Friday, July 22, 2016

Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro Surprises CAIR Official on Radio
issue 310
Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro Surprises CAIR Official on Radio
Chris Baker hosted Corey Saylor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to talk about the organization’s latest Islamophobia report. learn more
An online intimidation campaign has been launched in Morocco to try to prevent women from wearing bikinis on the country’s beaches.
Bikini-Clad Women Blackmailed by Islamists in Morocco

Critics of the event's openly anti-Islam stance missed why it happened at all: People are furious with the failure to deal with Islamist extremism.
Critics of 'Gays for Trump' Party Miss the Point

Even though the three perpetrators had links to the terrorist scene, the court refused to rule that the act was terrorism.
German Court Rules Bombing a Sikh Temple Not Terrorism

Largely unreported in the Western media is the group of Islamists who attacked churches in the Trabzon and Malatya provinces.
Turkey: Islamists Attack Churches in Coup Frenzy
Hamas Summer Camp: Teenagers Train for Jihad
Youth in Hamas' summer camp "The Vanguards of Liberation" train for martyrdom and receive lectures to motivate them to commit 'jihad for the sake of Allah.'
Erdogan: Tarnished Souls of Coup
The tarnished souls of those without faith have fallen before the souls of the faithful. And it will always be like that from now on.” 
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan
President, Turkey
[Re:'Turkey: Islamists Attack Churches in Coup Frenzy']: Erdogan is not a friend.
[Re:'German De-Radicalization Programs Not Working']: Face facts. Germany has imported a problem that it cannot solve. France is going the same way. Prepare for more terror attacks. It ain't gonna stop. The PC left brigade doesn't remotely understand what it is dealing with.
The Clarion Project is a registered 501(c)(3). Donations are tax-deductible.
Clarion Project I 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1025, Washington DC 20006‏

Help Tommy Robinson Protect Himself

Help Tommy Robinson Protect Himself

Link to Citizen Warrior

Posted: 22 Jul 2016 02:11 AM PDT
For years, Tommy Robinson has been a tireless, outspoken critic of the Islamization of Britain. And he has been attacked in the media, jailed by the authorities (and thrown in with violent Muslim prisoners), he has been issued death threats, and been physically attacked by Muslims.

You can read about his tribulations here and here.

Robinson needs good legal representation and physical protection (a bodyguard). Three people decided to raise the money to help him, and they succeeded: The Glazov Gang's inimitable Jamie Glazov, the director of ACT! for Canada, Valerie Price and World Truth Summit founder, Elsa Schieder. You can learn more and contribute to Tommy's protection here: Help Tommy Robinson.

Valerie Price wrote the following:
Tommy Robinson personifies moral courage in an age when such courage is an extremely rare commodity, the possession of which can threaten one's life. He is one of the few who truly deserves the label of hero. He is my personal hero and yet it must be said that all he has done to become heroic is something that we all can do, should do, and must do: he has spoken the truth.

We live in so cheap and tawdry an age that all one must do to be a hero is speak the truth — and yet there are so few heroes. Tommy Robinson is that hero. He has done this at immense personal cost — to himself and to his family. Unlike other heroes, like Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard and Lars Vilks, he is not protected by his government with personal bodyguards. He is on his own. In fact, for speaking the truth, the British Government has turned him into “An Enemy of the State”.

One would think that the constant threats made against Tommy Robinson would wake people up to the true nature and lethal character of the enemy we face, when they are so threatened by the telling of the truth that they're willing to commit murder in response. Yet even as Tommy Robinson is defamed, vilified and marginalized, he is being proven right by the events of every day — and the light of the truth he tells shines more brightly all the time.

Please listen to this YouTube video and you will see his passion, his dedication, his bravery, his disgust with the system and how he is fighting for your children and your grandchildren as well as his own.

Originally they were asking for one-time donations, but some donors proposed a way of providing more protection against the ongoing threat of physical attacks, as well as attacks from the so-called justice system: Monthly donations to a fund for security, plus to keep the legal fund from going dry.

So now you have the option of an automatic monthly donation, setting whatever amount is comfortable for you. Everything goes 100% directly to Tommy Robinson.

Learn more about Tommy Robinson and donate to him here: Help Tommy Robinson.

Read some of the background of the legal and security fund for Tommy Robinson on The Gates of Vienna here.

The fundraising campaign was covered in The Huffington Post here.

Eye on Extremism - July 22, 2016

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Eye on Extremism

July 22, 2016

New York Times: Group Backed By U.S. Gives ISIS 48 Hours To Leave Syrian City
“Islamic State fighters holed up in one of the militant group’s last major strongholds in northern Syria have 48 hours to leave the city, according to an ultimatum issued by the local military council of the United States-supported Syria Democratic Forces. The two-day window opened after the main Syrian exile opposition group called on the coalition to halt its bombing of militant positions near the city of Manbij after dozens of civilians were reported killed this week in airstrikes by the United States-led coalition.”
Reuters: Kerry Calls For New Measures To Counter Changing Islamic State
“U.S. officials on Thursday called on partners in the coalition against Islamic State to increase intelligence sharing as the militant group morphs to focus on attacks beyond its shrinking self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria. ‘Even as it is losing ground in the Middle East, we know already that they’re going to try to transform themselves into (a) global terrorist organization,’ U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said after a meeting of defense and foreign affairs chiefs from about 40 nations in the U.S.-led coalition. ‘We talked about the importance of real-time communication between countries, information sharing’ about militant suspects, he said.”
The Wall Street Journal: Attacker In Nice Conspired For Months
“The man who killed 84 people in Nice on Bastille Day conspired with several others in an attack planned for many months, France’s top antiterror prosecutor said, reversing authorities’ theory that he had only recently been radicalized. The shift in the investigation on Thursday came as investigators pored over phone and computer records and magistrates were interrogating five people suspected of providing support to 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Paris Prosecutor Fran├žois Molins laid out a timeline with evidence the attacker and his suspected accomplices had embraced Islamist extremism as early as the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015.”
CNN: American Volunteer Killed Fighting ISIS In Syria
“An American civilian fighting alongside Kurdish troops in Syria has been killed fighting ISIS, according to a statement from the official website of the People's Protection Units, or YPG. The YPG said Levi Jonathan Shirley, a volunteer also known as Agir Servan, died on July 14 in Manbij, an ISIS-held city in northern Syria. Shirley first traveled to Syria in February 2015, joining the YPG in Rojava. After a short trip back to the United States, he returned to Syria in January 2016, fighting in Al-Jazira and Kobani before the offensive to recapture Manbij. The YPG, a Kurdish group of some 30,000 fighters, is the senior partner in the Syrian Democratic Forces, which also includes some smaller Arab and Christian groups.”
Wall Street Journal: Iraqi Factions Vie To Take Part In Mosul Offensive
“A rapid advance toward the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in the past few weeks has exposed tensions among competing Iraqi political factions over who will participate in the final offensive and who will govern the city if it is recaptured. The fight for Mosul is high on the agenda this week as international defense and foreign ministers gather in Washington to discuss military strategy against Islamic State and raise funding for Iraq, where a humanitarian crisis is already unfolding among the millions displaced by the fighting.”
Bloomberg: Turkey Enters Emergency-Rule Era As Erdogan Hints At Extension
“Turkey entered its second day under a state of emergency as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that the three-month period approved by parliament may not be enough to complete a purge of those responsible for last week’s failed coup. Erdogan told Reuters that there’s no obstacle to extending emergency rule, which took effect at 1 a.m. on Thursday and was later endorsed by parliament. It allows the government to issue decrees with the force of law, and detain suspects for longer periods without trial. The hunt for enablers and perpetrators of the coup, which Turkey’s government blames on followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, has extended far beyond an initial roundup of military suspects, and its scale has added to investor concerns about political stability. Judges, prosecutors, academics and teachers have been detained or dismissed. The official Anadolu news agency said more than 10,000 people are in custody.”
The Wall Street Journal: Russia Bombed Base In Syria Used By U.S.
“When Russian aircraft bombed a remote garrison in southeastern Syria last month, alarm bells sounded at the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense in London. The Russians weren’t bombarding a run-of-the-mill rebel outpost, according to U.S. officials. Their target was a secret base of operations for elite American and British forces. In fact, a contingent of about 20 British special forces had pulled out of the garrison 24 hours earlier. British officials declined to comment. U.S. military and intelligence officials say the previously unreported close call for Western forces on June 16, and a subsequent Russian strike on a site linked to the Central Intelligence Agency, were part of a campaign by Moscow to pressure the Obama administration to agree to closer cooperation in the skies over Syria.”
NBC News: ISIS Trying To Topple Saudi King With Attack On Mohammed's Mosque
“Current and former U.S. officials say a recent ISIS attack on the tomb of Mohammed in Saudi Arabia -- Islam's second holiest site -- shows the terror group is now directly challenging the kingdom's ruling family and trying to topple the monarchy. ‘The Saudi king's tiles include 'Protector of the two Holy Cities,’ said one senior U.S. counterterrorism official. ‘The message of the attack is that that protection doesn't exist.’ The kingdom's two holy cities, Mecca and Medina, are home Islam's two holiest sites, the Qabba in Mecca, which millions of pilgrims visit every year, and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina, which holds Mohammed's tomb.”
Reuters: Brazil Arrests 10 For 'Amateur' Terror Plot Against Olympics
“Brazil arrested 10 people on Thursday suspected of belonging to a poorly organized group supporting Islamic State (IS) and discussing terrorist acts during the next month's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The group, described as ‘absolutely amateur’ by Justice Minister Alexandre Moraes, were all Brazilian citizens and in contact via messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram. They did not know each other personally, the minister said. The arrests came a week after a truck massacre in Nice, France, and amid growing fears of a possible attack when the first Olympics to be held in South America kicks off on Aug. 5. Some 500,000 visitors are expected to travel to Brazil for the Games, many of them from the United States.”
Associated Press: Nigerian Military Rescues 80 Children, Women From Boko Haram
“Nigeria's military says it has rescued 80 children and women held captive by the Boko Haram extremist group in a remote northeastern village. Army spokesman Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman says they were freed Tuesday by troops who attacked a gathering of the Islamic fighters at Gangere village in Borno state. He says 42 extremists were killed and troops released 42 children and 38 women. The military has reported freeing as many as 10,000 Boko Haram captives this year but none of the 219 girls from Chibok school. That mass abduction in April 2014 shocked people around the world and brought global attention to the seven-year Islamic insurgency that has spread across Nigeria's borders.”

United States

Voice Of America: Kerry: IS Losing Money And Fighters, But Still A Terror Threat
“While the Islamic State group continues to lose ground and fighters in Iraq and Syria, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the militant organization is morphing into a different type of threat that likely will be more difficult to defeat. Speaking at a meeting of Islamic State's foes Thursday, Kerry told foreign and defense ministers from more than 30 nations that ‘the tide has turned.’ The world can look forward to a time when Islamic State is driven completely out of Iraq and Syria, the top U.S. diplomat said, and ‘the day that happens will mark a critical turning point in the fight against Daesh.’ Even now, Kerry said, the U.S.-led coalition can welcome the fact that the IS fighting force is about one-third smaller than it was last year. Foreign fighters recruited by IS in the past have begun to drift away from the terrorists' front lines, since reduced revenue has slowed payment of their salaries, and the group's search for fresh recruits has become less effective.”
The Times Of Israel: US Man Accused Of Jewish Center Attack Plot Ordered Kept In Jail
“A Tucson man charged with planning to attack the local Jewish community center and plotting a terrorist attack on a motor vehicle office in metro Phoenix will remain jailed until his trial because he poses a danger to the community, a judge ruled Wednesday. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sam Myers said no conditions could be imposed on releasing Mahin Khan from jail that could ensure the public is protected. According to authorities, Khan had expressed a desire to attack a Jewish community center in Tucson. Authorities also said they found a document in a search of his home that showed he wanted to attack a military recruiting center and an LA Fitness location. They say Khan wanted to inspire an insurgency in the United States to carry out the sort of attacks that had occurred in Paris and Brussels and had online exchanges with a person believed to be a member of the Islamic State terrorist group.”
The Washington Post: U.S. Embassy In Saudi Arabia Warning Of ‘Potential, Imminent Threat’ Against Americans In Jeddah
“The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia warned on Thursday of a ‘potential, imminent threat’ against U.S. citizens in the coastal city of Jeddah, particularly in areas where Westerners congregate. The embassy notice went out as a ‘security message’ on its website and on social media, the second highest alert that is just short of an emergency message. It said that the threat focused on public venues popular with Westerners, including markets, restaurants and shopping malls. The message advised Americans to take ‘extra precautions’ when traveling in the kingdom. The State Department would not provide more details. ‘It’s a security message not a travel warning,’ said spokesman John Kirby. ‘Obviously our consulate felt the information they had was credible enough and serious enough to warrant sending out that message immediately.’”


ABC News: Syrian Shelling Kills 51 Civilians As UN Calls For Ceasefire To Deliver Aid To Besieged Towns
“At least 51 civilians have been killed in the bombardment of rebel-held areas in Syria, as the United Nations calls for a 48-hour ceasefire in order to deliver urgent aid to besieged towns. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 15 children were among the dead across Syria on Thursday after Government forces shelled and bombed Opposition-held neighbourhoods near Damascus, in Idlib province and in eastern Aleppo. In graphic video sent to the ABC from doctors inside rebel-held Aleppo, badly injured adults and children are laid out in the back of a truck, as it speeds to a hospital after an airstrike.”
BBC: Aleppo: Is Besieged Syrian City Facing Last Gasp?
“Syria's civil war came late to Aleppo. It was July 2012. But after four years of bitter bloodshed between its government-held west and rebel east, the beating heart of Syria's commercial and industrial capital has entered cardiac arrest. The Castello Road, last rebel artery north towards the Turkish border, has been choked off by President Bashar al-Assad's forces backed by Russian air support, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian militia. Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah last month declared Syria's ‘real, strategic, greatest battle is in Aleppo and the surrounding area.’ Aleppo is no stranger to sieges - there have been at least eight recorded across its turbulent history. But this one promises to last longer than all the others put together. Many of the 300,000-plus unfortunates trapped inside face the prospect of slowly starving as extortionately-priced food, medicine and fuel supplies are systematically blocked.”
NPR: Reports: Dozens Of Civilians Killed In U.S-Led Coalition Strike In Syria
“Syria's main opposition group is calling for the U.S.-led coalition to suspend its airstrike campaign against ISIS after reports of dozens of civilian deaths close to the Turkish border. As NPR's Alison Meuse told our Newscast unit, reports suggest the strike near the northern town of Manbij is the ‘largest civilian death toll since the intervention began.’ She added that ‘both the opposition and [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's regime put the death toll above 120 killed.’ The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll from the airstrikes is at least 56, including 11 children. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter has promised a ‘transparent investigation into possible civilian deaths,’ as Alison reports. The coalition has said that it carried out airstrikes in the area on Tuesday, the day reports of civilian casualties started to emerge. It's not clear whose planes carried out the deadly strikes.”


The Hill: US-Led Coalition Looking Beyond Mosul In ISIS Fight
“The United States and its partners in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are looking beyond Mosul, the terrorist group's stronghold in Iraq, as they zero in on retaking the city and look to the next phase of the campaign.  ‘It's in sight now, but it's still going to take many more weeks of planning and I guess many more weeks of fighting,’ Michael Fallon, the United Kingdom's Minister of Defense, told reporters after a meeting of the coalitions' defense ministers and military leaders in Washington on Wednesday. Defense leaders declined to say when they predict Mosul will fall, but Defense Secretary Ash Carter said most of the conversations during the meeting, which focused on the coalition's military campaign, were about what happens after ISIS is defeated there.”
Reuters: Iraq's Domestic Security Must Catch Up To Military Gains, Defense Minister Says
“Less than 10 percent of Iraqi territory remains in the hands of Islamic State, but battlefield advances have not been matched by better security inside Iraq, the country's defense minister said on Thursday. Iraq is now mounting a campaign to retake Mosul, the de facto IS capital, after recapturing Falluja late last month. But a suicide bombing in Baghdad less than a week after Falluja fell killed almost 300 people, and bombings since then have taken at least 51 more lives. ‘Progress in military performance must be paired with progress on the security file,’ Defence Minister Khalid al-Obeidi tweeted from Washington before a meeting of defense ministers from the U.S.-led coalition battling the ultra-hardline militants. At its peak, IS had captured somewhere between 30 percent and 40 percent of Iraqi territory. The ground it holds has been drastically reduced, but the militants can still inflict tremendous damage in Iraq's towns and cities.”


Reuters: Erdogan Says Turkey's Military To Be Restructured After Abortive Coup
“Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Reuters on Thursday that there were significant intelligence failures ahead of last week's attempted military coup and that the armed forces would quickly be restructured and have ‘fresh blood’. In his first interview since declaring a state of emergency following last Friday's abortive coup, Erdogan said a new coup attempt was possible, but would not be easy, saying ‘we are more vigilant’. ‘It is very clear that there were significant gaps and deficiencies in our intelligence, there is no point trying to hide it or deny it. I told it to the head of national intelligence,’ Erdogan told Reuters in his palace in Ankara, which was targeted during the coup attempt.”
USA Today: Thousands In Turkey Rally Against Coup Attempt
“Thousands of people in support of the Turkish government gathered on Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge Thursday night to rally against last week's military coup attempt. The crowds waved Turkish flags and walked across the bridge that connects Europe and Asia. Some chanted, ‘Our martyrs are immortal, our nation cannot be divided,’ the Associated Press reported. Turkey's government assured the public Thursday that the three-month state of emergency, instituted Wednesday after the weekend  coup attempt, could end sooner. Turkey's parliament on Thursday endorsed sweeping new powers for the president as the 550-member parliament voted 356-115 to approve the state of emergency across the country.”
BBC: Turkey Attempted Coup: EU Says Measures 'Unacceptable'
“The European Union says Turkey's measures against the education system, the judiciary and the media following the failed coup are ‘unacceptable’. In a statement, High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn said they were ‘concerned’ by Turkey's decision to declare a state of emergency. The move gives Turkey's leaders ‘far reaching powers to govern by decree’. Thousands of people have been sacked or arrested following the failed coup. The two top EU officials urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respect the rule of law, rights and freedoms. And they also warned Turkey over its decision to suspend the European Convention of Human Rights, saying it must stick to the conditions by which a suspension is permitted.”


Voice Of America: Taliban Insurgents Overrun Northern Afghan District
“Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan have overrun a remote northern district after days of intense clashes with government forces, officials confirmed to local media on Thursday. The Taliban first assaulted the district of Qala-e-Zal in Kunduz province earlier this week and both sides have since claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties. A leading Afghan television station, Tolo, quoted provincial Governor Asadullah Omarkhil as saying that ‘most parts’ of the district ‘fell to the Taliban’ overnight. He added that Afghan troops have launched counteroffensives to retake control of the lost territory. Residents in the province's Dasht-e-Archi district have also reported heavy clashes between Afghan forces and insurgents. A Taliban spokesman said its fighters have captured the district, but Afghan officials have not yet commented on the development.”
Sputnik: Over 5,000 Cases Of Violence Against Women Recorded In Afghanistan In 2015
“The human rights situation in Afghanistan remained poor in 2015, with the Taliban insurgency continuing to be the major threat to the human rights of the local residents, according to the report on Human Rights and Democracy in Afghanistan. The frequency of violent incidents against women have dramatically increased in Afghanistan, with over 5,000 cases recorded last year, including 241 murders, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said on Thursday in a report on Human Rights and Democracy in Afghanistan. It is also added in the report that the human rights situation in Afghanistan remained poor in 2015, with the Taliban insurgency continuing to be the major threat to the human rights of the local residents.”
Fox News: Afghan Child Sex Tradition Spotlighted By Green Beret Now Taliban Attack Ruse
"A California lawmaker is proposing a federal law that would protect U.S. service members who stick up for sexually abused children -- an effort inspired by a Green Beret’s heroic defense of an Afghan boy. Sgt. Charles Martland was nearly booted from the Army for roughing up an Afghan police chief who had abused a young boy in a practice known as ‘bachi bazi,’ or ‘boy play.’ Now, according to the lawmaker behind the proposal, the Taliban is exploiting the sick practice by sending young children onto Afghan military facilities to pose as ‘dancing boys’ or ‘tea servers,’ only to kill their would-be tormentors."


Reuters: Libyan Forces Launch New Assault To Oust Islamic State From Sirte
“Forces aligned with Libya's U.N.-backed government fought fierce exchanges with Islamic State militants in Sirte on Thursday in which 13 of their fighters were killed and more than 110 wounded, officials said. The government-backed forces have pinned militants back to a small area in the center of the coastal city after advancing on the Islamic State stronghold in May. But they have faced stiff resistance from the several hundred militants thought to be still holed up in Sirte, suffering casualties from snipers and explosive devices.”

United Kingdom

The Wall Street Journal: U.K. Police Say Attempted Abduction Of Serviceman May Be Terrorism-Related
“British police said Thursday they aren’t discounting terrorism as a possible motivation in the attempted abduction of a Royal Air Force serviceman near an air base in Norfolk. The out-of-uniform airman was jogging close to RAF Marham on Wednesday afternoon when, he told police, he was accosted by two men of Middle Eastern appearance, one of whom was armed with a knife. The first suspect made a grab at the unnamed airman, who successfully fought him off before running away, said police. The second man, who was holding a ‘military-style’ knife, according to police, went to the aid of his accomplice, allowing the RAF airman to make a quick getaway. Both suspects remain at large after they fled the scene in a dark-colored van, said police.”


Associated Press: Ax Attack On Train Revives Debate Over Refugees In Germany
“A bloody rampage by an ax-and-knife wielding Afghan refugee has revived concerns in Germany about the country's ability to cope with an influx of migrants over the past year, some of whom may harbor violent hatred toward the west. Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, 17, attacked tourists from Hong Kong while traveling on a commuter train near the Bavarian town of Wuerzburg on Monday night, wounding four on board and a local German dog walker outside as he fled. Two of them remained in critical condition Thursday. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack and posted a video in which the teen waved a knife and referred to himself as a ‘soldier of the Islamic State.’ Authorities, however, have said that the attacker, who was shot and killed after lunging at police with his weapons, likely acted alone after becoming radicalized.”


Associated Press: French Forces Conduct Anti-Terror Raids In Paris Suburb
“French anti-terrorist forces are conducting raids on locations in the northwestern Paris suburb of Argenteuil near a mosque and an Islamic library. A top security official said both France's top counter-terrorism organization, the DGSI, and the country's elite police were involved in the Thursday raids that targeted two private residences. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter, said she didn't know if the raids had any links to last week's truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people and couldn't elaborate further.”


International Business Times: EU Marks Record-High Number Of Terrorist Attacks In 2015, Says Europol
“At least 211 terrorist attacks were carried out across Europe in 2015, recent data from the European Union law enforcement agency reveal. According to the Europol, the 2015 figure shows a 5 percent increase in terrorist attacks recorded in 2014. Yet, the latest record is considered the highest since monitoring of terrorist activities that took place within EU member states began in 2006. The EU Terrorism Situation and Report (TE-SAT) 2016 shows that the UK had the highest number of attacks, 103 incidents out of the total 211, and most of the attacks were carried out in Northern Ireland. France follows with 73 attacks, Spain with 25, Italy and Greece with four incidents each, and Denmark with 2. As a result of the record-high terrorist attacks, 148 people have died and over 350 others were injured. It also led to the arrest of 1,077 individuals for terrorism-related offenses, most of whom (424) were attested in France alone.”


CNBC News: Could Autonomous Trucks Be The Next Weapon For Terrorists?
“On July 14, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a 19-ton cargo truck into a crowd at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, killing 84 people. He carried out the attack on behalf of the Islamic State terrorist organization. Bouhlel was shot dead by police, a typical consequence for those who carry out jihadist attacks. However, an emerging technology seems as though it could take the suicidal terrorist out of the equation entirely: the autonomous truck. Autonomous trucks operate in much the same way as self-driving cars, using Wi-Fi-connected artificial intelligence. Does this mean that it's possible an attack such as the tragedy in Nice could happen again, this time carried out by someone controlling the vehicle from a remote location?”

Eye on Iran: San Diego Man is Detained in Iran

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LAT: "A San Diego man has been detained by Iranian authorities, according to friends and family members who have not heard from him in more than one week. The man, Gholamrez 'Reza' Shahini, who goes by 'Robin,' traveled to Iran to visit family this month. He had been staying at his mother's house in his native Gorgan, a city about 250 miles northeast of Tehran and near the Caspian Sea, according to Mohammad Shahini, a second cousin. Robin Shahini, a U.S. citizen and a May graduate of San Diego State, might have been detained because of his online comments criticizing Iran's human rights record, said Denera Ragoonanan, a friend of Robin Shahini. 'Robin has been known for his advocacy of human rights on social media. This advocacy, unfortunately, has not sat well with the Iranian government,' Ragoonanan wrote on her Facebook page, accompanied by a photo of Shahini and other friends... Ragoonanan said Shahini was visited by Iranian intelligence July 11 and taken from his mother's home."

AFP: "French automaker Peugeot-Citroen (PSA) said Thursday it had signed a preliminary agreement on creating a joint venture that plans to invest more than 300 million euros ($330 million) to build and sell Citroen vehicles in Iran. The move follows a deal by PSA last month on a 400-million-euro deal with its old partner Khodro to build 200,000 Peugeot vehicles a year in Iran by 2018. PSA said it and SAIPA, Citroen's historical partner in Iran before international sanctions, planned to sign a final agreement later this year. The joint venture, in which PSA and SAIPA will each have a 50 percent stake, aims to have the first cars rolling off an assembly line in 2018 from a plant in Kashan, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of the capital Tehran. PSA said three Citroen models specifically designed for the Iranian market are planned and the joint venture aims to build 150,000 cars per year in five years time... PSA was the first Western carmaker to announce a return to Iran since many economic sanctions were lifted in January when a landmark nuclear deal with world powers took effect."

Tasnim (Iran): "Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said the IRGC naval forces are in such good level of military preparedness that they can send the US warships to the bottom of the Persian Gulf. In a Thursday address to a gathering of IRGC Navy commanders in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, Major General Jafari said the IRGC naval forces have pretty good conditions... In separate comments yesterday, the top general unveiled plans for multiple war games in the current Iranian year (ends on March 20, 2017) to maintain the military preparedness of the IRGC forces and send enemies the message that the forces are ready to bury them in the Persian Gulf waters."

U.S.-Iran Relations

AP: "The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it is looking into reports another American has been detained in Iran. State Department spokesman John Kirby would not comment further Thursday on the detention of Robin Shahini. The girlfriend of the San Diego man said Shahini's sister told her Iranian authorities took him into custody July 11 while he was visiting family in his native Iran and he has not been heard from since. The girlfriend asked not to be identified because she has family in Iran and fears for their safety. She said she worries Shahini was detained because of his online comments criticizing Iran's human rights record."

Tasnim (Iran): "Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani blamed the US administration for keeping the anti-Iran sanctions in place though it was supposed to terminate them under a lasting nuclear agreement, saying Americans are obstructing the implementation process of the deal. In a meeting with business people in the city of Qom on Thursday, Larijani took a swipe at the West for shirking duties to ease economic sanctions on Iran, although Tehran has completely fulfilled its part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Despite an increase in Iran's oil exports after the JCPOA implementation, the crux of the problem is still existing, meaning that the sanctions have not been lifted, he underlined. The speaker noted that only the third and fourth-rate Western banks have been allowed to work with Iran, while the major banks are still afraid of cooperation and investment. The Western side had undertaken to create incentives for investment in Iran, however, not only did it fail to do so, but it has been even throwing a wrench, Larijani added, calling for Iran's retaliatory measures."

Sanctions Relief

Bloomberg: "Iran is in talks with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Total SA as part of its push to attract $60 billion in foreign investment to more than double the country's capacity to produce petrochemicals over the next decade. State-run National Petrochemical Co. plans to increase output capacity to 150 million metric tons a year by 2026, Managing Director Marzieh Shahdaei said in an interview at her office in Tehran. That means completing 55 unfinished projects and 28 new production facilities, said Shahdaei, who also serves as deputy oil minister... 'A number of these projects have had problems that go back to sanctions and financing,' Shahdaei said Wednesday. Although most of the restrictions on Iran were lifted under last year's nuclear accord, some U.S. sanctions remain in place, prohibiting transactions in dollars and keeping large international banks at bay. The government presented about 60 projects to potential investors in December at an event in Tehran with companies including BASF SE, the world's largest chemical company by sales... A $10 billion credit line from Japan to Iran, announced last month, could facilitate the petrochemicals business, she said. In addition to Mitsui and Total SA, NPC is in talks with several German, Italian and Spanish companies, Shahdaei said, declining to identify them because they haven't signed memorandums of understanding with Iran."

Foreign Affairs

ISNA (Iran): "Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif is visiting western Africa next week. He is visiting Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea and Mali from July 24-29. He is accompanied by a political and economic delegation. This is Zarif's third tour to Africa, and his first one after the JCPOA implementation."


Reuters: "Bahrain said on Thursday it had dismantled an Iranian-linked cell plotting attacks on its territory, arresting five suspects after finding bomb-making materials, guns and knives in their houses. The Gulf Arab kingdom has been beset by a growing rift between its Shi'ite Muslim majority and its Sunni rulers. Police said the five men had received military training in Iran and Iraq, according to a statement by Bahrain's interior ministry. There was no immediate comment from Tehran or Baghdad. Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet, frequently accuses Iran, a Shi'ite theocracy, of being behind bomb attacks targeting security services and fomenting Shi'ite protests."

Regional Destabilization

Al-Monitor: "During a speech to Iran's naval commanders July 21, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke about the threats to Iran in the Persian Gulf region and the importance of maintaining security. Jafari said that some of Iran's neighbors are actively trying to spread unrest inside Iran, adding that some regional countries and particularly the House of Saud have become 'clear enemies and today spend a lot of money to spread instability to Iran.' Jafari did not say exactly what Saudi Arabia is doing. Mohsen Rezaei, a former IRGC commander during the Iran-Iraq War and the current secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, recently accused Saudi Arabia of establishing a training camp in Iraqi Kurdistan near Iran's borders."

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