Either Ayoub El-Khazzani is a terrorist or one of the unluckiest and most misunderstood men in the world. El-Khazzani is accused of wounding passengers on a French train in a foiled terrorist attack. He was in possession of an AK-47 assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. His former lawyer, however, says that he is “dumbfounded” by the allegations and that he simply found the AK-47 assault rifle “by chance.” If the lawyer’s account is accurate, his defense appears that he was planning to hold up the train and then flee. He is simply a misunderstood wannabe bank robber.
The Islamic State continued its campaign against civilization this week with the demolishment of a 1,500 year old monastery. ISIS views no religion but Islam as worthy of worship and kills non-believers as acts of true faith. ISIS has also abducted dozens of Christians and is known to sell girls as sex slaves — again claiming such rapes as acts of Islamic morality in its twisted reading of the Koran.
For an animal rights activist, the only thing worse than being beaten by a deranged individual at a protest would be to be beaten by a deranged individual using one of the very animals you are trying to protect. That happened to a man in the Catalonian town of Roses when a woman hit him with one of the ducks that protesters were trying to protect from use in an annual festival. The video is below.
ISIS has continued its blood soaked campaign to impose its view of pure Islam on the world and to destroy all evidence of art and civilization in its path. The destruction of ancient works and structures has appalled the world. The Islamic extremists have now murdered one of the world’s leading experts on the history and art of the region — 82-year-old archaeologist Khaled Asaad. By all accounts, Asaad refused to tell ISIS where art was hidden. ISIS has been destroying large works while selling smaller works on the black market. Images show ISIS supporters laughing and rejoicing as their ancient history and art is destroyed with sledgehammers as the professed will of Allah. The standoff between Asaad and these murderers put the conflict between civilization and these Islamic extremists into the sharpest relief. It also shows who many Muslims continue to put their very lives at risk to protect their history and art. Indeed, they are protecting the art and history of the very nadir of civilization.
While the world has followed the appalling destruction of art by ISIS and Muslim extremists, it is easy to forget that such religious extremism is not limited to Islam. We saw such an example recently in Israel. Another such case has emerged in Russia where Russian Orthodox activists destroyed Soviet avant-garde art deemed insulting to their religion. The attack led the head of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky to denounce the attack as further evidence of a “sick” Russian society and the rise of “marginal forces against cultural rights” in the country.
This week, Hillary Clinton doubled down on the email scandal in a speech that appeared to mock the ongoing investigation of her use of an unsecured email system during her time as Secretary of State and dismissing questions over her use the system as pure politics. She even joked “You may have seen that I recently launched a Snapchat account. I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves.” It is a great line but it is only funny for those who are entirely untroubled by the real danger that Clinton put national security secrets at risk by insisting on retaining control over her own emails and server. One group that is not laughing are former intelligence officials who have accused the government, again, of showing special treatment for powerful figures in the mishandling of classified material or current officials who are continuing to classify hundreds of emails from Clinton’s records. The number of Hillary Clinton emails now flagged for classification has grown to 300. The number is expected to rise even higher as the agencies plow through thousands of emails that remain after the Clinton staff erased thousands of others from the server.
Airbnb is a growing phenomenon as people rent out their homes and apartments as an alternative to hotels: often giving visitors more room and costing less than hotels. (For the record, we recently used Airbnb to rent a house in California) A recent case in Madrid has shown the inherent danger in such sites. On July 4th, Jacob Lopez called his mother on her cellphone in a desperate call for help. He said that when he arrived at his Airbnb, he found his host in the apartment who locked him in a room and demanded sex from him. The mother, Micaela Giles reportedly tried to get Airbnb to act but they refused and told her to call police.