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Emwazi's Old Schoolmate: 'He Was Like Any Of Us'

Written By andika jamanta on Sabtu, 28 Februari 2015 | 18.25

A classmate of Mohammed Emwazi - the Londoner unmasked as "Jihadi John" - has told Sky News that "nothing in his high school could have left him radicalised".

The fellow pupil of the Quintin Kynaston academy, who was two years older than Emwazi and does not wish to be named, believes the IS militant's education beyond high school may be responsible for his transformation into a cold-blooded killer.

"It wasn't like university where you'd have speakers coming over from certain societies to give talks," he said. "I suppose there was potential for him to be groomed, that is a possibility. But at the time, at secondary school, he was like any of us."

Emwazi went on to study at the University of Westminster between 2006 and 2009 - finishing his computer programming degree in the same year he was reportedly questioned by an MI5 officer in Amsterdam, accused of attempting to travel to Somalia to join a terror group.

According to the classmate, there was nothing to suggest Emwazi was religious during his teenage years. He was quiet, rarely made eye contact, and always wore a baseball cap - but was known to get into the occasional fight.

"He wasn't someone who was loud, talkative and provocative," the ex-pupil added. "There were more violent people than him."

There has been widespread shock at Emwazi's old high school following his apparent involvement in a series of Islamic State videos which show the gruesome beheadings of Western aid workers and journalists.

The classmate, who has watched some of the videos, continued: "Something has gone wrong somewhere - whether in the UK, or when he went abroad.


  1. Gallery: Jihadi John's University Academic Record

    Mohammed Emwazi, aka Jihadi John, studied a computing course at university. Sky News has exclusively obtained his student record

His file shows mostly middling academic grades for his course modules. He graduated with a lower second (2.2) degree

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PM Defends MI5 After 'Jihadi John' Named

David Cameron says Britain will do "everything we can" to bring terrorists to justice after Londoner Mohammed Emwazi was identified as the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John".

The Prime Minister also expressed his support for Britain's security services as questions were raised about whether appropriate actions were taken to stop Emwazi from travelling to Syria.

Speaking at an event in Cardiff, Mr Cameron defended MI5 and praised the service for its "dedicated and courageous" work protecting Britain.

"They are having to make incredibly difficult judgements, and I think basically they make very good judgements on our behalf," he said.

"I think while we are in the middle of this vast effort to make sure British citizens are safe, the most important thing is to get behind them."

The security agency has been criticised for its handling of Emwazi's case. The 27-year-old travelled to Syria in 2013, several years after MI5's first contact with the militant. 

In 2009 he was reportedly questioned by an MI5 officer in Amsterdam who accused him of attempting to travel to Somalia to join a terror group.

Asim Qureshi, a director of the CAGE campaign group, has claimed Emwazi was harassed by the security agency over the following years as agents tried to recruit him as an informant.

Sir Menzies Campbell, a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, has indicated that the parliamentary committee is likely to seek answers from MI5 over what information they held on "Jihadi John".

The families of Western hostages killed by Islamic State have expressed mixed reactions to the identification of Emwazi

A spokesman for relatives of Steven Sotloff, the US journalist beheaded in an Islamic State video, says they have "full faith" that Emwazi will eventually face justice. 

While refusing to address specific cases, Mr Cameron said the security services and the police would do "everything" to bring those who commit "appalling and heinous crimes" to justice.

He described Britain's security services as "incredibly impressive, hard-working and dedicated".

"I'm satisfied we have in place the right ways of scrutinising the work that these extraordinary men and women do on our behalf," Mr Cameron said.

"Even in the last few months their dedication and work has saved us from plots on the streets of the United Kingdom that could have done immense damage.

"So I think it is a moment to stand up and thank them for the work they do on our behalf."

Speaking to Sky News, the executive director of the Human Security Centre, an independent foreign policy think tank, criticised CAGE for suggesting that Emwazi was radicalised as a consequence of his contact with MI5.

"This narrative was put forward by CAGE, which is often described as a human rights organisation, or a civil liberty organisation, but which is actually a pro-Islamist organisation," she said.

"They have a long record of supporting terrorists and of apologising for their actions."

Meanwhile Boris Johnson has told Sky News of his concern about youth being "sucked into" Islamist ideologies in London and across the country.

Mr Johnson was speaking to First News readers and contributors from Sky News' Stand Up Be Counted campaign.

Asked whether people should feel safe in Britain, Mr Johnson said: "We should feel safe in this country. (The) police are doing a great job... and we're a safe society.

"But... we do have a problem with terrorism, with young people who are just being driven into an ideology that in my view is leading them into dangerous and criminal, catastrophic behaviour."

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Cameron 'Sickened' By Boris Nemtsov Killing

David Cameron has condemed the killing of Russia's former deputy prime minister Boris Nemstov as despicable and callous.

The Prime Minister added the Russian people had been deprived of a champion of their rights and that Mr Nemtsov was greatly admired in Britain, not least by Margaret Thatcher.

"I am shocked and sickened by the callous murder of Boris Nemtsov as he walked in the heart Moscow last night," he said.

"This despicable act must be fully, rapidly and transparently investigated, and those responsible brought to justice."

The 55-year-old, who was a fierce critic of Vladimir Putin, died after being shot four times by an unidentified attacker in a passing car in Moscow during the early hours of Saturday morning.

According to colleagues, he was working on a report which apparently included concrete evidence that Russia was directly involved in the separatist movement which erupted in Ukraine last year.

At the time of the attack, Mr Nemtsov was walking along a bridge with a Ukrainian woman, who was uninjured in the shooting. She is now being questioned by police.

Police spokeswoman Elena Alexayeva said: "Citizen Nemtsov was walking with his female acquaintance, who had come from Ukraine, along the Bolshoy Kammeny Bridge towards Bolotnaya Square.

"All of a sudden, a car pulled over and several shots were fired from inside the car. As a result, four bullets hit the back (of Nemtsov) and caused Mr Nemtsov injuries incompatible with life."

The politician had received death threats on social media, but no steps were taken by the police to offer him protection, according to his lawyer, Vadim Prokhorov.

Russia's investigative committee are pursuing several lines of enquiry include Islamist extremist attack and links to the Ukraine crisis.

A senior opposition politician, Mr Nemtsov was an outspoken detractor of Vladimir Putin's administration - and had planned to attend an "anti-crisis march" through the capital on Sunday.

The economist had said in an interview with Russian media: "Every time I called (my mother), she laments: 'When are you going to stop scolding Putin? He will kill you!'"

Mr Putin has condemned the death, which he said looked like a "contract killing" - adding that he will personally oversee the investigation into the shooting.

Meanwhile, the White House has demanded that the investigation is "prompt, impartial and transparent".

President Obama, who met Mr Nemtsov in 2009, described him as a "tireless advocate" for the rights of Russian citizens, and cited his work in fighting corruption.

Garry Kasparov, chairman of the Human Rights Foundation, tweeted: "Devastated to hear of the brutal murder of my long-time opposition colleague Boris Nemtsov. Shot four times, once for each child he leaves."

Widely regarded as the greatest chess player of all time, the political activist added: "Politkovskaya was gunned down. MH17 was shot out of the sky. Now Boris is dead. As always, Kremlin will blame opposition, or CIA, whatever."

According to the Financial Times, Mr Nemtsov had wanted to tackle the stagnant wages and soaring inflation that has blighted Russia's economy in recent times - with the rouble collapsing and Western nations imposing sanctions over the government's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

"They believe that the embargo on imported foods is America's fault, and they were surprised when I told them no, that was not Obama, it was Putin. This is what we need to make people aware of: the crisis, that's Putin," Mr Nemtsov said.

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Naming Of 'Jihadi John' Splits Victims' Families

Written By andika jamanta on Jumat, 27 Februari 2015 | 18.25

The family of Steven Sotloff, the US journalist beheaded in an Islamic State video, have said they have "full faith" that his alleged killer "Jihadi John" will be brought to justice - a day after he was identified as a Londoner called Mohammed Emwazi.

Speaking to Sky News, the family's spokesman Barak Barfi said: "They hope that he will be caught by American intelligence officials, brought to trial in the United States, and convicted for the crime of beheading their son.

"There's going to be no closure until these people are brought to justice. This is just one step in a long path. The Taliban were toppled in Afghanistan, al Qaeda was eradicated in Afghanistan, and we believe that one day, Islamic State's end will come.

"When that comes, people like Jihadi John will have nowhere to run."

Since the 27-year-old was unmasked as the frontman of IS, reaction from the families of the Western hostages killed in cold blood has been mixed.

The mother of James Foley, the first US journalist murdered by the militant group, has said she forgives "Jihadi John" - and described Emwazi's apparent involvement with the terror organisation as "an ongoing tragedy".

Diane Foley told The Times: "It saddens me, his continued hatred. He felt wronged, now we hate him - now that just prolongs the hatred. We need to end it."

Loved ones of David Haines, the British aid worker believed to have died at the hands of Emwazi, are also divided on what would bring closure to victims' families.

Whereas his wife, Dragana, told the BBC that Emwazi's death was "the last thing I would want for someone like him", Mr Haines' daughter, Bethany, told ITV News that she would only feel closure "once there's a bullet between his eyes".

Scrutiny is mounting over claims that Emwazi, a graduate from the University of Westminster, was already known to MI5 before he joined the ranks of IS in 2013.

But Mr Barfi, speaking to Sky News on behalf of the Sotloffs, rejected claims that British intelligence services had "dropped the ball".

He added: "The British have long been vigilant and have stopped a number of plans. This is not a replay of the Kouachi brothers, who were responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

"This is a completely different situation, and British intelligence has done as much as it could have, given the constraints of the democratic environment it works in."

Sir Menzies Campbell has said the Intelligence and Security Committee will likely seek answers about what information had been held on Emwazi - but this process will not take place until after the General Election.

According to Asim Qureshi, a director of the CAGE campaign group, Emwazi had been continually harassed by security agencies before he joined IS - and described the now-infamous militant as "extremely kind and gentle" and "the most beautiful young man".

Both Scotland Yard and Downing Street have refused to confirm reports of Emwazi's identity.

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'Jihadi John' Used To Be 'Kind And Gentle'

Mohammed Emwazi, the Londoner identified in reports as "Jihadi John", has been described as "extremely kind and gentle" by the director of a campaign group.

CAGE research director Asim Qureshi told reporters Emwazi was "the most humble young person that I ever knew".

The British group, which lobbies against the US-led war on terror, claims to have had extensive dealings with the alleged IS militant over several years.

Mr Qureshi was speaking after CAGE issued a statement claiming the behaviour of UK authorities had played a major part in the radicalisation of young Muslims like "Jihadi John".

CAGE says security services have "systematically engaged in the harassment of young Muslims, rendering their lives impossible and leaving them with no legal avenue to redress their situation".

It cites the case of Emwazi, who grew up in northwest London and studied computing at the University of Westminster, as an example of this.

CAGE says the 27-year-old first contacted the organisation in 2010 after he flew to Britain from his native Kuwait where he was due to get married.

His communications over the next two years highlighted "interference by the UK security agencies as he sought to find redress within the system".

CAGE said Emwazi told the group at the time: "I never got onto the flight, what was the point, I said to myself; I'll just get rejected.

"I had a job waiting for me and marriage to get started. But now I feel like a prisoner, only not in a cage, in London.

"A person imprisoned and controlled by security service men, stopping me from living my new life in my birthplace and my country, Kuwait."

Emwazi went on: "I have been trying to find out the reason for my refused visa issue from my home country Kuwait, and a way to solve the issue.

"So through my friends in Kuwait, it has been said to me that Kuwait has no problem with me entering, and the reason for my refusal is simply because the UK agents have told them to not let me in!!"

CAGE also cites the case of Michael Adebolajo, who murdered soldier Lee Rigby in London in May 2013.

Mr Qureshi said: "Like Michael Adebolajo, the suffocating domestic policies aimed at turning a person into an informant but which prevent a person from fulfilling their basic life needs would have left a lasting impression on Emwazi."

CAGE claims the "culture of abuse now runs so deep in the UK that there are virtually entire communities which, due to security services acting outside of the rule of law, no longer have access to due process".

"Individuals are prevented from travelling, placed under house arrest and in the worst cases tortured, rendered or killed, seemingly on the whim of security agents."

Mr Qureshi said: "We now have evidence that there are several young Britons whose lives were not only ruined by security agencies, but who became disenfranchised and turned to violence because of British counter-terrorism policies coupled with long- standing grievances over Western foreign policy.

"This case should trigger thinking about British domestic and foreign policy.

"What risk assessments, if any, have been made about British counter-terrorism policy and the key part it plays in radicalising individuals?

"How have the security services been allowed to get away with abusing British citizens without redress?

"Why are the long-standing grievances over Western interventions in the Muslim world been ignored?"

He added: "All parties genuinely interested in achieving peace and safety ought to realise that revising British foreign and domestic policy is the only way forward.

"Acting otherwise would be irresponsible."

On the question of whether the UK authorities' treatment of "Jihadi John" played a part in his radicalisation, Jonathan Shaw, a former head of cyber security at the Ministry of Defence, told Sky News: "I think we can all speculate on that.

"But I think precisely because of that very different impression of that character that existed then to the character we now know him to be, suggests how difficult it is for the security agencies to identify in advance the people who are going to turn into these jihadis.

"If you can turn from this gentle description of a human being to the sort of monster we see on our screens all the time makes it incredibly difficult to identify in advance who those people are."

"Jihadi John" is believed to be involved in the killings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.

Last month, the IS militant also appeared in a video with the Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, shortly before they were murdered.

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Glitter Child Sex Abuse Sentencing Under Way

Former glam rocker Gary Glitter is being sentenced for a string of historical sex attacks on three schoolgirls.

The 70-year-old is at Southwark Crown Court where he is facing a maximum of life in prison after being found guilty of having sex with a 12-year-old girl.

The disgraced singer, whose real name is Paul Gadd, was also convicted on one count of attempted rape and four counts of indecent assault.

His victims included a girl who was less than 10 years old when he crept into her bed and tried to rape her in 1975.

Glitter, who denied all the charges, was also guilty of indecently assaulting a 13-year-old.

As he arrived in court, he waved at two friends in the public gallery.

The former chart topper was at the height of his fame when he preyed on the youngsters.

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Madonna Blames Brits Stairs Tumble On Cloak

Written By andika jamanta on Kamis, 26 Februari 2015 | 18.25

Madonna Blames Brits Stairs Tumble On Cloak

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Madonna took a nasty tumble down some stairs after a costume malfunction during her first performance at the Brit Awards in 20 years.

Viewers were left shocked when the singer fell backwards and smashed into the stage after a dancer tried to yank off the cloak she was wearing.

The singer fell three steps before getting back on her feet to continue the performance surrounded by dancers dressed as devils.

She took to Instagram soon after the gaffe and explained that the Armani cloak was "tied too tight", but that she was "fine".

"Armani hooked me up! My beautiful cape was tied too tight! But nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up! Thanks for your good wishes! I'm fine! ❤️#livingforlove," she wrote.


  1. Gallery: Fallen Madonna: Star Hits The Deck

    Madonna takes a nasty tumble during her performance of Living For Love at the Brit Awards

The accident happened when a dancer attempted to remove her cloak, sending her falling backwards down the stairs with her legs in the air


Madonna was temporarily left on the deck but the Queen of Pop carried on with her performance despite the wince-inducing mishap

Madonna Blames Brits Stairs Tumble On Cloak

We use cookies to give you the best experience. If you do nothing we'll assume that it's ok.

Madonna took a nasty tumble down some stairs after a costume malfunction during her first performance at the Brit Awards in 20 years.

Viewers were left shocked when the singer fell backwards and smashed into the stage after a dancer tried to yank off the cloak she was wearing.

The singer fell three steps before getting back on her feet to continue the performance surrounded by dancers dressed as devils.

She took to Instagram soon after the gaffe and explained that the Armani cloak was "tied too tight", but that she was "fine".

"Armani hooked me up! My beautiful cape was tied too tight! But nothing can stop me and love really lifted me up! Thanks for your good wishes! I'm fine! ❤️#livingforlove," she wrote.


  1. Gallery: Fallen Madonna: Star Hits The Deck

    Madonna takes a nasty tumble during her performance of Living For Love at the Brit Awards

The accident happened when a dancer attempted to remove her cloak, sending her falling backwards down the stairs with her legs in the air



Madonna was temporarily left on the deck but the Queen of Pop carried on with her performance despite the wince-inducing mishap



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Savile: Hospital Staff Knew Of 10 Allegations

Staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital knew of 10 allegations against Jimmy Savile during the period when he was abusing patients and visitors, new reports have revealed.

Victims of the disgraced entertainer ranged in age from five to 75, and included patients, staff and visitors, found one report.

And it warned there was evidence many aspects of the Savile abuse scandal could be repeated in the future.

There was also evidence to suggest Savile had unsupervised access to the mortuary at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire.

One report said: "Two witnesses gave evidence to the investigation that they had heard Savile was having sex with dead bodies in the mortuary."

While the inquiry found no evidence of this, it said it was not possible to investigate the allegations further.

But Savile had admitted spending a lot of time in the mortuary to a hospital electrician, telling him: "Actually, I often come here for a crafty smoke."

Those staff who complained about Savile's behaviour, were "severely reprimanded".

Dr Androulla Johnstone, who wrote the Stoke Mandeville report, told a press conference Savile was an "opportunistic predator who on occasion could also show a high degree of premeditation" when planning attacks.

She said: "The individuals to whom these incidents were reported failed in their duty to protect.

"Consequentially, no intelligence about Savile's behaviour was gathered over the years and no action was taken.

"Whilst witnesses told us it was an open secret within the hospital that Savile was a lecher and general nuisance, none stated that they knew about his sexual abuse activities."

Lawyer Liz Dux, who represents many of the Stoke Mandeville victims, said it "beggars belief" the report found no evidence of senior staff being aware of the abuse.

But Dr Johnstone rejected claims of a "cover-up" by staff, and said Savile's behaviour went unchallenged due to a "general disbelief".

Hattie Llewelyn-Davies, chairwoman of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust which runs Stoke Mandeville, apologised to Savile's victims on behalf of the NHS.

She said: "Together these accounts paint a bleak story of a deeply flawed and repellent individual who used his role as a fundraiser, his celebrity status and his national contacts to conceal his wicked activities.

"For too long people were taken in by this controlling and manipulative man."

Savile, who received a knighthood in 1990, died in 2011 and so never faced justice for his crimes.

Sam Brown was one of scores of youngsters abused by Savile at Stoke Mandeville.

Aged 11 she was indecently assaulted by the star in a room adjacent to a chapel at the hospital where mass was being held.

She told Sky News: "He used to put his hand over my face as well quite a lot and sometimes his fingers into my mouth.

"That wasn't to keep me quiet, I know what that meant, that was to reinforce his power 100% over me, I get that.

"He knew he had the back-up from the hospital, I feel, he knew there that they were lenient on anything he had done."

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Claudia Lawrence: Police Search Alleyway

Written By andika jamanta on Rabu, 25 Februari 2015 | 18.25

Detectives investigating the disappearance and suspected murder of cook Claudia Lawrence are carrying out fresh searches close to her home in York.

The focus will be the alleyway to the rear of her flat in Heworth Road.

North Yorkshire Police's Major Crime Unit will also be carrying out house-to-house inquiries in the area as well as contacting former residents.

It comes as Miss Lawrence's family prepare to mark her 41st birthday on Friday.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, who is leading the investigation, said:  "The team are currently working on a lead that may indicate the alleyway at the rear of Claudia's house is significant.

"We still don't know if Claudia left for work on the morning of Thursday 19 March 2009 or whether something happened overnight within her house.

"If the latter is the case the person or persons responsible, in my view, would have used the rear alleyway as the front door leads onto a busy main road. This is why this specific piece of information needs to be fully investigated.

"Officers will be conducting house-to-house enquiries in the vicinity to jog people's memories about any vehicular access to the alleyway and how frequently this was used by neighbours or other pedestrians.

"We are also checking again that no CCTV recording equipment in the neighbourhood has been overlooked."

Det Supt Malyn added: "This remains one of several active enquiries at present that will be developed over the coming weeks and months.

"Together with Claudia's family, we remain absolutely determined to solve this case and bring those responsible for her disappearance and suspected murder to justice."

Miss Lawrence worked in a kitchen at York University and was 35 when she went missing.

She was last seen at around 3pm on 18 March 2009 as she made her way home from her shift and was reported missing by her father two days later.

Last May a 59-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of killing Miss Lawrence but was later released without charge.

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American Sniper Trial: Eddie Ray Routh Guilty

Eddie Ray Routh has been found guilty of murdering American Sniper author Chris Kyle and another man at a Texas shooting range.

Jurors returned the verdict against the former Marine, whose lawyers had mounted an insanity defence and argued he suffered from psychosis.

The 27-year-old was given an automatic life sentence without parole at a court in Stephenville, Texas, for the deaths of the Navy SEAL and his friend Chad Littlefield.

They had taken Routh out shooting at the Rough Creek Lodge and Resort on 2 February 2013 after the defendant's mother asked Kyle to help him.

Kyle had been helping to counsel troubled veterans with shooting trips and talks.

Family members say Routh suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq and Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.

Dr Randall Price, a forensic psychologist, testified during the trial that Routh was not legally insane, and said he may have got some of his ideas from watching television.

He said Routh had a paranoid disorder which was exacerbated by his use of alcohol and marijuana.

Defence lawyers said Mr Kyle described Routh as "straight-up nuts" in a text message to his friend as they drove to the shooting range.

They added that the defendant, who had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication used to treat schizophrenia, believed the men were planning to kill him.

In a phone call between Routh and a reporter from The New Yorker magazine, he said he became annoyed because Mr Littlefield was not shooting, but appeared to be watching him instead.

During the call, he said: "Are you gonna shoot? Are you gonna shoot? It's a shooting sport. You shoot. That's what got me all riled up.

"I had to take care of business. I took care of business, and then I got in the truck and left."


  1. Gallery: 'American Disgrace': Sniper's Killer Jailed

    Eddie Ray Routh confessed to shooting Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield when questioned by police

This is Routh in court at the start of his trial - he has since been given a life sentence for the killings

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