Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle born improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources have confirmed to Judicial Watch that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.
Specifically, Judicial Watch sources reveal that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is confirmed to now be operating in Juarez, a famously crime-infested narcotics hotbed situated across from El Paso, Texas. Violent crimes are so rampant in Juarez that the U.S. State Department has issued a number of travel warnings for anyone planning to go there. The last one was issued just a few days ago.
Intelligence officials have picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according to one JW source. “It’s coming very soon,” according to this high-level source, who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” An attack is so imminent that the commanding general at Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, is being briefed, another source confirms. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not respond to multiple inquiries from Judicial Watch, both telephonic and in writing, about this information.
The disturbing inside intelligence comes on the heels of news reports revealing that U.S. intelligence has picked up increased chatter among Islamist terror networks approaching the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While these terrorists reportedly plan their attack just outside the U.S., President Obama admits that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to combat ISIS. “I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” the commander-in-chief said this week during a White House press briefing. “I think what I’ve seen in some of the news reports suggest that folks are getting a little further ahead of what we’re at than what we currently are.”
The administration has also covered up, or at the very least downplayed, a serious epidemic of crime along the Mexican border even as heavily armed drug cartels have taken over portions of the region. Judicial Watch has reported that the U.S. Border Patrol actually ordered officers to avoid the most crime-infested stretches because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could result in an “international incident” of cross border shooting. In the meantime, who could forget the famous words of Obama’s first Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano; the southern border is “as secure as it has ever been.”
These new revelations are bound to impact the current debate about the border crisis and immigration policy.
Prime Minister David Cameron pledged Friday to plug gaps in Britain’s armory to combat terror, describing the extremist threat posed by the Islamic State group as being more dangerous than even that of al-Qaida.
Cameron’s remarks came just moments after authorities raised Britain’s terror threat level to severe, the second highest level. The decision was related to developments in Iraq and Syria, but there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.
“What we are facing in Iraq now with ISIL is a greater threat to our security than we have seen before,” Cameron said, using an abbreviation for a longer name the Islamic State previously used: the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.
He told reporters that while the Taliban facilitated al-Qaida terrorism, the Islamic State group is “effectively a state run by terrorists.” He said the ambition to create an Islamist caliphate is not something that could be ignored.
“We could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member,” he said.
Intelligence and security services now believe some 500 Britons have gone to fight in Syria and potentially Iraq. Some of the plots are likely to involve fighters who have traveled from Britain and Europe to take part in fighting in the Middle East.
British police have appealed to the public to help identify aspiring terrorists after the killing of an American journalist focused attention on extremism in the U.K. The involvement of a person of British nationality in James Foley’s beheading underscored the need to identify those who might travel abroad to fight or are at risk of being radicalized.
The attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels also underscored the willingness of the members of the group to attack Europeans.
British authorities say around 70 arrests have been made in the first half of the year for a variety of offenses, including fundraising, preparing for terrorism acts and traveling abroad for terrorist training. The police say such arrests are being made at a rate five times greater than 2013.
One action Cameron outlined was the possibility that passports could be taken away. He said further measures would be described in the House of Commons on Monday.
Britain also wants to revive a directive to enable police and security services to share passenger records in the European Union. Concerns about civil liberties have stalled the measure in the European Parliament.
“The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear,” Cameron said. “It is a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and faith leaders.”
Britain raised the country’s terror threat level from substantial to severe just before Cameron held his news conference. The threat level means a terrorist attack is considered highly likely.
Home Secretary Theresa May said the decision by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center was made on the basis of intelligence and independent of the Cameron and his Cabinet. “Severe” is the second-highest of five levels.
The last time the rate was raised to severe was in September 2010 – in response to the attempt to detonate a bomb on a U.S. passenger plane over Detroit. It was last raised to the highest level, or critical, in June 2007, after a car on fire was driven into the Glasgow Airport terminal building and – separately – two devices were found in cars in central London.
On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers attacked the London transit system at rush hour and killed 52 commuters and injured hundreds.
As ISIS militants were bragging about their latest mass execution, President Obama admitted that he has no plan for combatting the bloodthirsty terrorists.
“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said in a Thursday news conference.
The startling – and troubling – admission came hours after videos surfaced showing the militants marching at least 150 Syrian soldiers through the desert – stripped to their underwear and barefoot.
The troops were then executed, their bullet-riddled and slashed bodies arranged in a crescent moon that stretched across the desert.
“Yes, we have executed them all,” an ISIS fighter told Reuters.
Hours after the disturbing images were released, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the NYPD was keeping an eye on the Middle East. He was particularly concerned about American jihadists – some from our area – returning to wreak havoc back home.
“We are watching that very closely,” Bratton said, adding that more than 100 Americans are believed on the ground and with ties to terror groups abroad.
At least two Americans were killed in Syria last weekend, as they fought alongside ISIS militants.
The slain soldiers in the barbaric images released Thursday were captured while attempting to flee the Tabqa airfield after ISIS militants stormed the base, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The apparent death march, posted to an ISIS YouTube account, is believed to have led to the largest mass killing carried out by the terror group.
The sickening footage opens with the half-naked men walking single file with their hands behind their heads.
An ISIS fighter repeatedly shouts out, “Islamic State!”
The prisoners respond immediately.
“It shall remain!”
The video then fades to black, but the footage that appears seconds later is horrifying. The camera follows a pile of bodies lying face-down in the sand. A dozen fighters are seen standing over the corpses as the cameraman moves from body to body.
At least 150 corpses can be seen in the video. The jihadists boasted on Twitter that they killed 250 soldiers, but that figure couldn’t be verified. An earlier video appears to show the same men, still clad in their underwear, being marched through the desert at gunpoint.
They are seen being forced to to walk and run. Those at the back of the line are kicked and beaten.
The soldiers were rounded up in the arid countryside near the Tabqa airfield on Wednesday – three days after ISIS fighters seized the base.
The troops were among a large batch of soldiers who were trapped behind the front lines after the merciless militants overran the airfield.
Some 200 Syrian soldiers and 346 ISIS fighters died in the fight for the air base, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Hundreds more were wounded.
The Syrian government did not comment on the videos.
The stomach-churning footage marked the latest images released by a group that’s relied on a mix of bloody propaganda and brutal battlefield tactics to swallow up territory in Syria and Iraq. The Sunni extremists, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL, are said to control roughly a third of Syria.
Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was stunned by Obama’s “no strategy” admission.
“It was an odd press conference at the very best, but to have a press conference to say we don’t have a stategy was really shocking given the severity of the threat,” Rogers said on CNN.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, (R-Ken.) said Congress is ready to help the president form a strategy to defeat ISIS.
“But don’t forget, the threat from ISIL is real and it’s growing – and it is time for President Obama to exercise some leadership in launching a response,” McConnell said.
Following Obama’s press conference, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a chief critic of the White House’s foreign policy, tweeted, “ISIS is largest, richest terrorist group in history & 192,000 dead in #Syria.”
In other developments Thursday:
ISIS has more than $2 billion – more than other terror groups like the Taliban and Hezbollah, InTheCapital.com reported. While thought in January to have about 1,000 fighters, the number has ballooned to about 80,000.
-Sources revealed to the Washington Post that James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by Islamic fighters, was waterboarded while in captivity.
-Syrian rebel fighters captured more than 40 United Nations peacekeepers near the Israeli border Thursday.
-It was revealed that Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan, imprisoned for killing 13 people at the Texas Army base in 2009, wrote a letter to the leader of ISIS saying he wants to become a “citizen” of the caliphate.
The contents of an ISIS laptop seized by Syrian fighters were revealed. The laptop, found in January in the province of Idlib, contained manuals on how to make bombs, videos of Osama Bin Laden and lessons about biological weapons, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
“The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” states one of the laptop’s more than 35,000 files.
In his Thursday news conference, Obama said he’s planning to dispatch Secretary of State Kerry to the Middle East in a bid to persuade America’s allies in the region to confront the terror group.
But Obama cautioned that immediate military action in Syria was unlikely.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama said, noting that he would be meeting with the National Security Council later Thursday.
“We need to make sure that we’ve got clear plans, that we’re developing them.”
The Common Core school standards imposed on teachers by Washington bureaucrats have been rejected by multiple states, targeted by lawsuits and criticized as more indoctrination than education.
Now parents are being given a turn to take a whack at the one-size-fits-all program that relegates George Washington to a half a sentence and compares the Declaration of Independence to a high-school romance breakup letter.
The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center is urging parents to opt their children out of the restrictive regulations and requirements, providing forms to make the process easier.
“The opt-out form is based on the constitutionally recognized fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children and on federal statutes which were designed to protect student privacy,” said Richard Thompson, the chief counsel for the organization.
“Our Founding Fathers recognized the dangers to our freedoms posed by centralized control over public education. However, today, all but a handful of state governments, enticed by millions of dollars in federal grants, are voluntarily inviting the federal government to take control of our public schools, imposing untested educational standards and obtaining personal information on children and their parents which would make any totalitarian government blush with envy,” he continued.
“We must ever keep in mind, ‘The philosophy of the classroom in one generation will become the philosophy of the government in the next.’ Clearly, Common Core is a threat to individual privacy and liberty, and to our constitutional republic,” he said.
His group has posted online a sample form to help parents meet the requirements of Michigan state law, where Thomas More is located. The group suggests it can be used as a template by attorneys preparing similar forms in other states.
The form, above a line for a parent’s signature, states “in accordance with the fundamental constitutional rights of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching and education of their children, and the relevant state and federal statutes, I hereby request my child… be exempted and excused for the school year… from the following check marked activities.”
There are options to exempt a student from “any and all standardized testing or activities required by law, under which individual student data are collected and/or shared with the federal government or other entities outside of the local school district; or are used for the purposes of school, student, or teacher accountability, including but not by way of limitation to, academic, achievement and annual tests, state-wide performance assessments and Common Core State Standards aligned assessments and pilots, computer adaptive testing and assessments designed by Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).”
There’s also an exemption from “tests, assessments, or surveys not limited solely to proficiency in core academic subjects.”
Other checkbox options include tests that measure “values, attitudes or beliefs” as well as “any survey, analysis, or evaluation that reveals information concerning my child, myself or other members of my family.”
Such information could relate to “political affiliations or beliefs,” “mental or psychological problems,” “sex behavior or attitudes,” “legally recognized privileged or analogous relationships, such as those of lawyers, physicians, and ministers,” “religious practices” or “income.”
It forbids: “The collection, tracking, housing, reporting, selling, or sharing with any party outside of the local school district, of non-educational related information on my child or my family, including, but not limited to: religion, political affiliations, biometric data, psychometric data, and medical information. Biometric data includes fingerprints, retina and iris (eye) patterns, voiceprint, DNA sequence, facial characteristics, handwriting, and any other unique physical identifying traits. Psychometric data includes, but is not limited to: personality traits, attitudes, abilities, aptitude, social and emotional development, tendencies, inclinations, interests, and motivations. ”
Thomas More noted the flood of criticism against the federal administrative program.
For example, the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization promoting “faithful Catholic education,” said Common Core is “nothing short of a revolution in how education is provided, relying on a technocratic, top-down approach to setting national standards that, despite claims to the contrary, will drive curricula, teaching texts, and the content of standardized tests.”
“At its heart, the Common Core is a woefully inadequate set of standards in that it limits the understanding of education to a utilitarian ‘readiness for work’ mentality,” the Cardinal Newman Society said.
The standards were created under the sponsorship of the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
While the stated goal is to make educational standards consistent across the nation, problems include political and “inappropriate assignments,” links to for-profit corporations, advertising inside of tests and the elimination of input from local school boards.
A major concern is the development of a database detailing private information on every student. The 400 individual data points for each student include health conditions, religion, voting status, income, likes and dislikes.
The information,”through a complicated network of contracts and agreements, can then be shared with the federal government, contractors, researchers and other outside agencies.”
“Testing corporations can then analyze the test data, produce recommendations for how to ‘remediate’ student weaknesses, and then sell that information back to states and school districts,” the law firm said.
The Truth in American Education blog is endorsing the opt-out effort.
“Now is the time for parents to protest this intrusion by opting their child out of Common Core for the 2014-2015 school year,” the blog said. “Congress did NOT pass legislation requiring Common Core standards to be implemented nor did Congress require that standards, curriculum, and tests be aligned.
“If parents allow the U.S. Department of Education to force policy upon the public as if that policy were law, the parents will be surrendering more than parental involvement to the federal government. How soon will it be before all parental rights are ceded to the federal government?”
Opposition to the federal mandates has come from the Heartland Institute, the Home School Legal Defense Association, Eagle Forum and others.
Fox News has reported Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration in federal court over the issue.
The allegations are that the Department of Education illegally manipulated grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core standards.
WND reported this week one of North Carolina’s largest school districts condemned the College Board’s new Advanced Placement history curriculum, which has direct ties to Common Core, calling it a deeply biased, inaccurate and revisionist version of American history.
David Coleman, known as the architect of the Common Core national standards and its chief pitchman, is the president of the College Board, a private company based in New York that owns the SAT and ACT exams as well as the Advanced Placement, or AP, exams and curriculum.
“Coleman is now re-writing every College Board product to align with Common Core,” said Meg Norris, a retired public-school teacher in Hall County, Georgia, and an anti-Common Core activist in that state.
The College Board not only owns the AP curriculum but it administers the AP standardized tests nationwide to K-12 students, measuring their readiness to attend college. Coleman’s ties to the controversial Common Core national education standards and the AP course’s new take on American history has come under fierce criticism.
National Review reported the College Board under Coleman is “politicizing” the teaching of American history.
Officials in North Carolina reported last week that in light of the Common Core influence, home schools in the state rose 14.3 percent. The state reports there are 98,172 homeschoolers in the state.
Governors in Oklahoma, South Carolina, Indiana and Louisiana have taken steps to distance themselves from Common Core, either by working with their state legislatures or by taking unilateral action.
Extortion: Radical Democrat activist groups stand to collect millions from Attorney General Eric Holder’s record $17 billion deal to settle alleged mortgage abuse charges against Bank of America.
Buried in the fine print of the deal, which includes $7 billion in soft-dollar consumer relief, are a raft of political payoffs to Obama constituency groups. In effect, the government has ordered the nation’s largest bank to create a massive slush fund for Democrat special interests.
Besides requiring billions in debt forgiveness payments to delinquent borrowers in Cleveland, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Oakland, Detroit, Chicago and other Democrat strongholds – and up to $500 million to cover personal taxes owed on those checks – the deal requires BofA to make billions in new loans, while also building affordable low-income rental housing in those areas.
If there are leftover funds in four years, the settlement stipulates the money will go to Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA), which provides legal aid for the poor and supports left-wing causes, and NeighborWorks of America, which provides affordable housing and funds a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the mold of Acorn.
In fact, in 2008 and 2009, NeighborWorks awarded a whopping $25 million to Acorn Housing.
In 2011 alone, NeighborWorks shelled out $35 million in “affordable housing grants” to 115 such groups, according to its website. Recipients included the radical Affordable Housing Alliance, which pressures banks to make high-risk loans in low-income neighborhoods and which happens to be the former employer of HUD’s chief “fair housing” enforcer.
BofA gets extra credit if it makes at least $100 million in direct donations to IOLTA and housing activist groups approved by HUD.
According to the list provided by Justice, those groups include come of the most radical bank shakedown organizations in the country, including:
• La Raza, which pressures banks to expand their credit box to qualify more low-income Latino immigrants for home loans;
• National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Washington’s most aggressive lobbyist for the disastrous Community Reinvestment Act;
• Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, whose director calls himself a “bank terrorist;”
• Operation Hope, a South Central Los Angeles group that’s pressuring banks to make “dignity mortgages” for deadbeats.
Worse, one group eligible for BofA slush funds is a spin-off of Acorn Housing’s branch in New York.
It’s now rebranded as Mutual Housing Association of New York, or MHANY. HUD lists MHANY’s contact as Ismene Speliotis, who previously served as New York director of Acorn Housing.
Both the NY Times and Fox News are reporting that Russia has sent troops into Ukrain this morning. Apparently Putin’s forces started firing grad missiles at Ukrainian troops beginning at around 11:00AM Ukraine time (4:00AM EDT) and an hour and half later columns of Russian tanks entered Ukraine territory
The goal apparently is to stave off a defeat of the separatists and begin a war of attrition.
They later entered Ukraine from Veselo-Voznesenka and Maximovo of the Rostov region in Russia.
Ukrainian border guards retreated because they didn’t have heavy equipment.
Meanwhile, a top NATO official said Thursday that at least 1,000 Russian troops have poured into Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have been in direct “contact” with Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties.
Brig. Gen. Nico Tak told reporters at NATO headquarters that the ultimate aim of Russia was to stave off defeat for the separatists and turn eastern Ukraine into a “frozen conflict” that would destabilize the country “indefinitely.
NATO estimated that another 20,000 Russian troops were right over the Russian border.
A senior defense official told Fox that the Russians have been firing artillery at Ukrainian troops for days but U.S. officials are not ready to declare that Russia has begun invading Ukraine.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt posted the following statement in three Twitter messages Thursday: “Russian supplied tanks, armored vehicles, artillery and multiple rocket launchers have been insufficient to defeat Ukraine’s armed forces. So now an increasing number of Russian troops are intervening directly in fighting on Ukrainian territory. Russia has also sent its newest air defense systems including the SA-22 into eastern Ukraine & is now directly involved in the fighting.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s made this address to the country (English translation by Ukraine Today)
Today, due to the deteriorating situation in the southern Donetsk region in the area of Amvrosiivka and Starobeshevo as a result of the deployment of Russian army units on Ukrainian territory, I have decided to cancel my official visit to Turkey. Seven bilateral meetings of great importance to Ukraine were planned, but at this moment the place for the Ukrainian President is here in Kyiv.
Today the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council will meet to develop a plan of action in light of the worsening situation. We will be calling for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. The world must respond to the sharp deterioration in the situation in Ukraine.
I appeal to our partners in the European Union to call an emergency meeting of European Union member states where we must urgently address the situation in Ukraine.
Though Russia continues to deny any participation in the conflict. Incredibly Aleksandr Zakharchenko, a rebel commander and the prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said in an interview on Russian state-run television that the Russian soldiers are just spending their vacations at war.
There are active soldiers fighting among us who preferred to spend their vacation not on the beach, but with us, among their brothers, who are fighting for their freedom.
Early this morning the Administration announced the National Security Council would be meeting today at 3:00PM EDT to discuss the latest ISIS moves. One would suspect that Ukraine will be added to the agenda. Hopefully this time they come up with stronger sanctions than previous punishments which have been the diplomatic equivalent of cutting off Putin’s cable TV for a few days.
UPDATE: CNN says the invasion is the real deal