Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Security sources have told Sky News more than 400 former fighters are now believed to be back in Britain.
The authorities believe there is a growing risk the UK could suffer the kind of mass gun and bomb attacks seen in France and Belgium recently, as many returning fighters will have been trained in the use of weapons and the construction of improvised explosive devices.
It is a serious, two-pronged challenge for the police and security services, who are already working flat-out to counter the threat from homegrown lone-wolf extremists, like Khalid Masood, who launched last week's deadly attack on Westminster.
Former Scotland Yard Specialist Firearms Officer and author Tony Long said combating an attack launched by a well-trained returning jihadist could be a tough prospect.
He said: "These are combat-hardened soldiers. They might not be trained in the way that NATO might train their soldiers but they've seen more close quarter conflict and more urban fighting than probably most members of the British Armed Forces and you have to respect that.
"Of course they're bringing that knowledge back with them to the UK and it's very very difficult because of the legal restrictions that are put on the security services and the police to actually monitor all of these people."
To date, only a fraction of those returning from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq have been prosecuted, as authorities need enough evidence to put before the courts and often returning fighters go to great lengths to cover up their overseas activities.
Imran Khawaja, 29, from west London, is currently serving 12 years in prison after he faked his own death in Syria in an attempt to sneak back into the UK undetected.
Khawaja had joined a militant group with links to so-called Islamic State while overseas.
He was pictured posing with the severed heads of Syrian soldiers during his six months in the country.
He was arrested as he tried to re-enter the UK through the port of Dover and later admitted preparing for acts of terrorism, attending a camp, receiving training and possessing firearms.
Security sources said they could not be certain that Khawaja would have launched an attack back home, but the pattern of returning jihadists posing a major risk to national security is well established.
More than a decade ago, groups of al Qaeda trained terrorists were responsible for mass carnage in Europe and the United States.
Those who launched the devastating attack on the London transport system on 7 July 2005 had attended al Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Some of the terrorists who launched a similar failed attack on London on 21 July 2005 had received weapons and explosives training, as had some of the plotters who planned to blow up airliners with liquid bombs in 2006.
Security expert Professor Tahir Abbas from the Royal United Services Institute said: "The police and security services are certainly preparing for all eventualities, because in Britain, we've had our lessons from the past.
"These returning fighters pose a number of threats in relation to security here.
"They've been through a lot of very traumatic conflict and engagement, often involved in street-to-street fighting.
"Now, having made their way back to Britain, they pose a particular threat because of their capacity - and perhaps they've been instructed to return, hold fire and wait for the go ahead to launch attacks.
"They are likely to be traumatised, but also extremely experienced and well trained individuals who pose a serious risk."
With the growing threat from returning fighters, emergency services have been increasing their training to respond to gun and bomb attacks.
On March 19, more than 200 police officers carried out a training exercise on the River Thames, where police firearms teams boarded a boat in a training scenario involving dozens of hostages.
The UK government has provided millions of pounds in extra funding to help Chief Constables across country to increase their firearms capability to respond to a terrorist attack.
Distressing propaganda video shows young boys running through a warehouse and killing handcuffed men begging for their lives.
There have been many horrendous propaganda videos produced by Islamic State, but the latest I have seen is genuinely the worst.
Dressed in black combat fatigues and masked, the boys run through military drills. It is standard propaganda stuff. Every terror organisation films this type of thing.
But there is a difference.
On the highly produced film, you see handcuffed men running from room to room. They are being hunted. It is utterly awful when you realise it is real. This looks like a Hollywood film. But it is actually happening.
As they hunt down the men, they kill them. The final moments of fear, screaming, begging and the pain are glorified. It is astoundingly barbaric.
The video is important because it explains why these are not just errant youths. They have been brainwashed, and they are deadly.
The question is whether or not they always will be - because in the chaos of the Mosul battle many of them are on the loose.
Sky News has been given extremely rare access to a detention centre in Erbil. Here, they hold the boys who have been caught - as well as suspects.
Some were identified in the sprawling refugee camps dotted across northern Iraq and turned in.
A dozen or so share a cell. They are well treated and spend their time praying and trying to learn to read. One boy studiously used an English dictionary as we filmed.
Their stories are very similar. Initially reluctant to join Islamic State, they are groomed by IS members to take up the challenge of Jihad and, ultimately, martyrdom.
Mahmoud would talk to us. He is 12. He admits to being a member. His grooming took six to seven months.
"My friend came to me. He showed me photos, he told me: 'Come with me, we will give you a weapon, a car, a wife. Come with us, you will have virgins in paradise.'
"They brainwashed me and took me," Mahmoud told us in his cell.
"They were showing us on TV how a suicide bomber goes and explodes himself. How booby-traps were exploded. How weapons were dismantled. How you can hit an armoured vehicle. Where to shoot on the windshield of a hummer to hit it and break it, which angle to shoot. How you can sneak and attack them secretly. How you go and bring back injured ones. These things," he explained.
He says he was terrified at what he was seeing and hearing. He wanted to quit. So he was punished.
"They put me in prison with no food or water - the most dreadful punishment. From sunrise to sunset, you get one loaf and one bottle of water. Then another small bottle of water until the next day, and sometimes they don't bring you anything.
"On Friday is nothing. They bring dirty rice and sauce to punish you. And they bring a scholar. He will decide if you go back to them or quit.
"Next they whip you and torture you but I withstood all the torture and then I quit," Mahmoud said.
For the families of this lost generation, these are difficult times.
They come to meet their children aware that they could be sentenced to 15 years or longer in prison. The families themselves could be ostracised in the days after IS has gone.
Their meetings are short and not very private, but the Kurdish authorities holding them will take no chances with the terror threat.
Of the 236 inmates held here, 215 are suspected of terrorism and there are camps near by overflowing with young men whose intentions are unknown.
The curse of Islamic State's hate-filled messages and doctrine of pure evil could take at least a generation to pass.
To see the video go to link below.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Premiering on the Paranormal UK Radio Network this week Friday 24th March Mack Maloney with his acclaimed show, Military X-Files. Co-hosts along with Mack are as follows:-
JUAN-JUAN —Due to sensitivity related to family members who work for the U.S. Government, certain aspects of his past military experience remain undisclosed. He has been cleared to reveal only that he is a U.S. Navy veteran, worked in anti-submarine warfare operations and was posted to the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He is the show’s technical expert and reports on all aspects of the U.S. Government’s surveillance and domestic spying programs.
COMMANDER COBRA —A former Air Force and Coast Guard pilot, he flew tactical air support and special ops missions for all four U.S. military branches and now works as a military contractor and test pilot. He reports on secret military technology, black programs and the latest in government conspiracies. Since he remains active in the black ops world, he can be identified only as “Commander Cobra.”
THE CREW — Rob Beckhusen of reports weekly on Weird Weapons. Switchblade Steve Ward provides retellings of classic UFO & paranormal cases. Agent X, presently employed by a U.S. intelligence agency, frequently joins the show to discern fact from fiction. Cindy Bailey Dove appears once a month with her “Drone Report.” Pistol Pete Falconi, UFO comedian Phil Yebba, UFO mechanic Al Renaldo, the mysterious No Belly Button Man and Dribbles the Clown are also regular guests.
Mack Maloney’s has authored more than 40 books, including “UFOs in Wartime – What They Didn’t Want You To Know” and “Beyond Area 51,” plus the best-selling “Wingman” military adventure series. He’s served as a consultant for a government-funded research firm working with U.S. intelligence agencies and is a member of the rock band, “Sky Club.”
To Listen to the Military X-Files with Mack Maloney TUNE into the Paranormal UK Radio Network at www.paukradio.com every Friday night at 10 PM EasternTime.