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Mogadishu bomber was a former Somalia army soldier

The bomber responsible for killing more than 300 people in Mogadishu on Saturday was a former Somali soldier whose home town was raided by the United States, the Guardian revealed in a special investigative report yesterday. Investigators believe the attack last Saturday may have been motivated by revenge over a US and Somali counter-terrorism raid that killed scores of civilians in August. Ten civilians were killed in the raid, including three children aged between six and ten. The civilians attempted to flee the raid but were shot and killed. US-led forces conducted the raid in the town of Bariire, lower Shebelle region, in search of Al-Shabaab fighters linked to Al-Qaeda. The Al-Shabaab fighters were not found in the village, as […]

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Head of MI5: UK Facing Most Severe Terrorist Threat Ever

In the UK, it’s extremely rare that interviews with members of the British intelligence, let alone the head of MI5, are broadcast on primetime news programs, yet this is what happened, when Andrew Parker, MI5’s director general, warned that Britain was facing the most severe terrorist threat ever and further attacks are inevitable. Parker explained “That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before…It’s at the highest tempo I have seen in my 34-year career. Today there is more terrorist activity, coming at us more quickly, and it can be harder to detect.”

While Islamic State has been suffering heavy defeats in Iraq and Syria, MI5 estimates that 850 Britons who had travelled to its territory could return Britain. About 100 have died in fighting.

There’s no question that Parker and his spying agency are under severe pressure, having failed to prevent four Islamist terror attacks which led to 36 deaths – Westminster Bridge, Manchester, London Bridge and Parsons Green tube station. More so, when Parker’s staff is increasing 25% to 5,000. UK politicians are pushing for more oversight as The Guardian reports “This month the government will receive reports on whether chances to thwart the atrocities were missed and what lessons could be learned. Ministers and the National Security Council wanted independent oversight of the review, in essence not allowing MI5 or counter-terrorism police to assess themselves. Oversight is being provided by the barrister David Anderson QC, a former government appointment as independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.”

From a BBC report:

“Mr Parker was asked what was the point of MI5 surveillance when someone who had made ‘no secret of his affiliations with jihadist extremism’ had then been allowed to go on to launch a deadly attack. He said the risk from each individual was assessed on a ‘daily and weekly basis’ and then prioritised ‘accordingly’.

 

‘One of the main challenges we’ve got is that we only ever have fragments of information, and we have to try to assemble a picture of what might happen, based on those fragments.’

 

He said the likelihood was that when an attacked happened, it would be carried out by someone ‘that we know or have known’ – otherwise it would mean they had been looking in completely the wrong place”.

Defending his agency, Parker stated that 20 terror plots had been prevented during the last four years and seven in the last seven months. However, he lamented “The threat is more diverse than I’ve ever known. Plots developed here in the UK, but plots directed from overseas as well. Plots online. Complex scheming and also crude stabbings; lengthy planning but also spontaneous attacks. Extremists of all ages, gender and backgrounds, united only by the toxic ideology of violent victory that drives them.”

Journalists pressed Parker on the role of technology firms and social media platforms. He remained relatively diplomatic, but said they were inadvertently helping terrorists and emphasized their “ethical responsibility” to do more in helping the government in the “dark edges” of the internet.

As an aside, there was a different story about MI5 in the Daily Mail last weekend. Under the headline “Communists monitored by MI5 over fears they could destroy democracy are now senior advisors to (Labour leader) Corbyn, claims the spy agency’s former chief.” Dame Stella Rimington, who headed the agency from 1992-96 said “I see in Momentum (left-wing political organisation) some of the people who we were looking at in the Trotskyist organisations of the 1980s. They are now grown up and advising our would-be prime minister Mr Corbyn as to how to prepare himself for power.”

Great…although hardly a surprise.

Rimington and MI5 refused to name names. According to the Mail, “Labour MPs have suggested possible candidates included Mr Corby’s spin doctor, Seamus Milne, Momentum founder Jon Lansman and the Unite’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray, who worked for Labour’s election campaign.” Closer to finance, we shouldn’t forget that UK’s Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, said he was a Marxist four years ago “Look I’m straight, I’m honest with people, I’m a Marxist” and pledged to “overthrow capitalism.”

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$800m lost annually due to occupation of Jordan Valley

Some $800 million is lost annually as a result of the Israeli occupation’s control of the Jordan Valley which is the agricultural heartland of the Palestinians, the PLO’s Abdullah Al-Hourani Centre for Research and Documentation reported yesterday. In its fact sheet on the Jordan Valley, the Centre stated: “Settlement activity in this area is very important to the occupation state.” It also noted that area’s significance lies in “the area’s fertile agricultural lands, large cow farms, and several factories relying on agricultural and animal products for their production, especially medicinal herbs.” The centre estimated that settler profits as a result of the occupation of the area amount to approximately $650 million a year. The Jordan Valley is located in the […]

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Analysis of Gold for October 18, 2017

Recently, Gold has been trading downwards. The price tested the level of $1,278.90. According to the 15M time – frame, I found that sellers are in control and that pivot support 1 at the price of $1,278.95 is on the test. If the price breaks the S1, wa…

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Mnuchin: “Extraordinary” If Tax Reform Gets Done This Year; “No Question” Market Drops If Bill Fails

Barely a day after Gary Cohn told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Bankers Association that Congress has a “unique opportunity” to pass tax reform by the end of the year, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – who shares responsibility for the administration’s tax agenda alongside Cohn – acknowledged the truth about Trump’s No. 1 legislative priority: namely, that it would be “extraordinary” if the Republicans could pass tax reform by year’s end.

At a Tuesday press conference, Mnuchin borrowed a line from his boss and reminded his audience that it took a couple of years for Ronald Reagan to pass tax reform, in the process risking the end of the bull run that yesterday carried the Dow above 23,000, a rally that has largely been predicated on investors’ hopes for tax reform, according to the Hill.

“It took Ronald Reagan over two years on a bipartisan basis to get tax reform done,” Mnuchin said during an interview on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. “If we get it done this year, it will be extraordinary.”

 

“Our objective is to get it on the President’s desk by December to get him to sign it this year,” Mnuchin added, but cautioned that there’s “no artificial deadline.”

 

“We are going to work on it as fast as we can,” the Treasury secretary added.

Mnuchin called the GOP plan to reform the tax code critical to creating a “competitive” environment for American businesses.

On Monday, Trump made similar remarks at a press conference with Mitch McConnell that was, somewhat ironically, intended to address concerns that the fractured Republican leadership might bungle tax reform like they bungled Obamacare repeal. At the conference, Trump surprised reporters by admitting that Congress still has a “long way” to go on tax reform.

“I would like to see it be done this year,” Trump said. “But don’t forget it took years for the Reagan administration to get taxes done — I’ve been here for nine months.”

 

“We could have a long way to go but that’s okay,” he added.

To be sure, the urgency of tax reform hasn’t been lost on the Republican leadership. House Speaker Paul Ryan has threatened to keep Republican representatives – who are on vacation this week but have just 28 voting sessions left in the year – in Washington over the December holiday break if they don’t manage to write and pass a bill before then. Of course, it’s far more likely that reform will hit a wall in the Senate, where the Republicans’ razor-thin majority has allowed a handful of senators to effectively obstruct the Trump agenda.

Oddly, in a Politico interview published this morning, Mnuchin – already a master of mixed messaging – warned that passing tax reform by year end is “essential” and that, if it doesn’t happen, markets could tank.

“There is no question that the rally in the stock market has baked into it reasonably high expectations of us getting tax cuts and tax reform done,” Mnuchin said in the interview. “To the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. But there’s no question in my mind that if we don’t get it done you’re going to see a reversal of a significant amount of these gains.”

Mnuchin had promised earlier this year that tax reform would be done by August. Then it was year-end. Now, it appears the only concrete “deadline” for reform is some time just before the 2018 mid-term election. And once again, market implied odds have proven correct, while many market strategists – like the team at Goldman with its 65% odds of a deal by Q1 – have been far too optimistic.

In a breakthrough for the Trump administration, Sen. John McCain said last night he’d vote yes on a budget bill that the Senate is rushing to pass by the end of the week. That bill would unlock the reconciliation process, allowing Republicans to pass tax reform with a simple majority and circumvent a Democratic filibuster.

Still, it’s unclear if Republicans have the votes to pass that legislation, which is expected to be brought to a vote Thursday morning.  
 

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NZD/USD Intraday technical levels and trading recommendations for October 18, 2017

Daily OutlookA recent bullish breakout above the downtrend line took place on May 22. Since then, the market has been bullish as depicted on the chart.The price zone of 0.7150-0.7230 (Key-Zone) stood as a temporary resistance zone until a bullish break…

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GBP/USD analysis for October 18, 2017

Recently, the GBP/USD pair has been trading downwards. As I expected, the price tested the level of 1.3139. According to the 15M time – frame, I found strong rejection from sellers at the pivot point at the price of 1.3212, which is a sign that buying …

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EUR/USD: the euro is prone to decline

Speaking today at the opening of the conference dedicated to structural reforms held at the ECB headquarters, the president of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, did not concern the monetary policy decisions expected from the ECB on October 26.
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