Tag Archives: American

American news media unanimously agrees to write shorter articles saving readers time, triggering the advent of journalism without words

 

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Frogtown, USA —This week an official report of an official study found that most people don’t read the news because it’s too long and takes too much time to read. In hopes to counter lack of readership and lack of attention to everything the mainstream media has decided to make all articles one to two sentences long, maximum.

The decision to make news articles one to two sentences long in their entirety was unanimously agreed upon by American news organizations on Monday eve after finding that no one reads anymore, or takes the news seriously, and this looming fact destroys potential for more advertisement revenue.

In what seems to be the demise of true journalism, a bastion of hope has been burrowed out of thin air in true optimism, from the idea of less is more, perhaps, and this sea change may just be the beginning of novel style of journalism that doesn’t require words at all, merely assumptions by inflection of personal interpretation. Not a far cry from where we are today, when journalism already doesn’t require legitimate sources at all.

To the news that all news articles would be only one to two sentences long, purposeful and sage Millennials rejoiced in having more time to like things on Instagram and craft new Facebook status updates, now instead of reading through articles with details and objective facts the reader could simply fill in the blanks to their liking. Creating a double positive: the story would be easier to read, and easier to digest mentally.

In a time where there isn’t much time in our busy lives, shorter articles will become a more positive experience for the reader, for the writer, and for the entire world in general; journalism with words, thought, and details will become a thing of the distant past. With the official announcement of shorter articles, the American news media is truly on course for a new style of the literary form, a new style of journalism without words.

Recount: Clinton’s Double Jeopardy; How Hillary will Win the 2016 Presidential Election

“My analysis is that Trump would not be permitted to win. Why do I say that? Because he has had every establishment off his side. Trump does not have one establishment, maybe with the exception of the Evangelicals, if you can call them an establishment,” said Assange. “Banks, intelligence, arms companies, foreign money, etc. are all united behind Hillary Clinton. And the media as well. Media owners, and the journalists themselves.”

RT

Firstly, I will say that I am obsessed with the recount. I cannot go for a few hours without checking it, the news. This recount affinity is an intriguing part of my life. I enjoy critiquing the news and pundits and both sides of the parties–that never get’s old apparently, to me. Even though it is shit. Nothing changes–and nothing will. It is as if I still have Facebook. Sometimes I can’t escape it. That kind of social media… Those kind of clicks on a website. It is HUGE. Big money for “real” news. This recount thing is going to make history.

I must also say, holy shit. I never thought I would say this, but I think Hillary will actually win this thing. She will enact her magical double jeopardy of a recount; waiting for the blame to be called first, by Trump, having patience, calling in a favor, and then pouncing with limited time to form a proper and meaningful defense by the presumed winner. It seems too obvious now. The long wait (3 weeks have others have said), the third party candidate comes out of nowhere seemingly for innocuous purposes (globalist), and the media says the recount won’t change anything.

(To cover that last part, the media was wrong about the entire election. What makes them so sure that they will be right this time about the recount? I am not so sure, as a matter of fact I am concerned about how many news outlets say a change in votes is “highly unlikely” or “near impossible” or a “long-shot”. To me this talk directly mirrors the rhetoric used by the media to describe the chances of Trump winning the 2016 presidential election. (Which he did.) Pollsters had it wrong, the media bought in; now the media says they have it right, no count change in the recount, and most are buying in. Fuck.)

Aside from the above hypothesizing, the recount is really good for getting people to read the headline of an article only. Just throw in the word: recount. Put whatever shit you want to in the paragraphs below it: hyperbole, emotion, fallacies, etc. They will read. If you are a mainstream site you’ll get hits. If you are a WordPress blogger, yours truly, you may get someone to look harder at your page for a second. From onset of the recount, one thing I do appreciate is that talking about how horrible Trump’s transition team is won’t hold traction for long, for news sources, this is obvious. I won’t be the person to regurgitate this prediction. Thank you, No Agenda Show.

I posit, with celerity: Trump lost footing from the start by saying in the debates that he would challenge the election results. (No shit. I would too if it were warranted.) His opponent only needed him to say it once before they started pulling it apart; they are lawyers, these are words. Hillary conceded: she plays the victim now–people sympathize–and who couldn’t, only standing up again because others stood up for her. And of course no one will have the energy or time before inauguration to say, hey let’s recount the recount. This is after Hillary is ready to take office. Ready to play the role she has practiced for her whole life.

It sounds stupid, and easy. I know it’s a short theory, half-concocted, ridiculous, and thick with what a regular person would call a conspiracy theory. Yet, as my stepfather said over the phone the other night nothing would surprise him about this election. Certainly the media is making out great with these scatalogical themed stories. They come out ahead, ironically, seldom behind. If by chance something crazy happens in the recount–new votes are found, mysteriously, or if the numbers just don’t add up–don’t be surprised. No one has the right to be. We live in a world where losers no longer lose.

I’ll be straightforward with you, I got nervous the second people started discussing the date of December 19th, when the electoral college places their actual vote. I didn’t even know that was the date. And I have written more on the electoral college than most of my ex-progressive liberal alt-left friends have, the ones who came about and told me I was stupid for thinking that the electoral college would vote for us all, so don’t vote. Well, they did. And I did. Oops. Probably should have read that history. Now they want to change the rules of the game they played so hard to win. What do you do tho?

So, on December 20th, when you wake up to find Hillary Clinton has been elected president, don’t be surprised. It’s Clinton’s Double Jeopardy, she can’t lose the recount, even though she already lost the election; it was set in motion at the debates–when no one would accept the results, really. I mean, it is entirely possible. Don’t for one second skim through the headlines and think, oh, it couldn’t happen, because that happened to the majority of the popular voting people of America. They thought they had it. Don’t be like them. Don’t be sad.

Carol for Another Christmas

Noam Chomsky – Manufacturing Consent

Wilderness Day – Quetico-Superior (Boundary Waters)

‘There is no right to be offended’; The Similarities in Groups

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“Of course, that’s true. Moral and cultural relativism is a very dangerous phenomenon. What you routinely hear from some extremist Muslim pundits, whether religious or political, is a discourse that is anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic. The same Leftists would not tolerate that coming from any other group. But somehow people turn a blind eye to it because it is coming from this group.” -Salman Rushdie

This passage in particular, although the entire article is well written, sticks out to me as extremely powerful and poignantly relevant to American society today.  I feel that in America this hasty generalization also exists between race, political, and gender groups, and there is no end to the propagation of oppressive institutions by their moral movements.  These acts, prejudices, assumptions, create and ignite a new brand of hatred and separation between a group of individuals that should be united as one, come together to resolve–that is not so different.  I feel that any progress to resolve such conflicts is squelched by the use of stereotypical labels, afforded by those, individuals or groups, who feel slighted, wrong, or subjected to injustice.  The characteristics, actions, and makeup of one person within a group does not absolutely define the group as a whole entirely, no matter which other group suggests this as fact.  In order to work for a positive and peaceful future as one, we must stop using hateful tools of the past in order to create anew, all of us.

Some people are too focused on the differences to see the similarities.

See Article: “There is no right to be offended”

Must See: “No Mas Presents: Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden”

Moby-Dick: a Metaphor of Foreplay and Sex

Moby Dick destroying shit.

Moby Dick destroying shit.

Moby-Dick: a Metaphor of Foreplay and Sex

Throughout Herman Melville’s American classic Moby-Dick, there is much description of whaling by way of terminology, the ins-and-outs of the profession, yet there is a more natural characteristic interwoven. Mixed between numerous chapters of encyclopedic fodder there are points of detailed action. Melville’s Moby-Dick critiques human sexual frustration brought on by thinking as opposed to doing, by obsessing over the act. The act of waiting leads to a catastrophic end, one built up by preconceived notions of such events; sexual relations or hunting a whale. A reaction not unlike the social assumptions founded in the motives of foreplay and sex. Throughout Moby-Dick there is subtle, and yet direct, insinuation of the sexual meaning, and the powers of sexual frustration. Readers are exposed to situations in relation to marriage, homosexuality, sperm, virgins, penis, vagina, with few, yet weighted references to women, in relation to sex, by way of ambiguous whaling references. What Melville does in Moby-Dick is express the sheer pressure of pent up sexual aggression, and the lack of sex- until the final chapter. Ahab’s hunt for the slippery Moby Dick, the unknowable, other sex, is his internal struggle with his sexual identity. Having this whale defines him; not having this whale destroys him. Moreover, Ishmael, Ahab, and the majority of the crew on the Pequod, are represented sexually by way of working in close proximity, discussing sexually loaded topics, and becoming ever increasingly more desperate for the prospect of having said whale, or symbolically, sex. In Moby-Dick, Melville is expressing the weight of thought, time, and words one puts into courtship, relationship, marriage and sexual conquests. Melville’s Moby-Dick is a 19th century critique on sexual strain and the emphasis society puts on sexual identity; in relation to the turmoil and pressure sex causes physically and mentally to an individual.

In order to understand Melville’s theory of sexuality the reader must first understand a few things about sex, before understanding Moby-Dick’s sexiness. Sex, usually, takes place between two people, sex involves sexual organs (almost always), and sex presumably comes out of want, or need to be satisfied sexually, and/or to procreate. One can have sex, but one cannot have sex: Ishmael suggests, “It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all” (p 20) Sex is not an object to obtain, but an experience to behold. Though, neither is Moby Dick an object to obtain. One can either talk about sex, or have sex, -doing. Though, one can discuss Moby Dick, one cannot have Moby Dick. One can talk about past experiences in relation to sex, or create new experiences by having sex. Though, Ahab lost his leg to Moby Dick now he chases him again. Sex is not tangible, however real, sex is not a thing, entity, or object, sex is an action fleeting. The act of sex is meaningful, or meaningless, depending on the person. It can be life changing, or life ending (heart attack: Viagra). People can have sex, but they cannot keep sex. They can remember sex, or can’t; because it’s either over or happening. The obsession with sex is age-old, but made relevant by the persons involved. Moby Dick is made significant, a sole obsession, as sex can be also made an obsession, by Ahab. In order to reproduce one must have sex, coitus. Sex is the monomaniacal obsession we human beings exist for. Without sex we would not be. That being said, Ahab’s sex is Moby Dick. Ahab’s only life goal is to capture and kill and have Moby Dick, though he does not realize that like sex, Moby Dick is also unobtainable. One cannot own sex, as one cannot own Moby Dick. He can have Moby Dick for a moment, but that moment must end. One cannot strike sex, because sex does not exist. Sex is an act, above an object, yet still sought after to no end. We human beings become excited by the prospect of sex, possibly as much as Ahab becomes excited about the prospect of having Moby Dick. Melville is creating a symbol of sex out of Moby Dick, a giant white whale, and those aboard the Pequod, led by Captain Ahab, are the human beings looking for the action, the sex. Also, the reader must be human.

Moby-Dick, the book itself, is a whale of a novel in its most literal sense (pun intended, in the most clichéd way). Moby-Dick is the elephant in the room. It is large in size and meaning, it is rough and hard in reading. It builds itself up within itself; Moby Dick as infamous, Ahab as crazed, and the Pequod as totally fucking doomed. That ship is going down, that captain will die, and that whale will get some action and then leave. The book is endowed with much thick symbolism. One example of symbolism is expressed through Ishmael and Queegueg. Before the meeting of Queequeg we see an independent Ishmael, a sort of landlubber on the prowl for something more, to become a seaman, he is walking loose. Ishmael saunters around town until he finds the nearest Inn, in hopes of a warm night’s rest (sure). He gets far more. Upon realizing that he must sleep with a cannibal (opposites attract!) Ishmael is changed. He sees this prospect as something exotic, something new, something which grabs him. He had no real warning of this event, and has no time to react negatively. It starts the way an impassioned sexual encounter may start, perhaps. He navigates the situation using themes suggesting a marriage, a wedding, and a “wife” (p 36), thoughts of intimacy are swollen, as he is drawn in. His relationship with Queequeg is seemingly consummated on the first night. After this encounter they are bound to a queer pact, for the rest of the book; a tacit agreement that makes them closer than any of the whalers aboard the Pequod. This is an example of how Melville shows the importance of sexual closeness in a relationship, specifically one not built upon pretense, prejudice, or judgment, and the stability and comradery which comes with it. This passage breaks down the build-up, the sexual frustration, it shows discussion of evils as a device to oppress and torture the mind. Whether or not Ishmael and Queequeg have sex, it is no matter, but innuendo. They conceive this relationship spontaneously, and it is no one-night-stand. Melville puts great emphasis on the concept of a relationship being formed quickly, physically, and without airing of past situation. Melville adds deep meaning to this somewhat substantially awkward narrative, which becomes a foundation of Moby-Dick’s progressive sexual ideology; free love, gay relations, and a desirable and poignant friendship which encompasses both. Moby-Dick is built-up on stories of sexual experience before they happen, this garners fear and anxiety, causing major issues for the Pequod’s crew: Ishmael states, “What’s all this fuss I have been making about, thought I to myself—the man’s a human being just as I am: he has as much reason to fear me as I have to be afraid of him. Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.” (p 36) Ishmael could be saying (for later chapters): the whale is just a whale, or sex is just sex.

In physical words and vastness of text, Melville emphasizes on the importance and detriment, of foreplay in a sexual relationship. Melville shows in practice through the text’s length, the power of waiting for action; Moby-Dick has 427 pages, 135 chapters. Approximately ten of the chapters consist of showing actual action. There is much lengthy foreplay in Moby-Dick of asserting oneself near Moby Dick. Ahab’s monomaniacal obsession could reflect the obsession that a real whaler, or real sailor, has while away from the physical and mental nature of the opposite sex. Ahab constantly discusses the whereabouts of Moby Dick. “Hast seen the white whale?” (p 403) this is the first question Ahab asks every ship he comes across. He is out to sea for such a long period of time, away from civilization, and the first inquiry he can conjure is one of a whale. One could assume he does not act unlike someone suffering from sexual frustration due to lack of sex, or the obsessing over sex. He has seen a bit of Moby Dick, and now he wants more. His days become toilsome and disturbed in wanting. He can think of one thing only, and he will put the whole crew in harm’s way to mount it. Instead of being obsessed with his wife, being away from her, and lacking the ability to console in her, Ahab goes to the nearest, yet most unbelievable and less attainable thing: a white whale, Moby Dick. Ishmael is Ahab’s foil, here Melville shows contrast by characteristics, by way of having and not having a companion. Ishmael has Queequeg, Ahab lacks Moby Dick. Ahab’s obsession shows the obsession a human being has while in love, or in the pursuit of a sexual intercourse. Ahab puts himself out there for whatever he may receive. He would do anything to have said object; one can interchange girlfriend, boyfriend, penis, vagina, sex, pleasure, power, or love etc., for Moby Dick. It is Ahab’s piqued obsession, and like the others, in a similar situation, are all going down together, and not in a good way. Misery needs company and all of those on board the Pequod are lacking, except, interestingly enough, Pip, who the reader can assume is not old enough for these sexual urges; also including Ishmael and Queequeg, being already satisfied. Ahab would stop at nothing to achieve his goal of getting, having, and taking the elusive white whale. Ahab has made it his mission, as someone in love will stop at nothing to be with a certain person they love.

In language and “fact”, the reader can assume that Melville, through Ishmael is somewhat experienced. His numerous chapters on the art of whaling, or the art of the action, outnumber the actual action itself. We see this foreplay, and foreshadowing, of something to come. Ishmael wants action in a way as well, from experience, “Nothing, Sir; but I have no doubt I shall soon learn.” (p 71) Ishmael once worked on a merchant vessel, something apart from a whaling ship. Ishmael observes and relays information, but like someone lacking experience in trials and errors, he gives no fresh examples of tries. He refers to outdated, sourced material, written by others who have experienced. These second hand accounts excite and entice Ishmael into finding something more, something tangible. He reads a book on whaling, or a book on sex, and he wants some of it, so he enlists and gets aboard a ship. This happens, not before a possible sexual encounter. Ishmael has only begun, he is madly in lust for action; however, there is someone else more interested, more taken over by this lust, that someone: Ahab. Ishmael eventually recognizes the danger in this obsession, obsessing over the unattainable; whether that be the touch of a women, sex, love, or intimacy on the high seas. Ishmael witnesses this change in a person, – he also has Queequeg for a companion- and realizes he must avoid such peril. His desire through readings on whales is less than one who has previously experienced whales firsthand. In Ahab’s experience, as in the experience of being in love, or having sex, one loses a part of themselves. Ahab has lost his leg, and now he wants to take something from his adversary, or ex-lover. His mission is deeper than actually killing Moby Dick. His mission is as deep as eradicating Moby Dick from the world, and from his sick mind. Ahab and Ishmael are consumed by similar plights, obsession, yet just before Ishmael is drawn fully into insanity, and that experience, that tryst, he takes a step back to see the situation for what it is. He realizes that his “marriage” with Queequeg is more important than some passionate and deadly fling with a white whale, unobtainable.

Further on in Moby-Dick we reach a chapter alluding to the experienced and the inexperienced, or tainted and innocent. The Pequod eventually runs into other ships. One of those ships happens to be called the Jungfrau. Now, for those of you who spechen sie Deutsch, you know that this means one thing (well two things): Young Girl; essentially, as Melville puts it: virgin. The Jungfrau is depicted as fickle, green, frolicking, along the sea in hopes of finding a whale. The ship is presented as empty, or as needing to be filled. And what does the Pequod do? The Pequod fills her with all of the material she needs, the materials being made of spermaceti. The symbolic, and literal, references to being filled with sperm are obvious. This experienced ship is moving along, looking for its experienced prize, Moby Dick, when it finds the Jungfrau in need, wanting, begging for backing, it must attend to pressing issues. They press near. So, the Pequod takes it upon itself to satisfy the longings of the Jungfrau and give her special attention. Satisfied, the Jungfrau carries on and leaves the Pequod watching from afar, in anger. The Pequod feels hurt and rejected, and ironically, used. It is almost as if the virgin has escaped the grasp of the Pequod, the social constructs of marriage, and carried on. In this instance the foreplay was quick, and then followed by back breaking agony, and action, in excitement for the chase of a useless whale, as Starbuck cries, “Come, why don’t some of ye bust a blood-vessel?” The Pequod is ever wanting, and ever frustrated. The Jungfrau is off on to the next big thing, leaving the Pequod behind as damaged goods, with less of a load. Hurt by this prospect the Pequod can only become more morose and sensitive to finding what it must have, Moby Dick.

In the chapter Schools and Schoolmates, Ishmael gives us one more hint of foreshadowing, and sexual frustration. He ejaculates, “Like a venerable moss-bearded Daniel Boone, he will have no one near him but Nature herself; and her he takes to wife in the wilderness of waters, and the best of wives she is, though she keeps so many moody secrets.” (p 307) Ishmael himself is the sole survivor, left as an orphan to the water. He is himself the child born out of a “moody” experience, his “secret” encounter and companionship with Queequeg, and his unfortunate journey commanded by the “Nature” of Ahab. Ahab has finally had an experience with Moby Dick, yet it proved fatal, and not without great warning. Ishmael puts forth an idea about the secrets of sexual nature, through a man, Daniel Boone, and through a woman, Nature, proper. Sexually speaking these labels cannot be attained, discretely. Declassifying gender is not Ishmael’s purpose, but creating a sexual urge about a seemingly asexual object that declassifies gender is. The sexual object to Ahab is Moby Dick, the sexual object to Ishmael is a cannibal, and the womb of these interactions is the sea. Ishmael floats in vitro for two days before being found by the Rachel. All else on the Pequod perish. The pressure, and frustration built up from such an encounter created a deadly reaction, gave new life to Ishmael. Ishmael through experience because the experienced man he so desired to become. By way of not building up such an idol of his sexual importance he did not succumb to the demise of those interactions, he was birthed out of them.

Moby-Dick explains many things in great detail, but what it falls to explain absolutely is its narrator. The reader is given volume upon volume of whale theory and idea. Moby-Dick gives much about the physicality of whales, and delves into whale psychology, yet very little about Ishmael as a person is discussed: “my Lord Whale has no taste for the nursery” could explain the orphanage of Ishmael in the end. Moreover, “he leaves his anonymous babies all over the world; every baby an exotic.” By the end of the book we truly do not know Ishmael from Adam, or Noah. He tells us to call him Ishmael, as a sexual partner may introduce himself, but we have not the slightest inkling of his past, where he comes from, who he is really. His identity is blank canvas as one is before their birth, his trip on the Pequod is his creation, and his being discovered by the Rachel is the beginning of his life. His frustration as a human being, sexually, begins for him exactly at the end of the book. Before this he is just another passenger led astray by the emotions and sexual needs of others, as having been born.

Also, Moby-Dick has the word dick in it.

Melville’s critique of sexuality, by way of Moby-Dick is astonishing. This great novel, in size and in literature merit, carries heavy meaning. On the surface one can perhaps safely assume Moby-Dick is about the Pequod and its deranged captain attempting to exact vengeance upon a white whale named Moby Dick. However, when looked at closely, readers can see how this carries over into the prospect of attaining a sexual partner, or experience, and the trials and tribulation in relation to both. Moby-Dick is large in foreplay and little in action, though the action seems to outweigh the words, in experience. One can gam through a whole novel, give examples, show and tell; however, what trumps that speech, that language, is actually going out and experiencing it firsthand, getting a piece of the action. In doing that, experiencing, the aggression, sexually, and vengefully, all aboard, save for Ishmael, the lone survive, perished in this dire pursuit to obtain the unobtainable, this appealing encounter. Comparatively speaking, Melville’s iteration of knowledge and experience, in information and action, depict the makeup of foreplay and sex in real-life. Moby-Dick exhibits both of these devices, and shows the negative aspects and the pressures which come from the discussion of experience, and the actual experience.

Work Cited
Melville, Herman, and Hershel Parker. Moby-Dick. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2002. Print.

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PSA in Dublin on Paris; future fears

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WORLDWIDE CAUTION

January 10, 2015

The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution to provide information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that U.S. citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated October 10, 2014.

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. On September 22, 2014, the United States and regional partners commenced military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq. In response to the airstrikes, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are. Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.

Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa’ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations. ISIL, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are particularly effective with kidnapping for ransom and are using ransom money to fund the range of their activities. Kidnapping targets are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransoms for the release of individuals in custody.

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE: Current information suggests that ISIL, al-Qa’ida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. Authorities believe the likelihood of a terror attack in Europe is increased as European members of ISIL return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis. In the past several years, organized extremist attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA: Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.

No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence. The security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a civil war between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country. There is an increased threat of terrorism from groups such as ISL, al-Nusrah, as well as other extremists whose tactics include use of suicide bombers, kidnappings, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Since the start of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in March 2011, the United States has received reports of numerous foreigners kidnapped in Syria, many of whom are still in captivity. The majority of the victims are journalists and aid workers. U.S. citizens and other Westerners have been murdered by ISIL in Syria. Violent extremists from various countries operate in Syria and may be planning attacks against the United States and other Western targets.

A number of extremist groups also operate in Lebanon and the potential for death or injury in Lebanon exists because of periodic terrorist bombing attacks throughout the country. As a result of spillover violence from the Syria crisis, Sunni groups are active and Hizballah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization, has been present and active for many years.

U.S. citizens in Iraq remain at high risk for kidnapping and terrorist violence. Numerous insurgent groups, including ISIL, previously known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq, remain active and terrorist activity and violence persists in many areas of the country. ISIL and its allies control Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, and have captured significant territory across central Iraq and continue to engage with Iraqi security forces in that region.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and al-Murabitun remain active and operate primarily in southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. In Algeria, terrorists sporadically attack Westerners and Algerian government targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali. In September, a French tourist was kidnapped and murdered by an Algerian-based terrorist group. Terrorists have targeted oil processing plants in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. In Libya, various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AFRICA: Al-Qa’ida continues to operate primarily in North Africa. Vestiges of extremist elements, including AQIM, MUJAO, and al-Murabitun continue small scale operations in northern Mali mostly related to planting land mines on lines of communication used by UN peacekeeping troops. The major parts of these groups were forced to move to southern Algeria, southwestern Libya and Tunisia in the wake of French and African intervention in northern Mali. Terrorist groups have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional attacks or kidnapping attempts on westerners and others, particularly those linked to support for international military intervention.

Additionally, the terrorist group AQIM has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea). It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.

Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, hostage taking, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are frequent in Somalia. Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, the African Union Mission in Somalia, and non-military targets such as international donor offices and humanitarian assistance providers. Al-Shabaab retains its demonstrated capability to carry out attacks in government-controlled territory in Somalia and in neighboring countries such as Kenya and Djibouti.

Boko Haram, an extremist group based in northeast Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for many attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria. The first months of 2014 have seen a continued increase in Boko Haram attacks and clashes with Nigerian government security forces in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram has also targeted women and children for kidnapping, reportedly kidnapping women in northern states for marriage as “slave brides,” and kidnapping more than 200 school girls from a private school in Borno state. Boko Haram is known to descend on whole towns, robbing banks and businesses, attacking police and military installations, and setting fire to private homes. U.S. citizen missionaries in northern Nigeria have received specific written threats to their safety and well-being, although none have yet been harmed.

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates. The threat of hijacking to merchant vessels continues to exist in Somali territorial waters and as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters. There has also been a recent rise in piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf of Guinea, including hijackings.

U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia. In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times. U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents. Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.

SOUTH ASIA: The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests. The presence of al-Qa’ida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region. Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack locations where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.

The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan. Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets. Attacks have included armed assaults on heavily guarded sites, including Pakistani military installations and airports. The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Terrorists and criminal groups regularly resort to kidnapping for ransom.

No province in Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence and crime, and the strong possibility exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other foreign nationals at any time. Elements of the former Taliban regime and members of other terrorist organizations hostile to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and foreign nationals remain active in every province of the country. Furthermore, travel to all areas of Afghanistan remains unsafe due to ongoing military combat operations, landmines, banditry, armed rivalry between political and tribal groups, and the possibility of insurgent attacks, including attacks using vehicle-borne or other improvised explosive devices. U.S. citizens are increasingly targeted for kidnapping. The threat situation in Afghanistan is still considered critical and is expected to remain so through the current political and military transition.

India continues to experience terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly. Anti-Western terrorist groups active in India include Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and Lashkar-e Tayyiba. Past attacks have targeted public places, including some frequented by Westerners, such as luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas. Attacks have taken place during the busy evening hours in markets and other crowded places, but could occur at any time.

CENTRAL ASIA: Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qa’ida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia. These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC: Information from credible sources suggests that there is a continued risk of armed terrorist and criminal groups operating and planning attacks against foreigners, including U.S. citizens, in the East Asian and Pacific region. Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, have cells operating throughout Southeast Asia and JI is linked to al-Qaida and other regional terrorist groups.

There is a risk of travel to the southern Philippines, specifically related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao.

Over the past year there have been several kidnappings-for-ransom targeting foreigners in the Eastern Sabah province of Malaysia and in the southern Sulu Sea area by terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines. In addition to incursions on the coastal and island resorts themselves, criminal or terrorist bands may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area.

Indonesian security forces have disrupted a number of terrorist cells, including JI, a terrorist organization that carried out several significant bombings in Jakarta and Bali over the past decade. Although Indonesian counterterrorism efforts have been successful in preventing terrorists from conducting large-scale attacks in recent years, extremists in Indonesia may demonstrate a willingness and ability to carry out small-scale violent attacks with little or no warning.

Before You Go

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens living overseas or planning to travel abroad to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). When you enroll in STEP, we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements. Enrolling will also make it easier for the Embassy to contact you in the event of an emergency. You should remember to keep all of your information in STEP up to date; it is particularly important when you enroll or update your information to include a current phone number and e-mail address.

U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security. For additional information, please refer to Traveler’s Checklist.

U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture. In those instances, U.S. embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens abroad are urged to monitor the local news and maintain contact with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

As the Department of State continues to develop information on potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, including Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, Country Specific Information, and Emergency and Security Messages, all of which are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov. Stay up to date by bookmarking our website or downloading our free Smart Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well.

In addition to information on the internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).

The U.S. Embassy is located at 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland. Our telephone number is +353 1 630 6200. In an emergency, the Embassy may be contacted after hours and on weekends at +353 1 668 9612. The fax number for the American Citizen Services Unit is +353 1 668 8056. Queries may be sent to the American Citizen Services Unit at ACSDublin@state.gov.

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