web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Turkey’

US Army Vet Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ on Trying to Join ISIS

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Turkish authorities caught a U.S. Armed Forces veteran this past January as he was allegedly attempting to join Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror group, or ISIS.

U.S. federal authorities say U.S. Air Force veteran and New Jersey native Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, 47, flew to Turkey from Egypt in January, but was denied entry to the country. Instead, they say Turkey sent Pugh back to Egypt, who then deported the veteran to the U.S.

(Given the skill and speed with which Turkish authorities caught this suspect, one wonders how three Islamic schoolgirls from the UK managed to sneak through the country into Syria to become Daesh “brides.”)

Pugh was arrested January 10 in Turkey and on January 16 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and has been held in custody since that time, the Wall Street Journal reported. The alleged wannabe terrorist was formally charged by the federal grand jury with attempting to provide material support to ISIS and obstruction of justice. On Wednesday he pleaded “not guilty” in a New York federal court room, CNN reported.

If found guilty, Pugh could be sentenced to a maximum of 35 years in prison.

According to a post on the blog of the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Pugh’s Face­book pro­file included mul­ti­ple anti-Semitic and anti-Israel posts as well as posts sup­port­ing Hamas.

One of the posts written by Pugh in July 2014 stated in part, “All the evil done by the Jews came from within them­selves. On the day of Judg­ment full respon­si­bil­ity of the starv­ing, tor­ture, jail­ing and killing of inno­cent Mus­lims will rest upon there (sic) shoul­ders. Allah must really hate them to give the rope to hang them­selves.” He also posted an image with text stat­ing, “Most Jews do not like to admit it, but our G-d is Lucifer.”

In August 2014, he shared an image that ref­er­enced blood libel accu­sa­tions, depict­ing Israel’s Prime Min­is­ter Binyamin Netanyahu slit­ting the throats of sleep­ing children. Pugh also posted sev­eral car­toons equat­ing Jews, Israelis or Zion­ists to Nazis, as well as numerous images claim­ing to depict Israeli war crimes.

Under questioning while being held in Egypt prior to deportation to the U.S. Pugh claimed he had traveled to Turkey to seek employment, denying he had intended to go to Syria, according to the criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court.

However, a search of the suspect’s laptop by federal agents turned up a map of Turkish-Syrian border crossing points, and some 180 jihadist propaganda videos – including a number showing ISIS prisoners being executed. Also found on his laptop was a letter addressed to “My Misha,” whicch stated, “I will use the talents and skills given to me by Allah to establish and defend the Islamic States.”

That Pugh refers to ‘Islamic States’ in the plural form is, in fact, quite chilling: Daesh has indeed spread its influence and its forces from Iraq and Syria into a number of other countries, including Yemen, Nigeria and Libya. Pockets of terrorist cells have also been found in the Sinai Peninsula, Gaza, Lebanon, France, Belgium, and Denmark.

Pugh was charged with “obstruction of justice” in response to the suspect’s intentional damage and removal of memory chips from four thumb drives in order to stymie law enforcement officials in their attempts to access data, authorities said. According to the criminal complaint, Pugh was also asked why he had a photo of a machine gun on his cell phone. He replied that he had “no particular reason other than simply liking the photograph.”

But Pugh’s history did not begin with his flight to the Turkish-Syrian border; actually he has been on the “watch list” for more than 10 years. Quoting the criminal complaint, the Wall Street Journal reported that Pugh converted to Islam and then started ramping up his radical sympathies after moving to San Antonio in 1998.

The FBI received a first tip from a co-worker while Pugh was working as a mechanic for American Airlines in 2001, when he was saying he sympathized with Al Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and supported the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Africa. By 2002, the FBI heard that Pugh had expressed interest in traveling to Chechnya to fight the jihad (Islamic holy war.)

Pugh had already worked as an Air Force mechanic from 1986 to 1990, and was assigned to various bases around the world, according to the U.S. Air Force. He lived abroad for some 18 months, including in Egypt and Jordan, prior to his arrest, according to the criminal complaint. But following his discharge, Pugh had trouble holding down a steady job.

At some point from 2009 to 2010, he worked as an Army contractor for a five month period in Iraq.

Earlier this year, he was fired again, this time from a gig as an airplane mechanic for a firm “based in the Middle East.”

Last Friday, three Brooklyn men also pleaded “not guilty” in Brooklyn federal court to charges of conspiring to aid the ISIS terrorist organization.

Over the past 18 months “dozens” of Americans have faced criminal charges relating to ISIS. FBI director James Comey said at a news briefing last month that his agency has active cases open “in every single state” in connection with the ISIS terror organization.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Preventing Americans from joining ISIS has become a priority for federal law-enforcement officials, but they have been unable to find a singular profile of the type of American who is inspired by the militant group’s propaganda.”

Due to the lack of a hat, a tip of the keyboard will have to do for kudos to WSJ journalists Dion Nissenbaum and Nicole Hong for being able to compose and type that last with a (presumed) straight face.

A Lost Soul and $25 Buys a Ticket to Cross from Turkey to ISIS

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Wanabee Islamic State savages need only $25 to enter ISIS-controlled territory from Turkey, which U.S. intelligence director James Clapper said Thursday is not going to take an active role in the war against the ISIS.

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Ankara is more concerned with Kurdish opposition and its troubled economy.

The passage from Turkey to Syria is known as “jihad highway,” where $25 is enough for a lost soul to pay a smuggler to whisk him across to the dream of joining the ISIS and becoming a barbarian, if you are a man, or a slave to sex, if you are a woman.

“Public opinion polls show in Turkey they don’t see ISIL as a primary threat,” said Clapper, who referred to the ease of terrorists to travel in Turkey.

“And of course, the consequence of that is a permissive environment… because of their laws and the ability of people to travel through Turkey en route to Syria,” he explained. “So somewhere in the neighborhood of 60% of those foreign fighters find their way to Syria through Turkey.”

As usual, President Recep Erdoğan is missing the foreign policy boat. After he ditched Israel several yards ago and ran into the waiting arms of Bashar al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he had a hard time escaping their deadly clutches when he woke up.

If the U.S.-led strike force does not eliminate the ISIS first, Erdoğan may come out of his stupor when is finds himself dressed in an orange jumpsuit.

Erdoğan is led by his ego and not common sense, and Turkish smugglers are led by money and not by morality.

The WorldPost described a 30-year-old Turkish smuggler, Jasim Qalthim, as a “devoted father” who smuggles people into ISIS territory. He explained that an ISIS official, a former Turk named “Abu Ali,” controls the border.

“All the soldiers are afraid of him. One time, he closed the border for 10 days, just because he was angry. He controls everything. He makes huge money and buys weapons and ammunition for ISIS,” Qalthim said.

So why does he continue to smuggle people?

He listed three reasons: He needs the money to fed his family, it’s easy work, and he doesn’t have to travel far from home.

Turkish Forces Infiltrate Syria to Rescue Troops, Artifacts from Ottoman Tomb

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

Turkish military forces launched a cross-border raid into northern Syria reportedly to evacuate personnel guarding a centuries-old Ottoman tomb across the border near the Kurdish town of Kobani late Saturday.

The operation was carried out overnight by ground troops backed by warplanes, according to the Turkish state-run TNT television station.

One soldier was killed while evacuating personnel protecting the Tomb of Suleyman Shah and artifacts in the mausoleum, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. Suleyman Shah, who died in 1236 CE, at a spot along the Euphrates, was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the massive Ottoman Empire.

A joint operation by Turkish intelligence and military personnel, the evacuation was carried out after reports suggested the tomb was besieged by members of Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror organization.

There were no clashes with enemy combatants, according to Hurriyet, which reported that Turkish troops left Syria after detonating the symbolic building to prevent Daesh terrorists from using it as a base.

The artifacts from the tomb were “temporarily” brought to Turkey and the army “took control of an area in the Ashma region of Syria, raising our flag, where Suleiman Shah will later be transferred,” according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“I want to stress that a nation can build a future only by laying a claim to its past,” the Turkish prime minister added.

Exclusive: Syrian Activist Blasts Foreign Deal to Train, Arm & Equip Syrian ‘Moderate’ Forces

Friday, February 20th, 2015

A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”

The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?

Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013.  He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …

“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.

“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.

“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)

Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.

“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.

“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.

By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?

Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.

Can this cause be saved?

US Signs Deal with Turkey to Train & Arm Syrian ‘Moderates’

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The United States on Thursday signed an agreement with Turkey at the U.S. Embassy in that country to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces.

Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia also are expected to participate in the deal, which is set to begin in March, according to a defense official quoted by NPR.

At least 1,200 troops “have already been identified,” according to Fox News. Congress has allocated $500 million for the training, which is to be hosted at one of three anticipated sites in Turkey.

Hundreds of “moderate” Syrian opposition forces have already been screened and 1,200 identified, with the program to be launched in mid-March.

Major-General Michael K. Nagata has been tapped to lead the training, according to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Good News: Erdoğan Says He Does not Mind Being Alone in the World

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president and the country’s most famous stand-up, has confessed he feels “isolated’ politically but world leaders actually envy him because he says what he thinks. If that is not enough to challenge the best psychologist in the world, he also stated, “I don’t care about being alone in the eyes of the world. What matters is how the people view me,” referring to voters who he thinks are thrilled at their leader being snubbed. The Turkish Cihan News quoted him as telling journalists during a tour of Latin America:

We saw [how people see me] during the presidential election that people sided with me. And there’s no       isolation when you consider other countries’ people as well.

Maybe there is an isolation on the level of leaders, but it’s nothing other than envy. Erdoğan said he once had great relations with President Barack Obama but just can’t understand how things went sour. He dumped Israel in 2009, ran into the waiting arms of Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad and Iranian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at the same time Washington began to finally understand that the Iranian nuclear threat was real. So what is Erdoğan’s conclusion about his relations with Obama?

We had one-on-one meetings. After all these talks, we see that things started to develop in a different way, which I could not understand.

And does Erdoğan, think that President Obama envies him? Does Obama play golf better than Obama? The Turkish president recently has had a bit of criticism of Obama and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Obama’s sin, according to Erdoğan, was that he did not call last week’s murders of three Muslims in North Carolina an attack on Islam, even though the three Muslims who were shot and killed did not appear to have stemmed from a long-running parking dispute and without any link to religion. Erdoğan also cannot understand why the world “is not speaking out against” al-Sisi, whose regime has sentenced to death 183 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of Erdoğan’s favorite friends, along with Hamas. Erdoğan said, “When you speak out about these issues you are left alone, but not in the eyes of the people,” which says a great deal about the man on the street in Turkey.

French PM Warns ‘Threat is Still Present’

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Security officials in France say they are hunting for at least six more members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

“The threat is still present” from last week’s terror attacks in Paris, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told BFM television on Wednesday. “The work on these attacks, on these terrorist and barbaric acts continues . . . because we consider that there are most probably some possible accomplices.”

The terrorists were involved in last week’s attacks in Paris and are believed to include a man seen driving a car registered to Hayat Boumedienne, the widow of Amedy Coulibaly, one of the gunmen killed in Friday’s shootout.

Police are searching Paris for the Mini Cooper registered to Boumedienne, according to The Associated Press. She herself is already in Syria, according to reports from Turkish intelligence

French police sources were also quoted as saying the original terror cell was comprised of some 10 members and that “five or six could still be at large.” No names were released. A second police source said there were eight members in the cell, including Boumedienne.

As many as 10,000 military personnel have been deployed across the country to protect various sites, including iconic landmarks, strategic sites and Jewish schools and neighborhoods. Some 4,700 troops are to be assigned to protect the 717 Jewish schools in France, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday. “A little girl was telling me earlier that she wanted to live in peace and learn in peace in her school,” the interior minister related during a visit to a Paris Jewish class. “That’s what the government, that’s what the Republic, owes to all the children in France: security in all the schools, especially in the schools that could be threatened,” he said.

The move comes in the wake of a three-day rampage of terror that left 17 people dead and more wounded last week, including five Jews. The siege began with an attack on the offices of the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo, a satiric weekly French magazine that has published a number of irreverent caricatures of the prophet Muhammed, the founder of Islam. Also attacked was a kosher grocery, where more than a dozen shoppers were held hostage by Coulibaly, who eventually killed four before he himself was killed in the hours before the start of the Sabbath. Brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi took another hostage in a printing factory across the city until police stormed the building, forcing them to come out with guns blazing and meet their deaths.

The two brothers were members of AQAP and Coulibaly had pledged allegiance to ISIS. But Coulibaly and Cherif Kouachi knew each other from way back; they were served time in prison together in 2005. Cherif was also convicted in 2008 of holding membership in a network that sent jihadis to fight U.S. forces in Iraq. In 2010, Cherif and Coulibaly traveled together with their wives to central France to visit Djamel Beghal, a radical Islamist sentenced to 10 years in prison for terrorist activity. In 2011, Cherif’s brother Said traveled to Yemen to spend time with AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki and to train with AQAP terrorists.

A fourth terrorist, Hamid Mourad surrendered to police during a raid just hours after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/french-pm-warns-threat-is-still-present/2015/01/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: