Fear And Tolerance: France At War (Dispatch 1) – Vice News Published on Nov 15, 2015


On Friday evening, eight heavily armed gunmen wearing suicide vests opened fire and detonated bombs at locations across Paris, killing at least 129 people and injuring more than 300 in Europe’s deadliest terrorist attack in over a decade. Soon after, the French government declared a state of emergency and put the capital city on lockdown. Residents of Paris were warned not to leave their homes.

On Saturday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated assaults. A Syrian passport was found near one of the suicide attackers, and a Greek official later told reporters it belonged to a man entered Europe through Greece in October. French President Francois Hollande referred to the massacre as “an act of war that was committed by a terrorist army, a jihadist army.”

Hours after the attack, VICE News arrived in Paris to witness a city in mourning. At the Place de la République, reaction to the mass killings was mixed. Some French citizens issued pleas for tolerance and unity in the days ahead. Many expressed fear about future Islamic State attacks. And others argued the shootings would inspire a backlash against the ongoing flow of refugees into Europe.

Watch “Exclusive Interview with ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Cartoonist Luz” – http://bit.ly/1X0kT8W

The Easy Days Are Over – By William Saletan NOV. 14 2015 8:06 PM


After Paris, this period of relative peace and easy libertarianism is coming to an end.

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If you’re an 18-year-old American, you were 3 or 4 when al-Qaida hit the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. You haven’t seen a major terrorist strike in your country since then. Maybe you heard about the attacks in Madrid in 2004, London in 2005, or Mumbai in 2008. But aside from the occasional lone-wolf incident—Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009, or the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013—you’ve been lucky.

You’ve grown up in an era of peace at home: no world wars, no cold war, and little fear of being blown up or gunned down by militants. It’s an era of libertarianism: We’re less afraid of bad guys coming to kill us, so we don’t see why Uncle Sam should track our phone calls. It’s also an era of isolationism, because our troops have fought two wars overseas, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and they haven’t turned out well. We’re sick of those wars, and we feel pretty safe at home. So we don’t want to go fight again.

The libertarianism and isolationism of our time crosses party lines. It affects President Obama, who came into office promising to bring our troops home. But it also affects Republicans. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican presidential candidate who has campaigned on a platform of sending troops to fight ISIS, couldn’t even garner enough support in the polls to get into his party’s undercard debate last week. And if you study surveys on national security and domestic surveillance, you’ll find that Republicans are, by some measures, more hostile to surveillance than Democrats are.

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Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria – Vice News Published on Nov 11, 2015


VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the frontlines of the battle for Abu Al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Watch “The Islamic State (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1IwDeVY

Remembering Sgt. York, A War Hero Who Built A School – Noah Adams NOVEMBER 11, 2015 9:58 AM ET


Sgt. Alvin C. York in 1919.

Sgt. Alvin C. York in 1919. Department of U.S. Army/AP

Here in Pall Mall, Tenn., you can walk up on the front porch of the Forbus General Store, est. 1892, and still hear Alvin C. York’s rich Tennessee accent.

Every day, the older neighbors gather on the store’s front porch.

“My grandfather used to cut Sgt. Alvin York’s hair,” Richard West recalls. “He would pay a quarter. He was a big man, redheaded.”

York was a Medal of Honor winner. One of the most decorated American heroes of World War I.

At the end of the war, when he returned to his home here in the mountains of north Tennessee, all he wanted was to build a school. A school that would help his neighbors’ kids get the education he had missed.

York had only finished the third grade in a one-room school. His family needed him on the farm. But he liked to read, kept a diary, and because of the war had seen a world beyond the ridgeline: London, Paris, New York.

Pete Smith, whittling red cedar on the porch, remembers the day of Alvin York’s funeral in 1964. Important people were coming from all over the United States to pay tribute. “I was out digging potatoes and I hadn’t never seen as many helicopters, about as high as the light wires and they was 12 or 15 of them. They like to jarred me out of the tobacco patch.”

Richard West likes to tell how friendly the York family always was. “When they’d have a dinner up there, they’d be 25, 30 people show up and eat. All the neighbors would stop by and the grocery trucks would stop and deliver so they’d have plenty of food.”

Clip from the battle scene where Sgt. York kills 25 men and forces the Germans to surrender.

YouTube

The 1941 Hollywood movie Sergeant York made the Tennessee farmer even more famous. Gary Cooper won an Oscar for the title role. The movie shows York coming of age in his home valley, then going off to fight the Germans in France.

On Oct. 18, 1918, advancing alone after his unit came under fire, York attacked a machine gun nest. He killed a group of German soldiers who were shooting at him and then captured 132 more.

Alvin York’s son, Andy York, 85, says his father wanted a school where rural children could get a good education.

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/11/11/455368998/remembering-sgt-york-a-war-hero-who-built-a-school

 

Tony Blair sorry for Iraq war ‘mistakes’ and admits conflict played role in rise of Isis – Nick Watt Sunday 25 October 2015 06.32 EDT


 

Former British PM apologises for ‘wrong’ intelligence and mistakes in planning of conflict and admits ‘elements of truth’ in claim war led to rise of Isis

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Tony Blair has apologised for aspects of the Iraq war, sparking claims of attempted “spin” ahead of the Chilcot inquiry findings.

The former UK prime minister used a US television interview – due to be broadcast by CNN Europe on Sunday – to express regret over the failure to plan properly for the aftermath of the toppling in 2003 of Saddam Hussein and the false intelligence used to justify it.

“I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong,” he told CNN. “I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”

Asked by host Fareed Zakaria if the Iraq war was “the principal cause” of the rise of Islamic State, he was reported by the Mail on Sunday to have conceded: “I think there are elements of truth in that.”

He added: “Of course you can’t say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015.”

Later, a spokeswoman for the former prime minister said: “Tony Blair has always apologised for the intelligence being wrong and for mistakes in planning. He has always also said, and says again here, that he does not however think it was wrong to remove Saddam.

Article continues:

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/25/tony-blair-sorry-iraq-war-mistakes-admits-conflict-role-in-rise-of-isis

 

The Volunteer Firefighters of Daraa (Excerpt from ‘The Battle for Syria’s South’) – Published on Sep 22, 2015


Daraa is where Syria’s revolution began four years ago. Now it’s the scene of a forgotten war, in which largely secular Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels — marginalized elsewhere in Syria — continue to lead the struggle against Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The FSA are fighting a bitterly hard battle under a virtual media blackout to change the course of Syria’s civil war. If they can take Daraa, they will stand at the beginning of the road to Damascus, the seat of Assad’s government.

In this excerpt from ‘The Battle for Syria’s South,’ VICE News follows a group of volunteers tackling fires and rescuing civilians trapped in rubble, as barrel bombs and grad rockets rain down daily on neighborhoods.

Watch “The Battle for Syria’s South (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1Yg2R6a