Mark's Feed
Feb 27, 2015

Islamic State must keep expanding to survive: financial report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – International investigators said on Friday that in order for the Islamic State to remain financially viable it would have to further expand territory it controls in Iraq and Syria and take over more resources.

The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said in a report that the Islamist group’s need for large amounts of money to govern areas it has conquered meant it was uncertain how long it could finance its current level of activity.

Feb 26, 2015

UK authorities linked ‘Jihadi John’ to militant killed by U.S. drone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – British authorities have linked Mohammed Emwazi, a Londoner identified by U.S. national security sources as Jihadi John, the knife-wielding militant who appeared in videos depicting the beheadings of western hostages, to another British militant killed in Somalia in a U.S. drone attack.

A British court ruling dated December 2011 reported that Emwazi was an associate of Bilal al Berjawi, a leader of the Somali-based militant group al Shabaab, a person in possession of the court ruling said. Media reports said he helped supervise the recruitment and training of new Shabaab members.

Feb 26, 2015

‘Jihadi John’ killer from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The masked “Jihadi John” killer who fronted Islamic State beheading videos has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a British computer programming graduate from a well-to-do London family.

The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

Feb 26, 2015

‘Jihadi John’ from Islamic State beheading videos unmasked as Londoner

LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The masked “Jihadi John” killer who fronted Islamic State beheading videos has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a British computer programming graduate from a well-to-do London family.

The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

Feb 24, 2015

U.S. offers highest-ever reward for Russian hacker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department and FBI on Tuesday announced a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Russian national Evgeniy Bogachev, the highest bounty U.S. authorities have ever offered in a cyber case.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation also issued a “Wanted” poster for Bogachev, who is charged in the United States with running a computer attack network called GameOver Zeus that allegedly stole more than $100 million from online bank accounts.

Feb 19, 2015

Obama rejects as ‘ugly lie’ notion that West is at war with Islam

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday urged countries to tackle violent Islamist militancy around the world and rejected as “an ugly lie” suggestions that the West was at war with Islam.

Obama said there was a complicated history between the Middle East and the West and no one should be immune from criticism over specific policies.

Feb 6, 2015

Nigeria’s Boko Haram has up to 6,000 hardcore militants: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, which is fighting a violent insurgency in northeast Nigeria, has about 4,000-6,000 “hardcore” fighters, U.S. intelligence officials said on Friday.

In an assessment of the group, whose five-year uprising has included massacres and kidnappings and spread from Nigeria into neighboring states, the officials said they did not believe it posed a major threat to Nigeria’s oilfields in the south.

Feb 6, 2015

Exclusive – U.S. pressing Cuba to restore diplomatic ties before April – officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is pressing Cuba to allow the opening of its embassy in Havana by April, U.S. officials told Reuters, despite the Communist island’s demand that it first be removed from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

A refusal by Cuba to allow the United States to quickly establish an official embassy for the first time in half a century could complicate talks between the Cold War foes, reflecting enduring mistrust as they move to end decades of confrontation.

Feb 5, 2015

U.S. considers declassifying report on Saudi funding of al Qaeda

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is considering whether to declassify still-secret sections of a congressional inquiry into the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks which examined Saudi Arabian support for Islamist militants, the White House said on Thursday.

Interest in the 28-page section of the report was raised after an imprisoned former al Qaeda operative, Zacarias Moussaoui, said in deposition transcripts filed this week that more than a dozen prominent Saudi figures donated to his group in the late 1990s. Saudi officials have denied this.

Feb 3, 2015

Obama reform of spy agency access to phone metadata in question

WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s
pledge to reform the way U.S. spy agencies access vast amounts
of metadata on Americans’ telephone calls is facing increasing
obstacles, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Obama promised to act after revelations by former National
Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had been
collecting and storing the data, including numbers called and
the time and length of calls but not their content.