Excerpted from Canada Free Press: This clip is a couple of weeks old, but a cleaner HD version hit the web yesterday and it’s been going viral ever since. In it, Iraqi forces square off against ISIS and face an inbound truck bomb. Let’s just say things don’t go well for the ISIS crew. The Iraqis manage to get to cover just in time and, given the size of the explosion, they’re lucky they did.
Here’s the official description via WarLeaks, which posted the footage:
Iraqi soldiers faced a huge blast caused by the massive explosion of an IS VBIED right in front their position in Baiji Iraq. The soldiers were aware of the approaching vehicle and took cover behind a mound just moments before the detonation and following shockwave. The attack was filmed from an overwatch position behind the Iraqi line and gives a good overview of the happenings. The attack seems to have apparently failed since the Iraqi soldiers targeted by the SVBIED seem mostly unharmed after the explosion.Keep reading
In separate attacks last week, ISIS terrorists killed 39 tourists at a beach resort in Tunisia, and close to 30 worshipers at a Shia Mosque in Kuwait. The onslaught came shortly after the group called on its militant Jihadi sympathizers to expand operations in the month of Ramadan.
ISIS has demonstrated an unflinching determination to take out anyone who dares to disagree with it. Its members have slaughtered Yazidis and Christians, but the vast majority of its victims have been Muslims who resist it and refuse to acknowledge its authority. ISIS has even executed Sunni clerics who refused to swear allegiance to it, and Muslim women who did not submit to its worldview.
This feature is shared across all terrorist groups operating in the name of Islam. The vast majority of the victims of the Taliban, for instance, are also Muslims. Hundreds of Shia Muslims have been killed just in the last few years. And I have lost many close friends in similar attacks on the Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and even in America.
So when some anti-Islam critics keep doggedly associating the faith of us Muslims with the acts of our tormentors, we call them out for their insensitivity.
I do not disagree that part of the motivation for religious extremism is rooted in perverted interpretation of scripture by radical extremists. However, it is dishonest to label the vast majority of Muslims who reject such interpretations as non-devout or “nominal.”
A study of the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad also demonstrates that he warned us of the rise of religious extremism in this age in astonishing detail.
1,400 years ago, he prophesized that a time would come when nothing would remain of Islam but its name, nothing of the Quran but its word, and that many “Mosques would be splendidly furnished but destitute of guidance” (Mishkatul Masabih). In these latter days, the true spiritual essence of Islam would be lost, and religion, for the most part, would be reduced to a ritualistic compulsion. He foretold that the clergy would be corrupt and be a source of strife during these times.
How true this is of the extremist clerics in parts of the Muslim world that abuse the pulpit to preach division and hate.
He also went on to describe terrorist groups such as ISIS that would try to hijack the Islamic faith. At this time of dissension, he said there would appear “a group of young people who would be immature in thought and foolish.” They would speak beautiful words but commit the most heinous of deeds. They would engage in so much prayer and fasting that the worship of the Muslims would appear insignificant in comparison. They would call people to the Quran but would have nothing to do with it in reality. The Quran would not go beyond their throats, meaning they wouldn’t understand its essence at all, merely regurgitating it selectively. The Prophet then went on to describe these people as “the worst of the creation.”
As if this outline wasn’t clear enough, another tradition in the book Kitaab Al Fitan reported by Caliph Ali, the fourth successor to Prophet Muhammad, describes these people as having long hair and bearing black flags. Their “hearts will be hard as iron,” and they would be the companions of a State (Ashab ul Dawla). Interestingly, ISIS refers to itself as the Islamic State or Dawla. The tradition further mentions that they will break their covenants, not speak the truth and have names that mention their cities. The ISIS caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, comes to mind.
Prophet Muhammad furiously and painfully described these evildoers, and admonished Muslims to beware of their evil and fight it. “Whoever fights them is better to Allah than them,” he proclaimed.
Reflect on this critical point. Whenever ISIS kills in the name of Islam, claims to follow the Quran, or uses the Holy month of Ramadan to spread anarchy across the globe, know that Prophet Muhammad explicitly warned us of these imposters, and entrusted us to root them out.
The only people who refuse to reflect on this point are ISIS, ISIS sympathizers and anti-Islam extremists who want the world to believe that ISIS is legitimate. Intelligent people, meanwhile, see Prophet Muhammad’s prophetic wisdom and thus remain united against both ignorance and extremism.
The U.N. Security Council on Monday backed Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers but the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards attacked the resolution, underlining powerful opposition to the deal.
U.S. President Barack Obama hailed the United Nations endorsement, saying it showed last week’s accord commanded broad international support as the best way of ensuring Iran never gets nuclear weapons.
The European Union also approved the deal, which curbs Iran’s nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions, while Germany rapidly moved to revive its once close trading relationship with Tehran.
At the United Nations, the Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that was negotiated as part of the agreement reached in Vienna between Iran and the six powers.
In return for lifting the U.S., EU and U.N. sanctions that have crippled its economy, Iran must accept long-term limits on the nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating an atomic bomb, but which Tehran says is peaceful.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the deal would make the world “safer and more secure”.
However, the agreement still faces opposition in the U.S. Congress and some Middle East states, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as from the Revolutionary Guards and other Iranian hardliners.
Even before the Council passed the resolution in New York, top Guards commander Mohammed Ali Jafari denounced it for interfering with Iran’s military operations and crossing “red lines” set by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“We will never accept it,” he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.
Iranian hardliners are worried that U.N. inspectors may gain some access to sensitive military sites under the resolution, which becomes international law.
The country’s senior nuclear negotiator, Seyed Abbas Araghchi, dismissed critics’ concerns and called the resolution an “unprecedented achievement in Iran’s history”. The deal must be approved by Iran’s National Security Council and later by Khamenei. Parliament’s role is not clear.
The EU’s approval of the deal with the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany marked a first step toward lifting Europe’s economic sanctions against Tehran. The bloc hopes this will send a signal that the U.S. Congress will follow.
In a message mainly aimed at skeptical voices in Congress and strong resistance from Israel, EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels stressed that there was no better option available.
“It is a balanced deal that means Iran won’t get an atomic bomb,” said French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Congress now has 60 days to decide whether to approve or reject the deal.
Power appeared to try to address some of the concerns shared by Congressional conservatives and some in the Middle East. The deal “doesn’t change our profound concern about human rights violations committed by the Iranian government or about instability Iran fuels … from its support for terrorist proxies to its repeated threats against Israel, its other destabilizing activities in the region”, she said.
Iran’s U.N. Ambassador, Gholamali Khoshroo, rejected the U.S. accusations as baseless. “The country that invaded two countries in our region and created favorable grounds for the growth of terrorism and extremism is not well placed to raise such accusations against my country,” he told the Council.
Passage of the U.N. resolution triggers a complex set of coordinated steps agreed by Iran during nearly two years of talks with the powers.
It says that no sanctions relief will be implemented until the International Atomic Energy Agency submits a report to the Council verifying that Iran has taken certain nuclear-related measures outlined in the agreement.
Under the deal, the major powers which signed the accord don’t need to take any further action for 90 days. Then they are required to begin preparations so they are able to lift sanctions as soon as the IAEA verification report is submitted.
Some countries are already keen to do business with the oil exporter. Germany and Iran moved tentatively on Monday towards reviving trade, anticipating the lifting of the sanctions.
Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, making the first top level German government visit to Tehran in 13 years, indicated that a ministerial-level meeting of a long dormant German-Iran economic commission would take place early next year in Tehran.
For decades, Germany was Iran’s biggest trading partner in Europe. German exports there hit 4.4 billion euros in 2005 but then slumped to 1.8 billion by 2013 as the West tightened the sanctions.
The trip is a delicate one for Gabriel, who is also Vice Chancellor, partly because of Germany’s close ties to Israel, Iran’s sworn enemy.
Gabriel said better economic ties depended on Iran improving relations with Israel. “For us Germans, Israel’s security is of great importance,” he told a news conference.
At the same news conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not touch on the issue of Israel directly, but said: “Of course we have differing political views. But we can talk about these differences of opinion.”
The United Nations Security Council votes to approve a resolution at the U.N. headquarters in New York July 20, 2015. The United Nations Security Council on Monday endorsed a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, but it will be able to re-impose…
First entry: 21 July 2015 – 07:52 Athens, 04:52 GMT
Last update: 07:52 Athens, 04:52 GMTBusiness
Greece’s former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, admitted on Monday that Greece made mistakes over its bailout negotiations, but he continued to lay the preponderance of blame for the Greek woes on the country’s creditors.
“We made mistakes, there’s no doubt about that,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in his first international TV interview since stepping down earlier this month. “And I hold myself responsible for a number of them.”
“But the truth of the matter, Christiane, is that the very powerful troika of creditors were not interested in coming a sensible, honorable, mutually beneficial agreement,” he said, referring to the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.
“I think that close inspection is going to reveal the truth of what I am saying: They were far more interested in humiliating this government and overthrowing it, or at least making sure that it overthrows itself in terms of its policies, than they were interested in an agreement that would for instance ensure that they would get most of their money back.”
“It’s very hard for me, however much I would like to, to take responsibility for a policy over which I resigned.”
Greece last week accepted terms for a third bailout that many say was on harsher terms than the potential deal that was on the table earlier this year.
Varoufakis’ casual style, leather jackets, and motorcycle riding won him newspaper covers, but his negotiating style grated on his counterparts.
He made sure to emphasize that he “resigned,” and was not “dismissed.”
He stepped down on the night of a controversial referendum, introduced by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in which the majority of Greeks rejected the harsh austerity the government would later accept.
“The people voted ‘no’ to this extending and pretending, but it became abundantly clear to me on the night of the referendum that the government’s position was going to be to say yes to it.”
Despite his resignation of conscience, Varoufakis said he had sympathy for his former boss.
“He was faced with a choice: Commit suicide or be executed.”
“Alexis Tsipras decided that it [would] be best for the Greek people for this government to stay put and to implement a program which the very same government disagrees with.”
“People like me thought that it would be more honorable, and in the long term more appropriate, for us to resign. This is why I resigned. But I recognize his arguments as being equally powerful as mine.”
Even economists with sympathy for Greece’s cause, like the Nobel-Prize winning Paul Krugman, have expressed some dismay at the Tsipras government’s handling of the crisis.
“They thought they could simply demand better terms without having any backup plan,” Krugman told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria. “So, certainly this is a shock.”
“But, you know, in some sense it’s hopeless in any case … I mean, the new terms are even worse, but the terms that they were being offered before were still not going to work. So, I, you know — I may have overestimated the competence of the Greek government.”
Varoufakis said he agreed entirely with Krugman, “however shocking that may sound to you.”
“It’s not true we did not have a Plan B. We had a Plan B.”
“We, in the Ministry of Finance, developed it. Under the egis of the Prime Minister, who ordered us to do this, even before we came in the Ministry of Finance.”
“Of course, you realize that these plans — Plan Bs — are always, by definition, highly imperfect, because they have to be kept within a very small circle of people, otherwise if they leak, a self-fulfilling prophecy emerges.”
That plan, he said, was not for Greece to leave the Eurozone, a Grexit, but rather for the government to create “euro-denominated currency” — in other words, for the government to print its own, temporary currency, pegged to the value of the euro.
“The fact of the matter is that that Plan B was not energized — I didn’t get the green light to effect it, to push the button, if you want.”
That, he said, was one of the “main reasons why I resigned.”
arge caches of data stolen from AshleyMadison and related hookup sites have been posted online.
BY MEGAN FRIEDMAN
Getty Chas Ray Krider/fStop
A group of hackers is holding the identities of 37 million online cheaters hostage, threatening to out every user seeking an affair on AshleyMadison.com and related sites like Cougar Life and Established Men. Gizmodo reports that the hackers, who call themselves The Impact Team, have stolen a massive trove of data from the sites owned by Toronto-based Avid Life Media.
CEO Noel Biderman confirmed the hack to Krebs on Security and said his company was working “feverishly” to fight the hackers. “We’re not denying this happened,” he said. “Like us or not, this is still a criminal act.”
The hackers say that if parent company Avid Life Media doesn’t take down AshleyMadison.com and EstablishedMen.com, they’ll reveal the names, addresses, and sexual fantasies of every user. Also, they’ll release more information for every day the sites stay online.
The threat is in protest of Ashley Madison’s $20 “full delete” offer, which promises to scrub users’ history from the site. The hackers claim it’s “a complete lie,” as user information can remain on the servers.
“Too bad for those men,” the hackers said in a released document, according to The Verge. “They’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion.” In a statement, Avid Life Media said it is working with law enforcement agencies to bring the hackers to justice.
At least 27 people have been killed in a suspected Islamist suicide bombing attack against a group of young political activists in a south eastern Turkish city near the Syrian border on 20 July, authorities said.
The Turkish government described the large explosion that hit a cultural centre in Suruc, on the opposite side of the border from the embattled Syrian city of Kobani, as a “terrorist attack”.
“We call on everyone to stay united in the face of this terrorist attack targeting our country’s unity,” the interior ministry said in a statement.
Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for it, fingers have been pointed at the Islamic State (Isis).
“Our initial evidence shows that this was a suicide attack by IS,” Reuters quoted a senior official as saying.
Another official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AP they suspected a suicide bomber triggered the blast.
The interior ministry said almost 100 people have been injured and were being treated at local hospitals.
Many of the victims were members of a socialist youth group who had been staying at the culture centre after volunteering for a summer expedition to help rebuilt Kobani, which was left ravaged by months of fighting between Kurdish fighters and IS militants, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
No long before the explosion Federation of Socialist Youth Associations posted a picture of smiling youth workers gathered around a long table in the centre’s garden on Twitter.
The account later tweeted photos of numerous severely burnt bodies scattered across the same garden, some covered by newspapers.
The moment of the blast was also captured on camera, with online footage showing a group of activists shouting slogans and holding banners before being wiped out by a massive explosion.
Distraught onlookers and survivors could be heard crying for help in another online clip showing the aftermath of the attack.
When a massive earthquake struck Nepal in April, Nepal’s longest-serving “living goddess” was forced to do the unthinkable: walk the streets for the first time in her life.
In a rare interview, Dhana Kumari Bajracharya, who still follows the cloistered lifestyle she entered aged two, also spoke about her unusually long 30-year reign, suggesting the pain of her unceremonious dethroning in the 1980s was still raw.
Before the 7.8 magnitude quake on 25 April, Bajracharya had only ever appeared in public while being carried in an ornate wooden palanquin.
The Himalayan nation’s living goddesses, known as kumaris, live in seclusion and rarely speak in public, bound by customs that combine elements of Hinduism and Buddhism.
But as the tremor hit, shaking the ground, reducing buildings to rubble and killing 8,800, Bajracharya, 63, left her quarters in the historic city of Patan, south of Kathmandu, for the first time in three decades. And for the first time on foot.
“I had never thought about leaving the house like that,” she said. “Perhaps the gods are angry because people don’t respect traditions as much any more.”
As the disaster ripped through Nepal, shaking Bajracharya’s five-storey home, her family stayed inside, waiting to see if the retired kumari would break tradition and walk out with them.
“We couldn’t just leave the house like everyone else – we had to think of her. We didn’t know what to do,” said her niece, Chanira Bajracharya. “But when nature forces you, you do the unthinkable.”
Bajracharya was enthroned in 1954 when she was just two and reigned for three decades as the kumari of Patan.
The kumari, a pre-pubescent girl from the Newar community, is considered an embodiment of the Hindu goddess Taleju.
Selection criteria is strict and includes a number of specific physical attributes, from an unblemished body to a chest like a lion and thighs like a deer.
Unlike Kathmandu’s “living goddess” who must move to an official residence, the Patan kumari is allowed to live with her family, but can emerge only on feast days when she is paraded through the city to be worshipped.
“I loved going out during the festivals the most,” said Bajracharya, remembering how devotees lined up, eager to receive her blessings.
The Patan kumari is traditionally dethroned once she begins to menstruate and, since Bajracharya never started her periods, she continued to serve well into her 30s.
But in 1984, Nepal’s then crown prince Dipendra, who would go on to massacre his family 17 years later, stirred up a controversy which eventually ended her tenure.
“Why is she so old?” the 13-year-old prince reportedly asked when he saw Bajracharya during a festival, prompting priests to replace her with a young girl.
Thirty years later, the memory of her abrupt dismissal still stings.
“They had no reason to replace me,” she said. “I was a little angry … I felt the goddess still resided in me.”
Forced into retirement, Bajracharya decided to continue living the life she had always known, unable to abandon her duties or end her withdrawal from the outside world.
Every morning she wakes up, drapes an embroidered red skirt like the one she wore during her years as a kumari, scrapes her hair into a topknot and lines her eyes with kohl curving upwards to her temples.
On special occasions, she uses red and yellow powder to draw a third eye in the middle of her forehead, and then takes to a wooden throne decorated with brass snake carvings.
Devotees are received, as when she was an official kumari, on Saturdays and during festivals in a separate room in her red brick home, reached by narrow stairs above two floors rented out to a shop and financial cooperative.
“The priests did what they had to do, but I cannot abandon my responsibilities,” she said.
When Bajracharya’s niece Chanira was chosen as a kumari in 2001, she guided her through the process.
Nepal has seen sweeping changes during Bajracharya’s lifetime, transforming from a Hindu kingdom to a secular republic, but the former kumari’s daily routine remains the same.
Her one concession to modernity is a fondness for television, especially current affairs shows and Indian mythological dramas.
Since the quake, however, she spends most of her time engrossed in prayer, Chanira says.
“It saddened her immensely … Our astrologer had predicted last year that my aunt would leave the house, and we were wondering how that would ever happen,” she said. “But we never expected this.”