Liberal website Salon shocked many late Friday night with a tweet that used the deadly terror attacks in Paris to attack conservatives.
“Real terror unfolds in Paris,” the tweet said. “Perhaps this will convince the right to done down their incessant violent rhetoric.”
Real terror unfolds in Paris. Perhaps this will convince the right to done down their incessant violent rhetoric https://t.co/1C0U19lw0Q
— Salon.com (@Salon) November 14, 2015
The tweet linked to a story by Chauncey Devega who assailed the political right for “incendiary rhetoric” that “does in fact lead to action.”
Immediately after the article was published and posted to Twitter, readers blasted the website.
@Salon wow, just, wow. What a contemptible tweet.
— David Mastio (@DavidMastio) November 14, 2015
.@Salon Delete your account.
— High Brow Troll (@_mistermet) November 14, 2015
@Salon I'm un-following you. I'm a solid liberal, but this is a callous, cynical use of a tragedy. Fire the person responsible for this.
— Deborah Wallace (@WallaceDeborahk) November 14, 2015
@Salon This is stupid. Even for u all. Wow.
— Chris Tsotsoros (@ctsotsoros) November 14, 2015
— Greg (@RoninGreg) November 14, 2015
@Salon I swear I say this everytime I comment on your stupid articles, but this article takes the prize: youve become a parody of yourselves
— Murr (@murrjohnson) November 14, 2015
Devega, however, stood by his story and mocked critics on Twitter.
Got the bleach out to deal with the Right-wing trolls who can't deal w. basic truth telling about Paris Terror Attacks and GOP rhetoric.
— chauncey devega (@chaunceydevega) November 14, 2015
Priceless right-wing propagandized mumbo jumbo pseudo intellectual mess. Love it! Keep it coming! https://t.co/3OaTsfhDDc
— chauncey devega (@chaunceydevega) November 14, 2015
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French President Francois Hollande promised early Saturday morning to lead a “pitiless” war against the terrorists responsible for the deadly attacks on Paris.
“We are going to lead a war, it will be pitiless,” he said at the scene of the Bataclan convert venue, according to NBC News reporter Katy Tur.
Hollande at the Bataclan tonight: "We are going to lead a war, it will be pitiless" against the terrorists.
— Katy Tur (@KatyTurNBC) November 14, 2015
“Because when terrorists are capable of committing such atrocities they must be certain that they are facing a determined France, a united France, a France that is together and does not let itself be moved, even if today we express infinite sorrow,” he added, according to reports.
More than 100 were killed when gunmen stormed the concert venue, opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd and held hostages. When police stormed inside, they were faced with a horrific scene. The attack on the concert venue came as a series of terror attacks gripped the French capital.
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No doubt the crowd inside the Stade de France could not have fully understood the horror of what had just taken place around Paris as they watched the contest between France and Germany.
Yet the firm reverence in their voices provided a haunting balm in walkways inside the stadium as the crowd moved at the direction of security.
In unison they sang the French national anthem La Marseillaise:
Dans un tunnel de sortie du Stade de France, sortie dans le calme…. Et la Marseillaise. #fier
Posted by Karl Olive on Friday, November 13, 2015
The American band that was playing at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris posted a grim message to Facebook in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack.
“We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew,” Eagles of Death Metal said. “Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation.”
Several attackers were said to have held hostages at the concert hall before authorities launched a rescue operation. At least 100 were reported dead by police.
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As several gunmen opened fire on innocent civilians at The Bataclan theater in Paris on Friday night, one witness claimed he heard someone screaming “Allahu akbar!” over the sound of gunfire.
Another witness also quoted by BFM television recalled, “When they started shooting we just saw flashes. People got down on the ground right away.”
A French police official says at least 100 people have been killed inside the Paris concert hall where attackers seized hostages. The hostage-taking was one in a series of at least six attacks across the French capital.
A French radio reporter who was inside the theater told CNN the gunmen wore masks and black clothes, but he didn’t hear them say “anything.”
“And the terrorists were very calm…and they reloaded three to four times their weapons. They didn’t shout anything. They didn’t say anything. They were in masks. They were wearing black clothes,” the witness said.
Watch raw video of the response below:
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, called the attacks on Paris “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and vowed to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice.
No group immediately took responsibility for the deadly attacks, though apparent Islamic State members celebrated on social media.
France has been on edge since deadly attacks by Islamic extremists in January on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery that left 20 dead, including the three attackers. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic State group.
One of at least two restaurants targeted Friday, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices, as is the Bataclan, among the best-known venues in eastern Paris, near the trendy Oberkampf area known for a vibrant nightlife. The California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play there Friday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Fox News contributor Geraldo Rivera nearly broke down in tears on Friday night as he told Shepherd Smith that his daughter was at the Paris stadium that was rocked by multiple explosions. It was just one of several possibly coordinated terror attacks that left dozens dead.
“It’s very upsetting,” he said while looking at a photo of his daughter. “It’s a lot easier to report these things and to experience them myself than if it is your child.”
Rivera said his daughter, who is currently studying abroad in Paris, heard three explosions and managed to escape amid the panic and chaos.
“We won’t rest until she is in her apartment,” he added.
Several dozen people were killed Friday in a series of terror attacks, the deadliest to hit Paris since World War II, French President Francois Hollande said, announcing that he was closing the country’s borders and declaring a state of emergency.
At least 35 people died in at least six attacks. Many of those killed were in a popular concert hall where patrons were taken hostage, police and medical officials said. The violence gripped the city in fear and recalled the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo carnage just 10 months ago.
A police official said 11 people were killed in a Paris restaurant in the 10th arrondissement, and other police officials said at least twice that number died elsewhere, primarily in the Bataclan music venue, where the hostages were taken. It was unclear how many people were in the hall; one official said there were around 100, while another said there were far fewer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
A French radio reporter who was inside the Bataclan concert hall offered a horrifying account to CNN of the moments when masked gunmen entered and randomly fired into the crowd with automatic weapons.
“I’ve seen two terrorists from my point of view with AK-47s entering the concert room and firing randomly into the crowd,” Julien Pearce said. “People yelled and screamed.”
Dozens were said to be dead in terror attacks that unfolded across Paris.
Pearce told CNN that at the concert hall the gunmen reloaded their weapons several times in a calm manner.
“It lasted for 10 minutes. 10 minutes. 10 horrific minutes where everyone was on the floor covering their heads,” he said. “We heard so many gunshots. And the terrorists were very calm…and they reloaded three to four times their weapons. They didn’t shout anything. They didn’t say anything. They were in masks. They were wearing black clothes.”
“And they were shooting at people on the floor. And I was luckily at the top of the stage. The front of the stage. So people tried to escape…and I found an exit when the terrorists reloaded their guns. And I climbed on the stage and we found an exit,” Pearce said. “And when I went on the streets I see 20 to 25 bodies lying on the floor. And people were very badly injured with gunshot wounds.”
Pearce said he found an injured girl and helped her get to safety.
“I took a small girl, a teenager. She was bleeding very badly,” he told CNN. “And I ran with her for like 200 meters and I found a cab, a taxi, and I let her in and I said to the cab driver.
He added that he had friends still inside the venue who were terrified.
“I have some friends who are still inside…who are hiding…they are hiding in some kind of room in the dark. They text me and they are very afraid,” he said.
“It was a bloodbath.”
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President Barack Obama offerred full support to France after the terror attacks in Paris Friday.
“Once again we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” Obama said from the White House late Friday afternoon. “This is an attack not just on Paris. It’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”
Obama declined to talk about who might be responsible.
“I don’t want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible for this,” the president said. “It appears that there may still be live activity and dangers that are taking place as we speak. Until we know from French officials that the situation is under control and we have more information about it, I don’t want to speculate.”
As many as 60 were reported killed in the mass shootings that occurred Friday in Paris.
Obama said the United States is “ready to provide whatever assistance the government and people of France need.”
“We want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism,” Obama said. “Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong.”
“The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness,” Obama continued.
Obama said he has not called French President Francois Hollande since the shooting, but “actually by coincidence was talking to him earlier today in preparation for the G-20 meeting.”
“I am confident that I’ll be in direct communications with him in the next few days and we’ll be coordinating in any ways that they think are helpful in the investigation of what’s happened,” Obama said.
A Texas mom is speaking out after finding out this week that her child’s middle school hosted a meeting where only students of certain races were allowed to attend.
Teri Kluk, whose daughter attends Klein Oak High School in Houston, spoke with TheBlaze Friday, hours after she confronted an assistant school principal about a “unity” meeting that “all the black kids” were called out of class to attend.
It’s unclear what exactly happened during the event, but Kluk said she was informed by her daughter that students left the meeting saying they were “black and proud.” Disturbed by what she was told, Kluk went and talked with an assistant principal, who told her the meeting was for “academic purposes” because some students felt they were being treated unfairly.
“You’re telling me that Klein Oak High School hired teachers that do not treat black students like other students?” Kluk said she asked the assistant principal.
Kluk said the assistant principal assured her that wasn’t the case, but added that students have a “perception” they’re being treated differently.
“She kept using the word perception,” Kluk emphasized.
But it wasn’t just black students who were singled out, Kluk added. Hispanics students had their own meeting, separate from the one that took place with the black students. She said there was no such meeting for white students.
“My daughter, who is half Asian, asked if she could go inside to the meeting, and the person guarding the door told her she had to be at least 50 percent African-American,” Kluk told TheBlaze.
Kluk said she also learned that the school is considering “special academic field trips,” where students of certain races take “segregated” field trips.
The assistant principal reportedly asked Kluk if she had a problem helping minority students.
“I have a problem when students of any race are segregated,” Kluk told TheBlaze she responded.
There have been no race-related issues at Klein Oak prior to this week, according to Kluk.
The controversy comes just days after the University of Missouri’s chancellor and president resigned following racially charged protests.
The dean of students at Claremont McKenna College in California also resigned over race-related issues this week.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story named Klein Oak Middle School, not Klein Oak High School.
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Footage posted to video-sharing social media platform Vine captured the sound of an explosion that reportedly occurred at Stade de France as violence grips the French capital of Paris.
At least 26 were reported dead as separate attacks broke out across the city. Deputy Paris Mayor Patrick Klugman told CNN the violence “looks like a terror attack” and “could be the worst ever in Paris.”
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UPDATE, 11/14 — 5:07 a.m. ET: France’s president said the Islamic State was responsible for the terror attacks which he called an “act of war.”
BREAKING: French president blames Islamic State for Paris terror attacks, calls it an "act of war."
— TheBlazeNOW (@TheBlazeNOW) November 14, 2015
Hollande says the attack was planned carefully from outside France with coordination inside France. Calls for 3 days of national mourning.
— Rachel Donadio — NYT (@RachelDonadio) November 14, 2015
PARIS (AP) — A series of attacks targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. President Francois Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France would stand firm against its foes.
The worst carnage was at a concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive belts. Police who stormed the building encountered a bloody scene of horror inside.
When the attacks were over, eight attackers were dead — seven of them in suicide explosions, one killed by security forces in the music venue, Paris prosecutor’s spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre told The Associated Press.
She could not exclude the possibility that some attackers might still be at large. Authorities are searching for possible accomplices.
The death toll was at least 120 people at six sites, including the national stadium and a circle of popular nightspots, Thibault-Lecuivre said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Jihadists on Twitter immediately praised them and criticized France’s military operations against Islamic State extremists. Witnesses in the concert hall described hearing attackers say “Allahu Akbar.”
Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced that he was closing the country’s borders, although officials later said they were just re-imposing border checks that had been removed after Europe created its free-travel zone in the 1980s.
Metro lines shut down and streets emptied on the mild fall evening as fear spread through the city, still aching from the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo attack just 10 months ago.
The attack unfolded with and three suicide bombings outside the national stadium during a soccer match between the French and German national teams, Thibault-Lecuivre said.
Within minutes, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot, another group of attackers sprayed cafes outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then stormed inside and opened fire on the panicked audience. As police closed in, three detonated explosive belts, killing themselves.
Another attacker detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the music hall, the prosecutor’s office said.
Hollande, who had to be evacuated from the stadium when the bombs went off outside, later vowed that the nation would stand firm and united: “A determined France, a united France, a France that joins together and a France that will not allow itself to be staggered even if today, there is infinite emotion faced with this disaster, this tragedy, which is an abomination, because it is barbarism.”
“There is infinite emotion faced with this disaster…which is an abomination, because it is barbarism.”
In addition to the deaths at the concert hall, dozens were killed in an attack on a restaurant in the 10th arrondissement and several other establishments crowded on a Friday night, police said. Authorities said at least three people died when the bombs went off outside the soccer stadium.
Reported explosion can be heard in this vine during Germany/France friendly at Paris stadium: https://t.co/dKePiW6byC
— Austin Hunt (@AustinHunt) November 13, 2015
All of the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named in the quickly moving investigation.
“This is a terrible ordeal that again assails us,” Hollande said in a nationally televised address. “We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.”
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, decried an “attack on all humanity,” calling the Paris violence an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and vowing to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice.
Two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium north of Paris during a France-Germany exhibition soccer game. A police union official, Gregory Goupil of the Alliance Police Nationale, whose region includes the area of the stadium, said there were two suicide attacks and a bombing that killed at least three people near two entrances and a McDonalds.
The blasts penetrated the sounds of cheering fans, according to an Associated Press reporter in the stadium. Sirens were immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.
France has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and potential terrorist attacks. Hollande canceled a planned trip to this weekend’s G-20 summit in Turkey, which was to focus in large part on growing fears of terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists.
Emilio Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at Le Carillon restaurant, one of the restaurants targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk, when the shooting started. He said he didn’t see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a corner, then ran away.
“It sounded like fireworks,” he said.
France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died, including the three attackers. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic State group.
This time, they targeted young people enjoying a rock concert and ordinary city residents enjoying a Friday night out.
One of the targeted restaurants, Le Carillon, is in the same general neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices, as is the Bataclan, among the best-known venues in eastern Paris, near the trendy Oberkampf area known for a vibrant nightlife. The California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play there Friday night.
Among the first physicians to respond to the wounded Friday was Patrick Pelloux, an emergency room doctor and former Charlie Hebdo writer who was among the first to enter the offices Jan. 7 to find his friends and colleagues dead.
The country has seen several smaller-scale attacks or attempts since, including an incident on a high-speed train in August in which American travelers thwarted an attempted attack by a heavily armed man.
France’s military is bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and fighting extremists in Africa, and extremist groups have frequently threatened France in the past.
French authorities are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have travelled to Syria and returned home with skills to stage violence.
Though it was unclear who was responsible for Friday night’s violence, the Islamic State is “clearly the name at the top of everyone’s list,” said Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president of the Washington-based RAND Corporation.
Jenkins said the tactic used — “multiple attackers in coordinated attacks at multiple locations” — echoed recommendations published in the extremist group’s online magazine, Dabbiq, over the summer.
“The big question on everyone’s mind is, were these attackers, if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria, were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters from having served” with the Islamic State group, Jenkins said. “That will be a huge question.”
Imitating a tactic used at University of Missouri student protests this week, students at Chicago’s Loyola University, a private Jesuit Catholic school, formed an open circle on campus Thursday and then barred reporters and camera operators from entering it.
“Hey, no media in the circle,” student Ryan Sorrell said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “Sorry, man. You’re good, but just not in the circle.”
But “student protest leader” isn’t the only hat Sorrell wears — he’s also founder and chief editor of The Black Tribune, a Loyola student newspaper.
Turns out the Black Tribune called for the protest to take place and told Chicago media about it; and then students locked arms and blocked the press from entering the circle they set up, the Chicago Tribune reported — though, staffers from the Black Tribune could go in.
“We are not fighting to reform or support the oppressive systems that academia upholds,” a demonstrator said. “We are fighting for more spaces where black and brown students are safe and no longer targeted, terrorized and traumatized.”
Loyola protests for Mizzou pic.twitter.com/Wj3r9nc9aC
— daria (@dariaderds) November 12, 2015
Dominick Hall, a Loyola student and member of The Black Tribune, told the Chicago Tribune that they “decided to do the same thing here” as was done at Mizzou and “to emphasize this is a safe space for students — not media.”
Of course when two University of Missouri staffers were caught on video bullying and blocking media from students’ “space” during campus protests, it spelled bad news for the pair.
Janna Basler, director of Greek life at Mizzou, was placed on administrative leave Wednesday and relieved of her duties pending an investigation into her actions against student journalist Tim Tai.
A viral video showed Basler yelling at Tai to “back off!” as she got in his face and put her hands in front of his camera.
On Tuesday, Mizzou communications professor Melissa Click — who called for “muscle” to remove another student-journalist from the area — apologized for her actions and resigned a courtesy appointment to the journalism school.
That student, Mark Schierbecker, filed a simple assault complaint against Click Wednesday.
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On Friday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest spoke for the first time on the recent charges against a uniformed Secret Service agent accused of sending obscene images to underage girls while on White House grounds.
“I’m aware of those reports. Obviously from reading the reports, the allegations in them are disgusting and allegations that the administration, including the Secret Service, takes quite seriously,” Earnest told reporters. “I think the fact that as soon as the Secret Service became aware of this information that they acted is an indication of how seriously they take this matter. I’m unable and unwilling to comment much more about a personnel matter.”
Lee Robert Moore, 37, of Church Hill, Maryland, was set to be at a preliminary hearing Friday in Delaware on state charges of sexual solicitation of a child under the age of 18 and sending obscene material to a person under 18. He has also been charged in federal court with attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor.
Moore surrendered in Maryland on Monday after the Delaware State Police caught him in a sting. According to a complaint, Moore frequently engaged in online chats while on duty at the White House.
This is the latest in a string of problems for the Secret Service after several past security lapses, including a fence jumper, and a prostitution scandal.
Earnest said that Obama “without a doubt” had complete confidence in Secret Service Director Joe Clancy, who was hired to fix the agency.
“As soon as the Secret Service learned of these allegations, they moved quickly to take away this individual’s security clearance, to take away Secret Service equipment and to prevent their continued access to sensitive areas, including the White House,” Earnest said.
“Shortly after those steps were taken, the White House was informed,” Earnest said. “The prompt and decisive action taken by the leadership of the United States Secret Service I think is an endorsement of their commitment to implementing their kind of reforms to ensuring that agency continues to live up to the high standard that they’ve established for themselves.”
Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said in a speech at the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit Friday that, if he were elected and re-elected president, by the end of his eight years in office journalists would “check themselves into therapy.”
“There are 365 days in a year, four years in a presidential term, and four years in a second term,” Cruz told the audience. “By the end of eight years, there are going to be a whole lot of reporters and newspaper editors and journalists that have checked themselves into therapy.”
Cruz’s comments came after he described to the audience all that he would do on day one of his presidency.
The Texas senator vowed to rescind every “illegal” and “unconstitutional” executive order put in place by President Barack Obama, open an investigation into Planned Parenthood over the videos leaked this summer, instruct every department of government to end the “persecution of Christian liberty,” repeal the “catastrophic” Iranian nuclear deal and move the U.S. Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, the country’s “eternal capital.”
“The single biggest difference between me and the other very, very fine men and women standing at the debate stage, is that — with me — when I tell you I’m going to do something, I’m going to do exactly what I said I would do,” Cruz said. “That’s day one.”
In his following comments, Cruz said that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with “commonsense” reform that keeps “government from getting between us and our doctors.” In addition, he said he will instruct the Department of Education that “Common Core ends today.”
Cruz went on to list the myriad actions he would take in the first days of his presidency, should be be elected.
Watch the senator’s entire speech below:
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John,” U.S. officials said, but it was still unclear whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages.
Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen, was the target of an airstrike in Raqqa, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. Officials were assessing the results of the strike, he said.
U.S. military spokesman Steve Warren said officials were “reasonably certain” they had killed Jihadi John with a Hellfire missile fired from a drone. Another U.S. official told The Associated Press that a drone had targeted a vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Warren said the world is better off without the man believed to have beheaded several Western hostages, whom he referred to as a human animal. He said the operation was one in a string of targeted attacks on Islamic State leaders. He says the U.S. has killed one mid- to upper-level ISIL leader every two days since May.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the strike had been a joint effort and that British intelligence agencies were working around the clock to find the British-accented militant, whom Cameron called the militant group’s “lead executioner.”
Cameron also said the U.S. strike had been “an act of self-defense” and the right thing to do. He said targeting Emwazi was “a strike at the heart” of the Islamic State group.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing at a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, on Friday told reporters extremists “need to know this: Your days are numbered, and you will be defeated.”
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, in Prague, said officials were “obviously pursuing all avenues to confirm that he is dead although we believe the strike was successful.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that U.S. coalition warplanes struck an Islamic State vehicle as it left the governor’s office in the group’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria, killing four IS foreign fighters, including a British commander. The Observatory said the bodies were charred, and Observatory chief Rami Abdurrahman said the commander killed in the attack was most likely Jihadi John but that he does not have 100 percent confirmation.
If a drone strike did indeed kill Emwazi, it would represent the latest in a string of significant Islamic State and Khorasan Group figures who have been tracked and killed in a joint effort by the CIA and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command.
In an effort that ramped up over the last year, intelligence analysts and special operators have harnessed an array of satellites, sensors, drones and other technology to track and kill elusive militants across a vast, rugged area of Syria and Iraq, overcoming the lack of a significant U.S. ground presence and the awareness by American targets that they can be found through their use of electronic devices.
The CIA began stepping up efforts to profile militants in Syria in early 2013, even before the Islamic State had seized significant territory. But its tracking capacity has improved as the Pentagon has deployed 24-hour overhead coverage allowing the NSA to soak up electronic signals while the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) conducts visual surveillance, officials say. The CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency have stepped up efforts to recruit human sources.
Emwazi, believed to be in his mid-20s, has been described by a former hostage as a bloodthirsty psychopath who enjoyed threatening Western hostages. Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who had been held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said Emwazi would explain precisely how the militants would carry out a beheading.
Those being held by three British-sounding captors nicknamed them “the Beatles,” with “Jihadi John” a reference to Beatles member John Lennon, Espinosa said.
Among those beheaded by Islamic State militants in videos posted online since August 2014 were U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.
Their friends and relatives all said Friday that even if Emwazi was dead, it would bring little comfort.
A friend of Henning’s has said she is still “skeptical” following news that “Jihadi John” may have been killed. Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, of New Hampshire, issued a statement calling Emwazi’s purported death “a very small solace.”
“His death does not bring Jim back.” ”If only so much effort had been given to finding and rescuing Jim and the other hostages who were subsequently murdered by ISIS, they might be alive today,” said the Foleys’ statement, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State.
In the videos, a tall masked figure clad in black and speaking in a British accent typically began one of the gruesome videos with a political rant and a kneeling hostage before him, then ended it holding an oversize knife in his hand with the headless victim lying before him in the sand.
Emwazi was identified as “Jihadi John” last February, although a lawyer who once represented Emwazi’s father told reporters that there was no evidence supporting the accusation. Experts and others later confirmed the identification.
Emwazi was born in Kuwait and spent part of his childhood in the poor Taima area of Jahra before moving to Britain while still a boy, according to news reports quoting Syrian activists who knew the family. He attended state schools in London, then studied computer science at the University of Westminster before leaving for Syria in 2013. The woman who had been the principal at London’s Quintin Kynaston Academy told the BBC earlier this year that Emwazi had been quiet and “reasonably hard-working.”
Officials said Britain’s intelligence community had Emwazi on its list of potential terror suspects for years but was unable to prevent him from traveling to Syria. He had been known to the nation’s intelligence services since at least 2009, when he was connected with investigations into terrorism in Somalia.
The beheading of Foley, 40, of Rochester, New Hampshire, was deemed by IS to be its response to U.S. airstrikes. The release of the video, on Aug. 19, 2014, horrified and outraged the civilized world but was followed the next month by videos showing the beheadings of Sotloff and Haines and, in October, of Henning.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is taking on its first abortion case in eight years, a dispute over state regulation of abortion clinics.
The justices said Friday they will hear arguments over a Texas law that would leave about 10 abortion clinics open across the state. A decision should come by late June, four months before the presidential election.
The high court previously blocked parts of the Texas law. The court took no action on a separate appeal from Mississippi, where a state law would close the only abortion clinic, in Jackson.
States have enacted a wave of measures in recent years that have placed restrictions on when in a pregnancy abortions may be performed, imposed limits on abortions using drugs instead of surgery and raised standards for clinics and the doctors who work in them.
The new case concerns the last category. In Texas, the fight is over two provisions of the law that Gov. Rick Perry signed in 2013. One requires abortion facilities to be constructed like surgical centers. The other allows doctors to perform abortions at clinics only if they have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Texas had 41 abortion clinics before the clinic law. More than half of those closed when the admitting privileges requirement was allowed to take effect. Nineteen clinics remain.
The focus of the dispute at the Supreme Court is whether the law imposes what the court has called an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. If allowed to take full effect, the law would leave no abortion clinics west of San Antonio and only one operating on a limited basis in the Rio Grande Valley.
The state has argued that women in west Texas already cross into New Mexico to obtain abortions at a clinic in suburban El Paso.
In its decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in 1992, the court ruled that states generally can regulate abortion unless doing so places an undue burden on women. Casey was a huge victory for abortion-rights advocates because it ended up reaffirming the constitutional right to an abortion that the court established in Roe v. Wade in 1973.
In 2007, a divided court upheld a federal law that bans an abortion procedure that opponents call partial-birth abortion and opened the door to new limits on abortion.
Caitlyn Jenner got an earful from transgender protesters outside a Chicago charity event where the former gold medal-winning Olympian was keynote speaker Thursday.
“You are an insult to trans people! You are an insult to women!” one protester yelled through a bullhorn at the 66-year-old. “You have no right to represent us! You are an insult!”
As Jenner approached the protester with the bullhorn, the shouts got louder: “Do not touch me! Do not touch me!”
Jenner did have a quieter chat with one protester, who said, “I respect your transitioning, but it’s different than the one I experienced.”
“I totally agree,” Jenner replied.
“I want a job, too,” the protester continued. “I want to get my boobs done. I work every day as a community activist, and I have no job.”
Soon Jenner was escorted away from the fray by security.
The protesters, reportedly from a group dubbed “I Ain’t Kait,” complained that Jenner is a “clueless rich white woman” who doesn’t represent transgender people who struggle to survive every day.
Jenner also has been criticized for touting less-than-liberal perspectives on “I Am Cait,” noting that welfare recipients can rake in more money than those with entry-level jobs: “Why should I work? I got a few bucks, I got my room paid for.”
“Caitlyn Jenner … lives in a mansion and has a net worth of millions of dollars, while the average trans person has a 41 percent chance of experiencing homelessness and a nearly 50 percent chance of living off less than $10k per year,” ET said the group wrote on its Facebook page, which wasn’t active Friday morning.
Since announcing a planned transition in April, Jenner got the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, was named one of Glamour’s Women of the Year and was among nine runners-up for The Advocate’s Person of the Year.
(H/T: Daily Mail)
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Parents at a Florida middle school were livid after what they say was an example of “reverse racism” and “segregation” — black students being allowed to attend a field trip while other students were prohibited.
Heron Creek Middle School officials planned a field trip to see a performance by black musicians, but initially, only black students were being allowed to attend, WTSP-TV reported.
About 50 black students who kept up good grades, good behavior and completed community service were being allowed to go. That was until some ticked off moms took a stand against what they perceived as “reverse racism.”
“We teach our children not to be racist, and now they’re going to school and witnessing segregation,” Lisa Prince, one Heron Creek parent, said, WBBH-TV reported.
“It just blew my mind that they would do something like that,” Deborah Halton, another parent said.
Prince was so bothered by it that she went to meet with principal Matthew Gruhl, where she said they “agreed to disagree.” It wasn’t until after the story got out on social media that the school finally decided to reverse course.
“They decided today to open it up to all students who met the same criteria. That involves grades and behavior and other criteria,” Sarasota County schools spokesman Scott Ferguson told the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Gruhl said the school initially bought 50 tickets for the performance but is now working with parents and community leaders to raise $3,500, the amount needed to buy 500 tickets so that all students can attend.
Meanwhile, Gruhl said the school never meant to send a “negative message.”
“We are sorry if we hurt people’s feelings,” Gruhl said.
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Retired-neurosurgeon Ben Carson responded Friday to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s pointed criticisms, saying the billionaire doesn’t understand the word “pathological,” adding that he has come to “expect” comments like Trump’s in today’s political climate.
“It’s not the type of dialogue I would ever engage in,” Carson told CNN. “I’m hopeful that maybe his advisors will help him understand the word ‘pathological’ and recognize that does not denote ‘incurable’ — it’s not the same.”
Speaking of Trump earlier Friday, top Carson adviser Armstrong Williams told CNN, ”I feel so sorry for him.” Williams noted Carson’s initial reaction the Trump’s comments: “Pray for him.”
Trump made headlines Thursday for equating Carson’s “pathological temper,” which the retired doctor addresses in his memoir “Gifted Hands,” to a “child molester.”
“Pathological is a very serious disease,” Trump said in an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett. “[T]hat’s a big problem, because you don’t cure that. That’s like, I could say, they say you don’t cure, as an example, child molesters — you don’t cure these people.”
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) November 13, 2015
However, according to Carson, “pathological” is just an adjective to describe something that is “highly abnormal” but said it is something he has been “delivered from for half a century now.”
“Mr. Trump speaks of this as if it happened within the last year. I mean, are you kidding me?” Williams said.
“It’s so sad watching and listening to him,” Williams added.
According to Williams, Trump “cannot fathom” how someone would do better than him in the GOP presidential polls, and now he is “imploding.”
“Obviously, he only wants to be on the stage by himself, crowned the nominee and run against the eventual Democratic challenger,” Williams said.
Watch Carson’s comments below:
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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said Friday that he “laughed out loud” after learning how fellow senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio compared their records on immigration Thursday.
Cruz said Rubio “suggested that my record was exactly like his on immigration.” And while Cruz noted he and the Florida senator are friends, he said such a claim is “truly stunning” and “laughingly, blazingly, on-its-face false”:
Marco had a fairly remarkable comment in that he suggested that my record was exactly like his on immigration, and I have to admit I laughed out loud at that. Marco’s a friend, but that statement was truly stunning. I mean that’s like Obama saying my position is the same is his on Obamacare. That’s like the Ayatollah Khamenei saying my position is the same as his on the Iranian nuclear deal. It is laughingly, blazingly, on-its-face false.
According to NBC News, Rubio said Thursday that when the 2013 Senate immigration reform bill was being negotiated Cruz “proposed legalizing people that were here illegally. He proposed giving them work permits. He’s also supported massive expansion of green cards.” Rubio added: ”I don’t think our positions are dramatically different.”
Here’s audio of Cruz’s reaction on the “Mike Gallagher Show”:
(H/T: The Right Scoop)
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The editorial board of the student newspaper at Claremont McKenna College is taking a public stand against the racially charged student protests that ultimately resulted in the college dean’s resignation.
The Claremont Independent editorial board expressed disappointment in nearly everyone involved, including former Dean Mary Spellman, President Hiram E. Chodosh, the student protesters making extreme demands and even themselves.
“First, former Dean Mary Spellman. We are sorry that your career had to end this way, as the email in contention was a clear case of good intentions being overlooked because of poor phrasing,” the editorial board wrote. “However, we are disappointed in you as well. We are disappointed that you allowed a group of angry students to bully you into resignation. We are disappointed that you taught Claremont students that reacting with emotion and anger will force the administration to act.”
The university’s president also received harsh criticism for not being “brave enough to come to the defense of a student who was told she was ‘derailing’ because her opinions regarding racism didn’t align with those of the mob around her.”
TheBlaze covered the incident referenced above in which an Asian student was silenced for arguing people should be judged on the content of their character, not their race. She also asserted that black people can also be racist.
But there were more tough words for Chodosh:
Second, President Chodosh. We were disappointed to see you idly stand by and watch students berate, curse at, and attack Dean Spellman for being a “racist.” For someone who preaches about “leadership” and “personal and social responsibility,” your actions are particularly disappointing. You let your colleague, someone who has been helping your administration for the past three years and the college for six years, be publicly mocked and humiliated. Why? Because you were afraid. You were afraid that students would also mock and humiliate you if you defended Dean Spellman, so you let her be thrown under the bus. You were so afraid that it only took you five minutes to flip-flop on their demand for a temporary “safe space” on campus. Your fear-driven action (or lack thereof) only further reinforced the fear among the student body to speak out against this movement. We needed your leadership more than ever this week, and you failed us miserably.
The editorial board then addressed the student protesters for their bullying tactics and immature behavior.
“We are ashamed of you for trying to end someone’s career over a poorly worded email,” the editorial board continued. “This is not a political statement––this is a person’s livelihood that you so carelessly sought to destroy. We are disappointed that you chose to scream and swear at your administrators. That is not how adults solve problems, and your behavior reflects poorly on all of us here in Claremont.”
However, the student paper claimed the demand for “safe spaces” is the most disappointing thing to come out of the protests because college “is the last place that should be a safe space.”
“We come here to learn about views that differ from our own, and if we aren’t made to feel uncomfortable by these ideas, then perhaps we aren’t venturing far enough outside of our comfort zone,” the scathing column stated.
Lastly, the students behind the Claremont Independent admitted they are also “disappointed in students like ourselves, who were scared into silence.” Here’s how the op-ed concludes:
We are not racist for having different opinions. We are not immoral because we don’t buy the flawed rhetoric of a spiteful movement. We are not evil because we don’t want this movement to tear across our campuses completely unchecked.
We are no longer afraid to be voices of dissent.
This is the first comment below the article: “I really really want to share this article. Just afraid my classmates will burn me alive.”
Read the full column here.
It was a worst nightmare for a couple on their way to the hospital, the wife experiencing labor pains, ready to give birth.
“We hit the red light at Starbucks, we hit the red light at Skyline, we hit the next red light,” Jessica Kober of Sammamish, Washington, told KOMO-TV, setting the scene of what happened Wednesday.
Kober then told her husband, Ryan, to call 911.
“This baby’s coming!” she said.
But that’s also when she told the news station she remembered a fire station nearby.
“We heard a bunch of pounding on a bay door,” Lt. Ryan Anderson with the Eastside Fire and Rescue Department station 83 told KOMO.
The first responders barely had time to get Kober on a stretcher before Melody Grace entered the world still in her amniotic sac as the mom’s water had never broken, KOMO reported.
But the story doesn’t end there. While Kober’s husband had stopped at all the red lights on their attempt to reach the hospital before his child’s birth, he wasn’t so law-abiding as he followed the team in an ambulance rushing his wife to the hospital after the baby’s birth.
“He got pulled over by a policeman for following too closely, speeding of course, and running all the red lights. He stuck his head out the window and was like ‘that’s my wife’ and the policeman was like go ahead,” Kober told the news station.
Once mother and baby were settled and doing well in the hospital, the firefighters who helped bring the baby safely into the world paid them a visit with congratulatory flowers.
“Station 83 A-Shift had a great surprise today by delivering a baby girl in the bay of their station after her parents could not make it to the hospital. Welcome to the world little one, what a great gift to be apart of,” the fire station said on its Facebook page.
Watch KOMO’s report:
GREENVILLE, S.C. (TheBlaze/AP) — Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is promising to release documents he says will prove his claim that China is involved in Syria’s civil war.
The Obama administration and foreign policy experts maintain that there is no evidence for Carson’s statement.
Carson says on Friday that he’s “surprised my sources are better than theirs.” Carson says he would share his documentation with the White House before the weekend is over. He gave no further details.
Carson alleged in Tuesday’s GOP debate that Russia, China and “all kinds of factions” are involved in the Syrian war.
National Security Adviser Susan Rice suggested on Thursday that China could have a diplomatic presence, but said she’s “not seen any evidence of Chinese military involvement in Syria.”
Asked about reports during a White House press briefing on Friday, press secretary Josh Earnest simply said he was “speechless.”
— Jon Street (@JonStreet) November 13, 2015
Glenn Beck said Friday on The Glenn Beck Radio Program that “the time has come for boycotts” and that “we must organize” on the conservative right.
Beck’s comments came during a discussion regarding his belief that the progressive left controls the media through universities and his call for conservative voices — like Rush Limbaugh — in colleges.
“You have one professor who is saying, ‘Hey, forget about the First Amendment. I need thugs here. I need muscle.’ That’s fine,” Beck said, referring to a Mizzou professor’s comments at a protest earlier this week. “But you can’t have somebody like Rush Limbaugh stand up and say, ‘Let me teach you about the First Amendment.’ That’s too controversial.”
According the Beck, the conservative right is “going to lose” unless it reaches people through their finances or emotion, because the intellectual argument is not working.
“Where the intellectuals are, we’re not allowed to even go,” Beck said. “So you’re not winning in the university, either. How do you win? … You have to hit them in the wallet, and you have to hit them in the heart.”
Beck insisted the only way to make progress is through boycotting.
“The time has come for boycotts,” Beck asserted. “I’ll show you the history of sitting back and doing nothing. It’s loss after loss after loss after loss. … We must begin to organize.”
When the progressive left created the Tides Foundation and infiltrated corporations, Beck said, “we did nothing.”
“What I’m trying to do is say, ‘I will boycott you if you treat one side unlike the other,’” Beck said. ”That’s what needs to happen. They are shutting speech down. It’s not going to get better from here with us being quiet.”
The full episode of The Glenn Beck Program, along with many other live-streaming shows and thousands of hours of on-demand content, is available on just about any digital device. Click here to watch every Glenn Beck episode from the past 30 days and receive a Roku Streaming Stick FREE with your subscription!
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Constitutional or not, if President Barack Obama takes executive action to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, it could be very tough to stop him, legal experts said.
The White House has said that Obama will likely sign the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a prohibition on transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay. However, the White House is also considering executive action if Congress will not support an administration proposal to close the detention center. The NDAA was the sixth bill that a bipartisan majority in Congress passed to keep Gitmo open. But that might not be enough, said legal expert J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney.
“Efforts in Congress to stop Obama from closing down Gitmo have got to include a private right of action,” Adams told TheBlaze. “What that means is, somebody has the right to sue. If they close down Gitmo, who can stop it? That’s the big issue. Obama gets away with a lot because nobody has standing to block Obama from doing anything.”
Legal standing for Congress, states or even private citizens would all be decided on a case-by-case basis because the bar for suing the government is usually high, said Frank J. Scaturro, former counsel for the Constitution for the Senate Judiciary Committee and a visiting professor at Hofstra Law School.
“There is a real question of standing because it might be up to a majority of Congress to authorize the filing of a lawsuit and we don’t even know if they would succeed,” Scaturro, now a partner at the New York law firm of Fisher Broyles, told The Blaze. “I think the court probably would grant them standing.”
But standing would be narrower for citizens, Scaturro added.
“If they moved the base to the middle of Kansas, could you have a resident that lived right beside the new location who could then sue? They might have standing as well,” he said. “It’s the only place I’d contemplate an average citizen having standing is if they were very directly in geographic proximity to it. That is a real challenge in the next step of taking it to the courts and we really don’t know how the courts would rule on it.”
Advocates for having the president act unilaterally say that Obama has authority under Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, which puts the president in charge of conducting a war. However, given the passage of the NDAA, that would be a challenging legal argument, Scaturro said.
“If Congress hadn’t spoken, it would have been one thing. He would have had a lot of discretion in his ability to do this,” he said. “With Congress actually addressing it, it would be imprudent just as a matter of policy. Of course, he’s going to claim under his Article II power that this is what he can do prosecuting a war, but I think it’s a dubious claim.”
Although White House spokesman Josh Earnest has said several times that executive action to close the prison is on the table, other White House officials are more low-key.
White House Counsel Neil Eggleston declined to say Thursday if the administration had developed a process for closing the prison through executive action.
“Basically, we are looking forward to working with Congress to close it. So that’s where we’re focusing on,” Eggleston told reporters at a Federalist Society event in Washington. “There is some interest on the Hill, I think, for doing it. That’s really the place that we are focused on, working with Congress and getting it closed.”
“If they are going to close down Gitmo, these people are going to have to go Illinois or go to South Carolina,” Adams said, referring to the Naval brig in South Carolina and a federal prison in Illinois. “That’s where the Gitmo detainees are going to go. If that happens, it will be a done deal, and knowing Obama, he’ll just do it because he doesn’t really care about the law or the process. This is so core to his presidency that he’ll do something radical.”
On his first full day in office, Obama signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year. But even the Democrat-controlled Congress blocked this action during his first two years.
Because there is bipartisan consensus in Congress against closing the prison, a veto-proof super majority to grant standing and keep the prison open could be possible, Adams predicted.
He said top Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Charles Schumer of New York would likely oppose closing the prison.
“If the bill is don’t close down Gitmo, don’t send them to Illinois, don’t send them to New York, don’t send them to South Carolina, I think you can get two-thirds of the Congress behind it,” Adams said.