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Moscow Furious Over US Plan To Search Russia Trade Mission, Calls It “Unprecedented Aggressive Action”

September 2, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Yesterday, the San Francisco fire department scrambled a team of firefighters to the city’s Russian consulate (scheduled to be vacated today in the latest tit-for-tat diplomatic escalation between the US and Russia) following reports of “blowing smoke” emerging from the building, only to learn that the Russians were engaged in what appears to have been some last minute confidential document “redaction.”

Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry, explained that the smoke was part of a “mothballing” according to Reuters.

“In relation to this, the windows could be closed, the light could be turned off, the water could be drained out, the heating appliances could be turned off, the garbage could be thrown away, essential services could be turned off and many other things.”

Of course, what was really going on was 11th hour document destruction (albeit the old-fashioned way, one not involving a hammer, blackberries, and thousands of deleted emails) and as subsequent events have showed, the Russians had reason to be paranoid: on Saturday, the US unveiled its intention to search the soon to be vacant Russian trade mission in Washington, a move which has infuriated Moscow, prompting Russia to summon the deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy in Moscow to lodge a note of protest over the planned search.

Anthony F. Godfrey was summoned to the ministry on Saturday, it said in a statement, adding that Russian diplomats have been denied access to the trade mission building despite it being owned by Russia and protected by diplomatic immunity. 

The ministry called the planned “illegal inspection” of Russian diplomatic housing an “unprecedented aggressive action”, which could be used by the U.S. special services for “anti-Russian provocations” by the way of “planting compromised items”.

“We consider the planned illegal search of Russian diplomatic premises in the absence of Russian officials and the threat we have received to break down the door of the building as an aggressive action, which the US intelligence service may use to orchestrate an anti-Russian provocation by planting compromising items.”

We call on Washington to refrain from compromising the immunity of Russian missions in the USA

— MFA Russia ???????? (@mfa_russia) September 2, 2017

Moscow has called on Washington to stop violating international law and refrain from compromising the immunity of Russian missions in the country. Otherwise, retaliation may follow, the ministry warned. On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the FBI was planning to search the general consulate premises, including homes of the diplomatic staff, which would violate diplomatic immunity.

Former US diplomats, questioned the reasons behind the searches, saying it will only lead to a further escalation of tensions. The US authorities are highly unlikely to find “anything of interest” in the Russian Consulate in San Francisco, as there is probably nothing more than “confidential diplomatic materials,” which are supposed to be there anyway, said Ted Seay, a former US diplomat.

“What are our people going to do in your ambassador’s apartments or in the consulate in San Francisco? Look for illegal recipes for borsch? Of course, you have to respond and to go into our consulate in St. Petersburg – looking for what? Perhaps, for too many copies of Doctor Zhivago in the embassy’s library?” John Graham, former US ambassador to Libya, said.

“This foolishness happens [but] it happens usually at the lower levels,” he added. Meanwhile, Seay warned that “things are already too tense between the two countries” and both sides should proceed with “great care. To me, that means again that anyone who is actually planning to raid diplomatic premises in San Francisco, has lost their mind,” the former US diplomat said.

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Turkish FM: Why are Muslim nations silent on Rohingya?

September 2, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Turkey’s foreign minister on Saturday decried other Muslim countries’ silence on the plight of the Rohingya Muslims. “There are a great many Muslim countries. Where are they? Why are they silent?” Mevlut Cavusoglu asked at an event marking the Muslim Eid-al Adha holiday in the Mediterranean province of Antalya. He said to date Turkey had delivered more than $70 million in humanitarian aid to the Rohingya Muslims, and that no country in the world was showing more concern for the Rohingya than Turkey. But, he added: “It’s not enough to deliver aid. In two weeks we need to hold a meeting in New York with the UN’s secretary-general, leaders of Muslim countries, international organizations, head of the UN Advisory Commission on […]

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Oil Tanker Logjam Grows To 54 Ships As Gulf Ports Remain Closed

September 2, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

On Tuesday, just as Hurricane Harvey was peaking, we reported that according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, as well as MarineTraffic real-time tracking, at least 25 tankers carrying almost 17 million barrels of imported crude oil were drifting near Texas and Louisiana ports, unable to offload because of closures from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Since then the situation has deteriorated by more than double, and as of Friday evening, Bloomberg reports that 54 tankers with capacity more than 33 million barrels either to deliver imported crude from Latin America, Europe, Caribbean, Africa and Middle East or receive U.S. supplies are drifting off U.S. Gulf Coast as several key ports remain closed while others are open with restrictions.

The historic “tanker traffic jam”, last observed nearly two years ago as traders scrambled to store crude tankers in the same region in hopes of contango, can be seen on the Marine Traffic map below, only this time it has little to do with the shape of the oil strip, and everything to do with the logistical complications following Harvey :

Source: Marine Traffic

According to Bloomberg, as of Sept. 1, 37 Aframaxes, 3 VLCCs, 8 Suezmaxes, 6 Panamax tankers are currently waiting off ports of Corpus Christi, Houston, Galveston, Freeport, Texas City, Beaumont, Nederland, Port Arthur, Port Neches, Sabine and Lake Charles, La. This is 8 more then the 29 tankers carrying 18.6mm bbl as of Aug. 31.

That said, the situation is slowly but surely getting resolved as more ports are starting to let traffic sneak through. On Friday, the port of Corpus Christi reopened to ship traffic, making way for seven refineries in the area to go back online. The Texas Gulf Coast supplies one-fourth of the nation’s oil and gas. Hurricane Harvey caused a severe hiccup in the gasoline supply chain over the last week, creating consumer panic and long lines at gas stations.

The first vessel to arrive since closure of the channel for Hurricane Harvey sails
under the Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi on Friday, Sept. 1

The port received its first tanker on Friday, Sept. 1, six days after closing in preparation for the storm, which came to shore as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25. Some 20 vessels have been awaiting berth assignments and will now be able to enter Corpus Christi Channel.

Opening the port positioned Corpus Christi as the largest refining center fully operational on the Texas coast at this time. Nearly 100 percent of the electric power has been restored to the city’s refineries, while similar operations in Houston and Texas are tackling major flooding.

The nation’s economy depends on the port’s continued operation. More than 80,000 jobs depend on the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, where more than $100 million worth of goods pass through every day. Port of Corpus Christi stakeholders generate $350 million a day in national economic output

Here are some additional GOM port updates courtesy of Bloomberg:

  • Kinder Morgan, Colonial will commingle gasoline grades on products lines
  • Magellan is said to plan limited restart for Longhorn, BridgeTex
  • Houston port partial reopening is said to still affect tankers
  • U.S. Coast Guard says Port Corpus Christi to allow larger ships
  • Four Aframax tankers enter port of Corpus Christi after storm
  • Texas City refinery to resume exports as tankers arrive

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Frankfurt starts evacuation before attempt to defuse WWII bomb

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Sat, 2017-09-02 16:12

FRANKFURT: Frankfurt emergency service staff started to evacuate patients from two hospitals in Germany’s financial capital on Saturday ahead of the planned defusing of a massive World War Two bomb.
Some 60,000 people have to leave their homes early on Sunday in Germany’s biggest evacuation since the war while officials disarm the 1.4 ton British bomb.
It was discovered on a building site in Frankfurt’s leafy Westend, where many wealthy bankers live.
More than 100 hospital patients, including premature infants and those in intensive care, were evacuated on Saturday, Frankfurt city councillor Markus Frank told Reuters television.
More than 2,000 tons of live bombs and munitions are found each year in Germany, even under buildings. In July, a kindergarten was evacuated after teachers discovered an unexploded World War Two bomb on a shelf among some toys.
Frankfurt fire and police chiefs said they would use force and incarceration if necessary to clear the area of residents, warning that an uncontrolled explosion of the bomb would be big enough to flatten a city block.
The HC 4000 bomb is assumed to have been dropped by Britain’s Royal Air Force during the 1939-45 war.
The country was pummelled by 1.5 million tons of bombs from British and American warplanes that killed 600,000 people. German officials estimate 15 percent of the bombs failed to explode, some burrowing six meters (yards) deep.
Three police explosives experts in Goettingen were killed in 2010 while preparing to defuse a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb.
The compulsory evacuation radius of 1.5 km (roughly a mile) around the bomb includes police headquarters, two hospitals, transport systems and Germany’s central bank storing $70 billion in gold reserves.
Frankfurt’s residents have to clear the area by 8 a.m. (0600 GMT) on Sunday and police will ring every doorbell and use helicopters with heat-sensing cameras to make sure nobody is left behind before they start diffusing the bomb.
Roads and transport systems, including the parts of the underground, will be closed during the work and for at least two hours after the bomb is defused, to allow patients to be transported back to hospitals.
Air traffic from Frankfurt airport could also be affected if there is an easterly wind on Sunday. Also, small private planes, helicopters and drones will be banned from the evacuation zone.
Frankfurters can spend the day at shelters set up at the trade fair and the Jahrhunderthalle convention center. Most museums are offering residents free entry on Sunday, and a few of them will open their doors earlier in the morning than usual.

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59 Filipinos accused of links to Marawi siege ordered freed

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Thu, 2017-08-31 20:00

MANILA: Philippine prosecutors have dismissed rebellion complaints against 59 men who were stopped by police and army troops at two checkpoints in the south and accused of attempting to join Daesh-linked militants who laid siege to a southern city.
Senior government prosecutor Peter Ong said Thursday the complaints filed by the military against the Muslim men were dismissed because of a lack of strong evidence, and authorities were ordered to free all the men.
“It is clear that respondents were not committing the crime of rebellion or any crime at the time of their arrests,” Ong and two other prosecutors said in their findings, a copy of which was seen by The Associated Press.
The men, who traveled in two big groups, may have sparked the suspicion of troops and police at checkpoints because of the Marawi siege, “but suspicion alone is not sufficient to arrest, detain, charge and indict respondents,” the prosecutors said.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military respects the prosecutors’ decision but that security officials still believe the men could “perhaps be eventually deployed to Marawi.”
The ruling shows that the rule of law continues to work under martial law that was declared in the south by President Rodrigo Duterte to deal with the Marawi crisis, Padilla said, adding that the men were treated well and would be flown back to the south on an air force plane.
The 59 were taken into custody in southern Zamboanga city and Ipil town on July 25 amid intelligence reports that Muslim militants would attempt to reinforce the gunmen who attacked Marawi and were being bombarded by military airstrikes and ground assaults.
A lone witness said the mostly young Muslim men were to be given combat training and then deployed to reinforce the beleaguered militants, who were holding out in buildings and mosques in Marawi.
The arrested men strongly denied the allegation, saying they were recruited by a man who promised to bring them to a rebel camp for combat training and then help them be integrated into the military and police under a peace deal with the government.
Ong said he and the other prosecutors did not find the witness credible.
During a hearing at the Department of Justice on July 28, some of the arrested men, guarded by heavily armed police commandos, told reporters they were poor and jobless and in search of work and a better life.
The violence in Marawi, a center of Islamic faith in the south, has left nearly 800 people dead, including more than 600 militants, and sparked concerns that Daesh group militants were gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia by helping influence and arm local militants.
An estimated 40 gunmen remain in Marawi and are continuing to fight as troops advance in previously scenic lakeside communities that are now a smoldering wasteland of disfigured buildings.

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Marawi prays for peace as Philippine military plans ‘final push’
Filipino troops recapture mosque, Duterte revisits Marawi
Top terror financier believed killed in Marawi siege: Philippines

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The Stranded ISIS Bus Convoy That No One Knows What To Do With

September 2, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

In a bizarre twist to an already unusual story, a convoy of 17 buses carrying Islamic State terrorists and their families has remained stranded since Thursday in the Syrian desert as the US, Russians, and Syrians discuss their fate: attack the convoy or allow it to pass? Regardless of what happens, emerging photos and video depicting ISIS’ retreat from Lebanon as well as their current helpless plight stuck in the middle of Syria constitutes perhaps the most significant blow to ISIS propaganda to date.

Earlier this week we reported on the unusual deal which allowed a large convoy of Islamic State fighters and their families to exit their contested stronghold along the Syrian-Lebanese border under the watch of the Lebanese and Syrian armies and Hezbollah after being defeated. As first announced by Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in a speech Monday night, the deal involved the transportation of 26 wounded and 308 ISIS fighters, along with 331 civilian family members via buses and ambulances to Syria’s eastern province. The controversial deal was struck in return for the bodies of 9 Lebanese soldiers, kidnapped by ISIS in 2014.

Stranded ISIS convoy: there are over 600 in the group, which includes civilian family members. Photo source: Stripes, via Arabic media.

ISIS convoy in Syria. Photo source: Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse

That convoy was allowed to enter Syria but was attacked by the US-led anti-ISIL Coalition on Wednesday as it crossed open desert on its way to the Islamic State stronghold of Deir Ezzor. Per coalition statement, the convoy wasn’t attacked directly – just outlying ISIS vehicles which were attempting to join and bolster the transport. Part of the highway in front of the convoy, including a key bridge, was further targeted in order to stop its movement.

Pretty sure ISIS won’t make a video about this adventure

— aris roussinos (@arisroussinos) September 1, 2017

According to the latest update (released Friday afternoon) from the US coalition (@CJTFOIR), the buses remain stranded. Apparently, deliveries of food and water have been made:

After turning around and heading back west from the Abul Kamal area, the convoy of 17 buses containing hundreds of armed ISIS fighters and their families remains in the Syrian Desert between Humayma and As Sukhnah.


…In accordance with the law of armed conflict, the Coalition has struck ISIS fighters and vehicles, including a tank, armed technical vehicles, and transport vehicles seeking to facilitate the movement of ISIS fighters to the border area of our Iraqi partners. Food and water have been provided to the convoy.

The ISIS convoy had reportedly been on an indirect and lengthy route through Syria, likely in order to avoid air strike, before being halted. On Friday the Syrian and Lebanese governments extracted another concession as part of negotiations over the fate of the convoy: ISIS handed over the body of an Iranian Revolutionary Guard officer to Hezbollah.

Meanwhile Hezbollah’s Nasrallah revealed that he personally negotiated the deal with Syrian President Assad, who displayed initial reluctance. As Fox News reports:

“I went to President Assad…I went to Damascus,” he said, adding that he sought to convince Assad to let the convoy pass through government territory.


“He [Assad] told me, this is embarrassing for us, but no problem,” Nasrallah told supporters gathered in eastern Lebanon for a “victory rally” to celebrate the expulsion of ISIS from the border area.


“The Syrian government has put up with the embarrassment for the sake of Lebanon,” he said.

The ceasefire agreement immediately sparked controversy in the region, especially in Iraq, whose leaders see the deal as intentionally allowing more terrorists to settle at its own border. The US coalition was also quick to accuse the deal’s brokers as being soft on terrorism and said, “relocating terrorists from one place to another is not a lasting solution.”

But as we pointed out, the US and its allies have routinely allowed for ISIS retreats and transfers much larger in scale which appear purposefully designed to put pressure on the Syrian government. One of the more shocking admissions of such a strategy came in 2016, when then Secretary of State John Kerry was caught on audio telling a Syrian opposition gathering, which met on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly meeting, that Obama hoped to use ISIS as leverage against Assad. According to Kerry on the leaked audio (25:50):

“And we know that this was growing, we were watching, we saw that DAESH was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened”… “(We) thought, however, we could probably manage that Assad might then negotiate. But instead of negotiating he got Putin to support him.”

One knowledgeable reporter on the ground has observed that the ordeal has been a huge blow to ISIS propaganda. Robert Fisk reports, “some ISIS leaders in Syria did not want members of the group who had surrendered territory to be welcomed back into the so-called caliphate, and the militants should have fought to the death instead.” Other observers of Islamic State social media accounts have noted that ISIS members have reacted in disbelief, claiming the entire brokered deal and ISIS retreat to be a fiction of Hezbollah media.

At the moment, terrorists and their families remain sitting on chartered buses in Syrian no-man’s land awaiting the decision of regional and foreign militaries controlling land and air over Syria. Will the convoy be destroyed or allowed to pass? Will the US coalition strike and kill over 300 civilian ISIS family members in the process? Simple imprisonment could prove difficult as the ISIS militants were allowed to carry small arms as part of the deal and will surely go down fighting at this point. Or there’s the remote chance that the Syrians and Hezbollah actually desire for the US to attack the convoy: the Syrian and Lebanese governments could maintain they upheld their end of the bargain (this becomes important for potential future battlefield deals brokered with other groups), while the US would claim the moral high ground of fighting terror. 

Whatever scenario unfolds, this currently developing story is arguably one of the strangest to come out of recent events in the war.

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“Send Merkel home,” says right-wing rival in constituency battle

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Sat, 2017-09-02 13:02

GREIFSWALD, Germany: Vowing to “shove her off the throne,” Leif-Erik Holm of the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is mounting a robust challenge to Chancellor Angela Merkel in her constituency as she seeks re-election on Sept. 24.
Merkel, 63, has held the northeastern district bordering the Baltic Sea since she entered parliament in 1990, though she grew up in Templin — due south and in the next state. Holm, 47, a self-styled “local boy,” says he wants to “send Merkel home.”
“Merkel was very popular here, that’s true. But times have changed,” he told Reuters, saying her decision in 2015 to leave German borders open to more than a million migrants would cost her. “People are asking ‘what is she doing?’“
Merkel won the constituency with 56 percent of the vote at the last national election, in 2013. Now, the AfD is emboldened in the district after beating her conservatives into third place in the wider northeastern region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern last year.
“Merkel has failed in a lot of people’s eyes and they are looking for an alternative,” said Holm, a former presenter at a local radio station.
Merkel’s conservatives enjoy a handsome lead over rivals nationally and Germany’s mixed electoral system means that even in the unlikely scenario Holm does beat her, she will still win a parliamentary seat from a list of candidates who top up those elected directly from constituencies.
But second place is a real possibility for Holm, said Jan Mueller at Rostock University: “He cuts a moderate profile.”
AfD co-chair Frauke Petry says the constituency is “a prestige target” for the party.
Marking it as her turf, Merkel spent a full day touring the district on Thursday, promising no repeat of the 2015 refugee influx and taking every opportunity to pose for ‘selfie’ photos with voters and their children.
As she made her way through a crowd of some 200 people for a rally in the picturesque town of Greifswald, a plane flew overhead trailing a banner reading: “Vote AfD.” When she spoke, a handful of protesters tried to drown her out with whistles.
“I don’t think Germany’s future will be built with whistles — that isn’t going to work,” said Merkel, appealing to the crowd to vote her in for another four years.
“I need your support!” she said to loud applause.
Salim Jarrah, 42, who came to Germany from Lebanon 21 years ago and runs a restaurant in the town, said Merkel was doing a good job of running the country.
“Who could do better?” Jarrah, now a German citizen, told Reuters after presenting Merkel with flowers. “She’s likeable.”
In Roevershagen, some 50 miles (80 km) to the west, Merkel was met with a more hostile reception when she arrived for a walkabout at a shopping center.
“Merkel must go!” shouted one protester. “Go home, traitor!” said another.
Hartmut Jahnholz, an AfD supporter from nearby Rostock, said she had not fulfilled her oath to protect the German people.
“Just the opposite,” he said in Roevershagen. “She opened the borders, that’s all she’s done.”

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Kenya faces praise, uncertainty after election overturned

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Sat, 2017-09-02 13:57

NAIROBI, KEN: Praise poured in Saturday for Kenya’s judiciary after a historic ruling annulling presidential poll results, as attention turned to how discredited officials will organize a new vote in only two months.
Kenya’s press and diplomats hailed the Supreme Court decision to annul last month’s presidential poll as a hard-fought victory for the rule of law, and sign of a maturing democracy.
Pointing to widespread irregularities in the electronic transmission of vote results, Chief Justice David Maraga on Friday declared President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory “invalid, null and void.”
He called for a new election by October 31 in an unexpected ruling in favor of veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga that stunned the nation.
An editorial in the Nation newspaper said the ruling “signalled the end of the era of impunity that has painfully assailed this country for too long.”
“Kenyans have struggled for decades to institutionalize the rule of law. We have fought, shed blood, lost lives and property in search of constitutional order,” the paper said.
“Intrinsic in this is the desire to establish independent institutions that provide checks and balances against each other.”
Writing in the Star, the president of the Law Society of Kenya Isaac Okero said every election except that in 2002 had been plagued by “complaints, irregularities, suspicion of impropriety” that no court had been willing to properly tackle.
The paper’s editorial said the decision “will reverberate for years to come in Kenya and around the continent.”
A joint statement by ambassadors to Kenya praised “Kenya’s resilient democracy and commitment to the rule of law.”
The diplomats urged institutions to work to make the new election fair and credible, adding that “all electoral processes can be improved.”
It is the first time a presidential election result has been overturned in Africa. Similar court rulings have been seen in Austria, Haiti, Ukraine, Serbia and the Maldives.
The press also raised prickly questions about the weeks to come.
Odinga has declared the loss of all confidence in the electoral commission (IEBC), and demanded its commissioners resign.
“How it will conduct the next elections in the next 60 days in unimaginable,” said the Nation.
“Already the NASA (opposition) leadership has declared war on the commission and with or without that, its credibility has been severely dented and the public has lost confidence in it.”
The Standard said the IEBC must “clean up house.”
“What Kenya needs most now is an election conducted in a legal, fair and transparent manner.”
The opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) cried foul after the August 8 poll over alleged hacking of the electronic system transmitting results from over 40,000 polling stations to the national tallying center.
NASA argued that tallying forms meant to back up the electronic result were riddled with irregularities, were unsigned, not stamped, illegible or lacking serial numbers or watermarks.
While Maraga cited “irregularities and illegalities” in the transmission of results, his full ruling has not yet been published.
Kenyatta initially said he “respects” the court decision even though he disagreed with it, however later, in off-the-cuff remarks to his supporters, he slammed the court judges as “crooks” who had been paid off by foreigners.
This after weeks of encouraging the opposition to turn to the judiciary over any complaints and accept the outcome.
Observers have warned that the new election could bring even more tension to a country where politics is largely divided along tribal lines.
“Kenya just had a difficult and controversial election, and this decision pushes it right back into another electoral campaign,” said analyst Nic Cheeseman of the University of Birmingham.
“The outcome of the next election may be controversial again.”
The Nation newspaper warned that there was still a long road ahead: “This is not the end. The toughest journey, campaigns and elections, is yet to begin.”

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Feds: Ex-inmate with Daesh flag tattoo arrested in gun sting

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

McLEAN, USA: An ex-convict arrested Thursday on a gun charge became a supporter of the Daesh group radicalized during his incarceration and wanted to join the organization overseas, according to an FBI affidavit.
Twenty-eight-year-old Casey Spain’s support of the Daesh group was such that he had the Daesh flag tattooed on his back, to go along with the “Cop Killa” tattoo he already had on his right cheek, according to the affidavit from FBI agent Heather Brown.
The charges announced Thursday in federal court in Richmond, though, do not include any terror-related counts. Instead, he is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to Brown’s affidavit, undercover informants who were incarcerated with Spain reported that he pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. The informants also reported that Spain wanted to travel overseas to engage in violent jihad on behalf of the Daesh. If he couldn’t travel overseas, he was willing to commit violent acts inside the United States, according to the informants.
As a result, the FBI kept him under surveillance after his release from prison earlier this month, after he served a seven-year sentence for abduction with intent to defile.
Undercover informants who met Spain after his release said he frequently expressed his desire to travel overseas to join the Daesh, as well as a desire to obtain a gun.
He was arrested Thursday after prosecutors say he tried to buy a gun in an FBI sting. The affidavit indicates authorities moved quickly to initiate a sting after learning that Spain might be attempting to buy a gun on his own, and had told an undercover informant he would be willing to shoot and kill any officers who came to arrest him.
According to the affidavit, Spain met with an undercover FBI informant Thursday morning at his home outside Richmond. When Spain took possession of the weapon, which had been rendered inert, a SWAT team moved in to arrest him, according to the affidavit.
Spain ran and jumped a fence in an effort to evade arrest before being chased down and taken into custody, according to the affidavit.
Spain made an initial appearance Thursday afternoon at the Richmond federal courthouse. It was not immediately clear if a lawyer was appointed to represent him.
Since 2014, more than 130 people have been charged in the US with crimes related to the Daesh, according to the George Washington University Project on Extremism. But the number of Daesh-related cases has dropped dramatically in recent months. In a speech this week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the number of Americans trying to travel to join the Daesh has slowed from six to ten per month two years ago, to maybe one a month now.

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Motel 6 to pay to settle human trafficking suit

September 2, 2017 rbksa 0
Thu, 2017-08-31 03:00

LOS ANGELES: Motel 6 has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Los Angeles that alleged one of the chain’s locations was a base for human traffickers, drug dealers and gang members, prosecutors said.
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the money will be used to help deter human trafficking.
The city in November sued the managers of a motel in the city’s Sylmar neighborhood and G6 Hospitality Property LLC, which operates the Motel 6 chain, seeking to quell what city officials called “unrelenting crime and nuisance activity.”
Los Angeles police had made more than 60 arrests at the location since 2013 for prostitution, battery, firearms possession and drug-related charges, authorities said.
“We allege this has been used as a base for which known gang members and drug dealers had operated,” Feuer said. “We allege that there was prostitution happening at this site — pimps and prostitutes both — and we allege it was a base for stolen goods, for distributing drugs like meth and cocaine and heroin.”
Raiza Rehkoff, a spokeswoman for G6 Hospitality, did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment on the settlement.
In one case, staff members “didn’t hesitate” to rent a room to an undercover police officer who had been posing as a pimp and told the workers that he intended for another undercover officer to work as a prostitute there, the lawsuit alleged.
In another incident, three undercover police officers were approached at the motel’s pool by a suspected gang member who propositioned them to work as prostitutes, offered to act as their pimp and said he would post ads on a website in exchange for half of the proceeds, Feuer said.
A loaded handgun was found hidden in a box-spring under a mattress, and police had arrested suspects in several different robberies at the motel, the city attorney said.
“Our settlement commits Motel 6 to comprehensive, concrete action that’s focused on security at the site and strong management at the site,” Feuer said.
As part of the settlement agreement, the motel will require guests to provide valid photo identification, hire security guards and post signs in the lobby about human trafficking.
The motel also will give Los Angeles police access to its guest list and visitor logs, as well as give officers access to remotely monitor the motel’s security cameras.

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