Weekend Open Thread

I’ve been working on this site since Christmas eve. I’d like to hear your thoughts.
(You have to be logged in to comment. If you haven’t registered yet, please do, with your current user name if you have one so we know who you are. To reduce spam, your first comment will have to be manually approved. After that, it’s just log in and comment.

I’ve added as many features as I could from your earlier suggestions. The comment box now allows you to view your comment either in preview mode (visual). It also has more styling options.

Another benefit to being logged in: You will see a section on the right of “unread comments” since your last visit (in addition to recent comments.)

I don’t have a set date for moving the site. But I’m getting closer.

If you have questions or suggestions, or notice bugs, you can put them here. Since I want to see how the comment section works, and what changes still need to be made overall, this is an open thread where you can write about whatever you want — it doesn’t have to be about the site.

ISIS and the Jordanian Pilot Hostage

The father of 1st Lt. Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh, the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS has issued a plea for his return.

“I direct a message to our generous brothers of the Islamic State in Syria: to host my son, the pilot Mu’ath, with generous hospitality,” he said. “I ask God that their hearts are gathered together with love, and that he is returned to his family, wife and mother.”

“We are all Muslims,” he added.

Here are very large-size (non-violent) photos of his capture.

What are the chances the pilot will not be killed? Read More

Todenhoefer and the ISIS German Fighter Interview

This is the longer (12 minute) version of CNN's interview with German journalist Juergen Todenhoefer who recently returned from spending 10 days with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. (Here is the 3 minute version I wrote about Monday.)

This longer version is even more compelling. There are also new details on the overweight German fighter who defends slavery and beheadings and tells Todenhoefer ISIS will conquer Europe some day, it’s only a matter of time, and that James Foley died because of the U.S. government.

He is 30 year old Christian Emde, who was jailed in Great Britain in 2011 along with 25 year old Richard Baum, for possessing a lot of extremist literature, including the AQAP articles from the issue of Inspire Magazine on how to build a bomb. They were convicted and sentenced, and deported back to Germany in 2012. They both then joined ISIS. Baum blew himself up in a suicide attack weeks ago. Read More

New Additions to the U.S. Terror Lists for ISIS, JaN

Yesterday, the U.S. added additional suspected terrorists and groups on its designated terror list. More than one are connected to kidnappings and beheadings.

Among the new names I recognize: Amru al-Absi

As of mid-July 2014, Amru al-Absi was selected as ISIL’s provincial leader for Homs, Syria, in the Aleppo region. As a principal leader of ISIL in Syria, he has been in charge of kidnappings.

I wrote about him here, but check the source articles I relied on, here and here. Read More

Mission Creep to Mission Leap

The U.S. continued air strikes against ISIS today in its effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. According to CENTCOM, on August 15th the U.S. was just using “remotely piloted aircraft.” Yesterday, when the strikes began near Irbil and the Mosul dam, CENTCOM said the strikes consisted of “a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft.”

Today, according to CENTCOM, the U.S. has now added bombers and attack aircraft:

U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Sunday, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.

Obama today sent a new letter to Congress authorizing the enhanced attacks. Read More

Government Releases Tsarnaev’s Scrawled Boat Note

boatnote400

The Government responded to several of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s motions today. In its response to his motion to suppress statements, it reprinted what Jahar has scrawled while hiding inside the boat:

I’m jealous of my brother who ha[s] [re]ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah) before me. I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions. I ask Allah to make me a shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven. He who Allah guides no one can misguide. A[llah Ak]bar!

Read More

Mexico AG: Unhappy with Zambada-Niebla Deal, No Plan to Extradite El Chapo

Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ‘s recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla’s plea agreement are here.)

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. [More…]

He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. Read More

House Hearing on Cartels and Extraditing El Chapo

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “Taking Down the Cartels” this week. Predictably, several committee members called for the quick extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

There were four witnesses at the hearing: James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE; John Feeley, a deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Dept; Alan Bersin, an assistant secretary of international affairs and diplomatic officer at Homeland Security; and Christopher Wilson, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

I just read the transcript of the hearing (available on Lexis.com). A Republican from Georgia named Paul Broun really stood out — and not in a positive way — repeatedly referring to El Chapo as “an animal.” Here are some of his remarks: Read More

Feds Approve $54 Million for New High Security Prison

The Bureau of Prisons has announced renovations will commence on the Thomson maximum security prison in Illinois. The funding was approved in January in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.

The “state of the art” unoccupied state prison was built in 2001 and purchased by the U.S. from Illinois as a possible place to house Guantanamo inmates when Gitmo closed. Then Congress killed the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the U.S.

Check out the gleeful response of Illinois senator Richard Durbin:

This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois,” said Durbin.

Read More