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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘terror’

Giant Chabad Menorah Lit Without Ceremony in Martin Place, Sydney

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

In Sydney, Australia, a public Hanukkah menorah still stands tall in the very same place it has stood in Martin Place for the last 30 years.

The 10 meter high menorah was not the center of festivities this year, however: instead, a message was prominently displayed for the public to read.

“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the Lights of the Festival of Chanukah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

The decision to cancel the annual Lighting Ceremony of the Hanukkah Menorah in Martin Place, scheduled for Thursday Dec. 18, the third night of the holiday, was made “after lengthy discussions and consultation with the authorities and communal leaders,” explained Chabad-Lubavitch emissary Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad NSW and coordinator of the annual “Chanukah in the City” celebration.

“While the event was canceled, the presence of the Giant Menorah sends a powerful message that light will always overcome darkness,” Levy said.

“As we mourn the loss of life and the atrocity that has taken place, people of goodwill will continue to shine the light of freedom and communal harmony, which is what the Chanukah Menorah is all about,” he added.

According to Chabad officials at the movement’s World Lubavitch Headquarters at “770″ Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, the Martin Place Giant Menorah was indeed lit and cast its Light upon the area as it does each year. However, in deference to the memory of the victims, no public ceremony was held to mark the occasion.

The manager of the Lindt cafe and a local barrister were killed last Tuesday after being held hostage together with at least 15 others by a lone gunman, Man Haron Monis. The victims were shot as special agents stormed the cafe in an attempt to free the hostages. The self-styled Iranian cleric had forced his captives to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada — the Islamic creed, written in Arabic — in the window, for hours.

An earlier article about the Menorah contained an error about the lighting ceremony due to a misunderstanding which has since been clarified.

US Govt IDs North Korea in Sony Cyber Terror Attack

Friday, December 19th, 2014

The U.S. government has linked North Korea to the cyber terror siege of Sony Pictures Entertainment. But the massive cyber attack that nixed the entire release of an new comedy film appears to have also cowed the American entertainment industry.

By pulling “The Interview” from circulation, Sony could lose as much as $100 million, according to a report in Business Insider\.

The movie, which depicts an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, outraged that country. North Korea demanded during the production phase that the U.S. government cancel the movie. That did not happen; in fact, two White House officials had actually approved the plot line before the comedy went to production.

Once the hacker group “Guardians of Peace” followed up three weeks of a cyber siege with an actual physical terror threat, Hollywood went into a panic and so did the entire American entertainment industry.

First the Landmark Theater chain canceled its December 25 New York City premier of the film at the Sunshine Theater on the Lower East Side. Then four of the largest chains backed out of showing the movie altogether, comprising thousands of small theaters around the United States and Canada.

Unnamed U.S. government sources told NBC News that a “linkage to the North Korean government” had been found to prove it was “centrally involved” in the cyber attack.

And in a report published in The New York Times, bits of the evidence were pieced together. They showed how the hacker group was taking orders from North Korea, and how they carried out a previous similar attack against South Korea, using commercial tools routed via Bolivian servers last year. Similar tools were used in 2012 against Saudi Arabia.

Sony itself is also examining the possibility the hackers had inside help as well: the names of Sony servers and administrative credentials were used to allow the malware to spread across the company’s network.

Experts said the hack is “the first major attack on a U.S. company to use a highly destructive class of malicious software that is designed to make computer networks unable to operate,” Reuters reported.

The U.S. government seems to have signaled its de facto surrender to North Korea, the apparent patron behind the “Guardians of Peace.” U.S. media quoted senior government officials who said the White House was debating whether to publicly accuse North Korea over the attack and threats that followed. No one would speak on the record, and officials said the White House had yet to decide how to respond.

Japan also has had something to say about the matter, because it is apparently engaged in delicate negotiations with North Korea over the return of its citizens kidnapped years ago.

U.S. national intelligence officials concluded the cyber attack was state-sponsored and “far more destructive than any seen before on American soil,” NYT reported. A senior administration official admitted the attack that began by wiping out the data on Sony’s corporate computers had become “a threat to the safety of Americans.”

Not only North Korea but hackers based in China, and sponsored by that government as well, have taken aim before at U.S. corporations. This latest attack, however, “was of a sophistication that a year ago we would have said was beyond the North’s capabilities,” the official told NYT.

Massive attacks aimed at the computer systems of the White House itself, as well as those of the State Department, and JPMorgan Chase banking system, have kept counter cyber terror officials busy. The first two attacks were tentatively attributed ultimately to Moscow; the latter is still a question mark.

But the ambiguous response by the White House to the most devastating cyber attack ever on a U.S.-based corporation has done nothing to reassure American citizens. Nor has it inspired confidence among U.S. allies, who are watching to see if, when and how the White House will respond to the attack, termed by some as an “act of war.”

Hamas Holds Live-Fire Training Hours after EU Takes It off Terror List

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The Hamas “military” wing trained with machine-gunfire in an exercised ono the ruins of destroyed Jewish communities in the pre-dawn hours Thursday morning, hours after the European Union Court of Justice ruled that there was not enough evidence to justify the terrorist organization’s remaining on the list of banned terrorist groups.

The midnight-to-dawn exercise was carried out where Jews use to live in Dugit and Nissanit, from where they were expelled in the summer of 2005 as part of the Sharon government’s lunacy that the expulsion was the road to peace.

The number of soldiers – remember, the EU court says they are not terrorists – involved in the training indicates that It was the largest military exercise that Hamas has carried out since the Protective Edge campaign in the against Hamas in Gaza last summer, Israel Defense reported..

If the justices needed more evidence that Hamas is a terrorist organization, all they had to do was visit Jewish communities in the Gaza Belt – unless they wanted to take a chance on a one-way ticket to Gaza – and lose sleep just like the Israelis who heard explosions and gunfire for hours.

One of those explosions probably was the one that killed one Hamas member and wounded several others in a “work accident,” another semantic whitewash for terrorists preparing to kill Jews.

According to the European Union court, this is not terror. Maybe it is part of the peace process, or maybe it is the expression of “unity” with the rival Fatah movement headed by Mahmoud Abbas.

Speaking of Abbas, posters of the Palestinian Authority chairman were displayed in Gaza Thursday morning with one message that the European Union court might be interested in seeing. Abbas was pictured as being hanged, and the posters included the words ”dictator” and ”traitor.”

Is this the work of terrorists?

Perhaps the European Union Court of Justice – the most unsuitable name imaginable – views the posters as freedom of expression in a democratic society.

 

 

Terror Threat Puts Kibosh on Sony’s NYC Film Release

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

The threat of a possible terror attack put the kabash on a Sony Pictures Entertainment release across the United States of “The Interview,” a comedy depicting an assassination attempt on North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.

Sony’s cancellation of the December 25 release followed a direct threat of terror from North Korea against theaters nationwide if they were to screen the movie, and against those who went to the theaters to see it. It came against the backdrop of a decision made by the studio’s largest theater affiliates in the United States and Canada not to show the film.

“We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely share their paramount interest in the safety of employees and theater-goers,” Sony said.

North Korea’s leadership was outraged over plot of the movie, to the point that in June, Washington received demands from Pyongyang to nix the film. That did not happen, and in November a hacker group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” launched a massive cyber attack against Sony in retaliation for continuing with production of the movie.

At first diplomatic and cautious on the topic, within days Sony officials acknowledged that it appeared likely the North Korean government was be behind the attack. The ongoing siege of Sony Pictures involves increasing data dumps of sensitive personal and business information and threats of further similar “gifts.”

Following last week’s Los Angeles studio premier of the film, the threats took an even more ominous turn. The hackers vowed a 9/11-style attack on movie theaters across the U.S. that dared to screen “The Interview,” and moviegoers who chose to attend.

“Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made,” the hackers wrote in a long-winded warning posted on the internet. “The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave,) the hackers added. Another dump of personal data files accompanied the warning, these linked to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema on New York City’s Lower East Side was the planned venue for the NYC studio premier for the film this coming Thursday evening. At midnight Tuesday night local time, Landmark was telling media that it still planned to continue with the premier as scheduled.

But New Yorkers awoke on Wednesday to the news that the East Coast premier for “The Interview” had been canceled by Landmark Theaters for the Big Apple. No explanation was given for the decision.

Just to be on the safe side, the film’s two co-stars, Seth Rogen and James Franco have scrapped their promotional tour for the film and canceled all public appearances.

But for Israelis who are either staying in New York or visiting the area for Hanukkah, terror threats are nothing new. In Israel all public venues are typically secured by armed individuals with military experience, trained to stop potential threats.

“Americans are not accustomed to such security measures,” which are accepted as a way of life and have saved countless lives in Israel, an IDF veteran told JewishPress.com on Wednesday, but requested his name not be used. “This may be the future there someday as well, but because of the numbers and the diversity of targets, security may become much more difficult.”

The FBI meanwhile has told media in a statement, “There is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters within the United States.” Nevertheless, to its credit, Sony notified its associated theaters about the threat immediately and said they had the option of choosing not to screen the film.

New York Police Department officials were not willing to toss in the towel on the film, however. “We have been down this road before with other films, about [former Al Qaeda leader Osama] Bin Laden and others,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter Terrorism John Miller told the New York Post. “We will be beefing up security anywhere there’s a marquee, with patrols, critical response vehicles and the Hercules teams.

European Jewish Leaders: Court Decision on Hamas ‘Legitimizes Murder’

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) has expressed outrage over the removal of Hamas from the European Union’s list of officially designated terror organizations, after the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg accepted an appeal filed by Hamas against its inclusion in the list.

“We have reached a new low in moral relativity if an organization explicitly dedicated to the destruction of a nation and people, which actively target and commit terrorist acts against civilians, is no longer considered a terrorist organization,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the EJC, said. “One just needs to look at Article Seven of the Hamas Charter to know their proudly stated genocidal aspiration to the mass murder of Jews all over the world.”

“If an organization like that can be removed from a terror list then there is something very wrong with a system, because this decision legitimizes murder and genocide.”

The appeal was accepted because it was argued that Hamas’ inclusion on the list of terror organizations was conducted against EU procedures and does not include sufficient legal evidence to brand Hamas a terror organization.

“It is a ridiculous assertion that there is insufficient legal evidence to brand Hamas a terror organization,” Dr. Kantor continued. “All the judges had to do was read the Hamas Charter and then have someone translate the thousands of videos and statements released to the public in Arabic which openly call for and glorify the murder of innocent civilians, men, women and children.

“This is a very dark day for the European Union and thanks to this decision we as European Jews, who Hamas openly declares as targets for annihilation, feel less secure on our continent.”

EU Court ‘Temporarily’ Removes Hamas from List of Terrorist Groups

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The European Union Court of Justice, so to speak, took Hamas off its list of declared terrorist organizations Wednesday, accepting Hamas’ claims that the court did not have enough evidence to justify the classification.

Hamas’ appeal might boomerang because the European Union can submit more evidence to convince the court to put the terrorist organization back on its rightful place.

In the meantime, Hamas is having a field day celebrating the decision. Senior official Mousa Abu Marzouq said the decision was a “triumph” for all supporters of the right to “resistance” from “colonialism.”

One wonders how much evidence the undistinguished court needs to prove that Hamas is not a group of terrorists, murderers and butchers.

Hamas latched on the a European Union Court decision earlier this year that took a Sri Lankan terrorist group off the of the list of terrorist organizations for the same reasons – lack of evidence. However, it told the European Union it could submit more evidence to prove its case.

The only reason there was not enough proof to keep Hamas on the blacklist is fear – fear of countries to submit classified intelligence files that would be viewed by Hamas and then used by it for its own purposes.

Assuming a better case will be made to the court, it will reverse today’s decision. Until then, Hamas has won another semantic and propaganda victory.

Israel and the United States led an effort in 2003 to place Hamas on the European Union’s list of terrorist organizations, but the court ruled Wednesday that the decision 11 years ago was based on “factual imputations derived from the press and internet” not “sound legal judgment.”

“The Court stresses that those annulments, on fundamental procedural grounds, do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of Hamas as a terrorist group,” the ruling stated.

Funds for hams that have been frozen will remain untouchable for a period of time during which time more evidence will be submitted to the court.

132 Children Slaughtered in Pakistani Taliban Attack

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

At least 145 people – including 132 children – were murdered Tuesday in a Taliban terror attack on a school in Pakistan. More than 100 others were wounded in the slaughter, General Asim Bajwa told journalists.

Also among the dead at Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar were ten school staff members and three soldiers, according to a post on the CNN website.

A 14-year-old student told the news team he remembered one of the terrorists declaring, “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great), and then, “A lot of the children are under the benches. Kill them.”

Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Mohammed Khurrassani said the attackers began their rampage at 10 am local time. He added that at one point, the terrorists held up to 400 people “under their custody.” But he emphasized there was never a question of a “hostage situation,” since from the start the focus had been on shooting to kill, rather than taking captives.

Pakistani troops eventually managed to narrow down the area in which the terrorists were operating and by 4 pm, had the attackers restricted to four buildings. Within a few hours, all seven terrorists were dead.

Mop up operations have yet to be completed, however; security personnel are still searching the complex for survivors, victims and IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/132-children-slaughtered-in-pakistani-taliban-attack/2014/12/17/

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