The viral video of a couple being hugged before they were murdered by stoning is not only tragic, it tells you a lot about the killers.
First there were embraces and then the barbaric execution by stoning. Photographs of hugs that jihadists gave a condemned gay couple before killing them in north Syria have gone viral, prompting outrage in the West. For Islamic State sympathizers and members tweeting their responses, the hugs of death are meant as an expression of compassion, a gesture of forgiveness—before the gruesome reality of their murder.

The set of four still photographs shows two blindfolded men standing side-by-side in a desert clearing on the outskirts of an unnamed town while a group of Islamic State partisans and supporters, some leaning on motorbikes, gather to watch the killing. One victim with curly hair, a beard and wearing a gray leather jacket seems to accept his fate as a killer rests his hand on his shoulder.

via Twitter

A second photograph in the sequence shows the executioners hugging the men. In the last image tweeted by known Islamic State supporters, the battered, prostrate bodies of the victims are seen being showered with rocks thrown by four killers.

The photographs are the latest propaganda images purportedly showing gay men being murdered by the jihadists, who have also stoned women for adultery, beheaded suspected dissenters and filmed on two occasions young boys shooting men the Islamic State has claimed were spies.

In recent weeks the jihadists have posted videos of suspected gay men being hurled to their deaths from rooftops in the de facto capital of the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, the Syrian city of Raqqa. Others have been publicly beheaded.

These images from the stoning in what is said to be the northern Syrian province of Homs are the first showing an embrace being offered to the victims. Their calm demeanor before their medieval-style deaths is most likely due to the cocktail of drugs that is believed to be given by the jihadists to those earmarked for death.

via Twiitter

Public executions in ISIS-controlled territory—and the posting of the atrocities on the Web—serve to terrorize locals into strict obedience with the group’s atavistic interpretation of sharia law and to frighten rivals. It also boosts the group’s notoriety, in a bizarre fashion helping it to recruit people attracted to its carefully cultivated aura of righteous power—hence the social media strategy to present the killings to the World.

In the Arab world— as in the West—a hug is meant to be a friendly, affectionate gesture. Anthropologists have argued that aside from showing love and friendship and offering consolation within families and clan groups, hugging on the battlefield and between warriors may have first started to demonstrate a lack of evil intent during a meeting. The hands would be carrying no visible weapon.

Abu Mohammed Hussam, an activist with the Syrian opposition group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, argues that the hugging and embracing is meant to show that by murdering them, the jihadists are helping the victims to expiate guilt for their supposed crimes. “They hug the men to show the people who are watching that ISIS is not at fault.”

The battered, prostrate bodies of the victims are seen being showered with rocks thrown by four killers.

Homosexuality is anathema to the group and in recent weeks the jihadists have been seeking to entrap gays in sting operations. Undercover jihadists have posed as gays themselves to catch homosexuals. Some gays have been ransomed.

The staging and the method of execution are carefully choreographed by the Islamic State—crafted to send particular gruesome messages. But they are dictated also by the jihadists’ interpretation of religious rulings by favored scholars. Recently, a social media row erupted between followers of ISIS and the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusra when the latter group shot a woman accused of adultery. Islamic State followers accused Jabhat al Nusra of cruelty, or at least of doctrinal error, arguing that stoning was the appropriate punishment for the alleged crime.

via Twiitter

Pictures of the murder of the gay couple in Homs aren’t the only images of brutality recently released by the terror group or their supporters. Photographs were posted today of a media activist being forced to his knees and then shot in rural Aleppo. The photographs were released by the group’s Halab Media Centre.

The images show the activist, whose arms are tied behind his back with plastic handcuffs, being dragged to a public square. He is wearing an orange jumpsuit.

His execution appears to have occurred earlier this week.

Moments before his killing, he is seen being surrounded by masked men wielding automatic weapons—although it is not clear if they are the ones who shot him, as his moment of death is not recorded.

Media and political activists are high on the ISIS list of opponents to be hunted down and killed. At least two Syrian citizen journalists are currently being held in Raqqa.

But it should be noted, not least as macabre irony, that the pictures of barbaric slaughter aren’t the only images publicized by ISIS today. The jihadists also posted photographs meant to show what a happy, bucolic place the self-styled caliphate has become with images of smiling farmers near Aleppo harvesting cabbages.



Gurmail Dosanjh is one of four men sentenced for his part in a fraud Credit: Kent Police

Daniel Andrew Barrs is one of four men sentenced for his part in a fraud Credit: Kent Police

Narinder Chada is one of four men sentenced for his part in a fraud Credit: Kent Police


Four men from Gravesend and Surrey have been sentenced to a total of 25 years in jail for their roles in a fraud worth more than £23 million.

Narinder Chada and Gurmail Dosanjh, both from the Gravesend area, set up companies to buy carbon credits. They would sell them at competitive prices on the open market. But by keeping the VAT they received, rather than passing it on to the Government, they deprived the UK public purse of £11.7 million.

Two other defendants, father and son duo Daniel Andrew Barrs and Daniel Barrs facilitated money laundering for this fraud and a previous case dealt with by HMRC in 2012. The total amount laundered was in excess of £23 million.

The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate commenced an investigation in May 2011 after information was passed to the force by HMRC. The first arrests were made in April 2012 and the case came to trial in 2015.

The two month-long trial at Southwark Crown Court concluded on 26 March, and on 21 April the four men were back at court to be sentenced.

Chada, 62, from The Russetts in Meopham and Dosanjh, 46, from Singlewell Road in Gravesend had both been found guilty of conspiracy to cheat the public purse of £11.7 million. The judge sentenced them to seven years and eight years respectively.

Barrs, 65, from New Place Gardens in Lingfield was given three seven year sentences for money for facilitating money laundering. The jail terms will run concurrently.

Barrs’ 29 year-old son, from Suffolk Close in Horley, was given three sentences of three years each for facilitating money laundering. His jail terms will also run concurrently.


“The group traded in carbon credits, which allow companies to legitimately produce more carbon dioxide than they would otherwise be permitted to. They are an ideal commodity for this type of fraud because they do not exist in a physical sense. The offenders used companies to buy credits from overseas and sell them in the UK. They collected the proceeds of their sales and then dishonestly and deliberately abused the VAT system. When the offences took place in 2009, the rate of VAT was 15 per cent. The more carbon credits they sold, the more VAT they could charge and keep. Invoices and paperwork were required to convince HMRC that the trade was genuine, but otherwise the fraud was relatively straightforward. In all, the offenders charged their customers £11.7 million in VAT and moved the money between several companies to try and cover their tracks. We followed the trail of laundered cash from the UK to Europe, the Middle East and as far as New Zealand and Australia. Barrs and Barrs facilitated the money laundering by setting up three offshore corporate structures and provided money laundering platforms within overseas bank accounts. This was a very organised operation but we were determined to piece together enough evidence to bring those responsible to justice. This was not a victim-less crime. By depriving the Government of millions of pounds of VAT, the offenders were in effect stealing from all UK taxpayers. The money should have been spent on schools, hospitals and other services. Once sentencing has been passed, the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate will be using Proceeds of Crime Act legislation to attempt to recoup as much of the money for the taxpayer as possible. I hope this case serves as a warning to anyone trying to commit tax fraud that the authorities, whether Kent Police or HMRC, will catch up with you.”






More Chinese fugitives may be in hiding in New Zealand. Interpol’s National Central Bureau of China has recently released a list of 100 Chinese suspects and at least 20 of them may be in the country.

China’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said majority of the public officials and executives wanted for alleged corruption had left the country to escape prosecution. The Chinese commission has released photos and details of each person on the wanted list as well as the possible countries they are believed to be in hiding.

The commission said between 11 and 20 are in New Zealand. Radio NZ reports that New Zealand Police were able to confirm that some of the people on the list are living in the country. The Chinese anti-corruption watchdog has flagged the “economic fugitives and sought the assistance of law enforcement of countries found on its list to bring them to justice.

Chinese authorities believe 40 of the suspects are living in the United States and 26 in Canada. New Zealand is the third most favoured destination of Chinese fugitives, with up to 20 suspects out of 100, followed by Australia, Singapore and Thailand, reports the South China Morning Post. The fugitives came from China’s wealthy eastern seaboard and most are suspected of taking bribes, money laundering and embezzling public funds.

Jean Francois Harvey, a Hong Kong-based immigration law expert, believes the countries are “natural destinations” for the Chinese fugitives since many of them may have friends or relatives who are residents. He wondered how the suspects were able to enter those countries, which he believes have rigorous processes for investor visas.

A spokesperson for New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said he has not been in contact with Chinese authorities or Interpol. New Zealand law enforcement revealed it was aware of the list and knew some of the suspects are residing in the country. A spokesperson for Justice Minister Amy Adams said New Zealand has no formal extradition treaty with China but the official would consider a request on a case-to-case basis.



Issa Haddad


A Montgomery County man had more than 800 pounds of marijuana shipped to him and helped launder more than $2.5 million in drug proceeds, according to his plea in federal court on Thursday.

Issa Haddad, 24, of Rockville pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute the drugs and commit money laundering, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland.

The statement said Haddad received shipments of marijuana from his co-conspirators in California at numerous Montgomery County addresses and other locations from 2010 to 2014.

He then prepared the drugs to be distributed in Maryland. In all, he processed 880 to 1,550 pounds of marijuana, prosecutors said.

He also deposited proceeds from the marijuana sales into numerous bank accounts on behalf of the conspiracy. Prosecutors said he laundered $2.5 million to $7 million, all in deposits of less than $10,000 to avoid detection.

He has agreed to forfeit at least $2.5 million in drug proceeds, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced June 25.

Six other defendants have already pleaded guilty to participating in the scheme. The defendants are in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, in addition to two defendants in Silver Spring, the prosecutors’ statement said.



Mendy Read-Forbes

An area law school graduate was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in federal prison for conspiring to launder drug money.

Mendy Read-Forbes of Platte City was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy. She admitted that she began meeting with a “drug dealer” in March 2012. The drug dealer, actually an undercover Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent, said he needed assistance hiding his marijuana profits.

Read-Forbes, who operated the nonprofit Forbes & Newhard Credit Solutions Inc., said she could launder the money through her business. She told him a number of her customers paid with cash, so laundering his money wouldn’t look suspicious. To further conceal the money, she named him to her company’s board of directors and listed him as an employee. She also created a fictitious company called Maximus Lawn Care LLC as part of the scheme.

Read-Forbes laundered more than $200,000 during the investigation. In 2013,Kansas City lawyer Ronald Partee, a once-prominent Kansas City criminal defense lawyer, was sentenced to five years in prison. The remaining co-defendant, Laura Shoop, 47, is awaiting sentencing.