Toronto man pleads guilty to trying to join ISIS
A 29-year old Toronto man has admitted to traveling to Turkey in 2014 and attempting to reach Syria where he intended on joining ISIS.
Pamir Hakimzadah is the fifth Canadian to be convicted of leaving Canada to join a terrorist group. He has plead guilty to the crime of leaving Canada to participate in the activity of a terrorist group.
Kurdish authorities confirmed they found a Canadian orphan Amira, 4-years- old. She is being detained at al-Hol detention camp. Trudeau said it was “too dangerous” for Canada to rescue her, according to a recent article by CTV News.
“Right now we’ve qualified it as too dangerous for Canadian officials to go into Syria and into those refugee camps,” he said in a CTV interview with Lisa LaFlamme.
For almost a year, Amira has been in the ISIS detention camp in northeastern Syria. She was discovered wandering all by herself in the town of Baghouz, Syria. Her family moved from Canada in 2014 to Syria so they could fight for ISIS. Her family was killed in an airstrike. Trudeau admitted that he was aware of the little girl’s story.
Amira was living with a surrogate family. Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale has called her living situation “horrendous.”
There are more than 11,000 foreign women and children of ISIS fighters detained in the camp, many of whom lack access to medical care and water. Approximately 33 Canadian women and children are detained in al-Hol and a second camp closeby. That is a conservative estimate.
Amira still has family in Canada including an uncle and her grandparents who have been pressuring the Canadian government to retrieve her for months. They have cited other cases in other countries such as France, Australia, and Sweden as examples of countries that managed to send personnel to return the women and children left behind after war with the caliphate.
The government had originally demanded Amira’s family must undergo a DNA test to prove that she is a Canadian citizen as a stipulation before she could be issued travel papers. Such a test would take months, at the least.
Amira’s uncle was determined to travel to Syria himself this past summer in an effort to bring his niece home to Canada. Kurdish Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Abdulkarim Omar told him not to, however, advising that he wait until Amira’s location was confirmed exactly. Her uncle wishes to remain anonymous.
Amira’s location was, in fact, confirmed over the weekend by Kurdish authorities.
“We informed the Canadian authorities about her whereabouts,” Omar said. “The Canadian government is aware of Amira’s situation right now.”
So far, Canada has not sent a formal request for the child’s release. Her uncle hoping that will change in light of this new information. “Now that she’s found, we’d hoped immediate action would take place and that she could be home as soon as possible,” Amira’s uncle said.
A Canadian man who was detained by Turkish police in July, is believed to have been carrying a phone containing ISIS propaganda at the time of his arrest, according to the CBC. Ikar Mao was arrested close to the Syrian border in the summer of 2019. He was travelling with his wife at the time.
The phone had been sent ISIS related videos using the encrypted messaging app, Telegram. The man claimed that the videos were downloaded without his knowledge or intent.
In October, the couple were able to make their way back to Canada after being acquitted.
The man denied joining ISIS and claimed that the couple was not planning on going to Syria.
The FBI was not convinced by the couples claims. According to the CBC, terrorism expert Evan Kohlmann said, “It’s a huge red flag.”
“Up until the last few days Telegram was the chief means that ISIS and its supporters were using to communicate with the mother organization — the mother ship as well as with each other.”
The man is scheduled to attend court on Friday near Toronto. He is currently abiding by the courts bail conditions which include very limited access to internet, a curfew, as well as an ankle bracelet.
The videos sent to Mao’s phone contained ISIS propaganda as well as armed soldiers. We are not yet sure if the original evidence has been seen by Canadian authorities.
Kamran Bokhari who is with the Center for Global Policy in Washington was quoted saying, “If you have Telegram and then you have footage inside your Telegram account that shows jihadist videos or jihadist pictures or messages or memes, then of course that’s a very telltale sign.”
Telegram is an app that ISIS often uses.
Further evidence shows that the couple said they intended to join ISIS in a letter that was intended for their family.
Kholmann also said, “It could very well be a part of propaganda efforts inside of Syria. ISIS produces a tremendous amount of propaganda. They produce a lot of videos. They produce a lot of audio, and a lot of this stuff is harvested directly from the battlefield,” he went on to say, “In order to carry this material backwards and forwards — in order to transfer it between cameramen and the media editors and whatnot — it takes media devices to carry it.”
Kohlmann believes that the death of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has not slowed the ISIS organization and said, “ISIS is not dead, and these cases are proving that the appeal that ISIS has to Westerners is still there, and they are still traveling to Syria and Iraq to the battlefield where ISIS still has a physical presence,” he went on to say, “This organization is no longer just an organization. It’s a hybrid. It’s an organization and it’s a movement. These folks, they don’t need Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi anymore.”
Bokhari is still open to the possibility that the whole situation is a misunderstanding. He noted, “It’s possible that they did not have any intention of engaging in violence and they just wanted to be part of a context or an environment which they call ‘under Islamic rule,” and added, “But again, it’s a hard case to make because everybody knows — and these individuals who decided to make this journey also knew — that there was a lot of violence associated with this regime, the jihadist regime that ISIS had established. So it’s a hard case for the defence to make.”
The family and the lawyers of the couple have declined to comment on the situation.
President Trump honoured military working dog Conan, the Delta Force dog that chased down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.
Conan, who was named after comedian Conan O’Brien for her shaggy hair-do, chased al-Baghdadi down a tunnel before he detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and his three young children.
Though initial reports weren’t clear as to whether Conan was a good boy or a good girl, it is now confirmed that Conan is indeed a female, making her the goodest girl in the world.
“Good morning, so this is Conan. Right now probably the world’s most famous dog. I have to use the word probably,” said Trump while introducing the K9 comrade.
“The dog is incredible, actually incredible,” Trump said about Conan, a Belgian Malinois. “We spent some good time with it. And, so brilliant. So smart.”
“They did a fantastic job … Conan did a fantastic job. And we’re very honored to have Conan here.”
During the media event, Trump said that Conan was “very badly hurt” in the raid, with a possibility that the girl would never recover. “Conan is a tough cookie,” said Trump, noting that she was now fully recovered and would still be serving. “Nobody is going to mess with Conan.”
Trump had previously caused online controversy from the likes of humourless fact checkers at the New York Times. The photo, a clearly doctored image created by the photoshop team at the Daily Wire, became a thorn in the side of the Times, as they ran a headline reading “Trump Tweets Faked Photo Of Hero Dog Getting a Medal”.
“The dog appeared to have been edited over a 2017 Medal of Honor recipient,” stated the Times’ article.
Though many found the photo “disrespectful” because it covers the face of medal of honour recipient James McCloughan. When the Times asked McCloughan if he was offended by the photo, he “interpreted it as Mr. Trump recognizing the dog’s heroism. He certainly was not offended and laughed when he compared the two images.”
A member of the press asked First Lady Melania Trump if she would adopt Conan for Barron, the couple’s youngest son. Trump and Melania laughed, but Melania said no.
A Trump reelection ad aired during the World Series game 7 on Wednesday night, promoting U.S. President Trump’s record in office the past three years.
“President Trump is changing Washington. Creating 6 million new jobs. 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. Cutting illegal immigration in half. Obliterating ISIS. They’re caliphate destroyed. They’re terrorist leader dead,” the narrator of the ad starts, referencing the latest raid on ISIS that killed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Despite it being a little over a year before the U.S. 2020 general election, the election campaigning is in full force.
The premium ad buy for major sporting event means millions of Americans saw the ad on TV and social media. The Washington Post noted this is a more aggressive early reelection campaign blitz than previous incumbent administration’s have waged.
The ad then goes on to bash the Democrats for focusing on impeachment.
“But the Democrats would rather focus on impeachment and phoney investigations, ignoring the real investigations. But that’s not stopping Donald Trump. He’s no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.”