Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gaza Palestinians: Hamas kills three 'collaborators'

Gaza Palestinians: Hamas kills three 'collaborators'

Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas escort a prisoner in Gaza City, 21 MayImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe three suspects were brought to court on Sunday

Three men accused over the killing of a leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas have been put to death by the group in the Gaza Strip.
One was accused of killing Mazen Fuqaha while the other two were accused of involvement. All three were said to have collaborated with Israel.
Two were hanged while the third was killed by a firing squad in front of hundreds of witnesses.
A human rights group said the executions smacked of "militia rule".
Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since ejecting a rival Palestinian faction, Fatah, from power nearly 10 years ago.
Hamas was shocked when Fuqaha was shot dead near his house in March, and imposed tight border restrictions on Palestinians trying to leave Gaza. 
Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas escort a prisoner in Gaza City, 21 MayImage copyrightREUTERS
Human rights groups had called on the Islamist movement not to carry out the executions - just two weeks after it announced the arrests and aired videos of what it said were the men's confessions. 
Since Hamas took over Gaza, it is believed to have executed some 28 people.

'Always wrong'

One of those killed on Thursday, Ashraf Abu Leila, 38, was named as the assassin and hanged, AFP news agency reports.
Abdallah al-Nashar, 38, and Hisham al-Aloul, 42, were convicted of being his accomplices and "collaborating with the Zionist enemy".
Mr Nashar was shot instead of being hanged because he had once been an officer in the Palestinian presidential guard, AFP reports.
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch, said: "Rushing to put men to death based on an unreviewable decision of a special military court days after announcing their arrests, and airing videoed confessions, smacks of militia rule, not the rule of law. 
Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas escort a prisoner in Gaza City, 21 MayImage copyrightREUTERS
"Reliance on confessions, in a system where coercion, torture and deprivation of detainee's rights are prevalent, and other apparent due process violations further taint the court's verdicts. 
"Death as government-sanctioned punishment is inherently cruel and always wrong, no matter the circumstance."
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Israel occupied the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Middle East war. In 2005, it withdrew its troops and some 7,000 settlers.
Funeral of Mazen Fuqaha in Gaza City, 25 MarchImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe funeral of Mazen Fuqaha took place on 25 March in Gaza City
In 2006, Hamas won Palestinian Legislative Council elections. It took control of Gaza the following year after a violent rift with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas as a whole, or in some cases its military wing, is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, EU, and UK, as well as other powers.

Greek ex-PM Lucas Papademos injured in Athens car blast. More leftist violence?

Greek ex-PM Lucas Papademos injured in Athens car blast

  • 2 hours ago
  • From the section Europe
Media captionGreek police sealed off the car after the blast
Former Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has been injured by an explosion inside his car in Athens.
Reports say the blast may have been caused by a letter bomb.
Mr Papademos, 69, had leg, arm and stomach injuries, but officials said his condition was "not a cause for concern". His driver was also injured - but not seriously. Reports say at least one other person in the car was hurt.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for Thursday's blast. 
Mr Papademos was appointed caretaker prime minister in November 2011 amid political and economic turmoil. He served in post until May 2012.
He has also served as vice-president of the European Central Bank.
The explosion occurred at about 18:30 local time (15:30 GMT) in central Athens.
Mr Papademos and his driver, who has not been named, were then taken to Evangelismos Hospital.
Reports say the third person in the car was a banking official.
Current Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is attending a Nato summit in Brussels, is being kept informed of the incident, Greek news agency ANA said.
Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos. Photo: 6 May 2012Image copyrightAFP
Image captionLucas Papademos took office trying to keep Greece in the eurozone
In March, a letter bomb sent from Greece exploded at the International Monetary Fund office in Paris.
The employee who opened the letter suffered hand and face injuries and staff were evacuated.
Days earlier, a parcel bomb meant for German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble was intercepted and destroyed in Berlin before it could explode.
Greek far-left group Conspiracy of Fire Cells said it was responsible for sending that device
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Brothers in Minn. arrested with AK-47 and bomb making material...guess who?

(WCCO) — There are growing concerns about the arrest of two brothers with ties to the Middle East who authorities say had an arsenal with bomb-making materials, guns and ammunition in their car.
Twenty-seven-year-old Abdullah Alrifahe and 26-year-old Majid Alrifahe were arrested on May 11 in north Minneapolis.
Abdullah is being held in the Hennepin County Jail. His brother, Majid, has been released and is facing minor charges.
WCCO-TV has confirmed that both Homeland Security and the FBI are involved in the investigation, which started outside a federally-subsidized senior housing project. A good Samaritan confronted the men about littering from their car. 
abdullah alrifahe and majid alrifahe Growing Concern Over Brothers Arrested With Guns, Bomb Making Materials
Abdullah Alrifahe and Majid Alrifahe (credit: Hennepin Co. Jail)
The man, who asked that his name not be used for fear of his safety, said the brothers jumped out of their car, moved aggressively toward him and used the N-word. He then called police. 
Inside the brothers’ car, police found a loaded AK-47, another rifle, a handgun, a grenade, large amounts of ammunition, and what would later be identified as bomb-making materials, including a drone.
Abdullah Alrifahe had recently been released from jail after serving time for a weapons conviction. He is now facing a single felony weapons charge. 
His brother, Majid, has been released from jail and is facing a low-level misdemeanor charges, including disorderly conduct.
The good Samaritan is outraged the charges aren’t more serious. 
“For what they found in their car, that is way too light,” he said. 
However, criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, says prosecutors are doing what they can. 
“These people have been charged with what the prosecutors can do right now,” he said, adding that more charges could come down later. 
The Minneapolis Police Department says the investigation remains an open. Meanwhile, Abdullah Alrifahe is being held on $200,000 bail, which is an extremely high amount for the charges he faces. 
His brother, who is out of jail, did not immediately return phone calls. 
WCCO-TV also reached out to the FBI and Homeland Security. The FBI responded that it has no comment on the case. 

FBI illegally shared spy data with private parties. Every government agency has been politicized against the citizenry.

DeclassifiedDeclassified memos show FBI illegally shared spy data on Americans with private parties

WATCH: Circa's Sara Carter explains the extensive nature in which raw intelligence was shared by the FBI. 
The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.
In his final congressional testimony before he was fired by President Trump this month, then-FBI Director James Comey unequivocally told lawmakers his agency used sensitive espionage data gathered about Americans without a warrant only when it was “lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked.”
Once-top secret U.S. intelligence community memos reviewed by Circa tell a different story, citing instances of “disregard” for rules, inadequate training and “deficient” oversight and even one case of deliberately sharing spy data with a forbidden party.
For instance, a ruling declassified this month by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) chronicles nearly 10 pages listing hundreds of violations of the FBI’s privacy-protecting minimization rules that occurred on Comey’s watch.
The behavior the FBI admitted to a FISA judge just last month ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight the bureau promised was in place years ago.
The court also opined aloud that it fears the violations are more extensive than already disclosed. 
“The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI is engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported,” the April 2017 ruling declared.
The court isn’t the only oversight body to disclose recent concerns that the FBI’s voluntary system for policing its behavior and self-disclosing mistakes hasn’t been working.
The Justice Department inspector general’s officedeclassified a report in 2015 that reveals the internal watchdog had concerns as early as 2012 that the FBI was submitting ‘deficient” reports indicating it had a clean record complying with spy data gathered on Americans without a warrant.
The FBI normally is forbidden from surveilling an American without a warrant. But Section 702 of the Foreign Surveillance Act, last updated by Congress in 2008,  allowed the NSA to share with the FBI spy data collected without a warrant that includes the communications of Americans with “foreign targets.”
But the FISA court watchdogs suggest FBI compliance problems began months after Section 702 was implemented.
The FBI’s very first compliance report in 2009 declared it had not found any instances in which agents accessed NSA intercepts supposedly gathered overseas about an American who in fact was on U.S. soil.
But the IG said it reviewed the same data and easily found evidence that the FBI accessed NSA data gathered on a person who likely was in the United States, making it illegal to review without a warrant.
“We found several instances in which the FBI acquired communications on the same day that the NSA determined through analysis of intercepted communications that the person was in the United States,” the declassified report revealed.
It called the FBI’s first oversight report “deficient” and urged better oversight.
FBI officials acknowledged there have been violations but insist they are a small percentage of the total counterterrorism and counterintelligence work its agents perform. 
Almost all are unintentional human errors by good-intentioned agents and analysts under enormous pressure to stop the next major terror attack, the officials said.
Others fear these blunders call into the question the bureau’s rosy assessment that it can still police itself when it comes to protecting Americans’ privacy 17 years after the war on terror began.
That doubt, heaviest among civil libertarian Democrats but also growing among Republicans, is particularly sensitive because the law that allows the bureau to access warrantless spy data about Americans - Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - is up for renewal later this year.
Lawmakers in both parties and both chambers of Congress are writing reforms behind closed door, leaving the intelligence community anxious it might lose some of the spy powers it considers essential to fighting terrorism, cyber attacks and unlawful foreign influence.
“No one on the Hill wants to look like we are soft on terrorism when you have increasing threats like Manchester-style attacks. But the evidence of abuse or sloppiness and the unending leaks of sensitive intelligence in the last year has emboldened enough of us to pursue some reforms,” a senior congressional aide told Circa, speaking only on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to talk to the media. “Where that new line between privacy and security is drawn will depend on how many more shoes fall before the 702 renewal happens.”
Rep. Trent Frank, R-Ariz., a member of the House Judiciary Committee that will help craft the 702 renewal legislation, said the rising revelation of problems about improper spying on Americans are having an effect on lawmakers who have long supported the intelligence community. 
“The bottom line is the law has to be followed and when it isn’t there has to be consequence that is of significance so that it deters others from breaking the same law,” he told Circa.
One of the biggest concerns involves so-called backdoor searches in which the FBI can mine NSA intercept data for information that may have been incidentally collected about an American. No warrant or court approval is required, and the FBI insists these searches are one of the most essential tools in combating terrorist plots.
But a respected former Justice Department national security prosecutor questions if the searching has gotten too cavalier. AmyJeffress, the former top security adviser to former Attorney General Eric Holder, was appointed by the intelligence court in 2015 to give anindependent assessmentof the FBI’s record of compliance.
Jeffress concluded agents’ searches of NSA data now extend far beyond national security issues and thus were “overstepping” the constitutional protections designed to ensure the bureau isn’t violating Americans’ 4th Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.
“The FBI procedures allow for really virtually unrestricted querying of the Section 702 data in a way the NSA and CIA have restrained it through their procedures,” she argued before the court in a sealed 2015 proceeding.
“I think that in this case the procedures could be tighter and more restrictive, and should be in order to comply with the Fourth Amendment,” she added.
The court thanked Jeffress for her thoughtful analysis but ultimately rejected her recommendation to impose on the FBI a requirement of creating a written justification why each search would help pursue a national security or criminal matter.

The Justice Department argued in that matter that the extra restriction would keep FBI agents from connecting the dots in terror cases and compared NSA searches to something Americans do every day.
“If we require our agents to write a full justification every time think about if you wrote a full justification every time you used Google. Among other things, you would use Google a lot less,” a lawyer told the court.
That was late in 2015. But by early 2017, the court became more concerned after the Obama administration disclosed significant violations of privacy protections at two separate intelligence agencies involved in the Section 702 program.
The most serious involved the NSA searching for American data it was forbidden to search. But the FBI also was forced to admit its agents and analysts shared espionage data with prohibited third parties, ranging from a federal contractor to a private entity that did not have the legal right to see the intelligence.
Such third-party sharing is a huge political concern now as Congress and intelligence community leaders try to stop the flow of classified information to parties that could illegally disclose or misuse it, such as the recent leak that disclosed intercepted communications between the Russian ambassador and Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn. 
The court’s memo suggested the FBI’s sharing of raw intelligence to third parties, at the time, had good law enforcement intentions but bad judgment and inadequate training.
“Nonetheless, the above described practices violated the governing minimization procedures,” the court chided.
A footnote in the ruling stated one instance of improper sharing was likely intentional. 
“Improper access” to NSA spy data for FBI contractors “seems to have been the result of deliberate decision-making,” the court noted.
The recently unsealed ruling also revealed the FBI is investigating more cases of possible improper sharing with private parties that recently have come to light.
The government “is investigating whether there have been similar cases in which the FBI improperly afforded non-FBI personnel access to raw FISA-acquired information on FBI systems,” the court warned.
The ruling cited other FBI failures in handling Section 702 intel, including retaining data on computer storage systems “in violation of applicable minimization requirements.”
Among the most serious additional concerns was the FBI’s failure for more than two years to establish review teams to ensure intercepts between targets and their lawyers aren’t violating the attorney-client privilege.
“Failures of the FBI to comply with this ‘review team’ requirement for particular targets have been focus of the FISC’s (FISA’s?) concerns since 2014,” the court noted.
The FBI said it is trying to resolve the deficiencies with aggressive training of agents.
That admission of inadequate training directly undercut Comey’s testimony earlier this month when questioned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
“Nobody gets to see FISA information of any kind unless they've had the appropriate training and have the appropriate oversight,” the soon-to-be-fired FBI director assured lawmakers.
The struggle for the intelligence court and lawmakers in providing future oversight will be where to set more limits without hampering counterterrorism effort
The FBI told Circa in a statement, "As indicated in its opinion, the Court determined that the past and current standard minimization procedures are consistent with the Fourth Amendment and met the statutory definition of those procedures under Section 702."
Jeffress, however, warned in her 2015 brief of another dynamic that will pose a challenge too, an FBI culture to use a tool more just because it can.
“These scenarios suggest a potentially very large and broad scope of incidental collection of communications between a lawful target and U.S. persons that are not the type of communications Section 702 was designed to collect,” she told the court in a written memo.
And when questioned at a subsequent hearing, Jeffress observed: “I don’t think that the FBI will voluntarily set limits on its querying procedures, because law enforcement agencies tend not to take steps to restrict or limit what they can do, for obvious reasons.”
Circa congressional correspondent Kellan Howell contributed to this story.