US law enforcement accused of using entrapment to ensnare ‘terrorists’ (Al-Jazeera)

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“The recent arrests on terrorism-related charges of six young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis and others throughout the United States have prompted renewed questions over the issue of entrapment, and over the degree of real security achieved by disrupting plots that law-enforcement had helped shape.

The six, ages 19 to 21, were charged with conspiracy to aid and support a terrorist organization, and are accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also called ISIS).

“These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference.

But the case relies partly on a confidential human source (CHS), who had been a part of the group seeking to join ISIL before he began cooperating with the FBI.”

Read the full article here.

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The Office of the DNI’s Greatest Hits (Foreign Policy)

James Clapper

“The DNI post was the centerpiece of landmark legislation enacted in 2004, informed by the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Presidential, legislative, and bureaucratic politics all contributed to a compromise law that sought to improve information sharing and strengthen central leadership of our sprawling intelligence enterprise without infringing upon existing military and departmental chains of command. Ten years of experience offers an opportunity to take stock and ask whether the government is smarter and the country is safer as a result of these changes.”

See the full debate here.

Iran Foreign Minister Urges Talks With West to Solve Crisis in Yemen

TIME

Iran’s Foreign Minister has called for dialogue with the U.S. and Western allies to confront crises in its regional neighbors, saying civil war-torn Yemen would be a “good place to start.”

Mohammad Javad Zarif, who reached a framework agreement on his country’s nuclear program earlier this month with the U.S. and its negotiating partners, also tied the agreement to broader regional cooperation.

“To seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required,” he wrote in an op-ed article in the New York Times. “It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.”

Zarif, who was named this year as one of the TIME 100 most influential people in the world, said a forum for dialogue in the Sunni Persian Gulf states could help the traditional rivals to solve crises…

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Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States (NYT)

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“WASHINGTON — To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood.”

See the full NYT article.

Spanish leftists join fight against ISIL (Al-Jazeera)

Lions of Rojava

“At any rate, the Syria-is-Spain debate took a new turn last week when a video surfaced showing two Spaniards who had travelled to Syria to join the “revolutionary” Kurdish struggle against ISIL.

The young men, appear in front of a Soviet flag and the tri-colour flag of the Second Spanish Republic, and address the camera dressed in military fatigues, with their faces covered. One of the fighters, identified by his nom de guerre Paco Arcadio, declares: “We are not fighting against Muslims, but against the fascism that Islamic State [ISIL] represents, in the same way that people fought in Spain in 1936 or in Stalingrad in 1943.”

Spanish intelligence stumbled upon the seven-minute video on a pro-Kurdish YouTube channel, and are now trying to identify the fighters and find out how manySpaniards have gone to fight ISIL. The Spanish volunteers are members of a far-left group called Reconstrucion Comunista (Communist Reconstruction).”

Read the full article here

Background Briefing on the Report Required To Rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism Status (State)

Cuba

This transcript contains the full background briefing on American-Cuban Relations in regards to the pending review of Cuba’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. Read the full briefing here.