Almost 100 Syrian artifacts looted by the Islamic State have been smuggled into Britain and sold to raise money for the extremist group’s activities, art crime experts and archaeologists have warned, according to British news organizations.The items, allegedly being sold in London, include gold and silver Byzantine coins as well as Roman pottery and glass worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

The London paper compared the phenomenon with Africa’s “blood diamond” industry, in which money raised by the sale of African diamonds financed wars and conflicts across the continent.

“I get approached all the time about looted artifacts, whether it’s directly from someone who’s trying to sell it or images that were sent to somebody who has offered to buy it,” Christopher Marinello, director of Art Recovery International, told the Times. His group specializes in the identification and recovery of stolen and disputed art and antiquities.

Marinello said one item alone could be worth tens of thousands of dollars, but the more valuable and unique the item, the more scrutiny there will be, and so collectors tended to shy away from more valuable items. He said the trade then tended to be in “middle-value objects that don’t stand out.”

The newspaper also quoted Michael Danti, an archaeologist with the Syrian Heritage Initiative, as saying that the Islamic State was known to be involved.

“We see heavy looting in ISIS-controlled areas,” Danti was quoted as saying, using another acronym for the militant group. “Also, common sense: ISIS controls smuggling.”

The smuggling is thought to take place via Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, the Times reported, routes also known for smuggling people, guns and drugs.

BBC’s Radio 4 also took David Gill, professor of archaeological heritage at University Campus Suffolk, to unnamed London galleries to find out whether he could spot any looted artifacts.

“We went into one gallery and were chatting about a piece and the person quite openly said, ‘We just got this out of Syria,’ and we sort of looked at each other and said that’s really quite interesting, and he said, ‘Oh, well, this piece is more interesting. It has just come from Iraq,’ ” the archaeologist told Radio 4. “So it’s quite open in that sense.”

Robert Jenrick, a member of Parliament and former director of the auction house Christie’s, called the trade “the greatest threat to culture since the end of the Second World War and also, more pressingly, a major source of revenue to ISIS and the Assad regime,” the Times reported. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been battling a rebellion since 2011.

Jenrick said, however, that such looted artifacts had not appeared on the open market yet.

A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police told the newspaper that police had “four live investigations, all of which require liaison with foreign jurisdictions,” into the matter. She said no arrests had been made, however.



refer to caption
France hunts men behind 1982 Jewish diner attack

Location Chez Jo Goldenberg restaurant, Paris, France
Date 9 August 1982
Attack type
Bombing and shooting
Deaths 6
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Abu Nidal Organization

Walid Abdulrahman Abou Zayed


The three suspects who live in Jordan, Norway and the West Bank were named as part of the long-running investigation into the attack on the Chez Jo Goldenberg restaurant that left six people dead and 22 injured.

The attack began around midday on August 9, 1982 when a grenade was thrown into the busy restaurant in the Marais district, a popular and largely Jewish neighbourhood in the centre of Paris.

Two men then entered the restaurant, which had around 50 customers inside, and opened fire with machine guns.

Overall, between three and five men are thought to have taken part in the attack, which was blamed on the Abu Nidal Organisation, a Palestinian militant group.

They opened fire on passers-by as they escaped down the street, using “WZ-63″ Polish-made machine guns.

They have been named as Mahmoud Khader Abed Adra alias “Hicham Harb”, 59, who lives in Ramallah in the West Bank, and Walid Abdulrahman Abu Zayed, alias “Souhail Othman”, 56, in Norway.

The third man — who is alleged to have overseen the attack — has been named as Zuhair Mohamad Hassan Khalid al-Abassi, alias “Amjad Atta”, 62, who now lives in Jordan.

He is thought to have been the number three in the group’s “special operations committee”.

Their warrants were issued on February 20, the judicial source said, by counter-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic who is now overseeing the investigation.

The Abu Nidal Organisation, officially known as the Fatah-Revolutionary Council, was considered one of the most ruthless of the Palestinian militant groups.
Nidal died in mysterious circumstances in his Baghdad apartment in 2002 after being interrogated by Iraqi intelligence services.
The warrants for the three men were issued on February 20 by counter-terrorism judge Marc Trevidic who is now overseeing the investigation.
“This sends an extremely strong message to all terrorists, to all these murderers, that even 30 years later, we will do everything to arrest them,” said Alain Jakubowicz, head of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, a civil party in the case.
But actually bringing the men to trial “will sadly be very difficult,” said Alain Marsaud, a magistrate in Paris at the time who is now an opposition politician.
“It would be astonishing if those identified are recovered, 33 years after the fact,” he said.
The investigation has made little progress over the years. One of the few pieces of evidence was one of the guns, found in the Bois de Boulogne park on the western edge of Paris shortly after the attack.
At the time, France often suffered the spillover from the conflict in the Middle East, with numerous clashes involving Arabs and Jews on its soil.
Two years prior to the Goldenberg attack, a bomb exploded outside a Paris synagogue, killing four and wounding around 20.
In 1978, Palestinian militants opened fire on passengers at Orly airport south of the capital, targeting passengers for a flight to Tel Aviv.
Three gunmen died along with two police officers and three passengers.



zetas 1 zetas 2 zetas 3


MEXICO CITY — Mexican security forces on Wednesday arrested the leader of the bloody Zetas drug cartel, the second high-profile capture of a kingpin in the past week and a boost to President Enrique Pena Nieto’s efforts to battle organized crime.

Omar Trevino, brother of captured ex-Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino, was caught by Mexican soldiers and the federal police in the northern city of Monterrey at around 4 a.m. local time on Wednesday, a senior government official said.

His arrest came just days after the capture of Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar drug gang, who was the most wanted capo still at large in Mexico.

The Zetas have been blamed for many of the bloodiest atrocities carried out by Mexican gangs in a wave of violence that has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 2007.

The gang has been weakened since the killing of former boss Heriberto Lazcano in 2012 and the subsequent capture of Miguel Angel Trevino in 2013.

“Omar Trevino was the heir to all the Zetas who were going down,” said Raul Benitez, a security expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

The United States, which alleges that Omar Trevino is responsible for several abductions and murders as well as cocaine smuggling, had offered up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.

His capture bolsters Pena Nieto, who is currently visiting Britain.

Among the most notorious incidents pinned on the Zetas are the massacres of dozens of migrant workers, an arson attack on a Monterrey casino in 2011 that killed 52 and the dumping of 49 decapitated bodies near the same city in 2012.

Once the flashpoint for the worst of the violence, security in northern Mexico has improved considerably, except for the lawless northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, said Benitez, the analyst.

It is in Tamaulipas and in western Mexico, where a power vacuum was created by the break-up of the Knights Templar gang, that the government must focus its efforts now, he added.

Founded by army deserters in the late 1990s, the Zetas initially acted as enforcers for the Gulf Cartel, based along the border with Texas and one of the oldest organized crime groups in Mexico. But the group struck out on its own in early 2010, setting off the most violent phase in Mexico’s drug war.




Published on Mar 4, 2015

Tech security company AVG is demo-ing a pair of concept glasses that deter facial recognition software from identifying the wearer through infrared technology and retro-reflective materials.

A new pair of glasses could be what is needed to help people achieve some privacy in the digital world.

Tech company AVG, known for its anti-virus software, is demo-ing its concept invisibility glasses at the gadget tradeshow Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

The spectacles protect wearers from having their faces identified by facial recognition technology such as the kind found on Facebook.

They have infrared LED lights embedded around the eyes and nose that are not visible to other people but, when photographed, give off a radiant light that is thought to interfere with recognition software.

The eyewear is also made of retro-reflective materials which reflect light back to where it came from; in the case of a flash photograph, that would be the camera sensor, resulting in an overexposed photo.

AVG does not have plans to manufacture the glasses for sale anytime in the near future.

Instead, the company’s intention is to highlight the use of technology as means to help people maintain their privacy in an increasingly digital and exposed world.





MOHAMMED EMZAWI (aka: Jihadi John)


“MPs said they were horrified that the child of a family given refugee status, citizenship and benefits had returned the favour by orchestrating the murder of two of its citizens.” Get used to it, MPs, because you’re going to be seeing a great deal more of it. Not only is Britain galloping toward its own ruin, but its taxpayers are paying for the privilege.

“Jihadi John family’s 20 years on benefits: How it’s cost taxpayers up to £400k to house fanatic and his relatives in upmarket areas,” by James Slack and Paul Bentley and Sam Marsden for the Daily Mail, March 3, 2015 (thanks to Mick):

Jihadi John and his asylum-seeking family have milked the British benefits system for 20 years, the Mail can reveal today.

Housing the Islamic State executioner and his relatives in affluent parts of London has cost taxpayers up to £400,000.

One landlord said Mohammed Emwazi’s family were ‘parasites’ and ‘tenants from hell’. Incredibly, they are still believed to be pocketing £40,000 a year in handouts despite there being no sign of them in Britain.

Emwazi’s father Jasem, who has six children, is back in his native Kuwait – the country he claimed he fled fearing for his life.

Westminster City Council is still paying the rent on the family’s £600,000 flat even though the rules say housing benefit should normally be stopped after 13 weeks.

MPs said they were horrified that the child of a family given refugee status, citizenship and benefits had returned the favour by orchestrating the murder of two of its citizens….