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From Iraq to ISIS to Paris etc., from Peter Myers

(1) Islamic State guerillias attack Beirut, Paris & Russian jet, in retaliation for air attacks
(2) Media focuses on Paris assaults but ignores Beirut attack on Hezbollah
(3) Iraqi intelligence (run by Iranian, Syrian & Russian generals) warned of imminent assaults
(4) Soft Drink bomb brought down Sinai plane
(5) Jewish nationalists (Zionists) pushed US into Iraq War, which led to ISIS - Philip Weiss
(6) Neoconservative redefined as “liberal interventionist”
(7) One Million refugees return to Syria since Russian attacks on ISIS
(8) G20 recognize Putin's leadership "from outcast to problem solver" defeating Islamic State
(9) Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members
(10) G20 acknowledge their own role in supporting Islamic State; pledge to cut off financing
(11) Stopping ISIS: Follow the Money
(12) US planes attack ISIS oil trucks in Syria - but only AFTER the Paris assaults
(13) Blaming Snowden for Paris attacks - Glenn Greenwald
(14) Islamic State uses mobile messaging service Telegram for press releases
(15) Telegram's founders supported anti-Putin protestors, fled to Germany after crackdown

(1) Islamic State guerillias attack Beirut, Paris & Russian jet, in retaliation for air attacks

Islamic State takes war to its foes after battlefield setbacks

November 14, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Mariam Karouny

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Facing military setbacks in its self-declared
caliphate in Syria and Iraq and intensified air strikes from a US-led
coalition, Islamic State may have decided in September to take the fight
to France and elsewhere.

The ultra-hardline group has frequently threatened to strike inside
Western countries since it established itself amid Syria’s civil war and
then spread to northern Iraq last year, but one fighter reached inside
Syria said its spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani had issued an
instruction to act abroad.

“He sent a written order to all sectors and security brigades to start
moving, including in Lebanon and Turkey,” the Syrian IS fighter said via
social media from northern Syria.

“Lebanon and France and other places are all part of the operations
ordered two months ago.”

Islamic State has said it was behind Friday’s killings of at least 132
people in Paris in revenge for France’s air strikes against it as well
as twin suicide bombings which killed 43 people on Thursday in a Beirut
stronghold of Lebanon’s Shi’ite Hezbollah, which is fighting the group
in Syria.

The ultra-hardline militants have also claimed responsibility for
bringing down a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula on Oct 31
which killed all 224 people on board after Russia began its own campaign
of air strikes in Syria.

Turkish authorities suspect a high-profile British jihadist detained in
Turkey last week may have been planning attacks in Istanbul similar to
those in Paris, two security sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The group has also threatened to attack Saudi Arabia, United States and

It was not immediately possible to verify the reported order, which
Islamic State supporters and fighters said was given to dormant cells in
several places.

“Their messages to us are sent by blood and carnage so we send them
their messages back in the same way, it is simple,” the
northern-Syria-based fighter said. [...]

(2) Media focuses on Paris assaults but ignores Beirut attack on Hezbollah

Tale of Two Cities: Why Silence When Beirut Gets Bombed but Tears for Paris?


November 17, 2015

Universally, governments have condemned the attacks that took place in
the French capital’s northern suburb of Saint-Denis on November 13, 2015.

[...] A tale of two cities and two standards

The Saint-Denis attacks come a day after the attacks on Beirut’s
southern Dahiyeh area on November 12, 2014. The murder and mayhem in
Beirut virtually went unnoticed in North America and the European Union.
This is important to note, because it means that two different standards
are being applied. [...]

In the US, a Pennsylvanian candidate running for the US Senate, Everett
Stern, wrote multiple times how he supported the terrorist attacks on
Beirut. On Twitter, he declared: «Good news!!! I hope Hezbollah
terrorists were killed.» When confronted, Stern categorized the attack
in Beirut as an attack on Hezbollah.  Hezbollah fights ISIL death
squads, but the French government supports ISIL [...]

(3) Iraqi intelligence (run by Iranian, Syrian & Russian generals) warned of imminent assaults

Iraq’s powerful intelligence centre knew about Paris attacks

Centre is run by Iranian, Syrian and Russian generals

Published: 15:43 November 16, 2015

Baghdad: Senior Iraqi intelligence officials warned members of the
US-led coalition fighting Daesh of imminent assaults by the militant
organisation just one day before last week’s deadly attacks in Paris
killed 129 people, The Associated Press has learned.

Iraqi intelligence sent a dispatch saying the group’s leader, Abu Bakr
Al Baghdadi, had ordered an attack on coalition countries fighting
against them in Iraq and Syria, as well as on Iran and Russia, through
bombings or other attacks in the days ahead.

The dispatch said the Iraqis had no specific details on when or where
the attack would take place, and a senior French security official told
the AP that French intelligence gets this kind of communication “all the
time” and “every day.”

Without commenting specifically on the Iraqi warning, a senior US
intelligence official said he was not aware of any threat information
sent to Western governments that was specific enough to have thwarted
the Paris attacks. Officials from the US, French and other Western
governments have expressed worries for months about Daesh-inspired
attacks by militants who fought in Syria, the official noted. In recent
weeks, the sense of danger had spiked.

Six senior Iraqi officials confirmed the information in the dispatch, a
copy of which was obtained by the AP, and four of these intelligence
officials said they also warned France specifically of a potential
attack. Two officials told the AP that France was warned beforehand of
details that French authorities have yet to make public.

“We have recovered information from our direct sources in the Daesh
terrorist organisation about the orders issued by terrorist ‘Abu Bakr Al
Baghdadi’ directing all members of the organisation to implement an
international attack that includes all coalition countries, in addition
to Iran and the Russian Federation, through bombings or assassinations
or hostage taking in the coming days. We do not have information on the
date and place for implementing these terrorist operations at this
time,” the Iraqi dispatch read in part.

Among the other warnings cited by Iraqi officials: that the Paris
attacks appear to have been planned in Raqqa, Syria - the Daesh’s
de-facto capital - where the attackers were trained specifically for
this operation and with the intention of sending them to France.

The officials also said a sleeper cell in France then met with the
attackers after their training and helped them execute the plan.

The revelation sheds light on just how powerful Iraq’s new intelligence
centre which was announced in October is. It has staff from Russia, Iran
and Syria.

Russia started bombing anti-government rebels last month in neighbouring
Syria, including Daesh, to support its ally, President Bashar Al Assad.

Two Russian one-star generals are stationed at the intelligence centre
in Baghdad, according to an Iraqi official who asked not to be named.

(4) Soft Drink bomb brought down Sinai plane

Russian plane crash: Islamic State says 'soft drink bomb' used to bring
down Sinai plane

Islamic State's official magazine has published a photo of a drink it
said was used to make an improvised bomb that brought down a Russian
airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula last month, killing all 224 people
on board.

The photo showed a can of Schweppes Gold soft drink and what appeared to
be a detonator and switch on a blue background — three simple components
that, if genuine, are likely to cause concern for airline safety
officials worldwide.

"The divided Crusaders of the East and West thought themselves safe in
their jets as they cowardly bombarded the Muslims of the Caliphate," the
English language Dabiq magazine said in reference to Russia and the West.

"And so revenge was exacted upon those who felt safe in the cockpits."

Western governments have said the plane was likely brought down by a
bomb and Moscow confirmed it had reached the same conclusion, but the
Egyptian government said it had still not found evidence of criminal action.

Islamic State also published a photo of what it said were passports
belonging to dead Russians "obtained by the mujahideen". It was not
immediately possible to verify the authenticity of the published photos.

The group, which has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq, said it had
exploited a loophole at Sharm el-Sheikh airport, where the plane
originated, in order to smuggle a bomb on board. [...]

(5) Jewish nationalists (Zionists) pushed US into Iraq War, which led to ISIS - Philip Weiss

The way for Americans to take on the Islamic state is to end support for
Jewish nationalism

November 15, 2015

Philip Weiss

At last night’s Democratic debate in Iowa, Bernie Sanders responded to
the Paris horror saying that we have to rid the earth of ISIS, that
there’s a war for the soul of Islam, and the Muslim nations have to get
their hands dirty too.

These belligerent and self-righteous statements are concerning because
once again American leaders, and American Jews, are pure innocence when
it comes to the religious dimension of the Middle East conflict. The
hypocrisy would be appalling were it not so functional: the biggest
impediment to both the reform of Islam and peace in the Middle East that
Americans have the ability to remove is our support for a militant
Jewish ideology that few Arabs and Muslims have ever accepted.

This understanding dinned in on Americans after the last big shocker,
9/11. At that time some observers pointed out a simple truth: that Osama
bin Laden and his radical little army were motivated by the occupation
of Palestine as well as the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia. But that idea
was suppressed. They hate us because of our freedom, became the
watchword, and the Bush administration’s foreign policy turned into a
neoconservative war policy guided by the same ideologues who had lately
advised the Israeli Prime Minister to end the peace process and move the
Arabs over, from Palestine to Jordan, from Jordan to Iraq. The 9/11
Commission concluded that US policy in Palestine was part of the
motivation for the attacks, but that analysis was whittled down to a few
sentences– even as the head of the commission said that the Iraq war was
launched to protect Israel. (And Condi Rice said the war would provide
“strategic relief” to Israel and Colin Powell said it was dreamed up by
the Zionist thinktank the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

Last night Sanders pointed out that that war, authored by Hillary
Clinton and George Bush, among others, is what destroyed Iraq and led to
the rise of ISIS. No doubt this is the case; but the analysis is
insufficient till it includes the fact that the war was dreamed up and
fomented by neoconservatives like Bill Kristol and Jeffrey Goldberg,
whose chief concern is the stability of Israel. Americans have never had
that discussion; but it is more urgent than ever now that Syria is no
more and Europe is reaping the harvest. Yes, that political discussion
took place in the shadows. But Walt and Mearsheimer were vilified as
anti-semites for making the case that the Israel lobby was the crucial
element in starting that war; and the left tiptoed away from the
analysis. And this blog– for which the Iraq war was the core issue–
began after my brother told me that he had demonstrated against the
Vietnam War but his Jewish newspaper said this war might be good for
Israel; and this blog got pushed out the door at the New York Observer,
then the Nation Institute.

Bernie Sanders and I both opposed the Iraq war. Most American Jews
opposed it. But Sanders’s assertion that there is a war for the soul of
Islam is hollow, cheap and condescending so long as he and the
mainstream Jewish community continue to suppress the war for the soul of
Judaism. That war is happening all around us in the margins; but the
west will not be able to rid the earth of ISIS and the radical Islamism
that we are told is not Islam (believe me, I can’t wait for their
demise) till we conduct a similar scathing inventory of Jewish political

Sanders is of course not religious an atheist. But the biggest political
event of his young life, maybe his entire life, his older brother says,
was the news of the Holocaust when he was a boy. After college, Sanders
went to Israel before he went to Vermont, and worked on a kibbutz; the
same hegira undertaken by many other Jewish leftists, including Noam
Chomsky and Tony Judt. Smart men, but there was surely a utopian belief
on all their parts; many Jews believed in the establishment of the
Jewish state as a redemptive act of history. “It is difficult to assess
which of the two miracles was greater– the miracle of [Israeli]
independence or the miracle of [international Jewish] unity,” the
socialist atheist David Ben-Gurion wrote. Countless Jews refer to Israel
as a miracle, from Jeffrey Goldberg to Ari Shavit, and Chaim Weizmann,
Jeremy Ben-Ami, and Leonard Nimoy, too. Not to mention Barack Obama and
Marco Rubio.

The leading American political theorist Michael Walzer says that the
long and continuous Jewish political tradition that produced Israel is
derived from the bible, the story of Exodus. He writes:

Its point of departure is always the Hebrew bible…. [Its] big issues
[are] election or ‘chosenness’, the holiness of the Land of Israel, the
experience of exile, and the hope for redemption….That tradition begins
with God’s authority, with divine rule and divine revelations. Exactly
how much room there is for human authority and decision making is always
a question.

And you’re worried about Christian evangelists? But Walzer is a leading
authority on Israel in allegedly secular publications like the New York
Review of Books!

Golda Meir famously said that she was an atheist because she didn’t
believe in God; but she did believe in the Jewish people. Ben-Gurion
said that the “Sinai covenant” with God had produced the miracle of
Israel’s birth. Thus Jewish nationalism (Zionism) was infused from the
start with religious ideas. And the creation of Israel always had a
religious character for many Jews: a faith so core that it gave life
meaning, a faith so strong that it overruled reality. The former SDS
leader Todd Gitlin says that Jews are a chosen people: they have “an
unshakable attachment to the wild idea of divine election, which,
however dampened, however sublimated, continues to ripple beneath the
surface of everyday events.”

Till it doesn’t just ripple and goes, Ka-Boom! That’s the sound of
suicide bombers in Paris and Baghdad, and the sound of Jewish terrorists
blowing up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem to get rid of the British.

All those terrorists are religious nationalists who have some
Michael-Walzer-like belief in God’s guidance of their ethnocentric
designs. But our world is too small to look on chosenness as anything
but a dangerous philosophy.

Count me out of this religious tradition. An anti-Zionist in the war for
the soul of Judaism, I call on all American Jews to examine how much of
their support or tolerance of a Jewish state has a religious character–
in the vision of Jewish agency as a redemptive historical force and
answer to the Holocaust and the Jewish question in Europe. Secular Jews
who prize their freedom in the United States must come to grips with the
ideas of Jewish superiority and uniqueness that have propelled Zionist
landgrabs and Jim Crow across Palestine to this day. Secular Jews who
celebrated the Egyptian peace treaty and Oslo accords must reckon with
their celebration of deals in which 80 million Arabs were put on ice in
Egypt by the west and another 6 million in Palestine just so the Jewish
state could continue in peace. Neoconservatives must come to terms with
their promotion of a war that would stabilize Israel by destroying the
great Arab cities of Baghdad, Damascus and Aleppo so far, with hundreds
of thousands of Muslim victims–whose national colors are not displayed
in grief on the Empire State Building, the Freedom Tower, or the Sydney
Opera House. Till we undertake that inventory, there won’t be peace in
the Middle East, or the west either.

Yesterday James North and I wrote here that we’re not monocausal; even
if there was justice in Palestine it would not end Islamist violence. I
stand by that point. But the ultimate question is the one Bernie Sanders
raised last night, What can we do to end the religious element of the
conflicts in the Middle East? And the answer is that Jews must end their
support for Zionism, which has turned out to be religious, fascistic and
militant, and is fueling rage across the Middle East and further.

How long can Jews not have this conversation? Hannah Arendt wrote in
1944 that opposition to Zionism drew on great understandings: the
“realization of the fatal, utopian hyperbole of the demand for a Jewish
commonwealth and a rejection of the idea of making all Jewish politics
in Palestine dependent on the protection of great powers.” The
realization of the fatal, utopian part is still the Jewish struggle 70
years later: Arendt is pointedly excluded from Michael Walzer’s retinue
of the “Jewish political tradition.” Because of the inward
self-governing structure of the Jewish community, anyone who says that
apartheid is apartheid is a heretic who must be excommunicated; but even
if you conclude that it has all the elements of apartheid, as Peter
Beinart told Rabbi Sharon Brous in a Los Angeles synagogue last week,
well you must support it, you must not boycott it, you must describe it
as a democracy. These are foolish claims that you can only maintain in a
religious space, or one from which Palestinian Americans and
anti-Zionist Jews are segregated, which is to say, every Jewish
establishment space in the United States, from J Street to the 92d
Street Y to AIPAC to Terry Gross’s radio show. And God bless Jewish
Voice for Peace.

The other illusion Arendt tried to blow up, and Walt and Mearsheimer
too, was that Israel was finished if it depended on great powers, rather
than the acceptance of its neighbors. That dependence was one that the
State Department deprecated from the start. If the U.S. helps to
establish a Jewish state in Palestine, that state will be dependent on
the U.S. and it will lead to endless unrest, State’s realists said.
Secretary of State George Marshall threatened to vote against his
president if he went through with the decision to recognize Israel; but
the nascent Israel lobby was already delivering in the ’48 election, and
its vote counted more.

While Harry Truman’s predecessor Franklin Roosevelt surely saw Paris
coming when he said of two leading rabbis who came into the White House
to urge a Jewish state in 1944:

To think of it, two men, two holy men, coming here to ask me to let
millions of people be killed in a jihad.

It was an American problem then and it’s an American problem now. We
have set aside our own secular values when it comes to the Middle East.
We should stop lecturing Muslims about their backward ideas till we
reckon with our own.

Thanks to Scott Roth, Donald Johnson and James North.

224 Responses

ivri November 15, 2015, 11:54 am

Is it not more than just a bit of exaggeration – no matter how
purportedly morally-intentioned – to suggest that attitudes to such a
narrow agenda as “Jewish nationalism” can have a meaningful impact on
what is essentially a historical-global agenda? One that mainly involves
Europe and the Arab world (plus Islam) – now also the US and others –
and has its roots in historical developments and narratives? And is just
as much anchored in what modernity is about and its associated
globalization process?

Annie Robbins November 15, 2015, 12:25 pm

this is crazy talk ivri. what’s next, are you going to make the argument
“Jewish nationalism” has nothing to do w/israel’s lobby breathing down
the neck of every elected legislator? and “Jewish nationalism” is
divorced from the neocon agenda/american intervention in the ME,
continually promoted by neocons? crazy talk.

it’s everywhere

(6) Neoconservative redefined as “liberal interventionist”>

“Events in Iraq Open Door for Interventionist Revival, Historian Says —
Robert Kagan Strikes a Nerve ….”

A decade after their fierce advocacy for the war in Iraq largely
discredited neoconservatives like Paul D. Wolfowitz and Richard N.
Perle, who argued most loudly for democracy exportation through military
power, Mr. Kagan is hardly apologetic about the current mess. Instead,
he believes that the widespread frustration over Mr. Obama’s
disengagement despite the resurgence of organized terrorist groups in
the region has created the climate to again make the case for

And who better to lead a cast of assorted hawks back into intellectual —
and they hope eventually political — influence than the congenial and
well-respected scion of one of America’s first families of interventionism?

His father, Donald Kagan, a historian of ancient Greece, is a patriarch
of neoconservatism. His brother, Fred, is a military scholar who helped
conceive the American troop increase in Iraq in 2007. His wife and
unofficial editor, Victoria Nuland, is an assistant secretary of state
and one of the country’s toughest and most experienced diplomats, whose
fervor for building democracy in Ukraine recently leaked out in an
embarrassing audio clip. And Mr. Kagan, who often works in a book-lined
studio of his cedar home here in the Washington suburbs, exudes a
Cocoa-Puffs-pouring, stay-at-home-dad charm.

“A very nice family,” said William Kristol, a family friend and the
founder of the conservative Weekly Standard, whose father, Irving, is
another of neoconservatism’s father figures and one of Robert’s first

Mr. Kristol said he, too, sensed “more willingness to rethink”
neoconservatism, which he called “vindicated to some degree” by the
fruits of Mr. Obama’s detached approach to Syria and Eastern Europe. Mr.
Kagan, he said, gives historical heft to arguments “that are very
consistent with the arguments I made, and he made, 20 years ago, 10
years ago.”

Mr. Kagan, 55, prefers the term “liberal interventionist” to the
neoconservative label, but believes the latter no longer has the stigma
it did in the early days of the Obama presidency. “The sort of desire to
say ‘Neocon! Neocon! Neocon!’ has moved out a little bit to the fringe,”
he said. …….

“I feel comfortable with her on foreign policy,” Mr. Kagan said, adding
that the next step after Mr. Obama’s more realist approach “could
theoretically be whatever Hillary brings to the table” if elected
president. “If she pursues a policy which we think she will pursue,” he
added, “it’s something that might have been called neocon, but clearly
her supporters are not going to call it that; they are going to call it
something else.”

(7) One Million refugees return to Syria since Russian attacks on ISIS


Million refugees return home since Russian involvement in Syria

By Staff Writers,

Wednesday, Nov 18, 2015

{photo} Syrians carry their belongings as they cross back into Syria at
the Syrian-Turkish border crossing of Bab al-Hawa in Idlib province,
Syria September 23, 2015. © Khalil Ashawi / Reuters {end}

Around 1 million Syrians have returned to their home cities liberated by
the Syrian military with Russian air support, Syria’s UN ambassador said
Monday, adding that Damascus is determined to work with any state that
takes combatting terrorism seriously.

Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, said that
“this is precisely what happens when it comes to Syrian-Russian
collaborative military action against terrorists and exchange of
intelligence between Syria, Iraq, Iran and Russia. This has practically
resulted in terrorist groups’ retreat from [their positions in] many
areas, which allowed 1 million internally displaced persons to return
safely to their homes.”

The Syrian ambassador, who took part in a UN Security Council meeting on
Monday, confirmed that the Syrian government was ready to cooperate
“with any state which has a serious approach to combatting terrorism,”
TASS reported. [...]

Over the past few years, Syria has suffered a mass exodus of millions of
people forced to flee their homeland due to the ongoing civil war in the
country. According to an estimate by the UN High Commissioner for
Refugees in July, the number of Syrian refugees fleeing the conflict in
Syria to neighboring countries has exceeded 4 million. There are at
least an additional 7.6 million people who are internally displaced,
many of them living in extremely difficult conditions.

Russia has been bombing ISIS infrastructure in Syria since September 30,
after receiving a request for aid from Syrian authorities. The air
support for the Syrian army has been provided by more than 50 aircraft
and helicopters, including the Su-34 and Su-24M bombers, Su-25 close air
support aircraft and Su-30SM fighters, accompanied by Mi-8 and Mi-24
helicopters from the Khmeimim air base in Latakia. Russian Navy
corvettes also launched Kalibr NK ship-born cruise missiles on IS
targets on October 7 from the Caspian Sea some 1,500 kilometers away.

(8) G20 recognize Putin's leadership "from outcast to problem solver" defeating Islamic State

From: Paul de Burgh-Day <> Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2015
12:56:22 +1100 Subject: Finian Cunningham: Putin – Cometh the Hour,
Cometh the Man

Putin – Cometh the Hour, Cometh the Man

Almost everyone now recognises that Russia’s military intervention in
Syria to defeat the so-called Islamic State terror group was the right
call to make. Russian President Vladimir Putin isn’t crowing about it.
He doesn’t have to.

By Finian Cunningham

November 18, 2015

Sputnik News

Putin’s vindication was made clear by the enthusiastic reception
afforded to him at the summit of G20 leaders in Turkey last weekend. The
Financial Times headlined: “Putin transformed from outcast to problem
solver at G20”.

The paper went on to note that: “An audience with the Russian president
was one of the hottest tickets in town, as Western leaders were forced
to recognise the road to peace in Syria inevitably runs through Moscow.”

Even US President Barack Obama was seen to confer with Putin as the two
leaders held an impromptu and earnest face-to-face discussion on the
sidelines of the summit.

It was a constructive encounter with none of the antagonism that
Washington has all too often displayed towards Putin over the past year.
The Paris terror assault – with 129 dead and hundreds wounded in
simultaneous gun and bomb attacks – no doubt concentrated the minds of
world leaders attending the G20 conference, held in Turkey’s Antalya
only two days after the mass killings.

The atrocity was claimed by the Islamic State terror network (also known
as ISIS or ISIL), with seven of its operatives killed in the suicide
attacks. Days later, the conclusion by Russian investigators this week
that a terrorist bomb was the cause of the Russian civilian airliner
crash on October 31 over Egypt’s Sinai desert – with the loss of all 224
people onboard – has only added to the grim public realisation about
ISIL and its affiliates. French President Francois Hollande – who
skipped the G20 summit due to the emergency situation unfolding at home
– appealed this week for a “global coalition to defeat Islamic State”.

This was made during a special address to both upper and lower houses of
the French parliament at the Palace of Versailles. The French leader
called on the US and Russia to join forces, along with France and other
countries. Hollande is to fly to Washington on November 24 to discuss
with Obama how to coordinate efforts at combating ISIL in Syria and
Iraq. Two days after that, the French president is due in Moscow to hold
the same discussion with Putin. Putin has already acknowledged the
appeal from Hollande, saying that he welcomes closer cooperation, adding
that Russia has been consistently calling for a greater joint effort in
combating terrorism.

Putin has even reportedly offered Russian naval coordination with the
French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean
for future airstrikes against ISIL. Within days of the Paris massacre,
French warplanes launched extensive strikes against Islamic State bases
in eastern Syria.

Russia and its Syrian ally have pointed out that previous military
strikes by the US and France are in violation of international law since
these operations do not have consent from the government in Damascus. It
remains to be seen then how Russia would coordinate military operations
with France in Syria owing to the legal implications.

Since the Paris mayhem, several French political figures and former
military intelligence personnel have urged Hollande to re-think policy
on Syria.

Opposition leader Nicolas Sarkozy, among others, said that “to not
coordinate with Russia is absurd”. A think-tank, CF2R, with close links
to French military intelligence, also advised the Hollande government to
view the Syrian leader not as the enemy, and to dedicate efforts, in
conjunction with Russia, on destroying the ISIL and related groups.

In other words, Russia is being proven right about its intervention in
Syria. The most effective way to defeat the terror networks of ISIL and
other jihadist groups like the Nusra Front is to support the Syrian
state, to coordinate with the Syrian Arab Army on the ground, and to
target the militants with a full-on campaign.

That is why Putin was received at the G20 summit with a newfound respect
among other leaders. When Putin ordered the Russian military
intervention in Syria, beginning on September 30, it was not done in
half-measures. In a matter of weeks, the Russian air force has achieved
more in terms of wiping out terror groups than the US-led coalition did
in more than a year of airstrikes.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted in an interview this week
that the US-led bombing supposedly against the Islamic State has been
ineffective due to its conflicting priorities. Lavrov said that since
August 2014, the Western so-called anti-ISIL coalition was focused on
“weakening” the Damascus government and therefore it did not strike
decisively at ISIL formations because they are seen as assets in the
Western effort for regime change.

Some analysts go further and argue that the Islamic State and associated
jihadist mercenaries are the result of covert Western sponsorship of
these groups.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf Arab states are also known to
have been major funders and facilitators of the jihadist brigades. Putin
highlighted these links at the G20 summit when he announced that the
financing of the terror networks in Syria has come from “40 states,
including members of the G20”.

Thus, while Russia has been vindicated in its strategy and tactics on
Syria, the appeal for a “global coalition” against terror has intrinsic
limits. This is because key Western powers and their regional allies are
committed in principle against such a Russian-defined front.

The United States, Britain and France are among those states insisting
that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has to relinquish power,
sooner or later. Russia rejects that demand as a violation of Syrian

These Western states are also known to have supplied weapons, at least
indirectly, to the jihadist terror groups.

British leader David Cameron complained at the G20 summit that Russia
has hit “non-ISIL opposition to Assad – people who could be part of the
future of Syria.” But who or where are these “non-ISIL” groups that
Cameron says “could be part of the future of Syria”?

When Russia has asked the West for information and locations on
“moderate rebels” to avoid in its airstrikes, the West has refused to
provide any details.

France is as guilty as any other of the foreign states for fuelling a
covert war in Syria that has spawned the terror problem of Islamic State
and its affiliates. A problem that has, in turn, rebounded with horrific
results outside of Syria’s borders, killing hundreds of French and
Russian citizens in only the past three weeks.

Vladimir Putin has demonstrated true leadership on tackling terrorism in
Syria and beyond. As the old English proverb goes: cometh the hour,
cometh the man.

However, the more troubling problem is this: how many other statesmen
are ready and willing to do the decent thing and follow the Russian
lead? Russia’s policy on Syria is the morally and legally correct one.

The Paris and Russian airliner massacres, as well as other recent
terrorist atrocities in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and other countries, cry
out for a real anti-terror effort based on respecting sovereignty and
abiding by international law.

That challenge will expose those states that have built their policies
on Syria out of deeply criminal objectives and methods.

(9) Putin: ISIS financed from 40 countries, including G20 members

Published time: 16 Nov, 2015 14:29 Edited time: 16 Nov, 2015 20:58

President Vladimir Putin says he’s shared Russian intelligence data on
Islamic State financing with his G20 colleagues: the terrorists appear
to be financed from 40 countries, including some G20 member states.

During the summit, “I provided examples based on our data on the
financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by
private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40
countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told
the journalists.

Putin also spoke of the urgent need to curb the illegal oil trade by IS.

"I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft
which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and
petroleum products," he said.

“The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers,
so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the
horizon," Putin added, comparing the convoy to gas and oil pipeline systems.

It’s not the right time to try and figure out which country is more and
which is less effective in the battle with Islamic State, as now a
united international effort is needed against the terrorist group, Putin
said. [...]

(10) G20 acknowledge their own role in supporting Islamic State; pledge to cut off financing

G20 leaders pledge to cut off financing to curb IS terrorism

The world's 20 most important countries intend to work together to curb
"Islamic State" terrorism - not just by direct attacks, but also using
financial means. Bernd Riegert reports from the G20 summit in Antalya.

Propagandabild IS-Kämpfer

[...] Experts in the field, as well as many Western secret services,
believe that until a few weeks ago finances and supplies were reaching
the terrorists of "Islamic State" relatively unimpeded. Its main sources
of income are still presumed to be the sale of Syrian and Iraqi oil, as
well as ransoms extorted for Western hostages and the proceeds from the
sale of relics and antiquities.

Many Western secret services have repeatedly indicated in their reports
that for years Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were financing "Islamic
State" (IS). These Sunni-dominated countries saw IS as a spearhead
against Shiite rivals in the region, such as Iran. Daniel Wagner, the
head of a private security analysis company in the US, said it was only
after IS started using excessively cruel practices and the financiers
themselves felt threatened that they cut back on official funding.

"The monster they helped to create is coming to attack them in their
homeland," he wrote in the Huffington Post. However, he said that "a few
wealthy individuals in these countries picked up where the governments
left off" and continue to fund IS." Following the pledge given in
Antalya on Monday, Saudi Arabia could, as a member of the G20, stop them
from doing so.

Turkey also plays a significant role as far as supplying IS is
concerned. DW reported as early as last year that goods and equipment
were being delivered to the IS stronghold of Raqqa by Turkish suppliers.
IS is also said to be delivering oil from Syria to Turkey.

The hosts of the G20 could therefore also take action to stop the
provisioning of the terrorist army. According to media reports, after
Libya collapsed into chaos the United States transported large
quantities of arms through Turkey to Syria to arm rebel groups there.
Some of these weapons may also have fallen into the hands of IS
militants. [...]

(11) Stopping ISIS: Follow the Money

From: Paul de Burgh-Day <> Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2015
15:03:36 +1100 Subject: Peter Van Buren:- Stopping ISIS: Follow the Money

By Peter Van Buren

November 18, 2015

Wars are expensive. The recruitment and sustainment of fighters in the
field, the ongoing purchases of weapons and munitions, as well as the
myriad other costs of struggle, add up.

So why isn’t the United States going after Islamic State’s funding
sources as a way of lessening or eliminating their strength at making
war? Follow the money back, cut it off, and you strike a blow much more
devastating than an airstrike. But that has not happened. Why?


Many have long held that Sunni terror groups, ISIS now and al Qaeda
before them, are funded via Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia, who are
also long-time American allies. Direct links are difficult to prove,
particularly if the United States chooses not to prove them. The issue
is exacerbated by suggestions that the money comes from “donors,” not
directly from national treasuries, and may be routed through legitimate
charitable organizations or front companies.

In fact, one person concerned about Saudi funding was then Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton, who warned in a 2009 message on Wikileaks that
donors in Saudi Arabia were the “most significant source of funding to
Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

At the G20, Russian President Vladimir Putin said out loud what has
otherwise not been publicly discussed much in public. He announced that
he has shared intelligence with the other G20 member states which
reveals 40 countries from which ISIS finances the majority of its
terrorist activities. The list reportedly included a number of G20

Putin’s list of funders has not been made public. The G20, however,
include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany,
India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South
Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of
America, and the European Union.


One source of income for ISIS is and has robustly been oil sales. In the
early days of the air campaign, American officials made a point to say
that the Islamic State’s oil drilling assets were high on the target
list. Yet few sites have actually been targeted. A Pentagon spokesperson
explained that the coalition has actually been trying to spare some of
ISIS’s largest oil producing facilities, “recognizing that they remain
the property of the Syrian people,” and to limit collateral damage to
civilians nearby.

The U.S. only this week began a slightly more aggressive approach toward
the oil, albeit bombing tanker trucks, not the infrastructure behind
them. The trucks were destroyed at the Abu Kamal oil collection point,
near the Iraqi border.

Conservative estimates are that Islamic State takes in one to two
million dollars a day from oil sales; some see the number as high as
four million a day. As recently as February, however, the Pentagon
claimed oil was no longer ISIS’ main way to raise money, having been
bypassed by those “donations” from unspecified sources, and smuggling.


One of the issues with selling oil, by anyone, including ISIS, is
bringing the stuff to market. Oil must be taken from the ground using
heavy equipment, possibly refined, stored, loaded into trucks or
pipelines, moved somewhere and then sold into the worldwide market.
Large amounts of money must be exchanged, and one to four million
dollars a day is a lot of cash to deal with on a daily basis. It may be
that some sort of electronic transactions that have somehow to date
eluded the United States are involved.

Interestingly, The Guardian reported a U.S.-led raid on the compound
housing the Islamic State’s chief financial officer produced evidence
that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members,
including the ISIS officer responsible for directing the terror army’s
oil and gas operations in Syria.

Turkey’s “open door policy,” in which it allowed its southern border to
serve as an unofficial transit point in and out of Syria, has been said
to be one of ISIS’ main routes for getting their oil to market. A
Turkish apologist claimed the oil is moved only via small-diameter
plastic irrigation pipes, and is thus hard to monitor.

A smuggled barrel of oil is sold for about $50 on the black market. This
means “>several million dollars a day worth of oil would require a very
large number of very small pipes.

Others believe Turkish and Iraqi oil buyers travel into Syria with their
own trucks, and purchase the ISIS oil right at the refineries,
transporting themselves out of Syria. Convoys of trucks are easy to spot
from the air, and easy to destroy from the air, though up until now the
U.S. does not seem to have done so.

So as is said, ISIS’ sources of funding grow curious and curiouser the
more one knows. Those seeking to destroy ISIS might well wish to look
into where the money comes from, and ask why, after a year and three
months of war, no one has bothered to follow the money.

And cut it off.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year
in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle
for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State
began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government
Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the
State Department on his own terms.

(12) US planes attack ISIS oil trucks in Syria - but only AFTER the Paris assaults

The US is reportedly attacking ISIS oil trucks in Syria for the first time

Will Martin Yesterday at 8:37 PM

The United States has upped its intensity in the fight against ISIS, and
has targeted airstrikes on trucks used by the extremist group to smuggle
oil through Syria, according to a report in The New York Times.

The attacks have not been officially confirmed by the US government, but
have reportedly so far destroyed 116 trucks carrying oil in the Deir
al-Zour area of Syria. This marks the first time oil trucks have been
targeted by the US, The Times reports.

The area is close to the country’s eastern border with Iraq, and is
under ISIS control. The strikes were confirmed by US officials speaking
anonymously to the paper. [...]

(13) Blaming Snowden for Paris attacks - Glenn Greenwald

Exploiting Emotions About Paris to Blame Snowden, Distract from Actual
Culprits Who Empowered ISIS

By Glenn Greenwald

November 16, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Intercept"

Whistleblowers are always accused of helping America’s enemies (top
Nixon aides accused Daniel Ellsberg of being a Soviet spy and causing
the deaths of Americans with his leak); it’s just the tactical playbook
that’s automatically used. So it’s of course unsurprising that ever
since Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing enabled newspapers around the
world to report on secretly implemented programs of mass surveillance,
he has been accused by “officials” and their various media allies of
Helping The Terrorists™.

Still, I was a bit surprised just by how quickly and blatantly — how
shamelessly — some of them jumped to exploit the emotions prompted by
the carnage in France to blame Snowden: doing so literally as the bodies
still lay on the streets of Paris. At first, the tawdry exploiters were
the likes of crazed ex-intelligence officials (former CIA chief James
Woolsey, who once said Snowden “should be hanged by his neck until he is
dead” and now has deep ties to private NSA contractors, along with
Iran–obsessed Robert Baer); former Bush/Cheney apparatchiks (ex-White
House spokesperson and current Fox personality Dana Perino); right-wing
polemicists fired from BuzzFeed for plagiarism; and obscure Fox News
comedians (Perino’s co-host). So it was worth ignoring save for the
occasional Twitter retort.

But now we’ve entered the inevitable “U.S. Officials Say” stage of the
“reporting” on the Paris attack — i.e., journalists mindlessly and
uncritically repeat whatever U.S. officials whisper in their ear about
what happened. So now credible news sites are regurgitating the claim
that the Paris Terrorists were enabled by Snowden leaks — based on no
evidence or specific proof of any kind, needless to say, but just the
unverified, obviously self-serving assertions of government officials.
But much of the U.S. media loves to repeat rather than scrutinize what
government officials tell them to say. So now this accusation has become
widespread and is thus worth examining with just some of the actual

One key premise here seems to be that prior to the Snowden reporting,
The Terrorists helpfully and stupidly used telephones and unencrypted
emails to plot, so Western governments were able to track their plotting
and disrupt at least large-scale attacks. That would come as a massive
surprise to the victims of the attacks of 2002 in Bali, 2004 in Madrid,
2005 in London, 2008 in Mumbai, and April 2013 at the Boston Marathon.
How did the multiple perpetrators of those well-coordinated attacks —
all of which were carried out prior to Snowden’s June 2013 revelations —
hide their communications from detection?

This is a glaring case where propagandists can’t keep their stories
straight. The implicit premise of this accusation is that The Terrorists
didn’t know to avoid telephones or how to use effective encryption until
Snowden came along and told them. Yet we’ve been warned for years and
years before Snowden that The Terrorists are so diabolical and
sophisticated that they engage in all sorts of complex techniques to
evade electronic surveillance.

By itself, the glorious mythology of How the U.S. Tracked Osama bin
Laden should make anyone embarrassed to make these claims. After all,
the central premise of that storyline is that bin Laden only used
trusted couriers to communicate because al Qaeda knew for decades to
avoid electronic means of communication because the U.S. and others
could spy on those communications. Remember all that? Zero Dark Thirty
and the “harsh but effective” interrogation of bin Laden’s “official

Any terrorist capable of tying his own shoe — let alone carrying out a
significant attack — has known for decades that speaking on open
telephone and internet lines was to be avoided due to U.S. surveillance.
As one Twitter commentator put it yesterday when mocking this new
It’s-Snowden’s-Fault game: “Dude, the drug dealers from the Wire knew
not to use cell phones.”

The Snowden revelations weren’t significant because they told The
Terrorists their communications were being monitored; everyone —
especially The Terrorists — has known that forever. The revelations were
significant because they told the world that the NSA and its allies were
collecting everyone else’s internet communications and activities.

The evidence proving this — that The Terrorists have been successfully
using sophisticated encryption and other surveillance-avoidance methods
for many years prior to Snowden — is so overwhelming that nobody should
be willing to claim otherwise with a straight face. As but one of
countless examples, here’s a USA Today article from February 2001 — more
than 12 years before anyone knew the name “Edward Snowden” — warning
that al Qaeda was able to “outfox law enforcement” by hiding its
communications behind sophisticated internet encryption:

The Christian Science Monitor similarly reported on February 1, 2001,
that “the head of the U.S. National Security Agency has publicly
complained that al Qaeda’s sophisticated use of the internet and
encryption techniques have defied Western eavesdropping attempts.”

After 9/11, we were constantly told about how wily and advanced The
Terrorists were when it came to hiding their communications from us. One
scary graphic from the November 2001 issue of Network World laid it out
this way:

All the way back in the mid-1990s, the Clinton administration exploited
the fears prompted by Timothy McVeigh’s Oklahoma City attack to demand
backdoor access to all internet communications. This is what then-FBI
Director Louis Freeh told the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 1997 —
almost 20 years ago:

The looming spectre of the widespread use of robust, virtually
uncrackable encryption is one of the most difficult problems confronting
law enforcement as the next century approaches. At stake are some of our
most valuable and reliable investigative techniques, and the public
safety of our citizens. We believe that unless a balanced approach to
encryption is adopted that includes a viable key management
infrastructure, the ability of law enforcement to investigate and
sometimes prevent the most serious crimes and terrorism will be severely
impaired. Our national security will also be jeopardized.

How dumb do they think people are to count on them forgetting all of
this, and to believe now that The Terrorists only learned to avoid
telephones and use encryption once Snowden came along? Ironically, the
Snowden archive itself is full of documents from NSA and its British
counterpart, GCHQ, expressing deep concern that they cannot penetrate
the communications of Terrorists because of how sophisticated their
surveillance-avoidance methods are (obviously, those documents pre-date
Snowden’s public disclosures).

As but one example, the GCHQ files contain what the agency calls a
“Jihadist Handbook” of security measures, dated 2003, that instructs
terror operatives in the use of sophisticated surveillance-avoidance
techniques that — as we noted when we first reported it — are very
similar to what GCHQ still tells its own operatives to use [...]

The origins of ISIS are not even in dispute. The Washington Post put it
simply: “almost all of the leaders of the Islamic State are former Iraqi
officers, including the members of its shadowy military and security
committees, and the majority of its emirs and princes.” Even Tony Blair
— Tony Blair — admits that there’d be no ISIS without the invasion of
Iraq: “‘I think there are elements of truth in that,’ he said when asked
whether the Iraq invasion had been the ‘principal cause’ of the rise of
ISIS.” As The New Yorker’s John Cassidy put it in August:

By destroying the Iraqi state and setting off reverberations across the
region that, ultimately, led to a civil war in Syria, the 2003 invasion
created the conditions in which a movement like ISIS could thrive. And,
by turning public opinion in the United States and other Western
countries against anything that even suggests a prolonged military
involvement in the Middle East, the war effectively precluded the
possibility of a large-scale multinational effort to smash the
self-styled caliphate.

Then there’s the related question of how ISIS has become so well-armed
and powerful. There are many causes, but a leading one is the role
played by the U.S. and its “allies in the region” (i.e., Gulf tyrannies)
in arming them, unwittingly or (in the case of its “allies in the
region”) otherwise, by dumping weapons and money into the region with
little regard to where they go (even U.S. officials openly acknowledge
that their own allies have funded ISIS). But the U.S.’s own once-secret
documents strongly suggest U.S. complicity as well, albeit inadvertent,
in the rise of ISIS, as powerfully demonstrated by this extraordinary
four-minute clip of Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan with Gen. Michael Flynn,
former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency:

Given all this, is there any mystery why “U.S. officials” and the
military-intelligence regime, let alone Iraq war-advocating hacks like
Jim Woolsey and Dana Perino, are desperate to shift blame away from
themselves for ISIS and terror attacks and onto Edward Snowden,
journalism about surveillance, or encryption-providing tech companies?
Wouldn’t you if you were them? Imagine simultaneously devoting all your
efforts to depicting ISIS as the Greatest and Most Evil Threat Ever,
while knowing the vital role you played in its genesis and growth.

The clear, overwhelming evidence — compiled above — demonstrates how
much deceit their blame-shifting accusations require. But the more
important point of inquiry is to ask why they are so eager to ensure
that everyone but themselves receives scrutiny for what is happening.
The answer to that question is equally clear, and disturbing in the extreme.

Research: Margot Williams.

Glenn Greenwald is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of
four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. [...]

(14) Islamic State uses mobile messaging service Telegram for press releases

Islamic State makes Telegram messaging app a major marketing tool

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Eric Auchard for Reuters

(Reuters) – The mobile messaging service Telegram, created by the exiled
founder of Russia’s most popular social network site, has emerged as an
important new promotional and recruitment platform for Islamic State.

The service, set up two years ago, has caught on in many corners of the
globe as an ultra-secure way to quickly upload and share videos, texts
and voice messages. It counts 60 million active users around the world.

A new feature of Telegram that was introduced in September has become
the preferred method for Islamic State to broadcast news and share
videos of military victories or sermons, according to security
researchers. The group used Telegram to claim responsibility for the
Paris attacks, which left 129 people dead, and the bombing of a Russian
airliner over Egypt last month, which killed 224.

Islamic State has made Telegram its media mouthpiece in the face of
increasingly aggressive efforts to block the group from Twitter and
other mainstream social media platforms.

Alex Kassirer, a counter-terrorism analyst with the New York-based
private intelligence firm Flashpoint, said that IS uses Telegram
broadcast channels to send releases aimed at recruitment, inspiration
and motivation.

IS now has three- or four-dozen channels on Telegram functioning as a
kind of press release service, said Rita Katz, director of Bethesda,
Maryland.-based extremist monitoring service SITE Intelligence Group.
Some channels attract tens of thousands of followers, she said, adding
that IS then counts on followers using Twitter to spread its messages.

Unlike Twitter, which has shut down thousands of accounts tied to IS for
violating company rules, so far Telegram has let the jihadists operate
without fear of being turned off or traced, Katz said.

“The channel feature completely changed the position of Telegram in the
online jihadist movement,” Katz said.

Kassirer also said that Jihadi groups seem to be able to operate
uninterrupted on Telegram.

Telegram, which did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Shortly after the first version of this story was published, Telegram
said in a posting on its site that it had moved to block IS channels.

After hackers acting under the banner of Anonymous, the loose-knit
collective of activist hackers, said on Saturday they were preparing to
disrupt Islamic State sites, an IS-affiliated account on Telegram
responded by releasing instructions on how not to get hacked, according
to a tweet by an activist group called Ghost Security.


Telegram was set up by the two brothers who founded VKontakte, a Russian
social networking site inspired by Facebook that counts more than 100
million active users.

Pavel Durov, 31, the frontman, and his brother Nicolay, 34, the
technical talent, lost control of VKontakte to businessmen with close
ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2014, after battling the
government over demands that it block Russian opposition leaders and
turn over information about Ukrainian protesters.

The brothers left Russia and moved to Berlin to continue running
Telegram, which they fund themselves. Telegram says on its website that
making profits will never be one of its goals, and if it runs out of
money it will ask for donations and charge for nonessential add-ons.

The main appeal of Telegram is that it allows users to send strongly
encrypted messages, for free, to any number of a user’s phones, tablets
or computers, which is useful to people who need to switch devices
frequently. It has group messaging features that allow members to share
large videos, voice messages or lots of links in one message, without
detection by outsiders because this service does not run through the
computing cloud.

Security services would in principle need to have physical possession of
a user’s device to break the keys to the encrypted chats.

Security analysts say the Islamic State’s young, digitally sophisticated
recruits likely use a variety of tools and platforms, as well as
couriers and face-to-face meetings, to plan operations.

“There are countless alternatives,” said Hassan Hassan, an expert on
Islamic state with UK foreign policy think tank Chatham House and
co-author of the book “ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror.”

He said Telegram’s appeal to Islamic militants comes both from its
technical features for media-sharing and also its perceived independence
from government controls. [...]

(15) Telegram's founders supported anti-Putin protestors, fled to Germany after crackdown

Pavel Valeryevich Durov (born 10 October 1984) is a Russian
entrepreneur, best known for being the founder of social networking site
VK, and later the Telegram Messenger.[2] He is the younger brother of
Nikolai Durov.

Pavel Durov was born in Leningrad (now known as St.Petersburg), but
spent most of his childhood in Italy, in the city of Turin. His father
Valery (who holds a PhD in philology) was employed there.[3] He attended
an Italian elementary school, and after returning to Russia in 2001
attended the Academy Gymnasium in St. Petersburg.[4] In 2006, he
graduated from the Philology Department of the Saint Petersburg State
University, where he received a first class degree.

Durov started VKontakte, later known as VK, in 2006, which was initially
influenced by Facebook.[5]

In 2011 he was involved in a standoff with a SWAT team outside his home
in St. Petersburg after the government had demanded the removal of the
pages of opposition politicians after controversial parliamentary
elections.[5][6] They left after about an hour.

On April 16, 2014 Durov publicly refused to hand over data of Ukrainian
protesters to Russia's security agencies and block Alexey Navalny's page
on VK.[7] Instead he posted the relevant orders on his own VK page
[8][9] claiming that the requests were unlawful.

On April 21, 2014 Durov was dismissed as VK CEO. The company claimed it
was acting on a letter of resignation written by Durov a month earlier
that he supposedly failed to recall.[7][10] Durov then claimed the
company had been effectively taken over by Vladimir Putin's
allies,[10][11] suggesting his ousting was the result both of his
refusal to hand over personal details of users to the Russian Federal
Security Service and his refusal to hand over the personal details of
people who were members of a VKontakte group dedicated to the Euromaidan
protest movement.[10][11] Durov then left Russia and stating that he had
"no plans to go back"[11] and that "the country is incompatible with
Internet business at the moment".[7]

Durov holds libertarian economic and political views and says he is a
vegetarian and identifies as a Taoist.[12] He published
anarcho-capitalist manifestos describing his ideas on improving
Russia.[13] On his 27th birthday, he donated a million dollars to the
Wikimedia Foundation.[14]

Pavel Durov's early life and career are described in detail in the
Russian-language book The Durov Code. The True Story of VK and its
Creator (2012). [6]

This page was last modified on 27 September 2015, at 14:35.

Peter Myers