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World Press
Egypt’s U.S-Backed Military Regime Is Brutalizing Student Protestors PDF Print E-mail
World Press - World Press
Written by Murtaza Hussain   
Sunday, 26 October 2014 18:38

Just a few short months after John Kerry disingenuously congratulated Egypt’s military junta for “transitioning to democracy”, the young students who helped galvanize the 2011 Egyptian Revolution are back protesting its increasingly draconian rule.

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‘Forced’ to Fight: Disillusioned British Jihadists Afraid to Come Home PDF Print E-mail
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World Press - World Press
Written by RT News, September 05, 2014   
Friday, 05 September 2014 22:15

 

British jihadists in Syria are becoming increasingly disenchanted with their military pursuits in the region and wish to return to their homeland, it has emerged.

The jihadists have reportedly grown frustrated that they are no longer fighting against President Assad’s military forces, but rather are engaged in attacks against rival rebel factions.

Dozens of British men fighting in the war-torn state reportedly wish to return to British soil but are fearful they will be imprisoned if they attempt to do so, the Times reports. One jihadist, who claims to represent 30 British militants fighting for a group with links to the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), said the men are willing to undergo a process of deradicalization and submit to state surveillance if they are guaranteed freedom on their return.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted a group of academics at the International Centre for Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR) at King’s College London. He expressed his frustration and concern to researchers based there via social media, according to the Times.

“We came to fight the regime and instead we are involved in gang warfare. It’s not what we came for but if we go back [to Britain] we will go to jail,” the jihadist told ICSR researchers.
“Right now we are being forced to fight - what option do we have?”

Peter Neumann, the director of ICSR, told the paper he estimates up to 20 percent of British militants based in Syria could be searching for an avenue to disengage from jihadist pursuits in the region.

“The people we have been talking to... want to quit but feel trapped because all the government is talking about is locking them up for 30 years.”

Neumann called upon the British government to set up an official state deradicalization scheme, suggesting disillusioned British jihadists could become potent and persuasive speakers against the ideology that underpins IS.

His policy proposal echoed sentiments expressed by Labour Leader Ed Miliband last month, who called for the coalition to create a mandatory deradicalization program for those who were peripherally involved with the Islamic State (IS).

While British jihadists frustrations in Syria are growing, David Cameron declared to allied NATO leaders on Thursday that Britain was prepared to use “everything we have in our armory” to obliterate the Islamic State terror group. His staunch threat was issued at the alliance’s summit in Wales, which has been dominated by heated concerns over escalating bloodshed and violence in Iraq.

The prime minister, who is facing mounting pressure to respond militarily to the Islamic State’s ongoing aggression in the Middle East, has refused to rule out engaging airstrikes in Iraq alongside US forces. Cameron has also said Britain could launch airstrikes against IS on Syrian territory without the approval of Damascus.

Airstrikes, however, do not appear imminent. The PM has stressed Britain’s most pressing priority is to offer support to legitimate forces currently battling IS militants on the ground in Iraq. In particular, Cameron will back a new Iraqi government and Kurdish authorities based in Northern Iraq.

Some Jihadists currently fighting in Syria have expressed concern on social media outlets that they will forfeit martyrdom and an afterlife of paradise if they lose their lives fighting other jihadist groups rather than Assad’s regime.

Over 500 UK citizens are thought to have travelled to Syria to engage in jihadist warfare. Twenty are thought to have lost their lives there, six of whom who were fighting against rival rebel groups. 260 have returned to Britain, and 40 are currently awaiting court proceedings.

Probed on how the government would deal with British jihadists who choose to return to Britain from Syria, a spokesperson for the Home Office told RT the government’s priority is to “dissuade people from travelling to areas of conflict such as Syria or Iraq in the first place.”

When asked whether UK authorities would allow jihadists, peripherally linked to IS, to avoid a prison sentence upon returning if they engage in deradicalization and undergo state surveillance, the spokesperson declined to specify.

He emphasized, however, the British government has “a wide range of powers” at its disposal “to disrupt travel and manage the risk posed by returnees, including prosecuting those who break the law.”  [Source: http://rt.com/uk/185276-uk-jihadists-syria-disillusioned/]

 
Captives Held by Islamic State were Waterboarded PDF Print E-mail
World Press - World Press
Written by Adam Goldman and Julie Tate, the Washington Post   
Friday, 29 August 2014 07:46

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At least four hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State, including an American journalist who was recently executed by the group, were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity, according to people familiar with the treatment of the kidnapped Westerners.

James Foley was among the four who were waterboarded several times by Islamic State militants who appeared to model the technique on the CIA’s use of waterboarding to interrogate suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Waterboarding often involves strapping a person down on a gurney or bench and pouring cold water over a cloth covering the face. It causes the sensation of drowning. “The wet cloth creates a barrier through which it is difficult — or in some cases not possible — to breathe,” according to a Justice Department memo in May 2005 about the CIA’s use of the technique.

President Obama has condemned waterboarding as torture.

“They knew exactly how it was done,” a person with direct knowledge of what happened to the hostages said of the Islamic State militants. The person, who discussed the hostages’ experience on the condition of anonymity, said the captives were held in Raqqah, a city in north-central Syria.


The Islamic State beheaded Foley last week in apparent retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on Iraq, where the militant group has seized large swaths of territory. The group, which also controls parts of Syria, has threatened to kill another American, journalist Steven J. Sotloff. He was seen at the end of a video the Islamic State released that showed Foley’s killing. Two other Americans are being held by the group.

A second person familiar with Foley’s time in captivity confirmed that he was tortured, including by waterboarding.

“Yes, that is part of the information that bubbled up, and Jim was subject to it,” the person said. “I believe he suffered a lot of physical abuse.”

Foley’s mother, Diane, said Thursday that she had not been informed previously that her son had been waterboarded.

The FBI, which is investigating Foley’s death and the abduction of Americans in Syria, declined to comment. The CIA had no official comment.

“ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” said a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

Waterboarding was one of the interrogation techniques adopted by the CIA and sanctioned by the Justice Department when the agency opened a series of secret overseas prisons to question terrorism suspects.

Three CIA detainees — Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaida and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — were waterboarded while held in secret CIA prisons. Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was waterboarded 183 times, according to a memo issued by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

The three men, along with 11 other so-called high-value detainees, were transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2006, when President George W. Bush closed the CIA’s overseas prisons.

Upon entering office, Obama outlawed the use of coercive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding.

Critics of waterboarding have said for years that the practice endangered Americans, putting them at risk of being subjected to the same brutal treatment at the hands of the enemy.

“Waterboarding dates to the Spanish Inquisition and has been a favorite of dictators through the ages, including Pol Pot and the regime in Burma,” Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) said in an op-ed in 2008. “Condoning torture opens the door for our enemies to do the same to captured American troops in the future.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to release a report asserting that waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques used by CIA operatives were not effective, said Feinstein, who chairs the panel. Former agency employees dispute that conclusion.

French journalist Didier François, who was imprisoned with Foley, has told reporters that Foley was targeted for extra abuse because his captors found pictures on his computer of his brother, who serves in the U.S. Air Force.

François said Foley was subjected to mock executions — something suspected al-Qaeda operative Nashiri also endured while being held in a secret CIA prison, according to a report by the inspector general of the CIA. The Justice Department did not sanction mock executions.

François was kidnapped by the Islamic State in June 2013 and held for 10 months. He and three other French journalists were released near the Turkish border.

U.S. and British intelligence officials said they’re close to identifying Foley’s killer among a group of British men who traveled to Syria to fight and appear to have held him, François and the others hostage.

On Wednesday, Sotloff’s mother released a video in which she made an emotional plea for the leader of the Islamic State to free her son.

“Please release my child,” Shirley Sotloff said. “And as a mother, I ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over.”

On Thursday, Islamic State militants released another video of the purported beheading of one of their prisoners — this time an Iraqi Kurdish fighter who was killed for his government’s alliance with the United States.
[Source: The Washington Post, 8/28/2014]

 
Examining the "Israel Has a Right to Defend Itself" Narrative PDF Print E-mail
World Press - World Press
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 11 August 2014 22:12

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Chris Hedges and Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour deconstruct the narrative around Israel's right to defend itself and the media's depiction of the Gaza assault -

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