Families of Daesh ‘Beatles cell’ welcome their capture

File photo showing 2 members of the Daesh 'beatles cell' captured in Syria
Updated 09 February 2018
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Families of Daesh ‘Beatles cell’ welcome their capture

LONDON: The mother of a man murdered by the British-born Daesh extremists and a French hostage who survived captivity with their cell said the two fighters captured in Syria should spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Diane Foley, whose son James was kidnapped and eventually executed, welcomed the capture of Alexander Kotey and El-Shafee ElSheikh, two of the so-called “Beatles” cell, captured by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in Syria, and said she wanted them to be put on trial and jailed for life.
“Their crimes are beyond imagination. They really have not done anything good in the world so I think they need to spend the rest of their life being held,” she said.
French journalist Nicolas Henin was held with other hostages, including fellow journalist James Foley, in an underground cell. One of his captors was Mohammed Emwazi, the Kuwaiti-born Briton nicknamed Jihadi John, who was notorious for his brutality.
Henin spent ten months in captivity — six of them in a cell underground in Syria and chained for long periods to three other French hostages.
He said there were also French extremists among their captors and firmly believes that all captured Daesh insurgents should be tried in their home country, including the two “Beatles.” Handing them over to the Americans to be sent to Guantanamo Bay would only breed more violence and turn them into martyrs, he added.
“The worst thing we can do with the terrorist is to deprive him of his rights, because then you make a terrorist become a victim, and if you victimize someone then you just fuel his narrative and you just confirm his narrative. So everybody has a right for a fair trial and for justice,” Henin said.
He and three compatriots were released in April 2014 after lengthy negotiations with the French government, although Francois Hollande, who was president of France at the time, insisted no ransom had been paid.
Senior SDF official Redur Xelil told Reuters on Friday that Kotey had been aiming to reach Turkey when he was captured by in a rural area of Raqqa province on Jan. 24.
“He was intending to escape toward Turkey with cooperation and coordination with friends of his on the Turkish side,” Xelil said. “He is now under investigation with us,” he said.
A senior security official in Turkey, however, said it was “nonsense” that Daesh militant would try to reach Turkey.
The group of four British Daesh militants were nicknamed the Beatles because of their British accents.
They are known to have captured at least 23 foreign hostages, nearly all of whom were ransomed or killed. The gang were known to torture their prisoners with tasers, water boarding and mock executions.
Some of their victims, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, were executed on camera.
Emwazi was killed in an airstrike in 2015 in Syria. Another member of the British cell, Aine Davis, is serving seven-and-a-half years in a Turkish prison after being convicted of terrorism charges.
The British defense secretary Gavin Williamson welcomed news that the two members of the British cell who remained at large had been captured.
“These are people who have done absolutely vile & despicable crimes and brought absolutely so much misery. It is good that they have been hunted down and caught,” he said.
Defense minister Tobias Ellwood, whose brother Jonathan was killed in a terrorist attack in Bali in 2002, said that while the rules of engagement on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria authorized the killing of terrorists, the two Britons should “answer and be judged to a legitimate authority” and called for a special court to be set up for the trials of Daesh militants.
“The horror of 9/11 meant we briefly lost sight of the standards and rule of law that took centuries to develop and fundamentally distinguish us from the terrorist. Guantanamo Bay created a new combatant status that bypassed the Geneva Convention, used torture and failed to address a wider global jihadist insurgency that continues today,” he said.
“Given the scale of foreign fighters attracted to Daesh, we should consider an agreed international process involving [the International Criminal Court at] the Hague which ensures terrorists from any origin are transparently and fairly held to account for their actions.”


Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

Updated 17 August 2018
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Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

  • The US normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War
  • US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea

WASHINGTON: A military parade ordered by US President Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defense official said Thursday, following reports the cost had soared to over $90 million.
The announcement was seen as a setback for the president, who had ordered the show of air power after being impressed by France’s Bastille Day parade last year.
The idea had been popular among many Americans but drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and was akin to events organized by authoritarian regimes.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement.
“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” he added.
When the White House in February announced the commander-in-chief’s desire to hold the parade in Washington, the budget director said it would cost between $10 million and $30 million.
But a US official told AFP earlier Thursday the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.
The request for the event came after Trump’s visit to France in July 2017, where he was hosted with great fanfare by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sitting on the Champs-Elysees during the Bastille Day parade, the American president had marveled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead.
He had initially hinted at plans to transform America’s Independence Day celebrations — usually associated with fireworks and barbecues — on July 4 into a vast military parade.
“To a large extent, because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said in September 2017.

Even before becoming president, aides reported that Trump had considered a military parade to mark his inauguration — although that idea was eventually scrapped.
Trump has also embraced military backdrop for several speeches and presidential visits. However, he received deferments from carrying out military service of his own during the Vietnam War.
US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump said in June after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
It later emerged that the drills cost about $14 million, a fraction of the price of a military parade.
Others suggested the money could be better spent improving the lives of destitute veterans.
“Until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” said the American Legion’s national commander Denise Rohan.
The United States normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.