments are being stripped of the kind of high-powered equipment they need to protect officers and communities. Even their funding streams have, it’s claimed, come under attack as anti-cop bias has infected Washington, D.C. Senator Ted Cruz caught the spirit of that critique by convening a Senate subcommittee hearing to which he gave the title, “The War on Police: How the Federal Government Undermines State and Local Law Enforcement.” According to him, the federal government, including the president and attorney general, has been vilifying the police, who are now being treated as if they, not the criminals, were the enemy.

Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people have been killed by the police this year nationwide. In just the past few weeks, videos have been released of problematic fatal police shootings in San Francisco and Chicago.

While it’s too soon to tell whether there has been an uptick in violent crime in the post-Ferguson period, no evidence connects any possible increase to the phenomenon of police violence being exposed to the nation. What is taking place and what the police and their supporters are largely reacting to is a modest push for sensible law enforcement reforms from groups as diverse as Campaign Zero, Koch Industries, the Cato Institute, The Leadership Conference, and the ACLU (my employer). Unfortunately, as the rhetoric ratchets up, many police agencies and organizations are increasingly resistant to any reforms, forgetting whom they serve and ignoring constitutional limits on what they can do.

 

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Why the Gulf States, the Kurds, the Turks, the Sunnis, and the Shia Won’t Fight America’s War

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Sunday night, Dec. 6, 2016. In a rare Oval Office address, Obama vowed the United States would overcome a terror threat that has entered a “new phase” as he sought to reassure Americans shaken by recent attacks in Paris and California. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AP)

In the many strategies proposed to defeat the Islamic State (IS) by presidential candidates, policymakers, and media pundits alike across the American political spectrum, one common element stands out: someone else should really do it. The United States will send in planes, advisers, and special ops guys, but it would be best — and this varies depending on which pseudo-strategist you cite — if the Arabs, Kurds, Turks, Sunnis, and/or Shias would please step in soon and get America off the hook.

The idea of seeing other-than-American boots on the ground, like Washington’s recently deep-sixed scheme to create some “moderate” Syrian rebels out of whole cloth, is attractive on paper. Let someone else fight America’s wars for American goals. Put an Arab face on the conflict, or if not that at least a Kurdish one (since, though they may not be Arabs, they’re close enough in an American calculus). Let the U.S. focus on its “bloodless” use of air power and covert ops. Somebody else, Washington’s top brains repeatedly suggest, should put their feet on the embattled, contested ground of Syria and Iraq. Why, the U.S. might even gift them with nice, new boots as a thank-you.

Is this, however, a realistic strategy for winning America’s war(s) in the Middle East?

The Great Champions of the Grand Strategy

Recently, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton openly called for the U.S. to round up some Arab allies, Kurds, and Iraqi Sunnis to drive the Islamic State’s fighters out of Iraq and Syria. On the same day that Clinton made her proposal, Bernie Sanders called for “destroying” the Islamic State, but suggested that it “must be done primarily by Muslim nations.” It’s doubtful he meant Indonesia or Malaysia.

Among the Republican contenders, Marco Rubio proposed that the U.S. “provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces.” Ted Cruz threw his support behind arming the Kurds, while Donald Trump appeared to favor more violence in the region by whoever might be willing to jump in.

The Pentagon has long been in favor of arming both the Kurds and whatever Sunni tribal groups it could round up in Iraq or Syria. Variouspundits across the political spectrum say much the same.

They may all mean well, but their plans are guaranteed to fail. Here’s why, group by group.

The Gulf Arabs

 

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Anonymous Takes Down 5,500 ISIS Accounts – 24 Hours After ISIS Called them “Idiots”



The announcement comes less than 24 hours after hacktivist group warned of a coordinated and targeted attack against the Islamic State in the wake of the deadly wave of terror attacks across Paris.

We report that more than 5500 Twitter account of are now !

The hacking collective vowed to “unite humanity,” warning the terrorist group to “expect massive cyber-attacks.”

“Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” the masked Anon spokesman in the video said. “You should know that we will find you and we will not let you go.”

ISIS responded to Anonymous’ video on Monday, calling the hacktivist group “idiots” and offering technical guidance to ISIS supporters in an effort to protect against Anonymous cyber-attacks.

In spite of the ISIS insults aimed at Anonymous, judging by the initial results, it seems the Islamic State is impotent to stop the hacktivist group from decimating the terror group’s social media outreach and recruitment efforts.

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French prosecutor: 9th suspect in Paris terror attacks being sought

France seeks EU security aid, launches new airstrikes on ISIS
France made an unprecedented demand Tuesday that its European Union allies support its military action against the Islamic State group after the attacks in Paris.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 03:33PM

Authorities are seeking a ninth suspect in Friday’s attacks in Paris, a French prosecutor’s spokeswoman told ABC News. The spokeswoman did not reveal any details about the suspect’s identity.

France took unprecedented action Tuesday when it invoked the Mutual-Defense article of the EU Treaty. Now all 28 member nations must help France in its war against ISIS.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 27 of France’s EU partners responded positively, and they could help “either by taking part in France’s operations in Syria or Iraq, or by easing the load or providing support for France in other operations.”

“Every country said: I am going to assist, I am going to help,” Drian said.

VIDEO: France carries out raids, names more potential attackers

A major action with heavily armed police is underway Monday, Nov. 16, 2015 in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek amid a manhunt for a suspect of the Paris attacks.

Arriving for talks in Brussels with his EU counterparts, Greek Defense Minister Panagiotis Kammenos told reporters that the Paris attacks were a game-changer for the bloc.

“This is Sept. 11 for Europe,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande has vowed to forge a united coalition capable of defeating the jihadists at home and abroad. NATO allies were sharing intelligence and working closely with France, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said.

Noting that victims of the Paris attacks came from at least 19 nations, Hollande says the international community, led by the U.S. and Russia, must overcome their deep-seated divisions over Syria to destroy IS on its home turf.

 

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France launches air strikes in Syria; Paris investigation widens

Reuters
By Emmanuel Jarry and Robert-Jan Bartunek 


French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria on Sunday as police in Europe widened their investigations into coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday’s suicide bombings and shootings, which have re-ignited a row over Europe’s refugee crisis and drawn calls to block a huge influx of Muslim asylum-seekers.

French police have launched an international hunt for a Belgian-born man they believe helped organize the assaults with two of his brothers. One of the brothers died in the attacks, while the second one is under arrest in Belgium, a judicial source said.

A further two French suicide attackers have been identified, police said, while the identity of four other assailants, who all died in the violence, was still under review.

France has been bombing Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria for months as part of a U.S.-led operation. Following Friday’s mayhem, Paris vowed to destroy the group. Underlining its resolve, French jets on Sunday launched their biggest raids in Syria to date, hitting its stronghold in Raqqa.

“The raid … including 10 fighter jets, was launched simultaneously from the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. Twenty bombs were dropped,” the Defence Ministry said. Among the targets were a munitions depot and training camp, it said.

 

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France Drops 20 Bombs On IS Stronghold Raqqa

French jets carry out their biggest bombing raid in Syria after Islamic State gunmen massacre 132 people in Paris.

23:03, UK, Sunday 15 November 2015

Syrian airstrikes

French fighter planes have dropped 20 bombs on the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Raqqa in northern Syria.

The bombers hit a jihadi recruitment centre, training camp and arms depot run by the extremist group, according to the French defence ministry.

A spokesman described it as a “massive” attack and France’s biggest to date in Syria.

Raqqa in Syria is an Islamic State stronghold

The aerial raid was launched from air bases in United Arab Emirates and Jordan, and involved France’s 12 fighter bombers based there.

It follows Friday’s terror attacks which left 132 people dead in the French capital.

IS fighters said they carried out the gun and bomb massacre – calling Paris “the capital of prostitution and obscenity”.

Sky’s Sam Kiley, in northern Iraq, said the French airstrikes should not be seen as a “wanton act of revenge” or carpet-bombing campaign.

“I think it’s very clear that the French and the wider coalition have decided in a sense to give France the iron fist at least for the next 24 hours or so,” he said.

 

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Paris Attackers Communicated With ISIS, Officials Say

The New York Times

French Warplanes Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria



Police officers in the Molenbeek area of Brussels on Saturday.© Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency Police officers in the Molenbeek area of Brussels on Saturday.

PARIS — French warplanes struck Islamic State militants in Syria on Sunday, a French government official said, two days after attackers linked to the terrorist group carried out a coordinated assault on Paris that killed 129 people.

Prior to the attack on Paris, France had been sparing in its strikes against targets in Syria.

News reports in France said the airstrikes were focused on Raqqa, the city in northern Syria that is the self-proclaimed capital of the Islamic State.

The attackers in Friday’s terrorist assault in Paris communicated at some point beforehand with known members of the Islamic State in Syria, officials on both sides of the Atlantic say, adding evidence to the assertions that the radical group coordinated or helped carry out the attacks rather than simply inspired them.

President François Hollande of France has characterized the attacks as “an act of war” carried out by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. He provided no specific information, but the Islamic State released statements on Saturday claiming responsibility for the attacks, part of increasing indications that the group is becoming more capable of extending its reach far beyond its base in Syria and Iraq.

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Police ‘Let Fugitive Suspect Go After Attacks’

A manhunt is under way for Saleh Abdeslam after he was reportedly questioned and released despite being identified by authorities.

21:29, UK, Sunday 15 November 2015

Salah Abdeslam

A man wanted over the Paris terror attacks had been questioned and released by police hours after the massacres, it is claimed.

Salah Abdeslam, 26, reportedly helped with logistics and rented a black Volkswagen Polo used by the gunmen who stormed the Bataclan concert hall and killed at least 89 people on Friday night.

He was apparently spoken to by officers on Saturday morning when they pulled over a car carrying three people near the Belgian border.

Police then checked Abdeslam’s ID and subsequently let him go, officials told the Associated Press.

The incident came just hours after authorities had identified him as the person who rented the Polo which was abandoned at the scene of the attack.

One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was reportedly among the seven suicide bombers in the co-ordinated assaults targeting six sites across the French capital.

A third brother was apparently arrested in Belgium and questioned before being released.

Salah Abdeslam, who was born in Brussels, is described as 1m 75cm (5ft 8in) tall and has brown eyes.

Police released a photo of him and warned the public he is dangerous and said “do not intervene yourself”. There are reports he may have fled to Spain.

Another man, Bilal Hadfi, has been named as among the attackers and he also lived in Belgium as did Salah and Ibrahim Abdeslam, said the Washington Post.

 

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The New York Times

Major events: Attacks directed by/linked to ISIS Attacks inspired by ISIS Arrests of suspected ISIS militants or supporters

Outlined countries are where ISIS is conducting regular military operations.

IRAQ

Libya

Egypt

ISIS Declares Provinces Across the Region

 Countries and regions in yellow are where ISIS has declared provinces.Algeria

Lybia

Egypt

Syria

Iraq

Saudi Arabia

YemenAfghanistan

Pakistan

Nigeria

See Detailed Map Here

If investigators determine that the Islamic State is responsible for the catastrophic attacks in Paris, as the group claims and France alleges, the assaults represent a major leap in the group’s abilities.

Until now, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has relied mainly on “lone wolf” followers to attack the West, with relatively low-tech assaults — shootings, the taking of hostages, hit-and-runs — that draw wide attention but do not cause mass casualties.

“This is much different than a normal lone wolf inspired attack,” said Patrick M. Skinner, a former C.I.A. operations officer now with the Soufan Group, a security consultancy. “This was choreographed.”

“The fact that they could do this, especially in Paris, where the intelligence service is really good, clearly there’s a hole somewhere,” Mr. Skinner said.

The Islamic State has been expanding beyond its base in Iraq and Syria since it declared a caliphate, or Islamic state, in June 2014. The group is focused on three parallel tracks, according to Harleen Gambhir, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War:

  • inciting regional conflict with attacks in Iraq and Syria;
  • building relationships with jihadist groups that can carry out military operations across the Middle East and North Africa;
  • and inspiring, and sometimes helping, ISIS sympathizers to conduct attacks in the West.
“The goal,” Ms. Gambhir said, “is that through these regional affiliates and through efforts to create chaos in the wider world, the organization will be able to expand, and perhaps incite a global apocalyptic war.”

 

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Daily News

ISIS claims responsibility for Paris massacre; attackers include Belgians, Frenchman, possible Syrian migrant

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Saturday, November 14, 2015, 3:46 PM
NY Daily News

 

ISIS claimed responsibility for a horrific series of coordinated attacks throughout Paris that killed 129 people and wounded 352 as official announced the assailants included three Belgians, a Frenchman and  possibly one Syrian migrant who passed through Greece this year.

 

The terror group warned in a Saturday statement that France “will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State” and claimed that eight of its fighters stormed carefully chosen targets in the “capital of adultery and vice.”

 

One of the fighters, who was killed in a suicide bomb, had a Syrian passport on him, officials said.

 

Officials in Greece said that passport belonged to a migrant who had entered Europe in October through Leros, one of the islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere have been using as a gateway to the European Union in recent months.

 

It’s not clear if the passport belonged to the fighter or if it was stolen from a refugee.

 

Another one of the terrorists was a 30-year-old French national who had been on authorities’ radar since 2010 for his ties to Islamic extremism, officials said.

 

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ABC News

Devastation in France: What We Know About The Paris Attacks

Christian Hartmann/Reuters
WATCH At Least 1 American Killed in Paris Terror Attacks

A wave of devastating attacks on civilians across Paris Friday night has left at least 129 dead, including an American, and many more injured.

As France initiates a state of emergency and begins several days of mourning, here is a breakdown of what we know so far:

Where

Six separate attacks were carried out across Paris, beginning after 10 p.m. local time Friday night.

One of the targets was the Stade de France soccer stadium, where Germany was playing France in a game that French President Francois Hollande was attending. Hollande was evacuated from the stadium.

PHOTO: A French supporter reacts after invading the pitch of the Stade de France stadium at the end of a soccer match between France and Germany in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Nov. 13, 2015.

Christophe Ena/AP Photo
A French supporter reacts after invading the pitch of the Stade de France stadium at the end of a soccer match between France and Germany in Saint Denis, outside Paris, Nov. 13, 2015.more +

At least 80 were killed inside the Bataclan concert hall, where American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was playing. A witness in the theater told ABC News she heard gunmen shout “Syria!”

The four other attacks were at other locations in the 10th and 11th districts of Paris, where gunmen targeted bars and restaurants. Police said some attackers first sprayed cafes outside the venue with machine gunfire before continuing the assault inside the concert hall.

PHOTO: A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theater after a shooting in Paris, Nov. 13, 2015.

Thibault Camus/AP Photo
A woman is evacuated from the Bataclan theater after a shooting in Paris, Nov. 13, 2015.

 

 

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ABC News

American College Student Killed in Paris Attacks

John Walton PA via AP

A 23-year-old American was killed in Friday night’s devastating six-part attack in Paris, according to California State University, Long Beach.

Nohemi Gonzalez, a CSU Long Beach student, was in Paris attending Strate College of Design for a semester abroad program, the school said.

Gonzalez was one of 17 CSU Long Beach students studying abroad at Strate, according to a school official. The 16 other students are safe, according to the school.

 

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Paris massacre: World mourns 120+ killed in series of terrorist attacks Live updates

French police patrol near the closed Galeries Lafayette department store in the shopping district the day after a series of deadly attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015 © Yves Herman
The world is mourning with France, the victims of Friday’s terror assaults in Paris that claimed the lives of at least 129 people. Security has been tightened up globally as Islamic State, who claimed responsibility for the massacre, threatened more violence.
  • 14 November 2015

    21:46 GMT

    A second person who was reportedly involved in the Paris massacre is “very likely” to have entered European Union via Greece, sources in the Greek government told Reuters. Earlier Greece’s deputy minister in charge of police said a Syrian man whose passport was found at one of the suicide bombing sites made it to the EU through Greece in October.

  • 21:33 GMT

    A spokesman for the Accor hotel chain, which operates the Pullman Hotel, also confirmed that the earlier incident was a false bomb alert.

  • 21:24 GMT

    A spokesman for the French Interior Ministry has told Reuters that the incident at the hotel in the center of Paris was a false alarm.

  • 21:22 GMT

    Heavily armed police have been deployed at the Pullman Hotel in Paris’ 15th district, according to witnesses, who said the officers were searching through rooms. An evacuation has also been reported to have taken place near the Eiffel Tower.

  • 21:08 GMT

    Police in Paris have evacuated an area around the Eiffel tower, Reuters reports, citing witnesses.

     

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Perfect storm: ‘Paris massacre may enflame public opinion on migrant crisis, NATO interventions’

People react and keep warm using thermal blankets near the Bataclan concert hall following fatal attacks in Paris, France, November 14, 2015. © Christian Hartmann
French President Hollande has declared a state of emergency across the country as Paris comes to grip with a series of terrorist attacks that led to the death of 127 people in the capital, which was placed under curfew for the first time since World War II.

RT interviewed several analysts for their opinions on what these deadly coordinated attacks in the French capital mean not only for the freedom of movement across Europe, but for the ongoing Syrian military operation, which has brought together various state actors – including the US and Russia – in an increasingly shrinking and volatile military theater.

 

Alain Corvez, Former Advisor to French Interior Ministry, provided insight into the question as to how it is possible that Islamic State has such a long reach – right into the very heart of Europe.

 

Corvez believes these attacks are “linked to the geopolitical system, and what we are doing in Iraq and in Syria is directly linked to attacks.”

 

I think all of the specialists and experts on terrorism knew that such an attack was possible,” he continued. “This is a world war against terrorists that we have to wage. And for the first time, President Hollande said we have to fight terrorism on a larger scale.”

‘France has been intervening in the Middle East since 1917’

Washington-based defense analyst Ivan Eland, asked whether this was the right time for nations to put aside their differences and join together in the fight against terrorism, he explained that it is important to consider the problem long-term it is important to ask “what are the root causes of this terrorism – we call them “blanket terrorism” – but there’s many different groups in the world with many different causes and most of them tend to be local causes, which become international causes when Western countries, or other countries, intervene where they shouldn’t.”

 

“France has been intervening in the Middle East since after World War I, when Britain and France divided it; it was the colonial master in Syria and now it’s taking a fairly assertive policy by bombing in Syria.

 

It’s no secret – this is not random – that France is the target.”

 

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‘Terrorists chose Paris as iconic target like twin towers’ – ex-CIA officer

 The Paris attacks are reminiscent to the terrorist gun spree in Mumbai in 2008, when separate groups of gunmen went on a shooting spree at different locations across the city. This tactic is a brutally efficient form of terrorism, Rice said.
The series of apparent Islamic State attacks in Paris can be compared to the 2001 destruction of the WTC towers in the US, says Jack Rice, a former CIA officer. The French capital is an iconic European city, and terrorists target icons.

READ MORE: Paris attacks: 150+ killed and many injured in a series of terrorist acts (LIVE UPDATES)

France has suffered one of the worst tragedies in its modern history with more than 150 people reported killed in seven separate gun and bomb attacks throughout the capital. The terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“Part of the strength that a terrorist group has is to take down an icon,” Rice told RT. “If we go back to 9/11 in the United States, they took down the World Trade Center and parts of New York. And we’ve seen efforts around the world to do similar things.

 

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Servicemen gather passengers' belongings on the crash site of the Airbus A321 that was carrying out Kogalymavia Flight 9268 from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, 100 km south of El Arish in the northern Sinai Peninsula. © Maxim Grigoryev
The search and recovery operation continues in Egypt’s Sinai after a Russian passenger plane crashed there, killing all 224 people on board Saturday. Russian and Egyptian investigators are looking into the causes of the tragedy.
  • 08 November 2015

    13:13 GMT

  • 13:12 GMT

    Investigators of the jet crash are “90 percent sure” that the noise heard in the final moments of the cockpit recording was a bomb exploding, a member of the investigation team told Reuters.

  • 09:32 GMT

    Emirates Airlines expects the plane tragedy will result in demands for stringent aviation security across the globe, the airline’s president, Tim Clark said, as cited by Reuters.

  • 09:27 GMT

    The luggage of Russian tourists who arrive from Egypt is undergoing stricter than usual checks, said Igor Pedan, an official from UTG aviation services, which maintains Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport.

    “The procedure was non-standard, I can say,” he said. “All luggage was sent to a special zone, [it] was checked by cynologists [dog-handlers] with [sniffer] dogs, the luggage was checked by special equipment and only then was transferred to a clear zone, for passengers to pick it up, ” he added.

     

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Unclear ‘noise’ recorded before A321 crash, its nature to be determined – Egypt’s investigators

The Russian A321’s black box recorded an unclear noise before crashing in Sinai, the head of Egypt’s investigation committee has confirmed. However, spectral analysis is required to determine its nature.

The head of the Investigations Committee, Captain Ayman Mokadem, said the nature of debris scatter suggests an in-flight break up, but it is still too early to draw conclusions on the causes of the crash. While both flight data recorders have been found, the investigators are still studying them.

Mokadem confirmed that some “noise” can be heard on the recording right before the crash. He still said its nature is unclear and a spectral analysis will be carried out to identify it.

An international team of investigators are at the scene still “collecting information,” he said.

Ayman el Mokadem says there are 47 investigators into Metrojet crash – 29 from egypt, 7 russia, France 6, Germany 2 – Ireland 3

According to the flight data recorders, the incident occurred 23 minutes and 14 seconds after takeoff at an altitude of 30,888 feet in climbing mode, at a speed of 281 knots-autopilot engaged, he said.

The investigators have listened to the audio from the cockpit voice recorder and are currently in the phase of writing the transcript, he added.

Access to the crash site has been impeded by bad weather since Tuesday, he said. An investigation team consisting of 58 experts plan to return to the site as soon as weather conditions improve in the next few days.

 

 

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the guardian

 

Vladimir Putin orders halt to all flights to Egyptian airports as evidence mounts that flight 9268 was brought down rather than suffering mechanical failure

Russian tourists
Russian tourists queue at the airport in Sharm El-Sheikh. Photograph: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty

The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to mounting evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday. Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

The reports about the black box contents came as British attempts to bring passengers home from Sharm el-Sheikh descended into chaos on Friday.

While Russia had earlier suggested that the UK was acting prematurely in halting flights to the Red Sea resort over terrorism fears, Vladimir Putin ordered even wider restrictions on Friday, including halting all flights from Cairo. The head of his federal security services said it would be “expedient” to suspend flights until they had discovered why the Airbus 321 had crashed last Saturday.

Meanwhile, the US announced new security measures – including tighter screening – for flights from some airports in the Middle East. Jeh Johnson, the homeland security secretary, said that the move was motivated by “an abundance of caution”. Russia initially dismissed claims by Islamic State (Isis) of responsibility for downing the Metrojet flight, which came weeks after threats of retaliation for Russian planes bombing Syria, and Moscow reacted angrily after David Cameron said it was “more likely than not” a bomb.

 

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the guardian

Mounting suspicions over Sinai plane crash force Russian response

Russia warned UK against jumping to premature conclusions but has now suspended flights as clues increasingly point to bomb attack

Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg
A makeshift memorial outside Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg, the plane’s intended destination. Photograph: Reuters

 

Clues about the fate of Airbus A321 have mounted quickly over the last few days, pointing to the conclusion that the Russian plane was brought down by a bomb.

The balance tipped towards terrorist action when Russia, which had urged the UK against jumping to premature judgments, finally bowed and suspended all Russian flights to and from Egypt.

The move was in response to a series of developments since Tuesday, when it was revealed that US satellite imagery had picked up a heat flash before the plane went down.

British government sources reported “chatter” picked up by surveillance agencies, hinting that a bomb may have been involved. There was alarm over the extent of lax security at Sharm el-Sheikh airport and on Friday, French media reported that sources close to the investigation were saying evidence on the black boxes pointed towards an attack.

The “chatter” was picked up by one of the most important of the overseas listening stations run by Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ at Mount Troodos, in Cyprus. From that listening post, the British can pick up communications as far away as Beijing but the interest this time was nearer at hand, information heard linking the crash to Islamic State and a bomb.

 

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the guardian

The UK government’s attempt to evacuate thousands of stranded British holidaymakers from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh descended into angry scenes as tourists berated the UK ambassador to Cairo over further delays, with only eight out of 29 planned flights cleared to fly.

The first two repatriation flights from Sharm to the UK touched down on Friday afternoon after a day of conflicting information from airlines, embassy staff and Egyptian officials over the timetable for flights, during which the ambassador, John Casson, was heckled by furious tourists.

Sharm el-Sheikh airport is at the centre of security fearsafter a Russian airliner crashed last weekend in Sinai, killing all 224 people on board. British officials fear the plane was brought down by a bomb.

The angry exchanges came as more countries, including Russia, moved to introduce new flight restrictions.

In a crowded terminal of the resort’s airport hundreds of Britons were hoping to return home after they were ferried to the airport in buses, only for easyJet to tell them that Egypt was blocking the arrival of extra flights.

 

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Global Community Report Banner photo FSPLogoGlobalCommunityFulloldworldmapbckgrnd_zps43d3059c.jpg

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File:Orb weaver black bckgrnd03 crop.jpg

Taken by  fir0002 | flagstaffotos.com.au

Orb-weaver spider (family Araneidae): Eriophora transmarina

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West Virginia assistant prosecutor suspended for pulling gun on fake Halloween spiders


Many people are scared of spiders. Anxious around arachnids. Awfully, terribly afraid of eight-legged creepy-crawlies.

And then there’s Chris White.

Here’s the tangled web of a story:

White, an apparently arachnophobic assistant prosecutor in West Virginia, is suspended indefinitely after he pulled a gun and threatened to shoot fake spiders that decorated his office for Halloween.

Like they often do during holidays, Logan County prosecuting attorney John Bennett told the Charleston Gazette-Mail, secretaries decorated the prosecutor’s office at the beginning of October to mark Halloween.

“Some black, some brown — but some pretty good sized” spider decorations were hung, Bennett said.

White “told the secretaries that he was deathly afraid of spiders, got out a gun and walked down the hall into an office,” Bennett told the paper. “He pulled out a chair, put a fake spider down and threatened to shoot all of the spiders in the place,” adding that he was out of the office at the time but was told about the incident by shaken employees.

 

 

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