Someone is learning & practicing how to take down the Internet

Bruce Schneider is an expert in cyber-security, the Chief Technology Officer of Resilient, an IBM Company, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center, and a board member of Electronic Frontier Foundation — an organization defending our rights in the digital world.

In a blog post, Schneider sounds the alarm that in the past year, the websites of major companies that provide the Internet’s basic services repeatedly have been attacked, each time more sophisticated than the last, which suggests “someone” is practicing how to take down the Internet by learning from the companies’ defensive moves.

cyberwar

Below is Bruce Schneider’s blog post of Sept. 13, 2016, “Someone is Learning How to Take Down the Internet“:

Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don’t know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.

First, a little background. If you want to take a network off the Internet, the easiest way to do it is with a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS). Like the name says, this is an attack designed to prevent legitimate users from getting to the site. There are subtleties, but basically it means blasting so much data at the site that it’s overwhelmed. These attacks are not new: hackers do this to sites they don’t like, and criminals have done it as a method of extortion. There is an entire industry, with an arsenal of technologies, devoted to DDoS defense. But largely it’s a matter of bandwidth. If the attacker has a bigger fire hose of data than the defender has, the attacker wins.

Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they’re used to seeing. They last longer. They’re more sophisticated. And they look like probing. One week, the attack would start at a particular level of attack and slowly ramp up before stopping. The next week, it would start at that higher point and continue. And so on, along those lines, as if the attacker were looking for the exact point of failure.

The attacks are also configured in such a way as to see what the company’s total defenses are. There are many different ways to launch a DDoS attack. The more attack vectors you employ simultaneously, the more different defenses the defender has to counter with. These companies are seeing more attacks using three or four different vectors. This means that the companies have to use everything they’ve got to defend themselves. They can’t hold anything back. They’re forced to demonstrate their defense capabilities for the attacker.

I am unable to give details, because these companies spoke with me under condition of anonymity. But this all is consistent with what Verisign is reporting. Verisign is the registrar for many popular top-level Internet domains, like .com and .net. If it goes down, there’s a global blackout of all websites and e-mail addresses in the most common top-level domains. Every quarter, Verisign publishes a DDoS trends report. While its publication doesn’t have the level of detail I heard from the companies I spoke with, the trends are the same: “in Q2 2016, attacks continued to become more frequent, persistent, and complex.”

There’s more. One company told me about a variety of probing attacks in addition to the DDoS attacks: testing the ability to manipulate Internet addresses and routes, seeing how long it takes the defenders to respond, and so on. Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services.

Who would do this? It doesn’t seem like something an activist, criminal, or researcher would do. Profiling core infrastructure is common practice in espionage and intelligence gathering. It’s not normal for companies to do that. Furthermore, the size and scale of these probes — and especially their persistence — points to state actors. It feels like a nation’s military cybercommand trying to calibrate its weaponry in the case of cyberwar. It reminds me of the US’s Cold War program of flying high-altitude planes over the Soviet Union to force their air-defense systems to turn on, to map their capabilities.

What can we do about this? Nothing, really. We don’t know where the attacks come from. The data I see suggests China, an assessment shared by the people I spoke with. On the other hand, it’s possible to disguise the country of origin for these sorts of attacks. The NSA, which has more surveillance in the Internet backbone than everyone else combined, probably has a better idea, but unless the US decides to make an international incident over this, we won’t see any attribution.

But this is happening. And people should know.

A reader of Schneider’s blog-post, Random Guy 17, wrote this interesting comment:

“An attack on a service is best done by an attacker that doesn’t need that service. You don’t pull the plug on the power company that supplies your own home/business.

With that in mind, a closed, not highly Internet enabled country makes the most sense- like China.”

It should be noted that in two weeks, on October 1, control of the Internet — specifically, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) — will pass from U.S. administration to a multilateral body, most likely the United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU). (Breitbart)

-StMA

International tribunal rejects China’s territorial claims in South China Sea

China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea were dealt a blow today when in a landmark ruling, an international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, rejected Beijing’s claims.

Six regional governments have overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, waters that are rich in fishing stocks and potential energy resources and where an estimated $5 trillion in global trade passes each year.

South China Sea - China's claim

South China Sea – China’s claims

The AP reports that China claims vast areas of the South China Sea have been Chinese territory since ancient times and demarcated its modern claims with the so-called nine-dash line, a map that was submitted under the U.N. treaty.

In 2013, under a U.N. treaty governing the seas, the Philippines had asked The Hague for arbitration on a number of issues it had with treaty co-signee China, on the grounds that China’s claims infringe upon the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

On July 12, 2016, the five-member panel from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, unanimously ruled against China. The tribunal also found the following:

  • Any historical resource rights China may have had in the South China Sea are nulled if they are incompatible with exclusive economic zones established under the U.N. treaty signed by both China and the Philippines.
  • China had violated its obligations to refrain from aggravating the regional dispute while the settlement process was ongoing.
  • By building up artificial islands in the Sea, China had caused “permanent irreparable harm” to the coral reef ecosystem.
  • China had violated the Philippines’ maritime rights by:
    • Disrupting Philippine’ oil exploration at Reed Bank.
    • Disrupting fishing by Philippine vessels within the country’s exclusive economic zone, and failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone at Mischief Reef and Second Thomas Shoal.

China, which boycotted the entire proceedings, immediately rejected the ruling as a “farce” and “a US-led conspiracy,” and declared it does not accept the panel’s jurisdiction. Beijing regards bilateral talks with the other claimants as the only way to address the South China Sea disputes.

China’s foreign ministry declared that “the award is null and void and has no binding force. China neither accepts nor recognizes it,” and that “China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea shall under no circumstances be affected by those awards.” The ministry repeated China’s often-expressed stance that the Philippines’ move to initiate arbitration without China’s consent was in “bad faith” and in violation of international law.

The editor-in-chief of China.org.cn writes:

The U.S. actions near China, particularly those on the South China Sea issues, are part of its Asia-Pacific Rebalance strategies. Its intentions are no more than containing China to preserve its interests in the Asia-Pacific region and its global hegemony.

The U.S. motives are apparent to the world, especially to the Chinese people. The current China is nothing like the country it was one hundred years ago. Any act that tries to violate China’s territorial sovereignty will fail.

Although the tribunal has no power of enforcement, nor can its findings reverse China’s actions, nevertheless the ruling constitutes a rebuke with the force of the international community’s opinion. A professor of Asian political economy said the ruling could be a “transformative moment” in the region. Speaking outside the Peace Palace in The Hague, Leiden University professor Jonathan London said the decision will “give countries with a common interest in international norms something to point to and to rally around.” He said they can say to China: “Look, here are the results of an international organization that has found that your claims have zero historical basis.”

The tribunal’s decision also gives heart to small countries in Asia that have helplessly chafed at China’s expansionism, backed by its military and economic power.

In Manila, dozens of rallying Filipinos jumped for joy, wept, embraced each other and waved Philippine flags after news of their victory. One held up a poster that said: “Philippine sovereignty, non-negotiable.”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay hailed the ruling as a “milestone decision” and “an important contribution to ongoing efforts in addressing disputes in the South China Sea,” and called on “all those concerned to exercise restraint and sobriety.” For his part, Philippines’ former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who helped oversee the filing of the case at Hague, said the ruling underscored “our collective belief that right is might and that international law is the great equalizer among states.” He urged that the ruling be accepted by all relevant countries — without exception — in order to maintain international order “so that we can work together on how remaining issues can be peacefully resolved.”

Vietnam’s government also welcomed the ruling. Just today, Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters. Nguyen Thanh Hung, a local fisheries executive in the central province of Quang Ngai, said two Chinese vessels chased and sank the Vietnamese boat around midday Saturday as it was fishing near the Paracel islands. The five fishermen were rescued by another trawler around seven hours later.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said the tribunal’s decision is “final and legally binding” and that the two sides should comply with it. He said in a statement that “Japan strongly expects that the parties’ compliance with this award will eventually lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.”

The disputes have also increased friction between China and the United States. Washington has ramped up U.S. military presence in the region as China expands its navy’s reach farther offshore.

At a news conference in Afghanistan where he was meeting with U.S. commanders, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the ruling is an opportunity for everyone in the region to act in a sensible way in accordance with the rule of law in order to settle disputes. The United States has not taken sides in the South China Sea disputes but has worked to ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the region.

See also:

A single European military begins with merging of German-Dutch armies & navies

Formed in 1993, the European Union (EU) is a political-economic union of 28 member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

28 member states of European UnionUntil now, the EU has been a confederation — a union of nation-states in specific and agreed-on areas, such as defense (NATO), economic cooperation and a common currency, wherein each member state retains its sovereignty. A mark of a sovereign nation-state is its possession of an independent military.

But with the merging of the militaries of Germany and the Netherlands — in spite of disagreements among EU members on refugee-migrant policy (see, for example “Sweden slams shut its open-door policy towards refugees“), and the UK’s upcoming Brexit referendum on leaving the EU — the beginning of an EU military is taking shape.

Donna Edmunds and Raheem Kassam report for Breitbart, April 20, 2016, that the German and Dutch armies and navies are poised to “merge”, creating the nucleus of the longed-for goal of a pan-EU military force.

As German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leye said in a speech last year, “The European Army is our long-term goal, but first we have to strengthen the European Defense Union. To achieve this, some nations with concrete military cooperation must come to the fore – and the Germans and the Dutch are doing this.”

To date, the merging of the German and Dutch military consists of:

  • Last year, German command took over the Dutch 11th Airmobile Brigade.
  • Last month the Dutch 43rd Mechanized Brigade was subsumed into the German 1st Armored Division.
  • The two countries are sharing the Netherland’s largest war ship, the Karel Doorman, and aim to merge its two naval powers into one unified navy within the next two years.
  • That leaves the Netherlands with just the 13th Mechanized Brigade to its name, along with special forces and military infrastructure, but the plan is to accelerate towards a merger of these entities within the next few years, Germany’s Sachsische Zeitung confirms.

That is just the beginning. According to insiders, the Czech Republic has entered talks to bring its army under German control, with the Poles also considering to be part of the plan. But there are skeptics about the latter, doubting whether the new Polish Government would go down the same route.

As Britain prepares to go to the polls on June 23 to vote on whether or not to remain within the EU, UK Independence Party (UKIP) Defense spokesman Mike Hookem MEP warns that if the UK opts to remain in the EU, the British military forces will not be able to resist the same fate: “The EU is moving towards a common defense and foreign policy regime with an EU army as the goal. While Britain remains in the EU, we cannot escape being part of this dangerous setup. The EU was supposed to be about corralling Germany military dominance in Europe. That aspiration has clearly died and just as Germany now politically dominates the EU, this latest move with the Dutch army shows that in time Germany wants to expand and control as much as it can militarily.

Hookem warns that the EU Army will not be a benign force, dedicated only to the defense of the Union, pointing out that there has already been lobbying in European circles for intervention in Libya. Indeed, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker has said, “You would not create a European army to use it immediately… But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”

UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage had previously issued multiple warnings that were mostly dismissed by the British political establishment and media classes. Most notably, then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in a live debate with Farage ahead of the 2014 European Elections, called Farage’s claims a “dangerous fantasy,” and that “The idea there’s going to be a European army, a European air force, it is simply not true”.

In September last year the Telegraph reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel expected British PM David Cameron to “drop his opposition to an EU army in exchange for supporting Britain’s [EU] renegotiation”. Cameron did drop his opposition, in exchange for a widely mocked “renegotiation” deal with the European Union.

Forget about two-front doctrine, U.S. military can’t fight even one war

For many decades the United States’ military doctrine has been to fight a “two-front war,” with the capability to sustain both war fronts.

But, as reported by OneNewsNow, Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis (USA-Ret.), a senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, warned that the military is so degraded under Obama that America no longer is able to fight even one war. Maginnis said, “Thirty years ago, we had 350,000. Now we’re down to 60 to 65,000 and most of those are not fighters.

Obama DoctrineThe shrinkage stems from the Obama administration’s policy in 2012 to scrap the two-front doctrine.

On January 5, 2012, joined by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Martin Dempsey, Obama outlined a new Pentagon strategic review proposing the military should give up the capability to fight two major ground wars simultaneously, such as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.That, in turn, entailed the removal of up to 4,000 troops from Europe, as well as the downsizing of the overall ground forces even further than the cuts of 27,000 soldiers and 20,000 Marines in the next four years already in the 2012 budget request.

The goal is to reduce U.S. armed forces to pre-World War II numerical levels, ostensibly because of Pentagon budget cuts. (See “Independent panel calls Obama’s downsizing of military ‘dangerous“)

But cuts have not been and are not being made to other spending, such as welfare and entitlements. At the same time, new spending items have been added, including spending on accommodating and welcoming illegal immigrants and refugees from the Middle East. Nor does the reduction of troop levels account for why most of the remaining troops “are not fighters”.

The latter may be because of Obama’s social re-engineering of the U.S. armed forces. See:

The Military Times points out that the U.S. military reduction comes at a time when military spending in China and Russia, and even India and Australia, are increasing.

In the summer of 2015, the Pentagon repeatedly lost in war games against Russia, including an actual field exercise with NATO partners. From that comes the conclusion that the U.S. is not prepared for a sustained military campaign against Russia if a conflict erupts in Eastern Europe. (See “U.S. repeatedly loses in Pentagon war games against Russia”)

Should war break out in Eastern Europe, Lt. Col. Maginnis Maginnis predicts Obama will be a feckless commander-in-chief: “There’s nothing that President Obama’s going to really do, other than a rather tepid response by a series of exercises that comes with some equipment, not real heavy lethal equipment.”

Maginnis is not alone in his assessment of Obama, given the signs of disaffection in the U.S. military. See “U.S. military does not support Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama“, “US Marine Corps commandant openly blasts CIC Obama”, and “Obama ignored advice of military & CIA against Bergdahl prisoner swap”.

See also:

Declassified JCS report shows U.S. invaded Iraq based on flimsy evidence of Iraqi WMDs

The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began with the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, 1½ years after the traumatic 9/11 attacks, by a U.S.-led coalition.

The invasion began with a “shock and awe” bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were quickly overwhelmed as U.S. forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein, who was captured in December 2003 and executed by a military court three years later.

But the war continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. Worse still, Saddam’s former military officers morphed into ISIS, which became the Islamic State. (See Blowback: ISIS leaders are former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army”) After officially withdrawing from Iraq in 2011, the United States became re-involved in 2014 as the Iraqi government proved itself unable to cope with ISIS.

The George W. Bush administration based its rationale for war principally on the assertion that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) — yellow-cake uranium poison gas, biological weapons — and that Saddam’s government posed an immediate threat to the United States and its coalition allies. Saddam was also accused of of harboring and supporting al-Qaeda, the terrorist group identified as the instigator of 9/11.

The rationale for the Iraq War has since been discredited. But a newly-declassified report to the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff provides even more evidence that the Bush administration went to war with, at best, flimsy evidence of Iraq’s WMDs.

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense 2001-2006John Walcott, adjunct professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, reports for Politico, Jan. 24, 2016, that on September 9, 2002, as the Bush administration began its public-opinion campaign for an invasion of Iraq, a classified report from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Air Force General Richard Myers.

The report began with these words:

“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD. It is big.”

The report was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence didn’t know about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The report admitted that what the U.S. didn’t know about Iraq’s WMD program ranged from 0% to about 75%While the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iraq was at the heart of the administration’s case for war, the JCS report conceded that:

“Our knowledge of the Iraqi (nuclear) weapons program is based largely—perhaps 90%—on analysis of imprecise intelligence.”

Myers already knew about the report because the Joint Staff’s director for intelligence had prepared it. Clearly, Rumsfeld’s urgent tone conveyed how seriously he viewed the report’s potential to undermine the Bush administration’s case for war.

But neither Rumsfeld nor Myers shared the 8-page report with key members of the administration such as then-Secretary of State Colin Powell or top officials at the CIA, according to multiple sources at the State Department, White House and CIA who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity. Instead, the report disappeared, and with it a potentially powerful counter-narrative to the administration’s argument that Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons posed a grave threat to the U.S. and its allies, which was beginning to gain traction in major news outlets, led by the New York Times.

A month after Rumsfeld’s note to Myers, on October 7, 2002, Bush appeared at a VFW hall in Cincinnati, where he declared without reservation: Iraq “possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons.” In February 2003, Powell appeared before the UN General Assembly to make the administration’s case, with CIA Director George Tenet sitting behind him:

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What were giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.

Below are screenshots of the 8-page report, preceded by Rumsfeld’s memo to Myers, and Director for Intelligence Major Gen. Glen Shaffer’s memo to the JCS (source: Politico). I supplied the red-color emphasis.

Iraq report Rumsfeld memo to MyersIraq report Rumsfeld memo to Myers1Iraq WMD1Iraq WMD2Iraq WMD3Iraq WMD4Iraq WMD5Iraq WMD6Iraq WMD7Iraq WMD8Altogether, the Iraq War exacted a toll of hundreds of thousands in casualties:

  • An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 Iraqis were killed in the first 3–4 years of conflict.
  • 6,045 Americans were killed: 4,491 soldiers; 1,554 contractors. Additionally, 76,106 Americans were wounded: 32,226 soldiers; 43,880 contractors.

The Iraq War cost the U.S. government more than $845 billion — $720 million a day, if one takes into account the long-term health care for veterans, interest on debt and replacement of military hardware, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard public finance professor Linda Bilmes.

The Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq on the basis that Saddam’s Iraq posed a clear and present threat to the security of the United States because they had Weapons of Mass Destruction. But it turns out that both the U.S. Defense Secretary and the Joint Chiefs of Staff knew U.S. intelligence did not support that claim in that there was no hard evidence of Iraqi WMDs.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans are fast-tracking a resolution to give Obama unlimited war-making powers — unrestricted in time or geography.

See also:

-StMA

Islamic State says Muslims can cannibalize and harvest organs from live non-Muslims

First, an imam named Yasir Qadhi,who also is a college professor in Tennessee, says Muslims can take the property of Christians and Jews.

Note: An imam is an Islamic leadership position. For Shia or Shi’ite Muslims, imams are infallible.

Now, the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) proclaims that, to save the life of a Muslim, Islamic law permits cannibalizing and taking the organs of “apostates,” who include non-Muslims.

The source of this revolting news is a January 31, 2015 memorandum issued by the ISIL Committee of Research and Fatwas, which was captured by U.S. special forces in Syria in May 2015. The committee reports directly to Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A fatwa is a legal opinion given by a qualified Islamic jurist or mufti on issues pertaining to the Islamic law or sharia. The fatwa in question is Fatwa No. 68.

The news agency Reuters reports on Dec. 25, 2015, that U.S. officials say the document was among a trove of data and other information obtained by U.S. special forces in a raid in eastern Syria in May. The memo does not define “apostate,” though the Islamic State has killed or imprisoned non-Muslims, such as Christians, as well as Muslims who don’t follow Islamic State’s extremist views.

Below is the U.S. government’s translation of the memorandum in its entirety (words in bold are the memo’s; I supplied the dark red color for certain phrases). You can also read the memo for yourself in PDF here.

ISIL COMMITTEE OF RESEARCH AND FATWAS
FATWAS NO. 61, 62, and 64-68

[Page 7 of 9]

The Islamic State
The Research and Fatwa Committee
In the Name of Allah the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
Fatwa Number: 68
Date: 31 JAN 2015

Question: Is it permissible to take the captured apostate’s body organs and give them to Muslims who are in need of them?

There is no doubt that the Muslim hospitals are overwhelmed with diseases that are incurable by doctors and harsh on the patients, such as heart and renal diseases and other fatal or degenerative diseases.

Allah Almighty knows best what is right and what is wrong and there is evidence from texts and Islamic principles and laws supporting the notion that transplanting healthy organs from an apostate’s body into a Muslim’s body in order to save the latter’s life or replace a damaged organ with it is permissible.

Allah Almighty said [TC: Verse 5:32 from the Koran] {if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people}. One notices that the context of this verse is general and covers all scenarios of saving the lives of believers including transplanting organs. Saving a Muslim from death or deterioration is an Islamic legal duty that should be performed with every legitimate way or financial means.

The jurists of the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools and others permitted, when necessary, the killing of the infidel combatant or the apostate should one need to consume their flesh for the purpose of saving his own life. [TC: the author cites texts written by the Imam al-Nawawi, an Islamic scholar, on the legitimacy of killing the infidel fighters and apostates and eating them.]

If the jurists had permitted, when necessary, the consumption of human flesh as a means counter to death or harm, then it is even more appropriate to transplant of organs from the apostate to the Muslim to save the life of the latter. This is especially the case since it was ruled that the apostate’s life and organs are not protected. On the contrary, the apostate’s life and organs don’t have to be respected and may be taken with impunity. Based on aforementioned, the categories of the apostate’s organs are broken down into the following cases:
1-The rule is applicable to organs that could be put to use in both cases–pre and post-mortem.
2-The organs that can only be used pre-mortem, and those are divided into two groups:
a- Organs the removal of which would not be fatal: It is not prohibited to remove this type of organs from a living body as death would defeat the purpose.
b- Organs that end the captive’s life if removed: The removal of that type is also not prohibited, even if it is fatal for the captive. A group of Islamic scholars have permitted, if necessary, one to kill the apostate in order to eat his flesh which is part of benefitting from his body. This encompasses everything that is needed to be taken from the apostate’s body.

The permission to transplant an apostate’s organs into a Muslim’s body facilitates, alleviates, and removes the difficulties endured by Muslims is corroborated by a reason strongly rooted in the pure Sharia. Allah Almighty says [TC: Verses follow from the Koran] {Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties}. He says: {Allah doth wish to lighten your (difficulties): For man was created Weak (in flesh)}. He says: {Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty}. He says: {has imposed no difficulties on you in religion}. Allah Almighty knows best.

Stamp:

stamp of ISIL Committee of Research & Fatwas

The Islamic State
The Caliphate State
The Research and Fatwa Committee

(End of translation)

Reuters claims that although the memo is “raising concerns that the violent extremist group may be trafficking in body parts,” there is no evidence to support the notion that it has already done so.

However, Iraq has accused Islamic State of harvesting human organs and trafficking them for profit. Iraq’s ambassador to the UN, Mohamed Ali Alhakim, told Reuters the documents should be examined by the U.N. Security Council as evidence that Islamic State could be trafficking in organs to raise cash.

According to Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, the Special Ops raid in May, which resulted in the death of Islamic State top financial official Abu Sayyaf and the capture of his wife, also netted 7 terabytes of data in the form of computer hard drives, thumb drives, CDs, DVDs and papers. 

See also:

Israel aids Muslim jihadists in Syria with weapons, air strikes, and medical care for the wounded

5 years ago, on December 18, 2010, a popular uprising in Tunisia began a wave of protests, demonstrations, riots and civil wars in the Arab world which the West enthusiastically praised and romanticized by calling the convulsions “Arab Spring.

By the end of February 2012, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests had broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and Palestine.

Instead of the West’s expectation that the convulsions heralded a springtime for democracy in the Arab world, what resulted was the electoral success of Islamist parties, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. All of which led some to characterize the convulsions as an Islamist Winter.

The on-going civil war in Syria between so-called “Syrian rebels” and the duly elected Ba’athist government of Bashar al-Assad had begun as “Arab Spring” civil uprisings in the spring of 2011.

In 2013, the Obama administration, together with Senate Republicans like John McCain, had agitated for a war to topple Assad. (See “Pulitzer-award journalist says Obama admin made up intelligence for war on Syria“)

Since then, the United States has continued to provide aid in training and weapons to the “Syrian rebels” hellbent on overthrowing the Assad government — the main opponent of ISIS or Islamic State in Syria. (See “CIA expands Obama-approved training of Syrian militants”)

The Obama administration insists that only “moderate” rebels are aided, but it is a known fact that those insurgents include al-Qaeda and ISIS. If Assad is overthrown, the overwhelming likelihood is that Syria will descend into chaos, with the apocalyptic and brutal Islamic State eventually seizing political power. (See “Despite months of U.S. air strikes, ISIS now controls a third of Syria“)

And now, with the Russian and Chinese military aiding Assad, the stakes are raised even higher, transforming Syria into an arena for a WWIII between superpowers.

None of that is in the interests of the United States, or so a rational person would think.

A little-reported and little-publicized fact is that Israel is exacerbating the descent of Syria into chaos by providing so-called Syrian “rebels” with:

1. free medical care to wounded “rebels”

Foreign Policy reports that according to a United Nations report, Syrian “rebels” have transported scores of wounded Syrians across a cease-fire line that has separated Israel from Syria since 1974. Once in Israel, they receive medical treatment in a field clinic before being sent back to Syria to continue their civil war against Assad. 

Daily Mail journalists embedded with Israeli troops report:

Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state…. Analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran…. Many of the casualties rescued by Israel belong to Salafist groups …. Some may be members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group affiliated to Al Qaeda that has kidnapped scores of UN peacekeeping troops in this area, and has massacred Christians deeper in Syria…. In the three years that Israel has been running these operations, it has saved the lives of more than 2,000 Syrians – at least 80 per cent of whom are male and of fighting age – at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7 million)…. 

2. Weapons

Israel is also providing weapons to those Syrian “rebels”.

The Times of Israel reports that Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, who was arrested on July 22 by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front near the Israeli border, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support.

Safouri can be seen in the video above admitting to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms:

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities.”

Safouri said that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias. Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

3. Bombing Syria

The Guardian reports that the Syrian government claimed that, on Dec. 7, 2015, Israeli jets bombed two installations in Syria, one near the capital, Damascus, and the second in a town near the Lebanese border.

The report by Syrian state television described the attack as “an aggression”. The state news agency Sana said: “The Israeli enemy attacked Syria by targeting two safe areas in Damascus province, namely the Dimas area and the area of Damascus international airport.”

No casualties were reported and there was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that monitors the country’s civil war through a network of activists on the ground, said the strike near the Damascus airport hit a warehouse, and it was unclear what was in the building. The target of the strikes might have been advanced Russian-made S300 surface-to-air missiles.

The December 7 bombings are not the first Israeli air strikes in Syria. Israel has carried out several air strikes in Syria since the revolt against the Assad government began in March 2011. In June 2015, Israel struck targets inside Syria, including a military installation, following a cross-border attack that killed an Israeli teenager. Israel said at the time that it had struck nine military targets inside Syria and had confirmed “direct hits”.

Why

George Washington writes for ZeroHedge, Dec. 14, 2015, that although Israel claims to be in a mortal struggle with Islamic terrorists, apparently some Islamic terrorists — Sunnis — are better than others.

Michael Stephens, Research Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), explains:

“Above all, Israel wants to prevent Hezbollah from gaining control on the other side of the border. The Sunni militants are fighting Hezbollah, so for now they share the same objectives as Israel. That’s why we’re seeing this odd cooperation between people who would be enemies under any other circumstances.”

Indeed, an Israeli spokesman confirmed that no medical support has been provided to any militants from the Shia (or Shi’ite) alliance.

Kamal Alam, research analyst at RUSI and an expert in Syrian affairs, said:

“From an Israeli viewpoint, it’s a case of my enemy’s enemy is my friend. There is no one they can trust in the Syrian quagmire, but if you get rid of Hezbollah, that’s the end of Iran in the region. Israel’s main aim has to be to eliminate Hezbollah – and whoever takes on Hezbollah is an uneasy but necessary ally. [But in] giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil.

In fact, Israel has made no secret of the fact that it prefers ISIS and Al Qaeda to the Iranian backed terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. In September 2013, outgoing Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, then a close adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview:

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc.… We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.

He said this was the case even if the “bad guys” were affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

In June 2014, speaking at an Aspen Institute conference, Oren extended Israel’s preference to include the apocalyptic Islamic State or ISIS. He said: “From Israel’s perspective, if there’s got to be an evil that’s got to prevail, let the Sunni evil prevail.”

Washington’s Blog points out that Israel’s support for al-Qaeda and Islamic State isn’t just about Iran or Shia Muslims. Israel decided long ago to break up Syria and Iraq into numerous mini-states, in part because a compliant government in Syria would allow Israel’s pipelines to win out over competing pipelines.

All of which would explain why, as Reuters puts it, “Israel loses no sleep over Islamic State”. Reuters’ Dimi Reider writes:

At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else….

Still, Israel remains the least concerned and least directly threatened country in a region increasingly rocked by Islamic State’s advance. It certainly does not see the group as an external threat. Shocking though the events in Syria and Iraq are, Israel is far beyond the range of even the most sophisticated of Islamic State’s weapons. The group’s immediate territorial interests do not extend to anywhere near Israeli borders, and its support in areas adjacent to Israel is still negligible.  What’s more, unlike many militant groups and states in the region, Islamic State has declared itself emphatically disinterested in intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring instead to draw its support from Sunni revanchism and introducing a semblance of order into war-torn regions of Iraq.

Islamic State also does not yet pose an internal threat to Israel. Unlike most countries bordering Syria, Israel has not been politically or demographically unsettled by the civil war there….

Even attempts by Israeli centrists and the U.S. to tie progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the fight against Islamic State have left Israel unmoved…. Israel has been able to extract some short-term gains from unfolding catastrophe. With the West again mobilizing against a radical Islamist group, Netanyahu find himself on the familiar turf of the “war on terror.” He is capitalizing on this by trying to equate Palestinian nationalism — especially the religious wing of it — with Islamic State at every conceivable opportunity….

More shockingly, there are some who say ISIS, which became the Islamic State, was a creation of Israel:

The 97-year-old wire service Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Aug. 13, 2014:

A senior employee of the Dutch Justice Ministry said the jihadist group ISIS was created by Zionists seeking to give Islam a bad reputation.

Yasmina Haifi, a project leader at the ministry’s National Cyber Security Center, made the assertion Wednesday on Twitter, the De Telegraaf daily reported.

“ISIS has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name,” wrote Haifi, who described herself on the social network LinkedIn as an activist for the Dutch Labor Party, or PvdA.

Haifi later removed her original message, explaining, “I realize the political sensitivity in connection with my work. That was not my intention.”

Blogger George Washington of ZeroHedge asks: “Perhaps that’s why ISIS, Al Nusra and the other Islamic terrorists in Syria haven’t tried to lay a glove on Israel?” He points out the following disturbing facts:

Writing for Consortiumnews.com, Robert Parry warns:

The Saudi-Israeli alliance has gone on the offensive, ramping up a “regime change” war in Syria and, in effect, promoting a military victory for Al-Qaeda or its spinoff, the Islamic State. But the consequences of that victory could toll the final bell for the American Republic….

As much fun as the “who lost Syria” finger-pointing would be, it would soon give way to the horror of what would likely unfold in Syria with either Al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front or the spin-off Islamic State in charge – or possibly a coalition of the two with Al-Qaeda using its new base to plot terror attacks on the West while the Islamic State engaged in its favorite pastime, those YouTube decapitations of infidels….

Such a spectacle would be hard for the world to watch and there would be demands on President Obama or his successor to “do something.” But realistic options would be few, with a shattered and scattered Syrian army no longer a viable force capable of driving the terrorists from power.

The remaining option would be to send in the American military, perhaps with some European allies, to try to dislodge Al-Qaeda and/or the Islamic State. But the prospects for success would be slim. The goal of conquering Syria – and possibly re-conquering much of Iraq as well – would be costly, bloody and almost certainly futile.

The further diversion of resources and manpower from America’s domestic needs also would fuel the growing social discontent in major U.S. cities…. A new war in the Middle East would accelerate America’s descent into bankruptcy and a dystopian police state.

The last embers of the American Republic would fade. In its place would be endless war and a single-minded devotion to security. The National Security Agency already has in place the surveillance capabilities to ensure that any civil resistance could be thwarted.

See also:

-StMA