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Fri, 29 Jul 2016
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Man who carried out attack at Leytonstone subway station last year believed Tony Blair was his guardian angel

© Crown Prosecution Service
Leytonstone knife attacker Muhiddin Mire
A man who carried out a knife attack at London's Leytonstone Underground Station last year has a history of mental illness and believed Tony Blair was his guardian angel, a court has been told.

Lawyers defending Muhiddin Mire, 30, told the Old Bailey that their client had experienced paranoid schizophrenia for several years before attacking an Underground passenger last December.

Medical experts recommended the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) sympathizer receive further psychiatric treatment, warning he posed "a very severe" risk to the public.

Mire, who worked as a taxi driver, was found guilty of attempted murder last month, but the court is now trying to determine his sentence. He attempted to behead a member of public and slashed another man's neck in Leytonstone Underground Station last December, shortly after the British Parliament voted to extend airstrikes against IS from Iraq into Syria.


'I'll blow you up': Manhunt in Bremen after 'pro-ISIS psycho' escapes psychiatric hospital shouting threats

© Reuters
German police have arrested a 19-year-old Algerian asylum seeker who fled a psychiatric hospital after threatening to blow up people. A shopping mall in Bremen was evacuated during the manhunt. Police have tried to downplay the man's links to Islamists.

Although police confirmed that the man had previously expressed admiration for the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror group, hailing the recent shooting attack at a Munich shopping center that left 10 people dead, police refused to call the hunt an anti-terror raid.

"One can speak of rather an extensive operation," Bremen's police spokeswoman said, adding that "there is no evidence that he had connections to the IS or concrete attack plans," as cited by Die Welt.

However, the spokeswoman admitted that, due to the nature of the beliefs allegedly harbored by the suspect, police had to "proceed from the assumption that the missing person is dangerous."


2K terrorists known to UK police, just 1 held under special measures

© Luke MacGregor / Reuters
TPIM terrorists: 1 in custody, 1999 to go.
Only one suspect is being held under the UK's highly restrictive Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure (TPIM) program, despite a heightened national alert and fears of extremist attacks. The TPIM program, which came into effect in 2012, can include intense restrictions on suspects such as curfews and electronic tagging.

Former senior counterterrorism officer Chris Phillips told the Daily Mail that just one person being held under TPIM contrasts starkly with the fact that up to 2,000 terror suspects are known to police. He said, however, that the sheer number of suspects makes the risk hard to manage. "How on earth you could ever monitor 2,000 people, let alone the fact that the number that we have got now has probably increased," he said.

Lord Carlile, an independent reviewer of UK terror laws told the Daily Mail: "It is surprising and worrying that we are down to just one Tpim given the situation appertaining all over Europe. We know that there is a severe risk of terror attack. I hope that the Government is examining the possibility of increasing the use of Tpims or toughening them up...it is absolutely essential that the authorities should have the powers they need." The UK terror threat level stands at "severe," the second highest category available, which means an attack is thought highly likely.

Comment: Terror attacks, real or facsimiles, make the rounds these days to stir the pot; keep Europe on the edge and politicians in line.


Columbia Airport, California: 4 dead in fiery plane crash

© www.modbee.com
Cause of crash unknown; NTSB to begin investigation

Four people died Wednesday afternoon at Columbia Airport when a twin engine Cessna 310, landing from the north, veered off runway 17 and was engulfed in flames. By the time emergency services arrived on the scene at shortly after 4:30 p.m., "the plane was fully engulfed," said Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Andrea Benson, adding that the identities of the victims were not yet known on Wednesday evening and that the Sheriff's coroner's office would attempt to identify them. Authorities removed the four bodies from the plane about 6:30 p.m.

The crash, which was reported to have occurred at shortly after 4 p.m., also sparked a small vegetation fire that consumed about 100 square yards of low-lying grass and was quickly extinguished by Cal Fire crews. A yellow dump truck, blackened by the flames, stood parked approximately 75 yards from the crash site.

For much of the afternoon and into early evening, dozens of law enforcement officers and emergency crew members congregated near the crash site. There were no reports on what may have caused the crash. Benson said that a team from the National Transportation Review Board would arrive from Colorado on Thursday to conduct an investigation.

Arrow Up

DNC circus continues: Obama speech upstaged by protests, wolf whistling and cowbell noise

© Mike Segar / Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the third night at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 27, 2016.
President Barack Obama's speech on Wednesday highlighted the need for party unity and long term commitment to changing the political system. However, his speech was upstaged by TPP protesters and other noisy audience members.

Early into his speech, Obama covered many of the tragedies that have befallen the nation during his presidency. "There are pockets of America that never recovered in factory closures," he said as one loud voice shouted out "No more TPP!" Quieter protesters held up anti-TPP signs during his speech.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is supported by Barack Obama; so much so that some have speculated that he had hoped it would be a lasting legacy of his administration.



Delayed passenger loses it, assaults Frankfurt airport police at check-in desk

© 301+ News / YouTube
The reality of repressed airport anger revealed itself in an extraordinary barrage in Frankfurt recently, as onlookers cheered.

A furious airline passenger, destination UK, unleashed a ferocious assault at Frankfurt airport police.

Footage uploaded by Polish rapper Schwesta Ewa shows the man unleashing kicks and punches, holding off at least four officers as nearby passengers jeered and whistled.


Blue privilege: NY cop who left infant son in hot car all day won't be charged

New York cop will not be charged in the death of his infant son, who perished after being left in a hot car for 8 ½ hours.
In yet another example of privilege granted to those who work for the system, an officer from Rome, New York, will not be charged in the death of his infant son, who perished after being left in inside a hot car for 8 ½ hours.

Officer Mark Fanfarillo left his 4 ½-month-old baby, Michael, in his car during the summer for nearly nine hours — but Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara refused to press charges.

According to local WSYR-TV, the D.A. said Fanfarillo first realized he'd abandoned the baby in the car when his wife contacted him to say Michael had never been dropped off at the family's daycare provider. Fanfarillo, McNamara explained, rushed out to the car after that call and "found his son's lifeless body." Although Fanfarillo "relentlessly" attempted to resuscitate the baby, the effort was ultimately unsuccessful.


Prison authorities fail to remove Islamist, homophobic, anti-Semitic books distributed in UK prisons

© Amr Dalsh / Reuters
Five "extremist Islamist books" promoting anti-semitism, homophobia, and hatred towards non-Muslims were distributed by imams at prisons in England and Wales for months, even after jail authorities were alerted.

Among the titles is a book urging Muslims to fight and subjugate unbelievers. Another blames Jews for "materialism, animal sexuality, the destruction of the family, and the dissolution of society," according to The Times.

One of the books focuses on "the sexual deviation known as homosexuality," saying: "The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practice it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals and a decent manner of living."

Another of the books is widely accepted as the foundational text for the modern jihadist movement.

Copies of some of the publications were found in chaplaincy rooms at nine of 11 prisons inspected during a review, led by former Home Office official and prison governor Ian Acheson, of radicalization behind bars, according to the newspaper.

Pocket Knife

Breaking news: Church siege as 'knifemen take priest, nuns and worshippers hostage' in Rouen, France (UPDATES)

The situation is reported to have broken out at the Church of the Gambetta in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray
Police are at the scene at the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray commune in the Haute-Normandie region of northern France

A hostage situation has broken out at a church in France as two knifemen are reportedly holding a priest, two nuns and several worshippers.

Police are at the scene at the Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray commune in the Haute-Normandie region of northern France.

The hostage takers are reported to have stormed the Church of the Gambetta at around 9.45am local time (8.45am UK time).

A large area has been evacuated and cordoned off around the scene.

One nearby resident said he was walking to church as the horror broke out and he was told to go home and stay indoors by armed officers.

© frederic veille

Comment: Update 1

The two men with knives were shot and killed by police snipers after they ran out of the church. They had killed the 84-year-old priest by slitting his throat. Another hostage was seriously wounded. One other person believed to be connected with the attacks has been arrested. While police had earlier said they could not confirm the motive or identities of the attackers, since then Daesh's propaganda outlet has claimed responsibility for the attack and eyewitnesses claim the men shouted "Daesh". This report was later discredited (Daesh doesn't call itself Daesh). Now they're saying they yelled, "Allahu Akbar!" as they left the church, at which point they were shot by snipers.

One of the attackers had tried to go to Syria last year but had been seized in Turkey and deported. Arrested in May 2015, he spent almost a year in prison, after which he lived with his parents and was forced to wear an electronic bracelet.

The church where the attacks took place was on "hit list" found on an alleged ISIS terrorist who was arrested last year (Sid Ahmed Ghlam, arrested in 2015 after shooting himself in the leg, charged with murdering a mother of one, and suspected to have been in contact with a French speaker in Syria who directed him to carry out attacks on churches).

Update 2

The attackers reportedly filmed themselves murdering Jacques Hamel, then performed a "sermon" at the altar, according to a nun who was held hostage and witnessed the killing. The attacker mentioned in the update above was a 19-year-old, Adel K, who killed Hamel while his accomplice filmed it. Both he and his accomplice were on France's terrorist watchlist. The third man arrested, 17-year-old HB, is believed to be a relative of Adel.

Update 3

The killer has been identified as Adel Keramiche, known to French police and intelligence, and who had travelled to Syria numerous times. The other attacker's identity remains unknown. An anonymous source told Le Figaro that Keramiche had told them, "I'll commit an attack on a church." One of the two was found to be carrying "an explosive belt made of aluminum foil and three knives", the other "a weapon made of aluminum and a backpack containing a fake explosive device".
Kermiche tried to reach Syria twice in 2015, first attempting to pass under the radar of authorities in March of last year, according to Molin. However, he was arrested in Germany after trying to use his brother's ID. Kermiche was subsequently put under surveillance in France.

He left home nearly two months later and an international warrant was issued for his arrest. In May of 2015, Keramiche was arrested near Geneva after Turkish authorities expelled him for attempting to reach Syria. He was then transferred to Switzerland.
On May 22, 2015, Keramiche was handed over to French authorities and put on trial, which resulted in him being put under provisional surveillance and house arrest. He also had to report to a local police station once a week.

In March of 2016, the house arrest order was dropped, but Kermiche has been required to wear an electronic tag ever since.
Update 4

A video has emerged of the two attackers. They make clear their allegiance to Daesh and their plan to carry out an attack. (See here, which includes extra details about the attackers.) Now it comes out that, despite knowing that Kermiche was a terrorist (he was awaiting trial at the time of the attack), French police had been tipped off about the attack days before it occurred. The tip was about the second attacker, now identified as Abdel Malik Nabil Petijean, who had been on a terrorist watchlist since June. Like Kermiche, he had tried to travel to Syria (he was spotted taking a flight on June 10, but returned the next day for unknown reasons).
Before the attack, police had been searching for Petitjean for several days, and allegedly had information that he was preparing an attack, French media reported, citing sources close to investigation.

Petitjean's photo was distributed to the police four days prior to Tuesday's hostage-taking and killing, and the caption to the picture read that he "could be ready to participate in an attack on national territory."
Due to the contained nature of the attack, and the survival of key witnesses, there's no indication of outside support (like the muscular white guys observed shooting people during the Paris attacks). Of course, that doesn't mean that certain authorities knew about it and "let it happen on purpose". However, even if there are some in the French security establishment who profit by attacks like these (and either set them up or allow them to happen), it's also possible that this one was a result of a failure on the part of police who really did want to stop such an attack from occurring.

Kermiche was reportedly a friend of Maxime Hauchard, a French jihadi who has appeared in ISIS videos in Syria. (More details and pictures at Daily Mail.)


Be very afraid: Ex-navy chief warns terrorists could use drones to drop explosives on UK targets

© Francois Lenoir / Reuters
Terrorists could use drones loaded with explosives to carry out attacks, a former Royal Navy admiral has warned.

Ex-Navy chief Admiral Lord West of Spithead has called for tighter controls on drones, including a registration list and licenses. At present, there is no registration scheme for drones in the UK.

West's warning came as the Foreign Office issued a statement on Thursday claiming it has evidence that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is already using drones for propaganda and surveillance purposes.

Comment: America's drone wars, what do they really do?