Law enforcement sources told NBC News that the gunman who opened fire inside a Florida nightclub early Sunday on June 12th, 2016 – shooting over one-hundred (100) people – had called 911 moments before and swore allegiance to the so-called Islamic State – the gang of militant and religious fanatics who now request to be called Daesh.
So the “Daesh“ terrorists later announced that an “ISIS fighter had carried out the attack“.
Their claim did not clarify if they were directly involved, or merely taking credit for the actions of an American citizen with probable mental health problems. Shooter Omar Mateen, age twenty-nine, was born in New York and lived in Port St. Lucie on Florida’s eastern shores.
Mateen, who was carrying a handgun and AR-15-type rifle, died after a SWAT team stormed the club. The shooter worked in security, and records show that he had both an active security officer and firearms license, according to police statements.
To date fifty people are reported dead, and fifty-three people were injured by the shooting, with many in critical condition.
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But as investigators try to determine whether radicalization may, or may not have been the motivation behind Mateen’s attack inside the Pulse nightclub, his family believes he was pushed over the edge by hate against the LGBT community.
Yet, at least four regular customers at the Orlando nightclub said that they had seen Omar Mateen there before, the regulars told Orlando Sentinel in an interview.
Perhaps it was not one or the other, but a combination of several contributing factors, starting with the inner turmoil he must have been struggling with as a gay Muslim. Then consider that he may have an untreated chemical imbalance, or un-diagnosed mental health illness, all of which could have triggered this tragedy; the world may never know the why.
In an on-the-ground report from the war-torn Libyan city of Benghazi – the birthplace of Libya’s uprising, and where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues died in an attack by Islamic extremists in 2012.
In Yemen there used to be 20 hospitals in Taiz – now only a handful are partially functioning, and even necessities like oxygen, which the doctors need to put patients under general anesthesia, are in short supply.
Benghazi in Crisis: journalist Feras Kilani joins Libyan fighters as they battle for a central point in the city, meets civilians displaced by the fighting, and sits down with General Khalifa Haftar – who is trying to bring all militias fighting ISIS in Benghazi under his command.
It’s a rare and grim look inside a city in turmoil: “I think Libya might be within months or one or two years one of the nightmares for the West,” Kilani says. Director and reporter is Feras Kilani, and the producer is Ben Allen.
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Yemen Under Siege: from journalist Safa al Ahmad. She has been reporting on Yemen since 2010, from the rise of Al Qaeda, to the outbreak of civil war between government forces and Houthi rebels, to the Saudi-led military coalition that has intervened, to the current international efforts at a ceasefire and peace deal.
But she made her way in – and her camera captures the conflict’s stunning human toll as it’s rarely seen. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city, and for those that remain, life is nearly unbearable.
Mortar attacks kill children who are lining up for water. Schools have been closed for months. Producer and director is Safa Al Ahmad, the field producers are Ghaith Abdul Ahad and Abdel Aziz Sabri, and the senior producer is Frank Koughan.
A Tale of Two Presidents’ Failures to Stop Terrorists.
“Proceeding almost chronologically, the documentary details the transformation of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi from thug into jihadi leader, determined to erect an Islamic caliphate.
“From the mistake-ridden occupation of Iraq. As analysts note, that included the tactical error of disbanding the Iraqi military, offering the jihadists a fertile source of potential recruits.
“The missteps, however, didn’t end there. When President Obama was elected — in part on a commitment to wind down the war — his administration was slow to recognize and effectively counter ISIS as it gained strength in Syria. (Both the Obama administration and Cheney declined “Frontline’s” interview requests.)
“The story of U.S. interventions in the Middle East has frequently been one of unintended consequences. That seems especially true of the 15 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, from President George W. Bush and Cheney’s misplaced priorities to Obama putting too much faith in local forces and slowly responding to the deteriorating situation in Syria.
“”Without those series of decisions, there would be no ISIS,” says former White House counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke.” 
UPDATED on November 17, 2016: United Nations Special Ambassador for Children, Angelina Jolie is both an involved and outspoken supporter of refugees, women and child rights in war zones.
Please take a moment to sign our petition, asking Ambassador Jolie to intervene, stand up to the UN, and demand humanitarian aid be delivered to the Yemenis. To date 10,000 children have died by slow, agonizing starvation, while 7.2 million more children face imminent death by disease and malnutrition if aid does not arrive soon.
The following video has been added of speeches Ambassador Jolie made after this post was published, and includes the speech referenced in the article below.
March 30, 2016: Angelina Jolie visited the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon earlier this month in her capacity as a special envoy for the United Nations’s refugee agency, pleading with world leaders to step up to help the millions of people displaced.
During the trip, which included an emotional press conference, (Angelina) reunited with the family of a Syrian girl named Hala, whom she first met during a trip for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 2014.
They sat on the floor together, ate together, and colored while talking, the source says. Hala shared her dreams of returning to Syria. Mostly, however, Hala told the actress that she wants to return to the country to place flowers on her mother’s grave.
Below is a summary of key points from Angelina’s speech:
“I want to thank the Lebanese people for helping to save the lives of over 1 million Syrians. It is not easy for a country to take in the equivalent of a quarter of its own population in refugees.
You are setting an example to the world of generosity, humanity, resilience and solidarity. On behalf of UNHCR, and on my own behalf, shukran, thank you.
There are 4.8 million Syrian refugees in this region, and 6.5 million people displaced inside Syria. On this day, the 5th anniversary of the Syria conflict, that is where I had hoped I would be: in Syria, helping UNHCR with returns, and watching families I have come to know be able to go home.
It is tragic and shameful that we seem to be so far from that point.
I have seen on this visit just how desperate the struggle to survive now is for these families. After five years of exile, any savings they had, have been exhausted. Many who started out living in apartments now cluster in abandoned shopping centers, or informal tented settlements, sinking deeper into debt.
The number of refugees in Lebanon living below the minimum threshold for survival– unable to afford the food and shelter they need to stay alive – has doubled in the last two years, in a country where 79 percentof all Syrian refugees are women and children.
The number of refugees is now higher than the last time we had a World War.
We are at an exceptionally difficult moment internationally, when the consequences of the refugee crisis seem to be outstripping our will and capacity and even our courage to respond to it.
But with 60 million people displaced, as there are today, there is no way that the governments of the world– no matter how rich or willing they are – can prop up the UN enough to care for all these people permanently and expect that to address the problem.
We cannot manage the world through aid relief in the place of diplomacy and political solutions.
We cannot discuss this as if it were a problem confined to the situation of tens of thousands of refugees in Europe.
We cannot improve this reality by partial responses, by responding to some crises and not others, or by helping some refugees and not others – for instance, by excluding Afghan refugees, among other groups – or by making a distinction between refugees on grounds of religion. The result would be more chaos, more injustice and insecurity, and ultimately more conflict, and more refugees.
We have to focus on the absolute root causes, and that takes a certain amount of courage and leadership. And in my view, leadership in this situation is about doing more than simply protecting your borders or simply putting forward more aid, it means taking decisions to ensure we are not heading towards an even greater refugee crisis in the future.
It is not wrong to feel unsettled faced by a crisis of such complexity and such magnitude.
But we must not let fears get the better of us.
We must not let fear stand in the way of an effective response that is in our long-term interests.
My plea today is that we need governments around the world to show leadership: to analyze the situation and understand exactly what their country can do, how many refugees they can assist and how, in which particular communities and to what time frame; to explain this to their citizens and address fears.
I appeal to all governments to uphold the UN Convention on Refugees and basic human rights law, because it is both necessary and possible to protect people fleeing persecution and death and protect citizens at home. It should not be reduced to a choice between one or the other.
The reason we have laws and binding international agreements is precisely because of the temptation to deviate from them in times of pressure. We know from recent history that when we depart from fundamental laws and principles we only create worse problems for the future.
I spent time this morning with a mother who was paralyzed after being shot by a sniper’s rifle in a besieged area of Syria.
She lies in one room, where she lives with her whole family, in a small, cold, makeshift settlement here in the Bekaa Valley. Never once during our discussion did she ask for anything, did she stop smiling, or talk of anything other than her desire for her children to have the chance to go to school and have a better life.
When I saw her beautiful smile, and her dedicated husband and children looking after her, I was in awe of them.
They are heroes to me. And I ask myself, “what have we come to when such survivors are made to feel like beggars?“”
Angelina Jolie Pitt, special envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, has continued to appeal to the world’s nations on behalf of refugees.
Ms. Jolie Pitt held a media conference on September 7, 2015.
“Families fleeing war must be prioritized over economic migrants to get a grip on this crisis,” Angelina Jolie Pitt.
Below is a transcript from her speech:
“At no time in recent history has there been a greater need for leadership to deal with the consequences and causes of the global refugee crisis.
Nothing brings home this truth more than the sight of columns of refugees marching across European borders, from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The Syria conflict has created a wave of human suffering that has rolled out across the region and now reached the shores of Europe.
Syrians are fleeing barrel bombs, chemical weapons, rape and massacres. Their country has become a killing field.
It should come as no surprise that people who have endured years of war, or who have been living in refugee camps on dwindling rations, are taking matters into their own hands. How many of us could honestly say that in their shoes we would not do the same, confronted by fear, lack of hope, and a glaring lack of international political will to end the conflict.
We identified with Syrians when they called for political and economic freedom in their country.
We were outraged by the images of their families bombed in their homes, children being dug out of the rubble, and cities overrun by extremists. Whether in Europe or elsewhere, Syrian refugees deserve our compassion.
Over the past few weeks we have seen many members of the public and growing numbers of political leaders take a moral stand, groups of refugees being welcomed, and new commitments of assistance made. For the first time in years, refugees are leading the news and are at the forefront of debate.
We need to build on this and make it a turning point in people’s understanding not just of the Syria conflict but of the global refugee crisis. It requires us to use not just our hearts but also our heads and not just aid but also diplomacy, and to focus our efforts not just this year, but for years to come.
We must face some hard truths. The first is that the responsibility to help is not determined by the accident of geography, but by adherence to universal human rights and values. It transcends religion, culture and ethnicity.
We should not be reaching for the lowest common denominator in our response to the refugee crisis, but striving to live up to our highest ideals.
Every country in the world – not just in Europe, must be a part of the solution.”
Thousands of refugees were sleeping rough at Budapest’s Keleti station, waiting for trains to take them to western Europe. Then, they just got up and walked. Guardian journalist and filmmaker John Domokos went with them, every step of the way.
This is the story of one Syrian family, and those who came out to help.
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By John Domokos, Mustafa Khalili, Richard Sprenger and Noah Payne-Frank.
Read our articles and reports on the humanitarian crisis and human right’s violations in Syria.
Watch rare video interviews and news reports in our Documentaries section.