Tuesday January 22, 2019
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Anonymous warns of possible ISIS attack on WWE event in US

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The Islamic State or the ISIS plans to attack a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) event in Atlanta on Sunday evening, hacker group Anonymous which is engaged in a cyber war with the former following terror attacks in Paris said this week.

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, the group launched its operation against the ISIS.

“The FBI is aware of reports of an alleged threat that includes an Atlanta, Georgia venue and event. While we take all threats seriously, we do not have specific or credible information of an attack at this time,” the federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told Channel 2 news.

“We have, however, made the proper notifications as we continue to work closely with our law enforcement and private sector partners to keep our community safe,” the government agency added.

However, FBI Special Agent in Charge J Britt Johnson of the Atlanta office said the agency did not have “specific or credible information of an attack,” The International Business Times reported.

Anonymous revealed on Saturday it has uncovered information about possible ISIS attacks in Paris as well as at locations in the US, Indonesia, Italy and Lebanon on Sunday.

OpParisIntel, a group within Anonymous, released a statement warning the ISIS is planning an attack at the WWE Survivor Series event in the Philips Arena in Atlanta Sunday at 7.30 p.m. EST, besides attacks at multiple places in Paris.

Meanwhile, WWE star Triple H took to twitter saying that the event will take place as planned.

While publishing the list of potential targets alongside a statement, the Anonymous said: “The goal is to make sure the whole world, or at least the people going to these events, know that there have been threats and that there is a possibility of an attack to happen. Another goal is to make sure Daesh knows that the world knows and cancels the attacks, which will disorientate them for a while.”

The targets listed by Anonymous are Cigales Electroniques with Vocodecks, RE-Play & Rawtor at Le Bizen (Paris); Concrete Invites Drumcode: Adam Beyer, Alan Fitzpatrick, Joel Mull at Concrete (Paris); Demonstration by Collectif du Droit des Femmes (Paris); Feast of Christ the King celebrations (Rome/Worldwide); Al-Jihad, One Day One Juz (Indonesia); Five Finger Death Punch (Milan); and University Pastoral Day (Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon).

The Anonymous added: “We only appeared now because our goal was to remain undercover and report everything to the right authorities and let them take all the action. But when authorities do not take action, Anonymous does. This part of the op started last Monday and has [been] and will be active 24 hours a day as long as the op is going on.”

The Anonymous told the International Business Times that it had passed proof to the intelligence agencies of the UK and the US.

“If we share the proof [publicly], everyone will start calling it fake because screenshots can be edited and accounts can be deleted. We have purposely not shared account links publicly because they would be shut down immediately and then no one would believe the proof.”

Earlier this week, the Anonymous released a guide to catching the ISIS extremists amid claims that it has already found thousands of extremists online.

The ISIS in its guide – written in both French and English – asks its followers to report extremist Twitter accounts and also tells them how to find and hack accounts besides teaching them how to stay safe online.

The group has shared the full guide on Pastebin, a popular site that Anonymous and others use for posting statements. The site’s main feature is that allows users to host text files without being traceable.

The group says its efforts have already led to closing down of thousands of accounts.

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Afghanistan Elections Conclude, IEC Criticized For Mismanagement

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

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Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, center, speaks to journalists after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election at the Independent Elections Commission, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019. (VOA)

The process of submitting nomination papers for the upcoming presidential vote in Afghanistan concluded Sunday, with President Ashraf Ghani and his ruling coalition partner Abdullah Abdullah among the candidates seeking the country’s top office.

Ghani and Abdullah, who was appointed chief executive in a deal mediated by the United States after the disputed 2014 election, filed their nomination papers just hours before the Independent Election Commission (IEC) closed the proceedings.

The election activity comes as an early morning suicide car bombing of a government convoy in eastern Afghan province of Logar killed at least eight security forces, underscoring serious security challenges facing the country in the wake of a raging Taliban insurgency.

The presidential vote, scheduled for July 20, is also under scrutiny because of the lack of serious reforms to prevent a repetition of previous fraud-marred Afghan elections.

IEC officials, however, dismiss concerns and insist their rescheduling of the polls from the original April 20 date has given them enough time to fix the problems and to lay the ground for a better organized vote.

“Our [candidates’] goal should be to work toward ensuring this election process results in a strong government and nation. Whatever consensus regarding any reforms is required must be achieved now to remove any doubts about the election outcome,” Ghani said in televised comments after formally registering his candidacy with IEC.

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Afghan security forces inspect the site of a car bomb blast in Kabul, Jan. 15, 2018.(VOA)

The IEC was heavily criticized for failing to prevent mismanagement and alleged rigging in the October parliamentary election. The final results are still awaited, fueling traditional mistrust and suspicions among voters about the upcoming election.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former ethnic Pashtun warlord accused of war crimes and once listed as terrorist by the U.S., has also joined the presidential race.

Hekmatyar stopped his Hizb-i-Islami group from waging insurgent attacks against foreign forces and returned to Kabul from years of hiding in 2016 after signing a U.S.-backed peace deal with President Ghani’s government.

Hekmatyar’s fighters have been blamed for committing atrocities during the Afghan civil war that enabled the Taliban to capture most of Afghanistan in 1996.

Several former officials of the Ghani-led National Unity government are also among the contestants. They include Hanif Atmar, former national security adviser; Rahmatullah Nabil, ex-chief of the Afghan intelligence agency; Zalmai Rassoul, a former foreign minister who came third in the last presidential election; and Shaida Abdali, a former diplomat.

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Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, center, shakes hands with his supporters after arriving to register as a candidate for the presidential election, in Kabul, Jan. 20, 2019.

Peace talks with Taliban

The United States, meanwhile, has intensified efforts to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the 17-year-old conflict with the Taliban, which control nearly half of the country and maintain battlefield pressure on U.S.-backed Afghan forces to capture more territory.

Chief American peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, and his team spent several days in neighboring Pakistan, where authorities tried to arrange the next round of U.S.-Taliban talks.

Also Read:U.S. Determined To Address ‘Legitimate Concerns’ To Achieve Peace in Afghanistan

A U.S. Embassy statement announced Sunday said Khalilzad visited Islamabad from January 17-20 where he met with Pakistani civilian and military leaders. It said that “both sides reaffirmed their commitment to advance the Afghan peace process.”

Khalilzad highlighted that all countries in the region will benefit from peace in Afghanistan, the statement concluded, though it was not clear whether Pakistani efforts to bring the two sides to the negotiating table succeeded. (VOA)