Hey Obama, Kerry, Rhodes, Explain this Secret on Iran Deal

Related reading: Flying Above the Radar, Sanctions Evasion in the Iranian Aviation Sector

Related reading: Banking & Money Laundering Risk

Iranian financial institutions remain locked out of the U.S. financial system, and therefore cut off from much of the global financial system. International banks have been hit with $14 billion in fines since 2009 for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. The U.S. continues to designate the entire Iranian financial sector as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.


Iran urged to avoid further ballistic missile launches, to preserve deal July 18, 2016

Iran has been urged not to carry out further ballistic missile tests, which might be deemed inconsistent with the “constructive spirit” of the nuclear deal struck with world powers a year ago.

The call came from UN Under Secretary-General Jeffrey Feltman, briefing the Security Council on the implementation of the resolution which endorsed the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

AP Exclusive: Confidential text eases Iran nuke constraints

VIENNA (AP) — Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program imposed under an internationally negotiated deal will start to ease years before the 15-year accord expires, advancing Tehran’s ability to build a bomb even before the end the pact, according to a document obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

The document is the only text linked to last year’s deal between Iran and six foreign powers that hasn’t been made public, although U.S. officials say members of Congress have been able to see it. It was given to the AP by a diplomat whose work has focused on Iran’s nuclear program for more than a decade, and its authenticity was confirmed by another diplomat who possesses the same document.

The diplomat who shared the document with the AP described it as an add-on agreement to the nuclear deal. But while formally separate from that accord, he said that it was in effect an integral part of the deal and had been approved both by Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, the six powers that negotiated the deal with Tehran.

Details published earlier outline most restraints on Iran’s nuclear program meant to reduce the threat that Tehran will turn nuclear activities it says are peaceful to making weapons.

But while some of the constraints extend for 15 years, documents in the public domain are short on details of what happens with Iran’s most proliferation-prone nuclear activity – its uranium enrichment – beyond the first 10 years of the agreement.

The document obtained by the AP fills in the gap. It says that as of January 2027 – 11 years after the deal was implemented – Iran can start replacing its mainstay centrifuges with thousands of advanced machines.

Centrifuges churn out uranium to levels that can range from use as reactor fuel and for medical and research purposes to much higher levels for the core of a nuclear warhead. From year 11 to 13, says the document, Iran can install centrifuges up to five times as efficient as the 5,060 machines it is now restricted to using.

Those new models will number less than those being used now, ranging between 2,500 and 3,500, depending on their efficiency, according to the document. But because they are more effective, they will allow Iran to enrich at more than twice the rate it is doing now.

The U.S. says the Iran nuclear agreement is tailored to ensure that Iran would need at least 12 months to “break out” and make enough weapons grade uranium for at least one weapon.

But based on a comparison of outputs between the old and newer machines, if the enrichment rate doubles, that breakout time would be reduced to six months, or even less if the efficiency is more than double, a possibility the document allows for.

The document also allows Iran to greatly expand its work with centrifuges that are even more advanced, including large-scale testing in preparation for the deal’s expiry 15 years after its implementation on Jan. 18.

A U.S. official noted, however, that the limit on the amount of enriched uranium Iran will be allowed to store will remain at 300 kilograms (660 pounds) for the full 15 years, significantly below the amount needed for a bomb. As well, it will remain restricted to a level used for reactor fuel that is well below weapons grade. Like the diplomats, the official demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing the document.

“We have ensured that Iran’s breakout time comes down gradually after year 10 in large part because of restrictions on its uranium stockpile until year 15,” the official said. “As for breakout times after the initial 10 years of the deal, the breakout time does not go off a cliff nor do we believe that it would be immediately cut in half, to six months.”

Still the easing of restrictions on the number and kind of centrifuges means that once the deal expires, Tehran will be positioned to quickly make enough highly enriched uranium to bring up its stockpile to a level that would allow it to make a bomb in half a year, should it choose to do so.

The document doesn’t say what happens with enrichment past year 13. That indicates a possible end to all restrictions on the number and kind of centrifuges even while constraints on other, less-proliferation prone nuclear activities remain until year 15.

Iran insists it is not interested in nuclear weapons, and the pact is being closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA says Tehran has essentially kept to its commitments since the agreement was implemented, a little more than six months after Iran and the six powers finalized it on July 14, 2015.

Marking the agreement’s anniversary Thursday, President Barack Obama said it has succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, “avoiding further conflict and making us safer.” But opposition from U.S. Republicans could increase with the revelation that Iran’s potential breakout time would be more than halved over the last few years of the pact.

Also opposed is Israel, which in the past has threatened to strike Iran if it deems that Tehran is close to making a nuclear weapon. Alluding to that possibility, David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security is a U.S. government go-to resource on Iran’s nuclear program, said the plan outlined in the document “will create a great deal of instability and possibly even lead to war, if regional tensions have not subsided.”

The deal provides Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for its nuclear constraints. But before going into recess, U.S. Congress last week approved a bill to impose new sanctions for Tehran’s continuing development and testing of ballistic missiles, a program the White House says is meant to carry atomic warheads even if it is not part of the nuclear agreement.

It also approved a measure that calls for prohibiting the Obama administration from buying more of Iran’s heavy water, a key component in certain nuclear reactors.

The White House has said removing the country’s surplus heavy water denies Tehran access to a material that may be stored for potential nuclear weapons production. But critics note that the purchase was made only after Iran exceeded heavy water limits proscribed by the nuclear deal and assert it rewarded Tehran for violating the agreement.

Post Coup Attempt, Erdogan is Punishing USA

Recep Erdogan said he would punish the United States for giving sanctuary to Fethullah Gulen and refusing to extradict him back to Turkey. Gulen, once an ally of Erdogan fled to the United States in 1999 and lives in Pennsylvania.

An angry dictator, Erdogan is now punishing the United States military, when the U.S. is the lead nation of NATO, of which Turkey is also a member. In general back and forth phone calls, Erdogan is making key demands beyond that of Gulen including deeper retribution to those in the West that helped coordinate the coup against him. By all appearances and a deeper examination, this coup has all the signals of a staged operation by Erdogan himself. He is a master manipulator and has kept the borders between Turkey and Syria wide open where Islamic fighters for al Qaeda, al Nusra and Islamic State for the most part travel freely even with major pressure from the West to stop.


Turkey closes air space over Incirlik, grounding US aircraft at base

Stripes/STUTTGART, Germany — U.S. military operations against the Islamic State group out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base came to a halt Saturday afternoon as the Turkish military closed the airspace around the base following an attempted coup, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Power also was cut to the base and the U.S. was restricting movements of its personnel as base security was raised to the highest level.

“The Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, and as a result, air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. “U.S. officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible.”

Hours earlier, a U.S. defense official said U.S. air operations from the base had not been affected and were continuing against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish authorities told the U.S. they were closing the air space until they could be sure all Turkish air force assets were under government control, CNN reported, citing a U.S. defense official.

U.S. planes that had already flown out on missions were allowed to land, CNN reported.

The power cuts to the base had not affected base operations, Cook said: “U.S. facilities at Incirlik are operating on internal power sources.”

The U.S. Embassy said in a post on its website that local authorities were denying movement on and off the Turkish owned and operated base. But a spokesman for U.S. European command said that did not apply to U.S. personnel.

“There was not chaos at this base,” said EUCOM spokesman Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez, describing conditions at Incirlik. “All our assets in Turkey are fully under control and there was no attempt to challenge that status.”

Given that the base has moved to DELTA — the highest level of security, all U.S. personnel are restricted to Incirlik by U.S. order, Hernandez said.

While there have been reports that Incirlik has been surrounded by authorities, limiting the movement of U.S. personnel, Hernandez said that is not the case.

“We are already at DELTA, which makes security thicker,” said Hernandez, who added base officials were working to restore commercial power on base.

Measures were being taken to ensure the safety of personnel operating out of Turkey, Cook said. “We continue our efforts to fully account for all Department of Defense personnel in Turkey. All indications at this time are that everyone is safe and secure,” Cook said. “We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our servicemembers, our civilians, their families and our facilities.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted earlier in the day that he had confirmed in a Saturday phone call with NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, who also heads U.S. European Command, that all U.S. and NATO personnel in Turkey were safe and accounted for.

“Turkey is a strong NATO ally and an important partner in the international coalition against ISIL,” Scaparrotti said in a statement, using an acronym for the Islamic State group. His statement did not address the current state of operations at Incirlik. “I am intently monitoring and assessing the security situation and will continue working closely with the U.S. Department of State and our allies to ensure every possible effort is taken to safeguard our servicemembers, civilians and their families — plus continue to focus on our operations against ISIL.”

Cook said that while air operations at the Turkish-owned and operated base were halted, the U.S. was “adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign.”

The U.S. has been launching strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria from other staging areas, including aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

The reported shutdown illustrates how the attempted coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatens to complicate how the U.S. and its NATO allies work with a country on the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State group.

Turkey, by virtue of geography, is a crucial player in the U.S.-led campaign to target Islamic State militants in neighboring Iraq and Syria.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in remarks in Luxembourg Saturday said that hadn’t changed.

“As of this moment, Turkey’s cooperation with us in our counterterrorism efforts, in our NATO obligations, and in our regional efforts with respect to Syria and ISIS have not been affected negatively,” Kerry said, using another acronym for the Islamic State group. “All of that has continued as before.”

However, Turkey has frustrated the West with its failure to aggressively confront the back and forth flow of extremists across Turkey’s southern border. Turkey has long been the key point of transit for Islamic State fighters and others moving in and out of Syria. Critics have accused the Erdogan government of turning a blind eye to such militants, who have fought against Turkey’s nemesis Bashar Assad in Syria.

Turkey also regards Kurdish forces — a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State — as its primary enemy, thereby complicating U.S. efforts to build a coherent alliance.

In recent months, Turkey also has increasingly become a target for terrorists, who have conducted major strikes in Istanbul and Ankara, exposing Turkey’s own vulnerability to attacks from militants.

In March, such concerns led EUCOM to order military family members based at Incirlik and other smaller facilities to depart the country, ending the longtime presence of military dependents in Turkey.

Currently, the U.S. has about 2,500 troops in Turkey mostly based at Incirlik and deployed in the fight against the Islamic State group.

The U.S. also operates out of Diyarbakir Air Base near Turkey’s border with Syria as well as a NATO facility in Izmir and Aksaz Naval Base along the Aegean Sea. There was no word on whether flights out of Diyarbakir were also halted.

Turkey has long been a complicated, sometimes unreliable partner in the fight against the Islamic State. After the U.S.-led air campaign against the Islamic State began in 2014, Turkey at first resisted U.S. requests to launch strikes form Turkish territory, which would shrink flight times for U.S. fighters and drones targeting militants.

After a wave of terrorist attacks, Ankara reversed course in the summer of 2015 and allowed strike operations out of Incirlik, where A-10s, F-15s and drones have routinely taken part in missions. NATO surveillance aircraft also have operated form Turkish facilities.

Stoltenberg, calling Turkey a “valued NATO ally,” appealed for calm and restraint “and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution.”

For the U.S., how the crisis unfolds could determine whether military operations can continue in Turkey. In past coups or coup attempts since 1960, U.S. and NATO bases and troops were never affected. But if the government fails to maintain the upper hand it claimed on saturday to have, the U.S. could be bound by laws that prohibit partnering with countries where military forces overthrow a democratically elected government.

It is not always cut and dry. In Egypt, the U.S. temporarily cut off aid in 2012 when a democratically elected government was overthrown, but financial support resumed after coup leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was elected president, amid concerns about Islamic extremists in the country.

Given Turkey’s status as a NATO ally and a front-line state in the fight against the Islamic State group, Washington could look for a legal workaround even if a coup were to succeed.

For now, the U.S. is backing the government and urging calm.

After talking with President Obama late Friday, Kerry said, “we agreed directly at that time … that the United States, without any hesitation, squarely and unequivocally stands for democratic leadership, for the respect for a democratically elected leader, and for a constitutional process in that regard, and we stand by the government of Turkey.”

Nice, France 79 Dead, 100’s Wounded, Terror

France’s Francois Holland had only hours earlier lifted the state of emergency and it was Bastille Day. The fireworks show was just over and thousands of people were leaving until, they were mowed down by a large truck on a main boulevard.

Getting run over promoted by ISIS spokesman ‘Adnani in September 2014 and AQAP in Issue 2 of Inspire Magazine in 2010. No one has yet claimed responsibility. This has been a tactic of the Palestinians in Israel. In recent days, the U.S. State Department and authorities from the White House have said that Islamic State’s caliphate is collapsing and their territory is shrinking. 30,000 foreign had once left their respective homelands to join Islamic State, now there are an estimated 15,000 that remain. The others have returned home with orders to hit soft targets.

Reports: ISIS-affiliated “channels” circulate “posters” celebrating #Nice attack

As noted and previously published on this website, Islamic State has created global cells where Southeast Asia has been attacked, Turkey has been attacked and Europe is factually under siege. There is a relationship between Islamic State and al Qaeda while the respective leadership has disagreed on methods and tactics. It is also noted that many Islamic State fighters have fled to join the ranks of al Qaeda in regions outside of Syria and Iraq to include Malaysia, Libya, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Untraditional recruitment

Traditional recruitment through indoctrination at Islamic study groups that can be easily detected and monitored by authorities has been replaced by instant messaging and social media, said Hamidin, who goes by one name. “This is the problem we are currently facing.”

ISIS has also attracted the support of long-established networks of fighters. Abu Sayyaf, a group in the southern Philippines that professes radical Islamic ideology but which is better known for banditry and kidnappings, has declared allegiance to ISIS.

So too have the militants who follow Santoso, Indonesia’s most wanted radical, who is under siege from government forces in his jungle hideout on Sulawesi. But the attacks ISIS has inspired in Southeast Asia have had less impact because of the inexperience of the recruits combined with the vigilance of security forces in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Plus, many of the hardened Indonesian militants who were part of ISIS linked Jemaah Islamiyah network behind the 2002 Bali bombings and other attacks are in prison or opposed to ISIS ideology and tactics.

Even the Jan. 14 suicide bombing and gun attack by ISIS followers in the Indonesian capital Jakarta that killed eight people including the four attackers was regarded as amateur by experts and in militant circles.

The June grenade attack near Kuala Lumpur was an example of the low level of ISIS capability in Malaysia but also a sign it is training to make a bigger impact in the future, said Badrul Hisham Ismail, an analyst with Iman Research, a Malaysian group that studies religion and society. The threat level has risen because IS has shifted focus to build an Islamic state in this region,” he said. ISIS recruitment has become more aggressive and some Malaysian militants have joined Abu Sayyaf in the southern Philippines, Badrul Hisham said. More here.

The truck was loaded with some grenades and the driver is dead.

Shot were fired by the truck driver and police responded in a shootout.

Guns and grenades have been found in the truck which was used by terrorist to commit the attack. As the death toll continues to rise, the Nice attack has now become the 3rd deadliest terror attack in Europe since 2000.

Footage appears to show police drawing guns and possibly shooting at the truck as it began to accelerate.



But John Kerry, Iran Does Support al Qaeda


The State Department confirmed that Iran continues to work with Al-Qaeda elements, despite
their expressed hostility towards one another. It stated: “Iran remained unwilling to bring to
justice senior Al-Qaeda (AQ) members it continued to detain, and refused to publicly identify
those senior members in its custody.
Iran allowed AQ facilitators Muhsin al-Fadhli and Adel Radi Saq al-Wahabi al-Harbi to operate a
core facilitation pipeline through Iran, enabling AQ to move funds and fighters to South Asia and
also to Syria.

Al-Fadhli is a veteran AQ operative who has been active for years. Al-Fadhli began working with the Iran-based AQ facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by Iranian authorities. He was released in 2011 and assumed leadership of the Iran-based AQ facilitation network.” Clarion Project

Related reading: Al Qaeda’s Global Reach – State Dept Foreign Terror Org. List

Related reading: Usama bin Ladin’s sons thought to be in Iran

Related reading: Osama bin Laden’s Son Threatens Revenge Against U.S. For Father’s Assassination

Top Intel Official: Al Qaeda Worked on WMD in Iran

New evidence of the bin Laden-Iran connection.

WeeklyStandard: Al Qaeda operatives based in Iran worked on  and biological weapons, according to a letter written to Osama bin Laden that is described in a new book by a top former U.S. intelligence official.

The letter was captured by a U.S. military sensitive site exploitation team during the raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad headquarters in May 2011. It is described in Field of Fight, out Tuesday from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Michael Ledeen of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

“One letter to bin Laden reveals that al Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran,” Flynn writes.

Flynn’s claim, if true, significantly advances what we know about al Qaeda’s activity in Iran. The book was cleared by the intelligence community’s classification review process. And U.S. intelligence sources familiar with the bin Laden documents tell us the disclosure on al Qaeda’s WMD work is accurate.

Flynn notes that only a small subset of bin Laden’s files have been released to the public. The “Defense Intelligence Agency’s numerous summaries and analyses of the files remain classified,” too, Flynn writes. “But even the public peek gives us considerable insight into the capabilities of this very dangerous global organization.”

It’s not just al Qaeda.


“There’s a lot of information on Iran in the files and computer discs captured at the Pakistan hideout of Osama bin Laden,” Flynn writes in the introduction. The authors note that the relationship between Iran and al Qaeda “has always been strained” and “[s]ometimes bin Laden himself would erupt angrily at the Iranians.” Previously released documents and other evidence show that al Qaeda kidnapped an Iranian diplomat in order to force a hostage exchange and bin Laden was very concerned about the Iranians’ ability to track his family members.

And yet the book makes clear that Flynn believes there is much more to the al Qaeda-Iran relationship than the public has been told. And that’s not an accident. Obama administration “censors have been busy,” Flynn writes, blocking the release of the bin Laden documents to the public and, in some cases, to analysts inside the U.S. intelligence community. “Some of it—a tiny fraction—has been declassified and released, but the bulk of it is still under official seal. Those of us who have read bin Laden’s material know how important it is…”

Not surprisingly, Obama administration officials bristle at Flynn’s characterization of their lack of transparency and lack of urgency on jihadists and their state sponsors. “Mike Flynn, in true Kremlin form, has been peddling these baseless conspiracy theories for years. Anyone who thinks Iran was or is in bed with al Qaeda doesn’t know much about either,” an Obama administration official told THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

It’s an odd line of attack, given the fact that the Obama administration has repeatedly accused Iran of directly aiding al Qaeda. The Treasury and State Departments publicly accused the Iranian regime of allowing al Qaeda to operate inside Iran in: July 2011, December 2011, February 2012,July 2012, October 2012, May 2013, January 2014, February 2014, April 2014, and August 2014. In addition, in congressional testimony in February 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the relationship as a “marriage of convenience.”

Asked about the administration’s own repeated statements pointing to the Iranian regime’s deal with al Qaeda, the administration official who dismissed Flynn’s claim as a “baseless conspiracy” theory declined to comment further.

The Flynn/Ledeen claim about al Qaeda’s WMD work in Iran comes with an interesting wrinkle. The authors preface their disclosure of al Qaeda’s work on “chemical and biological weapons in Iran” by suggesting that the revelation was included in documents already public.

But the only document released to date that seems to touch on the subject is a March 28, 2007, letter to an al Qaeda operative known as “Hafiz Sultan.” The letter, which discussed the possibility of Iran-based al Qaeda operatives using chlorine gas on Kurdish leaders and includes a likely reference to Atiyah ‘Abd-al-Rahman, was released by the administration via the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point in May 2012. President Obama’s Treasury Department has claimed that Rahman was appointed by Osama bin Laden “to serve as al Qaeda’s emissary in Iran, a position which allowed him to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of Iranian officials.” It is not, however, addressed to bin Laden and it does not include a reference to biological weapons.

And while the U.S. Treasury and State Department have repeatedly sanctioned al Qaeda’s operatives inside Iran and offered rewards for information on their activities, as noted, statements from Treasury and the State Department do not mention al Qaeda’s “chemical and biological weapons” work inside Iran.

The takeaway: It does not appear that the al Qaeda document referenced by Flynn has been released by the U.S. government.

Flynn and others who have seen the documents say there are more explosive revelations in the bin Laden files kept from the public. Those already released give us a hint. One document, released in 2015, is a letter presumably written by Osama bin Laden to the “Honorable brother Karim.” The recipient of the October 18, 2007, missive, “Karim,” was likely an al Qaeda veteran known Abu Ayyub al Masri, who led al Qaeda in the Iraq (AQI) at the time.

Bin Laden chastised the AQI leader for threatening to attack Iran. The al Qaeda master offered a number of reasons why this didn’t make sense. “You did not consult with us on that serious issue that affects the general welfare of all of us,” bin Laden wrote. “We expected you would consult with us for these important matters, for as you are aware, Iran is our main artery for funds, personnel, and communication, as well as the matter of hostages.”

That language from bin Laden sounds a lot like the language the Obama administration used in July 2011, when a statement from the U.S. Treasury noted that the network in Iran “serves as the core pipeline through which Al Qaeda moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.”

David Cohen, who was then a top Treasury official and is now the number two official at the CIA, told us back then: “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate. There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.”

Why, then, is the Obama administration attempting to dismiss the cooperative relationship between Iran and al Qaeda as a “baseless conspiracy?” Good question.

And it’s one that releasing the rest of the documents could help answer.

Note: Flynn’s co-author Michael Ledeen is a colleague of Thomas Joscelyn at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


Most recently, in September, the Obama administration launched missile strikes against al Qaeda’s so-called Khorasan Group in Syria. The administration pointed to  indicating that this cadre of “core” al Qaeda operatives was planning mass killings in the West, and possibly even in the United States. Two of the terrorists who lead the Khorasan Group formerly headed al Qaeda’s operations in Iran. Tellingly, Iran allowed this pair to continue their fight against the West, even as they have battled Iran’s chief allies in Syria.

Obama’s Treasury Department first publicly recognized the relationship between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda on July 28, 2011. Treasury added six al Qaeda operatives to the U.S. government’s list of designated terrorists. The principal terrorist among them is known as Yasin al-Suri, “a prominent Iran-based al Qaeda facilitator” who operates “under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Iranian government.” Treasury described al Qaeda’s presence in Iran as a “core pipeline” and “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Treasury made it clear that other high-level al Qaeda members were actively involved in shuttling cash and recruits across Iran.

Facebook Faces $1 Billion Lawsuit, Aids Terror

Privacy is one thing, but offering encrypted platforms with no oversight for terror communications is quite another. Since at least 2014, Islamic State, al Qaeda and  al Nusra have all used Facebook and other social media platforms where Twitter has been especially uncooperative with security and investigation officials fighting against terrorist exploitation. Is it really a 1st Amendment protection when communications are generated by declared enemy combatants? Then there is the New Black Panthers and Black Lives Matters. The debate continues.

Due mostly to Edward Snowden revealing abilities of the United States to capture intelligence of terror networks, global terrorists have successfully sought other platforms.

Some popular social media platforms are seeing a drop in use by terror groups, yet there are countless others replacing them including apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. Islamic State has a robust program on these apps for their sex trade.

Facebook began rolling out a new end-to-end encryption feature on Friday called “secret conversations” with the goal of making users feel more comfortable chatting about sensitive subjects in the app.

“We’ve heard from you that there are times when you want additional safeguards — perhaps when discussing private information like an illness or a health issue with trusted friends and family, or sending financial information to an accountant,” the company said in a release announcing the new feature.

With the new feature, Facebook Messenger’s 900 million users can choose to encrypt specific conversations so that the messages can only be read on one specific device. Facebook is also giving users the option to determine how long each message can be read for. More from CNN

Families of Victims of Hamas Terror Sue Facebook for $1 Billion


PJMedia: Facebook is being hit with a $1 billion lawsuit after allegedly allowing the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas use its platform to plot attacks in Israel and the West Bank that killed and wounded Americans. According to Bloomberg News: “Plaintiffs include the families of Yaakov Naftali Fraenkel, a 16-year-old abducted and murdered in June 2014 after hitching a ride in the West Bank, and 3-year-old Chaya Braun, whose stroller was struck intentionally by a Palestinian driver in October 2014 at a train station in Jerusalem.”

“Facebook has knowingly provided material support and resources to Hamas in the form of Facebook’s online social network platform and communication services,” making it liable for the violence against the five Americans, according to the lawsuit sent to Bloomberg by the office of the Israeli lawyer on the case, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner.“Simply put, Hamas uses Facebook as a tool for engaging in terrorism,” it said.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S., European Union and Israel. The suit said the group used Facebook to share operational and tactical information with members and followers, posting notices of upcoming demonstrations, road closures, Israeli military actions and instructions to operatives to carry out the attacks.

Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas leader, said by phone that “suing Facebook clearly shows the American policy of fighting freedom of the press and expression” and is evidence of U.S. prejudice against the group and “its just cause.”

It’s not at all clear that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — an influential Obama ally — would disagree with al-Masri. It’s not clear that the president would either.

While Hamas has been designated a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State since 1997 President Obama and his national security team seem to have a far more favorable view of them. Rather than reject the Hamas and the Palestinian Authority unity government that was formed in 2014, the Obama administration continued to fund it to the tune of $500 million a year.

This alarmed American lawmakers so much, 88 senators from across party lines sent a message of “grave concern” to the White House, warning that the new PA unity effort might jeopardize direct negotiations with Israel. “Any assistance should only be provided when we have confidence that this new government is in full compliance with the restrictions contained in current law,” the letter read. More here.