Plus the latest on the ongoing uproar over those missing Mexican college students, Hong Kong, and hacks.
First, from USA TODAY, a chronic constitutional condition:
The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.
Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.
An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.
A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.
Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying “widespread violence and atrocities” in the Democratic Republic of Congo “pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.”
Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will.
From the Associated Press, terror in the north:
Gunman in Canada attack complained about mosque
The gunman who shot and killed a soldier in plain daylight then stormed Canada’s Parliament once complained that Vancouver mosque he attended was too liberal and inclusive, Muslim leaders said Friday.
Assam Rashid, spokesman for the British Columbia Muslim Association, said Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, visited the Masjid Al-Salaam mosque for several months in 2011 before he was told not to come back.
Rashid said the association has been working on a preventive program that focuses on minimizing the effect of terrorist and criminal propaganda in Canada.
And the inevitable demand for the same things that happen south of the border from CBC News:
Ottawa shooting: Harper government wants to make terror arrests easier
‘Accelerated review of police abilities’ underway, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney is giving more indications of how the government intends to strengthen Canada’s security laws in the wake of Wednesday’s attack in Ottawa on Parliament Hill.
The minister told Radio-Canada on Friday that the government is eyeing the thresholds established in Canadian law for the preventive arrests of people thought to be contemplating attacks that may be linked to terrorism. Officials are considering how to make it easier to press charges against so-called lone-wolf attackers.
“The challenges are the thresholds — the thresholds that will allow either preventive arrest, or charges that lead to sentences, or more simple operations,” Blaney said in French. “So what the prime minister has asked is for us to review in an accelerated manner the different mechanisms that are offered to police to ensure everyone’s security.”
While Al Jazeera America focuses on the cause:
Foreign policy shift puts Canada in extremists’ crosshairs
Unprecedented stance on Middle East affairs is putting Canada ‘on the map’ for armed attacks
A drastic shift in Canada’s Middle East policy has put the country “on the map” of international armed groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said one analyst, after two lethal attacks in the span of a week — one of which is said to have been inspired by the group.
“Canada seems to have gone far right” under the administration of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Roksana Bahramitash, director of research for the Canada research chair in Islam, pluralism and globalization at the University of Montreal.
His administration’s dramatic stance on Middle Eastern affairs, what analysts call an unprecedented departure from that of previous governments, which focused their diplomacy on aid and peacekeeping missions, “puts Canada in a position it has never been in before,” she said.
And from Reuters, what as surprise. . .:
U.S. weighs passport, border changes in wake of Ottawa attack
U.S. officials are debating whether to tighten controls on the border with Canada and make it easier to revoke the passports of suspected militants, steps that could gain traction following two attacks in Canada this week.
The officials cautioned on Thursday that the discussions are in preliminary stages and that no immediate action appeared likely by either U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration or Congress.
While there was no specific evidence of a new threat in the United States, federal and state authorities were on a heightened state of alert following a gunman’s attack in Ottawa on Wednesday and another by an assailant in Quebec on Monday.
An interesting development from the Washington Post:
Russian fighter suspected of terrorism and held in Afghanistan to be prosecuted in U.S.
A Russian captured fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan and held for years at a detention facility near Bagram air base will be flown to the United States to be prosecuted in federal court, according to U.S. officials.
The move marks the first time a foreign combatant captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan and held at Bagram will be transferred to the United States for trial, a decision the Obama administration has weighed for months. With combat operations winding down, the administration’s authority to continue to hold the man was in question, and U.S. officials said Russia had little interest in getting him back.
The detainee, known by the nom de guerre Irek Hamidullan, is suspected of leading several insurgent attacks in 2009 in which U.S. troops were wounded or killed. He was captured that year after being wounded in a firefight.
Disputing Kerry via Xinhua:
Russia, U.S. reach no agreement on sharing intelligence against IS: Russian FM
Russia has reached no agreement with the United States over sharing intelligence against the extremist Islamic State (IS) group or sending military instructors to Iraq, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.
“There was no agreement that we would share information in the context of the activities of the so-called coalition set up by the Americans to combat the Islamic State, nor was there an agreement that we would send our instructors to train the Iraqi army,” Lavrov told a local TV channel.
Lavrov made the clarification in response to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks after their meeting in Paris on Oct. 14 that the two had agreed “to intensify intelligence cooperation with respect to ISIL (Islamic State) and other counter-terrorism challenges.”
BuzzFeed claims a scalp:
Exclusive: Shakeup At NSA After BuzzFeed News Reports On Potential Conflict Of Interest
Top National Security Agency official Teresa Shea is leaving her position after BuzzFeed News reported on her and her husband’s financial interests. The move comes as the NSA faces more questions about the business dealings of its former director Keith Alexander, and potential ethics conflicts. This post has been updated to include a response from the NSA.
One of the nation’s top spies is leaving her position at the National Security Agency (NSA), a spokesman confirmed Friday, amid growing disclosures of possible conflicts of interest at the secretive agency.
The shakeup comes just a month after BuzzFeed News began reporting on the financial interests of the official, Teresa Shea, and her husband.
Shea was the director of signals intelligence, or SIGINT, which involves intercepting and decoding electronic communications via phones, email, chat, Skype, and radio. It’s widely considered the most important mission of the NSA, and includes some of the most controversial programs disclosed by former contractor Edward Snowden, including the mass domestic surveillance program.
The NSA provided a statement Friday that said Teresa Shea’s “transition” from the SIGINT director job was routine and “planned well before recent news articles.” The agency indicated she would remain employed, but did not provide specifics.
From the Washington Post, their lips are Sealed:
In a federal trial examining a classified military deal, don’t mention the Navy SEALs
Witnesses, attorneys and even the judge took special care not to let the phrase “Navy SEALs” pass their lips during a federal criminal trial in Alexandria this week, further cloaking an already mysterious case involving the purchase of hundreds of unmarked rifle silencers for the military.
Instead, people involved in the trial referred obliquely to “the program,” “operators” and “other entities in the government” when discussing who might have wanted to use the silencers, which were acquired through a classified Navy contract.
On Wednesday, a key defense witness was interrupted almost immediately after he introduced himself as the weapons accessory manager for the Naval Special Warfare Command — which oversees the Navy’s commando units, including the furtive SEALs.
“Has it been explained to you that certain terms are not to be used?” U.S. District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema cautioned. The witness, Rodney F. Lowell, replied that he had been advised of the restrictions, but noted that the name of the Navy command itself was hardly a secret.
RT covers a Polish black prison appeal:
CIA secret prison ruling sees Poland appeal to European Human Rights Court
Poland has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights against a condemning ruling on the country’s so-called ‘black sites’. The court found Warsaw had violated two terror suspects’ rights as it let the CIA interrogate them on its territory.
The appeal to review the case was lodged by Poland’s Foreign Ministry, which announced the move on Friday. Details of the appeal are withheld, but it is said to have been prepared on procedural grounds, according to Reuters.
In July, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights in 2002-2003 as it stroke a deal with the CIA. The rights the Polish authorities were cited to have abused include cover-up of torture, the right to liberty and the right to an effective remedy for victims of crime.
From the Guardian, sea hunt cancelled:
Sweden calls off hunt for submarine
Reports of foreign underwater activity in the Stockholm archipelago triggered week-long search
Sweden’s navy has cancelled its week-long operation in the archipelago off Stockholm after finding no trace of the Russian submarine widely anticipated by military specialists and the media.
“Our assessment is that in the inner archipelago there was a plausible foreign underwater operation,” Rear Adm Anders Grenstad said. “But we believe that what has violated Swedish waters has left.”
Whatever was there could not have been a conventional submarine, Grenstad said, but a “craft of a lesser type”. It was not possible to state how big it was or to what country it belonged, he added. “The operation is substantially complete. The vessels and amphibious units have gone to port and resumed normal preparedness,” he said.
The Guardian covers a Whisper-ing campaign:
Top senator demands explanation from Whisper after user tracking revelations
Senator Jay Rockefeller emphasises concern over location tracking and says Guardian revelations raise ‘serious questions’
The chair of the Senate commerce committee has said revelations about how the “anonymous” social media app Whisper is tracking its users raise “serious questions” over privacy and demanded an explanation from the company.
Senator Jay Rockefeller wrote to the chief executive of Whisper to ask for a detailed, in-person briefing for his committee staff. He emphasised his concern over the location tracking of supposedly anonymous users of the app and demanded documents from Whisper.
Rockefeller’s intervention comes a week after the Guardian revealed how Whisper is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed by opting out of geolocation services. Privacy experts have already called for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the app’s business practices.
From the Guardian again, keeping them in suspense:
Whisper CEO suspends staff pending inquiry into ‘anonymity’ revelations
Editor-in-chief reported to be placed on leave
Heyward: Guardian reporting ‘just plain wrong
The chief executive of the “anonymous” social media app Whisper has placed at least two employees on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation by the company.
Earlier this month, the Guardian revealed that Whisper, which promises users anonymity and claims to be “the safest place on the internet”, was tracking the location of its users, including some who had specifically asked not to be followed.
Michael Heyward made the announcement the day after it emerged that a powerful Senate committee chairman had written to the company, raising “serious questions” about its use of data.
SecurityWeek covers a doubly ominous development:
Malvertising Campaign Infected Visitors to Yahoo, Other Sites With Ransomware
Researchers at Proofpoint have uncovered a malvertising campaign that hit a number of high-profile sites, including Yahoo, Match.com and AOL domains.
According to Proofpoint, the scheme generated an estimated $25,000 a day for the attackers.
“Without having to click on anything, visitors to the impacted websites may be stealthily infected with the CryptoWall 2.0 ransomware,” blogged Wayne Huang, vice president of engineering at Proofpoint. “Using Adobe Flash, the malvertisements silently “pull in” malicious exploits from the FlashPack Exploit Kit.”
“The exploits attack a vulnerability in the end-users’ browser and install CryptoWall 2.0 on end-users’ computers,” he continued. “Similar to the behavior of other “ransomware,” CryptoWall then encrypts the end-users’ hard drive and will not allow access until the victim pays a fee over the Internet for the decryption key.”
And the Independent covers woes for a Murdoch minion:
Phone-hacking: The Piers Morgan connection – Mirror admits some stories during Morgan’s tenure may have been obtained by illegal means
The publisher of the Daily Mirror has admitted for the first time that articles likely to have been the product of illegal phone hacking appeared in editions of the newspaper during the period when Piers Morgan was its editor.
In new defence documents produced by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), the company accepts that several stories which appeared in the Daily Mirror between 2002 and 2004 were likely to have involved “unlawful interceptions of voicemails” and the blagging of call data.
The publisher is currently fighting dozens of civil claims which allege a “widespread and habitual” use of hacking inside its three national titles.
From the Contra Costa Times, another selfie scandal:
Warrant: CHP officer says stealing nude photos from female arrestees ‘game’ happened in L.A., Dublin offices
The California Highway Patrol officer accused of stealing nude photos from a DUI suspect’s phone while she was in custody told investigators such image-stealing has been going on for years in the state law enforcement agency, stretching from its Los Angeles office to his own Dublin station, according to court documents obtained by this newspaper Friday.
CHP officer Sean Harrington, 35, of Martinez confessed to stealing explicit photos from a second Contra Costa County DUI suspect without her permission in August and forwarding images to at least two other CHP officers. The five-year CHP veteran called it a “game” among officers, according to an Oct. 14 search warrant affidavit. Harrington told investigators he had done the same thing to female arrestees a “half dozen times in the last several years,” according to the court records, which included graphic text messages between Harrington and his Dublin CHP colleague Officer Robert Hazelwood.
“It appears as though other women have fallen victim to this ongoing ‘game’ while in the custody of law enforcement,” said Rick Madsen, a Danville attorney representing a 23-year-old San Ramon who was the first to report that Harrington stole her photos while she was in custody at County Jail in Martinez on Aug. 29. “The callousness and depravity with which these officers
From the Guardian, yet another broadside:
Ferguson protests: Amnesty report criticises police excesses
Rights group raises concerns about heavy-duty equipment, ammunition, curfew and children affected by teargas
An excessive police response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of an unarmed 18-year-old earlier this year ran the risk of killing demonstrators and impinged on their human rights, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
The report, by Amnesty observers deployed to monitor the protests, found that the militarised reaction to a small minority of violent demonstrators “impacted the rights of all participating” to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly under the US constitution and state law.
Heavily armed police clashed with demonstrators in Ferguson on successive nights in August after Michael Brown was shot dead by officer Darren Wilson. Teargas, stun grenades and rubber and wooden bullets were shot at crowds to force them to leave the streets.
Noting that the so-called “less-lethal” ammunition that was shot at crowds in Ferguson “can result in serious injury and even death”, Amnesty’s 23-page report said on Friday that “at least two children were treated for exposure to teargas” during the protests.
After the jump, more graves found in hunt for missing Mexican students, the chief suspects, a governor recuses himself but fails to alleviate, a Mexican editor is murdered, life sentences for Argentine junta murderers, ISIS splits the Afghan Taliban, Comfort Women cloud Seoul/Tokyo relations, North Korean nukes go ballistic, on to Hong Kong and an ominous observation as protest leaders submit to their own vote, a backlash protest targets journalists, and a pronouncement from Beijing, and an unanticipated national security issue in France. . .
Another somber discovery from the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Clandestine Graves with Bodies Found Near Town of Missing Students
Six clandestine graves containing human remains have been found near the Mexican town were 43 students went missing after an altercation with police a month ago, sources said.
The graves were discovered by members of a local self-defense organization at a site called Monte Hored in Guerrero state, a lawyer for the group told Efe by telephone.
Five of the graves contain human remains and the sixth was empty “and you could see it was ready to be used,” attorney Manuel Vazquez said.
“They found hair, human remains (and) around the site were clothes with blood stains, uniforms like those worn by high school students, shoes, blankets and beer bottles,” he said.
The chief suspects, via Al Jazeera America:
Mexico mayor and wife ‘probable masterminds’ of student disappearances
Remarks from Mexico’s attorney general come as tens of thousands of Mexicans protest missing students
Mexico’s attorney general said Wednesday that a Guerrero state mayor and his wife were the “probable masterminds” of a Sept 26. police crackdown on protesters in the town of Iguala that resulted in the disappearance of dozens of students. He added that arrest warrants had been issued for the couple.
Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam’s remarks came as tens of thousands of Mexicans marched through Mexico City and other cities in protest of the student disappearances. Activists in Iguala, meanwhile, set fire to the town’s city hall amid escalating national protests calling for the students’ safe return.
“They took them away alive. We want them back alive,” protesters chanted as they marched.
In Mexico City, Murillo said that Sidronio Casarrubias, a leader of the criminal group Guerreros Unidos captured last week, accused Iguala Mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, of giving orders to stop the student demonstrations because of a planned political event that Pineda did not want interrupted.
A governor recuses himself, from the Guardian:
Mexican governor steps aside after disappearance of 43 students
Governor of Guerrero state, Angel Aguirre Rivero, says he is putting his duties on hold as investigation continues
The governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero has announced that he is stepping aside while an investigation continues nearly a month after 43 students disappeared and six people were killed in an attack in the city of Iguala in which local police and politicians were allegedly involved.
Angel Aguirre Rivero said on Thursday he was putting his duties on hold and would let the state’s lawmakers decide who should lead the southern Mexico state.
Aguirre became a target of protesters’ anger from the start. He and Iguala’s mayor are members of the same political party, the leftist Democratic Revolution party, and Aguirre was quickly painted as tolerating a level of corruption in his state that allowed the disappearances. While he initially enjoyed backing within his party, support dissolved as the search for the students dragged on and more details implicating local government emerged.
But fails to alleviate, via the Los Angeles Times:
Exit of Guerrero state governor seen as too little in Mexico
The government of President Enrique Peña Nieto is hoping that Thursday’s removal from office of the governor of Guerrero state will lower the explosive tension roiling the nation over the Sept. 26 disappearance of 43 college students.
But Gov. Angel Aguirre’s forced decision to step down is unlikely to satisfy tens of thousands of mostly young people and their parents, who have been taking to the streets across Mexico to protest.
Nor is it likely to quiet other critics taking Peña Nieto to task for what they consider a head-in-the-sand approach to an egregious breakdown of law and order in much of Mexico.
Another Mexican journalist slain, via the Latin American Herald Tribune:
Magazine Editor Found Murdered in Mexico
A magazine editor in western Mexico who went missing Oct. 10 has been found murdered, a source in the Sinaloa state Attorney General’s Office told Efe on Thursday.
Jesus Antonio Gamboa, 39, was the editor of the political publication Nueva Prensa.
Police tracked down the killers after one of them used Gamboa’s ATM to withdraw large sums. Once in custody, the suspects told authorities where to find the body.
The journalist was murdered after an argument at a bar with the two suspects, investigators said. The killers tortured Gamboa before shooting him, according to the source in the state AG’s office.
BBC News covers justice long delayed:
Argentina sentences 15 to life over La Cacha prison
An Argentine ex-police chief and ex-interior minister have both been given life sentences for running a detention and torture centre in the 1970s.
They were among 19 people charged with the kidnap, murder and torture of 128 prisoners in the city of La Plata.
The detention centre also functioned as a maternity unit for pregnant prisoners who gave birth before being executed.
Tens of thousands of Argentines were kidnapped or killed by the military junta between 1976 and 1983.
ISIS prompts a schism, from the Diplomat:
Islamic State Defections Fracture Pakistan Taliban
However, a jihadist consolidation could take place in the future
In an audio statement released last week, the former Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid announced that he and five other commanders from the terror group have given the bay’ah (oath of allegiance) to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-styled “caliph” of the group that describes itself as the Islamic State (IS), and is also known as ISIS and ISIL. This is the first public defection of commanders from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban groups to IS.
Their defection portends further divisions within Pakistan’s jihadist community, which has rapidly splintered since the killing of the TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud last fall in a U.S. drone strike. These divisions could result in heightened violence between anti-state jihadist groups in Pakistan. But Pakistan is also likely to see a rise in both sectarian and overall violence. Down the road, there is a risk that Pakistan’s disparate jihadist groups could consolidate into a united front, even if the probability of such a scenario is low at present.
None of the TTP commanders who have defected to IS are major figures. They do not command sizable forces. But their standing within the region could be enhanced as a result of their association with IS. Some Pakistani observers claim that the IS brand is increasingly popular with younger, rank-and-file jihadists. Indeed, the al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban brands are two decades old. Shahid and his allies could see a surge in their ranks as a result of their association with IS.
Historic blowback continues from Jiji Press:
S. Korea’s Park Seeks Progress over Comfort Women Issue
South Korean President Park Geun-hye stressed Friday that progress over comfort women and other history issues need to be made before a summit between South Korea and Japan is held.
She made the remark at a meeting in Seoul with members of a mission from a suprapartisan group of Japanese lawmakers promoting the bilateral friendship, according to Fukushiro Nukaga, who heads the delegation.
The two countries are studying the possibility of arranging a bilateral meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Park on the sidelines of international meetings in mid-November, including a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Beijing on Nov. 10-11.
United Press International goes ballistic:
Pentagon: North Korea can probably build a rocket-mounted nuclear warhead
“They have proliferation, relationships with other countries, Iran and Pakistan in particular,” says top military official.
North Korea is believed to have developed the technology to rocket-mount miniaturized nuclear weapons, according to a top military official.
U.S. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. forces on the Korean peninsula, told reporters despite the nation’s famous struggles to mount a nuclear warhead on a working missile, North Korea can now make a miniaturized warhead capable of attaching to a long-range ballistic missile.
“I believe they have the capability to miniaturize a device at this point and they have the technology to actually deliver what they say they have,” Scaparrotti said in press conference Friday.
On to Hong Kong and an ominous observation from South China Morning Post:
Police claim Occupy protesters wearing costumes are hiding from the law
Chief Superintendent Steve Hui Chun-tak, speaking at the police’s daily press conference, says protesters who dress up are “concealing their own identities as if they were going to a carnival”
Police on Saturday criticised protesters who dressed up when they attended the Occupy demonstrations, suggesting that their intention was to hide their identities while breaking the law.
“Some were dressed in different costumes, concealing their own identities as if they were going to a carnival. However, the fact remains that this is an unlawful assembly which has affected many people,” said Chief Superintendent Steve Hui Chun-tak at the police’s daily press conference on the movement.
Highlighting the physical confrontations that have become routine at the Mong Kok Occupy site, he lashed out at participants for being “selfish” and said what protesters were doing was contrary to what they had claimed to be “civil disobedience” and “willingness to accept the legal consequence”.
Going to polls of their own with the Los Angeles Times:
Hong Kong protest leaders to poll followers about officials’ offer
Hong Kong democracy protest leaders were organizing for an electronic vote Sunday to gauge protesters’ opinions about the government’s recent olive branch. But some supporters of the sit-ins warned the poll could backfire.
After more than three weeks of sit-ins, student protest leaders and government representatives held a two-hour dialogue on Tuesday. During the talks, student leaders emphasized their demand for open nominations for the 2017 election of the territory’s chief executive.
Government officials, however, reiterated that they were standing behind an Aug. 31 decision by the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress laying out the framework for the 2017 vote. The panel mandated that candidates be pre-screened by a special committee — which is widely expected to be stacked with pro-establishment members.
Backlash protest targets journalists with International Business Times:
Hong Kong Protests 2014: Anti-Occupy Protesters Clash With Local Journalists
Hong Kong counterprotesters turned their antagonism toward local journalists at the Mong Kok protest site early Sunday, local time. More than 1,000 so-called “anti-Occupy” protesters appeared at the protest camp Saturday evening, a place that has been the flashpoint of tensions between Occupy Central supporters and counterprotest groups.
Small groups of protesters donning blue ribbons, symbolic of their opposition to the yellow ribbons representing the student-led occupation movement that has overtaken Hong Kong’s major roads for the past four weeks, surrounded a cameraman and reporter at the site. Some members of the crowd pushed the journalists, ripped off the reporter’s tie and took the cameraman’s glasses as crowd tensions grew, Reuters reported.
Another reporter working at Hong Kong radio station RTHK was also attacked by counterprotesters, who pushed her to the ground and kicked her. She was later taken to a hospital for treatment.
A pronouncement from Reuters:
China says U.N. rights covenant no measure for Hong Kong reform
China rebuffed a U.N. call for full political rights for Hong Kong on Friday, saying that an international covenant on such rights was not a “measure for reform” in the Chinese-ruled territory.
The U.N. Human Rights Committee on Thursday said residents in the former British colony, now a “special administrative region” of China with wide-ranging autonomy, should have the right to stand for election as well as the right to vote.
The panel of 18 independent experts, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, voiced concern at Beijing’s plan to vet candidates for the leader of Hong Kong, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
And for our final item, an unanticipated national security issue in France via the TheLocal.fr:
Vigilantes held as clown panic spreads in France
Coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns, swept small towns in the Pas-de-Calais region last week and this week a similar panic took hold in the town of Mulhouse eastern France.
After reports that an aggressive clown was threatening people in the town centre spread on Facebook, five youths took it up themselves to hunt down the joker.
They armed themselves with baseball bats, knuckle dusters, a hammer and a canister of tear gas, and went in search for the fake clowns, intent on meting out their own form of punishment.
But police got to them before they could get to the clown, if there was even a clown, of course. They were all arrested and placed in custody and will be judged at a later date.