Homegrown Canadian Terrorists

By Jonathan Wade (Article also featured in SOFREP.com)

A new type of war has begun for Canadians. Terrorist attacks are now happening within our own borders. In recent days, two Canadian soldiers were run over by a radicalized Canadian named Martin Ahmad Rouleau. Unfortunately, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed in the attack. He was 53 years old.

Our very own Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is severely lacking the budget to be able to closely monitor all possible terrorist threats. As a matter of fact, Rouleau was on a watch list and even got his passport revoked, so he was unable to fly abroad and join ISIS. Fortunately for Canadians, the CSIS relies heavily on the Five Eyes Intelligence Network. That being said, I have to say that our CSIS analysts and operatives are doing a great job with the budget they have.

This whole situation raised a question about Canada’s readiness against terrorist attacks. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and CSIS are more than capable of conducting intelligence operations. The fact that Canadians are willingly reporting possible threats really helps these two organizations. Unfortunately, they can’t monitor every possible terrorist threat due to the lack of budget.

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RCMP quickly put CDS General Tom Lawson into protection and evacuated him.

Since 2001, Canada has been an active player in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and deployed forces to Afghanistan, Libya, and now, Iraq. As an active partner in the coalition against terrorism, the Canadian government knows about possible domestic attacks.

The resources are scarce and the manpower is low. However, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney recently announced new powers for CSIS including:

  1. Allowing CSIS to obtain information on Canadians fighting abroad with terrorist groups through the “Five Eyes” spy network, which includes Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  2. Letting CSIS more easily track Canadians engaging in terrorist activities abroad, and similarly helping a Five Eyes country track its nationals working with terrorist groups in Canada.
  3. Giving CSIS informants the same anonymity accorded to police sources.

Having said all of that, it doesn’t take an established spy network to identify one of the core instruments at work to develop these homegrown terrorists: simple, ubiquitous social media. The new tool for ISIS’ propaganda.

Rouleau’s action is a pure example of what social media can do. Approximately a year ago, he started looking at propaganda videos and decided to convert to Islam because of them. His friends knew him as a very outgoing guy, but he quickly changed when he started watching those videos. He was also a father, but lost custody of his child due to his conversion to radical Islam.

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Martin Ahmad Rouleau

As with anything of this nature, a lot of speculation has revolved around Rouleau. Supposedly, he was part of a terrorist sleeper cell (I hate this term, but I have to include it) here in Quebec, Canada. He also had a profile on ummaland, a social network website for muslims. In one of his posts on Facebook, he circulated a quotation: “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” His Facebook cover picture was a black ISIS flag.

Many types of people live in and visit our country, which is great. But diversity doesn’t negate the fact that there are those out there who simply give off a bad vibe, a vibe that even citizens should be in tune to. Not long ago, I came across someone who raised a lot of suspicion while I was on vacation with my wife and two kids.

We took a cab to get from one museum to another. As I was about to pay, I asked him where he was from. When he told me he was from Iraq, I started saying how unfortunate the situation was with ISIL. He quickly responded that ISIL was the best thing that could happen to Iraq and they would kill Americans and their allies. Canada is one of those allies, I thought. I didn’t say anything; I was too pissed off. This situation was reported to the RCMP a few days later.

Many people are arguing that Rouleau wasn’t a terrorist. In fact, in Canada, section 83.01 of the Criminal Code defines terrorism as an act committed “in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective, or cause, with the intention of intimidating the public with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government, or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act.”

Another terrorist hit us two days after Rouleau ran over the two Canadian soldiers. In fact, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian native who was raised in Montreal, killed a Canadian soldier, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, while he was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier here in Ottawa. Quickly after that, he was able to enter the Canadian Parliament, but was taken down by Sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers after a quick firefight. We can consider ourselves lucky that he didn’t knew the building, because he was a few steps from the Prime Minister, who was in a conservative caucus. Had he known, Zehaf-bibeau could’ve performed a true massacre.

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Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s picture that was tweeted by ISIS account shortly after the attacks.

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Cpl Nathan Cirillo fought for his life but lost his combat.

This terrorist attacks locked down the entire Ottawa downtown area as the RCMP ERT, alongside some operators from CANSOFCOM and Ottawa police SWAT, tried to find a nonexistent second shooter. With all the confusion, some believed there were more than four shooters spread out around the parliament area.

Terrorist attacks create confusion, and social media quickly boosted that. Reports from unknown sources were tweeted every minute and were spreading like wildfire. Fortunately, the journalists present in the streets didn’t tweet nor say where the agents were and what they were doing. The Canadian press did a marvelous job while keeping their calm.

So Canada was confronted with two terrorist attacks in a matter of three days. We now know that both Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau had their passports revoked when they tried to fly to Turkey to join ISIS. Unconfirmed sources are even trying to link both together by pretending they were in communication in the days before both attacks.

I have to add that ISIS told their followers to do some lone wolf attacks with knives and rifles. I guess they want to create as much confusion as possible, as it’s harder to track those lone wolves who have been radicalized than a homegrown terrorist cell.

Is it time for the Canadian government to raise our very own intelligence service budget? I think this week’s events clearly tell us yes.

Written by Jonathan Wade @JWadeMoses, October 2014

AUTHOR BIO:

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Jonathan Wade is an Afghanistan combat veteran who served for 14 years as a Canadian light infantryman. He distinguished himself as a TCCC operator saving numerous ANA lives under fire, earning the Chief of Defense Staff Commendation. As an ANA mentor, Jonathan was WIA and is now writing for SOFREP, The Loadout Room. He is also bilingual and french is his first language.

Article Featured in SOFREP.com

Reproduced for Go Global Media by Permission from Author, Jonathan Wade.

Oct. 29, 2014

#SOF “Breacher up!” An Embassy Rescue.

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“Breacher up!” was definitely coming through my earpiece as clear as a bell. Shortly thereafter, I turned around to watch the last guy rope in, get his weapon up and give thumbs up to the crew chief. The 60 foot fast rope would be falling from the bird onto the roof because that’s our S.O.P. That’s what we do. As the bird (helicopter) ascended, the breacher mounted the water impulse charge onto a small hatch on the roof of the Embassy. Then I heard in my earpiece, “Breaching!” All shooters open our mouths when we heard that phrase on the net. The over pressure of an explosive charge nearby may can cause a concussion.

 

The fantastic thing about using explosives to gain entry into an enclosure is you don’t necessarily have to make a hole large enough to accommodate all of your shooters. You just need to defeat the locking mechanism enabling you to negotiate the door or whatever impedes your entry into the crisis point. On the roof of this “hypothetical” mission, we used what is referred to as a “water impulse” charge. An intravenous or (I-V) bag worked perfectly in the early 90s. Once the shot is blown, the water basically intensifies the outward pressure. Metaphorically speaking, this charge is a front thrust kick in the chest of the door rather than sharp, direct pressure of a slap / slant charge for dead bolts or stubborn locks. In this case, we achieved high order detonation with the (I-V) bag and the small hatch simply caved in and fell to the floor. The first guys in the stack cleared from top to bottom and secured the top floor room thus making it quasi safe for the rest of us.

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Safe helicopter insert, solid communications, tight security, positive breach and we had put a small team inside safely. No shots fired and everything was going smooth and almost completely as planned. That’s about the time the wheels came off and sugar turned into something less savory. I started hearing screaming, which was later identified as the Ambassador’s children in the very next room. With the breaching blast going off approximately 1-minute prior, the kids knew something was about to happen and they were waiting for whatever it was. I could smell the burned explosives in the air and see small pieces of green rigger’s tape that had been wrapped on the charge. Sights, sounds and smells make things REAL.

This was more intense than clearing old bunkers and doing patrols in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I had only been back for 2.5 months and already I was locked and loaded, but this time it felt a bit different. This was more intense than the Karate tournaments I fought in back in Mississippi. Once again, I tugged at my magazine to make sure it was fully seated, did a press check, settled the butt of my weapon snug into my shoulder and kept my head and eyes up. The voices of sharp-eyed Close Quarters Battle instructors whispered to me as I moved down the hall. Everything we do in training makes crucial differences when it’s real. Perfect practice makes perfect and only hits count. I was trying to stay in the bubble and keep my head in the game. I stayed behind the shooter in front of me who made me feel as safe as if he were a giant bulletproof shield or an angel guiding me back to Mississippi. My goggles fogged up as adrenaline flowed and my heart raced.
Suddenly, (1) unknown ran across the hallway about 7 yards in front of the stack. The point man did not engage as the unknown only exposed himself for about a second and surprised us all. The “Shoot first ask questions later” idea is for amateurs, air-softers and movie stars. We made entry into the room where the kids were huddled and they just cringed and cried with their eyes slammed shut. They had no idea who we were. The unknown in the room tried to run as we made entry probably foreseeing his ultimate demise. I should’ve watched my sector instead of locking on to him, but movement is the first thing that instinctively gets your attention. With all of the adrenaline, elevated heart rate and lack of experience, I followed the threat, I tracked him and at this distance there was no need to lead him. I squeezed my trigger softly as if it were a Pringles potato chip that I didn’t want to break. Had this been a REAL mission, I would focus on the clear tip of the front sight or the EO-Tech holographic sight. I remember hearing the recoil buffer spring inside the stock of my M16 instead of the shots. In my non-firing eye, I could see another shooter closing in towards my muzzle. Instinctively, I dropped the muzzle being sure I didn’t aim my rifle at another shooter and avoiding a possible friendly fire situation.
The first (3) shooters went deep and tried to get a front sight on the unknown and I stayed in about 2 feet in the room and 2 feet off of the wall. The kids were there on the floor nearly one arm distance from me with tears racing down their faces when I decided I’d better check this small room across from me. As I reached for the knob with my non-firing left hand, I took in a very deep breath and punched my M16 out at eye level. A (3) round burst went off just before I pulled the door open and I could tell it was a 16 instead of the AK, but it still freaked me completely out due to my hyper vigilance. Maybe I asked myself, “How could you volunteer for this?”

I grasped the knob tightly and turned it clockwise anticipating something to happen. My action is faster than his reaction as I yanked it open and quickly recovered my weapon with both hands at the point. The small room was full of janitorial supplies and no space for a body to hide. We were there to get the Ambassador and his family out, alive. So I began talking with the kids trying to calm them down. They were hysterical and frightened of me. It wasn’t until I pulled an olive drab and black American flag patch from my flight suit and showed them that they realized I was there to help them. Through my headset I heard (5) hostage takers reduced and all others were heading to the pickup point and the compound had been secured. As planned, I took my precious cargo over to the basketball court to wait for a CH53 super stallion (helicopter) that was in a holding pattern in the Atlantic. These are some things you may experience on these types of missions.

The men who train to do this very mission are the best in the world. While we drive to football or soccer games, they are waiting somewhere right now for the opportunity to rescue someone like these kids. They are willing to selflessly sacrifice, in some cases their lives, if the need should arise. They are part of the greatest military ever assembled. Regardless of what the news says, America is still strong. These men will see that it stays that way…

Their kids will not have their dads in the stands to cheer or encourage them…

So if you’re blessed and lucky enough to be at a game where they still play our National Anthem, please stand in reverence and quiet courtesy with hand over your heart. Remember these men who are out there on the wall so you can enjoy your freedoms and pray for them and their families. I know what it means to them and how much they appreciate it.

By Allen Ward
@award226
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#SOF “Quiet Pride”

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There is nothing in this world wrong with being proud of accomplishments. Be careful with that since pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  I know guys that have done things (life saving things down range) that continue to go unrecognized for nearly twenty years now. It’s in Law Enforcement just as much for what they endure on the street almost daily. However, in the SOF (Special Operations Forces) community, Quiet Pride has been the mantra for OpSec (Operational Security) and other reasons. Today it almost seems keeping a low profile with certain skill sets is a thing of the past. Now there are so many shooters who can drive tacks and who have been there and done that (as the saying goes).  In Hamlet, Polonius says to his son Laertes, “To thine own self be true.” This also can equate to “Quiet Professionalism”.
More often than not, if a man is as good as he thinks he is, there’s no need to broadcast his knowledge, skills or abilities because his peers already know. The enigma or mysterious way of a quiet special operator creates conversation among us and those like us. Somebody advised me as a child, “It’s better to be seen and not heard.” That same person also advised that if you face multiple threats, pay close attention to the quiet one. He is most likely planning his attack instead of talking about what his attack may be.
I’ve seen guys turn their shirts inside out to avoid compromising what particular unit they were with. That same mentality can be seen in professional Law Enforcement guys and gals who may be in a special unit. The real ones don’t have stickers, t- shirts or car tags displaying what they do. Target indicators are things that real guys do or won’t do that may give them away. God bless them and I love them all. I hope they make millions with their books because they deserve it. However, not at the cost of compromising skills and, or techniques used by military or Law Enforcement special operations units.
Finally, the guy who blows his own horn often and early has never been anywhere or done anything associated with either of these communities. He turns off those whom he seeks to impress with bragging of things he’s never done. I appreciate all of our Military and Law Enforcement service members regardless of their jobs or special skills sets. Their willingness to serve us is honorable enough. They should be proud of their service and sacrifice regardless of where, when, or how they served. It’s up to us as Americans to be “true to ourselves” and honor them.

By Allen J. Ward

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Colored Crypto Coins Paint Sophisticated Future for #Bitcoin

Written By Danny Bradbury (@dannybradbury)
Published on June 14, 2013 at 10:00 BST

Colorful Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a useful way to exchange money, but what if you could do other things with it? If bitcoiners could use it to issue shares, bonds and IOUs, or even to create alternative currencies atop bitcoins, they could add even more value to this innovative cryptocurrency. Bitcoinx, a community wanting to “democratize finance,” is hoping to facilitate just that, with a concept called “colored coins”.

Colored coins is a concept designed to be layered on top of Bitcoin, creating a new set of information about coins being exchanged. Using colored coins, bitcoins could be “colored” with specific attributes. This effectively turns them into tokens, which can be used to represent anything.

“It’s a distributed asset management infrastructure that leverages the Bitcoin infrastructure, allowing individuals and companies to issue various asset classes,” says Ron Gross, an Israeli programmer and active member of the bitcoin community, who was involved in the early stages of the colored coins project.

“The issued assets can then be traded between users without relying on a central authority. All the relevant advantages of Bitcoin apply (your account cannot be frozen, no middleman, cheap transactions).”

In a whitepaper (still in progress) on the subject, another contributor, Meni Rosenfeld, describes a variety of applications. Colored coins can be used to represent physical assets, such as a house or car. They could stand in for financial instruments such as stocks or bonds, or even interest-bearing assets. How about an IOU? Smartcoins open the way for credit infrastructures built on Bitcoin.

colorcoin1There are challenges for colored coins, however. One came in the form of a patch to the Bitcoin protocol, announced in early April. The “anti-dust” patch, as it has become known, imposed a minimum size on any output in a bitcoin transaction. An output is a unit in a bitcoin transaction that defines the new owner, and the amount of bitcoins that he or she receives. In the new setup, any amount fewer than 5,430 satoshis (0.0000543 bitcoins) is disregarded. The developers made this patch to stop people from stuffing the blockchain with lots of microscopic transactions.

While 5,430 satoshis may seem small, colored coins works best with far more granular transactions than this. The patch was a setback for the project. “Colored coins can still work more-or-less fine even with these drawbacks, but now people say we should redesign (the) coloring scheme,” says Alex Mizrahi, who heads the colored coins project. “There are several proposals, but this is just a major slowdown.”

What would it take to get the Bitcoin community using colored coins? Much depends on whether we’re talking about native support at the protocol level, or add-on, “floating” support in bitcoin clients.

Native support will help with the performance of thin clients (client-server versions that don’t store entire copies of the blockchain), says Mizrahi. “I believe it is very unlikely. Bitcoin does not welcome new features, from what I can tell.”

He expects native colored coin support in an altcurrency before bitcoin. However, the major Scrypt-based currencies aren’t looking at it. “We may look into providing some color coin implementation directly in the Litecoin protocol, but nothing is planned right now,“ said Litecoin creator Charles Lee.

Neither is Feathercoin, another Scrypt-based altcoin based on Litecoin. Founder Peter Bushnell said that he has his hands busy at the moment, after fending off a massive 51-percent attack earlier in June. “We are busy enough right now and find ourselves at a crossroads. This is the sort of thing I would like to look into at some point later on,” he says.

colorcoin2But the creator of another SHA-256 currency – Freicoin – is very interested in a variation on colored coins. It is perhaps no wonder that Mark Friedenbach is enthusiastic about the idea. After all, he wants to rewrite the rules of usury with his currency.

Building a colored coins technology that is binary-compatible with Bitcoin will be problematic, he asserts, because of what he describes as high transaction fees. “We came up with a proposal that achieves everything that people want from colored coins. We will implement those on Freicoin, and then let Freicoin be basically the medium for exchanging credit and IOUs in the same way that Bitcoin is for exchanging hard cash.”

He says that the specification is almost finished, and that he is working to get it peer reviewed. “As soon as we deploy Freicoin assets, we’ll be hitting the scaling of Bitcoin,” says Friedenbach. He’d better prepare himself, then, as he wants his version of colored coins – called Freicoin Assets – out by Christmas.

But Bitcoin could see its own implementation in the form of a floating set of specifications that can be implemented in third-party bitcoin clients, rather than in the protocol itself. The good news is that, unlike some other services such as anonymity, colored coins don’t explicitly need integrating into the protocol, says Tamás Blummer, CEO of Bits Of Proof. His company produces an open-source, enterprise-class Bitcoin server that he says can already propagate colored coins.

“Colored coins is a logical layer above the core Bitcoin protocol,” says Blummer. “I believe that it should not need changes, only extensions.” He aims to have a color-aware wallet by the autumn, and says that a supporting infrastructure for transactions could be reality by the end of the year.

In fact, clients are already available. Mizrahi and his colleagues produced a version of the Armory client capable of handling P2P colored coin transactions in January of this year. Then, realizing that colored coins added a processing burden to an already resource-hungry client, he produced a web-based client instead: WebcoinX.

colorcoin3Part of the problem with implementing colored coins, says Mizrahi, is getting developers to work on it. Gross agrees. “Unlike Bitcoin, a clear path to monetize the colored coin infrastructure hasn’t emerged yet. So, there is relatively little incentive for people for work on colored coin projects,” he says. “As a result, Ripple.com, a direct competitor, has gained significant market share. Ripple.com solves very similar problems to colored coins.”

Like colored coins, Ripple is designed to facilitate credit structures in the world of math-based currencies. But Ripple is based on its own currency, XRP, and is also still currently controlled by a holding company, putting it in direct opposition to the decentralized ethos underpinning Bitcoin.

There are other issues. Any credit-based mechanism in colored coins would have to involve an element of trust. In colored coins, the trust would have to happen “out of band,” using a separate system.

“I believe we’ll see some infrastructure around it. Something like rating agencies, which will audit companies that issue stocks, bonds and currencies based on colored coins,” says Mizrahi. Such third-party systems would verify assets.

“Of course, it is completely decentralized, and potentially such agencies will compete with each other. We are going to offer some support for this on an ‘asset-definition’ level,” he says.

Ratings agencies? Stocks? Bonds? Futures trading? All of this begins to sound suspiciously regulatory, doesn’t it? The Bitcoin community is still in a world of pain thanks to regulatory tensions over issues such as whether an exchange is a money services business. Now, bitcoinX is proposing a decentralized way to create complex financial instruments while dispensing with those pesky anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-client (KYC) rules.

If colored coins enable people to trade bitcoins as a placeholder for anything, they could land us in a world of trouble with already nervous governments. When bitcoins and stock trading have mixed in the past, things haven’t gone well. Remember the Global Bitcoin Stock Exchange?

“Tensions are unavoidable and will be even more severe here,” agrees Blummer. “I believe that Bitcoin has to work itself up the food chain, first targeting areas like crowd-funding before we attempt to ‘attack’ clearinghouses of stocks.”

Colored coins have a long way to go, but there is significant interest in making this work. David Johnston, the executive director of altcurrency investment network BitAngels, is interested in the concept.

The will and the technology is there. If Bitcoin is to get beyond the mundanities of mining, and turn into something more sophisticated, it needs this. The question is, who will use it first? As Blummer says: “Bitcoin is cash. With colored coin, you get the rest.”

Hiding Currency In The Dark Wallet: How ISIL Is Investing In Crypto Currency. #Bitcoin.

Hiding currency in the Dark Wallet
By Jen Copestake
BBC
19 September 2014

What if the software you developed ended up being used by extremists?

Amir Taaki is one of the key programmers behind a tool which could potentially hide the identity of people using the crypto-currency Bitcoin.

Along with Cody Wilson, the man who caused headlines for creating a 3D-printed gun, he has made the Dark Wallet.

The aim of the Dark Wallet is to make transactions done with the crypto-currency Bitcoin almost impossible to trace.

The US government and European Banking authorities are looking at regulating the use of the crypto-currency, and are particularly concerned about how the Dark Wallet could be used as a money laundering tool.

Recently those fears intensified when a blog about the technology was published and shared online. It discussed how extremists such as IS could maintain an anonymous online presence.

The blog has not been verified – but it supported the idea of the extremist group’s mission in Syria and Iraq.
It provided a step-by-step instruction guide to staying anonymous online, including how to use the anonymising Tor network – one of the ways people connect to the so-called “dark web” – and virtual private networks (VPNs) that are used to help hide people’s location and identity.

The blog included an instruction manual for how to stay undercover, emphasising that the Dark Wallet could be used to “send millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin instantly from the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, or wherever else, right to the pockets of the Mujahideen”.

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Amir Taaki believes people should be able to be private about their spending
“It is simple, easy, and we ask Allah to hasten its usage for us,” the blog read.
The software allows users to anonymise their Bitcoin transactions.

It involves “trustless mixing” a peer-to-peer technology where a transaction you make will get mixed up with someone else’s.

Stained stairs
Although tipped as a future billionaire by Forbes magazine, developer Taaki spends his time living in squats around Europe.

He’s currently in a central London squat, which was the centre of G8 protests last year. He points out the stained stairs where the protesters threw red paint bombs at police.

In a sparsely decorated large open-plan room sits a group of Taaki’s friends, fellow programmers working on the code and design of the Dark Wallet, along with an open-source journalist and a Bitcoin investor.

Sitting on the floor on one of the cushions is Peter Todd, one of the main developers of Bitcoin.

On the walls is scribbled an address to an old Silk Road site, which has now been shut down.

When questioned Taaki indicates he is comfortable with the possibility of his software being used by extremists in conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

Its apparent popularity with extremists is no concern to the Dark Wallet team
“Yeah, and in fact I shut down my Twitter account because they were shutting down IS accounts.

“I don’t think trying to censor information is the way to go.”
“You can’t stop people using technology because of your personal bias. We stand for free and open systems where anybody can participate, no matter who you are.”
Peter Todd agrees.

“I think obviously terrorists will use it and the benefits certainly outweigh the risk.

“Obviously terrorists use the internet, terrorists use freedom of speech and we’ve accepted that’s a trade-off we must make.”

Anarchic roots
It’s not a view that will sit easily with many people, but these strong libertarian ideals are driving the political side of the Bitcoin movement.
The currency is facing on one side increased calls for regulation from people who want to see Bitcoin become a mainstream payments mechanism and on the other side key developers who are trying to maintain its anarchic roots.

Dark Wallet team
The team behind Dark Wallet live in a London squat.

Current attempts at regulation in the United States include the introduction of the Bit Licence in New York – a licence to conduct business using Bitcoin – something that the Dark Wallet developers are fighting back against.
Jamie Bartlett, author of the Dark Net, has spent time with the Dark Wallet developers in their old hacklab in Calafou, Spain.

He said: “The sort of libertarian fringes of the Bitcoin movement are actually incredibly important.

“A lot of those individuals have kept true to the original spirit of Bitcoin which always was actually a political project to try to remove the power over currency and interest rates from central banks.”

For the developers of the Dark Wallet, they want their technology to be used in subversive ways, and note it could be more useful than real cash in the hands of a group like ISIL.

Freedom from scrutiny
But if transactions of Bitcoin do end up in the hands of IS fighters, it may increase the calls for further regulation from governments.

“If it comes to pass that IS are using Bitcoin or Dark Wallet, any other technology of this type then public concern and public opinion about these technologies will change dramatically,” says author Jamie Bartlett.

“Governments will start regulating far harder and public opinion will turn against the programmers as well, so their life could be made far more difficult, especially when they are so open they really don’t seem to care who uses their technology.

“This is beyond Bitcoin – these guys are really trying to change the way the whole internet works and there’s a chance they can do it.”

Dark Wallet team
The Dark Wallet team says it’s behind an “ideological movement”

For the Dark Wallet team, freedom from scrutiny comes above all other interests, and fits into what they see as a changing geopolitical landscape.
“Change is something that is inevitable – we’re talking about the rise of ideological movements,” Taaki says.
“Whether we like it or not we’re going to have to deal with this new reality and we have to work with the technology with this new reality.”

Pakistani Taliban (TTP) Breaking Up. Is This The Much Needed Chance To Further Peace Talks with TTP?

Are the Pakistani Taliban TTP Breaking Up?

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BBC: A split has emerged in the Pakistani Taliban after the major Mehsud faction walked out, saying the group leaders’ tactics were “un-Islamic”. It is the first major rift in Pakistani Taliban ranks since 2007 when the umbrella group was first formed.

Analysts say the split may help advance peace talks with the government.

Tens of thousands of people have died in militant attacks in Pakistan in the last seven years, most of them claimed by the Taliban. The rift comes after over a month of infighting in which dozens of fighters from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed.

The powerful faction comprising militants from the Mehsud tribe – the core around which regional militant groups initially gravitated to form the TTP – said it was forming its own separate group called Tehrik Taliban South Waziristan. A spokesman for the new group, Azam Tariq Mehsud, told reporters the decision to part ways with the TTP was made when efforts to persuade the TTP leadership to give up practices which were “contrary to Islam” failed. “We consider the bombing of public places, extortion and kidnappings un-Islamic, and since the TTP leaders continued with these practices, we decided we should not share the responsibility,” he said.

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Group ‘weakened’!
Differences within the TTP emerged when its founding leader, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in a drone strike in 2009. They came to a head in 2013 when Mr Mehsud’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed in another drone strike. After Hakimullah Mehsud’s killing, the leadership of the TTP passed to a non-Mehsud leader, Mullah Fazlullah, sparking internal rifts which have led to the present split.

The Pakistani government started peace talks with TTP in March, but officials say they are currently on hold because of Taliban infighting.

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The Border News (TBN); An Open Letter From TTP

Taliban Senior Commander, Azam Tariqa, a Shoura Senior Member and Spokesman for the Taliban from the Southern Waziristan region of Pakistan, said via cell phone, that the Mehsud area (TTP), “the Taliban of South Waziristan are going to separate from the present TTP alliance in our area, because the present alliance has deviated from the righteous path of true Jihad”.

He said that the present TTP alliance of Pakistan’s Taliban has been overrun by unknown groups with unknown foreign support, and are now more-so a radical conspiracy group than true Mujahidin’s. Due to outside elements, TTP is now becoming the victim of sectarian preaching and violence within the group. This is causing Mujahidin’s from within the TTP alliance to become restless.

The TTP ‘Mehsud’ Chapter of Taliban says, “we have tried our best to bring this conspiracy group back on the right path of Jihad, to maintain unity among all Mujahidin’s, but this conspiracy group remains separatist and they refuse to be in any common alliance”. Under the current TTP arrangement, there are activities of extortion and robberies. The TTP Mehsud Chapter believe Islamic Jihad includes helping the helpless and stopping men who follow an un-Islamic way of life. The TTP Mehsud Chapter believe kidnappings and extortion are not virtues of Islam, nor of Jihad.

The current TTP get money from unknown outside sources, kill people, create bomb blasts injuring the innocent, and later claim those actions under fake names. The present group of TTP are also involved in negative regional propaganda against the Afghan Taliban.

Taliban Senior Commander Azam Tariqa says, “the Mujahidin who are working towards a virtuous Jihad are our brothers and we will not accept unknown foreign influence or Al-Qaeda, nor Punjabi Taliban groups within our ranks. We will follow the guidance of Afghan Taliban Amrat Islami, only”.

images12Sources: BBC, The Border News (TBN) and Edited By Kristina Dei, May 2014

South Waziristan, Pakistan

 

Peace Between India and Pakistan?

 

ind:pak

— Kristina Dei (@2kdei) May 28, 2014

“Let’s Remove Fears, Mistrust and Misgivings About Each Other”. –Prime Minister Sharif to India.

By Tariq Aziz

Islamabad /New Delhi, May 26(TBN):

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif joined other regional leaders on Monday in attendance for the swearing-in ceremony for Indian Prime Minister  Narendra Modi, in India. Among other regional leaders, Modi, aged 63, was sworn in by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee just ten days after leading the National Democratic Alliance to their first historic landslide win in the national parliamentary elections.

Modi, a Hindu headlining Nationalist known for his controversial role in the 2002 ‘Gurat Riots’ where hundreds of minority Muslims were brutally killed, and had been a proponent of a tougher stance on Pakistan during his recent electoral  campaign. However, he assumed a softer stance on Pakistan when it started becoming clear that he was going to be the next Prime Minister of India. In various television interviews he said he encouraged more friendly relations with India’s neighbors.

According to Indian media, Mr. Modi arrived to his inaugural ceremony dressed in a white full-sleeved Kurta, a beige Nehru jacket and a white pajama. Prime Minister Modi arrived for the event at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the Presidential Office, at 6 PM, local time. Apart from Mr. Modi, a total of 45 ministers were also sworn in. The presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif at the event was considered by many to be an opportunity “to turn a new page” in Pakistan-India bilateral ties.

PM Modi (India) and PM Sharif (Pakistan)

PM Modi (India) and PM Sharif (Pakistan)

Mr. Sharif arrived smartly dressed in a charcoal grey suit, and was warmly welcomed at the Presidential Palace as he was received for the ceremony. He shook hands with outgoing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former

President Abdul Kalam Azad, and others. Mr. Sharif was seated next to Mr. Manmohan Singh. This represented the first time historically that a leader from Pakistan attended an inauguration ceremony of an Indian leader since India’s independence in 1947.

The ceremony was also attended by leaders of The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, Nepal’s Prime Minister SushilKoirala, Nepal Tshering Tobgay, Sushil Koirala and Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom. Bangladesh’s Speaker, Shirin Chaudhury, represented Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid, who was unable to attend.

Mr. Sharif will hold bilateral talks with Mr. Modi on Tuesday, May 27, in a bid to improve bilateral Pakistani-Indian ties. He will also meet with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee before returning to Pakistan, later in the afternoon.According to the transcript of the Prime Minister’s interview with an Indian television channel, issued by Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi, Nawaz Sharif said that his visit to India could help turn a new page in the bilateral relations between Pakistan and India, saying, “this is a chance to reach out to each other”.  He said it was a great moment as well as a great opportunity. He said both governmentshad strong mandates that could help jumpstart positive engagement for both nations.He said no two nations elsewhere had ever possessed as many cultural and traditional similarities as those which exist historically between India and Pakistan. Mr. Sharif said, “Why should we not turn our similarities into our common strengths”?The Prime Minister added that he was very much looking forward to meeting with Mr. NarendraModi.

The Prime Minister said both countries should discourage fears, mistrust and misgivings about each other, and begin working together to rid the region of the same instability and insecurity that has plagued the two nations for decades.Nawaz Sharif said he intended to carry forward the agenda of bilateral relations, from the end point where he and Vajpayee had left off in 1999.

Relations between the two nuclear armed nations have been particularly tense since the 2008 attacks on the Indian  port city of Mumbai, blamed by India on Pakistani-based militants.  The last time when bilateral relations had improved slightly were when the BJP took power, in 1998, under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Mr. Vajpayee had ridden a bus to Lahore, during Nawaz Sharif tenure, to successfully generate a signed a peace accord both countries signed, called “The Lahore Declaration”. However hope for peace in the region vanished when the two countries engaged in  the Battle of Kargil, just three months later.

Meanwhile, 151 Indian fishermen were freed from Pakistani prisons ahead of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to New Delhi, and crossed over into Indian territory on Monday. After completing all formalities at Wagah, on the Pakistani side, the fishermen entered Indian territory at Attari, 35 km from Amritsar.

Edited by Kristina Dei

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