#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – October 01 – Omar J. Gonzalez could spend 15 years in prison following his White House intrusion, which has raised serious questions about the Secret Service.
A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Gonzalez, 42, formerly of Copperas Cove, Texas, on one federal charge of unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, while carrying a deadly or dangerous weapon, and two violations of D.C. law: carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or place of business, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. and Kathy A. Michalko, a special agent in charge of the Secret Service’s Washington field office, announced the charges against Gonzalez, who has been in custody since his arrest on Sept. 19.
According to the federal prosecutor’s evidence, it was around 7:19 p.m. when Gonzalez climbed over the north fence of the White House. A Secret Service officer ran toward him and yelled at him to stop, but Gonzalez ran toward the executive mansion.
Moments later, he went through the north doors and entered the building. The government says he was apprehended inside the White House, though they did not note how far inside the complex the Iraq war veteran made it.
Secret Service Director Julia A. Pierson testified to a congressional panel on Tuesday that Gonzalez entered the double front doors — an unlocked glass storm door and an ornamental wood door, that was in the process of being locked by hand. Pierson later said automatic locks have now been installed.
“As Mr. Gonzalez entered the door, he knocked back the officer that was standing at the doorway,” she said Tuesday. “The officer then engaged Mr. Gonzalez. They crossed the East Entrance Hall together. Made the left turn down the cross hall. They stepped momentarily into the East Room. Another officer rendered aid, And he was placed on the ground on the carpet and handcuffed on the cross wall — hall — just outside of the Green Room.”
The agent who stopped Gonzalez had just finished his shift and happened to be walking through the White House when the commotion started, according to an account first reported by the Washington Post.
The Secret Service is still investigating the incident, and Pierson provided more details to lawmakers in a private briefing after the hearing.
According to the police report, Gonzalez was searched and a black folding knife with a three and one-half inch serrated blade was discovered in his right front pants pocket. He then gave oral consent to search his vehicle, which was located on Constitution Avenue Northwest. The vehicle contained hundreds of rounds of ammunition, both in boxes and in magazines, two hatchets and a machete.
Gonzalez is scheduled to appear on Oct. 1, before Magistrate Judge Deborah A. Robinson in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
#AceNewsServices (Sponsored) – INDIA – September 30 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States has provided an extraordinary opportunity that deserves our attention. At a time when the world seems beset by troubles, we have the chance to elevate relations between the U.S. and India to a new level – a new level that can benefit the citizens of both nations for decades to come.
The Modi government came into office this spring with the overwhelming support of Indian voters and the promise of job creation and economic growth – of less government and more governance. The information technology sectors of the U.S. and India have already demonstrated how both nations can benefit from collaboration and the exchange of products, services and intellectual talent. Today, 10 of the top 15 tech companies operating in India are American. And many of those companies are working to train and mentor people to become future entrepreneurs, IT professionals and students in STEM education programs.
To provide vital operational support to 96 percent of Fortune 500 companies and thousands of other American businesses, India-based IT services companies have invested more than $5 billion, created more than 280,000 jobs for Americans, and paid $15 billion in taxes to the U.S. Treasury in the last five years. High-skilled IT professionals on temporary visas often augment the permanent U.S. employees of global IT service companies to support their customers’ in-house IT staff and management on major initiatives. This gives U.S. businesses the specific type of support they require – where, when and only for as long as they need it – helping them innovate, enter markets, grow and create more American jobs.
No wonder that Secretary of State John Kerry commented in July, before the 2014 U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, that “the dynamism and the entrepreneurial spirit of Mumbai and Bangalore, of Silicon Valley and of Boston – that is precisely what is required in order to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.”
Initial steps taken by Prime Minister Modi’s new government make this clear: India is open for business. In the Strategic Dialogue, senior representatives of the U.S. and Indian government pledge to work together to address remaining issues such as taxation, intellectual property rights protection, FDI reforms, investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, and the ease of doing business in India. These talks have also produced encouraging signals for strategic cooperation in defence and other areas.
By Diane Farrell, Acting President U.S.-India Business Council – 09/29/14 02:49 PM EDT
#AceWorldNews – AUSTRALIA (Melbourne) – Australia police has arrested a man in counter-terrorism raids in the city of Melbourne on Tuesday, saying that he provided money to a US citizen fighting alongside extremists in Syria.
The unnamed man, 23, will be charged with intentionally making funds available to a terrorist organization, AP quoted Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan as saying.
A week ago, Melbourne police fatally shot a terror suspect who had stabbed two officers.
The man arrested Tuesday was not connected to that incident, Gaughan said.
#AceNewsServices – TUNISIA – September 29 – A radical Tunisian sheik who has called for the murder of U.S. troops abroad and was banned from the United States for supporting the terror group Hamas is scheduled to headline an event on Tuesday at Yale University focusing on Islamic law and civilization, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
Sheikh Rachid al-Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia’s controversial Islamist Ennahda Movement, is scheduled to head a lecture Tuesday afternoon Yale’s Law School, according to the school’s website.
Al-Ghannouchi’s upcoming appearance at the Ivy League school could become controversial given the sheik’s longtime support for radical terror groups and his past calls for Muslims to wage “unceasing war against the Americans.”
Al-Ghannouchi is the leading figure in Tunisia’s previously banned but hugely popular Islamist Ennahda (“Resistance”) political party, which despite being billed as “moderate” by many, has a history of violence inside and outside of Tunisia.
Al-Ghannouchi was a founding trustee and board member of a group that signed onto a notorious2004 fatwa endorsing the murder of U.S. troops in Iraq and has personally urged the Muslim world to “burn and destroy” U.S. interests across the globe.
“There must be no doubt that we will strike anywhere against whoever strikes Iraq,” the sheikh said during a speech in the early 1990s and reported on by Middle East scholar Martin Kramer.
“We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world,” al-Ghannouchi was quoted as saying. “Muslim youth must be serious in their warning to the Americans that a blow to Iraq will be a license to strike American and Western interests throughout the Islamic world.”
The sheik’s violent rhetoric, radical leanings, and endorsement of Hamas led him to be banned from entering the United States for a time.
#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES (Washington) – September 28 – You would think war-themed video games copy real life, and not the other way around. Not this time. A Washington think tank has hired the maker of the acclaimed “Call of Duty” game to envision the kind of future wars the US could be fighting.
The key reason for this, according to the Atlantic Council think tank, is that, with all its money and capabilities, America really isn’t thinking creatively about the various threats it could face in the 21st century.
Dave Anthony, the creator of the billion-dollar Call of Duty franchise, will be joining other authors, screenwriters and entertainment figures in an initiative called ‘The Art of Future War Project,’ set to launch next week, according to AFP.
The idea came rather suddenly, when former Pentagon official Steven Grundman walked in on his son playing ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II,’ which depicts a 2025 cold war between China and the United States. In it, the two superpowers are vying for rare earth elements in secret missions.
“He was struck how realistic our portrayal in ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ was of a future conflict,”Anthony told the news agency.
“It occurred to me that the perspective of artists on this question is compelling and insightful, and it’s also different,” Grundman was cited as saying by the Washington Post. “One feature that struck me was the combination of both familiar technologies and novel ones.”
“I didn’t want to satisfy myself with an approach everyone was doing,” he added. “It’s a crowded field of ideas,” Grundman said, explaining his belief why military think tanks alone aren’t up to the task.
According to Anthony, the game itself was the result of brainstorming by a number of creative professionals of all sorts, including Batman screenwriter David Goyer, as well as Oliver North, the former marine who later became a TV personality at the height of the Iran-Contra affair in the 1980’s, when US officials secretly sold weapons to the Islamic state, despite there being an arms embargo.
“You get everybody in a room like that, and all the different perspectives come together,” Goyer said. “That combination was fascinating. What I would like to bring to Washington is that kind of thinking.”
#AceNewsServices – September 26 – There has been no confirmation of the Iraqi Government claim about possible attacks on the US and Paris subway system by Islamic State militants, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday that Baghdad had credible intelligence that Islamic State was planning to hit subways in Paris and the US, Reuters reported.
The Iraqi prime minister was accused of “crying wolf” Thursday after he suddenly announced that the Islamic State was plotting to launch attacks on subways in the U.S. and in Paris.
Haider al-Abadi dropped that bombshell during a brief meeting with reporters at the United Nations, citing “accurate reports” from back home in Baghdad.
But as local officials scrambled to reassure the public that they were prepared for any threat, the National Security Council poured cold water on Abadi’s announcement and U.S. Rep. Pete King (R-Long Island) threw diplomacy aside and blasted the Iraqi leader.
“If you cry wolf,” King said, people will stop listening to real threats “and you will have more casualties.”
King, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Counter-terrorism and Intelligence, said “there is absolutely no evidence” that at an ISIS attack on New York City was imminent.
“People should not take it seriously until they are told by the NYPD, by the FBI or by Homeland Security that there is something there,” he said. “And I don’t expect anything to be there.”
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton agreed that the ISIS threat has been overblown and said the NYPD was waiting for a “clarification of the Iraqi prime minister’s remarks.”
#AceBreakingNews – SYRIA – September 25 – U.S.-led air-strikes targeted Syrian oil installations held by the militant Islamic State group overnight and early Thursday, killing nearly 20 people as the militants released dozens of detainees in their de facto capital, fearing further raids, activists said.
The latest strikes came on the third day of a U.S.-led air campaign aimed at rolling back the Islamic State group in Syria, and appeared to be aimed at one of the militants’ main revenue streams.
The U.S. has been conducting air raids against the group in neighbouring Iraq for more than a month.
#AceWorldNews – LEBANON – September 24 – Lebanon should not be part of the US-led international coalition fighting terrorism, the leader of Hezbollah said in a televised speech Tuesday night.
The group also opposed US military intervention in Syria, including air-strikes on ISIS targets, the Daily Star quoted Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah as saying.
He stressed that the US had created or helped create terrorist groups which the coalition was now seeking to fight in Iraq and Syria.
Lebanon was capable of confronting terrorism alone, he said, adding that the government should negotiate with Islamist militants holding at least 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen hostage “from a position of strength.”
#AceBreakingNews – FRANCE – September 24 – An Algerian jihadist group has released a video that appears to show the beheading of French tourist Herve Gourdel, who was seized on Sunday.
‘ Not the Beheading Video but Group Admitting to Kidnap ‘
Militant group Jund al-Khilafa had set a 24-hour deadline on Tuesday for France to halt air strikes in Iraq.
Mr Gourdel, 55, was abducted in the north-east Kabylie region.
France joined the US last week in launching air strikes on Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq but did not take part in the strikes on IS in Syria.
French President Francois Hollande and his Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, publicly rejected the group’s ultimatum on Tuesday.
The video of Mr Gourdel apparently being killed was entitled “Message of blood for the French government”, reports said.
#AceNewsServices – NEW YORK – September 23 – David Cameron is to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani BBC news reported.
The New York meeting comes after the US and its allies began air strikes against Islamic State (IS) in Syria, but the proposed nature of Iranian action is unclear.
It will be the first time a UK prime minister has met an Iranian president since the Iran’s revolution in 1979.
The UK government said it had not joined Syria strikes “yet”, but debate may begin in Parliament this week.
BBC assistant political editor Norman Smith said there was a “very strong likelihood” that Parliament would be recalled from recess “within the next few days” to sanction any British military action.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said should Labour be asked to consider the case for action, it would apply the same criteria it did when asked about British military intervention against the Syrian regime, which was rejected by MPs last year.
But Mr Umunna told BBC Radio 4’s Today he thought the public made a distinction between the threat posed by IS and that of Syria.
“This is not a party political issue,” he said. “IS need to be eliminated. They are an evil organisation.“
Mr Cameron and Mr Rouhani spoke by phone in November, but the talks later will be their first face-to-face meeting.
The PM was likely to set out “direction and options” during his speech at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York, a government source told BBC News.
BBC correspondent Nick Bryant said relations between the UK and Iran had “thawed considerably” in recent months.
The UK prime minister, in New York for a UN General Assembly meeting, will be holding talks about “what more the UK can do to contribute”, No 10 added.
The UK is already providing arms to the Kurds as well as surveillance support.
The BBC’s Nick Robinson said Parliament could be recalled by Friday if Labour and Lib Dems back UK military action.
The involvement of UK forces could be restricted to Iraq, where they would be operating at the invitation of the government in Baghdad.
Nick Robinson said Mr Cameron would only put the issue to a House of Commons vote, if he was confident of support from Labour, the Lib Dems and his own backbenchers.
“David Cameron will not risk a repeat of the Commons defeat he faced last summer over air strikes in response to President Assad’s use of chemical weapons.”
‘ Fair wind’ for action:
Former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw said under the right circumstances there could be support for Britain joining air strikes in Iraq.
He said the situation was different from when the Commons voted against intervention in Syria last year.
“If Mr Cameron comes to Labour and there’s a clear proposition I think he’ll get a fair wind,” he said.
Several Conservative MPs who opposed air strikes in Syria last summer have told the BBC they would now support military action.
Crispin Blunt, a former minister and one of the Tory rebels at the time, said there was “no great controversy” about the UK’s military involvement – short of a significant ground commitment – and there was no need to recall Parliament.
“Any military strategy against ISIS, which is necessary, must involve taking them on in Iraq and Syria,” he said.
Another of last year’s Tory rebels, Sarah Wollaston, said if Syrian strikes were the only way to hit IS effectively she would support them.
She has explained her position in an open letter to constituents on her website.
Conservative Julian Lewis said he “would be in favour” of military action if there was “a coherent and sensible plan”.
Another backbencher who rebelled last year, Charles Walker, said he would support action against IS with or without the recall of Parliament.
Other Conservatives have privately confirmed they would support strikes.
#AceBreakingNews – KABUL – September 21 – Afghanistan’s two presidential contenders signed an unprecedented power-sharing agreement Sunday, ending a drawn-out political stand-off and setting the stage for a U.S. troop commitment past this year.
The agreement names Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who is believed to have received the most votes in a June run-off election, as president.
His challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, a former foreign minister, will become chief executive.
“I am very happy today that both of my brothers, Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, in an Afghan agreement for the benefit of this country, for the progress and development of this country, that they agreed on the structure affirming the new government of Afghanistan,” President Hamid Karzai, in power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion that ousted the Taliban, said after the signing.
The deal ends political wrangling that began after a June run-off vote between two candidates. An independent election commission was assigned to audit the results after allegations of widespread fraud.
Later Sunday, the country’s election commission announced Ghani Ahmadzai as the winner of the presidential election, but did not release final vote figures.
#AceNewsServices – WASHINGTON – September 21 – A brand new intelligence has emerged warning Washington that its upcoming confrontation with the Islamic State may leave it blind to a more sinister and direct threat from a much lesser known terrorist group that has arisen from the ashes of the Syrian war.
Very little information is being released at the moment by anyone within American intelligence and law enforcement circles, but the group calling itself Khorasan is said by officials to have concrete plans for striking targets in the United States and Europe as a chosen modus operandi – more so than the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS.
The first ever mention of the group occurred on Thursday at an intelligence gathering in Washington DC, when National Intelligence Director James Clapper admitted that “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”
According to the New York Times, some US officials have gone as far as saying that, while the Islamic State is undoubtedly more prominent in its show of force in the Middle East, the US air strike campaign and the coming actions by the anti-IS coalition will be what coaxes it into larger-scale attacks oversees – what Khorasan is essentially all about.
This brings up another issue seen in the current Western stance on terrorism: it is so focused on the terror spread by the IS that it’s beginning to forget that the destruction and mayhem of civil war across the Middle East is spawning a number of hard-to-track terrorist factions.
“What you have is a growing body of extremists from around the world who are coming in and taking advantage of the ungoverned areas and creating informal ad hoc groups that are not directly aligned with ISIS or Nusra,” a senior law enforcement official told the NY Times on condition of anonymity.
The CIA and the White House declined to give comment.
According to government sources, the Al-Qaeda offshoot group is led by a former senior operative – 33-year-old Muhsin al-Fadhli, reportedly so close to Bin Laden’s inner circle that he was one of the few who knew of the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks in advance.
He had reportedly fled to Iran during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s story goes hazy after the campaign: many operatives are said to have traveled to Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries, forming splinter groups.
In 2012, al-Fadhli was identified by the State Department as leading the Iranian branch of Al-Qaeda, controlling “the movement of funds and operatives” in the region and working closely with wealthy“jihadist donors” in his native Kuwait to raise money for the Syrian terrorist resistance.
#AceNewsServices – September 19 – An Egyptian man, Adel Abdul Bary, said on Friday he would plead guilty in New York to charges connected with the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Reuters reported.
Bary, 54, said in court he would plead guilty to making a threat to use an explosive device and conspiracy to murder Americans.
The plea comes two months before he was set to face trial in a federal court alongside two co-defendants, Libyan Anas al-Liby and Saudi Khalid al-Fawwaz.
The bombings killed 224 people. Bary and Fawwaz helped disseminate statements of responsibility for the group, according to an earlier criminal indictment.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (New York) – September 19 – Home Depot said Thursday that a data breach that lasted for months at its stores in the U.S. and Canada affected 56 million debit and credit cards, far more than a pre-Christmas 2013 attack on Target customers.
The size of the theft at Home Depot trails only that of TJX Companies’ heist of 90 million records disclosed in 2007.
Target’s breach compromised 40 million credit and debit cards.
#AceNewsServices (Exclusive) – September 18 – NEW YORK: Pakistan-born neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui has become a rallying cry for militant groups demanding her release from a US prison. But in a little-noticed move she is trying to abandon her legal fight for freedom, saying the US court system is unjust.
Islamic militants in Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan have made Aafia’s release a condition for freeing certain foreign hostages. Islamic State, for example, proposed swapping American journalist James Foley for her, but he was executed after their demands, which also included an end to US airstrikes in Iraq, were not met.
A 42-year-old mother of three with degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brandeis University, Aafia is serving an 86-year sentence in a prison medical centre in Texas. A jury in 2010 convicted her of attempting to shoot and kill a group of FBI agents, US soldiers and interpreters who were about to interrogate her for alleged links to Al Qaeda.
Aafia, who during her trial interrupted proceedings repeatedly and at times was removed from the courtroom, wrote to US District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan on July 2 seeking to end her most recent appeal.
“I refuse to participate in this system of total injustice that has punished and tortured me repeatedly, and continues to do so, without my having committed a crime,” she wrote.
Aafia said she wanted to be sent home to Pakistan through diplomacy, not through the legal system. But her lawyer Robert Boyle told the judge he was concerned she did not fully understand that as a consequence of her request she might not have another opportunity to challenge her conviction.
US prosecutors were scheduled to respond to Aafia’s letter with their own letter by late on Wednesday. Aafia was likely unaware of the attempt by Islamic State to free her in a prisoner swap for Foley, Boyle told Reuters. Federal Medical Center Carswell severely restricts her contact with the outside world, he said.
Aafia already lost one appeal. In 2012, an appeals court rejected arguments that her trial was unfair and upheld her conviction.
Her latest appeal, filed in May, argues that Aafia received an unfair trial because she was not allowed to fire defence lawyers who were paid by the Pakistani government, and that US prosecutors failed to turn over important evidence.
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#AceWorldNews – SOUTH KOREA (Seoul) – September 17- South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across a river to rival North Korea, a South Korean defence official said Wednesday.
The man was apprehended Tuesday night while lying on a bank of the Han River in a restricted military area near the border, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to office policy.
The man told investigators that he tried to go to North Korea to meet leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government source. It said the man, aged around 29, is a computer repairman from Texas who came to South Korea 10 days ago.
South Korea’s Defence Ministry and the National Intelligence Service said they couldn’t confirm the report.
Americans are occasionally arrested after entering North Korea illegally from China, but a U.S. citizen trying to get in from South Korea is unusual.
#AceWorldNews UNITED STATES (Washington) September 16 The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa’s Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.
President Barack Obama planned to announce the stepped-up effort Tuesday during a visit to the federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta amid alarm that the outbreak could spread and that the deadly virus could mutate into a more easily transmitted disease.
#AceNewsServices UKRAINE September 15 Nato countries have started an annual military exercise in west Ukraine, with Kiev saying some Nato states have also begun to ship weapons.
The exercise – “Rapid Trident” – began on Monday (15 September) in Yavoriv, near the Polish-Ukrainian border.
According to a Nato statement, the 11-day drill will practice “peacekeeping and stability operations”, including “countering improvised explosive devices, convoy operations, and patrolling”.
It includes 200 US soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Italy.
It also includes 1,100 troops from Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the UK and from former Soviet republics Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine itself.
Rapid Trident is taking place at the same time as “Maple Arch” – another Nato drill involving Canandian, Lithuanian, and Polish soldiers in Poland.
Ukraine has taken part in similar events since 2006 under its “Partnership for Peace” programme with the Western alliance.