Tag Archives: Terrorism

WATCH: Cartel Gunman Throws Grenades at U.S. Consulate in Mexico

Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep 12/24/2018

The U.S. government released a surveillance video from a recent grenade attack at the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara. The FBI released the video to seek help in identifying two of the gunmen believed to have played a role in the attack.

Notice: Fbi-Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with other members of the U.S. public order forces. Uu. And Mexico, is looking for public assistance to know the identity of the people responsible for the grenade attack on November 30th to the U.S. Consulate building. Uu. In Guadalajara, Jalisco. To help in this effort, the FBI is launching the following images and videos of the two subjects that are presumed to be involved in the attack.

Suspect 1 (the supposed grenade launcher): Age: 25-35; height: Approximately 1.70-1.80 meters; complexion: thin; complexion: Dark; hair: Chestnut and short; eyes: Coffees; described by witnesses Dress a zipper hoodie with blue or grey hood, a white polo shirt, a black cap, dark jeans and white tennis.

Suspect 2 (person of interest who may have been involved): Age: 20-40; height: Approximately 1.70-1.80 meters; complexion: thin; complexion: Unknown; hair: shaved on the sides of the head and longer On the top; eyes: Unknown; described by witnesses to dress a dark color windbreaker with white letters or stripes on the back, clear colored pants and dark shoes with a bright emblem.

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $ 20 in exchange for information that leads to the identification and arrest of these individuals. Anyone who has information about this incident or about the identity or whereabouts of these individuals must communicate with researchers to the free number 001-800-225-5324 or 33-3268-2349. all information will remain anonymous and confidentiality is guaranteed. More Information: https://goo.gl/zhB2bR

This week, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations released a surveillance video with images of two men who are believed to have been part of the team of gunmen who lobbed at least two grenades into the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara last month.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/F6IFjdrkGmI" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Breitbart News first broke the story about the attack on the consulate building in one of Mexico’s busiest cities. Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco, a western state home to Cartel Jalisco New Generation (CJNG), a criminal organization that has become one of the leading cartels in Mexico. In the days after the attack. Several banners were posted throughout Guadalajara where CJNG claimed they were not behind the attack at the U.S. government building and the case was an attempt to damage the criminal organization’s reputation, Breitbart News reported.

Soon after the attack, the FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the criminal organization behind the attack.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.

Tony Aranda from the Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report. 


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Karachi attack: China consulate attack leaves four dead

DAR Diplomatic Security Sit-Rep Nov 27, 2018

Diplomatic Security image draft

Story From Nov 23rd

Gunmen have killed at least four people in an attack on the Chinese consulate in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Gunshots were heard at about 09:30 local time (04:30 GMT) outside the consulate in the upmarket Clifton area. Police shot dead three attackers.

Separatist militants who oppose Chinese investment projects in western Pakistan say they carried out the attack.

In another incident on Friday, at least 30 people were killed in a bomb attack in north-west Pakistan.

The blast occurred in a mostly Shia neighborhood in Orakzai district. Police say a suicide bomber on a motorbike drove into a crowded marketplace.

Pakistan’s Shia minority has often been targeted by Sunni extremists.

What happened in Karachi?

Three gunmen tried to enter the consulate but were stopped by guards at a checkpoint, reports said. Two of those killed in the attack were police officers.

A burning vehicle in a streetImage copyrightXINHUA
Image captionA burning vehicle near the attack site

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a blast, and local TV channels broadcast images of a plume of smoke. There is a heavy police presence in the area which has been cordoned off.

All the staff inside the consulate are safe, China said. The government condemned the attack on its mission and the foreign ministry in Beijing called for extra measures to protect Chinese citizens in Pakistan.

“At the same time we mourn the deaths of the Pakistani police and think of their families at this time,” a spokesman said.

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But the spokesman was keen to praise Pakistani security forces for its efforts to protect the consulate.

A separatist group, the Balochistan Liberation Army, said it had carried out the attack. It is one of a number of separatist groups operating in the province, which has seen a long-running nationalist insurgency.

“We have been seeing the Chinese as an oppressor, along with Pakistani forces,” a spokesman for the group told the AFP news agency.

Over the years, construction projects and Chinese workers in Balochistan have been repeatedly targeted by militants. Most recently, a suicide bombing in August injured a number of Chinese engineers.

So far, none of the incidents has been large enough in scale to really threaten the viability of Chinese investment in the country. But this is one of the most prominent attacks to date.

Officials told the BBC’s Stephen McDonell in Beijing they were confident the Pakistani government was able to manage the security situation to guarantee Chinese investment.

A female police officer, Suhai Talpur, who led the security operation during the consulate attack is being showered with praise, BBC Monitoring reports.

“Suhai Aziz, you have set an example of bravery. These are the women who are ahead of everyone,” Sindh provincial chief Murad Ali Shah was quoted as saying by Pakistan Today.

“They say women belong in the kitchen. Except when everyone needs a saviour,” columnist Aisha Sarwari tweeted.

Suhai Talpur joined the police force after passing the country’s civil services exam in 2013, according to local media.

“When my parents decided to enroll me at a school, most of our relatives started taunting my family. So much so, that my family had to leave our village and move to a nearby town,” she is quoted as telling The Express Tribune.

What is China doing in Balochistan?

By Secunder Kermani, BBC Pakistan correspondent, Islamabad

Balochistan is a sparsely populated region and has remained Pakistan’s most impoverished area despite being rich in gas and coal reserves, as well as copper and gold.

Baloch nationalists have long accused the central government of exploitation, and denying the province its due rights.

The area is at the heart of an ambitious Chinese project, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The corridor is a string of huge investments by China in Pakistani infrastructure, which aim to link its western Xinjiang province with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan, as part of the One Belt, One Road initiative.

China has poured billions into Pakistan, and thousands of Chinese nationals visit the country to work on CPEC projects or other business ventures. Pakistan is keen to ensure nothing happens to jeopardize that and Chinese workers are closely guarded.

The assault on the consulate is particularly significant because it took place in Karachi, the commercial capital of Pakistan, rather than in the remote province where the militants are based.

The incident will deeply concern authorities who have described the Chinese funding as a “game-changer”.

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Book Review: Former US Ambassador Prudence Bushnell’s Book on Surviving the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings.

A Story of Leadership and Fatal Missed Opportunity

Rescue workers carry a body on Aug. 9, 1998, in the aftermath of a bombing two days earlier that targeted the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. (AFP/Getty Images)
Rescue workers carry a body on Aug. 9, 1998, in the aftermath of a bombing two days earlier that targeted the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. (AFP/Getty Images)

Washington being Washington, the expectation is that books born in this city should focus on matters of high policy. On that front, Prudence Bushnell’s account of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya—and that of its counterpart in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania—on Aug. 7, 1998, does not disappoint. Indeed, her book, Terrorism, Betrayal, and Resilience: My Story of the 1998 U.S. Embassy Bombings, raises important questions about how the Washington policy establishment missed the clues that might have allowed it to foresee, and possibly prevent, those twin tragedies and asks whether a serious inquiry into those events might have avoided an even greater horror—that of 9/11.

But, Washington being Washington, many times books about policy are dry, academic treatises, as often written to showcase an author’s intellectual and analytical prowess as they are to advance an idea. The books in this category are often bloodless. To the extent actual people are featured, they mostly fall into that elite category of policymakers. If other people are discussed at all, it is often not as individuals but as nameless and faceless collectivities—the Afghans, the Europeans, the Africans. To her credit, this is not the book Bushnell, who was U.S. ambassador to Kenya at the time of the bombings, chose to write, a story about an incident that changed her life and should have changed U.S. foreign policy.

Indeed, Bushnell’s account is, first and foremost, about people. Part I begins, appropriately, not with the policymakers at all but with those whose lives were impacted by their decisions and lack of foresight. Principal among this group were the employees, American and Kenyan, who staffed the Nairobi embassy the day a truck bomb drove up alongside it and set off its deadly cargo. This piece of Bushnell’s book is a moving story of individual suffering and loss but also of small and large acts of courage, heroism, and, as the title denotes, resilience. It describes how a community torn apart by a vicious act of terrorism pulled itself back together to grieve for the colleagues who were killed and to help heal the physical and psychological wounds of the many more who had suffered. Further, it documents their efforts to tend to the enormous losses suffered by the larger Kenyan community—more than 200 people killed and an estimated 5,000 injured—all the while pursuing their official duties. This part of Bushnell’s tale is a story about dedicated public servants based far from America’s borders who rarely receive the attention or appreciation they deserve and whose sacrifices on behalf of the country are rarely explained or understood.

What makes this book compelling and unusual is how Bushnell’s modest and restrained writing reveals the example she herself set of leadership and courage. Interwoven with the larger narrative is her personal story, beginning with her growing up in a foreign service family. (Her father, as typical of the era, was the foreign service officer, her mother, a homemaker.) That family bred in her a commitment to public service, Bushnell writes, and nurtured the principles and values, as well as the personal strength that came from them, that led me to ask her to work with me in the years prior to her ambassadorship, first as the deputy chief of mission in Dakar, Senegal, and later as my principal deputy in the State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. They also formed the foundations of Bushnell’s adult ethical leadership. Those principles and values are on full display in the description of Bushnell’s steady stewardship of her embassy community, both before and after the bombing. They are most evident in her determined efforts, in the months leading up to the bombings, to call Washington’s attention to her embassy’s extreme vulnerability to just such an attack, efforts that earned her admonishments from senior State Department officials for “overloading circuits” and asking for what seemed to Washington not just impossible but unnecessary. Still, she persisted. That same principled leadership was again in evidence in the horrible aftermath of the bombing, when, putting aside her own physical and psychological injuries, she summoned the strength to give both comfort and direction to her shaken embassy team while firmly asserting control over the legions of responders from Washington, whose sudden arrival often brought more distress than help.

Lest this sound like more memoir than policy narrative, the book always brings readers back to policy. In Part II of her book, Bushnell describes the many people—among them, Michael Scheuer, the director of the CIA’s Alec Station, charged with gathering intelligence on Osama bin Laden; his counterpart at the FBI, John O’Neill; and Richard Clarke, who directed counterterrorism efforts at the National Security Council—who, however well-intentioned, had opportunities to foresee and prevent what happened on that fateful August day but who failed. Bushnell documents that history with meticulous and relentless detail: She describes how in the 1980s, U.S. support for jihadi insurgents fighting a Soviet-backed regime in Afghanistan sowed the seeds of al Qaeda and radical Islamist groups like it and explains how the failure to analyze and understand the roots of Islamist extremism led the United States to act in ways that spawned further radicalization, as well as how, once the Soviets had been forced out of Afghanistan, these radical groups turned their ire against the United States.

Drawing on official and journalistic reports, Bushnell recounts how affiliates of those groups found their way to the United States itself and how—despite surveillance from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies—they went on to plot and execute a series of fatal attacks against U.S. interests: the February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the October 1993 attack on U.S. forces in Somalia, and eventually the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. To help us understand how this was possible, she ably describes how officials in Washington, mired in bureaucratic turf battles and trapped in organizational stovepipes, failed to share the information that might have allowed them to connect the dots. That same dysfunction prevented essential information from being shared with Bushnell and her team in Nairobi, which may have enabled them to prepare for, and if possible avoid, the disaster. Only later, and largely through the mainstream press, did Bushnell learn that the CIA and the FBI had been amassing information about potential threats to the Nairobi embassy. “I had no idea that the FBI had known about al-Qaeda and had been tracking bin Laden ever since the investigation into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing,” she writes.

In effect, in Part II of her book, Bushnell has written the report that the U.S. government never wrote, the report that the special State Department Accountability Review Board convened in the aftermath of the bombings should have written but did not.

Bushnell has written the report that the U.S. government never wrote, the report that the special State Department Accountability Review Board convened in the aftermath of the bombings should have written but did not.

In so doing, she has raised some tough questions: How was it possible for bin Laden’s associates to plan and execute terrorist acts against the United States, even as they were known to and under the surveillance of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies? Why, in the aftermath of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history, did Washington not convene a full-scale inquiry into the events leading up to the bombings? And, had it done so, would the information uncovered—both about the enemies confronted and the weaknesses in its own institutions—have enabled it to avert the tragedy of 9/11?

Here, Bushnell quotes from the 9/11 Commission Report itself: “The tragedy of the embassy bombings provided an opportunity for a full examination, across the government, of the national security threat that Bin Ladin posed. Such an examination could have made clear to all that issues were at stake that was much larger than the domestic politics of the moment.”

 

Terrorism and Betrayal Book
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A gripping diplomatic thriller that tells the harrowing saga of the 1998 bombing of Embassy Nairobi. Ambassador Bushnell’s first-person account provides lessons of leadership, crisis management, and policy acumen. The tale dramatically illustrates the terrorism danger diplomats confront daily.”—Ambassador Robert E. Gribbin III (Ret.)

(Ambassador Robert E. Gribbin III (Ret.) 2018-03-02)

“Ambassador Prudence Bushnell is a true professional with the toughness, grit, courage, and compassion that marks the kind of superb leader you want in charge during a crisis. I witnessed her remarkable composure, even when personally injured, and her take-command leadership style. This book is important for many reasons. It vividly presents a profile in courage; an understanding rarely appreciated about our foreign service men and women working in difficult assignments; a set of valuable lessons learned; and a case study in leadership during crisis. Every American should read this book.”—Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)

(Anthony C. Zinni 2018-03-01)

“With heroes and villains aplenty, this riveting cold tale of the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya has startling relevance. As today’s State Department struggles to survive a gutting by its own government, Prudence Bushnell reminds us just how important and dangerous the job of diplomacy can be.”—Rheta Grimsley Johnson, syndicated columnist and author of Poor Man’s Provence: Finding Myself in Cajun Louisiana

(Rheta Grimsley Johnson 2018-03-01)

“Prudence Bushnell’s name is not household familiar—but it should be. She was at the center of one of the most infamous terrorist attacks on American people and property in history.  And she was a woman in the highest ranks of the State Department when such a thing was rare. She tells her story with integrity and intelligence—and gives lessons on leadership based on life experience.”—Barbara Kellerman, James MacGregor Burns Lecturer in Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School

(Barbara Kellerman 2018-07-30)

“For all readers, Ambassador Bushnell’s searing account of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings provides profound lessons in leadership. She demonstrates time and again her deep commitment to the safety and mission of the people she led. Her willingness to battle paralyzing bureaucracy, both before and after the bombings, exhibits her decency and humanity in the midst of the chaos and evil that the Embassy experienced. She devoted much of her career to improving leadership at the Department of State. She is a role model for future leaders.”—Chris Kojm, director of the Leadership, Ethics, & Practice Initiative, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

(Chris Kojm 2018-08-10)

About the Author

Prudence Bushnell is an American diplomat who has held a series of leadership positions with the U.S. Department of State, including deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs, ambassador to the republics of Kenya and Guatemala, and dean of the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute. She is retired from the Foreign Service and founder of the Levitt Leadership Institute at Hamilton College in New York. She has earned numerous awards for her leadership and diplomacy, including three honorary doctoral degrees. For more information on the author visit prudencebushnell.com.

https://megaphone.link/PPY4526064971

 

 

Customer Review from Amazon:

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Christopher Helton

October 1, 2018

Format: Hardcover

Prudence Bushnell was serving as United States Ambassador to Kenya in 1998 when al-Qaeda detonated a car bomb outside the embassy, killing over 200 people. In this memoir, Bushnell examines her actions during and after the attack. She also looks at the history leading up to the attacks, weaving in her own experiences in the State Department, as she attempts to piece together how they happened and how little the U.S. has grown form the experience. The same cannot be said for Bushnell, who candidly includes passages on her own emotional growth following the bombing. This book covers a lot of ground, but Bushnell is a more than capable guide, bouncing easily between the personal and policy sections.

One of the great strengths of this book resides in the fact that Prudence Bushnell is a diplomat, not a politician. Her recollections are sharp, insightful, and, most interestingly, critical. She has no problem examining the failures of the Clinton administration in funding embassy security, nor future administrations’ similar issues. Her frustrations with airing these concerns only to be met with silence is palpable. Similar sections also highlight the problems in Washington surrounding its continued approach to terrorism

In a lesser work, these moments might feel self-serving, but Bushnell carefully backs up her analysis with facts and experience. After all, her security vulnerability predictions proved correct after the bombing attack. Moreover, many of the grievances discussed later in the book about current State Department action, particularly funding, are still evolving, making this a troubling (though necessary) read.

While the bombing always remains at least in the periphery throughout this book, it’s not always the sole focus. Bushnell had a long career with the State Department, and it’s fascinating reading about her experiences maneuvering in such a male-dominated environment, and there’s a lot to be noted here about leadership. It’s insightful and provides a glimpse of how her worldview has developed and how it served her in her career. As well, the sections on serving in Rwanda and her post-retirement private sector careers are standouts.

Bushnell highlights a lot of problems the U.S. has navigating on the world stage. Much of this is disheartening and concerning. However, without spoiler, she ends this book with one of the most inspiring and optimistic passages I’ve ever read and is the real essence of this entire work.

 

 

 

Pakistani Ex-Diplomat Charged with Plotting Consulate Attacks on US and Israeli Consulates.

Diplomatic Security SitRep:02/23/2018

cropped-diplomatic-security-situation-report.jpgCHENNAI: Former Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui plotted to attack the US Consulate in Chennai, Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, Eastern Naval Command HQ in Visakhapatnam and ports across the country, according to a charge-sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Poonamallee Special Court on Thursday.

The chargesheet named Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was then visa counsellor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Interestingly, Siddiqui was arrested for allegedly conspiring to attack vital establishments in India and was quietly withdrawn even before the NIA’s request under Mutual Assistance Legal Treaty (MLAT) reached Colombo.

The NIA filed supplementary charge-sheet against Amir Zubair Siddiqui and his aides Balasubramanian and Noorudeen under various sections of the Unlawful Activity Act 1967 and IPC for their involvement in conspiracy for waging war against the Government of India, causing explosion in the US Consulate in Chennai and at various places in South India, said the official statement.

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The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.
Hussain used his counterparts Sivabalan and Mohammad Salim to circulate fake currency in the state. During questioning, Hussain also confessed that he had also used Rafeeque (29) to pump in fake Indian currency in the state.

NIA sources said, “Hussain had met Siddiqui in Colombo on a few occasions and was instructed to collect information about defence establishments, movement of arms and ammunition to the Indian Army and arrange fake passports and visa for two Pakistan nationals to enter India” “Siddiqui was not named in the charge-sheet initially because we did not have proper evidences before. Now that we have strong evidence to prove his involvement in the terror plot, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed,” the police said.

Gathering details and photographs
The 4,000-page supplementary charge-sheet filed in the Special Court for Terror Cases at Poonamallee near here said that the terror plot came to light after the NIA police personnel arrested an ISI agent Mohammed Zakir Hussain (37) through the ‘Q’ Branch of the Tamil Nadu police in 2013. The reason was that he was gathering details about vital installations in Tamil Nadu and sent photographs to Siddique.

Trackback:

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Former Ambassador recalls attack on U.S. Consulate in Jeddah

A former U.S. ambassador spoke about the ethical challenges of serving in the U.S. Foreign Service at the Elliott School of International Affairs Tuesday.

Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, who is also a GW alumna, served as the U.S. Ambassador to Malta from 2012 to 2016. The event was hosted by the Elliott School’s new Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative, which delves into issues of ethics on an international level.

During her time with the foreign service, Abercrombie-Winstanley was stationed at posts in Iraq, Indonesia, Egypt and Israel. She later served as Consul General in Saudi Arabia, before her appointment as ambassador during the former President Barack Obama’s administration. She shared stories from her experiences abroad with students in the Elliott School.

Here are some highlights from the event:

1. Ethical decision-making

Abercrombie-Winstanley discussed five anecdotes from her career when ethics played a big role in her decision-making process, ranging from rules regarding expensive gifts to reporting affairs between an ambassador and one of his subordinates.

But she said the toughest call to make was when her regional security officer suggested that staff and workers coming from Jordan, Pakistan, India and the Philippines not be allowed to come into the building without first passing through a metal detector.

Abercrombie-Winstanley said she was hesitant to divide the consulate staff because Americans wouldn’t have to go through the same security checks.

“The local staff, most of them had been with the consulate for 20, 30 years,” she said. “All of us were under threat. All of us were in danger as we came through that gate.”

To solve the dilemma, Abercrombie-Winstanley said she came up with a compromise that everyone would walk through the metal detector.

2. Handling an attack on the U.S. Consulate General

Islamist militants attacked the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah in 2004, killing nine people during Abercrombie-Winstanley’s tenure as the Consul General. She said she faced many challenges as a leader both during and after the attack.

During the four hours the consulate was under attack, Abercrombie-Winstanley said her priorities were to account for staff and try to get help from Saudi officials. Despite sharing a wall with the Saudi National Guard, she said it took security forces an “inordinate” amount of time to arrive at the consulate to deal with the situation.

“The worst part of that day was then going to the widows and extending condolences. And, of course, I had to do it,” she said. “The ambassador went with me for a couple, but most of them I did on my own.”

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3. Sexual harassment in the field of diplomacy

The former ambassador also spoke about her personal experiences with sexual assault and harassment during her long career in the foreign service.

She discussed how it can feel “demoralizing” when someone in power makes advances and the intense psychological impact that sexual harassment can have on a person’s self-confidence.

She talked about harassment she faced during a trip to Ireland when she was serving as the Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council.

“It was the head of the delegation that I was talking about the peace process with,” she said. “We’d agreed to have dinner and, in short, he’s trying to kiss me.”

Abercrombie-Winstanley said it was during this time that the Monica Lewinsky scandal was all over the news and she was among a generation of women who still felt like they were living in a “man’s world.”

“It didn’t occur to me to accept or do anything I didn’t want to do, but it also didn’t occur to me to tell someone looking for redress,” she said. “I did not think that was possible.”

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Gunmen Attacks Mexican Consulate in Texas and Tries to Burn it Down.

A man being described as a middle-aged white male opened fire early Friday morning on the Austin Police Department (APD) Headquarters. After firing about 100 rounds, the gunman was killed. It is not known for certain whether he died from a police bullet or from a self-inflicted shot. The man also fired at other government buildings in Austin along with the Mexican Consulate. While at the Mexican Consulate, he attempted to set a blaze using several propane cylinders.

At about 2:20 a.m. Friday morning, the gunman began his shooting rampage. He shot rounds at the Mexican Consulate and attempted to set it on fire using propane canistersaccording to a report in USAToday. He then proceeded to fire shots at the U.S. Courthouse Building in Austin while in route to the Austin Police Headquarters. Other buildings were fired at along the way.

The fire at the Mexican was extinguished but was extensively damaged. No one has been reported injured at this time.

Some of the building shot at were near the popular 6th Street club district in Austin. The clubs close at 2 a.m. shortly before the shooting escapade began.

According to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, an APD mounted patrol sergeant shot the gunman with one hand while holding two horses with the other. The man was described as being about 50-years-old according to an article in TheState.com. It is not known at this time, if the sergeant’s shot killed the suspect or if he took his own life.

Officers discovered more propane cylinders in his vehicle. The suspect was also wearing a bulky vest. Not sure if he may have been wired with explosives, officers backed away and the Austin Bomb Squad was called. They determined there were no explosive devices.

Chief Acevedo did not reveal the suspect’s name at this time but said he had a criminal record. Police Tactical Teams responded shortly thereafter to an apartment complex where the gunman lived as a precaution. Some of the neighbors near the gunman’s apartment were evacuated for safety purposes. One neighbor, Adam Peyton told TheState.com he awoke to the sight of SWAT officer and vehicles in his neighborhood. The apartments are located near Zilker Park. He said it is a very close community. “As soon as they show his face, we’ll instantly know,” Peyton said.

Acevedo began to fuel speculation about the shooters potential motive according to theUSAToday article cited above. Stating the suspect’s targets indicated that he might have had anti-government motives linked to immigration. “If you look at the targets,” Acevedo stated, “it doesn’t take a genius that this is the potential. I would venture that political rhetoric might have fed into some of this, but that is speculation on my part.”

*This story is becoming updated as new information becomes available. 

Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.

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5 Killed in Attack on British Embassy Convoy

A suicide attack by Taliban on a foreign convoy on Kabul’s Jalalabad Road has left at least five people dead and 20 others wounded, according to Afghanistan’s Health Ministry.

General Ayoub Salangi, Afghanistan’s deputy interior minister, said the attacker was riding a motorcycle during Thursday’s attack. The Taliban has claimed responsibilty for attack, claiming many foreigners were killed.

The British embassy in Kabul confirmed to Al Jazeera that one of their vehicles were hit in the attack, adding that there were no diplomats in the vehicle, and that a number of its staff were being treated for injuries.

There was no immediate indication of the extent of any casualties.

The huge blast could be heard across Kabul and a plume of smoke rose high into the air above the attack site on the Jalalabad road, a main route that houses many foreign compounds and military facilities.

The bombing is the latest in a wave of attacks to hit Kabul as the majority of foreign combat troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year after 13 years of war against the Taliban and its allies.

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At least 5 people were killed in an attack on a convoy of British embassy vehicles.

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German Embassy Guard shot Dead in Yemen

Embassy Guard Killed in Yemen

(Reuters) – Gunmen shot dead a German security guard employed by the German embassy in Yemen’s capital on Sunday as he was leaving a supermarket, Yemeni security officials said, in an attack they said bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

The man was gunned down in Sanaa’s Hadda district, where the embassy is located. It was the latest in a series of attacks on foreign and local officials in the U.S.-allied state, which is battling one of the most active branches of al Qaeda.

“We believe that al Qaeda was behind the killing,” a Yemeni police source said. Another source said that the guard was killed as he was leaving the store to go to his car.

Pan-Arab news channel al-Arabiya reported that the guard had been shot dead as the assailants tried to kidnap the German ambassador Carola Mueller-Holtkemper, who escaped.

Two Yemeni officials said they were unable to confirm the report of the attempted kidnap. Embassy employees in Sanaa and the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin declined to comment.

Mueller-Holtkemper had only recently arrived in Yemen and presented her credentials to Yemeni authorities less than a week ago, a statement on the embassy’s website showed.

In a separate attack on Sunday, kidnappers seized an African employee of the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF as he was travelling from the Sanaa to the Red Sea coastal town of Hudaidah, a UNICEF official in Sanaa said.

Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has attacked several Western targets, including airliners, and is believed to have been behind a series of killings of foreign and local officials in the country since 2011.

In November last year gunmen shot dead a Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni bodyguard in Sanaa in an attack believed to be the work of the group. A month earlier, masked gunmen shot dead a Yemeni man who worked in the security office of the U.S. Embassy.

Germany was one of several Western countries which shut their Yemen embassies in early August after a U.S. warning of a possible major militant attack in the Middle East. The mission reopened after a two-week closure.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen was attacked in September 2012 by demonstrators angry at a film they said was blasphemous to Islam. Hundreds of Yemenis broke through the main gate of the heavily fortified compound, smashed windows of security offices outside the embassy and burned cars.

On Sunday AQAP said in a statement it was behind an attack on an army base in the southeast of the country last week in protest at the army’s cooperation with the United States and vowed to continue its “holy war” against Yemeni forces.

Militants took advantage of political chaos in Yemen during the Arab Spring uprising in 2011 to seize control of some towns and surrounding areas in the south of the country.

They were beaten back by Yemeni forces with assistance from the United States and dispersed into smaller groups spread across the south of the country.

(Additional reporting by Boris Berner in Berlin, Writing by Sylvia Westall; Editing by William Maclean and Andrew Roche)

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Russian Embassy in Libya evacuated after attack

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Thursday evacuated all of its diplomats and their families from Libya, the day after a mob attack on the Russian Embassy, and issued a warning to its citizens against visiting the country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said none of the embassy staff was hurt in Wednesday’s attack, which came in response to the death of a Libyan air force officer, who was allegedly killed by a Russian woman.

An armed mob broke into the embassy compound in the Libyan capital Tripoli, climbing over walls, breaking down a metal gate and shooting in the air. One of the attackers was killed by the gunfire, and four more were wounded, Libyan officials said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Thursday’s statement that Moscow decided to evacuate the embassy after Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz visited its grounds and told the Russian ambassador that Libya was unable to protect the personnel.

Lukashevich added that all the embassy workers and their families safely crossed the border into Tunisia Thursday. He said that the Libyan authorities had promised to protect Russian assets and try to quickly restore conditions for the safe operations of the embassy.

Several senior diplomats will stay in Tunisia to maintain contacts with Libya, while the rest of the embassy workers will be flown to Moscow Friday, Lukashevich said.

He added that the Foreign Ministry recommends Russian citizens should refrain from visiting Libya.

Wednesday’s violence briefly raised fears of a repeat of last year’s deadly attack on a U.S. compound in the eastern city of Benghazi, in which the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed. In that instance, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack, militants fired mortars at the consulate, surrounded it and set it on fire.

A Libyan official said Wednesday’s attackers took down the Russian flag that was hanging from the balcony of one of the buildings. But they did not enter the embassy buildings, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

Special Forces Officer Survives Assassination Attempt

TRIPOLI, Libya –  A Libyan official says  an officer in charge of airport security in the eastern city of Benghazi has  survived an apparent assassination attempt using a bomb placed in his car.

The security official says Captain Salem Shabaan, one of several officers in  charge of a group of special forces at the airport, was wounded in the Sunday  blast. He said that the bomb appeared to have been attached to the brakes. He  spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the  press.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the 2011 Libyan uprising-turned-civil-war, has  witnessed a surge in attacks on security officers, often involving car bombs or  drive-by shootings by unidentified, masked assailants.

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Al-Qaeda offers $160K bounty for assassination of US Ambassador to Yemen and $23K for killing American soldiers

Yemenyemen

Al-Qaeda has placed a $160,000 bounty on the  head of the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen and $23,000 for the assassination of any  American soldiers in the country.

An audio produced by the group’s media arm,  the al-Malahem Foundation,  and posted on militant websites Saturday said it  offered three kilograms of gold for the killing of Ambassador Gerald M.  Feierstein.

The bounties were set to ‘inspire and  encourage our Muslim nation for jihad,’ the statement said.

Focus on the safety of American diplomats  abroad has intensified since Libya Ambassador Chris Stevens died in a terrorist  attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

He was the first U.S. Ambassador assassinated  in the line of duty since 1979. His death, and the security at the consulate  compound, have been the focus of intense scrutiny by Congress – especially  Republicans who have criticized the White Housing handling of the  attack.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as the  group is called, is considered Al-Qaeda’s most dangerous branch.

The terrorist cell, thought to have up to 600  members, overran entire towns and villages last year by taking  advantage of a  security lapse during nationwide protests that eventually ousted the country’s  longtime ruler.

It has been responsible for numerous  assassinations in the capital Sanaa, including the shooting of a Yemeni security  guard outside the U.S. Embassy in October.

In late November, the Yemeni government  blamed a drive-by shooting that killed a Saudi diplomat and his bodyguard on the  local al-Qaeda branch.

The U.S. military and CIA have been waging a  covert war against the terrorist cell for years.

In September 2011, an American drone strike  killed Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born terrorist leader believed to be behind  an attempted bomb attack on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit.

Yemen’s army was able to regain control of  several al-Qaeda towns the southern region with the support of U.S. military  experts.

However, militants continue to launch deadly  attacks on security forces  that have killed hundreds.

In the capital, Sanaa, security officials  said two gunmen on a  motorbike shot and killed two intelligence officers early  Sunday as they were leaving a downtown security facility.

The officials, who spoke on condition of  anonymity according to  regulations, said all intelligence and security officers  have been  instructed to take precautionary measures outside working  hours.

The government blames al-Qaeda for the  killing of several senior  military and intelligence officials this year mainly  by gunmen on  motorbikes.

The officials said security authorities in  Sanaa have launched a  campaign against motorcyclists suspected of involvement  in these attacks or other crimes, arresting about 200 for questioning for  violations,  including driving motorcycles without license plates.

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Ex-Bin Laden Bodyguard Living in Germany

They said the man, named only as Sami A., 36, had recruited young Muslims in the city of Bochum for “holy war” after spending time in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader, was killed in a U.S. commando raid on his Pakistan hideout last year.

“We know that Sami A. was in Afghanistan and Pakistan at the end of 2000 where he was believed to have been one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards,” a spokeswoman for Germany’s constitutional watchdog in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said.

“Both the intelligence services and security services have had a close eye on him since 2004,” she added. “We consider him dangerous as he had been spreading extremist views in Germany while trying to radicalize young people.”

Sami A. has not been detained but has been required to report to Bochum police daily since 2006, a spokeswoman for the NRW interior ministry said.

German authorities have tried to deport Sami A. to his native Tunisia since 2006 because he is seen as a possible threat to national security, but not succeeded because he is married to a German woman and they have three children.

Two of Sami A.’s followers belong to a group of four accused of membership of an al Qaeda cell and charged in Germany with plotting an attack. They went on trial in July. Prosecutors said the four, aged between 20 and 30, had intended to stage a “sensational terror attack”.

German media reports said Sami A. had given religious classes in Bochum to the German-Iranian Amid C., 21, and German citizen Halil S., 28, who are suspected of handling the group’s communications with al Qaeda leaders abroad.

Germany has stepped up surveillance of Salafist Islamists – believed to number about 4,000 among the 4 million Muslims in the country – after they sought to hand out free copies of the Koran and clashed with police earlier this year.

Police raided scores of buildings across Germany on June 14 in a clampdown on Salafists suspected of plotting against the state. Salafists want to establish sharia (Islamic law) in Europe and police fear they are fuelling militancy among a small minority of socially alienated young Muslims in Germany.

But despite the prominence of Germany in the saga of al Qaeda due to Hamburg’s role as a base for three of the September 11 suicide airline hijackers, its indigenous militant scene is much smaller than that in Britain or France, security experts say.

Britain has been trying for more than a decade to deport Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim preacher of Palestinian origin and described by a Spanish judge as bin Laden’s “right-hand man in Europe”, to Jordan to face terrorism charges. His case remains mired in legal wrangling

Somalia’s President survives assassination attempt

ImageSomalia’s President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed survived an assassination attempt Tuesday by Islamist militants.

Gunmen opened fire on the president’s armored convoy in the Alamada area, about 15 kilometers west of the capital, Mogadishu.  He was returning from a visit to the town of Afgoye, which African Union and Somali troops had liberated from the al-Shabab group Monday.

Seynab Abukar, a reporter for the VOA Somali Service who traveled with the convoy, says the president was unharmed, but a bodyguard was killed and seven other people were wounded.
“The attack happened between Alamada and Elasha Biyaha when the convoy of President Sheikh Ahmed was ambushed along with his delegation including the acting prime minister, interior minister and military commanders form AMISOM and Somali forces as well as parliamentarians. It happened at the same place where he stopped by on his way to Afgoye earlier in the morning, where he spoke to the people in the area, asked them about their situation, if they had problems with the government’s troops…and asked them to open the shops,” Abukar said. “On the way back, we suddenly we heard gunshots as we drove on the road.  The government troops and AMISOM forces dismounted from the vehicles and took positions, and there was exchange of heavy and small gunfire.  The convoy drove through as the fighting continued.  The death of one soldier is confirmed and seven others were wounded. A member of the president’s delegation, Mohamed Hussein Awliyo, was also wounded. “

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack.  Authorities say they have arrested four suspects.
Abukar says the presidential convoy reached Afgoye safely for the first time after six years.
The reporter says the president toured Afgoye bridge, the police station and the district offices.  He also visited Sheikh Zaid Farmhouse where he had spoken as the leader of the Islamic courts in 2006.”

Also Tuesday, Kenyan warships fired on Port Kismayo, the militants’ largest remaining stronghold in Somalia.
Kenyan military spokesman Cyrus Oguna said that warships opened fire after being attacked by al-Shabab fighters on shore.  Oguna said this is the first time Kenya’s military has engaged in combat in Kismayo.
Witnesses told VOA’s Somali Service that two warships began firing at Kismayo overnight Tuesday.  The attack continued after sunrise, with one shell hitting a house and wounding a child.

Al-Shabab once controlled most of southern and central Somalia, but has steadily lost ground in an offensive by AU, Somali, Kenyan and Ethiopian forces.

Reports from southern Somalia on Monday indicated that al-Shabab leaders were mobilizing fighters in Kismayo and other locations.

Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s transitional government and impose a strict form of Islamic law.

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Profile of Nigeria’s Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Abubakar Shekau is the leader of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has carried out a series of deadly attacks across northern Nigeria. Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar from the BBC Hausa service looks at Nigeria’s most wanted man.

The leader of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram is said to be a fearless loner, a complex, paradoxical man – part intellectual, part gangster.

Fondly called imam or leader by his followers, Abubakar Muhammad Shekau was born in Shekau village in Nigeria’s north-eastern state of Yobe.

Some say he is 34 or 35, others that he may be 43 – the uncertainty adds to the myths surrounding Nigeria’s most wanted man.

Radical theology student

Mr Shekau was once thought to have been killed by security forces in 2009 – only for him to reappear in videos posted on the internet less than a year later as Boko Haram’s new leader.

The group’s founder, Muhammad Yusuf died in police custody, and hundreds of others were killed during that massive crackdown – which many blame for making the group even more violent.

Mr Shekau has not been seen in public since.

Instead, still images and video clips of him are released from time to time, mostly online, by the group’s faceless “public enlightenment department”.

Mr Shekau is said to have met his predecessor in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State and now Boko Haram’s headquarters, through a mutual friend, Mamman Nur.

Nigeria’s authorities say Mr Nur masterminded the August 2011 bombing of the UN office complex in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

All three were theology students – and Mr Shekau was seen as the quietest and perhaps the most radical of them.

“He hardly talks, he is fearless,” says Ahmed Salkida, a journalist with such good access to Boko Haram that, at one stage, he was suspected of being a member.

He says he only escaped summary execution by Maiduguri police after an intelligence officer intervened.

“He is one of those who believes that you can sacrifice anything for your belief,” Mr Salkida says.

Mr Shekau is fluent in his native Kanuri, Hausa and Arabic languages – he does not speak English.

“I used to joke with him that he should teach me Arabic and I would teach him English,” Mr Salkida says.

When Yusuf was killed, Mr Shekau is said to have married one of his four wives and adopted their children – perhaps, say sources who do not want to be named, to preserve Boko Haram’s cohesion or “purity”.

‘Chilling message’

The group has a highly decentralised structure – the unifying force is ideology.

Mr Shekau does not communicate directly with the group’s foot soldiers – he is said to wield his power through a few select cell leaders, but even then contact is minimal.

“A lot of those calling themselves leaders in the group do not even have contact with him,” Mr Salkida says.

Mr Shekau has neither the charismatic streak nor the oratorical skills of his predecessor – but he has an intense ideological commitment and ruthlessness, say people who study the group.

“He is the leader of the more militant wing of the group as testified by his aping of Osama Bin Laden in his video appearances,” says Abubakar Mu’azu from the University of Maiduguri.

Mr Shekau issued a chilling message in one of those appearances – which provides a major insight into what his leadership of the group will bring.

“I enjoy killing anyone that God commands me to kill – the way I enjoy killing chickens and rams,” he said in the video clip released just after Boko Haram had carried out its deadliest attack so far, killing at least 180 people in Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city.

Mr Shekau is also the group’s spiritual leader – and, judging by video footage, he seems equally comfortable delivering sermons to his followers.

“He has a photographic memory and is well versed in theology,” Mr Salkida said.

He is nicknamed “Darul Tawheed”, which translates as a specialist in Tawheed. This is an orthodox doctrine of the uniqueness and oneness of Allah, which is the very cornerstone of Islam.

But Nigeria’s mainstream Muslim clerics do not regard Mr Shekau as a scholar and question his understanding of Islam – and regularly condemn the bombings and drive-by shootings committed by his followers against anyone who disagrees with them.

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