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Exclusive: Agency believes the fighters could have been trained to bomb Europe as revenge for military defeats in Middle East

Isis extremists in Raqqa in 2014. It is not known whether the militants will attempt to set up a new Syrian base when their ‘capital’ falls.

Interpol has circulated a list of 173 Islamic State fighters it believes could have been trained to mount suicide attacks in Europe in revenge for the group’s military defeats in the Middle East.

The global crime fighting agency’s list was drawn up by US intelligence from information captured during the assault on Isis territories in Syria and Iraq.

European counter-terror networks are concerned that as the Isis “caliphate” collapses, there is an increasing risk of determined suicide bombers seeking to come to Europe, probably operating alone.

There is no evidence that any of the people on the list, whose names the Guardian has obtained, have yet entered Europe, but the Interpol circulation, designed to see if EU intelligence sources have any details on the individuals, underlines the scale of the challenge facing Europe.

The list, sent out by the general secretariat of Interpol on 27 May, defines the group of fighters as individuals that “may have been trained to build and position improvised explosive devices in order to cause serious deaths and injuries. It is believed that they can travel internationally, to participate in terrorist activities.”

The data was originally collected by the US intelligence “through trusted channels”. The material was handed over to the FBI, which transmitted the list to Interpol for global sharing.

A note appended to the Interpol list circulated in Italy explains how the terrorist database was constructed, putting together the pieces of the puzzle from hundreds of elements, mainly gathered when Isis local headquarters were captured.

“The people,” the note says, “have been identified through materials found in the hiding places of Isil, the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant.” The note adds that “it emerges that those subjects may have manifested willingness to commit a suicidal attack or martyrdom to support Islam”.

The list shows the suspects’ names, the date Isis recruited them, their last likely address including the mosque at which they have been praying while away fighting, their mother’s name and any photographs.

For each of the fighters, an ID was created to ensure that each member country in the Interpol network could integrate the data with local databases.

Interpol has asked its national partners for any information they might have about each name on the list, and any other background personal data they have on their files, such as border crossings, previous criminal offences, biometric data, passport numbers, activity on social media and travel history.

The information will then be included in Interpol’s ASF (automatic search facility) database in order to possibly put the names on a higher level watch list.

US intelligence is apparently confident about the reliability of the sources used to compile the list. But western counter-terrorism forces have said they face an uphill struggle identifying potential suspects, who have access to a mountain of false documents, double identities and fake passports.

Interpol stressed the list’s transmission came as part of its role circulating information between national crime-fighting agencies. “Interpol regularly sends alerts and updates to its national central bureaux (NCB) on wanted terrorists and criminals via our secure global police communications network,” a spokesman said. “It is the member country which provides the information that decides which other countries it can be shared with.

“The purpose of sending these alerts and updates is to ensure that vital policing information is made available when and where it is needed, in line with a member country’s request.”

A European counter-terrorism officer said one of the purposes of circulating the list around Europe was to identify those on it who might have been born and raised in European countries.

In 2015 the UN considered there were 20,000 foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria, of whom 4,000 were from Europe, but there has not previously been a specific list of those fighters including those born in the Middle East who have been identified as potential suicide bombers.

The speed with which Isis fighters are likely to attempt to reach Europe will depend on a range of issues including whether the group tries to set up a new base in Syria in the wake of the impending fall of Raqqa, its last major redoubt in north-west Syria. There is a growing suggestion that Isis fighters will shift south from Raqqa to the defensible territory stretching from Deir el-Zourez-Zor to Abu Kamal.

The jihadi group is currently struggling to come to terms with the loss of Mosul in northern Iraq following a battle that produced some of the most brutal fighting since the end of the second world war.

The parallel advance on Raqqa, the group’s other urban stronghold in the region, has been stalled partly due to the severity of the resistance being mounted against the Syrian Democratic Forces made up of an alliance of Kurds, Arabs and US Special forces.

US Army Col Ryan Dillon on Friday estimated there were around 2,000 Isis militants in the city, who he said were using civilians and children as human shields. The distance between SDF forces on the eastern side of the city and on the western fronts is now just under 2km.

The United Nations estimates that about 190,000 residents of Raqqa province have been displaced since April, including about 20,000 since the operation to seize the provincial capital began in early June.

US diplomats this week admitted that the SDF forces, due to their ethnic make-up, will be constrained from going south of Raqqa to pursue Isis as far as Deir Azzour, saying this may be the task of the Syrian forces under Bashar al Assad, or even Iranian-backed Shia militia.

Congolese ex-rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba has been jailed for 18 years following a landmark conviction at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and sexual violence.

Bemba, a former vice-president of DR Congo, was convicted in March of crimes committed in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003.

He was accused of failing to stop his rebels from killing and raping people.

Bemba’s lawyers have already said they will appeal against his conviction.

Judges announced sentences of between 16 and 18 years for five counts of rape, murder and pillaging, with the jail terms running concurrently. The eight years Bemba has already spent in custody will be deducted from his term.

His conviction was the first time the ICC had focused on rape as a weapon of war, and the first time a suspect had been convicted for crimes committed by others under his command.

Passing sentence at the ICC in The Hague, Judge Sylvia Steiner said Bemba had failed to exercise control over his private militia sent into CAR, where they carried out “sadistic” rapes, murders and pillaging of “particular cruelty”.

The BBC’s Anna Holligan, who is in The Hague, says two key issues remain – where Bemba will serve his sentence and the amount of compensation to be awarded to his victims.


Who is Jean-Pierre Bemba?

Jean-Pierre Bemba image www.crimefiles.net

  • A well-connected businessman and the son of prominent Congolese businessman Bemba Saolona
  • 1998: Helped by Uganda to form MLC rebel group in Democratic Republic of Congo
  • 2003: Becomes vice-president under peace deal
  • 2006: Loses run-off election to President Joseph Kabila but gets most votes in western DR Congo, including Kinshasa
  • 2007: Flees to Belgium after clashes in Kinshasa
  • 2008: Arrested in Brussels and handed over to ICC
  • 2010: Trial begins
  • 2016: Found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity

Profile: Jean-Pierre Bemba

More about DR Congo


Bemba was “extremely disappointed” with the sentence, his lawyer, Kate Gibson, told AFP news agency.

“Today’s sentence is by no means the end of the road for Mr Bemba, it merely signals that we are now moving to the next phase of the process which is the appeal,” she said.

In 2002 Bemba had sent more than 1,000 fighters to the CAR to help then president Ange Felix Patasse put down an attempted coup.

The court heard that his troops committed acts of extreme violence against civilians – crimes which the judge said Bemba was made aware of but did nothing to stop.

He had led the MLC (Movement for the Liberation of Congo) rebel group during DR Congo’s brutal civil war and after a 2003 peace deal he laid down his arms and joined an interim government.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the sentence offered “a measure of justice” for the victims.

“Other commanders should take notice that they, too, can be held accountable for rapes and other serious abuses committed by troops under their control,” said Geraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, HRW’s international justice advocacy director.

The MLC is now a major opposition party in DR Congo and Secretary General Eve Bazaiba criticised the ICC ruling and sentence.

“We will never cease denouncing the selective justice of the ICC,” she told supporters in the capital Kinshasa.

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Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold image www.crimefiles.net

Has a mysterious WW2 train been found and was it carrying tonnes of gold?

Warsaw: Two people in Poland say they have found a Nazi German train cloaked in mystery since it was rumoured to have gone missing near the end of World War II while carrying away gold, gems and guns ahead of advancing Soviet Red Army forces.

Local authorities in Poland’s south-western district of Walbrzych said they had been contacted by a law firm representing a Pole and a German who said they had located the train and were seeking 10 per cent of the value of the findings.

“Lawyers, the army, the police and the fire brigade are dealing with this,” Marika Tokarska, an official at the Walbrzych district council, said. “The area has never been excavated before and we don’t know what we might find.”

Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust.image www.crimefiles.net
A view of the Sobibor train station in Poland in 2009. The Nazis killed at least 250,000 Jews at the Sobibor death camp during the Holocaust. Photo: ReutersLocal news reports said the train in question went missing in 1945, packed with loot from the-then eastern German city of Breslau, now called Wroclaw and part of Poland, as the Red Army closed in at the end of World War II.
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One local media report said the train was armoured and belonged to the Wehrmacht (Nazi Germany’s military).

Radio Wroclaw cited local folklore as saying the train entered a tunnel near Ksiaz Castle in the mountainous Lower Silesian region and never emerged. According to that theory, the tunnel was later closed and its location long forgotten.

Other media said the train could have been carrying some 300 tonnes of gold.

According to Radio Wroclaw, the 150-metre-long train was carrying guns, “industrial equipment”, gems and other valuable treasure. Tokarska said she did not have any details on the location or the contents of the missing train.

Some sceptics say there is no evidence that it ever existed.

“A handful of people have already looked for the train, damaging the line in the process, but nothing was ever found,” Radio Wroclaw quoted Joanna Lamparska as saying, describing her as a connoisseur of the region’s history.

“But the legend has captured imaginations.”

Trains were indeed used to spirit Nazi loot back to Berlin as US-led Allied and Soviet forces surged towards the German capital from the west and the east in the winter and spring of 1945.

In the case of the so-called “Gold Train”, Nazi forces sent 24 freight carriages from Budapest towards Germany filled with family treasures including gold, silver and valuable paintings seized from Hungarian Jews and estimated to be worth up to $US200 million ($273 million).

That train was intercepted by US soldiers, who, according to a later US investigation, helped themselves to some of the loot.

Reuters
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Nigerien soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria.

Nigerien soldiers hold up a Boko Haram flag that they had seized in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria. Photo: Reuters

Damasak, Nigeria: Soldiers from Niger and Chad who liberated the Nigerian town of Damasak from Boko Haram militants have discovered the bodies of at least 70 people scattered under a bridge, a witness said.

In what appeared to be an execution site for the Islamist group, the bodies were strewn beneath the concrete bridge on one of the main roads leading out of the town.

The bodies were partially mummified by the dry desert air, suggesting that the killings had taken place some time ago.

Weapons captured from Boko Haram by Chadian and Nigerien soldiers are seen in the recently retaken town of Damasak.

Weapons captured from Boko Haram by Chadian and Nigerien soldiers are seen in the recently retaken town of Damasak. Photo: Reuters

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in a six-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria. Damasak was seized by the Islamist group in November but recaptured by troops from Niger and Chad on Saturday as part of a multinational effort to wipe out the militants.
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Chadian soldiers, who said the bodies were discovered on Thursday, spoke of at least 100 corpses in the area around the dry river bed. A witness was able to count at least 70.

A trail of blackened blood was visible along the side of the bridge facing the bodies, suggesting they had been thrown off the side after being killed. Among the dead was the imam of the town.

A signpost painted by Boko Haram is seen in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, near where the massacre of its residents occurred.

A signpost painted by Boko Haram is seen in the recently retaken town of Damasak, Nigeria, near where the massacre of its residents occurred. Photo: Reuters

All but around 50 of the town’s residents had fled by the time Damasak was recaptured. Those who remained were mostly too old or too sick to leave. The witness said a strong smell of decomposition in many parts of town suggested there could be more bodies concealed there.

Chad’s military spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa said the Chadians had asked Nigeria’s military to occupy the town, which lies close to the border with Niger, and would remain there until Nigerian troops arrived.

The regional offensive launched this year with Chad, Niger and Cameroon comes as Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy, prepares to hold presidential elections on March 28.

Nigerian troops cross the Kaffin-Hausa bridge, which earlier had been destroyed by terrorists and reconstructed by military engineers at Damasak in north-eastern Nigeria Borno State.

Nigerian troops cross the Kaffin-Hausa bridge, which earlier had been destroyed by terrorists and reconstructed by military engineers at Damasak in north-eastern Nigeria Borno State. Photo: AFP

At the start of this year, Boko Haram controlled around 20 local government areas, a territory the size of Belgium. With the help of its foreign allies, Nigeria’s army said on Tuesday it had pushed the rebels out of all but three districts.

On Thursday, however, two security sources said that Boko Haram had killed at least 10 people in the town of Gamburu, on the border with Cameroon, demonstrating it can still attack civilians despite being forced into retreat.

President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for not doing enough to tackle the insurgency. His challenger Muhammadu Buhari has campaigned on a reputation for toughness gained when he was military ruler of Nigeria in the 1980s.

A Chadian soldier raises his automatic weapon to have his picture taken by another soldier  in the Nigerian city of Damasak.

A Chadian soldier raises his automatic weapon to have his picture taken by another soldier in the Nigerian city of Damasak. Photo: AP

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ROMANIAN DICTATOR CEAUSESCU & HIS WIFE TRIED & EXECUTED IN THIS VIDEO

BUCHAREST ROMANIAN BUTCHER EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD

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JOSEPH KONY WAR CRIMINAL WANTED BY AMERICAN ARMY

NAIROBI: Ugandan and American troops have suspended their joint hunt for war crimes suspect Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, delivering a major setback to efforts to capture a notorious warlord accused of abducting tens of thousands of children.

The Ugandan military and the US State Department separately announced on Wednesday that they had temporarily halted the search because of political turmoil in the Central African Republic, where Kony and his deputies are thought to be hiding.

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Rebel groups unaffiliated with Kony seized power in the Central African Republic last week, forcing President Francois Bozize — who had been friendly with Washington — to flee the country.

Children wounded during an ambush by members of the Lord's Resistance Army in northern Uganda in 2006.
Children wounded during an ambush by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda in 2006. Photo: Reuters

Colonel Felix Kulayigye, a Ugandan army spokesman, told reporters that the hunt for Kony would remain on hold “until further notice” because rebel leaders in the Central African Republic were refusing to co-operate with Ugandan troops stationed in the country.

Shortly afterward, State Department officials in Washington said the US military would likewise “pause” its operations in the Central African Republic. A Pentagon spokesman said that about 40 US Special Forces troops are deployed in the country, where they are advising and training about 3000 African troops — mainly Ugandans — looking for Kony in the jungle.

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President Obama deployed about 100 US Special Forces troops to Africa in October 2011 to co-ordinate a regional effort to track Kony, a brutal and messianic Ugandan guerrilla leader who has been on the run for a quarter-century.

The US military said it will not withdraw its troops from the Central African Republic for now in hopes that a political solution can be reached soon so the search for Kony can resume. Meanwhile, the 40 US Special Forces troops will remain at two camps deep in the bush, near the towns of Obo and Djema.

The rest of the 60 US troops are stationed in Uganda, South Sudan and Congo, where they will continue normal operations, said Major Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman.

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Kony and most of his deputies are thought to be hiding in the Central African Republic, but they regularly cross borders and are well-practised at disappearing into the bush. They long ago stopped using radios and mobile phones to avoid leaving an electronic trail, frustrating US efforts to track them with satellites and surveillance aircraft.

The suspension of the search overshadowed a previously planned announcement by the State Department to offer $US5 million in rewards for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Kony or two other LRA leaders, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.

Donald Y. Yamamoto, the State Department’s acting top diplomat for African affairs, said the US government “remains very committed” to defeating the LRA. “Even though we’ve taken a pause because of the developments” in the Central African Republic, he told reporters, “we’re going to use all facilities and all technology at our hands to try to find and locate Kony and his crew.”

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Kony created the Lord’s Resistance Army in the 1980s to overthrow Uganda’s government. The militia left Uganda several years ago but continued to terrorise villagers in central Africa across a swathe of terrain the size of California, kidnapping children and transforming them into killers and sex slaves.

Over the past two years, the militia has significantly weakened, numbering no more than a few hundred fighters, according to UN officials and analysts. High-profile defections have fragmented the group, which now stages assaults mostly for food and supplies.

But Wednesday’s announcement has raised fears among international human rights groups that Kony and the LRA could regroup and reignite their campaign of brutality.

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“A premature withdrawal would have devastating and immediate consequences for civilians in LRA-affected areas,” said Ben Keesey, head of Invisible Children, an activist group that prominently raised public awareness about the LRA’s atrocities last year. “It gives Kony a new lease on life, enabling him to regain power by initiating new rounds of abductions in communities that will be left totally unprotected and vulnerable to LRA attacks.”

The Ugandan military also is not planning to remove its soldiers from the Central African Republic, Kulayigye said, but it will confine them to their bases until the African Union clarifies their status. The African Union has suspended the membership of the Central African Republic and imposed travel restrictions on the rebels who have appointed themselves leaders of the country.

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Kulayigye also warned that Kony and the LRA could use the suspension of the search as an opportunity to stage attacks.

Bozize, the ousted leader of the Central African Republic, also had seized power in a coup. But he welcomed the presence of the Ugandans and the Americans and their efforts to eliminate Kony and the LRA.

The International Criminal Court at The Hague has indicted Kony on 33 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder and rape.

Last year, Invisible Children released the short film Kony 2012, which generated more than 100 million views online, bringing global attention to the LRA.

Washington Post

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Posted by Henry under VIDEOS FILMS MUSIC, WAR CRIMES

 

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Posted by Henry under VIDEOS FILMS MUSIC, WAR CRIMES

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