July 20th, 2012
06:08 PM ET

'Soft' targets pose challenge for security

Law enforcement agencies are stepping up security at public places around the country in the wake of a shooting in a Colorado movie theater.

CNN Intelligence Correspondent Suzanne Kelly reports on the tough challenges in protecting 'soft' targets

Obama bans charcoal from Somalia
July 20th, 2012
05:36 PM ET

Obama bans charcoal from Somalia

By Jamie Crawford

President Barack Obama has targeted the export of charcoal from war-torn Somalia, the sales of which help finance an al Qaeda-affiliated group, the State Department said Friday.

Through an amendment to an already existing executive order, Obama signed on to a resolution passed by the U.N. Security Council earlier this year that banned Somali exports of charcoal.

"The charcoal ban applies significant pressure on Al-Shabaab, which derives much of its income from charcoal exports," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a written statement. "The production of charcoal in Somalia has also had a devastating environmental impact that has exacerbated the country's protracted humanitarian crisis."

Al-Shabaab, a radical Islamist group that operates in southern Somalia, announced its affiliation with al Qaeda earlier this year and pledged its loyalty to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's leader.
FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Obama • Somalia
U.S. troops among victims of Colorado movie shooting
File photo of Buckley AFB, Aurora, Colorado
July 20th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

U.S. troops among victims of Colorado movie shooting

WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. troops were among the casualties in the shooting rampage at the Colorado movie theater, the Pentagon spokesman said.

"Initial indications are some service members were casualties," Press Secretary George Little said Friday at the Pentagon.

He would not specify how many troops were involved or whether they dead or wounded.

A US official tells Barbara Starr that at this point the US military has two Navy personnel injured in the Colorado attack as well as two Air Force reservists.

Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colorado, is the closest military base to the scene of the shootings. Spokesman Master Sgt. Jill Lavoie said some of the wounded were from Buckley.

About 10,000 troops - including members of the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps - are stationed at Buckley. Soon after the shooting, the base initiated a head count, Lavoie said.

One of the units on base is the 743rd Military Intelligence Battalion.

A post Friday on its Facebook page said that the Traumatic Stress Response Team (Mental Health Support) and Emergency Family Assistance Control Center (EFACC) had been activated at the base chapel. "If you or family members need assistance or counseling following the aftermath of the Aurora Movie Theater shooting, you can meet with the teams standing by to help you," the posting says.

July 20th, 2012
05:41 AM ET

U.S. military can wear uniform in San Diego gay pride parade: Defense Department

By the CNN Wire Staff

The U.S. Department of Defense is giving the go-ahead to all active-duty military personnel to wear their uniform to march in a gay pride parade in San Diego on Saturday, the first time such approval has been given in the United States.

The Defense Department decision followed news that the Navy had given approval to sailors to wear their uniform in the parade, which drew hundreds of active-duty service members last year shortly before the administration repealed "don't ask, don't tell."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Military
Hasan's e-mail exchange with al-Awlaki; Islam, money and matchmaking
July 20th, 2012
12:32 AM ET

Hasan's e-mail exchange with al-Awlaki; Islam, money and matchmaking

By Larry Shaughnessy

One part of the prosecution's case against Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused Fort Hood, Texas, shooter, is a series of e-mails between the Army psychiatrist and the now dead radical Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki.

An unclassified FBI report released Thursday includes those e-mails.

Former CIA officer Bruce Riedel told the Dallas Morning News shortly after the shooting, "E-mailing a known al-Qaeda sympathizer should have set off alarm bells."

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Anwar al-Awlaki • FBI • Military • Nidal Hasan
Tide fleeing Syria swells
A handout picture released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network on July 19, 2012 shows Syrians inspecting destroyed houses in Dael in the southern province of Daraa on July 18, 2012.
July 20th, 2012
12:00 AM ET

Tide fleeing Syria swells

By Jill Dougherty

Desperate Syrians are fleeing their country in growing numbers, some even being shot at from behind as they abandon their cities and villages.

"In the course of just one night nearly 1,300 civilians arrived at Turkish camps and there are now reports of upwards of 8,500 Syrians who crossed the border into Lebanon in the last 24 hours," said Kelly Clements, deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

Clements joined Maria Otero, under secretary of state for civilian security, democracy, and human rights, and Mark Bartolini, director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, to brief reporters by phone Thursday on U.S. efforts to provide aid to civilians still in Syria and to refugees who are flowing over the Syrian border into the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.

FULL POST