Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the mayor of the city of Iguala, his wife and an aide, charging they masterminded last month’s attack that left six students dead and 43 missing.
“We shall overcome,” protesters shouted with clenched fists in the air. Marching were students, teachers, farmers and activists joining relatives of the missing students.
“They took them away alive. We want them back alive”, ran another slogan.
The march was peaceful. Town hall gave the figure of participation at 45,000.
Protesters carried large black and white photos of the missing and called out their names, one by one, as if in a roll call in class, followed by the world “present.”
Protesters banged drums, strummed guitars and blew whistles.
“I am indignant over what happened. They could have been my students, my brothers, my children,” said Jorge de la Pena, a psychology professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Mexican authorities have searched in vain for any trace of the teachers college students who disappeared on September 26, in a case that has sparked national and international outrage, including mass demonstrations that saw the Iguala city hall torched Wednesday.
“Arrest warrants have been issued for Iguala mayor (Jose Luis Abarca),” as well as his wife and public safety chief, “as the individuals who likely organized the events that took place in Iguala,” Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam told reporters.
Abarca “gave police the order to confront” students, who were known for frequent protests, so that they would not derail a public event by his wife, the head of a local state children’s protection charity.
Authorities say corrupt officials and police worked hand-in-hand with the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel in the attack, which could prove to be one of the worst slaughters that Mexico has witnessed since the drug war intensified in 2006.
The mayor’s wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, is a sister of at least three known drug traffickers, and the couple has ties to Guerreros Unidos, authorities said.
Searchers are still desperately combing the area for the missing students by land and air, almost a month later.
- Protesters torch city hall -
Authorities say Iguala’s police force shot at buses carrying the students and handed them over to officers in the neighboring town of Cocula, who then delivered them to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang.
Thousands of teachers and students demonstrated, an unspecified number of whom torched the building, which at the time had no workers inside, an AFP reporter said
It was the second incident in which demonstrators set fire to local buildings in Iguala in as many days.
On Tuesday, 500 teachers set fire to a political party office in the capital of Guerrero state, Chilpancingo.
Armed with pipes and sticks, the protesters burst into in the state headquarters of the Democratic Revolutionary Party demanding the resignation of state governor Angel Aguirre.
The protesters burned computers and documents, but no one was hurt.
Authorities have found several mass graves in Iguala but say 28 sets of remains examined so far do not correspond to the students.
This week, the government announced a $110,000 (87,000 euros) reward for information in the disappearance of the students.
A total of 36 municipal officers in Iguala have been arrested in the case, along with 17 Guerreros Unidos members and their boss.
Mexican authorities last week announced the arrest of the “maximum leader” of the Guerreros Unidos gang, Sidronio Casarrubias, at a police checkpoint on a highway between Mexico City and the nearby city of Toluca.
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday the government will expedite plans to give more powers of detention and surveillance to security agencies in the wake of an attack on Parliament.
“They need to be much strengthened, and I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that work which is already under way will be expedited,” he told the House of Commons, one day after a gunman launched an attack on Parliament and was shot dead.
Now there’s an Uber for flu shots. On Thursday the car-service at the tap of a smartphone announced a one-day UberHEALTH pilot program in partnership with Harvard Medical School’s Vaccine Finder program to deliver free flu shots on-demand. From 10am-3pm E.T. Uber drivers will drive a registered nurse to deliver and inject the shot to customers anywhere within the three test cities of New York, Boston, and Washington.
The shots will not take place in the cars. Instead users will be asked to identify a place to meet up with the nurses from the Passport Health and Pager program. No insurance card is required. Harvard professor John Brownstein whose group pitched Uber the project over the summer said it has “huge potential” to “deliver more convenience into delivery of care.” The test can also provide a precedent for crisis situations, he said, where you “don’t necessarily want people crowding and traversing cities to get access to vaccines.”
October 23, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – LD
) – As warned, after multiple staged incidents used to ratchet up fear and paranoia in the build-up to US and its allies’ military intervention in Syria and Iraq, at least two live attacks have now been carried out in Canada – precisely as they were predicted.
The first attack involved a deadly hit-and-run that left one Canadian soldier dead. AP would report in its article, “Terrorist ideology blamed in Canada car attack,” that:
A young convert to Islam who killed a Canadian soldier in a hit-and-run had been on the radar of federal investigators, who feared he had jihadist ambitions and seized his passport when he tried to travel to Turkey, authorities said Tuesday.
The second, most recent attack, involved a shooting in Ottawa injuring several and killing another Canadian soldier. RT in its article, “Ottawa gunman ‘identified’ as recent Muslim convert, high-risk traveler,” would report that:
While the name of the Ottawa gunman is yet to be announced, a number of officials told numerous media that the shooter is believed to be Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a recent Muslim convert, allegedly designated as a high-risk traveler.
Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was born in Quebec as Michael Joseph Hall north of Montreal, two US officials told Reuters, claiming that American law enforcement agencies have been advised that the attacker recently converted to Islam.
AP sources also identified the man to be Zehaf-Bibeau. A Twitter account associated with Islamic State militants tweeted a photo they identified as the Ottawa shooter. The Globe and Mail reports that the shooter was designated a “high-risk traveler” by the Canadian authorities with his passport seized.
Clearly, both suspects were under the watch of not only Canadian authorities, but also US investigators, before the attacks.
Canada’s Attacks Were Predictable – Western Security Agencies are Prime Suspects
It was warned last month
after security agencies staged scares in both the US and Australia, that suspects under investigation, being walked through planned terrorist attacks by Western security agencies as part of “sting operations” would inevitably be switched to live terrorist attacks.
In mid-September A Rochester man, Mufid A. Elfgeeh, was accused by the FBI of attempting to provide material support to ISIS (undercover FBI agents), attempting to kill US soldiers, and possession of firearms and silencers (provided to him by the FBI). The FBI’s own official press release stated (emphasis added):
According to court records, Elfgeeh attempted to provide material support to ISIS in the form of personnel, namely three individuals, two of whom were cooperating with the FBI. Elfgeeh attempted to assist all three individuals in traveling to Syria to join and fight on behalf of ISIS. Elfgeeh also plotted to shoot and kill members of the United States military who had returned from Iraq. As part of the plan to kill soldiers, Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from a confidential source. The handguns were made inoperable by the FBI before the confidential source gave them to Elfgeeh.
It was warned that only an inoperable firearm stood between Elfgeeh’s arrest and his successful execution of deadly plans hatched by him and his undercover FBI handlers. This script, written by the FBI to entrap Elfgeeh, would be followed almost to the letter in live attacks subsequently carried out in Canada resulting in the death of two Canadian soldiers. Conveniently, both suspects are now dead and little chance remains of ascertaining the truth of who they were in contact with and how they carried out their deadly attacks.
With both suspects having been on both US and Canadian watch lists – it is very likely undercover agents were involved in either one or both cases. While many possibilities exist, Western security agencies should be among the first suspects considered as potential collaborators.
A Modern-Day Operation Gladio - Inducing Fear, Obedience, and Control
Before Elfgeeh’s entrapment and later live attacks in Canada, US policymakers and pundits had begun in earnest setting the rhetorical stage for eventual staged attacks. With serial beheadings failing to raise Western public support necessary for an expedient intervention in Syria, more insidious provocations appeared to be in the works. Setting the stage, a CBS/Associated Press story titled, “Former Deputy CIA Director: ‘I Would Not Be Surprised’ If ISIS Member Shows Up To US Mall Tomorrow With AK-47,” would claim immediately after the initial James Foley ISIS execution video that:
“The short-term concern is the Americans that have gone to fight with ISIS and the west Europeans that have gone to fight with ISIS could be trained and directed by ISIS to come to the United States to conduct small-scale attacks,” Morell stated. “If an ISIS member showed up at a mall in the United States tomorrow with an AK-47 and killed a number of Americans, I would not be surprised.”
Morell warned that over the long-term the extremist group could be planning for a 9/11-style attack that killed thousands of Americans.
The FBI has a long list of foiled terror plots of its own creation
. More disturbingly are the plots they conceived but “accidentally” allowed to go “live.” One might recall the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. FBI agents, according to the New York Times, were indeed overseeing the bombers that detonated a device killing six and wounding many more at the World Trade Center.
In their article, “Tapes Depict Proposal to Thwart Bomb Used in Trade Center Blast,” NYT reported:
Law-enforcement officials were told that terrorists were building a bomb that was eventually used to blow up the World Trade Center, and they planned to thwart the plotters by secretly substituting harmless powder for the explosives, an informer said after the blast.
The informer was to have helped the plotters build the bomb and supply the fake powder, but the plan was called off by an F.B.I. supervisor who had other ideas about how the informer, Emad A. Salem, should be used, the informer said.
The account, which is given in the transcript of hundreds of hours of tape recordings Mr. Salem secretly made of his talks with law-enforcement agents, portrays the authorities as in a far better position than previously known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York City’s tallest towers. The explosion left six people dead, more than 1,000 injured and damages in excess of half a billion dollars.
Considering the 1993 bombing and the fact that the FBI literally oversaw the construction and deployment of a deadly bomb that killed 6, it is clear that the FBI can at any time through design or disastrous incompetence, turn one of their contrived entrapment cases into a live terror attack. One can only guess at how many similar FBI operations are currently taking place within the United States involving ISIS sympathizers – any one of which could be turned into a live terror attack provided the weapons handed over to potential terrorists are functioning, just as the bomb was in 1993 when it was driven into the lower levels of the World Trade Center.
It is very likely that the recent attacks in Canada involved at least one “informant” working for the FBI. Because the FBI uses confidential informants to handle suspects, if a plot is switched “live,” the informant will be implicated as an accomplice and the FBI’s covert role will remain uncompromised.
Image: The FBI has an impressive portfolio of intentionally created, then foiled terror plots. Its methods include allowing suspects to handle both real and inoperable weapons and explosives. These methods allow the FBI to switch entrapment cases “live” at any moment simply by switching out duds and arrests with real explosives and successful attacks. Because the FBI uses “informants,” when attacks go live, these confidential assets can be blamed, obfuscating the FBI’s involvement.
Everything from a mass shooting to a bombing, and even an Operation Northwoods-style false flag attack involving aircraft could be employed to provide Wall Street and London with the support it needs to accelerate its long-stalled agenda of regime change and reordering in both Syria and across the Iranian arc of influence. Readers may recall Operation Northwoods, reported on in an ABC News article titled, “U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba
,” which bluntly stated:
In the early 1960s, America’s top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
In addition to Operation Northwoods, the public must also consider NATO’s Operation Gladio, and its larger “stay behind” networks established after World War II across Europe and at the center of multiple grisly assassinations, mass shootings, and terrorist bombings designed to demonize the Soviet Union as well as criminalize and crush support for left-leaning political parties growing in popularity in Western Europe. It would be determined that NATO’s own covert militant groups were killing innocent Western Europeans in order to effect a “strategy of tension” used to instill fear, obedience, and control over Western populations.
That the FBI and Australian authorities had coordinated staged security operations in tandem on opposite ends of the globe to terrify their respective populations into line behind an impending war with Syria, and now two highly suspicious attacks have been carried out using the very script Western security agencies were using to lead suspects through “sting operations,” suggests a new “Operation Northwoods” or “Operation Gladio” of sorts is already being executed.
Staged executions on cue by ISIS in the Middle East of US and British citizens at perfectly timed junctures of the West’s attempt to sell intervention both at home and abroad, and now live shootings just in time to heighten a new “strategy of tension” reek of staged mayhem for the sole purpose of provoking war. Could grander and ultimately more tragic mayhem be in store?
As ABC News’ article on Operation Northwoods and the Military Channel’s documentary on Operation Gladio
suggest, there is no line Western special interests will hesitate to cross.
With the West attempting to claim ISIS now has a “global” reach, the US and its partners’ attempts to obfuscate the very obvious state-sponsorship it is receiving will become exponentially more difficult. That the FBI is admittedly stringing along easily manipulated, malevolent patsies who at any time could be handed real weapons and sent on shooting sprees and/or bombings – and now apparently have been – Americans, Canadians, Europeans, and Australians would be foolish to conclude that their real enemy resides somewhere in Syria and not right beside them at home, upon the very seats of Western power.
The Federal Reserve is NOT Federal and has no reserves! New Fed Chair Janet Yellen has already made statements about you putting your money into savings accounts…. They don’t want you to. They punish those who wont listen. – JB
Recently Janet Yellen expressed both concern and puzzlement over the rising wealth inequality in America.
I found her speech to be disingenuous and disturbing. Why? Because it is the Fed’s very own policies that are driving the expansion of the wealth gap. Read Yellen’s speech.
Either Yellen thinks we cannot be trusted with the truth (worrisome), or the Fed is clueless as to how its own policies operate (scarier).
The academic name for the Fed’s current policy is financial repression. But a more apt name would be “Throw granny under the bus,” because the program boils down to taking from savers and fixed-income recipients and transferring that purchasing power to other entities.
The cornerstone element of financial repression is negative real interest rates, of which the Federal Reserve is the prime architect and owner.
From the start of the Fed’s post-crisis intervention through 2013, the total cost of these negative real interest rates was over $750 billion just to savers alone. The loss of income to fixed-income investments (such as bonds held in pensions and money markets) was even larger.
It’s actually more appropriate to ask if the Federal Reserve is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history.
But here’s the rub. That loss of income and purchasing power didn’t just vanish. It was transferred from pocket A to pocket B.
It magically appeared again in record Wall Street banking bonuses, in shrinking government deficits (due to lower than normal interest rates), in rising corporate profits (mainly benefiting the already rich), in record stock buybacks (ditto), and in rising wealth inequality.
More directly, when the Fed buys financial assets with printed money and — by definition — drives up the price of those assets, it cannot then act mystified why the main owners of financial assets have grown wealthier. Doing so simply insults our intelligence.
With that as background, I found myself struggling to remain calm as I read Yellen’s recent remarks.
Yellen has created the wealth gap by printing money
Why Fed Chair Janet Yellen is “greatly” concerned about growing inequality
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday expressed deep concern over widening economic inequality in the country and called for tackling issues such as early childhood education and encouraging entrepreneurship to help narrow the gap.
Comment: Did she really just deflect the consequences of the Fed’s policy of financial repression towards early childhood education? That’s like a burglar lecturing homeowners that they need to support better metallurgical research as the means of preventing their doors from being kicked in so easily in the future.
In a speech at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Yellen said steady growth in inequality over the past several decades represents the most sustained rise since the 19th century. Living standards for most Americans have been “stagnant,” while those at the very top have enjoyed significant wealth and income gains, she said.
Comment: Glad the Fed finally noticed that those at the very top have been making out like bandits! This was something I said explicitly would happen as a consequence of future Fed printing back in 2008, before any QE had even started. How is it that I predicted that this would happen back in 2008 and the Fed is just now noticing? Is my one-man research department more capable than the entirety of the Fed’s? In fact this is a very well known and easy to understand process. That the Fed is feigning ignorance speaks volumes about how ignorant they believe we all are. This is a sure sign that we are trapped in a dysfunctional relationship with an abusive partner.
“I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity,” Yellen said.
Comment: Once we accept that the Fed is openly and specifically creating the wealth gap as a matter of active and ongoing policy, which it is, then it’s actually more appropriate to ask if the Federal Reserve is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history. The answer, if you believe in a level economic playing field, is “no.”
Yellen listed four factors that can influence economic opportunity: investing in education for young children, making college more affordable, encouraging entrepreneurship and building inheritance.
Comment: OMG. She just blamed the victims. According to Yellen, if people are finding themselves getting poorer what they need to do is stop scrimping on their kids, become an entrepreneur and go back in time and have rich parents somehow. This statement of hers calls for pitchforks and torches. Without a shred of decency, she has shifted all blame from the Fed to the victims. How corrupt or morally adrift does someone have to be to blame the victim? In a criminal case this would be used as evidence of sociopathic if not psychopathic behavior and be used by a prosecutor to call for a maximum sentence.
Yellen did not address in her prepared text whether the Fed has contributed to inequality.
Comment: No surprise there. Those who blame victims always avoid looking in the mirror.
At this point, based on Yellen’s testimony, I think it’s time to say what everybody is already thinking: if the Fed were an individual, we’d call its behavior pathological. Psychopaths blame their victims.
In a more evolved society than ours, Yellen would have been immediately booted from the stage, and the president would already be asking for her resignation. Sadly, she remains safely in charge, and utterly tone deaf.
We don’t need more lectures from her on our perceived failures to spend enough on our kids, have enough entrepreneurial talent, or have rich parents. What we need is a return to the level playing field that originally made this country great.
The natives are restless – Launch “Ebola” Paradigm….
FOX Reporting multiple Shooters
A Canadian soldier was shot at the Ottawa National War Memorial Wednesday, and a gunman reportedly fled into the nation’s Parliament building, raising fears the attacks could be part of “lone wolf” campaigns being carried out by Islamic extremists.
A member of the Canadian parliament, Bernard Trottier, tweeted that a gunman had been shot and killed. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire inside Parliament Hill, which is under lockdown.
SEE ALSO: Canadian MP: ‘Gunman is deceased. We are OK’
Paramedics took the wounded Canadian soldier away in an ambulance, and the soldier’s current condition is unknown.
U.S. Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus said Wednesday they were monitoring the situation in Canada, but declined to comment on what extra security measures might be taken in the U.S. Congress.
The incident comes just two days after two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car in Quebec driven by a man with jihadist sympathies. One of them was killed.
The office of the Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, said that he was safe, but so far has not issued any further statement. He was scheduled to speak at several public events in Toronto Wednesday, which will likely be cancelled in light of the shooting.
Security experts have increasingly become concerned about “lone wolf” attacks carried out by a single radicalized individual. Experts said that while the Islamic State, often known as ISIS or ISIL, likely does not currently have the ability to carry out large-scale attacks like al Qaeda, the radical group is encouraging single individuals to launch terror attacks in their own countries.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
Read more: Washington Times
U.S. has ALLEGEDLY spent $7.6B on counternarco ops (oops)
Cultivation of the illegal poppy plant in Afghanistan has reached an “all time high” following a $7.6 billion counternarcotics campaign paid for by the United States, according to government oversight investigators.
Despite the spending to combat growth of the poppy plant, which is used to make drugs such as opium and heroin, cultivation has reached an “all time high,” especially in places once declared “poppy free,” according to new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
“After a decade of reconstruction and over $7 billion in counternarcotics efforts, poppy cultivation levels are at an all-time high,” SIGAR concluded in its report released Wednesday.
The findings have caused concern about the effectiveness of the United States’ efforts to stymie poppy production, SIGAR concluded.
Levels of poppy farming have not been this high since 2007, according to SIGAR.
And “with deteriorating security in many parts of rural Afghanistan and low levels of eradication of poppy fields, further increases in cultivation are likely in 2014,” SIGAR informed the Defense and Justice Departments in a recent alert.
Afghanistan has experienced a 50 percent increase in poppy-related proceeds from 2012 to 2013 as a result of the farming boon, according to the report.
“Despite the significant financial expenditure, opium poppy cultivation has far exceeded previous records,” according to SIGAR.
The boost in production of the popular drug is primarily the result of new deep-well technology that has allowed the Afghans to turn large portions of the once inhabitable desert into fertile land.
“Due to relatively high opium prices and the rise of an inexpensive, skilled, and mobile labor force, much of this newly-arable land is dedicated to opium cultivation,” the report states. “Poppy-growing provinces that were once declared ‘poppy free’ have seen a resurgence in cultivation.”
Areas once “considered a model for successful counterinsurgency and counternarcotics efforts” have seen poppy production grow fourfold between 2012 and 2013, according to SIGAR.
Profits garnered from the production of opium and other poppy-derived drugs have increased from $2 billion in 2012 to $3 billion in 2013, the report found.
Questions are now being raised about the effectiveness of the United States’ counternarcotics strategy in Afghanistan.
“In past years, surges in opium poppy cultivation have been met by a coordinated response from the U.S. government and coalition partners, which has led to a temporary decline in levels of opium production,” according to SIGAR. “However, the recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of those prior efforts.”
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul admitted defeat in the drug arena when approached by the watchdog for comment on its report.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul, speaking on behalf of the State Department and USAID, “acknowledged the significance of the poppy cultivation issue in Afghanistan,” according to SIGAR.
It “also acknowledged that, after more than a decade of taxpayer-funded counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan, U.S. government efforts to build Afghan government counternarcotics capability were still ‘in progress,’” according to their comments recounted in SIGAR’s report.
However, the embassy also maintained that some of its counternarcotics efforts “are yielding results.”
“There is no silver bullet to eliminate drug cultivation or production in Afghanistan or to address the epidemic of substance abuse disorder that plagues too many Afghans,” the embassy wrote in a statement to SIGAR.
As the drug problem grows worse, SIGAR is recommending that the DoD and other agencies reassess their game plan.
“I strongly suggest that your departments consider the trends in opium cultivation and the effectiveness of past counternarcotics efforts when planning future initiatives,” SIGAR wrote.
ISIS has also been treated in Tel Aviv (according to inside sources) Women and Children of destitute Palestinians left to suffer and die.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh (3rd L) flashes a victory sign as he appears for the first time since the start of a seven-week conflict during a rally by Palestinians celebrating what they said was a victory over Israel, in Gaza City
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A daughter of the leader of Hamas in Gaza was admitted to an Israeli hospital for emergency medical treatment this month after she suffered complications from a routine procedure, two sources familiar with the case said.
Haniyeh, who has 13 children, is the leader of the Islamist group in Gaza and one of its most senior figures overall, serving as a deputy to Khaled Meshaal, who lives in exile.
Two sources – one Palestinian and the other a foreign diplomat with knowledge of the case – declined to name the daughter and, out of respect for her privacy, asked that details of her condition not be published.
Like many Hamas officials, Haniyeh spent the seven-week-long war largely in hiding. His home in the northern part of the Gaza Strip was destroyed by an Israeli air strike.
An Israeli official said he could not discuss specific medical admissions from Gaza.
But he said that in most cases a request by a Palestinian doctor to allow a patient across the border for urgent treatment was sufficient – indicating Haniyeh may not have been personally involved in his daughter’s application.
During the war and since it ended in late August, dozens of patients from Gaza have been brought to hospitals in Israel, where the resources and technology for advanced treatment and complicated operations are vastly better.
Hamas is sworn to Israel’s destruction but has voiced openness to a long-term truce and a measure of cooperation with Israel which, along with neighboring Egypt, controls access to the coastal enclave, home to 1.8 million Palestinians.
Israeli media has reported that one of Haniyeh’s granddaughters was treated in an Israeli hospital last November, while his mother-in-law sought treatment in a Jerusalem hospital in June.
Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.
GAZIANTEP, Turkey—While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “caliphate.”
The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.
The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.
Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion, and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.
“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.
“What are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”
And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war-making, say critics of the aid.
One of the striking differences between ISIS and terror groups of the past is its desire to portray the territory it has conquered as a well-organized and smoothly functioning state. “The soldiers of Allah do not liberate a village, town, or city, only to abandon its residents and ignore their needs,” declares the latest issue of Dabiq, the group’s slick online magazine. Elsewhere in the publication are pictures of slaughtered Kurdish soldiers and a gruesome photograph of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s severed head resting on top of his body. But this article shows ISIS restoring electricity in Raqqah, running a home for the elderly, a cancer-treatment facility in Ninawa, and cleaning streets in other towns.
Last year, a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor raised concerns throughout the region about the spread of an epidemic. The World Health Organization worked with the Syrian government and with opposition groups to try to carry out an immunization campaign. This has continued. In response to a query by The Daily Beast, a WHO spokesperson said, “Our information indicates that vaccination campaigns have been successfully carried out by local health workers in IS-controlled territory.”
“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”
U.S. and Western relief agencies have been caught before in an aid dilemma when it comes to the war on terror. Last December, the Overseas Development Institute, an independent British think tank focusing on international development and humanitarian issues, reported that aid agencies in Somalia had been paying militants from the al Qaeda offshoot al-Shabab for access to areas under their control during the 2011 famine.
Al-Shabab demanded from the agencies what it described as “registration fees” of up to $10,000. And in many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid, keeping much of it for itself, according to ODI. The think tank cited al-Shabab’s diversion of food aid in the town of Baidoa, where it kept between half and two-thirds of the food for its own fighters. The researchers noted the al Qaeda affiliate developed a highly sophisticated system of monitoring and co-opting the aid agencies, even setting up a “Humanitarian Co-ordination Office.”
Something similar appears to be underway now in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”
That isn’t the case with other Syrian rebel groups, where arguments over convoys can erupt at checkpoints at main entry points into Syria, where aid is unloaded from Turkish tractor-trailers and re-loaded into Syrian ones.
Many aid workers are uncomfortable with what’s happening. “A few months ago we delivered a mobile clinic for a USAID-funded NGO,” says one, who declined to be named. “A few of us debated the rights and wrongs of this. The clinic was earmarked for the treatment of civilians, but we all know that wounded ISIS fighters could easily be treated as well. So what are we doing here helping their fighters, who we are bombing, to be treated so they can fight again?”
What becomes even more bizarre is that while aid is still going into ISIS-controlled areas, only a little is going into Kurdish areas in northeast Syria. About every three or four months there is a convoy into the key city of Qamishli. Syrian Kurds, who are now defending Kobani with the support of U.S. warplanes, have long complained about the lack of international aid. Last November, tellingly, Syrian Kurds complained that Syria’s Kurdistan was not included in a U.N. polio-vaccination campaign. U.N. agencies took the position that polio vaccines should go through the Syrian Red Crescent via Damascus when it came to the Kurds.
The origins of the aid programs pre-date President Barack Obama’s decision to “degrade and defeat” ISIS, but they have carried on without major review. The aid push was to reach anyone in need. A senior State Department official with detailed knowledge of current aid programs confirmed to The Daily Beast that U.S. government funded relief is still going into Raqqa and Deir Ez-Zor. He declined to estimate the quantity. But an aid coordinator, when asked, responded: “A lot.”
The State Department official said he, too, was conflicted about the programs. “Is this helping the militants by allowing them to divert money they would have to spend on food? If aid wasn’t going in, would they let people starve? And is it right for us to withhold assistance and punish civilians? Would the militants turn around, as al-Shabab did when many agencies withdrew from Somalia, and blame the West for starvation and hunger? Are we helping indirectly the militants to build their caliphate? I wrestle with this.”
Western NGO partners of USAID and other Western agencies declined to respond to Daily Beast inquiries about international relief going to ISIS areas, citing the complexity of the issue and noting its delicacy.
Mideast analyst Schanzer dismisses the notion that ISIS can use an aid shutdown as leverage in its PR campaign: “I think this is false. In areas they control, everyone understands they are a brutal organization. This is their basic weakness and by pushing in aid we are curtailing the chances of an internal revolt, which is the best chance you have of bringing down ISIS.”
Literally False Flags?
Gardeners in the Israeli city of Nazareth Illit discovered a bag containing about 25 ISIS flags.
Israel Police have opened an investigation into the discovery of the flags on Tuesday in an industrial area of northern Israeli city. The possession of materials from the jihadist group was outlawed in Israel several weeks ago.
“When something like this is discovered in the heart of a Jewish city, it needs to light up many warning signs,” Nazareth Illit Mayor Alex Gadalkin told Ynet.
In late September, a 24-year-old Arab-Israeli from Kfar Kana who was suspected of being associated with ISIS was arrested and questioned.
Earlier in the month, another Arab-Israeli was arrested for allegedly traveling to Syria and training with ISIS. Contact with the group also was made illegal.
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