June 23, 2006

Terror Watch

June 23 - CTV reports that Saudi Arabia shootout kills 6 'militants' (another was arrested) after security forces "stormed a suspected al Qaeda hide-out":

One policeman was also killed in the clashes, it said.

The statement, carried by the official Saudi news agency, said security forces chased seven members with "deviant thoughts" who "belong to the astray bunch" to a house in Riyadh's al-Nakheel district. The Saudi government often refers to al Qaeda members as individuals with "deviant thoughts."

The house was "a hideout for crime, corruption, and a base for the plots of aggression and outrage," the statement said.

Why do the pronouncements from these guys always make me groan as much as did those incessant quotes from Chairman Mao's Red Book back in the day?

June 24 - 19:01 CTV reports that 17 were wounded in the attack and over 40 suspects have been arrested in sweeps after the raid.

Maybe the Saudis were feeling a bit left out what with all the arrests in Toronto, Britain, heavy action in Afghanistan and the recent U.S. arrests of 7 plotters:

Five of the suspects were arrested Thursday in Miami, after authorities swarmed a warehouse in Miami's poor Liberty City area, a federal law enforcement official said.

One person was arrested in Atlanta on Thursday, and another person was arrested before yesterday, according to CNN. (Bolding added)

(That last sentence made me giggle because I was expected a place, not a date, but it can't be that funny if I have to explain it.)

Most of the chatter on Fox is actually worth listening to because they are doing a great job of speculating about things that can only make wanna-be terrorists nervous -- like the rumour that the head of the terror cell was an FBI agent.

Our guys in Iraq continue to rack 'em up: on Monday a senior Al Qaeda operative and 3 others were detained (no names released.)

Sorry, I shouldn't be happy. I should be sombre, and Weighted With The Enormity Of It All, but I'm not. Maybe it's because it's Friday, maybe it's because we ducked another bullet, but more likely it's because Ace is hot on the story:

You will not be surprised that the "timing" of these "arrests" of "terrorists" is being "questioned."
His link to Allah is, as always, beyond funny.

Here's your CanCon and a return to seriousness: when I read the CNN headline (on the World page) "Rights boss: Stop terror abuse" I actually thought ... but no, alas, it was just

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, taking aim at the war on terrorism, reminded all states on Friday of their duty to ban torture and give all security detainees a fair trial.

In a speech to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Arbour also voiced concern at the alleged existence of secret detention centres, saying they facilitate abusive treatment.

Although she mentioned no names, her remarks were clearly aimed at the United States and its allies in their "war on terror" launched after the September 11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in 2001.

"It is vital that at all times governments anchor in law their response to terrorism," Arbour told the 47-member state body ahead of the U.N.'s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, being observed next Monday. (bolding added)

Your timing sucks, bitch. Consider

The torture and murders of two soldiers who, by all legal definitions, qualified for protection under the Geneva Convention: Private Thomas Tucker and Private Kristian Menchaca.

A government worthy of condemnation: Sudanese militias kill hundreds in Chad
Car bomb in Philippine market place kill 5, wounds 10 in a probable attempt to kill the governor of the southern province;
Tamil Tigers Caught Laying Sea Mines:

A POWERFUL explosion occurred off the coast north of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo today, with police saying it was probably a sea mine planted last week by Tamil Tiger rebels.

The explosion was heard about 15km from Colombo, near the site where police on Saturday arrested five Tigers in diving gear who were laying sea mines, Sri Lanka's police chief Chandra Fernando said.

"There are no reports of casualties. We are investigating," Fernando said.

"Last week we had information that there were eight sea mines. Seven were accounted for but we had not found one. The blast today is probably that mine."

Officials said sea mines were similar to limpet mines but magnetically attached to a ship's hull and could be triggered to explode by a time-delay fuse or by remote control.

One of the five arrested divers had swallowed cyanide and committed suicide to prevent being questioned, and another two who took cyanide were taken to hospital.

The terror attack links are in fact relevant to Arbour's admonition to "governments" as these terror attacks were undertaken by groups that intend to take state power. This one, howerver isn't because it relates to a man who, pre-Spider Hole, actually held state power and lied to the U.N.: Hundreds of WMDs found in Iraq.

And the NY Times continues their normal job of assisting the terrorists by revealing a clandestine program intended to follow the money:

WASHINGTON, June 22 — Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

Data provided by the program helped identify Uzair Paracha, a Brooklyn man who was convicted on terrorism-related charges in 2005, officials said.
The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said.

I wonder if they are referring to Hambali. who provided the money, or to Canadian Mohammed Mansour Jabarah, who paid the bombers directly for the Bali bombing. *
The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department, "has provided us with a unique and powerful window into the operations of terrorist networks and is, without doubt, a legal and proper use of our authorities," Stuart Levey, an under secretary at the Treasury Department, said in an interview on Thursday.
Maybe liberals are so shrill about the rights of terrorist because they also enable terrorists.

(Louise Arbour is a Canadian, if that needed clarification.)

*09:46 - FoxNews TV says it was probably Hambali.

12:23 - Newsbeat1 has a nice list of terrorists killed or captured since Zarqawi's death.

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May 28, 2006

New cycle in Ring of Fire (updated)

May 28 - The Indonesian quake toll is up to 4,600 according to Indonesian officials, and rescuers are in a race against time to dig through the rubble in the hope of finding survivors of the 6.3 magnitude quake that hit Indonesia yesterday. The government has declared a 3-month state of emergency.

There is an interesting connection to recent activity at Mount Merapi and this as well as previous quakes, including the 2004 undersea quake that triggered the Asian tsunami. Some scientists believe the ring of fire is going through a new cycle:

"There is certainly a connection between the December 26 quake that triggered giant waves that swept much of Aceh and the one that jolted Yogyakarta on Saturday," he [Priyadi Kartono, of Indonesia's National Co-ordinating Agency for Surveys and Mapping] said.

Dr Kartono told The Jakarta Post that both events were triggered by the movement of the tectonic plates underlying Indonesia and the Indian Ocean.


"Yogyakarta and the rest of Java island are located in the Ring of Fire belt, where the Eurasian and Indo-Australian plates stack on each other and create regular movements which cause earthquakes," said Wahyu Supri Hantoro, of the Bandung-based Centre of Geotechnology at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

Indonesia is home to the world's largest collection of volcanoes - 76 - and after the Boxing Day disaster University of Ulster seismologist John McCloskey predicted more quakes due to the stress placed on neighbouring faults.


The recent earthquake and activity on Mount Merapi raises concerns that a so-called "super-volcano" on nearby Sumatra might erupt.

If it did, the catastrophic blast would toss hundreds of thousands of cubic kilometres of rock and ash into the atmosphere, dwarfing the eruptions of Krakatoa, Mount St Helens, Pinatubo and any conventional volcanic explosions over the past tens of thousands of years.

"These super-volcanoes are potentially the greatest hazard on earth, the only greater threat being an asteroid impact from space," Monash University vulcanologist Ray Cas told The Australian last year.

Studies of the impact of volcanic eruptions on global weather patterns have given rise to many interesting speculations. One suggests that the effects from an Indonesian volcanic eruption may have caused famines in places as far away as Europe and triggered the French revolution in 1789.

May 29 17:04 - A seismologist disagrees that the earthquake will affect Mt. Merapi:

David Booth, a seismologist with the British Geological Survey, disagreed, saying the quake would not necessarily cause the volcano to erupt. He said the plates that shifted to cause the earthquake did not necessarily open cracks in the surface that would be needed to cause a volcanic eruption.

"Volcanoes are all about creating pathways for the magma to move up to the surface," Booth said in a telephone interview. "It's like a lemonade bottle having been shaken. There is enormous pressure there. But if there isn't a pathway to the surface, then the pressure will stay contained."

The biggest danger isn't from lava, which is slow moving, but pyroclastic flows, and Merapi has produced more of them than any other volcano in the world, according to the Merapi page at John Search's website (interesting site, he provides volano tours!) Volcano News at that site says the recent earthquake was "not large enough to change the state of activity" which I take to mean "what will happen will happen."

Posted by Debbye at 08:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 26, 2006

The Western Front

Feb. 26 - In yesterday's Opinion Journal was an interview with Yenny Wahid, Daughter of Islam

The main goal of ideologues like Osama bin Laden is to topple the governments of Muslim countries, including, most famously, the Wahabi royal regime of Saudi Arabia. But the real strategic plum, Ms. Wahid says, would be her native Indonesia and its 220 million citizens--with the largest Muslim population on earth.

"We are the ultimate target," she told me in Washington during a trip to the U.S. earlier this month. "The real battle for the hearts and minds of Muslims is happening in Indonesia, not anywhere else. And that's why the world should focus on Indonesia and help."

The 2002 attack in Bali awoke Indonesia to the terrorist element there and it is heartening that one result of their recent elections was that this most populous Muslim nation seems committed to keeping a strong, secular government.

The war on terror has many fronts but most of the media scrutiny has been to the east. As to why they overlook the west, it is probably related to the ease with which they also ignore the partnership of Indonesia (as well as Australia) in the war on terror.

The Whalid Foundation noted in the article is an interesting site and well worth exploring.

Posted by Debbye at 09:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 19, 2006

Speedy response to the Leyte mudslide

Feb. 19 - The capability of the U.S. military to respond quickly to civilian emergencies and the willingness of our government to render aid to those in need is incredible. Be it a tsunami, earthquake or a mudslide, the U.S. is there long before the U.N. has held its first meeting to address the catastrophe (with an energetic nod to our Australian friends, who have much the same attitude to active response.)

The recent Phillipine mudslide is only the most recent example and, as soon as the request went through the necessary protocols, we were on our way to aid and assist (Amphibious Ready Group Responds to Philippines Landslide.)

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18, 2006 – Sailors and Marines from the Forward Deployed Amphibious Ready Group and elements of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade were called upon yesterday to help the victims of a mudslide on southern Leyte Island in the Philippines, U.S. 7th Fleet officials reported.

USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and elements of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade immediately left port Subic Bay en route to the disaster zone area.

"Our primary mission is to provide as much assistance as possible to the victims of this tragic event," said Capt. Mark E. Donahue, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11, the task group commander of the Forward Deployed ARG. "We are here to prevent the further loss of life and to mitigate any further suffering."


The Philippine Red Cross has asked the United States for helicopter support to assist with rescue and relief operations in the area.

Just as in Operation Unified Assistance, a multi-nation effort to help victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, the ships of the Forward Deployed ARG will use various ship-to-shore assets to get landslide victims the assistance they need in the form of food, water and medical supplies, officials said. During the tsunami operation, USS Essex and USS Fort McHenry delivered about 6 million pounds of relief supplies.

There are those who talk and those who do. Godspeed to the service personnel of the USS Essex, USS Harpers Ferry and elements of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in this errand of mercy.

Posted by Debbye at 03:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2006

Canadian connection to thwarted L.A. attack

Feb. 10 - Noteworthy item here, although the interesting part is not even in the story: Malaysian recruited for attack on U.S. pulled out after seeing Sept. 11 on TV. The Malaysian in question is Zaini Zakaria. (I suspect Australians and New Zealanders are familiar with that name, hmm?)

Duly note this:

It quoted Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the reputed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks who was captured in 2003, as saying "three potential pilots were recruited for the alleged second wave."

It identified them as Zacarias Moussaoui, Abderraouf Jdey, and Zaini. (Bolding added.)

I immediately recognized the name of Jdey. In that this is a story on a Canada's supposed primary news site (funded by the taxpayers) and written by writers for the Canadian Press one might think they would blink (if not shoot out of their chairs) at the name "Abderraouf Jdey" but, while providing some information about Moussaoui and Zaini, they passed on Jdey.

So why am I making such a fuss? Because Abderraouf Jdey is a Canadian. He moved here in 1991 and became a Canadian citizen in 1995. His suicide tape was found in Afghanistan and the FBI issued a world-wide warrant for his arrest some years ago. He is considered armed and dangerous. (Heh. Wikipedia has an entry on Jdey including some allegations which are highly, um, speculative.)

It's absolutely incredible that they fumbled on some rather obvious Can-con (that's a phrase we give to the mandatory inclusion of Canadian content imposed on radio and television.) Journalistic malpractice or willful ignorance? I can't read their minds so can't make a determination in this matter but I do think either is pathetic.

Moussaoui, of course, was already in jail on September 11, 2001, so his participation in any plot planned for 2002 was foiled, and Zaini Zakaria is currently being held for his involvement in Jemaah Islamiya, the al Qaeda-linked group which planned and carried out the 2002 Bali terror attack.

I knew Jdey's name already -- it also came up during the Sept. 11 hearings in the U.S. -- but had to google to get information about Zaini. (That's because I'm just an amateur and forgot his mention in the Sept. 11 Commission report.)

The true wonder is how they concluded the item in the best tradition of the Sob Story without blushing.

Posted by Debbye at 04:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 03, 2005

Terrorists criticized by Human Rights Watch

Oct. 3 - Maybe I was too pessimistic on Saturday when I despaired that there was sufficient tinder to feed Muslim outrage over terrorist attacks.

Human Rights Watch has condemned terror attacks by anti-Iraqi forces (whom they call insurgents) and accuse them of committing war crimes. They also say that the attacks are backfiring and reducing popular support for the anti-Iraq forces. (Link via Mudville Gazette.)

In Afghanistan, the assassination of candidate Mohammed Ashraf Ramazan sparked protest demonstrations by nearly 4,000 in Mazar-e-Sharif. Ramazan was a Hazara, an ethnic group that is about 10% of Afghanistan's population, and the protesters accused international peacekeeping forces and the Karzai government of discrimination which led to the lack of security which enabled the killing. (Link via Jack's Newswatch.)

Captain Ed reports that the Balinese are going from shock to anger and asking Why us?. He also points out the the usual excuses given for attacks on Western targets simply don't apply to Bali or Indonesia as a whole.

It should be remembered that some of the largest demonstrations against U.S. intervention in Iraq took place in Indonesia yet bombs still went off in Jakarta and Bali.

Pieter focuses on some of the reasons why the Balinese are targets and draws a parallel between the challenge fundamentalist forces pose to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Instinctive anti-Americanism once sufficed as an excuse for the apologists of terrorism but the instict for survival may yet prove more persuasive.

Posted by Debbye at 07:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Bali Update

Oct. 3 - Tim Blair deals with rumours and some accounts that dispute the official story that the three bombs that hit two restaurants in Bali were the work of homicide bombers as well as the persistent rumours that other bombs failed to detonate by remote because the phone service went down after the initial bombs went off.

It appears that Indonesians (probably Balinese) were the largest number of casualties. CNN reports 21 dead and at least 132 wounded:

The latest attacks killed at least two Australians, one Japanese and four or five other foreigners whose nationalities have not been determined, hospital officials said. The other victims were Indonesian.

Earlier reports put the death toll higher because body parts were entering the morgue in separate body bags, police said.

Among the wounded are 68 Indonesians, 20 Australians, six Koreans, four Americans and four Japanese, with five others unidentified, according to Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari.

Two of the three chief suspects are Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed. They are Malaysians and believed to be al Qaeda operatives. The CNN account is somewhat understated; bin Husin and Mohamed are both wanted in connection with the Jakarta attacks of 2003 and 2004, as well as for their part in the 2002 Bali attack:
Syaiful Bahri, alias Apuy, was sentenced for helping the fugitive masterminds behind the attack make their bomb.
The blast, in September last year, killed 10 innocent people and the suicide bomber.

Judge Sucahyo Padmo said Bahri, 26, was guilty of "providing assistance" to Malaysians Azahari Husin and Noordin Top, who are both wanted over the September 9 attack.

Bahri helped purchase potassium used to make the two-tonne truck bomb that exploded outside the heavily-fortified mission and helped master bombmaker Azahari mix the chemicals into an explosive cocktail.

The judges said he also helped hide Azahari and Noordin, who have managed to evade police despite a three-year manhunt launched after the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people - including 88 Australians.

The pair are also blamed for the 2003 blast that ripped apart Jakarta's JWMarriott hotel, killing 12.

There is something sinister about those who travel about Indonesia and other hot spots building bombs and persuading others to lash on those bombs to blow up themselves along with people eating in restaurants or nightclubbing. Calling them "terrorist enablers" is accurate but makes them sound like a group designed for a wearying number of papers submitted to psychology associations; the words I prefer are not appropriate for a blog my parents read but in their own way are more satisfying.

I'm not as angry as I was Saturday but that's not to say that I'm calmer. Bali is a beautiful island and the ideal target for Islamist extremists. The tourism industry is vital to the island's economy, which was only beginning to recover after the devastating attack of October 12, 2002, and most of the inhabitants are polytheist Hindus or Buddhists and seen as an impediment to Jemaah Islamiyah's stated goal of turning Indonesia into a strict Muslim state. If the intent of the terrorists is to isolate and impoverish Bali they may have finally succeeded.

We in North American don't pay enough attention to the Western theatre of the war on terror (fortunately, the Australians do.) Maybe this latest terror attack will get the public's attention and events in Malaysia, Thailand, the Phillippines and Indonesia will be placed in context in this worldwide war on terror.

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 01, 2005

Blasts in Bali Tourist Area

Oct. 1 - Details are extremely sketchy thus far: Blasts in Bali tourist area:

EXPLOSIONS in a popular tourist area of Bali have injured at least three Western tourists and damaged buildings.

The blasts occurred along Jimbaran beach and in Kuta Square.

The area has been cordoned off and staff from nearby businesses told to leave the area, witnesses say.

A restaurant and neighbouring shop were damaged in one blast.

There is no confirmation of what caused the explosions, nor how many people were injured.

At least three Western tourists were injured in the blasts, El Shinta radio reported.

Just a caution: there is no evidence as of yet that this was another terrorist attack. But that doesn't change the fact that I am having a hard time breathing much less writing coherently. Some memories are seared so deeply that it doesn't take much to trigger a reaction.

Hope and pray. That's all we can do (for now.)

11:30 - The Australian news is reporting at least 4 bombs were detonated in the two areas; at least 19 are dead (mostly foreigners) and 51 wounded. (CNN also has the story here if your browser hates Java.)

It is suspected that Jemaah Islamiyah (an affiliate of al Qaeda) is behind the attacks. From CNN:

A report issued in early September warned that bin laden and his top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri may be planning a series of attacks in October, dubbed "The Great Ramadan Offensive."
Tim Blair is updating as information comes in. An early report said that at least one Australian was dead and Tim Blair reports that ABC (the American network, as opposed to ABC, the Australian equivalent of the CBC) lists two Americans among the dead.

12:04 - Tim Blair is updating here as information comes in. (Sorry for the redundancy. No sleep.)

12:26 - FoxNews reports two Americans and one Australian among the dead. The nationalities of the other fatalities are not yet known. There are a number of wounded; Fox reports 38 with the largest number being Indonesians (28) which, in all liklihood, means Balinese, i.e., Hindus.

12:35 - According to Focus English News, police found another four unexploded devices were found on the island. They say there are 23 fatalities.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is reported to be on his way to Bali.

12:50 - I believe Australia is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Daylight time, so it's likely going to be a long and grim night for many Australians and Indonesians as they await specifics.

"The Great Ramadan Offensive" indeed. Remember when the USA was urged not to begin the Afghan campaign until after Ramadan so as not to inflame the Arab street? I wish, I really wish, that they would get inflamed about al Qaeda's new offensive, but having been so quiet about the Iraqis who've been murdered by the pious terrorists it's unlikely they'll be too upset about a few dead Westerners and Hindus.

I keep waiting for that breaking point - that moment in time when Muslims around the world unite in opposition to the desecration of their religion and heritage. This latest attack is unlikely to provide that spark, nor will a few bombs set off in Christian neighbourhoods in Lebanon or in British subways.

Maybe there will be no spark that takes because there is no tinder. It may well be that fatalism and cynicism, two afflictions which also burden us, will prove too deeply rooted for healthy growth.

There are some things I simply must take care of before I try to sleep. Later.

13:27 - It suddenly occurred to me that the BBC would be broadcasting their evening news at this time, and I tuned it in. They are covering the Bali blasts extensively (please don't point out the obvious; I could be shopping or clubbing or ... painting my nails instead of having to spend hours trying to write posts if the American news media would just do their &*@$# jobs.)

The BBC reports there were 3 bombs and there are 22 dead and 38 wounded -35 of which are said to be foreigners.

An expert on Jemaah Islamiyah pointed out that this is the first terror attack in Indonesia since Yudhoyono took office. Trenchant point.

More from Tim Blair: a Japanese woman is among the dead. He also reports that the high number of Indonesia wounded (28) has been reported by Sangla Hospital. Eight Australians and two Americans are also reported to be injured.

I plan to continue to pretend that I can focus on mundane, personal stuff.

20:36 - An Australian news agency is now reporting 32 dead and 101 injured from the bomb blasts. One Australian teen is confirmed to be dead and at least 17 Australians are injured. (CNN reports 36 dead and 103 injured.)

There remains confusion over the identities of the dead and wounded, but it is probable that the majority of those dead and wounded are Indonesian. CBC is reporting 3 Canadians sustained minor injures in the blast and were released after treatment and Fox reports 49 Indonesians, 17 Australians, six Koreans, three Japanese and two Americans were injured, according to an official at Sanglah Hospital. [By the way, I failed to mention earlier that a specialist burn unit at Sanglah Hospital was built by the Australian government after the 2002 Bali attacks. Sadly, it has proven useful.] Early reports that two Americans were killed may have been erroneous.

From CNN:

[Australian Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer said it appeared most of those killed were Indonesian. He said 17 Australians were among the injured. Local media reports also said several foreigners are among those wounded.

So far 15 bodies had been identified, according to Reuters news agency, quoting hospital officials. It said among the dead were 12 Indonesians, including a six-year-old boy, two Australians and a Japanese national. The wounded included 17 Australians, six South Koreans, three Americans, three Japanese and one Briton.

Downer said Australia was sending a response team to Bali, and Australian Federal Police were ready to work with their Indonesian colleagues in investigating the attacks.

It's worth saying again: The al Qaeda network in Asia is extensive and murderous. Australia is the Western front of the war on terror and doesn't get half the recognition she deserves.

Lift a few to the redoubtable Australians this evening and give them praise. Say a prayer for the Balinese who have endured more than their share. Remember that those who have died in terror attacks over the years have been a persistent reminder that the war on terror isn't about a religion but a stand against heartless murderers who attack innocent people because their message is so perverted that they cannot persuade by reason.

Death to them, I say. Death and eternal damnation.

Posted by Debbye at 08:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 13, 2005


Apr. 13 - Now Mount Talang is acting up (Thousands flee Sumatra volcano) coinciding with a series of moderate earthquakes which are most likely aftershocks of the December earthquake that caused the devastating tsunami, in the region.

PBS has a terrific series some years ago called "Rim of Fire" (maybe it was a NOVA presentation?) about the volcanos that dot the land masses in and around the Pacific.

No real content to this post, I just find plate techtonics fascinating, all the more so when it was learned that the planet Mars has one single plate (so why all the volcanos there? As I said, fascinating.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2005

Australians grieve loss of 9

Apr. 3 - Nine Australian military personnel, 6 naval and 3 air force, were killed when their Sea King crashed on an island off Sumatra's west coast. Their home base ship, the HMAS Kanimbla, had been headed home after conducting relief operations in Indonesia after last December's tsunamai when an earthquake hit Sumatra and they were turned around to assist efforts there.

This crash was the worst flying naval accident in Australian history.

The casualties have been named:

... pilot Paul Kimlin, and Lieutenant Mathew Davey, a doctor, both from the ACT; Lieutenant Matthew Goodall, a helicopter observer, from NSW; Lieutenant Jonathan King, a pilot, from Queensland; Petty Officer Stephen Slattery, a medic, from NSW; and Leading Seaman Scott Bennett, an air crewman, from NSW.

The other three victims were air force Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy from West Australia; Flight Lieutenant Lyn Rowbottom from Queensland; and Sergeant Wendy Jones from Queensland.

The ship captain, Cmdr. George McGuire, is leading a crew to retrieve the bodies of their comrades. Two unnamed survivors of the crash have already been rescued and are being treated for serious injuries aboard the ship.

An investigation is to be conduced into the cause of the crash of the Sea King. The choppers have been in service for 30 years and recently "underwent a life expansion program, with the navy estimating the fleet will remain in service until at least 2015."

Prime Minister John Howard spoke to the tragedy, sending his condolences to the victims families and saying that "they had died helping others in great need."

They died in the service of this country, they died doing good things in the name of this country and they died living out the essential decency and compassion and mateship of the Australian people – so strongly displayed towards the people of Indonesia," he said.
The Kanimbla will continue its earthquake relief work in the region, which I find wonderfully consistent with the Australian character.

The fatalities will likely give additional sobriety to upcoming ANZAC Day ceremonies later this month in Australia. They suffered no casualties during their missions in support of Operation Iraq Freedom, but the relief efforts in Indonesia were also undertaken in the cause of humanity and the price of that cause too can be high.

Our condolences go out to the familes of the fallen as does as our deep respect for Australia's determination to continue their humanitarian efforts in Indonesia. They were the first to dispatch relief teams last December after the tsunamai hit, and although their quick and massive response did not receive the kind of acknowledgement in our media to which they were entitled, there are many Americans who do recognize the sterling qualities of this staunch ally and give daily thanks for their friendship.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2005

Kyrgyzstan president flees country?

Mar. 24 - Interfax news agency reported that Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev and his family left the capital Thursday evening by helicopter after protesters seized control of government buildings and communications centers and a later report said that they were headed to Russia.

Caution: These reports have not been verified and rely on unnamed sources.

kyrgyzstan_2 4_22_032405_.jpg
March 24: Protesters surround the presidential compound in Kyrgyzstan.

The storming of the compound was the culmination of the first major rally in the Kyrgyz capital since opposition supporters seized control of key cities and towns in the south to underline their demands that Akayev step down amid allegations of fraud in this year's parliamentary vote.

The rally started with about 5,000 opposition supporters moved down Bishkek's main avenue, halting in the city's main square adjacent to the white stone presidential and government headquarters. The building was surrounded by helmeted riot police with truncheons and shields. Protesters chanted "Akayev, go!"

Many of the demonstrators had come from a rally on the outskirts of Bishkek, where protesters roared and clapped when an opposition activist asserted that Akayev's foes would soon control the entire Central Asian nation.


Many of the demonstrators wore pink or yellow headbands signifying their loyalty to the opposition — reminiscent of the orange worn by protesters who helped topple the Ukrainian government late last year.

The situation in Kyrgyzstan is dissimilar to those in Georgian and Ukraine in that there is no single opposition figure which can assume leadership of the country, so there could be some instability should Akayev step down. Also, there have been several clashes between protesters and government supporters (? - AP describes them as "men in civilian clothes and blue armbands".)

Stay tuned.

Posted by Debbye at 09:46 AM | Comments (7)

March 20, 2005


Mar. 20 - Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan.

Posted by Debbye at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2005

Phillipine terrorist suspects killed as police retake prison

Mar. 15 - Philippines braces for retaliation after 28 die in prison uprising:

MANILA, Philippines (AP) - The Philippines braced for retaliatory attacks after some of the country's most hardened terror suspects were killed in a failed prison uprising that left 28 people dead, most of them inmates killed in a barrage of bullets as hundreds of police stormed the maximum security facility.

The dead included three leaders and a fourth member of the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf, a group notorious for deadly attacks and ransom kidnappings in which hostages have been beheaded.

The crisis began with an Abu Sayyaf suspect snatching a guard's weapon and quickly turned into a prolonged standoff with at least 10 of the group's top suspects leading the rebellious inmates. Three guards and 24 inmates died - 22 in Tuesday's assault to take back the prison. A police officer also was killed, his body discovered under debris hours after the operation ended.

The next is significant:
Sweat-soaked police marksmen filed out of the building after the assault to the applause of bystanders, escorting prisoners stripped to their underwear and with hands clasped behind their heads.

"The terrorists got what was coming to them," Ignacio Bunye, press secretary for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, said in a statement. "The crisis team gave them all the chances to peacefully surrender." (Bolding added.)

Abu Sayaaf has promised to retaliate, but they've bombed, kidnapped and terrorized the Phillipine people for years as part of their SOP so it's not exactly as though they've agitated quietly and peacefully and are only now thinking of escalating their tactics.

The good news:

Three leaders were among four Abu Sayyaf members killed: Alhamzer Manatad Limbong, known as Kosovo; Ghalib Andang, known as Commander Robot; and Nadzmie Sabtulah, alias Commander Global.
Limbong allegedly was involved in a mass kidnapping in 2001-02 that left several hostages - including two Americans - dead, and a ferry bombing a year ago that killed more than 100 people in the Philippines' worst terrorist attack. Others were accused of ransom kidnappings and other criminal acts.
The Phillipine media seems cut from a different cloth than ours:
"Throughout the day, the nation had to listen to the demands of people who had just killed three jail guards and were on trial for multiple murder and kidnapping," The Philippine Star daily wrote in an editorial. "And we wonder why the country is turning into a terrorist paradise."

15:15 - The Australian press has more.

Posted by Debbye at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2005

Australia requests appeal for light Bashir sentence

Mar. 4 - Update: 12:42 - Darn, I should have read Belmont Club earlier. Wretchard's post The Foundations of Barad-dur confronts the issue behind the issue.

Radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir was sentenced to 30 months for his part in the 2002 Bali bombing which killed 2002 people:

The radical Muslim cleric was yesterday sentenced to just 30 months in prison for his part in the deadly conspiracy that claimed 88 Australian lives in October 2002.

He was also cleared of four other serious anti-terrorist charges including the 2003 J.W. Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta which killed 12 people.

But the court heard no testimony from Mubarok, sentenced to life in prison, or Amrozi, sentenced to death. Mubarok refused to testify, and Amrozi never appeared in the makeshift court in the Agriculture Department's auditorium in south Jakarta.

The judges also found Bashir visited a JI training camp in The Philippines in 2000.

But they cleared the Islamist cleric of all charges connected to the 2003 blast at Jakarta's Marriott hotel, which killed 12 people.


One of Bashir's senior defence lawyers, Mahendradatta, told reporters the judges' finding was "illegal", because they had not relied on direct testimony to convict Bashir, but rather on police interviews.

The preacher has always denied any connection with terrorism, and repeatedly alleged the US and Australia pushed Indonesia into trying him. His lawyers have pointed out Bashir had been in prison for nine months when the suicide bomber attacked the Marriott hotel.

Bashir was jailed shortly after the Bali bombings, and he has already been tried and convicted once. Released and immediately rearrested in April last year, the preacher was charged under Indonesia's new anti-terrorism laws in connection with the Marriott blast, and under the penal code in connection with the Bali bombings. After a five-month trial, the judges from South Jakarta district court acquitted him of all five charges in connection with the Marriott blast, and two of the three charges connected to the Bali bombings.

Both Australia and the U.S. have condemned the light sentence, and Australia has called for the prosecutor to appeal the sentence.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said the issue was something Australians felt "very passionately" about.

"Our ambassador in Jakarta has already raised with officials in Jakarta that the sentence isn't very long," he said.

"We feel this as Australians because so many Australians died in the Bali bombing. We've got to, as a country, not just a Government, express the view on behalf of those whose loved ones were killed in Bali."

He believed a sentence of about eight years, as sought by the prosecution, would have been more appropriate.

Ba'asyir (Bashir) was found guilty of "an evil conspiracy" but acquitted of direct involvement. As he has already been in jail for 10 months due to his suspected links to the 2003 bombing of the Marriott, he will be released next year. He was acquitted last year of being the head of Jemaah Islamiyah, a terrorist group in Indonesia that has ties to al Qaeda.

CNN barely covers the reaction: Dismay over Bali bombing sentence:

Australia will ask Indonesian prosecutors to appeal for a longer jail term, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said.

"It's of some concern to us that the sentence is as short as it is. We're disappointed about that. We'd like to see a longer sentence," Downer told Australian television.

"I have instructed our embassy in Jakarta to raise this whole question of the short sentence with the Indonesian authorities and to say from our perspective we'd like to see a longer sentence," Downer said.

"We ask that the length of the sentence be appealed in the Indonesian courts."

Although the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, said that the light sentence could provoke futher terrorist attacks against Australia, intelligence agencies there have not reported an increase in threats, according to Attorney-General Phllip Ruddock.

Posted by Debbye at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)

February 24, 2005

Jihad on the Pacific Rim

Feb. 24 - If you have time (and even if you don't) I strongly recommend reading the article Dire Straits by Austin Bay in the Weekly Standard about the growth of terror networks in the Southern Pacific.

Posted by Debbye at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

Terror attacks in Lebanon, Phillipines

Feb. 14 - This story is still developing: Beirut Car Bomb Kills Former PM, 9 Others. Former PM Hariri's stance against Syrian occupation of Lebanon was well-known, which would tend to make Syria the number one suspect, but a group calling itself Victory and Jihad has claimed the dubious credit by reading a statement on al Jazeera. (They seem to believe Hariri was too pro-Saudi.)

In the Phillipines, Abu Sayaaf has responded to a military offensive against them and claimed responsibility for what they termed a Valentine's Day's "gift" to Pres. Arroyo - 3 bombs have killed seven and wounded over 100.

Feb. 16 - 13:30: Wretchard connects the dots beautifully.

Posted by Debbye at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

February 06, 2005

Thailand elections

Feb. 6 - Exit polls (!) indicate that Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra has not only been returned to power with his party Thai Rak Thai to, but that the number of seats they hold have been substantially increased (Thai PM claims victory (07-02-2005).)

Posted by Debbye at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2004

Arrests in Australian embassy bombing

Nov. 25 - Four men involved in the pre-election bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta last September have been detained and were planning more bombs, police say:

National police chief General Da'i Bachtiar said crack anti-terror police arrested the embassy attack field co-ordinator, named Rois, near Bogor on November 5, along with three other men: Hasan, Apuy and master bomb-maker Sogir.
Officers burst into their hideout and overpowered them before they could set off suicide bombs.

A cache of explosive packs and bundles were found at the scene -- chilling evidence more attacks were planned in the wake of the September 9 embassy car bomb blast that killed 11.

The four were detained in secret for almost three weeks as the hunt for other terrorists continued.


Even so, JI's [Jemaah Islamiah] principal bomb masterminds -- Malaysians Azahari Husin and Noordin Top -- are still on the run.


The missing pair are also implicated in the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed 202 people -- including 88 Australians -- and the August 5, 2003 attack on the JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, which killed 12 people.

The most important of the four arrested is Rois, alias Iwan Darmawan.

He is accused of being the right-hand man of Azahari, the bespectacled, British-trained engineer believed to have overseen design of the Bali bombs.

Rois is said to have recruited Heri Golun, the embassy suicide bomber.

Posted by Debbye at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Coup in Burma

Oct. 19 - A government spokesman in Thailand has confirmed that there has been a coup in Burma. Burma's Prime Minister, General Khin Nyunt, has been placed under house arrest on corruption charges.

Posted by Debbye at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)

PM Howard wants new security pact with Indonesia

Oct. 19 - One of the many reasons I like Australian PM John Howard is his resolute leadership in the South Pacific. His latest initiative is to seek a new security pact with Indonesia:

PRIME MINISTER John Howard wants to strike a new anti-terrorism treaty with Indonesian President-elect Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after he is sworn in as leader of the world's largest Muslim nation.


While law enforcement agencies already co-operate on many fronts, Mr Howard now wants to enter into a formal deal with Indonesia to help pursue terrorists.

The south-east Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiah, which has close ties to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda, is based in Indonesia and has carried out a string of deadly attacks across the country in the past three years, most notably the Bali bombing which killed over 200 people in 2002, and the attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta last month.

Mr Howard said today he would use his visit to Jakarta to signal his strong commitment to Australia's relationship with Indonesia.

Mr. Howard also intends to visit the Australian Embassy in Jakarta which was attacked shortly before the Australian elections.

Posted by Debbye at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

Philippine Ferry update

Oct. 11 - This is not a surprise (Bomb caused ferry blast in Philippines that killed more than 100 in February) but I do find it depressing. Would I feel more sanguine if I managed to regard it a mere nuisance?

When the left is willing turn a blind eye to suffering around the world and the right is the side that grieves, it does indeed render labels meaningless.

Kerry is not a liberal, at least not in the classic sense of the word. He may be a sanctimonious, self-serving scumbag, but he is not a liberal.

Damn, now I'm channeling Star Trek.

Posted by Debbye at 11:40 PM | Comments (1)

June 24, 2004

Terror Watch in Turkey

June 24 - A bomb exploded on a bus in Istanbul and police suspect it detonated prematurely while being transported to another location (Turkey bus explosion kills four.) A smaller blast earlier in Ankara wounded two.

A NATO summit will be held in Istanbul early next week.

Posted by Debbye at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2004

Assault in Chechnya

June 23 - There had been warnings that the Chechnyan rebels would launch a new military offensive, but the large number of attackers was a surprise (Dozens die as Chechen rebels sweep into city.)

CNN is putting the death toll at 92, and says at least three towns in southern Ingushetia were attacked.

Col. Ilya Shabalkin, head of the press service for Anti-Terrorist Operations in the Caucasus, told CNN the attacks were carried out by 50 to 100 fighters that included Chechen, Ingush and "possibly" foreign fighters. An Interior Ministry source told Interfax that about 200 rebels took part.

Shabalkin said the acting head of the Ingush Interior Ministry was among the dead. He said the fighters wanted to call attention to themselves to attract money from international terrorist organizations.

Both articles quote Russian President Putin as saying that
those responsible for the deadly attacks should be "found and destroyed. Those whom it is possible to take alive must be handed over to the courts."
But there are conflicting reports not only about the size of the attacking forces but also who the attackers were: according to this at the Command Post, an eyewitness says that some of the attackers were Ingush:
Initial reports put the number of attackers at 200-300, but the Gzt.ru website on June 23 quoted "an informed source in the Russian power structures" as saying that up to 1,500 fighters participated in the raids, with at least 80 of them involved in the attack on the Interior Ministry building in Nazran alone. According to the website, some 20 other installations around the republic were attacked. An unnamed source close to the investigation now under way into the attacks told Interfax that the goal of the attackers, who were outfitted in spetsnaz special forces uniforms and ski-masks, was to kill law-enforcement personnel. (Interfax, June 23)

Reports on the attackers' origins have been contradictory. A spokesman for the Ingushetian branch of the FSB, Aleksei Baigushkin, said that foreigners, including Turks and Algerians, were involved, but that Chechens formed the attacking group's "backbone." Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin's envoy to the Southern Federal District, Vladimir Yakovlev, said that prior to the attacks, the fighters had trickled into Ingushetia from neighboring Chechnya and North Ossetia. An unnamed official in North Ossetia's Interior Ministry, however, categorically denied Yakovlev's assertion, saying, "We don't have such fighters". (Newsru.com, June 22)

An Ingushetian traffic policeman who was briefly detained by some of the fighters told the independent Ingushetiya.ru website that all of them spoke Ingush and that while their faces were covered by masks, he could tell by their voices that they were young. The traffic policeman said that after he was released, fighters who were also Ingush stopped him several times on the way into Nazran. "They said that they were getting revenge for murders and kidnappings of their friends," the traffic policeman told the website. "And that they were killing employees of [the Ingushetian police's] criminal investigation [department], spetsnaz and OMON [special police units] for helping the Russian special services". (Ingushetiya.ru, June 22)

Likewise, Rossiiskaya Gazeta cited local residents as saying that the attackers were Ingush, "which partially refutes the version about the invasion from Chechnya," and quoted a Russian special services source as denying that they had also crossed over from North Ossetia. "According to our source, most likely no one came from anywhere," the government newspaper reported. "In the evening, people simply put on camouflage clothing, took weapons out of hiding places and went out to the streets to fight". (Rossiiskaya Gazeta, June 23)


A Nazran resident told Ingushetiya.ru that he had spoken to some of the fighters involved in the attack on the Interior Ministry building, who identified themselves as Ingush. They claimed they had "persuaded" Basayev to carry out the attacks in order to "teach a lesson" to the Interior Ministry, FSB and other special services units that have reportedly been involved in "extra-judicial punishment" and kidnappings in Ingushetia.

Best read the whole thing.

Posted by Debbye at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2004

Repression in China

June 3 - Two quick articles on China: Beijing stifles 3 dissidents and Lone Man Stages Brief Demonstration in Tiananmen.

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2004

UK Envoy injured in terrorist attack

May 22 - From The Telegraph (UK), Envoy injured by blast:

The British high commissioner to Bangladesh and his bodyguard were among 50 people injured yesterday when a bomb was thrown near a Muslim shrine.

Two people were killed in the blast from the bomb which struck Anwar Choudhury, 43, in the stomach before rolling away to explode.


Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said he was "deeply shocked" adding: "Details of exactly what happened and the nature of the injuries are not clear."

The shrine has been attacked before and it was not clear if the diplomat was the target.

A senior doctor who treated Mr Choudhury said he had soft tissue injuries in his right leg, but was "in good health". Mr Choudhury and his bodyguard, who was also lightly injured, were flown to Dhaka on a Bangladeshi air force helicopter sent by Begum Khaleda Zia, the prime minister.

There's a bit more information in this item in the Australian news.

Posted by Debbye at 01:18 AM | Comments (2)

May 02, 2004

Pakistan prison break foiled

May 2 - Pakistani police have uncovered and foiled a plot to use a truck bomb to blow a hole in the outer wall of a prison in which several terrorists are detained awaiting trial. Prisoners inside were to use smuggled explosives and weapons to make their escape (Mass al-Qa'eda jailbreak foiled by Karachi police.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)

Al Qaeda plays the market

May 2 - Al Qaeda, the refuge of those who are "in despair," dabbles in the Australian stock market with some help from a country some believe to be an ally: Aussie stocks help fund al-Qaeda:

AL-QAEDA is secretly investing in blue-chip Australian stocks and using the profits to help finance terrorism.

British intelligence agencies have established the terror group is also targeting top technology and defence corporations in Australia, Singapore and other Pacific Rim countries.

They say al-Qaeda is laundering billions of dollars it earns through drug-running, with the help of China's Secret Intelligence Service. [Emphasis added.]

US Treasury agents, working closely with European intelligence services, believe more than $A1 billion has been invested in stocks by al-Qaeda since the start of the year. [That's Australian dollars, btw.]

The money has been laundered through unsuspecting banks as far apart as Australia, Japan, Germany and Ireland.

British intelligence agency MI6 has also established that al-Qaeda's partner in the drug running was the China SIS.

Please, is really anyone surprised that Communist China may be less than an honourable member of the world community? PM Martin may think that the Chinese, who are wholeheartedly repressing human rights and reneging on agreements over Hong Kong, should have a seat at his G-20 table, but is that to protect Canadian trade with China or because he thinks the Chinese have anything to offer to the future?

[Note to those who read the article: CSIS in this case refers to the Chinese, not Canadian, intelligence agency.]

Posted by Debbye at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)

Terrorism concerns in southeast Asia (Updated)

May 2 - A brief article from Insight Magazine probes a question that hasn't been addressed on this continent enough: the extent to which Southeast Asia is Al-Qaeda's 'Second Front'.

Answering this question is harder than it appears in large part due to the patterns of denial by southeast Asian countries. Prior to the October, 2002, terrorist attack in Bali, for example, the Indonesian government had strenuously denied there were organized terrorist organizations there but if there was any upside to that attack, it was exposing the vast Jemaah Islamiah network that had penetrated even Australia itself.

As noted here, Thai officials have been divided over who was responsible for coordinated attacks that were launched April 28 on police stations and check points with some blaming the attacks on youth gangs.

There are some very serious concerns about that region:

The London-based analysts cite as an example an event that transpired on June 13, 2003. Acting on information received from U.S. investigators, according to the report, Thai authorities "seized a large amount of radioactive material" that originated from Russian stockpiles and that was smuggled into Thailand through Laos. The material, Cesium-137, a radioactive derivative of nuclear power plants, was to be used for a "dirty bomb."

Some analysts believe that Thailand and Southeast Asia, including parts of northern Australia, have been designated by al-Qaeda as a "second front" in the war on terror.

Last February, CNN had an online three part analysis of terrorism in southeast Asia:
Part I, Uncovering southeast Asia's jihad network,
Part II, Building al Qaeda's Asian network, and
Part III, Terrorism's new frontline.

These reports are worth the time it takes to read them. Although dated, there are some very familiar names that come up including my personal favourite, Jabarah, a Canadian from nearby St. Catharines who was eventually captured in Thailand. [I made the same mental slip again. This must be Freudian ...]

Things are not exactly tranquil in Indonesia these days; although the reaction to the arrest of Abu Bakar Bashir for his part in the Bali attack have not led to more than sporadic riots, his supporters are blaming pressure from the USA and Australia for the arrest rather than evidence of Bashir's central role in Jemaah Islamiah. (Diversion tactics are a major propaganda tool in Indonesia, too, it seems.)

As always, it is easier to see the rioters than those who continue with their daily lives; although the firm rejection of an Islamic fundamentalist state in the recent elections in Malaysia and this article about the Malaysia economy indicates that comparisons between southeast Asia and the Mideast have some interesting dissimilarities.

Just as economic opportunities play a role in combating terrorism, the threat of terrorism plays a role in reducing international investments which reduces economic opportunities. [Note to anti-globalization nuts: Shut. Up. How they can invoke anti-imperialism while urging measures that force people to live in poverty redefines either ignorance or cruelty. There are no noble savages, just people dying of malaria, malnutrition, AIDS and sometimes outright starvation.]

One lapse of the article is not taking a closer look at how Australia is leading the anti-terrorism efforts in the region, but then Australia itself is reticent on the subject. From what I've read in the Autralian press, though, it is fairly evident that Australia is monitoring that region, which although it may seem far away, is truly North America's western flank.

Note to Sen. Kerry and the state of California: screw Old Europe. The only thing they watch is their own backsides slipping deeper into irrelevance. Look to the west, old man. Dissing our true western allies really pisses me off, and if the media would pay more attention to that front I might regain some respect for them.

Insight Magazine is a sister publication of the Washington Times and UPI. I hope that the Times will begin to take more notice of Australia and the western front.

13:23: On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Commission demanded demanded Thailand investigate the killings. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said:

"It is my job and we can cope with this matter. We are trying to explain this to foreigners. But if they do not understand or ignore our explanation, I don't care because we are not begging them for food," Thaksin said.
What part of "they were coming at us with weapons" doesn't the High Commissioner understand?

The Acting UN High Commissioner, Bertrand Ramcharan, gets his say here.

Posted by Debbye at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2004


Apr. 29 - Interesting update to this story about co-ordinated attacks on Thai police stations and checkpoints in an apparent effort to steal weapons: Thailand split over deadly attacks. The controversy is over who is to blame for the attacks: criminals, or Islamic separatists. There are also suggestions of non-Thai organization of the attacks and the possibility that the police were tipped off ahead of time and thus prepared.

As I noted yesterday, separatists have organized raids to steal firearms and explosives in Thailand before.

Posted by Debbye at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2004


Apr. 28 - Co-ordinated dawn assaults of suspected separatists armed with machetes and a few guns on 10 police stations and security checkpoints was fought off resulting in over 112 dead in southern Thailand.

Thailand's Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, said that the attackers wanted to steal the weapons and sell them, but weapons and explosives have been stolen in the past and there have been several terrorist attacks by Islamic separatists in the region.

CNN says it was 15 police stations, and 107 attackers, 3 policeman and 2 soldiers were killed.

On Wednesday afternoon, police stormed a mosque in which said a gang had holed up using rocket propelled grenades and tear gas. 30 were killed.

Posted by Debbye at 10:00 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2004

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Apr. 12 - The name of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has come up again, this time calling for an Afghan uprising.

This shouldn't be a surprise (which isn't to say that I would have preferred to be disappointed):

In a statement obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday, Hekmatyar calls for an Afghan uprising in a competitive spirit with Iraq. He welcomed the uprising by supporters of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who have been battling U.S. forces in Iraq.

Afghans "like Iraqi mujahedeen, will choose the way of uprising against the occupiers," said the Pashtu-language statement, translated by AP.

Hekmatyar heads Hezb-e-Islami, an Islamic guerrilla faction that fought invading Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He has reportedly joined forces with the Taliban against the U.S.-backed government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The statement was in the form of a letter delivered by a Hekmatyar aide, and note that the authenticity of the letter has not been confirmed.

There is more about Gulbuddin Hekmatyar here, here, here, here, and a short biography that only covers up to 1997 here. (By the way, if you chose to do your own google search is name is often inverted, as Hekmatyar Gulbuddin.)

The man arrested for the bombing attack that killed Canadian Cpl. Jamie Murphy on Jan. 27 was said to be a disciple of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

An odd twist is an incidence of kidnapping in Afghanistan:

KABUL (AP) - Dozens of suspected Taliban kidnapped an intelligence chief and two soldiers in a central Afghan province, a local government official said Monday, and there were conflicting reports about their fate.

The three men were abducted Thursday near Chenartu, a town 355 kilometres southwest of Kabul in Uruzgan province, said Fazel Rabi, a senior official in the provincial government. Authorities were negotiating their release, he said.

Another report states that they are already dead, but their bodies would be traded:
But Mullah Hakim Latifi, who claims to speak for the Taliban, told The Associated Press that Hamidullah and the soldiers had been killed. The Taliban, which was ousted by a U.S.-led coalition in late 2001, would swap the three bodies for that of a Taliban held by Uruzgan officials, he said.


Taliban militants are also blamed for a string of kidnappings, including the abduction last month of a Turkish engineer working on a U.S.-financed road project in neighbouring Zabul province.

No, I'm not inferring a conspiracy or any such as it's more likely that the power of example is at work here, but Canadian soldiers have already incurred Hekmatyar's wrath by arresting some of his associates and I presume they are being extra cautious.

Remember those who serve.

Posted by Debbye at 03:37 PM | Comments (3)

April 06, 2004

Hong Kong Watch (Updated)

Apr. 6 - Timing is everything, they say. When the eyes of the world are focused on Iraq, China lays down the law in HK.

China has declared that it alone has the power to determine what changes may happen in Hong Kong.

In a clear message that China's central government is tightening its control over the rule of law, news Chinese delegates on Tuesday said they had decided the territory must submit proposed political reforms to Beijing for approval.
Concentrated, centralized power in a country as large and populous as China is only one of the ills of that country and of communism.
In recent months, Chinese President Hu Jintao's administration has played hardball, worried calls for more democracy in the territory will spill over to the mainland.

Beijing is also concerned about losing control over the territory, prompting it to issue rhetoric not seen in decades.

It stressed that Hong Kong's ruling elite must consist of "patriotic" elements and has labeled pro-democracy politicians "unpatriotic."

This isn't exactly a surprise, but it does pose a serious challenge to countries who support freedom.

Apr. 7 - 12:13: And leaders in Hong Kong protest the decision.

Opposition parties in Hong Kong attacked the ruling as an infringement on the 50-year period of autonomy China promised when it replaced Britain as Hong Kong's sovereign power in 1997, and as a big step back for democracy.

The Civil Human Rights Front, a broad coalition of pro-democracy groups, announced Tuesday night that it would hold a march on Sunday afternoon to protest Beijing's decision.

Posted by Debbye at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2004

Terror threats in Australia

Apr. 2 - The hunt is on for Abou Saleh, a Chechen said to be one of bin Laden's most senior bomb experts, who was recruited by a deported terrorist, Willie Brigitte, to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia.

Brigitte told interrogators he had been ordered by Pakistan-based al-Qaeda operatives to meet Salah in Sydney to help him prepare an Australian atrocity.

According to the French dossier on the Australian terror threat, Salah and Brigitte were to work with Pakistan-born Sydney architect Faheem Khalid Lodhi to prepare "an attack of great size" in Sydney.

The dossier said Salah was also the commander of a series of vast terror-training camps in Pakistan.

It is believed that the attack is to be made upon military or nuclear facilities.

A report on transport security prepared by Australian officials was distributed at an anti-terrorism conference in Manila organized by the ASEAN Regional Forum. It stated that terrorists may be planning to attack shipping lanes with a "crude nuclear device". Jemaah Islamiyah is said to be thriving despite the crackdown by the Indonesian government and

... appeared to be pursuing terror training and links with groups from the Philippines to Pakistan.

"The overall picture ... is that South-East Asia remains a front line in the fight against terrorism. More attacks that threaten the safety and security of regional communities are inevitable," said an Australian government report. [Original ellipses]


One indication that the group [Jemaah Islamiha] was determined to survive was its effort to link up with organisations beyond South-East Asia, the report said, citing the discovery of a Jemaah Islamiah unit, identified as the al-Ghuraba cell, in Karachi, Pakistan, last year.

The cell, composed of Malaysians, Indonesians and Singaporeans, was established to train future religious and military leaders, it said.

Another Pakistan-based terror group, the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, has also been linked to the Karachi cell, the report said.

It said there were indications that Jemaah Islamiah was working with extremist groups in the southern Philippines "to the point of sharing training facilities and operational expertise".

Posted by Debbye at 12:02 AM | Comments (1)

April 01, 2004


Apr. 1 - Thailand - 1.3 tons of ammonium nitrate have been stolen in the southern part of the country and security forces placed on high alert.

58 sticks of dynamite and 170 detonators were also stolen.

Bhokin Bhalakula, the interior minister, said his immediate fear was an attack on Hat Yai - a southern town popular with tourists from neighbouring Malaysia - at next week's Thai new year water festival.
See here for information on the terrorist attack last week.

Posted by Debbye at 12:05 AM | Comments (1)

March 31, 2004

Wahhabis arrested in Uzbekistan

Mar. 31 - The violence in Uzbekistan lessened today and several people arrested.

Police were scouring the capital Wednesday in pursuit of fugitive militants, and reportedly arrested at least 30. A police official said those in custody so far were adherents of the strict Wahhabi Islamic sect, which was believed to have inspired al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, and not members of an extremist group President Islam Karimov has implied were behind the attacks.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is not considered to be a terrorist organization by the US., and its British office denies the group has been involved in the recent attacks.

Posted by Debbye at 11:25 PM | Comments (1)

War on Terror vs. Victimhood (Updated)

Mar. 31 - The Mar. 29 (Monday) arrest in Ottawa of 24-year old Mohammad Momin Khawaja, a software developer who works on contract with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, makes for a very interesting supposition:

Mohammad Momin Khawaja, 24, is charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act with participating in the activity of a terrorist group and facilitating a terrorist activity.

According to an RCMP news release some of the activity may have taken place in London, England.

An insert on the CBC page details the charges:
That Mr. Khawaja did:

1) On or between November 10, 2003 and March 29, 2004, at or near the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario and at or near the City of London, England, did knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, an activity of a terrorist group, for the purpose of enhancing the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity, as defined in section 83.01(1) of the Criminal Code, thus committing an indictable offence, contrary to section 83.18 of the Criminal Code.

2) On or between November 10, 2003 and March 29, 2004, at or near the City of Ottawa, in the Province of Ontario and at or near the City of London, England, did knowingly facilitate a terrorist activity, as defined in section 83.01 (1) of the Criminal Code, thus committing an indictable offence, contrary to section 83.19 of the Criminal Code.

Mr. Khawaja appeared in court today at 1:30 p.m. in Ottawa at which time he was remanded in custody until Friday, April 2, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. A publication ban on the proceedings was granted by the court.

The speculation is inevitable: were the near-simultaneous raids in Canada and England conducted as a result of coordinated and cooperative investigations?

Robert at Expat Yank continues coverage of the Tuesday arrests of 8 British citizens in southeast England, raids on 24 locations, and the seizure of half a ton of ammonium nitrate here noting that the response of the Muslim Council of Britain was first initiated following the train bombings in Madrid.

A portion of the MCB letter, which was redrafted after the arrests, urges British Muslims to remember that they too must do what they can to stop terror attacks:

The letter asks for the "utmost vigilance" to help "safeguard" the UK.

Sermons will be delivered on Friday saying terrorism has no place in Islam, while booklets being printed will remind Muslims of their obligation to help safeguard Britain's security.

"A terrorist attack will not discriminate between Muslims and Christians", Mr Bunglawala said.

"As British citizens, we have a right to help the safeguarding of this country by co-operating with police."

However he also urged caution because a number of "high-profile arrests in the past of Muslims" had led to no charges or convictions.

The laudable stand taken by the MCB is somewhat diminished though by the BBC report that says that the letter was drawn up as part of the council's long-term plan to combat "Islamophobia". I liked it better when I thought it was drawn up to combat terrorism (although the BBC may be putting their own spin on it.)

Or not: an MCB campaigner said the press coverage of the arrests was unfair:

Inayat Bunglawala of the Muslim Council of Britain picked out one headline which described the police operation as: "Islamic bomb attack foiled".

"First of all we don't know whether it was a bomb attack," he told BBC Breakfast.

"And secondly, to describe it as Islamic is offensive to ordinary Muslims."

Robert notes on the first
But, he's right, technically, one supposes. After all, the chemical hadn't been turned into an explosive as of their arrests.

Actually, that's profound: Is an unexploded explosive actually an explosive?

and on the second
However, it is an unfortunate and undeniable fact of life that all Islamist terrorists are indeed Muslims. They blow up themselves and/or others in the name of Islam. If that is a problem for most Muslims, then one would think most Muslims would want to begin to deal with it.
It might seem that we are still are square one: as Dr. Daniel Pipes noted some time ago, the solution to Muslim radicals is Muslim moderates. Yet public statements by Inayat Bunglawala notwithstanding, there have been quieter (and less publicized) actions by Muslim citizens in places like Cleveland, and the recent elections in Malaysia resulted in a complete rejection of fundamentalist Islamists.

Yet the media by and large remains focused on one theme: Muslims are victims - not of radical Islamists in Muslim countries (which they are) but of Western nations who take action to stop terror attacks by arresting suspected terrorists before they strike.

A BBC website report about arrests made under Britain's Terrorism Act of 2000 is headlined Whatever became of Britain's 500 'terrorist suspects which does eventually refute accusations of racial profiling:

Of the 529 arrested, 77 people have been charged under the Terrorism Act. Only seven have been convicted. Baghdad Meziane and Brahim Benmerzouga were found guilty in April this year of raising funds for terrorism and were each jailed for 11 years. Last year two men were jailed for belonging to a banned network, the International Sikh Youth Federation.

In June this year, three men were convicted under the act of belonging to another banned group, the Red Hand Commandos, linked to the Irish UVF.

Note that the Red Hand Commandos is a banned group, not a terrorist group.

And then this:

Critics say the sweeping powers granted by the law, which lower the normal standards of reasonable suspicion, have been used to target Muslims in particular.

Community groups describe this as "racial profiling", for example considering somebody suspicious because of their style of dress.

But the law has been applied more widely. The trial of three men charged under the act with possessing guns and bomb-making devices to further the aims of the paramilitary Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters, is due to start soon.

Yet to some, the fact that so many have been arrested then released without charge is evidence of a "fishing expedition" by the police.

I don't know British law so I don't know exactly what "arrested then released without charge" means, but can someone be arrested without charges being laid under British law? Is this the equivalent of "taken into custody for questioning" which, under Canadian and US laws, is not the same as being arrested?

If indeed the "fishing expedition" is to conduct an interrogation, then it isn't that different from the steps taken in any criminal investigation. I tend to doubt that the British police and anti-terror divisions have sufficient personnel to question everyone in Britain because of the apparel and that other evidence is necessary before someone is picked up.

But the MCB letter is also somewhat after the fact given this:

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner said the raids followed the infiltration of alleged extremist Islamist groups.

He said sources had told him the alleged targets of any bombing were not military or government-related but members of the public.

Infiltration likely means that British Muslims infiltrated and were instrumental in gathering the evidence that led to the arrests and ammonium nitrate seizure.

Algerian journalist Mohamed Sifaoui has lost family and friends in terror attacks. He therefore posed as a terrorist sympathizer and then wrote a book, Inside al Qaeda, which states uncategorically that Britain is the biggest safe haven for hard-core fundamentalists. He also denounces the foolish romanticising of terrorists and the failure to comprehend that they primarily murder Muslims.

And last September, Mohammed Nasim, chairman of the moderate Central Mosque in Birmingham, accused the British authorities of letting British Muslims down by not taking stronger action against radical Islamists in Britain.

Early reports on the arrests of the Lackawana Seven (more here) said that some members of the Lackawanna Muslim community were concerned about the odd behaviour of some of the men so contacted the FBI. That tip led to the discovery of an al Qaeda cell.

There are several reasons to believe the early assertion (not the least being televised interviews with members of the Muslim community in Lackawanna immediately after the arrests) and of course the fact that the defendents pled guilty and thus the US government did not need to call witnesses during trial proceedings but I still find the failure of the media to credit American Muslims with the willingness to confront terrorists within their midst disheartening.

The CBC coverage of the Khawaji arrest has thus far been a repeat of their coverage of the Khadr family - interviews with family members who might not necessarily be objective and insist this has been a dreadful mistake and the police are storm troopers.

They are proving their enlightened state by sympathizing with the victim, and it is that assumption on their part - that anyone arrested for terrorist related activities must be a victim - which most clearly indicates their bias.

The BBC couldn't run the the same show on their side of the Atlantic because half a ton of unexploded explosives is a little hard to explain away, so they are forced to content themselves with portraying all British Muslims as victims who will suffer because 8 Muslims have been arrested.

It aggravates me because the CBC and BBC, in their desire to prove that they are enlightened beyond all other mortals, overlook the primary targets of Islamist terrorists: other Muslims.

We know that they don't mind killing other Muslims. Think of how many Muslims have died in the terror attacks in Istanbul, Riyadh, Mombasa, Casablanca, and Baghdad? Jakarta? Pakistan? Kashmir? Bombay?

After all, what does a word like apostate imply? Something a little stronger than "we'll have to agree to disagree."

We know that the ultimate aim of the Islamists is to purge the world of infidels and that includes Muslims who do not accept the narrow, constricted view of Islam made manifest by the Taliban.

We know this because they have told us this repeatedly through their videotapes, indeed through the very press agencies that would have us believe that Muslims are victimized by Western societies that allow them to practise religion freely and without state interference.

No thinking person should doubt that the vast majority of Muslims support the goals of the war on terror yet the media have done everything in their power to divide those of us who would fight.

We must strive to change this.

22:40: Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew says moderates must speak against acts out or Western countries will think they are the only ones fighting terrorism.

21:51: Canadian Mohammad Khawaja's father, Mahboob Khawaja, has been detained in Saudi Arabia according to his son, Qasim Khawaja. The Saudi government has not confirmed the detention.

Apr. 1 00:15: Silence the preachers of hate

Britain's most prominent Muslim leader last night demanded a crackdown on "rogue" Islamic preachers, blaming them for brainwashing young men with sermons promoting holy war against the West.

Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, was backed by the families of some of the eight men arrested in Tuesday's anti-terrorism raids in south-east England.

Read the whole thing.

21:18: Rantburg has a good compilation and solid speculation as to the possible targets of the British cell.

Posted by Debbye at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

March 30, 2004

Uzbekistan and the Phillippines

Mar. 30 - In Uzbekistan, 43 people have been killed in the past two days in terror-related events. The suicide attack in a market was shortly followed by series of attacks primarily against police and state authority targets in which 23 have been killed. The account of events is swift, and the article includes a time-line from the 1991 declaration of indepedence from the Soviet Union through to the present.

Apr. 1 - 21:48: This and this are excellent summaries of events.

In the Phillippines, four members of Abu Sayyaf were arrested and 80 lbs. of dynamite were seized and authorities believe the arrests prevented a planned attack on Manila of the same scale as the Madrid train bombs.

Posted by Debbye at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)

March 29, 2004

Spain to increase Afghan force

Mar. 29 - Incoming Spanish government to double Afghanistan contingent.

After the increase, the total Spanish force in Afghanistan will be 250.

Posted by Debbye at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

Terror attack in Uzebekistan

Mar. 29 - Putting a bomb outside a large children's store is surely one definition of evil: Blast rips through Uzbek market in Tashkent, the capital city of Ukbek. It killed two and injured at least 20. It is suspected that a woman was a homicide bomber.

Uzbekistan became an ally of the USA in the build-up to the Afghanistan war and allowed air bases for our military. The country has a poor human rights record, and has suffered from terrorist attacked conducted by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan which is said to be linked to al Qaeda.

CNN has the war on terror in death quotes in an article about death from terrorism. Nice.

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 AM | Comments (4)

March 27, 2004

Bomb in Thailand injures 30

Mar. 27 - Thai bomb blast injures at least 30. A bomb on a motorcycle exploded outside a bar on the Malaysian border. Two of the injured were in serious condition, and most of those injured were Malaysian tourists. The recent elections in Malaysia was a rejection of the Islamist party.

No one has taken responsibility for the blast and the police did not speculate on the motive, but there have been a number of terrorist attacks in the region killing nearly 50 people, mostly security personnel.

On Jan. 4, 4 soldiers were killed and hundreds of weapons stolen in a raid on an army armory. According to the AP correspondent,

Sungai Golok is a popular destination for male tourists from Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim. The town is known for prostitution and smuggling.

Since January, a wave of violence has wracked the three southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.


No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the government blames them on Islamic separatists reviving a decades-old independence campaign for the region.

On Tuesday, a time bomb exploded near city hall in Narathiwat town, the provincial capital, as Thailand's Interior Minister Broken Bhalakula and Defense Minister Gen. Chetta Thanajaro were meeting with senior police officials there to discuss the violence in the south. At least one person was injured in the blast.

The police have made several arrests in connection with the January 4 raid, but their cases have not yet come to trial.

Posted by Debbye at 09:18 PM | Comments (2)

War on terror update - Israel, Spain and Canada

Mar. 27 - Hamas planed and attempted to execute an Attack from sea:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Armed Palestinians in wetsuits and flippers emerged from the Mediterranean and fired toward a beachfront Israeli settlement in the Gaza Strip, the army said yesterday. Two attackers were killed, and a third was wounded and fled. The Islamic militant group Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack on the Tel Katifa settlement in Gaza. Hamas has threatened to carry out attacks on Israelis to avenge the assassination of its founder, Sheik Ahmed Yassin.

There was an incident in Bethlehem yesterday:

In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian in a brief clash with about a dozen youths hurling stones near the Rachel's tomb holy site, according to hospital officials and witnesses.
And there was another attempt which was thwarted when the bomb exploded prematurely:
In the nearby [to Nablus] Balata refugee camp, a Palestinian militant was killed when a car he was driving exploded. Palestinian security officials said explosives in the car apparently blew up prematurely. The blast killed Ahmed al-Abed of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades.
Interesting news about the Mar. 11 bombing in Spain:
MADRID, Spain -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian linked to al-Qaida and suspected of heading a terrorist network in Iraq, is now believed to have been the brains behind the deadly Madrid railway attacks, a French investigator said yesterday. Investigator Jean-Charles Brisard said Spanish officials told him some suspects held in the March 11 attacks were in contact with al-Zarqawi as recently as a month or two before the bombings, which killed 190 people and wounded more than 1,800.

"They believe today he was the mastermind," Brisard, who is probing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, said in a phone interview from Geneva.

The Spanish interior ministry declined to comment. "The investigation is at a critical stage," a ministry official said.

Brisard's comments came as the probe spread to Germany, a key staging ground for the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington.

German police raided an apartment in Darmstadt, where a Moroccan suspect arrested on Wednesday in the Madrid train bombings stayed briefly last year. The 28-year-old man is suspected of membership in a foreign terrorist organization, a prosecutor said.

German officials said they had no evidence the Madrid attacks were planned or prepared in Germany.

A total of 19 people have been placed in custody in Spain.

Successes by the Canadian military in Afghanistan could result in terrorist attacks in Canada:

MONTREAL -- Raids by Canadian troops in Afghanistan could lead to retaliatory attacks at home, a top federal official said yesterday. "If our very brave soldiers are successful in having a major incursion against al-Qaida, we'll be back on a list (of targets)," Robert Wright, national security adviser to Prime Minister Paul Martin, told those attending a security conference.


He told a Senate committee last month Canada has received warnings about terror threats to planes. He refused to give details.

Wright noted Canada fell off al-Qaida's list of targets when the federal government decided not to join the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

But a suicide attack that killed Canadian Forces Cpl. Jamie Murphy in Kabul two months ago drove home the reality that Canadians aren't safe from terrorism. The attack followed a raid by Canadian troops in which suspected terrorists and alleged drug lords were captured.

Wright noted Canada has spent $8 billion on security since Sept. 11, 2001.

Posted by Debbye at 10:07 AM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2004

Elections in Malaysia

Mar. 23 - The election two days ago in Malaysia were a defeat for those who campaigned to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state and, by a 90% majority, a mandate for moderation.

There's a brief summary in yesterday's Toronto Sun.

Posted by Debbye at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2004

Mahathir endorses Kerry

Mar. 19 - Did Sen. Kerry really not understand that his boast of having contact with foreign leaders who have confided they want him to win would blow up in his face?

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has endorsed Kerry. Read this post at Right Wing News in case you've forgotten Mahathir's anti-Semitic views.

Guess Mahathir didn't like Pres. Bush stating outright that he didn't agree with those views.

Posted by Debbye at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

Nexus of Terrorism

Mar. 19 - I fell asleep on the couch shortly after No. 1 Son left last night. I wonder why? The real question: am I looking too closely, or are there signs that al Qaeda and other terrorists have started a major counter-offensive? Events in Syria and Iran indicate that the forces for freedom are also on the move.

Mar. 2 - Multiple attacks on Shiite commemoration of Ashura in Iraq.

Mar. 4 - Abdul Raouf Naseeb captured in Yemen.

Mar. 4 - Abdurahaman Khadr admits family closely connected to al Qaeda

Mar. 4 - Sunni and Shiite clerics march together in Iraq to protest terrorism.

Mar. 4 - Insurrection in Iran.

Mar. 4 - Abdurahman Khadr says he was a CIA agent in Bosnia.

Mar. 5 - Palestinian civil war begins?

Mar. 8 - Interim Iraq Constitution signed

Mar. 8 - Int'l Women's Day march in Iran attacked by security forces

Mar. 9 - North Korea issues rhetoric, withdraws from meaningful talks

Mar. 9 - Abu Abbas dies

Mar. 11 - Terrorist attack in Spain.

Mar. 12 - Millions of Spaniards demonstrate against terrorism

Mar. 13 - Uprisings in Iran

Mar. 14 - Elections in Spain, appeasers voted in.

Mar. 14 - Two terrorist attacks in Ashod, Israel, kills 10

Mar. 15 - Israel retaliates

Mar. 15 - New Spanish government announces they will withdraw from Iraq.

Mar. 15 - Polish government says Fine, we'll carry on without Spain

Mar. 15 - Uprisings in Syria, Iran.

Mar. 15 - Vandals in north Toronto target homes of Jewish citizens with anti-Semitic graffiti.

Mar. 16 - Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir (aka Kahlid Ali Hajj, "The Poet") killed in Saudi Arabia

Mar. 16 - Group with possible Chechen links threaten French over head-scarf ban

Mar. 17 - Mount Lebanon Hotel in Baghdad hit by car bomb

Mar. 17 - Renewal of violence in Kosovo.

**Mar. 17 - Spain goverment received communique dated Mar. 15 claiming to be from al Qaeda which declared a cease-fire with Spain.

Mar. 18 - Pakistan troops heavily engaged in battle in north, may have surrounded al Zawahiri.

Mar. 18 - Additional troops go into Kosovo in response to renewed violence.

Mar. 18 - British announce additional 650 (+-) British troops to be deployed to Kosovo which will be augmented by US and Italian forces.

**Mar. 18 - Second communique claming to be from al Qaeda threatens further attacks in retaliation for death of Khaled Ali Hajj (aka Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, The Poet) in Saudia Arabia.

**Mar. 18 - Attempted assassination of Jose Murat, Governor of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Mar. 19 - President and Vice-President of Taiwan shot by would-be assassins and a FARC plot to assassinate the president of Columbia has been thwarted.

Mar. 19 - First of British troops land in Kosovo; an additional 600 German troops are also to be deployed.

Mar. 19 - French restaurant in Bahrain stormed by Islamists angered by alcohol served. Cars of restaurant patrons hit with Molotov cocktails.

**Mar. 19 - Car bomb in Basra kills 3 people, angry residents catch bomber and kill him:

A man who left the vehicle shortly before the blast was caught by passers-by and stabbed to death, said police Lt.-Col. Ali Kazem. Two others spotted getting out of the vehicle were caught by members of the public and later arrested.
Three Iraqi journalists killed, nine wounded in by drive-by shooting, three US soldiers killed by mortar fire.

Mar. 19 - Plans for the Pakistan-India cricket match remain firm. (I see a major political message in this sports event.)

I left some things out, including the letter purporting to be from al Qaeda declaring a cease-fire in Spain and today's bomb threat targeting DC schools.

Do you suppose the seeming simultaneity is what Sec. of State Colin Powell meant when he used the expression a nexus of terrorism to describe the link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein during his UN presentation last year?

These events may be linked on purpose or they may have inspired one another, but anyone who understands that we are at war might also believe that terrorists are being flushed out into the open.

Others will doubtless say that the events are a direct result of US intervention in Iraq, but there were so many events which preceeded that war that I don't think it an adequate explanation.

**late additions to list

Posted by Debbye at 11:29 AM | Comments (2)

Important stories from Thursday

Lots more on Adscam, but Andrew Coyne is doing such a terrific job I'm going to let him carry this ball.

According to the Chinese ambassador, Canada's lot lies with EU

The Chinese Ambassador in Brussels said the other day, in that big-picture Chinese way, that the creation and success of the European Union is one of those transforming human events that happens every 300 or 400 years.
The article notes that the EU has successfully avoided war. It doesn't note that one of the wars it avoided was the ongoing one in Kosovo.

More anti-Semitism in Toronto:

Police had to be called to York University on Tuesday after a dramatization of an Israeli border crossing by pro-Palestinian students led to a rival demonstration at the politically charged campus.
Is there a connection with what happened yesterday? As Margaret Wente points out, We Can't Afford to Look Away noting that the West is looking away from blatant anti-Semitism in the Arab world.

The insurrection in Syria went into it's fifth day. The death toll is reported to be at least 30. A timely reminder:

Kurds comprise almost two million of Syria's 17 million population although about 200,000 of them are not recognised as citizens of the country as a punishment for seeking to establish an autonomous homeland.
Australia and Japan were mentioned as possible targets on the Al-Quds al-Arabi webiste but both governments said they wouldn't be intimidated. The website also reassured the Spanish government that they needn't worry:
In its statement, Abu Hafs al-Masri said it was calling a truce in Spain to give the socialist government that was elected Sunday, three days after the train attacks, time to carry out its pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq.
How humiliating it must be for the Spanish to be told that the group which has claimed responsibility for killing 202 people in the attack last week is pleased with their election results.
The group appeared to boast it had the power to change governments. The socialists, who have long opposed Spain's military involvement in Iraq, were running second in Spanish opinion polls until Thursday's bombings.

"We change and destroy countries," the statement said. "We even influence the international economy, and this is God's blessing to us. We won't accept to be an object in this world, but a player, a strong player - with God's will."

The statement tells American voters that Abu Hafs al-Masri supports the re-election campaign of U.S. President George W. Bush: "We are very keen that Bush does not lose the upcoming elections."

The statement goes on to boast that it is anxious to have the Arab world see how dreadful the US really is. Sounds a lot like the Maoist rhetoric I heard back in the 60's.

Many thanks for the links to these stories which were available because I receive Jack's Newswatch by email daily.

Posted by Debbye at 10:45 AM | Comments (4)

Important stories from Wednesday

Mar. 19 - These are some important stories I missed Wednesday:

There was an ugly incident of anti-Semitism here: T.O. police probing anti-Semitic hate crimes in north Toronto.

Part of the rise in anti-Semitism last year is being blamed on the war in Iraq, which produced a spike in hate crimes. The ongoing tensions and violence in Israel is apparently giving licence to hate mongers.
The Canadian media, always ready to Blame America.

More news from Syria about Syria uprisings and Syrian officials blame US for the Kurdiah uprising because US flags were spotted in crowd. I'll own up to such that blame inspiration gladly and gratefully.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda yesterday accused France of direct responsibility for the 1994 genocide of at least 800,000 people in the central African country.

M Kagame claimed that the French government supplied weapons, logistical support and even senior military planners to the regime of militant ethnic Hutus responsible for the slaughter of 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. (UPDATE: Mar. 24 - See this for seeming verification of the charge.)

France's growing closeness to the Chinese leadership was signalled yesterday when the two countries held joint naval exercises and the European Union said it wanted to scrap its post-Tiananmen Square arms embargo. Hmm, Chretien was visiting China when Adscam broke out.

SAN'A, Yemen (AP) - Nine suspects in the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole have been arrested, the government of Yemen said Tuesday, including eight who escaped from jail last year.

These and other stories were on my daily email from Jack's Newswatch which I can keep and use the links to refer back to important stories as they develop.

Jack changes the page daily, so bookmark it for your first stop visit to catch Canadian and international news stories.

Incidently, Jack is a veteran, and pays special attention to Canadian troops troops and to the history of the regiments in Canada. In a country that all but ignores it's military unless it makes for a good sound-bite, Jack is a lone voice of support.

You can sign up to be on his mailing list with an email to Jack Davies (contact address at the site.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2004

North Korea

Mar. 9 - North Korea has put up more obstacles which may derail the upcoming multilateral talks. They are now linking the withdrawal of US troops to S. Korea to a settlement (totally overlooking the fact that when we began to withdraw troops earlier they accused of doing so in readiness for an attack on them) and stating that it is unrealistic for the US to expect them to disarm (which I happen to agree with although for different reasons.)

U.S. insistence that North Korea "completely, verifiably and irreversibly" begin dismantling its nuclear programs before receiving concessions was a key sticking point in last month's six-nation talks aimed at brokering a deal.
Indeed, as the last deal brokered went so well with both sides honouring the pact.
The talks bogged down over differences about what nuclear projects would be subject to being dismantled and how that would be verified. They ended without a major breakthrough.

North Korea blamed the outcome on an "unrealistic old assertion that the DPRK should scrap its nuclear program first," adding that a change in "U.S. attitude is a prerequisite to the settlement."

Thank you, Sen. Kerry, for giving N. Korea reason to dither and delay in hopes of a better attitude achieving a more lucrative settlement for them.

Nothing to see here, folks, at least until after November.

Posted by Debbye at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2004

Wang Youcai Freed

Mar. 5 - China frees democracy activist:

Wang Youcai, 37, was given medical parole and left the Zhejiang No. 1 prison in southern China early in the day, said John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, a rights group. He boarded a plane for the United States after bidding his family farewell.


Wang was sentenced in 1998 to 11 years for activities related to his founding of the China Democracy Party.

He was also one of more than a dozen student leaders of the 1989 demonstrations that led to the Tiananmen Square military crackdown in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, died. He served a year in prison in 1990 on charges related to those activities.

The fact that he had to leave China - probably forever - lessens the victory somewhat.

The article notes also that other activists have been released recently by the Chinese government. So now how about the rest, hmm?

Posted by Debbye at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Phillipine Ferry Fire

Mar. 1 - Phillipine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said that there was no evidence that the ferry fire that left 184 people missing was caused by a bomb, and dismissed claims by Abu Sayyaf that they were responsible.

Posted by Debbye at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

Who is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar?

Mar. 1 - A a link provided by an lgf commenter led to this article about how, in 1999, the CIA had forged a working releationship with Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud (who, you may remember, was killed by terrorists posing as cameramen Sept. 9, 2001) in an effort to capture or kill Bin Laden.

Flawed Ally Was Hunt's Best Hope:

The CIA first sent Massoud aid in 1984. But their relations were undermined by the CIA's heavy dependence on Pakistan during the war against the Soviets. The Pakistani intelligence service despised Massoud because he had waged a long and brutal campaign against Pakistan's main Islamic radical client, the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. As the war against the Soviets ended, Pakistani intelligence sought to exclude Massoud from the victory, and the CIA mainly went along. But under pressure from the State Department and members of Congress, the agency eventually reopened its private channels to Massoud.
From Feb. 15, the name Gulbuddin Hekmatyar appeared here when I linked to a story about the capture of a key player in Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's terrorist organization in Afghanistan by Canadian troops
However, Kabul police chief Gen. Baba Jan said ousted Taliban insurgents, al-Qaida fighters and Hekmatyar's rebels have formed a tight alliance that is spreading violence throughout the countryside and into Kabul.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bomb blast that killed Cpl. Jamie Murphy and an Afghan civilian on Jan. 27 but the man arrested was said to be a disciple of Hekmatyar's.

"These organizations are one and the same, but Hekmatyar is now the greatest threat, more dangerous than (Taliban leader) Mullah Omar or (Osama) bin Laden," Jan said, adding Hekmatyar is more familiar with Afghanistan's power structure and the streets of Kabul than either of his two insurgent counterparts.

There are a few other interesting things in the article about Massoud that I want to think about before I speculate.

UPDATE: The Yahoo link is apparently dead, so here are the Washington Post articles here and here upon which the Yahoo story was based and this is an account that casts doubt on some of the unsavoury rumours about Massoud.

Posted by Debbye at 12:01 AM | Comments (1)

February 29, 2004

Abu Sayyaf Claims Ferry Sinking

Feb. 29 - Abu Sayyaf, a group associated with al Qaeda, has taken responsibility for the ferry explosion in the Phillipines that left 180 people missing.

UPDATE: According to Phillipine President Arroyo, there is no evidence that a bomb caused the fire aboard the ferry and dismisses the Abu Sayyaf claim.

Posted by Debbye at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

Malaysian connection to Dr. Khan

Feb. 21 - A report prepared by IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei for presentation to a board of directors meeting next month is to reveal that Libya made plutonium, according to diplomats (no names are given in the report.)

Libya's success in enriching uranium means that its weapons program was much more advanced than the IAEA had originally believed.

The man who was suspected of being the negotiator and representative for Abdul Oadeer Khan, the Pakistani scientist who sold nuclear technology on the black market to countries as Libya and Iran, is Malaysian resident Buhary Syed Abu Tahir and he admitted Friday that he was the middleman in many transactions on behalf of Khan in his black market network.

According to a statemen issued by Malaysian police, in 1995

"[Khan] had asked B.S.A. Tahir to send two containers of used centrifuge units from Pakistan to Iran," the statement by Malaysian police said.

"B.S.A. Tahir organized the transshipment of the two containers from Dubai to Iran using a merchant ship owned by a company in Iran."

Posted by Debbye at 02:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2004

Kazakhstan in nuclear black market?

Feb. 20 - Kazakhstan has opened in inquiry into the possibility that the nuclear black market might be linked to the Almaty office of a Dubai company:

The black market's potential connection to Kazakhstan - which served as a nuclear testing ground until it disarmed after its 1991 independence - has raised concern about the proliferation of remnants of the Soviet weapons program. Kazakh officials strongly deny any highly enriched uranium - the form used in weapons - has leaked out of the country.
Note that this is still speculation, but questions have arisen repeatedly about the security of Soviet weapons and weapons programs since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Posted by Debbye at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2004

Canadians in Afghanistan

Jan. 29 - The terrorist attack yesterday in Afghanistan that resulted in the death of a British soldier caused the Canadian military to scale back a planned procession to the airport which was to have honoured Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy, who was killed the previous day in a terrorist attack, for his final journey home (Farewell to 'a brother'.)

The heightened security concerns have caused the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force to order that foot patrols cease and alll Iltis jeeps to be parked until further notice.

Soldiers and local authorities in Kabul have tightened security and increased police foot patrols as the investigation into the attacks continues.

The US is planning a spring offensive to track down remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban, according to a senior DoD official.

Never forget those who serve.

UPDATE: The Daily Telegraph story on the bombing death of the British soldier is here.

The soldier was the fourth British serviceman and the 24th member of the Nato-led Isaf to be killed in Afghanistan. Spokesmen for the deposed Taliban claimed responsibility, but gave different names and nationalities for the bomber.

One described him as "Saad", an Algerian-born British national in his twenties. Another said he was 28-year-old Sayed Mohammad Ahmad, a Palestinian with an Algerian passport. Abdul Latif Hakimi, a Taliban spokesman, told a news agency: "It's just the beginning. More such attacks will take place. Hundreds of our men are ready to carry out such attacks."

The soldier's name has not been released yet.

Posted by Debbye at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2004

British in Afghanistan

Jan. 28 - Two bombs were detonated nearly simultaneously in Kabul yesterday. The first exploded during a memorial service for Cpl. Jamie Brendan Murphy (the Canadian soldier who was killed yesterday by a homicide bomber) killing a British soldier and injuring 4 others.

According to the Sun (UK) the MoD confirmed that the explosion involved a British vehicle and occured during the memorial service, but if I'm judging correctly the location of the attack was not at the memorial service.

In the second attack, five "non-Afghans" were injured by a homicidal bomber in a taxi. The explosion happened near the German peacekeeping base to the east of Kabul. The victims have not been identified.

The Taliban has taken responsibility for today's bombings as well as yesterdays, and the Sun notes that the attacks occured in the same week as Afghan President Karzai signed the constitution into law.

Never forget those who serve.

Posted by Debbye at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2004

Canadian KIA in Afghanistan

Jan. 27 - Bomber kills Canadian in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A suicide bombing in Kabul has killed one Canadian soldier and wounded three others, a spokesman for the NATO-led security force said.

One Afghan civilian also died, and eight other people were treated for injuries at local hospitals, police and doctors told The Associated Press.

The suicide bomber reportedly threw himself on a vehicle that was part of a small International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol convoy operating in the Afghan capital.

The attack happened about 2 km from Camp Julien.

The Globe and Mail is calling it a suicide attack, as is the the CBC.

Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy, 26, of Conception Harbour, Nfld., was killed while on patrol in Kabul in an Iltis. Lieut. Jason Matthew Feyko, 30 of Peterborough, Ont., Cpl. Jeremy Gerald MacDonald, 30, of Burnt Islands, Nfld. and Cpl. Richard Michael Newman, 23, of Heartland, N.B., were injured. The injuries are said not to be life-threatening.

Never forget those who serve.

UPDATE: I just finished watching the press conference on CBC Newsworld, and just in case anyone besides the reporters missed this point, the bomber jumped on top of the Iltis. I doubt the vehicle they were in made a difference. I'm not even going to comment on some of the other probing questions.

And to any Canadians who are irritated that CNN television is ignoring the death of the Canadian soldier, I agree! but heck, no one has ever claimed that CNN would prioritize actual news events over a day full of celebrity lawbreakers or idle speculation (ref. the story of the bombing in Bali which was pretty much ignored so they could interview armchair experts and listen to their (inaccurate) profiles of the Washington sniper. Aargh.)

UPDATE: Canadian Comment doesn't mince words:

Last night Corporal Jamie Brendan Murphy of Newfoundland was killed while on patrol in Kabul. A murderer jumped on their vehicle strapped with explosives killing Jamie and injuring Lieutenant Jason Matthew Feyko, Corporal Richard Michael Newman, and Corporal Jeremy Gerald MacDonald.
I'm thinking that messages of condolences should be left on Canadian sites like Canadian Comment.

UPDATE: This speculates that the homicide attack was payback for the recent nightime raid on suspected terrorists and drug lords. (See here for the link describing the raid.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

January 26, 2004

Afghan war halted al Qaeda CBW programs in Malaysia

Jan. 26 - Al-Qaida program to make chemical, biological weapons halted by Afghan war according to Malaysian officials from information gathered from captured terrorist suspects in Southeast Asia:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - An al-Qaida program to develop chemical and biological weapons was in the early "conceptual stages" when it was cut short by the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. and Malaysian security officials told the Associated Press.

The information on the state of Osama bin Laden's weapons plan came from interrogations of terrorist suspects captured in Southeast Asia and from clues gathered in the Afghan battlefield, the authorities said.

The project was being developed in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Officials believe the program was being run by Yazid Sufaat, a former Malaysian army captain and U.S.-trained biochemist, under the direction of Riduan Isamuddin, or Hambali, an Indonesian accused of heading al-Qaida's operations in Southeast Asia.

Both men are suspected members of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group.

They are also both in custody. Hambali is a major operative in Jemaah Islamiyah and was implicated in the Bali bombing.

Read the article; it has a lot of information about Yazid, including his involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

Posted by Debbye at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2004

Iraq, Kashmir bombings

Jan. 9 - 5 killed in attack on Iraqi mosque:

BAQOUBA, Iraq (AP) -- A car[*] rigged with explosives exploded outside a Shiite Muslim mosque as worshippers streamed out of Friday prayers, killing five people and wounding 37, according to medical officials in the central Iraqi town of Baqouba.
The AP report attributes the attack to tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims which, although probable, is not the only possibility.

There are a number of groups that would like to undermine Iraqi unity by exacerbating tensions between the two Muslim groups, and attacks on mosques certainly does that.

* Note: some reports claim the bomb was in a bicycle.

And in another hotspot, Kashmir, hand grenade explodes in mosque wounding 15. According to the report, a hand grenade was thrown onto a rooftop during Friday prayers in Jammu, a predominantly Hindu city. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Kashmir has been wracked by violence since 1989, when Islamic guerrillas launched an insurgency to wrest the province from Indian control. More than 65,000 people have been killed in the conflict. (My emphasis because that number is horrifying.)
This is the first major attack in Kashmir since Pakistan and India took steps to reduce hostilities.

Again, the hard part is trying to ascertain if Hindus or Muslims threw the grenade in an effort to disrupt peace efforts.

Ironically, Retuers has an article by it's Religious Editor, Tom Heneghan, who reports that Europeans are puzzled by U.S. mix of faith, politics. (Okay, I freely admit that I am weary of everyone being "puzzled" by Americans when all anyone has to do is read our history, our writings and the First Amendment, so the subject already has my irritable attention.)

What is so hard to understand? Politicians (and, for that matter, the people) feel comfortable chatting about their religious views because we have absolutely no fear that the religion of the President or anyone else will ever be imposed on the population. (Ref. US Constitution, Amendments I and II, which is to say that the country would cease to exist before that could happen.)

Aren't there groups like the Inter-Faith Council in Europe? So far as I know, none of their meetings in the US have degenerated into fisticuffs or gunfights. You worship in your faith, I'll worship in mine, and let's organize a pot luck supper for our congregations (or equivalent) so they can get to know one and understand one another better.

People of all religions have plenty of common ground. Just mention kids (and especially teenagers) and watch the heads nod and laughter erupt as we compare stories about the trials and tribulations of bringing up children.

If the Europeans are truly puzzled by the role of religion in the US, they could regain some perspective by reading Jay Currie's comments on The Saudi Paradox, or ponder the anachronistic Council of Guardians in Iran.

Posted by Debbye at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2004

Afghan Constitution

Jan. 5 - Some more links to articles about the newly approved Afghan constitution from the AP, Daily Telegraph and Afghan News Network.

The AP dispatch mention that the constitution leaves open the possibility that Parliament could overrule rule the President. The Telegraph says the constitution provides for "two vice-presidents and an upper and lower house with strong legislative authority."

Not everyone is pleased: shots were fired and a grenade was thrown into the Afghanistan office of the United Nations refugee agency in Kandahar early today. There were no injuries.

Posted by Debbye at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

Nuclear Black Market

Jan. 5 - Pakistan's role in the proliferation of nuclear technology is once again under scrutiny over a sales brochure:

Pakistan faced embarrassment yesterday with the publication of a sales brochure from its top-secret nuclear facility, apparently hawking technology and components to would-be nuclear powers.

The brochure from the AQ Khan Research Laboratories, the centre of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, has an official-looking seal on the cover saying "Government of Pakistan".


Yesterday's leak, on the eve of important talks between India and Pakistan, prompted speculation in Pakistan that it was deliberately timed to put pressure on President Pervaiz Musharraf to make concessions over the long-running dispute over Kashmir.

The brochure carries a photograph of the "father" of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, and will once again draw attention to the shadowy international marketing role of the mastermind of Pakistan's three-decade-old nuclear project.

Mr Khan was formerly a leading figure at the Khan Research Laboratories in Kahuta, where Pakistan's own bomb was developed. This has been linked to the transfer of nuclear expertise and technology to Iran in the 1980s and 1990s and North Korea as recently as 2002.

Worth reading.

Posted by Debbye at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2003

Musharraf to resign from army

Dec. 24 - Some news from Pakistan: Pakistan's President Agrees to Quit Army Post. Musharraf will resign from the army by the end of 2004, scale back the special powers he granted to himself under the Legal Framework Order (which gave him the right to force the PM to resign and disband Parliament,) and ask for a vote of confidence in Parliament within a month of resigning from the army.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) is carrying a report that says Pakistan could be the nuclear quartermaster for the Axis of Evil.

Pakistan admitted for the first time yesterday that some of its scientists "motivated by personal ambition or greed" might have sold nuclear technology to Iran.

Faced with growing evidence that Pakistani nuclear know-how made its way to several "rogue states" - including Iran, North Korea and perhaps also Libya - Islamabad tried to argue that any transfer of technology was the work of individuals rather than of the government.

But President Pervaiz Musharraf will not easily fend off accusations that Pakistan, despite presenting itself as a vital ally in the war on terrorism, may in fact be the nuclear quartermaster for the "axis of evil".


Until this week, Pakistan dismissed all accusations of nuclear proliferation as part of a Western plot to divert attention from the action of Western companies that sold nuclear-related technology to "rogue states".

Western intelligence agencies have long suspected that Pakistan provided nuclear technology to North Korea in return for help with its missile programme.

But Iran's decision this year reluctantly to open up its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors has revealed a trail of hard evidence leading to Pakistan.

In particular, the uranium enrichment centrifuges discovered in the Iranian town of Natanz were based on European designs that Khan is accused of stealing in the Seventies.

Pakistan authorities are currently holding 4 scientists for "debriefing" but denies they are under arrest.

UPDATE: And there has been yet another attempt to assassinate Musharraf.

Posted by Debbye at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2003

Attackers hit dinar convoy

Dec. 1 - Attackers, several dressed as muhajadeen, ambushed 2 convoys in Samarra yesterday as they were delivering new Iraqi dinars to banks. No US soldiers were killed, although 5 were injured (one critically) and one civilian was hurt. Between 46-54 enemy were killed.

US officials are speculating that the New Iraqi currency is a lure for attacks because they need to pay off the bounties they've placed on the heads of coalition forces and personnel.

Fox reports that 8 enemies were captured and 18 injured and that 8 Iraqi civilians were killed.

Fox also reports that shortly after the firefight, 2 South Korean contractors were killed and another two wounded in a third ambush near Samarra. They were electricians building power lines for Seoul based Omu Electric Co.

Both the Japanese and South Korean governments have stated that the attacks will not deter them from supplying reconstruction efforts in Iraq. South Korea will be sending up to 3,000 troops to Iraq.

Posted by Debbye at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2003

Jakarta Marriott bombed

Aug. 6 - Yesterday's bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta killed up to 16 people and injured about 150 people in Bomb Update from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Australian PM John Howard laid it out squarely:

"It would appear that the overwhelming majority of people who have been killed and injured are Indonesians.
As were locals the main victims in Bali, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, the Phillipines ...
"Although it took place outside a hotel which is frequented by westerners and seen as something of a western symbol, the victims were the men and women of Indonesia.

"We Australians should understand this is very much an attack on Indonesia."

The bombing of the Marriott was a symbolic gesture aimed at American interests; the dead and injured in Jakarta were, what? inconvenient? collaterial damage? How about innocent.

I have a hatred for terrorism that goes back decades. I doubt I was the only person who stood and cheered when Pres. Bush declared war on that monstrous inhumanity. Something good was to come out of Sept. 11 because standing by idly while terrorists conducted a worldwide campaign against innocents had already become insupportable, so when they hit us they enabled us to take them on.

I demand an explanation from apologists for terrorists as to how they can justify the murder of Indonesians to damage a stupid building.

Posted by Debbye at 05:53 AM | Comments (0)