Tag Archives: Terror Attacks

France Will Accept 30,000 More Syrian Refugees After Paris Terror Attack

FRANCE, November 19, 2015– On Wednesday, French President Francois Hollande announced that France would still accept upwards of 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years despite the recent ISIS terror attacks on Paris that left at least 129 dead.

“30,000 refugees will be welcomed over the next two years. Our country has the duty to respect this commitment,” said Hollande.

Receiving a standing ovation, Hollande made the announcement while meeting with mayors from across France.

“We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values,” said Hollande as he noted that it was France’s “humanitarian duty” to honor their commitments to refugees.

Meanwhile, the majority of American governors have called upon the federal government to not place Syrian refugees in the respective states.

[RELATED: Judge Napolitano: States Cannot ‘Refuse’ Refugees Under Federal Law]

While President Obama has made attempts to paint the refusal of accepting refugees as a partisan issue driven by Republicans, a handful of states controlled by democratic state legislators and governors have also demanded that no refugees be placed within their states including Massachusetts and Maryland, which are considered the most democratic states in America.

“As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority,” said Maryland’s Democrat Governor Larry Hogan. “Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.”

As of Tuesday, more than two dozen governors issued statements saying that they would not be accepting refugees. Meanwhile, another half dozen say they will, but not without increased vetting.

The move by these governors has created a constitutional crisis of sorts. Many, including President Obama, say that states have no say in the matter. Meanwhile, others disagree and believe the issue may make its way to the Supreme Court.

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France Moves To Strip Citizens Of Civil Liberties After Paris Attacks

By Rachel Stoltzfoos  French President Francois Hollande proposed constitutional amendments and a three-month extension of state of emergency measures Monday that will severely limit the civil liberties of French citizens.

After a series of coordinated terrorist attacks left 129 dead in Paris Friday, Hollande immediately declared a state of emergency, based on a rarely used 1955 law that allows the state to conduct warrantless searches of private property, impose curfews, restrict public gatherings and movements of people, confiscate weapons at will and take over the press.

By law the state of emergency cannot last more than 12 days, but Hollande asked for a three-month extension Monday. He also proposed a series of constitutional amendments to increase the state’s surveillance powers and give it power to strip convicted terrorists and bi-nationals who commit hostile acts toward France of citizenship.

Hollande said the amendments are necessary so the state doesn’t have to “resort to the state of emergency” to deal with terror threats. “We must change our constitution to act against terrorism,” he said Monday.

The proposed amendments will also give the state “more sophisticated methods” to crack down on weapons trafficking, a quicker way to deport foreigners considered a threat, and the ability to bar bi-nationals considered a terror risk from entering the country.

French conducted 168 raids Sunday night, turning up cash, bulletproof vests, various types of guns and a rocket launcher, reported The Wall Street Journal. Police put 104 people on house arrest and detained 23 others.

Hollande has promised a “merciless” fight against ISIS in response to the attack. French fighter jets dropped 20 bombs on the group’s defacto Syrian capital of Raqqa Sunday night, destroying a command center and training camp.

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Former Bush Official: CIA Torture Program Produced False Information to Justify the Invasion of Iraq

Following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency on terror suspects after September 11, 2001, the reason given for the use of practices such as waterboarding, rectal feeding, and sleep deprivation, was that the CIA was in search of information that would secure the nation’s defense against any post-9/11 attacks.

With the emphasis on preventing another 9/11-style attack on the United States, Vice President Dick Cheney stated that while he wouldn’t call the methods used by the CIA “torture,” he would say that they had worked, and that he would “do it again in a minute.”

While President Barack Obama admitted that the United States had “tortured some folks,” and that “some terrible mistakes were made,” he defended the Bush administration, stating that it acted in self-dense, and that there were “a lot of people who did a lot of things right and worked very hard to keep us safe.

On Tuesday, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005, revealed that there were other motives behind the torture program, and that the U.S. government used it to gather information from hostages to build false information, and to link al-Qaeda to Saddam Hussein, in order to justify the invasion of Iraq.

One of the main cases presented on why the United State should invade Iraq, stemmed from a speech Powell gave to the United Nations in February 2003. In that speech, Powell used the testimony of Ibn Shaykh al-Libi, a hostage who was sent by the U.S. to a prison in Egypt.

Libi asserted that Iraq gave chemical and biological weapons to al-Qaeda, which fueled the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. However, Libi later recanted the statement, claiming that he had been tortured, and had “only told them what he assessed they wanted to hear.

Wilkerson helped Powell prepare his speech for the UN, and he told Democracy Now that the choice to include Libi’s statement in the speech was the most “seminal moment” in his memory of the time he spent at CIA headquarters.

Wilkerson detailed a confrontation with Powell, in which Powell lectured Wilkerson on how “he was dissatisfied with and very unhappy with the portions in his presentation that dealt with terrorism, particularly the connections with Baghdad and al-Qaeda.” Wilkerson said that he felt the same way, and that he and Powell agreed to remove that section of the presentation.

However, Wilkerson said that shortly after the confrontation, CIA Director George Tenet “laid a bombshell on the table.

He essentially said: ‘We have learned from the interrogation of a high-level al-Qaeda operative that not only were there substantial contacts between al-Qaeda and Baghdad, that those contacts included Baghdad Mukhabarat, secret police, Saddam’s special people, training al-Qaeda operatives in how to use chemical and biological weapons.'”

Following Tenet’s statement, Wilkerson said Powell turned to him and told him to put the portion on terrorism back into the presentation. Wilkerson went on to say that while he did “take some of the stuff out,” he did so with George Tenet’s counterterrorism czar standing behind him, trying to prevent him from removing parts of the presentation.

People were trying to get that portion back into the presentation,” said Wilkerson. “But the damage was done. The secretary, as you know, presented the information as if there were substantial contacts.”

Wilkerson said that after the “Abu Ghraib incident was made public,” Powell instructed him to look into how the U.S. had gotten to that point. During his investigation, Wilkerson discovered that the CIA’s torture program had been used for more than just ensuring the prevention of another 9/11-style attack:

I learned that there was, as early as April-May 2002, efforts to use enhanced interrogation techniques, also to build a legal regime under which they could be conducted, and that those efforts were as much aimed at al-Qaeda and contacts between Baghdad and al-Qaeda, and corroboration thereof, as they were trying to ferret out whether or not there was another attack coming, like 9/11.

U.S. Officials Fear Sanitized, Heavily Redacted Release of Senate Torture Report

The United States Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to release a condensed, redacted version of the report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture methods that were used on al-Qaida hostages following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.

CBS News reported that the findings from the documents show that the CIA “routinely went beyond what was legally allowable in using techniques, including waterboarding, to get information from terrorism suspects,” which were not effective, and that the agency “systematically lied to itself, to the White House, the Department of Justice, and to Congress about how well it worked to keep it going.”

According to The Guardian, the report will be “in the form of a 480-page executive summary,” which is just a portion of the 6,200-page report compiled by Democrats on the committee, who spent six years “reviewing millions of secret CIA documents.”

VICE News reported that on Thursday, the Department of Justice “provided the first official confirmation” that the redacted report might be released as early as Tuesday.

According to The Atlantic, the report was “only approved by the committee’s Democrats,” while Republicans on the committee “plan to release their own report.”

On Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry reached out to Dianne Feinstein, a Senator from California, and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, and asked her to delay the release of the report. During the phone call, Kerry expressed concern about the release causing complications in the U.S.’s relationship with foreign countries.

An anonymous administration official told Bloomberg View that in Kerry’s conversation with Feinstein, his main concern was the timing of the release.

What he raised was timing of report release, because a lot is going on in the world,” said the official, who went on to explain that Kerry wanted “to make sure foreign policy implications were being appropriately factored into timing.”

On Sunday, Michael Hayden, the Director of the CIA from 2006 to 2009, appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation with a similar warning. Hayden said that the torture report contained false information, and if released, it could be used against U.S. citizens in foreign countries.

First of all, the CIA workforce will feel as if it has been tried and convicted in absentia since the Senate Democrats and their staff didn’t talk to anyone actively involved in the program,” said Hayden. “Second, this will be used by our enemies to motivate people to attack Americans and American facilities overseas.”

Hayden also claimed that there were “countries out there” who have cooperated with the U.S. thus far on its “war on terror,” and who are “relying on American discretion.”

At a news conference in August, President Obama acknowledged that the U.S. had crossed the line following the terror attacks on 9/11.

We tortured some folks,” said Obama. “When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line.