Monday, March 30, 2015

NSA Gate Rammed, One Man Killed

Police are investigating a crash and reports of a shooting Monday, March 30, 2015, morning at Fort Meade, Maryland.

A spokeswoman at Fort Meade says two people were injured, one killed, as they attempted to ram a gate to the National Security Agency.

The two men were dressed as women. They were said to have attempted to "penetrate" (it was is in quotes in the description of them attempting to breach) the gate.

Aerial video showed multiple vehicles involved in a crash on the connector road from Route 295 to Fort Meade. Also shown was an emergency responder being loaded into an ambulance.

Fort George G. Meade is a United States Army installation that includes the Defense Information School, the Defense Media Activity, the United States Army Field Band, and the headquarters of United States Cyber Command, the National Security Agency, the Defense Courier Service, and Defense Information Systems Agency headquarters. It is named for George G. Meade, a general from the U.S. Civil War, who served as commander of the Army of the Potomac. The fort's smaller census-designated place includes support facilities such as schools, housing, and the offices of the Military Intelligence Civilian Excepted Career Program (MICECP).

George Gordon Meade (December 31, 1815 – November 6, 1872) was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in the coastal construction of several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

This date is the anniversary on March 30, 1981, when U.S. President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside the Washington, D.C., Hilton Hotel by John Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley stood near the umbrella being held by a camera crew filming the president.

Reagan's press secretary James Brady, Washington police officer Thomas Delahanty, and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy were struck by gunfire from the would-be assassin.

George W. Ashburn (born 1814) was a Georgia politician assassinated on March 30, 1868, by the Ku Klux Klan in Columbus, Georgia for his pro-African-American sentiments. He was the first murder victim of the Klan in Georgia.

On the night of March 30, 1868, Ashburn participated at a huge gathering of blacks and Republicans at Temperance Hall in Columbus, Georgia. One of the featured speakers was Henry McNeal Turner. Just after midnight, Ashburn was murdered at a house on the corner of 13th and 1st street by a group of five well-dressed men wearing masks.

During the time of Ashburn’s murder Georgia was still under the military governorship of General George Meade (the victor of Gettysburg), of the Third Military District. As soon as he heard of the murder, Meade implemented martial law in Columbus, removing the mayor from office, and ordering the immediate arrest of all suspects.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Copycat Effect and Aircraft Suicides

Should we be on the lookout for aircraft-related copycat suicides in the wake of the news regarding the cause of Flight 9525's demise?

Behind Andreas Lubitz is the Golden Gate Bridge, known in suicidology for its power of attraction for suicide victims. (For more, see The Copycat Effect, Chapter 16: The Magnetism of Milieu and Moment.)
Andreas Lubitz, the copilot of Flight 9545, appears to have brought down the Germanwings Airbus A320 Flight 9525 on March 24, 2015. 

A short history of modern suicide-related aircraft disasters, in general, do not list the single craft crashes that occur in the wake of the larger aircraft wrecks.

September 26, 1976 – 12 fatalities
A Russian pilot stole an Antonov 2 airplane directed his aircraft into the block of flats in Novosibirsk where his divorced wife lived. (ASN Accident Description)

August 22, 1979 – 4 fatalities
A 23 year old male mechanic who had just been fired entered a hangar at Bogotá Airport, Colombia and stole a military HS-748 transport plane. He took off and crashed the plane in a residential area. (ASN Accident Description)

February 9, 1982 - 24 fatalities
Japan Airlines Flight 350 was a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-61 on a domestic scheduled passenger flight from Fukuoka, Japan, to Tokyo. The airplane crashed 9 February 1982 on approach to Haneda Airport in Tokyo Bay. Flight 350 was Japan Airlines' first crash of the 1980s. The crew consisted of 35-year-old Captain Seiji Katagiri (片桐 清二 Katagiri Seiji), 33-year-old First Officer Yoshifumi Ishikawa, and 48-year-old flight engineer Yoshimi Ozaki. The cause of the crash was traced to Katagiri's deliberate engaging of the number 2 and 3 engines' thrust-reversers in flight. The first officer and flight engineer worked to restrain him and regain control. Despite their best efforts, the DC-8's descent could not be completely checked, and it touched down in shallow water 300 meters (980 ft) short of the runway. Among the 166 passengers and eight crew, 24 died. (Source.)

December 7, 1987 - 43
Pacific Southwest Airlines flight 1771 was a commercial flight that crashed near Cayucos, California, United States, on December 7, 1987, as a result of a murder–suicide by one of the passengers. All 43 people on board the aircraft died, five of whom were shot to death before the plane crashed. The man who caused the crash, David Burke, was a disgruntled former employee of USAir, the parent company of PSA. The crash killed three managers and the president of Chevron USA, James R. Sylla, along with three officials of Pacific Bell, which prompted many large corporations to create or revise policies that would forbid group travel by executives on the same flight. (Source.)

July 13, 1994 – 1 fatality
A Russian Air Force engineer stole the aircraft at the Kubinka AFB to die by suicide. The aircraft crashed when there was no more fuel left. (ASN Accident Description)

August 21, 1994 – 44 fatalities
A Royal Air Maroc ATR-42 airplane crashed in the Atlas Mountains shortly after takeoff from Agadir, Morocco. The accident was suggested to have been caused by the captain disconnecting the autopilot and directing the aircraft to the ground deliberately. The Moroccan Pilot’s Union challenged these findings. (ASN Accident Description)

December 19, 1997 – 104 fatalities
Silk Air Flight 185, a Boeing 737 en route from Jakarta, Indonesia to Singapore, crashed in Indonesia following a rapid descent from cruising altitude. Indonesian authorities were not able to determine the cause of the accident. It has been suggested by amongst others the U.S. NTSB that the captain may have decided to die by suicide by switching off both flight recorders and intentionally putting the Boeing 737 in a dive, possibly when the first officer had left the flight deck. During 1997 the captain experienced multiple work-related difficulties, particularly during the last 6 months. Also at the time of the accident the captain was experiencing significant financial difficulties, which was disputed by the Indonesian investigators. (ASN Accident Description)

October 11, 1999 – 1 fatality
An Air Botswana captain who had been grounded for medical reasons took off in an ATR-42. He made several demands over the radio and finally stated he was going the crash the plane. He caused the plane to crash into two parked ATR-42 aircraft on the platform at Gaborone Airport, Botswana. (ASN Accident Description)

Egyptair SU-GAP Boeing 767-300 at Dusseldorf Airport. 
The aircraft crashed in the Atlantic Ocean in 1999 as Egyptair Flight 990.

October 31, 1999 – 217 fatalities
Egypt Air Flight 990, a Boeing 767, entered a rapid descent some 30 minutes after departure from New York-JFK Airport. This happened moments after the captain had left the flight deck. During the investigation it was suggested that the accident was caused by a deliberate act by the relief first officer. However, there was no conclusive evidence. The NTSB concluded that the accident was a “result of the relief first officer’s flight control inputs. The reason for the relief first officer’s actions was not determined.” The suggestions of a deliberate act were heavily disputed by Egyptian authorities. (ASN Accident Description)

September 11, 2001 - 2996 fatalities
The September 11 attacks (9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people. Four passenger airliners were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists to be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within two hours, both 110-story towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the WTC complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense), leading to a partial collapse in its western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was targeted at Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In total, 2,996 people died in the attacks, including the 227 civilians and 19 hijackers aboard the four planes. (For more, see The Copycat Effect, Chapter 4: Planes into Buildings.)

January 5, 2002 - 1 fatality
Soon after 5:00 P.M. on Saturday, January 5, 2002, a 15-year-old named Charles J. Bishop crashed the Cessna plane he had stolen into Tampa, Florida's 42-story Bank of America building. Bishop had clearly modeled his action on the September 11th terrorists' suicide plane crashes. Bishop left a suicide note behind, saying as much, though most of the media merely paraphrased as him saying that he had "admired Osama bin Laden." (For more, see The Copycat Effect, Chapter 4: Planes into Buildings.)

April 18, 2002 - 3 fatalities
On April 18, 2002, after 5:00 P.M. local time, a man apparently acting deliberately flew at top speed into Milan's (and Italy’s) tallest skyscraper, hitting the 25th and 26th floors of the 30-story Pirelli Tower. The skyscraper dominates the skyline of Italy's financial capital, as did the Twin Towers of New York City. Italian Transport Minister Pietro Lunardi and Roberto Formigoni, the president of the region of Lombardy, both said they were convinced that Luigi Fasulo, the pilot of his powerful Rockwell Commander 112TC, had purposely died by suicide. Fasulo's son and others also felt it was a suicidal act. Besides the pilot, two women who worked in the Pirelli Tower were killed. (For more, see The Copycat Effect, Chapter 4: Planes into Buildings.)

November 29, 2013 – 33 fatalities
LAM Flight 470 entered a rapid descent while en route between Maputo and Luanda and crashed in into the Bwabwata National Park, Namibia. Preliminary investigation results indicate that the accident was intentional. The captain made control inputs that directed the plane to the ground, shortly after the first officer had left the flight deck. All 33 passengers and crew were killed. (ASN Accident Description)

March 24, 2015 - 150 fatalities
Germanwings Airbus A320 Flight 9525, en route from Barcelona, Spain to Dusseldorf, Germany, went into a long descent before crashing into the French Alps. The co-pilot left behind in the cockpit, named as 28-year-old Andreas Lubitz, appeared to "show a desire to want to destroy" the plane. (More information, here and here.)


In 2004, I wrote my book, The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines, and dedicated it to David Phillips for his groundbreaking work that had been largely ignored by most scholars up to that time.

I wrote:
In 1974, University of California at San Diego sociologist David P. Phillips coined the phrase, “The Werther Effect,” to describe the copycat phenomenon. The word “Werther” comes from a 1774 novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther, written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the author of Faust. In the story, the youthful character Werther falls in love with a woman who is promised to another. Always melodramatic, Werther decides that his life cannot go on, and that his love is lost. He then dresses in boots, a blue coat, and a yellow vest, sits at his desk with an open book, and, literally at the 11th hour, shoots himself. In the years that followed, throughout Europe, so many young men shot themselves while dressed as Werther had been and seated at their writing desks with an open copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther in front of them, that the book was banned in Italy, Germany, and Denmark.
Today, "The Werther Effect" is more commonly expressed publicly as "The Copycat Effect."

I also observed that sociologist David Phillips noted in 1978 that airplane accident fatalities normally increase just after newspaper stories about murder and suicide. Phillips found an increase in both suicides and murder-suicides following other well-publicized suicides and murder-suicides, including suicides hidden in unrecognized aircraft accidents - especially in single-plane wrecks. Phillips’s theory about a follow-on increase in plane crashes noted some “disguised suicides” followed soon after high media attention to suicides in the news.

Therefore, we should be aware that the media's present high volume of stories on Andreas Lubitz's apparent murder-suicide of 150 people on Flight 9525 probably will lead to more covert and some overt suicides by other pilots and aircraft employees. An increase in single aircraft (so-called "general aviation") crashes in the forthcoming weekend, and then in the following month, are predictable outcomes.


Coleman, Loren. The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2004.

Phillips, David P. “Airplane Accident Fatalities Increase just After Newspaper Stories About Suicide and Murder,” Science 20, August 25, 1978.

Phillips, David P. “Airplane Accidents, Murder, and the Mass Media: Towards a Theory of Imitation and Suggestions,” Social Forces 58:4, June 1980.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

9525: Alexandra David-Néel, Digne-les-Bains, and Siegfried

Flight 9525 departed just after 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, 2015, from Barcelona, Spain, for Dusseldorf, Germany, with 144 passengers -- among them two babies -- and six crew members. It went down at 10:53 a.m. (5:53 a.m. ET) in a remote area near Digne-les-Bains in the Alpes de Haute Provence region. All aboard are presumed dead.

One of the pilots on Germanwings Flight 9525 was locked out of the cockpit when the plane crashed Tuesday, a senior military official told The New York Times, citing evidence from the cockpit voice recorder.

Dugne-les-Bains is an intriguing location for this plane to have crashed.

First of all, Bain relates to Bane (poison; fatal cause of mischief; death; destruction; killer; slayer; curse), and in Scottish legend, the Bain Fairy is a death fairy who is the keeper of the Bain Bridge.

Bane does have a longer history. An English and French origin of the surname Bain is from the occupational name of an attendant of a public bath house. This name is derived from the Middle English, and Old French baine, meaning "bath." One French derivation of the surname Bain is from a topographic name, for someone who lived near a Roman bath. This name is derived from the Old French baine, meaning "bath."

The northern English surname Bain is sometimes derived from a nickname meaning "bone," which probably referred to someone who was exceptionally tall, or lean. This nickname is derived from the Old English ban, meaning "bone." In northern dialects of Middle English, the a was preserved, but in southern dialects the a was changed to o (the southern form became the standard).

In other cases, the northern English surname is derived from a nickname of a hospitable person. This nickname is derived from the northern Middle English beyn, bayn, which mean "welcoming," "friendly"; these are in turn derived from the Old Norse beinn, meaning "straight," "direct".

The Scottish surname Bain is derived from a nickname for a person with fair-hair. This name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic bàn, meaning "white," "fair". The name was common in the Scottish Highlands, and is first recorded in 1324 in Perth. The surname can also be, in some cases, a reduced form of the surname McBain. The Scottish Gaelic form of the surname Bain is Bàin (masculine), and Bhàin (feminine).

The name may also be a variant spelling of the north German surname Behn.

In the case of Digne-les-Bains, the name relates to the "baths" in the area.
(See more here, and more sources here, about "Bain.")

Also, Dugne-les-Bains is a site strongly associated with Alexandra David-Néel. On Monday, March 23, I was being interviewed by a reporter, Todd DePalma. I gave this answer to one area of his questioning: "In my first two books (with Jerry Clark), The Unidentified (Warner Books, 1975) and Creatures from the Outer Edge (1978), I discussed these creatures in terms of the Jungian point of view. I also pinpointed the Yetis as creatures who some humans say live in a spiritual context (as thought forms), as per Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Néel, 1929."

I had not talked about Alexandra David-Néel in years. It seemed an unusual side note. But then Flight 9525 crashed, and it became a personal sync.

Alexandra David-Néel, French explorer, spiritualist, writer, in Lhasa in 1924.

Alexandra David-Néel, born Louise David (24 October 1868 – 8 September 1969), was a Belgian-French explorer, spiritualist, Buddhist, anarchist and writer. She is most known for her 1924 visit to Lhasa, Tibet when it was forbidden to foreigners. David-Néel wrote over 30 books about Eastern religion, philosophy, and her travels. Her teachings influenced beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, philosopher Alan Watts, and esotericist Benjamin Creme. Alexandra continued to study and write at Digne-les-Bains, till her death there at the age of nearly 101. According to her last will and testament, her ashes and those of Yongden were mixed together and dispersed in the Ganges in 1973 at Varanasi, by her friend Marie-Madeleine Peyronnet.

When Alexandra David-Neel journeyed through Tibet, one of the many mystical techniques she studied was that of tulpa creation. A tulpa, according to traditional Tibetan doctrines, is an entity created by an act of imagination, rather like the fictional characters of a novelist, except that tulpas are not written down. David-Neel became so interested in the concept that she decided to try to create one. (See more on how I, Loren Coleman, and Jerome Clark moved the tradition of tuplas into the Fortean awareness, in 1975 and 1978, here: Tulpas.)

Worthy of mentioning, too, are the opera singers who died abroad Flight 9545, and their links to their last spiritual performance.
Barcelona’s Liceu opera house said late Tuesday [March 24, 2015] that two singers who had been performing in [Richard] Wagner’s Siegfried were on board: the baritone Oleg Bryjak and the contralto Maria Radner. Ms. Radner was traveling with her husband and baby, said Joan Corbera, a Liceu spokesman. Source.
A contralto, Radner played the goddess Erda in her debut at the Liceu opera house and Bryjak, a bass-baritone, played the evil dwarf Alberich.

Siegfried, WWV 86C, is the third of the four operas that constitute Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), by Richard Wagner. It premiered at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus on 16 August 1876, as part of the first complete performance of The Ring. This part of the opera is primarily inspired by the story of the legendary hero Sigurd in Norse mythology. Sigurd (Old Norse: Sigurðr) is a legendary hero of Norse mythology, as well as the central character in the Völsunga saga. The name Sigurðr is not the same name as the German Siegfried. The Old Norse form would have been Sigruþr, a form which appears in the Ramsund carving that depicts the legend. Sivard is another variant name of Sigurðr; these name forms all share the first element Sig-, which means victory.

The crash site is within the Massif des Trois-Évêchés and is close to Mount Cimet, where Air France Flight 178 crashed in 1953.
The 1953 crash involved a Lockheed L-749A Constellation.

The 9525 crash happened in what the International Business Times calls a "freakishly close" location near the village of Barcelonnette. On September 1, 1953, an Air France Lockheed L-749A Constellation crashed into Mont Cimet, less than a mile away from the Germanwings site, as it prepared to land in Nice, NBC News reports.

The plane had left Paris for a long journey that would have included stops in Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, and India on the way to Vietnam. Investigators concluded that the flight "had deviated from the planned course for unknown reasons," according to the Aviation Safety Network. All nine crew members and 33 passengers—including famous violinist Jacques Thibaud—were killed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Back to the Future II: 2015 ~ The Cubs Win The World Series

Have you noticed the onslaught of BTTF (the "in" way of noting the Back to the Future films) documentaries and YouTube videos with conspiracy examinations? Watch for more. One project is Back in Time from Jason Aron. Another is an unnamed new doc in development from Joe Alexander.

The Year 2015 is of some significance in the BTTF series. Take a look at the times punched into the BTTF computer.

In Back to the Future II, in 2015, the Queen of England is Diana. That's wrong. She died in 1997, thanks to the world of the paparazzi.

But the BTTF movies predicted an amazing array of things, from a baseball team in Miami to the iPad, from video conferencing to televisions hung on your wall at home, from wireless video games to the public's modern love for sequels of old movies in 3D.

It missed out on email and Twitter, sure, but you can't predict everything in one series of movies.

It also has the Cubs winning the World Series in 2015.

There is still a chance the Cubs could win the World Series in 2015. You know, there really is, like a 14 to 1 possibility. Cubs' fans, do not give up hope. 

There actually were 14 things that did come true in the Back to the Future movies. Was there others?

Some indepth work has been done analyzing the BTTF films, especially as related to 9/11. While all do not agree with what is seen, and one of Joe Alexander's past films was roundly criticized, it is worthy of watching.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Harrison Ford Plane Crash Foreshadowed?

Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Indiana Jones actor Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942) was injured on March 6, 2015, about 2:25 p.m. PT, Thursday afternoon when his vintage single-engine airplane crashed on the Penmar Golf Course shortly after taking off from Santa Monica Airport, Venice, California.

The popular movie star and private pilot reported engine failure and requested an immediate return. He failed to reach the runway, avoided a residential area, and crash-landed instead on the approach to the 8th tee. He was injured, with gashes in his head and a broken arm.

The plane was built in 1942, a vintage training aircraft, a Ryan PT-22.

From 2013, Harrison Ford (in the back seat) is seen above flying his plane, the same one that crashed on March 6, 2015.

Amazingly, then correspondent Tim Hovasse sent along to me, from a 2015 calendar he owns, the following photograph. It shows Harrison Ford's Ryan PT-22 as the symbolic image for March 2015. The calendar was for the support of injured veterans. The pilot of the pictured Ryan PT-22 is seated where Ford was the day of his crash. But it looks like the man who is copiloting the plane in the photo above.

Speaking of the name "Ryan," Ford played the role of Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy's Patriot Games (1992) and Clear and Present Danger (1994).

News of the Ford crash caused a Twitter storm, and some feared a nerdpocalypse was afoot.

Maurice Hurley, a writer and producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation, died on February 24, 2015, at the age of 75. Former Star Trek executive producer Rick Berman confirmed his death, tweeting, "We lost one of Star Trek's most talented minds yesterday. Maurice Hurley produced seasons 1 and 2 of TNG. He was one of a kind. So very sad."

Harve Bennett (born Harve Bennett Fischman; born August 17, 1930) was an American television and film producer and screenwriter. Bennett was best-known as the producer of four Star Trek films, and the writer on some of those and others. According to his wife, Bennett had been in declining health when he died February 25, 2015, due to complications from a recent fall, at the Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford, Oregon.

Star Trek's half-Vulcan, half-human alien hybrid, Leonard Simon Nimoy (born March 26, 1931) was an American actor, film director, poet, singer, and songwriter. He was known for his role as Mr. Spock of the Star Trek franchise.

On February 19, 2015, having been in and out of hospitals for the past several months, Nimoy was taken to UCLA Medical Center for chest pains. Nimoy died of complications of COPD on February 27, 2015, at the age of 83, in his Bel Air, California, home. 

And then on March 6, 2015, Harrison Ford crashed his plane.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Highway 77's Mall of America Terrorist Warning

At the intersection of Minnesota State Highway 77* and Interstate 494 sits the Mall of America (MoA), a shopping mall owned by the Triple Five Group. It is located in Bloomington, Minnesota (a suburb of the Twin Cities).

[*In Alan-Abbadessa Green's Suicide Kings (see here from The Sync Book), he greatly details the significance of the number 77 in the JFK assassination and 9/11.]

The Mall contains the United Airlines Flight 93 memorial, for those who died aboard during the September 11, 2001 attacks—the bust of Tom Burnett (who was born and raised in Bloomington) is on the west side of the first floor, next to the fountain in front of Nordstrom.

Thomas Edward Burnett, Jr. (May 29, 1963 – September 11, 2001) was the vice-president and chief operating officer of Thoratec Corporation, a medical devices company based in Pleasanton, California. Burnett was born and grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota. At Thomas Jefferson Senior High School, where he wore jersey No. 11 and then No. 10, he led the Jaguars to the state finals as their starting quarterback in 1980. He graduated in 1981. On September 11, 2001, Burnett, who was born in Bloomington, Minnesota, was a passenger on board United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked as part of the September 11 attacks. He died when the plane crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. 

A new video from Al Shabaab purportedly shows the terror group calling for an attack on Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minnesota.

“Be particularly careful” if you intend to visit the Mall of America, the second largest mall in the USA.

That’s the cautionary message Sunday from Jeh Johnson, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, in the wake of Somali terrorist group Al-Shabab releasing a video calling for attacks on Western malls. The video specifically mentioned the megamall in Bloomington.

"I'm not telling people to not go to the mall," Secretary Jeh Johnson said on NBC's Meet The Press. "I think that there needs to be an awareness."

He also said, "I'm saying that the public needs to be particularly vigilant."“If anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they’ve got to be particularly careful,” Johnson said in a televised interview with CNN. “There will be enhanced security there, but public vigilance, public awareness and public caution in situations like this is particularly important, and it’s the environment we’re in, frankly.”

Mall of America says it has heightened security after a video threatening a terror attack was apparently released by a Somali militant group with ties to al-Qaeda. The group, al-Shabaab, previously took responsibility for the 2013 attack at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, that left more than 60 people dead.

The video released online focused mostly on the conflict between Kenya and Somalia and the Westgate shopping mall attack. The video calls for similar attacks at the Mall of America and elsewhere.

"If just a handful of mujahideen fighters could bring Kenya to a complete standstill for nearly a week, imagine what a dedicated mujahedeen in the West could do to the American or Jewish-owned shopping centers across the world," an unidentified man says on the video.

"What if such an attack was to occur in the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or the West Edmonton Mall in Canada? Or in London's Oxford Street?" the man says, encouraging supporters to "hurry up, hasten towards heaven and do not hesitate."

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Sunday saying U.S. officials were aware of the call for "Westgate style" attacks against shopping malls in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The Mall of America, among the largest shopping malls in the world with more than 500 stores and 50 restaurants, employs more than 12,000 people. It generally is considered the world's busiest mall, with more than 40 million visitors annually.

Mall officials issued a statement saying it takes any potential threat seriously.

"Mall of America has implemented extra security precautions. Some may be noticeable to guests, and others won't be," the statement said, adding, "The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority."

Al-Shabaab, based in southern Somalia, was declared a terror organization under U.S. law in 2008. The group, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012, took responsibility for an attack Friday at a Mogadishu hotel targeting government ministers that killed 25.

Johnson, who made appearances on five Sunday shows, said the video threat reflects the militant effort to encourage supporters to conduct attacks in their homelands.

"We're in a new phase now, and I'm afraid that this most recent video release reflects that," Johnson said on ABC's This Week.

A new video from Al Shabaab purportedly shows the terror group calling for an attack on Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.

According to Fox 9, the mall is one of three similar targets the terror group specifically names, including West Edmonton Mall in Canada and the Oxford Street shopping area in London.

The video purportedly shows 6 minutes of graphic images and the terrorists celebrating the 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya, that killed more than 60 people.

An image of the Mall of America is shown in the video, alongside its GPS coordinates. The mall says it is ramping up its security in response.

Al Shabaab, Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, claimed responsibility for a Friday attack on a hotel in Somalia's capital that killed 25 people and wounded 40, the country's government said Saturday.

One Islamic extremist rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into the gate of the Central Hotel, and another went in and blew himself up, a statement from Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke's office said.

Government officials were meeting at the Central Hotel at the time, and the statement said Mogadishu's deputy mayor and two legislators were among the dead. It was unclear whether the government's report of 25 dead included the two bombers.

Despite the loss of key strongholds in Somalia, Al Shabaab, which is linked to Al Qaeda, continues to stage attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere.

The group, designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2008, has close ties to Al Qaeda through its senior leaders. It has attracted several radical volunteers from Minneapolis and Americans began traveling to Somalia in 2007 to join the group.

Somalia's president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, condemned the Friday attack and said it would not derail efforts by his government to restore peace to Somalia, which is recovering from decades of war.

This is the second attack on a hotel in Mogadishu in less than a month. On January 22, 2015, three Somali nationals were killed when a suicide car bomber blew himself up at the gate of a hotel housing the advance party of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited the country days later.

Sources 1, 2, 3, and 4.

See also, 


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Friday, February 20, 2015

The Torch's Fire

It was bound to happen, with the name it was give, but The Torch is on fire

A fire erupted early Saturday morning, February 21, 2015, at the Marina Torch in Dubai, the 79-floor skyscrapper that is among the world's tallest residential buildings. According to a report in the English-language Gulf News, thousands were evacuated from the building but high winds hindered firefighters' initial efforts to contain the blaze. It has since been extinguished, according to local witnesses.

There are no reported injuries but the fire was fueled by windy conditions and had engulfed between 10 and 15 floors of the more than 1,100-foot-tall tower, named The Torch.

Designed by award winning architects Khatib and Alami, The Torch rises 351 metres (1152 feet) into the Dubai sky. The tower has 86 floors containing a total of 676 apartments along with a gym, a sauna, a steam room and an eight level garage.

The Marina Torch, also known as Dubai Torch or just The Torch, is a supertall residential skyscraper at the Dubai Marina, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The tower became the tallest residential building in the world in 2011, surpassing Q1, in Gold Coast, Australia. The tower reaches 336.1 m (1105 ft) in height with 79 floors above ground.