Scottish companies lead market rally after No vote

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland surged three per cent while energy provider SSE, Glasgow-based engineer Weir and Standard Life were up by around two per cent in early trading. Picture: Getty

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland surged three per cent while energy provider SSE, Glasgow-based engineer Weir and Standard Life were up by around two per cent in early trading. Picture: Getty

by JANE BRADLEY

SCOTTISH companies led the way in a market rally as the Scottish independence vote was quashed and investors ruled out a flurry of headquarters relocations in the financial sector.

Shares in Royal Bank of Scotland surged three per cent while energy provider SSE, Glasgow-based engineer Weir and Standard Life were up by around two per cent in early trading.

RBS, along with rival Lloyds Banking Group and insurance firm Standard Life, had indicated that it would consider a move south if Scotland opted to split from the United Kingdom. Continue reading

ISIS cyber capability judged more ‘aspirational’ than operational

By Sean Lyngaas  Sep 17, 2014

Shutterstock image: unfunctional computer.ISIS terrorists have announced their intention to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure.

Interviews with cybersecurity experts and questions posed to public officials reveal an assessment of the cyber warfare capabilities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that, while potentially dangerous, remains more aspirational than operational.

It is common for a terrorist group like ISIS to develop cyber capabilities to complement their ambitions to carry out violent attacks, experts say. But being slick with social media is a world apart from being able to hack segments of U.S. critical infrastructure.

ISIS terrorists have said online that they aim to establish a “digital caliphate” for launching attacks on U.S. infrastructure, according to a Sept. 14 Fox News report. Doing so might prove difficult, but it wouldn’t cost much to begin probing networks. One could buy a tablet for a few hundred dollars, set up some encryption tools and start running vulnerability analyses of code used by critical infrastructure like the electric grid, said Tony Cole, vice president and global government CTO at FireEye, a network security firm. Continue reading

Coming to Grips with Terrorism in Egypt a Year after the Raba’a Square Massacre

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 17
September 5, 2014 10:36 AM Age: 10 days

Raba’a Square during the dispersal of Mursi supporter sit-ins (Source: Wikipedia user AMGS07)

Before the June 30, 2013 coup that overthrew Muhammad Mursi, Egypt’s first civilian elected president, terrorist operations in Egypt were far fewer in number and scale, focusing mainly on blowing up gas pipelines supplying Egyptian gas to neighboring Israel. However, after the violent crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters orchestrated by then-Defense Minister Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi in the summer of 2013, radicalism became viewed as the only means of expressing critical views of the political system.

This rise in terrorism enabled al-Sisi to strike fear amongst grassroots Egyptians and pose as a national savior despite excluding all peaceful ways of dissent and arguably provoking much of the violence that followed the Raba’a, Nahda and the Abu Zaabal massacres in 2013. Continue reading

France denies complicity

The French embassy in Cameroon has denied any secret activity against Cameroon in its declared war against Nigerian Islamist sect, Boko Haram.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, following media reports in the neighbouring country, the embassy condemned attacks by the terrorist militants in northern Cameroon, near the Nigerian border.

France restated its solidarity with the Cameroonian authorities in the fight against the insurgents from Nigeria, African Press Agency reported.

The French government also paid tribute to Cameroonian soldiers killed in combat against Islamist insurgents and “mourned with families of civilian victims and soldiers fighting against terrorism”.

The embassy, contrary to some Cameroonian media assertions which alluded to some behind-the-scene negotiations with Boko Haram, said President François Hollande had not met with Cameroonian officials during his July visit to Chad. Continue reading

Scotland: Independence security plans slammed

By Press Association, 5 September 2014 4.07pm. Updated: 9.37pm.

Plans for a single security and intelligence service in an independent Scotland will not offer the level of protection and support currently provided as part of the UK, according to a former chief of MI6.

Sir John Scarlett said British intelligence services have been built up over decades – “work which cannot be replicated in just a few years”.

The Scottish Government set out proposals to create a single agency for security and intelligence to ensure Scotland‘s national security in its white paper on independence. Continue reading

Isis fighters must be allowed back into UK, says ex-MI6 chief

Counter-terrorism expert Richard Barrett says repentant jihadis ‘can expose true nature of Islamic State

, and The Observer, Sunday 7 September 2014

Isis militants in Mosul

An image taken from a YouTube video allegedly shows Islamic State (Isis) militants taking part in a military parade in Mosul, northern Iraq. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Britain should encourage jihadis fighting in Syria and Iraq to “come home”, the former global counter-terrorism director of MI6 has said.

David Cameron outlined new powers last week for police to seize the passports of terrorist suspects and stop British extremists from returning to the UK. Others, including Boris Johnson, the London mayor, have called for British jihadis to have their citizenship removed.

However, Richard Barrett, a former counter-terrorism chief at MI5 and MI6, said repentant fighters needed “to know that there is a place for them back at home”. Continue reading

Pro-Isis Bosnia Salafi Leader Bilal Bosnic ‘Among 16 Detained in Police Sweep’

By Gianluca Mezzofiore September 3, 2014 11:27 BST

Bilal Bosnic

Bilal Bosnic in his pro-Isis speech in northern Bosnia

Bosnian police have detained 16 people on allegations of funding terrorist activities, recruiting and fighting for the Islamic State (known as Isis) militants in Syria and Iraq.

Among the arrested is Bilal Bosnic, the leader of the Salafi movement in Bosnia Herzegovina who recently called young Muslims to join the ranks of Isis, Avaz news site reported.

The security sweep was made in 17 raids across the Balkan country, according to the State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA). “The suspects are connected to financing, organising and recruiting Bosnian citizens to depart for Syria and Iraq, and taking part in armed conflicts in Syria and Iraq, fighting on the side of radical terrorist groups and organisations,” the police statement said.

Hundreds of Muslims from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia are reported to have gone to pursue jihad in Syria and Iraq.

At the end of July, a leading Albanian jihadist fighting in Syria posted photos of himself on social media in which he beheads a young man who he claims was a spy. A recent IS video showed a Kosovo jihadist along with other Balkans fighters destroying their passports after vowing to extend the caliphate to Rome and Spain. Continue reading

Austria: Springboard for Global Jihad

 

Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group’s five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.

The Islamist known as “Abu Hamza al-Austria,” fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.

“The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist.” — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.

“Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria.” — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.

“We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions.” — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.

 

The Austrian government has announced plans to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in an urgent effort to crack down on would-be jihadists in the country.

 

The decision by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to recruit 20 new intelligence officers to focus exclusively on the threat posed by radical Islam comes after police in Austria arrested nine Chechen immigrants who were on their way to wage jihad in Syria.

 

The move also comes amid growing concerns that Austria’s shiftless Muslim youth are becoming increasingly radicalized and vocal in their support of the jihadist group Islamic State. Continue reading

Iran Unveils New Missiles, Drones

Aug. 24, 2014 – 03:45AM   |   By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

 

A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran's Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran's defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran.
A handout picture released by the official website of the Iranian President, shows president Hassan Rouhani, center, and Iran‘s Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, second right, visiting Iran’s defense capabilities exhibition on Aug. 24 in Tehran. (AFP)

TEHRAN, IRAN — Iran on Sunday unveiled two new missiles and two new drones it said have been added to its arsenal, in a ceremony attended by President Hassan Rouhani.

The Ghadir (Mighty), with a range of 300 kilometers (185 miles), is a ground-to-sea and sea-to-sea missile, the official IRNA news agency said.

It is in the same family as the Ghader or Qader cruise missile, which has a range of 200 kilometers.

The other missile unveiled on Sunday, the Nasr-e Basir (Clear Victory), is equipped with a seeker homing head. Its range was not given. Continue reading

Convergent Technologies, Dual-Use Weaponry and the Global Balance of Power

30 June 2014

HMS Edinburgh fires Sea Dart Missile, courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence/flickr
Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

Convergent and dual-use technologies could match or surpass the capabilities of existing nuclear and conventional arsenals within the next 20 years. For Robert McCreight, the dangers these technologies pose must be taken seriously, especially since states are almost sure to use them.

By Robert McCreight for ISN

As the complexity of advanced technologies continues to increase, hard questions need to be asked about the possibility of dual-use risks that could jeopardize the stability and security of the planet. States with weapons systems that are already highly developed could gain significant advantages from the advent of novel weaponry. Indeed, it is not inconceivable that in 15-20 years advanced dual-use technologies could match, nullify or surpass the capabilities of existing nuclear and conventional arsenals. What implications does this have for international security? Continue reading