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The Life and Death of Wasil, the Taliban-Hunting Child Warrior….


When his father was murdered, Wasil Ahmad vowed revenge. He was barely old enough to hoist a rifle, but still he trained to fight the Taliban. Finally, when the insurgents returned, Wasil found his chance. What he did next made him a legend. And then it made him a target.

All wars breed heroes, but some come in unexpected form. Wasil Ahmad was one of the unlikeliest. He was only 8 years old when the war in Afghanistan, already a family affair, set him on a path for vengeance.

One morning, about an hour’s walk from the family compound where Wasil slept, his father and three uncles stood guard at a newly built police checkpoint. For years, as the Taliban and the Afghan government had traded control of this stretch of southern Afghanistan, Wasil’s family seesawed between both sides. Now, with the Americans pulling out, the men in Wasil’s family glimpsed new opportunity—and new jobs—as leaders of a U.S.-backed police force. They pledged to fight the Taliban, to defend their valley from the insurgents.

They girded themselves for battle, which came that morning in the summer of 2012, as the Taliban swept down from the hills of the Uruzgan province and attacked the new checkpoint of the Afghan Local Police. Soon, the crack and pop of gunfire rattled through the valley of Nawa Sultan Mohammad, and the fighting spilled into the surrounding fields. The police, commanded by Wasil’s uncle Samad, fought the insurgents throughout the afternoon and into the evening, managing to kill ten Taliban fighters before the attackers were subdued. But three of their own had been gunned down, too—including Wasil’s father, Hamidullah.

That night, as darkness enveloped the family’s three-story mud-brick compound, Wasil’s uncles shuffled Hamidullah’s bloodied corpse inside. The boy drew close, his cheeks wet with tears. In the low light, he could see the blood that stained his father’s clothes. He was a child, yes, but he knew enough of his world to realize, without even asking, who had killed his father. And he knew what it meant for him.

In the weeks that followed, Wasil’s anger hardened into a grim and brutal ambition—one that would launch him toward fame and then toward tragedy. “Teach me how to shoot,” Wasil said to his uncle Samad when he had resolved himself to retribution. “I want to kill my father’s killer.”


At first, Wasil’s family managed to steer the boy away from his quest for revenge. “We convinced him to keep going to school,” Merwais Ahmad, one of Wasil’s other uncles, told me. But as he grew, Wasil refused to forget. Like very few things in Afghanistan, the boy’s hatred for the Taliban was simple. It was also unwavering—which was another rarity in a part of the country where the Taliban aren’t always the enemy.

His family’s own complicated relationship with the Taliban went back years, to the days before 9/11, when the group first came to power and Wasil’s uncle Samad became an eager climber in the local power structure. It wasn’t religious devotion that drove Samad but, rather, expediency. Like many, he wanted what the Taliban could offer. “At that time, I didn’t know what was good or what was bad,” Samad told me. “Everybody likes to have vehicles, a little power, to be on the government’s side. The Taliban provided us with fuel, with a better life.”

When the Americans arrived, three years before Wasil was born, Samad fought to repel them. He had battled invaders before—fighting the Soviets as a mujahideen warrior in the 1980s. Now, toiling for the Taliban, Samad buried IEDs in roads and under bridges and fashioned explosive vests for suicide attacks. Samad was a Taliban commander when Wasil was born—and as the boy grew, he became entranced with his uncle’s stories of courage and valor.

But by the time Wasil was 8, Samad was having doubts. In early 2012, as American and Afghan authorities were working hard to win the loyalties of fighters like him—offering them jobs and other incentives—Samad broke ranks with the Taliban. Along with 13 of his men, he pledged allegiance to the U.S.-backed Afghan government.

Whether or not Wasil could grasp the complexities of shifting allegiances, his family’s fortunes were changing. Samad, now a sworn enemy of the Taliban, was promptly appointed to run a unit of the Afghan Local Police, the region’s lone security force. He hired Wasil’s father, Hamidullah, a farmer and taxi driver, and his two other brothers—along with 30 ex-Taliban fighters and 40 other locals. They set up five fortified checkpoints and began keeping watch.

It was only a matter of time before the Taliban, eager to repay Samad and his men for their defection, roared down from the highland one morning and put a newly fatherless child on a mission for retribution.

In the months that followed, Wasil pleaded to join his uncle’s police unit. And by the time he turned 10, his nagging became too much. As Merwais told me, Samad finally relented. “He had to keep him happy. He was saying, ‘Okay, this is a pistol. Just shoot it like this.’ And he started teaching him.”

Thus began the training of a uniquely gifted child soldier.


When Wasil wasn’t at school, he and his uncle—sometimes accompanied by other policemen from the unit—would grab guns and hike into the hills. “We started with pistols, and then I gave him an AK-47,” Samad recalled. “He became very good at hitting targets a great distance.”

Samad’s men were impressed—the boy was a natural marksman, and as he graduated to more powerful weapons, he seemed surprisingly unaffected by the recoil of the guns. Before long, Wasil was firing rocket-propelled grenade launchers. “That got him excited,” Samad said. “He was shouting, laughing, and having fun.” Then came mortars, shot from a three-legged stand. Wasil asked his mother to stitch him a police uniform, which he proudly wore nearly everywhere. “He was not on a salary, he was not a legal policeman, but he trained with us,” Samad said.

In some ways, Wasil wasn’t unusual. In Afghanistan, a stew of factors—the intractable poverty, the primacy of family honor, and the high desertion and casualty rates within fighting forces—conspire to press children into war in large numbers, especially as foreign forces have pulled out. Last year, half the police checkpoints surveyed in Uruzgan were staffed by officers under 18, according to researchers from the organization Child Soldiers International.

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COURTESY OF FAMILY

The Taliban, which have stormed back to power in recent years all over the country, have been using child soldiers in even larger numbers than the government. In the north, in the Kunduz province, where the Taliban briefly captured the capital last year, insurgents used the schools to train children to fight on the front lines—instructing them in making and planting IEDs and detonating suicide vests at checkpoints. “The Taliban’s apparent strategy to throw increasing numbers of children into battle is as cynical and cruel as it is unlawful,” said Patricia Gossman, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Between September 2010 and December 2014, suicide attacks were carried out by 20 boys under the age of 18, according to a report from the U.N. In one incident, an IED was attached to a bicycle that a boy was made to push toward an Afghan National Army vehicle. The blast killed eight civilians as well as the child.

Still, as he joined the growing army of kids being called to fight, Wasil was different. Deeply committed and poised beyond his years, he was eager to fight. And unlike the rest of the child soldiers of the war, Wasil would soon be asked to lead.


By early 2015, Samad had a new reason to let his young nephew inch his way toward the fight: He needed the men. Across Afghanistan, the resurgent Taliban were a gathering threat. It hadn’t helped Samad that some of his own policemen—newly powerful and suddenly unruly—were making the prospect of a return to Taliban rule a bit more enticing to the locals in the valley. Several of his men had been implicated in assaults and robberies. And in a bid to amp up security, his cops increasingly resorted to harsh tactics: They rounded up elders and cut their beards to punish them for cooperating with the Taliban; they ordered the villagers to leave their doors open at night, in case the police wanted to search their homes.

Just 20 miles from the family compound, a force of roughly 2,000 newly emboldened insurgents had ventured from the mountains to besiege the Afghan Local Police’s district headquarters in Khas Uruzgan. From here, the Taliban set their sights on Samad’s unit and the valley from which he’d evicted them three years earlier.

By late May, the Taliban had begun their assault, targeting police checkpoints and forcing Samad’s fighters to withdraw farther and farther. In July, the police gathered their loved ones and planned one last retreat: They’d fall back to Samad’s three-story compound, where Wasil and his family were already ensconced. From there, they’d wait for rescue—or make their final stand.

Primed for what could come, Wasil was wearing the tiny gray police uniform his mother had stitched. He was 11 years old. He’d gotten pretty good with a rifle, but he had never fired a shot in battle, had never experienced the adrenaline rush and the terror of combat. But this was what he’d been training for.

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As the U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan, police units—like Wasil’s—took up the fight against the Taliban.


As the police and the families made their way to the compound, Taliban snipers opened fire on them—killing two policemen and cutting down Samad, who took a pair of bullets, one in the leg.

From the roof of the compound, Wasil could see beyond the walls to where his uncle lay in the dirt, possibly dying; the Taliban were bearing down. Wasil’s uncle Merwais remembers vividly what happened next. He watched Wasil, crouching behind sandbags, take careful aim with a Russian-made machine gun. The boy squeezed the trigger and began working to pin the Taliban in place, buying enough time for the men inside the compound to reach the dead and injured and to haul them in.

A wounded Samad was hustled to a second-floor bedroom, where he named his nephew the surrogate commander. The police unit contained 26 men at that point—and putting a boy in charge as the battle began, Samad told me, made perfect sense. “He was intelligent, brave, and calm under fire, and well trained.”

“You guys are not men,” Wasil screamed over the radio. “Just give us time to take the children out.”

The child leapt to duty, now commanding a makeshift fortress of last resort. Outside, the Taliban soon had the place surrounded, hundreds of them firing from the mountains above and the valley below. Day and night—across what would eventually become a three-week siege—Wasil kept watch from the roof, pointing out Taliban positions to his fellow marksmen. “Wasil was telling the soldiers to go to this position, that position, and giving them ammunition, and shooting the heavy machine gun,” said Merwais. He may have been only a boy, but Wasil cut the figure of the military leader he had now become.

In early August, as Wasil worked from the rooftop, a Taliban gunner sent a rocket-propelled grenade into the thick mud-brick wall on the compound’s second floor. From a corner bedroom rose the smoke and flames of burning mattresses and wooden furniture, as two terrified children trapped inside cried out for help. Throughout the compound, there was confusion, but Wasil was calm. He grabbed a radio receiver and shouted to a Taliban officer on the other end.

“We want a cease-fire,” he screamed, his voice high-pitched and crackling over the radio. “There are two kids in that room, and we need to get them out.”

More shots rang out.

“You guys are not men,” Wasil screamed over the radio. “Just give us time to take the children out.” There was something about Wasil’s insistent tone, his confidence in the face of danger, that the Taliban commander admired. He gave the order that silenced the Taliban’s guns. Wasil had the children pulled from the burning room.

But the truce was short-lived. The hardships stacked up. Food ran low, and Wasil’s men were reduced to eating grass boiled into a kind of porridge. Throughout August, as the siege dragged on, Wasil and Samad pleaded with army commanders and government officials to get them out. But the Taliban held the roads.

Unbeknownst to those trapped in the compound, Taliban engineers had been digging a tunnel toward them. And on August 21, they used it to place about 3.3 tons of explosives beneath the rampart. A deafening explosion blew a hole in one of the mud walls, killing two of the policemen. Amid the confusion, Wasil got on the radio to the chief of police in Tirin Kot. “They’ve broken down the wall. They’re coming to get us. We need a helicopter rescue,” he begged.

Twenty-four hours later, four Russian Mi-17 helicopters filled with Afghan special forces flew out of Tirin Kot toward the compound. A U.S. gunship accompanied them, raining fire on the Taliban and sending them scurrying for cover. The four Mi-17’s touched down in front of the mud fortress, and Afghan soldiers raced inside. Samad, Merwais, 15 more fighters, Samad’s two wives, Wasil, his three brothers, three cousins, and his mother dashed out, ducking low beneath the swirling rotor blades and rising dust, and climbed aboard. A short time afterward, according to the district governor, the Taliban swarmed the compound and burned it to the ground.

“They’re coming to get us. We need a helicopter rescue,” Wasil begged.

The Taliban had taken the compound and the entirety of the valley, but stories were already spreading, tales that would captivate the country. Reports of how Wasil had fired 120 mortar rounds in a single day’s fighting; how he’d manned a Kalashnikov long enough and well enough to take out six Taliban fighters, how he’d coordinated food and ammo drops that saved his soldiers’ lives. Stories spread of how he had negotiated the rescue of those children—and of how, finally, he had arranged that daring evacuation by helicopter. “He fought with the courage of 100 men,” the district governor would say. He was hailed as a “lion”; even the Taliban would speak of him with a measure of respect. But it was too soon to know what that growing fame would eventually inspire.


Wasil stared out of the helicopter as it sailed over green valleys, barreling toward Tirin Kot. “We’re out of danger, we can relax now,” he told his 9-year-old brother, Rabbani. Then, having comforted the boy, he turned back to the disbelieving men who’d just rescued him, the troops from the Afghan special forces who wanted to know how this boy had defended the compound for three harrowing weeks.

Just beyond the gates of Tirin Kot, the chopper zipped over the blast walls of the heavily fortified Afghan National Army base and came to rest on the ground. Rahimullah Khan, then the deputy police chief of the Uruzgan province, was waiting for them at the airfield. The boy, his uniform covered in dust, a sidearm on his waist, shook Khan’s hand and then jumped into the front seat of a police car. “He was tired, and happy to be out of the war,” Khan told me.

Tirin Kot, a sprawl of mud-walled houses, was, then as now, a city under siege. The Afghan government’s control extended for just a few miles beyond the walls. Checkpoints and sandbagged posts ringed the city of 70,000, but Taliban infiltrators had still managed to slip into town and strike periodically, planting IEDs on the streets.

To help ease Wasil back toward normalcy, deputy police chief Khan put the family up in his guarded guesthouse, gave them a monthly stipend, and arranged for Wasil to attend a nearby school. Khan also removed the boy’s sidearm. “The pistol is our enemy,” he told me. “When you have a pistol, you are a target, you are in the fight.”

It wasn’t easy for Wasil to accept that his fight was over. Family members and others who had survived the siege treated him like a legendary warrior. Samad, in particular, was proud of his nephew’s celebrity and wanted to honor him as a hero. He resented anyone who downplayed the boy’s achievements. “We fought with the Taliban for many, many days, fighting 500 people,” he said. “They should have given us medals.”

This sort of hagiography worried Khan, who was stunned to see Wasil’s family play up his heroic exploits on social media. “They said, ‘Wasil did this.’ ‘Wasil did that,’ bragging about the kid, how he killed this person and that person,” he told me. The deputy police chief urged the family to lower the boy’s profile. He was afraid that Wasil’s growing status as a folk hero was likely to put him in the Taliban’s sights. He pleaded with Samad to protect his nephew. But Samad, always ambitious, brushed off the warnings. “The family didn’t accept my help,” Khan told me. “They went the wrong way.”


After a couple of months, Wasil’s family moved out of Khan’s guesthouse, saying that they needed more space. Samad was eager to keep stoking the mythology growing around his nephew and cultivated in the boy a sense that he wasn’t beholden to the same rules that governed other people: He allowed the 11-year-old to drive around town in a police-issue Ford Ranger pickup truck. Khan thought the truck was a bad idea: Giving a boy a police vehicle was hardly going to encourage him to behave like a kid. “I was trying to get Wasil into a school in Kabul to get him more educated,” Khan told me. “But his mind was being changed again.”

Wasil was being pulled in conflicting directions. “He played soccer and cricket, but he was not like a child,” a schoolmate told the press. “He was more like a grown man—always serious.”

Most mornings, after breakfast, Wasil, along with his brothers and cousins, worked for three hours with a tutor who taught English, Persian, and chemistry. And by all accounts, Wasil was making progress—despite a frequent preoccupation with his past life as a soldier. “He was an intelligent guy, with an open mind; he was grasping things quickly,” Wasil’s teacher, Mahmoud Khan, told me. “But he was thinking about guns, he was talking about guns. I told him, ‘You should leave these things behind. You should focus on learning.’ ”

In early February 2016, six months after the siege, Wasil and two of his cousins finished their midday prayers and strolled outside their compound, hoping to buy some fruit. Normally, the family discouraged them from venturing into the streets without police guards, but there was a fruit-and-vegetable stall just across the wide road, a 30-second walk away.

Wasil crossed the road while his two cousins peeled off and headed for another shop. As he inspected the oranges, bananas, and apples and chatted with the grocer, two men on a motorbike pulled up behind Wasil.

Then two pistol shots rang out, and Wasil staggered back. “After the first shot, he was just saying, ‘I’ve been hit.’ Then the second bullet hit him in the head, and he fell,” a witness recounted. “The apples he bought were covered in blood.” The assailants raced off on their bike and disappeared.

“If some kids are seeing this, what will they think? They will just leave the school and tell themselves, ‘I am going to become a hero.’”

At home, Samad had been napping but was roused suddenly by his shouting nephews. “Wasil’s been shot,” they cried. Wasil’s uncle ran outside and saw the boy lying in a pool of blood, unconscious. An ambulance rushed Wasil to the local hospital, and then he was airlifted to Kandahar. Wasil died en route.

The next day, Wasil’s family wrapped his body in a white cloth shroud and bore him in his Ford Ranger to the cemetery. Six hundred people attended his burial. The sight of the small boy’s body moved many to tears. “This was a small child,” the journalist Najeed Lattif, who attended the funeral, told me. Samad was also crying. “He was saying, ‘They killed my right-hand man,’” Lattif said.


Six weeks after Wasil’s assassination, I joined his younger brother Rabbani and his uncle Merwais on a visit to Wasil’s grave. (Samad had relocated to Khas Uruzgan to begin a three-month trial as the district police chief. “He is a good fighter,” Uruzgan’s new governor, Wazeer Khararoti, told me. “He knows how to fight the Taliban, but you have to rein him in like a horse and not let him go so far.”)

We crammed into an armored four-by-four and joined a convoy between a black Land Cruiser and a Humvee filled with a dozen policemen. We reached a barren hillside covered with grave markers—spindly branches strung with decorative flags. The police took up positions, and I followed the uncle and brother to Wasil’s grave, crudely marked with stones, chunks of cement, and two willow branches adorned with colored cloths. It was only temporary, Merwais told me. “We will take him home,” he said, “as soon as Nawa Sultan Mohammed is no longer in the Taliban’s hands.”

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After news spread of Wasil’s feats in battle, his family was urged to downplay the heroics—lest the growing mythology inspire the Taliban to kill the boy.

In the days just after Wasil was shot, as paeans to his bravery flooded social media, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination, according to The Independent. But when I reached the insurgents’ spokesman on the phone, he backed off, saying only that it “was possible” that the Taliban had killed him. He rebuked the Afghan police for encouraging the boy to fight and for then celebrating him as a hero.

That sentiment—that the breathless tales of Wasil’s exploits had contributed to his death—is shared by the region’s governor, Wazeer Khararoti. “He was a child, and we don’t have a right to make him a hero,” he told me. “If some kids are seeing this, what will they think? They will just leave the school and tell themselves, ‘I am going to become a hero.’”

But among the hard men who fight and die in Afghanistan’s violent backcountry, the governor’s perspective is not widely shared. There’s a grudging acceptance of the grim cycles that war perpetuates.

When I was in Kabul, I met with an old mujahideen fighter—a loyal friend of Samad’s—who now serves in parliament. His name is Haji Obaidullah Barakzai, and five years ago a Taliban fighter assassinated his 27-year-old son, as his son—Barakzai’s grandson—watched from a nearby car. The incident was eerily similar to the one that had put Wasil on his path for revenge, and it inspired in this boy the same response. He’s 8 now, and he’s been consumed by one thought. “I want to kill the Taliban who killed my father,” he told me shyly.

Barakzai hadn’t yet taken him to the firing range, but that day, he said, was not far off. “I’m buying plastic guns for the boy,” he told me, “so that he will be ready.”

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Joshua Hammer wrote about the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the March 2016 issue of GQ.

This piece originally appeared in the January 2017 issue, with the title “The Improbable Life and Stunning Death of a Child Warrior.”

Categories: Middle East, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Hacking Through Partisanship in the U.S. Electoral Scandal……


DECEMBER 13, 2016 | 03:54 GMT

More than a month after the U.S. presidential election, the tumult shows no sign of dying down. In fact, the noise around the roles of hacking and cyber intrusions in the vote rose several decibels Monday, following a weekend of charges that Russia put its thumb on the scales in November’s election. But the resulting political debate, fueled by accusations that President-elect Donald Trump’s supporters and potential Cabinet members were complicit in the hacks or, alternatively, that the Democrats are sore losers trying to undermine the incoming administration, is obscuring the larger geopolitical issues at play. What’s more, it overlooks the fact that cyber intrusions are only the latest tool in a time-honored tradition of electoral meddling.

At issue in the current maelstrom is not the sanctity of the voting process itself, but rather the manipulation of voter sentiment by foreign powers. America’s voting method varies from state to state, or even county to county, and uses hundreds of systems to track millions of paper and digital ballots cast by different means at different times. By inadvertent virtue of this arcane system, U.S. ballot boxes are more resistant to direct hacking than perhaps any other voting platform in the world. But the American electorate is not tamper proof.

The U.S. electoral process, flawed though some claim it is, remains the backbone of the country’s political system. The system is designed to be resilient in its complexity, to avoid (or at least deter) the over-concentration of power, and to enable each to express his or her opinion. At the same time, it is also designed to ensure a level of continuity and stability. Trust in the political process, even when the results are dissatisfactory, is essential to preserving national unity and preempting extra-constitutional attempts to alter the political landscape. If the process is seen as faulty or manipulated, national cohesion and the perceived legitimacy of political power will suffer. Consequently, foreign manipulation of U.S. elections is a serious issue.

It is not unprecedented, however. Foreign powers have long used information campaigns, propaganda and political messaging to try to create doubt around one candidate or another and to shape the narrative ahead of elections. The Iranians may well have delayed the release of hostages in part to create an environment conducive to President Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980, hoping for a better deal. In 1996, Chinese fundraising scandals surrounded the re-election of President Bill Clinton (who later paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization) and Democratic congressional candidates. In fact, there may even be precedent for a president’s complicity in electoral manipulation; Richard Nixon’s campaign tried to influence the collapse of Vietnamese peace talks to facilitate his own election. Russian disinformation campaigns have also been around for years, from rumors of U.S. chemical and biological weapons during the Korean War to stories, allegedly planted by Moscow, of the FBI’s role in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. One could even argue that European leaders, or at least media and interest groups, fetted Barack Obama during his first run for the presidency, highlighting his differences with his predecessor, with the clear intention of reshaping U.S. policy direction.

Furthermore, the United States is not always the victim of these tactics. Washington has frequently been accused of interfering, more and less overtly, in other countries’ elections, most recently after the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines made critical remarks about Rodrigo Duterte during his bid for office. From Radio Free Europe to the National Endowment for Democracy, America has an array of “soft power” tools at its disposal to shape not just foreign elections, but foreign political systems as well. Attempts to interfere in, or at least influence, elections are the norm in international politics rather than the exception. Though no one wants to admit that his or her victory may have been shaped in part by foreign powers, the world always seems to have its vote, particularly in U.S. elections.

In addition to trying to influence elections directly, foreign powers are always looking for internal information on candidates and parties that they can use to anticipate shifts in U.S. policy or adjust their language and behavior to shape policies. Compared with older techniques such as wiretapping, bugging, breaking into offices or devising ruses to ply information from insiders, cyber tools are far more expedient and less risky. They are also harder to trace, further adding to the confusion.

Despite the outcry over Russia’s hacking activities, we are not on the cusp of a new Cold War. In many ways, however, the world is far more complex than it was during the Cold War — though, on the plus side, the threat of thermonuclear war no longer looms quite as large. The United States and Russia are once again at odds with each other, divided along an array of geopolitical lines, and the former Soviet periphery is once again the scene of heavy competition between the two. But the ideological, political, economic and security dichotomy of the Cold War has since given way to a more diverse global landscape. Today, power is more diffuse, the lines between friend and foe are blurred, and economic integration often coexists with strategic competition. Each nation still has its own interests, but the global framework of “West” and “East” no longer provides an easy rubric.

There is little doubt that Russia, among other countries, tried to craft information campaigns with the intent to shape the U.S. presidential elections. Moscow may even be said to have actively interfered in the race if it did, in fact, selectively release emails. Still, it is hard to argue that its activities were enough to tip the balance, even in a close race. By politicizing the latest instance of foreign electoral meddling to the point where each side of the political spectrum is reduced to solely accusing the other of lying, we risk misplacing the focus on partisan instead of strategic issues.

Perhaps a more productive way to assess the accusations is to ask a few different questions: Is hacking significantly different from a disgruntled staff member’s leak, from loose talk at a bar, or from stolen or misplaced documents? Is a campaign or political party staff member’s email a national security issue or a matter of basic information management? Is U.S. government information better protected than private information? How quickly and effectively is the U.S. intelligence and counterintelligence community adapting to the changing information landscape? How does one balance privacy, freedom and security (a perennial question in the United States)?

And, maybe most important, are U.S. elections at significant risk of true foreign manipulation, or are they simply vulnerable to attempts at information-shaping? The latter we know how to deal with. The former is a fundamental threat that merits dispassionate investigation.

Categories: CIA, Congress, Democrats, Government Secrets, Law suit, Middle East, Obama, One Government, Saudi Arabia, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia Is Set to Crucify Pro-democracy Teenage Protester…..


SAUDI ARABIA KING

Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, a 17 year old Saudi Arabian, was arrested in February 2012, and is slated to be executed by crucifixion at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government, who disregarded any form of due process whatsoever to prosecute al-Nimr under the charge of “encouraging pro-democracy protests using a Blackberry.”

For this alleged crime, al-Nimr will be taken to a public square and have his head chopped off as onlookers watch, leaving his corpse hung there for people to see as a warning. Al-Nimr was tortured into giving a false confession, never had a lawyer, had his appeal done in secret without his knowledge. A criminal justice system as medieval and gruesome as this should not exist in the world today.

“Saudi Arabia may so far this year have executed at least 134 people, which already represents 44 more than the total for the whole of last year,” United Nations Human Rights Experts wrote in a press release. “Such a surge in executions in the country makes Saudi Arabia a sad exception in a world where States are increasingly moving away from the death penalty.”

To allow this crucifixion to occur is an inexcusable injustice and contradicts International Law as well as the law of the Saudi Arabian government. Saudi Arabia’s recent appointment to the UN’s Human Rights Council is a farce when they perpetuate egregious human rights violations and enact barbaric methods of punishment themselves.

The European parliament recently passed a resolution urging Saudi Arabia to stop the execution and issue a moratorium on the death penalty. The Prime Minister of France, Francois Hollande, has also spoken out to Saudi Arabia on behalf of Al-Nimr. The leader of the Labour Party in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn, has called upon the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to put pressure on the Saudis as well. As a global leader, the United States cannot be silent when such stark human rights violations occur at the hands of our presumed allies. The Obama administration

Al-Nimr’s family is extremely worried that his execution can come at any moment. The last time they spoke with him, he reported being kept in solitary confinement. The boy’s fate lies in the hands of 79 year old King Salman, who has already been under intense scrutiny over Saudi Arabian led bombings in Yemen that have killed thousands of civilians, and two tragic incidents in September, a crane collapsing and a stampede, that killed hundreds of people in Mecca.

The alleged reason for Al-Nimr’s arrest and sentence is surmised to be his relation to his uncle, Nimr al-Nimr, a well-known Shiite cleric. His uncle was a leader of protests against the Saudi government, demanding they treat Shiites, a minority in Saudi Arabia, as equals. The uncle was shot in the back of a police car in 2012. As subsequent protests increased, so did the charges filed against the boy.

Saudi Arabia is abusing its power to dissuade any forms of dissent, and has one of the highest execution rates in the World. The country has dismissed criticism as protecting the rights of the killer. The United Nations and global leaders need to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia to curb their human rights violations. Instead, Saudi Arabia was selected as one of the nations to oversee a United Nations panel on human rights. In September, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Geneva was elected chair of the UN Human Rights Council that appoints independent experts to investigate violation claims. The legitimacy of the council is completely undermined by having a leader presiding over it that perpetuates human rights violations within their own borders on a regular basis. The United Nations should be holding the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable, not rewarding them. Calling on Saudi Arabia to release Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr is an opportunity to reverse lax policies that accept such cruel forms of capital punishment to go without any sort of repercussions. The Death Penalty has no place in the 21st century,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in a press release. The words and policies of the United Nations are completely pointless if they refuse to capitalize on the opportunity to call out Saudi Arabia to change their practices.

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A Possible Coup in Saudi Arabia Signals the End of US Dominance in the Mideast……


If Saudi Arabia didn’t already have enough worries in a fast-changing Middle East, yet another crisis hit home for the desert kingdom: alleged hospitalization of King Salman, thought to have Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia. He only assumed the throne in January.

While the 79-year-old monarch’s hospital stay surprised many in the West, the question global affairs and security analysts ask is: What might the future look like for Saudi Arabia now that the controversial king is sidelined? Will the rest of the royal family accept and allow Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef to lead? Or will the kingdom’s royal family see division within the ranks?
These events could coalesce into a major political storm, significantly increasing the risk of instability not only within the kingdom but across the greater, strife-torn Middle East (if that’s even possible).

This turn of events comes on the heels of shocking news. London’s Guardian credits claims by an anonymous Saudi prince who states that two letters have circulated among senior members of the royal family encouraging them to stage a coup against King Salman. The rationale is the king and his powerful 30-year-old son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have pursued dangerous policies that are leading the kingdom to political, economic and military ruin. Disclosure of these memos raises serious concerns. I find myself recalling the assassination of King Faisal in 1975.

Should royal infighting reveal itself to the outside world, it’ll mark the start of the end for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as we know it. Far-reaching consequences will resound not only economically and politically but religiously and geopolitically. How?

War in Yemen: The kingdom finds itself entangled in a conflict with a next-door neighbor with no end in sight. King Salman and his son miscalculated. The longer Saudi forces continue to engage the Houthis, the more likely internal dissension within the kingdom itself grows. Images broadcast on al-Jazeera show Saudi Arabia, an outrageously rich country, pummeling Yemen, one of the poorest in the Arab world. All this generates criticism of the Saudis and sympathy for Houthi rebels.

The driving force behind the kingdom’s engagement in Yemen is the king’s son, serving as defense minister, who wants to show the world that, despite his youth, he can make tough calls. However, his actions in Yemen thus far demonstrate his reckless approach to international affairs, lack of experience and the absence of an exit strategy, leading to mounting costs for the kingdom in blood and treasure and growing international criticism.

Economic chaos: The drop in oil prices by more than 50 percent the past year is sending the kingdom’s economy into a tailspin. Thinking among Saudi elites was to (a) maintain the kingdom’s level of global oil production; (b) fight for its global market share; and (c) allow oil prices to collapse. Theoretically, this would eventually drive the competition — especially the United States — out of the energy business, paving the way for a subsequent return to higher oil prices. But the strategy proved to be ill-conceived. The result is the kingdom’s deficit approaching 20 percent — more than $100 billion. This outcome compels the kingdom to deplete its huge foreign exchange reserves at a record rate (about $12 billion per month).

Tension with Iran: While Saudi Arabia is home to Islam’s two holiest sites (Mecca and Medina), the latest tragedy — a stampede at the Hajj in Mecca that resulted in the deaths of at least 239 Iranian pilgrims (among many others) — has only fueled tensions between Iran and the kingdom. The two were already crossways over the nuclear issue and Iran’s destabilizing activities throughout the region. In addition, both countries are fighting through their proxies in Syria and Yemen.

I’ll argue Russia’s military intervention in Syria has escalated the political tensions to higher level. Of interest is the Iranian-Russian military coalition to keep the Assad regime in power and battle rebels that the kingdom and the United States support. Recently, Saudi Arabia shipped 500 TOW antitank missiles to the Free Syrian Army (FSA). These missiles, unlike other projectiles such as RPGs can be used from significant distance. This support, however, would not change the outcome.

Where from here? Russia’s airstrikes in Syria underscore a broader threat to the kingdom: Put all the problems together and Saudi Arabia, more than ever, looks politically vulnerable. Its dependence on the United States for its survival the last 70 years seems to be near an end. The United States is no longer in position to play its traditional role as the only guarantor of Middle East stability. One can only imagine the scenario in which the house of Al-Saud is forced to relinquish power to another entity from within that does not share Washington’s aspirations and/or agenda. That means our next president will face one more serious geopolitical headache: an unstable Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil, site of Islam’s holiest sites and a country equally bountiful in advanced American weapons and very angry Wahabi Sunni Muslims.

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Muslims Declare “Sexual Jihad,”


Muslims Declare “Sexual Jihad,” Enter The Home Of Christian Family, Take The Mother And Her Daughter, And Then Three Muslims Gang Rape Them In Front Of Her Husband

By Theodore Shoebat

Muslims in Iraq who are members of ISIS, are conducting what they call a Jihad marriage, also known as “sexual jihad,” and in so doing have been entering random homes, pulling out the women and raping them.

They entered the home of a Christian family and demanded they pay the Islamic tax. When they said that they did not have the money, three Muslims seized the mother and daughter and gang raped them in front of the mother’s husband. After enduring such an event, the husband committed suicide. According to one report:

In one instance, ISIS members entered the home of an Assyrian family in Mosul and demanded the poll tax (jizya). When the Assyrian family said they did not have the money, three ISIS members raped the mother and daughter in front of the husband and father. The husband and father was so traumatized that he committed suicide.

According to one witness, women “are being kidnapped from their house by the ISIS warriors and forced into what they call into a ‘jihad marriage.’”

After one woman was raped, her brother committed suicide out of guilt because he was unable to stop the rapists. As one activist explained:

In one of the cases, the woman’s brother committed suicide also because he was unable to prevent the warriors from taking his sister… In the Iraqi culture when a woman cannot be protected by her family and she is taken and raped, it becomes a source of a huge stigma and dishonor to the family.

As we read from one Mid-East writer, ISIS Muslims “kill unarmed men, kidnap children and rape women.”

The Middle East is becoming another Nanking, with Muslims raping and slaughtering everywhere they go. We will soon see rape become systematized, with hundreds of thousands of women being raped. We must take action before this happens. We must help our Christian brethren get rescued from this horror.

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Obama’s dangerous lie to the Jewish community…..


Written by Allen West on November 15, 2013

Americans are single-mindedly focused on one particular Obama lie: “If you like your healthcare plan you can keep it period.” This purposeful, blatant deceit of the American people, on top of past lies (such as a crude video being the impetus for the spontaneous demonstration resulting in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya) has eroded any trust, confidence, and credibility for Barack Obama.

However, there is another lie which has far greater implications for American credibility: “Iran will not get nuclear weapons.”

According to the follow-on reports from the negotiations of the UN P5+1 and Iran in Geneva, President Obama, through his characterless mouthpiece, Secretary of State John Kerry, was willing to end all sanctions against the rogue Islamic regime for minuscule concessions.

Even worse, our allies in the Middle East know of this betrayal. And to have Mr. Kerry further threaten Israel’s economic and national security forcing them to bend to President Obama’s PLO love fest is unconscionable.

America under Barack Hussein Obama is being fundamentally transformed into a weak, retreating, untrustworthy actor on the international stage. The Obama administration severely lacks integrity, which reflects adversely upon our nation and its citizens.

I hope at some point the American Jewish community will awaken. I’ve almost lost any hope for my own black community, which is being led to a slaughter in the inner cities. If the Jewish American community continues to live in the fantasy world that these progressive socialists actually care about Israel, it is completely delusional.

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No Negotiation: China and Russia Walk Out of UN Security Council Meeting: “This Isn’t An Exercise” –


As Jerome Corsi warned earlier today, “this is one of the most serious moments that we’ve ever faced in world history.”

Events are happening quickly and as it stands, the United States, Britain and other western allies are preparing a missile strike on Syria.

Russia has been the most critical opponent of the possibility of mid east military action, but now China has also stepped in.

Russia and China have stepped up their warnings against military intervention in Syria, with Moscow saying any such action would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.

BBC via Zero Hedge

And moments ago the Interfax new agency announced that China and Russia have left the negotiating table in response to a proposal for Britain’s David Cameron on pending intervention in Syria.

UN-SECURITY/COUNCIL-RUSSIA-CHINA DUBAI. Aug 28 (Interfax)

Russian and Chinese representatives have left the UN Security Council session that discussed the draft resolution on Syria proposed by Great Britain.

We could be days away from the start of a conflict the likes of which the world has never seen before.

The United States and Britain are pushing forward with plans to execute a “brief and limited” strike on Syrian targets, but all signs suggest it will turn into much more than that. In January of 2012 the United States positioned 100,000 soldiers off the coast of Iran, and just last weekend it was reported that hundreds of US soldiers and intelligence assets had moved into Syria ahead of the attack.

In response, Syria has warned it will immediately target Israel with Russian supplied advanced weaponry. Syria’s closest ally in the region, Iran, has echoed the threat and warned that it, too, will turn its military capabilities on Israel.

This is a game changer. Any response by Israel against Arab nations would turn the entire middle east against the U.S. led coalition.

According to a report from the LA Times, that’s exactly what Israel intends to do.

“We are not part of the civil war in Syria, but if we identify any attempt whatsoever to harm us, we will respond with great force,” Netanyahu said after huddling for a second consecutive day with key Cabinet members to discuss the possible ramifications of a U.S. strike against Syria.

Armies are mobilizing, and that includes Russian troops, who are reportedly now being deployed in Syria to help Assad defend against “rebel forces,” which adds additional strength to the 160,000 Russian troops mobilized in the region earlier this summer. Furthermore, the Russian Navy deployed nearly its entire Pacific fleet to the Mediterranean in May.

Moreover, after a meeting with Saudi Arabia in which the Saudi head of intelligence directly threatened Vladimir Putin with terrorist attacks during the coming winter Olympic games in Russia if they didn’t let the U.S. move forward with their plans in Syria, President Putin has reportedly responded with the threat of a massive counter-strike against the Saudi Arabian monarchy.

This isn’t an exercise.

The writing is on the wall.

The militaries of the most powerful nations on Earth are preparing to engage.

If President Obama initiates a missile strike on Syria, however limited in scope, it could set the whole world ablaze

Categories: Politics | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Middle East’s first supercar to cost $3.4 Million…….


W-Motors-Lykan-Hypersport-1-jpg_194647
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Supercars are a common sight in some parts of the Middle East, but until now, that region of the world has gone without an exotic of its own. Enter the Lykan Hypersport, an ultra-exclusive ride from Dubai-based startup W Motors. The upcoming car is said to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds and offer Lamborghini-rivaling style for $3.4 million, according to WardsAuto.

The Lykan Hypersport is the brainchild of Lebanese entrepreneur and designer Ralph Debbas, who began thinking up the supercar when he was an automotive design student. The wild, angular seven-figure exotic will be officially revealed to the public at the Qatar auto show, where W Motors will display a full-scale model made of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, and built with help from specialty coachbuilder Magna Steyr Torino. The model currently lacks an interior and drivetrain, but will be powered by a midship flat-six engine from RUF, the company famous for custom Porsches. That engine is said to produce 750 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque, which could be enough to make the Lykan Hypersport’s claimed 242-mph top speed plausible. W Motors’ Performance estimates are based on computer simulations, as a running prototype has yet to be tested.

The headlights will feature diamond-encrusted LEDs, while the hood will be gold-plated – the perfect complement to the rest of the car’s lightweight construction.

Categories: Strange News, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel readies ‘secret weapon’ for Iran attack..30 day attack window….


Netanyahu ‘under pressure’ to delay until after U.S. election…….
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Israel sees Iranian nuclear weapons as an existential threat, and plans are in place to carry out strikes to cripple the nuclear program by the middle of next month. Middle East expert Mike Evans says his discussions with top Israeli officials this week suggest there is a strong likelihood the attacks will take place between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15.

Evans estimates a 75 percent chance that strikes will be carried out in that 30-day window. Evans says high-ranking Israeli leaders also tell him they have a secret weapon they intend to deploy for any strikes, but they would not tell Evans what that weapon is. He believes the likely weapon is an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which would cripple Iran’s power grid.

“Israel is trying to get a hard promise from the U.S. that they’ll support an attack,” Evans told WND.

Evans says he’s not surprised that the Obama administration is telling Israel and Iran that the U.S. will not back any Israeli attacks. He also reports that CIA Director David Petraeus and other American officials are strongly pressuring Israeli leaders to hold off on attacks before the U.S. elections. Evans explains what sort of ironclad promises from President Obama could convince Israel to stand down temporarily.

WND Senior Staff Reporter Jerome Corsi reported in 2009 on a “secret weapon” being developed and tested by Israel.

The test was done at an undisclosed Israeli military base, but few details were uncovered at the time. It was confirmed that the military specifically designed the weapon to be used in a possible conflict with Iran.

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Clinton…Another Huma link to Muslim Brotherhood


Hillary’s top aide was executive board member of front group.

As five House members continue to call for an investigation of Muslim Brotherhood influence on the federal government, a researcher who has documented numerous ties between Hillary Clinton’s top aide and the global Islamic supremacist movement has found another connection.

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Huma Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, who is said to advise the secretary of state on Middle East policy, was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, according to an archived Web page discovered by researcher Walid Shoebat.
The Muslim Student Association, or MSA, was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group in a 1991 document introduced into evidence during the terror-financing trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation trial.

The internal Brotherhood memo said Muslim Brotherhood members “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

While the MSA, with nearly 600 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, “has gained legitimacy as a benevolent collegiate faith club,” it was established in 1963 by Muslim Brotherhood leaders to recruit young people into the movement, which is dedicated to “resurrecting true Islamic governance worldwide” based on Islamic law, or Shariah, according to a dossier by the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

Former MSA leaders directly tied to international violent jihad include al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, convicted American student Ramy Zamzam, Somali al-Shabaab leader Omar Hammami and al-Qaida fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi, a former national MSA president who is now serving a 23-year prison sentence.

As WND reported earlier this week, Abedin worked for an organization founded by her family that is effectively at the forefront of a grand Saudi plan to mobilize U.S. Muslim minorities to transform America into a strict Wahhabi-style Islamic state, according to an Arabic-language manifesto issued by the Saudi monarchy.
Shoebat is a Palestinian American author and critic of radical Islam who has done extensive research on the Abedin family’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhod and its Wahhabist affiliations.

Abedin, who was born in the U.S. but raised in Saudi Arabia, has been fiercely defended by both Democrats and Republicans since five Republican lawmakers led by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., cited her as an example of possible Muslim Brotherhood infiltration and asked the inspector generals at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State to investigate.

President Obama praised Abedin at a White House Ramadan dinner July 10, declaring her “nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.”

Abedin returned to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia about 1996 to work with Clinton at the White House. At the same time, she became an assistant editor for the mouthpiece of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs as well as a member of the Muslim Students Association executive board at George Washington University in the nation’s capital.

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