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Friday, November 1, 2013

Mehsud Droned Ahead of Peace Talks

According to U.S. and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) officials, TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by U.S. drones today in Northern Waziristan. According to U.S. security officials, the drones fired four missiles at a compound in Danda Darpa Khel, a village about 5 km (3 miles) from the regional capital of Miranshah, where Mehsud had been attending a gathering of 25 Taliban leaders to discuss the Pakistani government’s offer of talks. A senior TTP official told Reuters, “We confirm with great sorrow that our esteemed leader was martyred in a drone attack.

A number of Pakistani politicians expressed dissatisfaction with the execution of Mehsud, suggesting the U.S. was attempting to “sabotage” efforts at peace. The spokesperson for Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, Jan Achakzai, described the attack as “a strategic loss for the country.” While Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan suggested, “The drone strike in North Waziristan is a conspiracy to sabotage the peace talks with the Taliban.”

Sinaloa ‘Super Tunnel’ Shuttered

Three people are in custody after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators seized more than 8 tons of marijuana and 325 pounds of cocaine linked to a “sophisticated” underground passageway between San Diego and Tijuana. According to authorities, the drug tunnel stretched a third of a mile, the length of roughly six football fields, and had lighting, ventilation and an electric rail system. This tunnel marks the fifth “super tunnel” shutdown since 2010, said San Diego-based U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, adding “These are structurally sound and structurally engineered tunnels,” Duffy said. “They’re built by architects and engineers … it’s a very labor-intensive, sophisticated, high-tech operation.”

Resting 35 feet underground, 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, the tunnel is believed to have been built by the Sinaloa narco-cartel. Despite the somewhat large seizure of drugs, including the novel cocaine, Derek Benner, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations team in San Diego said the tunnel was closed “before it became operational and before it could be exploited.”

KDF Claims It Destroyed Al-Shabaab Training Camp

An alleged al-Shabaab training camp in Diinsoor, Somalia was unilaterally bombed by Kenyan warplanes today, according to Kenyan Defense Force spokesperson Cyrus Oguna. Kenyan officials suggested that the camp, which housed roughly 300 people in southern Somalia, was likely used to train the attackers who successfully raided Nairobi’s Westgate mall in September. Oguna also said, “This military operation is not an isolated one, but we will continue targeting Al-Shabaab camps in the near future.”

Al-Shabaab’s press office told Rueters the KDF bombing was a fabrication, “No military camp of ours in Somalia was air struck or attacked,” Shabaab’s senior media officer, adding that its fighters had attacked Badhaadhe town in the south.

Speedboat Kidnapping Ring Busted

Italian police believe they have dismantled an international kidnapping ring focused on the irregular rendition of children involved in custody battles. Police allege Luigi Cannistraro, Antonio Barazza, Sebastiano Calabrese, and a former Ukrainian sailing champion, Larysa Moskalenko, charged tens of thousands of dollars for the abductions from North Africa to Europe, using high-speed boats and “comando-style tactics” which “put the child’s life at risk”. According to Il sito de Palermo, Police were first alerted to a gang when a child was kidnapped from Tunisia in October 2012 and brought to Norway. A number of other such operations were planned all over the Mediterranean.

LAX ‘Anti-TSA’ Shooting

A man identified as Paul Ciancia opened fire with an assault rifle at Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 3 this morning, intentionally targeting Transportation Security Officers. At least one TSA agent has died. Authorities believe that Ciancia arrived at a TSA screening area in Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m., pulled a rifle out of his bag and started shooting. He made his way past the security checkpoint into the terminal and continued shooting. He was eventually shot and apprehended near a Burger King in the airport. Ciancia was taken to a hospital where he was listed as in critical condition.

Weekend Read: Should This Inmate Get a State-Financed Sex Change Operation?

Robert Kosilek murdered his wife in 1990. In the 20 years spent at medium-security men’s correctional institution MCI Norfolk, Kosilek has lived as a woman. Several specialists have recommended she undergo sexual-reassignment surgery (SRS). Nathaniel Penn delves into the matter in The New Republic.

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