The news feed is light again tonight — I guess we’re officially in the Dog Days of summer.
FBI Director James Comey made a recommendation today that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not be charged with any criminal offenses for her handling of classified emails on her private email server. Mr. Comey said that there had been irregularities and carelessness in her use of the server, but that he did not think it warranted any charges.
In other news, the cockpit voice recorder of the EgyptAir jet that crashed into the Mediterranean in May shows that the pilot and co-pilot had battled a fire in the plane before it went down.
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But Comey scolds Clinton and her aides for ‘extremely careless’ handling of highly classified information.
FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday announced the agency is not recommending the Justice Department bring charges against Hillary Clinton, while also denouncing the former secretary of state and her aides for the way they handled classified information through private email servers.
“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is information that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information,” Comey told reporters in Washington, D.C., noting that the probe has found that the former secretary of state used several different email servers and numerous devices during her time in office.
Story Continued Below
Even so, Comey added later, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before deciding whether to bring charges.”…
|— Hat tip: WRSA||[Return to headlines]
FBI Director James B. Comey said Tuesday that his agency will not recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state but called Clinton and her staff “extremely careless” in handling classified material.
The announcement was stunning both for the level of detail Comey provided about an investigation that he ultimately believes should conclude without charges, and for the fact that the FBI director publicized his guidance before federal prosecutors had reached a final determination.
As he was about to proclaim that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee should not be charged, Comey said officials at the Justice Department “do not know what I am about to say.” But he said he felt the American people deserved to know the details of an investigation that had dogged her campaign…
|— Hat tip: Dean||[Return to headlines]
Commission calls for creation of national counter-terrorism agency and says Bataclan attack could have been prevented
The commission highlighted a “global failure” of French intelligence and recommended a total overhaul of the intelligence services and the creation of a single, US-style national counter-terrorism agency.
“Our country was not ready; now we must get ready,” said Georges Fenech, head of the commission.
Fenech said the multi-layered, cumbersome intelligence apparatus was like an army of soldiers wearing lead boots.
“Faced with the threat of international terrorism, we need to be much more ambitious €¦ in terms of intelligence,” he said.
After 200 hours of hearings, the commission found that the different intelligence agencies had struggled to communicate about known Islamists who had been under surveillance, in prison or had had their phones tapped at some point…
|— Hat tip: MM||[Return to headlines]
Extremist militias view non-Wahhabis as enemies to attack, says Fr Rafic Greiche. The Sinai has a long history of violence, with churches and priests seen as “legitimate targets”. It is “no accident” that a Coptic priest was recently killed on the anniversary of Morsi’s ouster.
Cairo (AsiaNews) — In the Sinai, “Christians have been targeted by Wahhabi-inspired terrorists for some time”. For the latter, religions minorities and other Muslims groups “are enemies to fight,” said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, who spoke to AsiaNews after a Coptic priest was gunned down yesterday in the peninsula.
“This area has already seen Jihadi violence, with the killing of soldiers, policemen, and soldiers,” the clergyman said. “Local churches, priests and religious are considered legitimate targets.”
The Islamic State (IS) group appears to be behind yesterday’s murder of Fr Raphael Moussa, 46, who was shot in the head. A pro-IS website claimed responsibility for the murder.
He was standing next to his car in the city of El-Arish, a coastal town and capital of the province of North Sinai, only 20 km away from the border with Gaza. The area remains lawless overrun by militias and gun runners.
After he celebrated Mass, the priest, a married father of two, had taken his car to a mechanic for repairs. Within minutes of his arrival at the garage, he was shot dead.
He had been serving at the St George Parish in El-Arish since 2012. On social media, the pro-Caliphate group claimed that he was punished for “combating Islam”.
“This mind-set is rooted in these groups,” Fr Greiche said. “They must be fought militarily, but also by educating new generations. This process takes time, but it is necessary.”
Raphael Moussa came to the area with Fr Mina Aboud, another Coptic priest who was killed in July 2013 by extremist militias, at a time when violence spiked following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yesterday’s murder coincides with the anniversary of the large-scale demonstration on 30 June 2013 that led to Morsi’s ouster by current president, General al-Sisi, and the banning of the Brotherhood.
Islamist groups have never forgiven Coptic Christians for siding with al-Sisi, who today is the guarantor of national unity and defender religious freedom, although critics accuse him of using force to repress dissent and violate civil rights.
For Fr Rafic Greiche, the attack against the priest and the anniversary are “no accident”. Yesterday. “some Christian homes were burnt in Minya.”
These violent incidents could be “revenge from Morsi’s supporters, who want to attack Christians because they did not support the president”. In any event, “whenever there is a recurrence or a sensitive anniversary attacks occur.”
|— Hat tip: C. Cantoni||[Return to headlines]
Pilots of the EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in May battled to extinguish a fire, the cockpit voice recorder reportedly shows.
The data, revealed by sources close to the investigation but not yet made public, backs up evidence from the flight recorder of smoke in the cabin.
Recovered wreckage also showed signs of high temperature damage and soot on the jet’s front section.
All 66 on board died when flight MS804 from Paris to Cairo crashed on 19 May.
Both of the so-called “black box” recorders reinforce the automated electronic messages sent out by the plane that had shown smoke detectors going off in a toilet and in the avionics area below the cockpit, minutes before the plane disappeared.
No distress call was made from the plane prior to the crash…
|— Hat tip: DV||[Return to headlines]
Eid al-Fitr, the three-day festival of thanksgiving to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, is often compared to Christmas.
It’s a time for millions of Muslims around the world to enjoy time with friends and family and share gifts.
But, in the wake of a devastating attack by ISIS that killed more than 200 people in a busy shopping district in Baghdad on Sunday, many Muslims in Toronto say they have chosen not to celebrate the holiday.
Hassan Jaber, an Iraqi-born mechanical engineer who lives in Ajax, Ont., told CBC News he was appalled at the timing of the attack, the deadliest seen in Baghdad in years…
|— Hat tip: LP||[Return to headlines]
Turkey may cooperate with Russia in fighting Islamic State, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, just days after the countries agreed to work to repair strained ties.
Cavusoglu denied signaling in an interview Sunday that Turkey may let Russia use southern Incirlik air base for operations in Syria.
“I said we could cooperate with Russia in the struggle against Islamic State from now on,” Cavusoglu said Monday. “I did not say anything regarding the arrival of Russian planes at Incirlik air base.”
On Sunday, he told state-run TRT television that “Turkey has opened its Incirlik air base for those who actively want to participate in the struggle against Islamic State. Why shouldn’t we also cooperate on this with Russia?”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, reacting to Cavusoglu’s remarks to TRT, told reporters on Monday that Russia would study the offer…
|— Hat tip: Vlad Tepes||[Return to headlines]
The perpetrators of the café attack were highly educated youth. ISIS recruiters prefer to lure new militants online because they can find people who understand radical motivations. Because of the lack of parental attention, young people spend many hours watching television, where they can listen to the sermons of radical preachers.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) — The main reason for the rise of terrorism in Bangladesh, which culminated in the massacre of foreigners and Bangladeshi at the Holey Artisan Bakery Café in Dhaka, is the brainwashing of young people.
Speaking to AsiaNews about last Friday’s violent incident, Christian and Muslim experts said that in a society increasingly devoted to economic success, parents spend a lot of time away from home.
The lack of adequate parental attention has the unexpected consequence that many young people — even those from rich families who have no material concerns and difficulties — can be enticed by some famous jihad preachers.
The attack was carried out in Dhaka’s diplomatic district. Twenty people died (including nine Italians), two policemen and six attackers, mostly from well-off families.
In a country where people are still dismayed by the violence that started with cries of “Allah is great”, a prayer vigil was held yesterday in memory of the victims of Islamic terror.
Some people realise that the attack carried out in the exclusive neighbourhood of Gulshan shows a previously unknown side of the story: what drives militants is not just money.
“Many believe that people become Islamic militants for money,” said blogger Shuvo Michael D Costa, “but I think the reason is the boundless happiness of Paradise after death [promised by extremist ideologies]. No matter if one is rich or destitute: it is blind faith,” he said.
According to the blogger, Islamic teaching leads to such violent tendencies. “Parents send their children to be educated at mosques. There, many imams teach to hate people of other faiths or non-believers. They promise many wives in heaven, if the boys embrace terrorism.”
For Fazlul Bari, a well-known Muslim journalist, “Islamic State militants prefer to recruit on the Internet because online they can find well-educated young people who understand their motivations.”
Fr Ajit V. Costa, secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Christian unity and interreligious dialogue, goes further. “In Bangladesh we have always had a culture of tolerance. But what shocks us is that this culture is going to be destroyed. The purpose of the various militant groups is to impose Islam by force. The only thing we can do is pray.”
“There is a big gap between religious education and Islamic teachers,” said Salima Ahmad, head of the Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The latter “should teach the right doctrine, but the lack of the right guidelines leads to militants.”
The reference is to three famous Islamic preachers who have become real stars in the country: Anjem Choudary, Shami Witness and Zakir Nayek. Investigators have discovered that at least two of the five Dhaka attackers followed them online and shared the sermons of these so-called “ Isis recruiters “ on Facebook and other social media.
Young people can listen to the messages from home, on the small screen. Some of them told AsiaNews the reasons that make them attractive is that “They cite the Qur’an. Their speeches make sense. Zakir often points out the weaknesses of other religions, so young people believe that Islam is better than other faiths.”
|— Hat tip: C. Cantoni||[Return to headlines]
Yangon has accepted the request of the United Nations and to indicate the Islamic minority will use the formula “the Muslim community of Arakan State”. The nationalists want to call them instead “Bengali” to emphasize their being illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) — Thousands of Buddhist residents of Arakan State took to the streets on Sunday with buddhist monks to protest against the government’s new term for those who self-identify as Rohingya.
The protests took place in 15 out of 17 townships of Arakan State (south-east) holding banners reading “Arakan State Belongs to the Arakanese,” and “Bengalis must be called Bengalis.”
The demonstrations were sparked by a request made by Burma’s representative to the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council on June 17: that the term “Muslim community in Arakan State” should be used instead of the contentious terms “Rohingya” or “Bengali”. The following week, during the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Burma visit, the Ministry of Information officially instructed state-owned publications to use the terms “the Muslim Community in Arakan State”.
Many Buddhist nationalists insist on calling the Rohingya “Bengali,” to suggest they are illegal migrants from Bangladesh, and consider the “Rohingya” label an illegitimate claim to belonging in Burma as a distinct ethnic group. Members of the muslim minority they are not citizens of Myanmar, and many live in isolation, locked up in refugee camps. Thousands try to escape each year to other countries of Southeast Asia.
Prior to the weekend protests, Arakanese nationalist groups from Sittwe last week sent an open letter — signed by about 500 residents and 70 Buddhist monks — to President Htin Kyaw and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi objecting to the government’s new terminology.
During a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry on 22 May, The Lady said that the country needed “enough space” to deal with the Rohingya issue and cautioned against the use of “emotive terms” that she said were making the situation more difficult.
|— Hat tip: C. Cantoni||[Return to headlines]
Party chief Imran Khan has distanced himself from the province’s decision to give US$ 3 million to a school run by a cleric dubbed the “Father of the Taliban.” The madrassa in question is thought to have trained Mullah Omar. The money comes from lower allocations for minorities. Khan maintains ambiguous attitude that undermines Pakistan’ fight against terrorism.
Islamabad (AsiaNews) — Weeks of scathing criticism have apparently prompted the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to review a grant of US$ 3 million to a controversial Islamic seminary that would cut funds allocated to minority groups. The madrasa has about 4,000 students.
The province is ruled by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which is headed by Imran Khan. The latter said he has instructed the provincial authority to submit a report to him to justify the allocation.
Last week, the province’s decision drew criticism from many sources. “We condemn this injustice. It is a form of state-sponsored terrorism.,” Catholic Church leaders told AsiaNews.
The issue involves the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary, or madrasa, headed by Samiul Haq, whose association won him the title of “Father of the Taliban.”
The cleric is known for teaching armed jihad and his students have been recruited in neighbouring Afghanistan. Some say Taleban leader Mullah Omar studied at the what has been dubbed ‘Jihad University’.
If it goes through, the funds allocated to the Islamic school would come from cutting money earmarked for the province’s minorities. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s PTI administration allocated Rs117 million (52.70%) for minority communities last year. This year (2016-17) that dropped to Rs86 million (23.49%).
Khan distanced himself from the decision, arguing that he was not informed about the individual spending item; at the same time, he has maintained a vague position when he was asked whether he would change the policy.
“Well, it depends where the money is being spent, if this money is going to mainstream the students who at the moment are basically marginalized. I mean, again, the party policy is to mainstream the students from these madrasas. As I said, exactly how it is going to be done we are waiting the report from the chief minister,” Khan said.
Some 2.2 million students in madrasas across the province come from families unable to pay fees in private or government schools. However, experts believe that funding extremist schools under the guise of helping poor students will undermine Pakistan’s efforts to fight Islamic terrorism.
|— Hat tip: C. Cantoni||[Return to headlines]