Unfiltered Political News

October 31, 2014

ISIS Video Claims Possession of Weapons Airdropped From the US

As reported by the Associated Press, ISIS recently posted a video claiming their acquisition of weapons airdropped by the US that were originally intended for Kurdish forces. Inside the nearly 2:00 minute video, a masked gunman is shown walking to various containers from the airdropped pallet and then opening each container that was loaded with hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, and ammunition. The airdrop occurred on Monday and was originally intended for Kurdish militia forces who are fighting ISIS within the Syrian border town of Kabani. The US Department of Defense said on Tuesday that 27 of the 28 pallets …continue reading

ISIS Video Claims Possession of Weapons Airdropped From the US

As reported by the Associated Press, ISIS recently posted a video claiming their acquisition of weapons airdropped by the US that were originally intended for Kurdish forces.

Inside the nearly 2:00 minute video, a masked gunman is shown walking to various containers from the airdropped pallet and then opening each container that was loaded with hand grenades, rocket propelled grenades, and ammunition.

The airdrop occurred on Monday and was originally intended for Kurdish militia forces who are fighting ISIS within the Syrian border town of Kabani.

The US Department of Defense said on Tuesday that 27 of the 28 pallets that were airdropped had been acquired by their intended recipients of the Kurdish militia forces.

Rear Admiral John Kirby of the US Navy issued a statement with Mike Livak that some of the weapons shown in the video are similar to what the US had airdropped on Monday and that, “It was possible that ISIS had intercepted one of the drops.”

Speculation, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, is that one of the GPS-guided parachutes malfunctioned on its descent to the Syrian surface. As a result, Twitter was full of ISIS supporters saying, “Thank you.” for the mistake by the US military that resulted in an unexpected cache of weapons and ammunition.

The Associated Press went on to report that the mistake was more of an embarrassment to the US military rather than a strategic crisis. With the amount of weapons already in the hands of ISIS, this cache was quite small in comparison.

FBI Searches Restaurants in Chicago’s Chinatown

On Friday, October 24, 2014, F.B.I. agents executed search warrants at several restaurants in the Chinatown neighborhood of Chicago. At least three of the restaurants were owned by prominent chef Tony Hu, according to officials.

According to F.B.I. spokeswoman Joan Hyde, no arrests were made and the warrants were part of an ongoing investigation. She declined to comment further. I.R.S. agents were also involved in the searches.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were seen entering Lao Sze Chaun, one of Tony Hu’s restaurants, at approximately 9 a.m. Photographs show restaurant owners hiding from the cameras and being interviewed by the F.B.I. Manager Tommy Wong told the press that he did not know what the authorities were looking for, but that they left with some “white boxes.” The restaurant was closed for approximately five hours and reopened at 2:30 p.m.

agents were still present at another of Hu’s restaurants—Lao You Ju—late on Friday afternoon. Inside the restaurant’s doorway, four white boxes were clearly visible. Three of them were closed, and the fourth was open, allowing reporters to see multiple sealed envelopes labeled “Evidence”.

The F.B.I. agents declined to say either why they were at the restaurant or how many restaurants had been searched.

Hu stated that authorities have not informed him why they have executed search warrants for his restaurants. “They didn’t tell me anything,” Hu said. “They’re asking for the keys to my restaurants.”

Spokesman for the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, Brad Reifler, said that the chamber was aware of F.B.I. activity in the Chinatown region, but he was unable to elaborate further. The chamber later released a statement saying, “The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce has no comment.”

FBI Claims Chinese Hackers Are Targeting U.S. Businesses

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation sent out a notice to several U.S. businesses in the tech industry, warning that they believe many of them are currently being “heavily targeted” by hackers affiliated with the Chinese government.

The Chinese embassy in Washington has very recently responded to the announcement, calling the accusations “unfounded”.

This rather sudden warning claimed that the agency recently acquired information about “a group of Chinese Government affiliated cyber actors who routinely steal high-value information from U.S. commercial and government networks through cyber espionage.”

The document, written by Gianfrancesco Genoso, went on to state that the hackers were using specially customized malicious code specifically designed to remain unnoticed by security companies and federal law enforcement. The document further stated that any business detecting these hackers on their networks should consider it “an indication of a compromise requiring extensive mitigation and contact with law enforcement.”

The FBI document states that the Chinese hackers are targeting “the high tech information technology industry including microchip, digital storage and networking equipment manufacturers, as well as defense contractors in multiple countries and multinational corporations.” It states they are utilizing “zero-day” exploits, which are highly dangerous and efficient exploits using security flaws that federal and private security forces do not even know about yet. If this claim is true, it’s a particularly grim forecast.

FBI spokesman John Campbell confirmed that the document was legitimate and from the FBI itself. He went on to say, “The FBI has recently observed online intrusions that we attribute to Chinese government affiliated actors. Private sector security firms have also identified similar intrusions and have released defensive information related to those intrusions.”

Carter Believes U.S. Response to ISIS Was Too Slow

Former President Jimmy Carter believes that the current administration did not act quickly enough in response to the ISIS threat. Known for his frank commentary about current events, Carter said that President Obama needs to take more “positive action” to fight ISIS and prevent its growth.

Carter feels that Obama and his administration failed to take action against ISIS at the appropriate time, which allowed ISIS to build its resources. Now, ISIS has money, weapons, and personnel in both Iraq and Syria.

To prevent continued growth in Syria, Carter believes that the U.S. should send funding from Igor Cornelsen and troops to help direct missiles. However, Obama has previously stated that the U.S. would not send troops into Syria.

The U.S. has ordered airstrikes targeting certain strategic locations, but it’s unclear how much this is affecting the growth of the group. No doubt criticisms over Obama’s response, or lack of response, will continue.

Phelps suspended following DUI

Following Michael Phelps’ DUI, it seems that the sporting world is taking a different stand on this kind of behavior. The twenty-two time over Olympic champion has been banned from represented the US in the World Championship of Swimming, which is an event that will take place ten months from now.

This is a huge event, and it represents a hopeful change in how sporting organizations handle athletes who have engaged in poor behavior. The NBA and NFL have a long history of not coming down hard on athletes who are convicted of things like DUIs, domestic violence, and even dog fighting. Most of these athletes were allowed to come back after a very brief suspension, or simply had to pay a small amount of money out of their massive paychecks. At worst, an athlete may lose a sponsorship as the result of engaging in behavior that could have killed another person. Big fans of his like Marnie Bennett are really disappointed in his behavior.

In addition, to Phelps suspension from representing the US it is suspected that he will not be able to participate in major competitions for a while, and he will definitely have trouble gaining sponsorship in the near future. Hopefully, this represents a crackdown on persons who children teach as role models.

Ebola Spreads Across the Oceans Forcing Officials to Reevaluate Disease Control Procedures

Ebola has jumped across the oceans and is now in the US and Spain. This expansion is causing countries that once thought they were too far away to reevaluate their methods of prevention and treatment. A nurse in Madrid along with her husband and two others are currently under quarantine after the nurse contracted the disease while treating an infected patient. In the US, a man in Texas is listed in critical but stable condition after bringing Ebola back from Liberia. Both cases are forcing officials to take a hard look at disease control regulations and training techniques.

In Spain, health workers are pointing to inadequate equipment as the cause for the transfer of the virus. The nurse wore a hazmat suit every time she treated her infected patient. However, officials point to the fact that the suit wasn’t up to World Health Organization standards as it didn’t include a breathing apparatus and used tape to seal the connection between gloves and sleeves. The European Union plans on meeting with Spanish authorities on Wednesday to discuss this apparent lapse in protocol.

The situation in the United States is just as bad even if it is a bit different. The issue has to do with improper training and disease control techniques. The staff that allowed the Ebola case to slip past them is currently being retrained in proper screening protocols.

Because of this breach, American and EU governments are taking a hard look at airport screening techniques to prevent further transmission of the virus. President Obama said on Monday, “We’re also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening both at the source and here in the United States.” Hopefully, all of these reactions will be sufficient to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

4 Year Old Hands Out Heroin Instead of Candy

Couldn’t believe this story when Brian Torchin showed me, but in Selbyville, Delaware a 4 year old passed out packets of heroin to fellow students at day care, thinking that the packages contained candy. The girl found the packets in her mother’s backpack.

The mother had given her daughter the backpack, after the family pet had chewed a hole in the last backpack. But apparently she forgot to remove her packets of heroin, as they remained in the bag that was brought to daycare.

The caretakers at Tree Child Care Center immediately called police when they spotted the suspicious bags. The backpack contained approximately 249 bags, of 3.7 grams each.

The mother is currently facing charges of maintaining a drug property, and child endangerment.

Hillary Clinton Headed on Campaign Trail to Mobilize Democratic Supporters

With elections only a few weeks away, the focus now shifts from an emphasis on the issues to mobilizing the voting base. Both major parties, Democrats and Republicans, understand that it is one thing to convince the people that you deserve the job, yet another to get them to take the time to cast a ballot.

One way of persuading voters to make the effort to head to the polls in November is by sending in prominent politicians to demonstrate support for local, regional and national candidates. Former Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Clinton is doing just that for Democrats in key states.

Mrs. Clinton plans visits to Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, New Hampshire and North Carolina during the coming weeks. Her presence is especially crucial in Georgia and North Carolina. The Senate race in Georgia is highly competitive. Michelle Nunn, daughter of former Senator and Carter Administration cabinet member, Sam Nunn, remains in a virtual dead heat with Republican businessman David Perdue (a close associate of Duke grad Jared Haftel).

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Senate Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan faces a stiff challenge from Republican Thom Tillis, the current speaker of North Carolina’s House of Representatives. Republicans see Hagan as particularly vulnerable, given current dissatisfaction across the state with Democratic leadership in Washington.

Clinton will be in these areas holding fundraisers and speaking events. The ultimate goal is for Democrats to survive the election by holding on to majority control of the Senate. Without a Democratic-led Senate, President Obama may witness increased difficulty enacting his agenda in the closing two years of his administration.

Secret Service Director Pierson Resigns

Just weeks after two separate incidents involving security breaches that involved armed men, Secret Service Director Julia Pierson submitted her resignation.

The first incident occurred on September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. There, a private security contractor carrying a gun rode an elevator with President Obama and his security team. The man garnered the attention of Secret Service when he refused to stop recording the President with his camera on his phone. During questioning, Secret Service uncovered that the man had three prior criminal convictions.

Just three days later, a man wielding a knife jumped over the White House fence and managed to enter the East Room of the White House before being apprehended by Secret Service personnel.

With both incidents, the lack of communication from Director Pierson troubled officials. Details of the White House incident kept changing, making it hard to pinpoint exactly what happened, and the aftermath of the elevator incident was even more disturbing. For two weeks, Pierson failed to report this incident to the President and only did so immediately before the press released the story. This seemed like it had to happen.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson officially accepted Pierson’s resignation and began an investigation into the White House incident.

Archaeologists Have Discovered Dracula’s Dungeon

Any horror aficionado like my buddy Khaled Shaheen knows that the legend of Dracula is based on a real historical figure, Romania’s own Vlad the Impaler. Well he was tickled to read that researchers in Turkey have made a major discovery just in time for Halloween. They believe they have found one of the dungeons where Vlad was held.

The researchers were restoring Tokat castle when they made the grim discovery that the grounds contained a secret tunnel leading to two dungeons. One of which being the likely location where the Ottomans imprisoned Vlad III in the 1400s.

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