News Headlines & Trends
7.18.05 Musharraf points finger at militants, madrassas
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) July 18 Denouncing the London bombings as ³unIslamic², Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf accused banned militant groups on Monday of forcing their ideology on others and said some Islamic schools were involved in terrorism. Addressing a national youth conference in Islamabad, Musharraf said nothing in the Quran allowed for the July 7 attacks that killed at least 55 people. ³Launching bomb attacks in London in the name of Islam is not Islam,² he said.
He accused banned militant organizations Jaish-e-Mohammad (Army of Mohammad) and Sipah-e-Sahaba (Soldiers of Mohammad¹s Companions) of forcing their ideology upon others, although he did not link them to the London bombing. He also took aim at Islamic schools that have been accused of helping to inspire the London attacks. Musharraf himself has been accused of failing to stick to a pledge to rein them in. ³Yes, today, some madrassas are involved in extremism and terrorism,² he said, adding that the schools should stick to their traditional role of producing scholars, doctors and engineers. [More>>khaleejtimes.com via theaustralian.news.com.au]
7.18.05 Karzai ally lynched as Taliban violence rocks Afghanistan
July 18 A tribal leader and ally of President Hamid Karzai has been kidnapped and hanged by the Taliban as violence in Afghanistan continues to intensify in the approach to elections planned for September. The murder of Malik Agha Jan, a prominent tribal chief in Zabol province, in the southern Afghanistan Pashtun heartlands, is the latest in a series of killings of prominent Karzai supporters by resurgent Taliban forces.
In recent days, fighting has flared on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, with US, Afghan and Pakistani forces claiming they have killed as many as 60 Taliban insurgents and their Islamic militant allies over the past four days. Women and children were also killed alongside militants in a Pakistani army operation at the weekend in the tribal area of North Waziristan, just across the border from Afghanistan.
The murder of Agha Jan is a sign of how far the situation has deteriorated in recent months and how emboldened the Taliban have become. A vital ally of President Karzai in the battle against the resurgent Taliban, he was abducted along with his two sons, a brother and two nephews from his home on Friday.
...The Afghan army and US-led forces said they had killed 20 Taliban insurgents and Islamic militants in Khost province yesterday. While across the border in Pakistan, at least 17 people were killed in a gun battle between Pakistani soldiers and militants, among them women and children.
...The Pakistani army said the militants had used women and children as human shields, and that some women had joined in the fighting. But the deaths of women and children could provoke an explosive reaction in North Waziristan, renowned even in Afghanistan for the ferocity of its tribesmen, and where the Pakistani army does not usually venture and Pakistani law does not apply. The fighting on both sides of the border comes after insurgents attacked an Afghan army base in Khost province with a rocket, killing one Afghan soldier. The insurgents fled over the border into Pakistan where they believed they would be safe from US-led forces. But US helicopters and artillery fired on them, killing at least 24. [Full story>>independent.co.uk]
7.17.05 Sixty killed in Afghan fighting
July 18 US, Afghan and Pakistani forces have killed more than 60 suspected foreign militants and Taliban insurgents during the past three days in a series of clashes in restive tribal lands in the North-West Frontier region, military officials said today. The fighting follows a warning by a senior US official last week that forces on both sides of the border needed to squeeze the frontier region where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden might be hiding. Also last week, a Pakistani general warned tribesmen in the North Waziristan region of an imminent offensive unless they surrendered foreign militants living in their midst.
Early today, Pakistani troops killed 17 militants, some believed to be from central Asia, along with women and children, after coming under fire when they surrounded two houses near Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal agency on the border with Afghanistan, the military said. The Pakistan army offensive in North Waziristan coincides with President Pervez Musharraf's order for a countrywide crackdown on Islamist militants in the wake of revelations of Pakistani connections to the bomb blasts in London on July 7. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
7.17.05 Four suicide car bombers targeting US and Iraqi forces kill 19
BAGHDAD (AP) July 17 Four suicide car bombers targeted Iraqi and U.S. security patrols Sunday, killing 19 people in the latest surge of suicide attacks, police said. The first suicide attack killed two policemen and one civilian in the eastern New Baghdad neighborhood, police 1st Lt. Mohammed Jasim said. The attack also wounded seven policemen, some seriously, and one other civilian. About an hour later a second suicide car bomber exploded near a police convoy near the Bay'a bus station in southern Baghdad, killing three police commandos and four civilians, police Capt. Talib Thamir said. Three civilians were also injured in that blast. A third suicide car bomber missed a U.S. convoy but struck two minibuses, killing six civilians in the troubled Mahmoudiya town about 30 kilometers (20 miles) miles south of Baghdad, police Capt. Rashid al-Samarie. Nine others were also wounded.
In eastern Baghdad, another car bomber sped toward a police patrol, exploding early but killing one policeman and two civilians, police Capt. Abdul Hussein Minsif said. At least four others were wounded and several cars and homes were damaged in the blast. After a lull in attacks after a security sweep last month through the capital, attacks have increased in recent days, including a suicide bombing Saturday that killed at least 71 people in Musayyib, about 70 kilometers (40 miles) south of Baghdad. On Friday, at least seven suicide attacks exploded in the country, killing at least 30 and wounding over 110 people. [haaretzdaily.com]
7.17.05 Syria's Grand Mufti condemns kidnappings, suicide attacks in Iraq
CAIRO (DPA) July 17 Syria¹s new Grand Mufti has condemned kidnappings and suicide attacks in Iraq and said he intends to work with all Islamic sects to prevent the growth of fundamentalism, al-Hayat newspaper reported on Sunday. Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Badr el-Dein Hassoun, Syria¹s top Moslem cleric, told the al-Hayat daily following his appointment Saturday that ³Islam does not permit kidnapping." He said he was in contact with associations of Sunni and Shiite clerics in Iraq to urge them to discourage the practice ³because it is a crime that harms Islam².
Those contacts were aimed at ³preventing (suicide) operations that impact negatively on the Iraqi people², Hassoun said. ³I was the first to forbid (youths) from going to Iraq, because the country doesn¹t need youths, but wise and rational people that will return it¹s sense of self-respect,² he told al-Hayat. He said a top priority on taking office was meeting with ³all Islamic sects to unify their discourse and to together halt the spread of fundamentalism.² [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.17.05 PKK 'behind' Turkey resort bomb
ANKARA, July 17 Turkish authorities believe Kurdish PKK separatists planted Saturday's bomb on a tourist bus, said the UK ambassador. "They are virtually certain this is the PKK," Sir Peter Westmacott said. The five people killed were Helen Bennett, of County Durham, and Tara Whelan, 17, of County Waterford, Ireland, and three Turkish nationals. Among at least 13 injured are Stephen Staples and Michael Aspinall, of north-east England, and Toni and Sam Punshon and Adam Megoran, of County Durham. Mr. Staples and Mr. Aspinall suffered serious injuries and are still being treated at Ege University Hospital in Izmir, north of Kusadasi.
Despite the explosion, Sir Peter said people should not to be deterred from visiting Turkey. The PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the US and EU, has been staging a violent campaign against the Turkish government for an independent Kurdish state since 1978. More than 37,000 people have been killed in the campaign. The rebels declared a unilateral truce in 1999, but ended it in 2004, saying Turkey had not done enough to meet their demands. [jang.com.pk; See separate story, aljazeera.net, "Kurdish fighters killed in Turkey clash."
7.17.05 Time reporter: Rove was first source on CIA agent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) July 17 White House political aide Karl Rove was the first person to tell a Time magazine reporter that the wife of a prominent critic of the Bush administration's Iraq policy was a CIA agent, the reporter said in an article on Sunday. Time correspondent Matthew Cooper said he told a grand jury last week that Rove told him the woman worked at the "agency," or CIA, on weapons of mass destruction issues, and ended the call by saying "I've already said too much."
He said Rove did not disclose the woman's name, Valerie Plame, but told him information would be declassified that would cast doubt on the credibility of her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, who had charged the Bush administration with exaggerating the threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programs in making its case for war.
"So did Rove leak Plame's name to me, or tell me she was covert? No. Was it through my conversation with Rove that I learned for the first time that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA and may have been responsible for sending him? Yes. Did Rove say that she worked at the 'agency' on 'WMD'? Yes," Cooper wrote in Time's current edition. [More>>thestar.com.my]
7.17.05 Russia rejects bullying accusation by US
MOSCOW (Agencies) July 17 Russia on Friday rejected accusations by the top US military officer that it, along with China, was trying to bully smaller Central Asian nations out of hosting U.S. troops fighting terrorism. "We have been bewildered by the comments" of Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Foreign Ministry statement said. "As is well-known, all decisions made within the framework of the SCO are consensus-based and reflect the collective opinion of all the member-countries," the ministry said.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional alliance led by China and Russia, last week called on the U.S. to set a date for withdrawing forces from bases in the former Soviet republics of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Asked by a reporter what he thought of the SCO's statement, Myers said: "Looks to me like two very large countries were trying to bully some smaller countries."
US forces have used a base in each of the two countries since the early days of the war in Afghanistan. Both governments recently questioned the need for continued US access. Uzbekistan has imposed new limits on U.S. use of its Karshi-Khanabad air base, after Washington criticized Uzbekistan's bloody crackdown on anti-government rioting in May that killed around 200 people according to the official toll though human rights activists say up to 750 died. [More>>chinadaily.com.cn]
7.15.05 Egypt says London bomb suspect has no Qaeda link
CAIRO (Reuters) July 16 An Egyptian man arrested in Egypt in connection with bombings in London last week has no link to al Qaeda, Egypt's interior minister was quoted as saying on Saturday.
Habib el-Adli told al-Gomhuria newspaper that Western and Arab media had drawn hasty conclusions about 33-year-old Magdy Elnashar. London's police chief has said detectives are confident of finding an al Qaeda link to British bombers who killed 54 and wounded 700 in the attacks. [More>>thestar.com.my]
7.15.05 UK police confirm Cairo arrest
(Reuters) July 15 British police say they are "aware" of an arrest in Egypt in connection with the investigation into last week's London bombings. "We are aware of an arrest made in Cairo but are not prepared to discuss if we may or may not wish to interview (the person) in connection with this investigation," a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police said. "This remains a fast-moving investigation with a number of lines of enquiry, some of which may have an international dimension."
According to US network ABC News, the person arrested is the alleged bomb-builder behind the July 7 attacks on three Underground subway trains and a double-decker bus which killed at least 54 people and injured some 700.
Citing sources including the FBI, ABC said the detained man was 33-year-old Magdy Nashar, who helped set up the attackers' bomb factory and left Britain two weeks before the blasts. Previous reports in Britain said police were seeking a man with a similar name who had been studying for a doctorate in chemistry at Leeds University, in the same city where three of the suspected bombers lived. A British grant-awarding group said Friday it had given the man financial support to pursue research which had an industrial application. [theaustralian.news.com.au; See related story, Khaleejtimes.com, "London bomber met Islamabad church bomber in 2003."
7.15.05 Net widens as al-Qaeda bomb link is confirmed
July 15 Daniel McGrory and Michael Evans provide more details that relate to al-Qaeda meetings in Waziristan: The British-born mastermind of the London attacks had direct links with al-Qaeda, police sources confirmed yesterday. He is believed to be connected to a senior figure who took part in an al-Qaeda terror summit in Pakistan 16 months ago where a list of future targets was reportedly finalised. While the police priority is to trace any bombers still at large, intelligence agencies are trying to confirm that al-Qaeda had a hand in the London attack.
Forensic scientists said last night that the explosives used by the London bombers was the same type used by the convicted British shoe-bombers Richard Reid and Saajid Badat. Scientists hope to establish today whether it originated from the same batch. It was made from ingredients known to be taught to al-Qaeda recruits in Afghanistan training camps and elsewhere, confirming suspicions that the London bombings were the work of al-Qaeda.
...Investigators are also tracing the mastermind¹s alleged links to three major al-Qaeda figures. One of these is said to be in US custody. Intelligence is being re-examined from the summit held last year in a mountain village in the northwestern province of Waziristan. A month after he took part in that summit, Mohammed Barbar, a New York computer executive, was arrested near his home in Queens. He admitted to being an ³al-Qaeda sleeper². He had arrived at the summit carrying cash and supplies for jihadis fighting in Afghanistan. Babar, 29, has betrayed a number of fellow sleepers during his interrogation and the information led to the arrest of 13 people in Britain...[Full story>>timesonline.co.uk]
7.15.05 North Waziristan: 24 Taliban suspects killed in missile attack
ISLAMABAD, July 15 Pakistan¹s security forces have found the bodies of 24 suspected Taliban in North Waziristan who died after US-led troops fired a missile at them across the border from southeastern Afghanistan, officials said Friday. Pakistan's military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told GEO that 24 militants were found dead after coalition troops fired missile at them during an operation on the Afghan side late Thursday. [More>>jang.com.pk]
7.15.05 Update, 7.13.05 Kurdish rebels attack Turkish army
July 13 Kurdish rebels have fired rockets at a Turkish battalion in eastern Turkey in an overnight raid. It was not clear on Wednesday whether there were any casualties or damage, officials said. The guerrillas attacked the infantry battalion based in the town of Digor, in the province of Kars, close to the Armenian border.
Kurdish fighters have become increasingly active and their attacks increasingly bold over the past several months. Hikmet Ozyunlu, mayor of Digor, told the Anatolia news agency that he heard loud explosions, followed by machine-gun fire which caused panic in the small town surrounded by rocky hills.
"Later, we learned that they attacked the military unit. The telephone lines were also cut in the town. They broke the peace in Digor," Ozyunlu said. Earlier this week, guerrillas set up a roadblock and captured a Turkish soldier in eastern Turkey. Turkey sent more than 1000 troops on a mission to look for him, but the soldier's whereabouts remain unknown. Kurdish guerrillas have been fighting for autonomy in the country's east and southeast since 1984. The clashes have left more than 37,000 people dead since then. [More>>aljazeera.net; July 15 Update, dailystar.com.lb, "Turkey insists it has right to make raids in Iraq." Turkey said it reserves the right to make military incursions into neighboring northern Iraq to pursue Turkish Kurd rebels and renewed criticism of the United States for failing to clamp down on the Kurdistan Workers' Party. Back in Iraq, two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Green Zone government compound, killing a civilian, as U.S. forces announced the capture of a suspect in the murder of Egypt's top envoy. Despite rising sectarian tensions, a leader of Iraq's largest Shiite group said he does not expect the country to descend into full-scale civil war, while accusing insurgents of killing Shiites and burying them in mass graves because of their faith. See also turkishpress.com article, "Erdogan: Turkey may conduct cross-border operations against terrorism if necessary."]
7.15.05 Tsunami update: 226,000 dead, missing in Indian Ocean tsunami
NEW YORK (DPA) July 14 The deadly tsunami that struck 12 Indian Ocean nations in December inflicted a total of 226,000 dead and missing, the UN said Thursday as it reviewed six months of frantic efforts to assist governments and victims in that region. The death toll stood at 176,000 and 50,000 people still missing. The UN said the missing cannot be legally declared dead for one year. The review was delivered in a special meeting at UN headquarters in New York, attended by government envoys and former U.S. president Bill Clinton, who has assumed the post of UN special envoy for tsunami recovery. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
7.15.05 At least 12 dead in six suicide bombings in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AFP) July 15 Six suicide bombers blew themselves up in Baghdad and northern Iraq on Friday, killing at least 12 people and wounding more than 50 in attacks targeting Iraqi and US forces, Iraqi security officials said. US forces, for their part, spoke of as many as 20 Iraqis killed and 23 wounded in just three blasts in the capital. But there was no confirmation from Iraqi sources which are the only ones to systematically track civilian casualties.
Five of the attacks were carried out with cars in Baghdad and the sixth, in the north of the country, by a man on a motorbike who killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded a third at a checkpoint in the town of Al-Sharqat. According to an Iraqi defence ministry spokesman, eight people were killed and 15 wounded when a suicide bomber struck an Iraqi army checkpoint in Ash-Shab, in the north of the capital. Most victims were soldiers, he added.
Another car bomber wounded five Iraqi soldiers and one civilian in an attack on an army convoy near Andalous square, in the city centre, according to the interior ministry. A third bomber attempted to ram a pickup truck through the main gate of an army camp in Bab al-Moadham, the former defence ministry. The blast killed two Iraqi soldiers and wounded 14, mostly soldiers, the defence ministry said. US forces also came under attack in the capital. Two US soldiers were hurt by a suicide bomber in the southeast of the capital and one was injured in the attack at Bab al-Moadham, the US military said. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.15.05 President Musharraf (Pakistan) directs police to launch campaign against extremism
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, July 15 Declaring Pakistan's firm commitment to combating extremism and terrorism, President General Pervez Musharraf Friday directed law enforcement agencies to launch a countrywide campaign against collection of donations, display of arms, holding of gatherings by banned outfits and remove all hate material from markets by December this year at the latest.
Addressing top police officers from around the country, the President made it clear that the Government would not tolerate extremism and would continue to combat the menace of terrorism with unflinching determination and force, as it was in the interest of Pakistan's continued socioeconomic progress. He also reiterated the Government's resolve not to allow banned militant organizations to re-surface using any other name. [More>>jang.com.pk]
7.15.05 Aljazeera to host topic: 'Whether Muslim leaders fight extremism and terrorism'
WASHINGTON, July 14 Kamal Nawash, the president of the Free Muslims Coalition (FMC), a national Muslim organization with 15 chapters, will be appearing on the Aljazeerah TV network this coming Monday, July 18, 2005, to discuss whether Muslim American leaders are doing enough to fight extremism and terrorism. Nawash says, "Aljazeerah is the most watched news network in the Arab world and is literally viewed by tens of millions of people every day.
"The position of the Free Muslims Coalition is that the Muslim leadership have not done their fair share in fighting extremism and support for terrorism. We recognize that every Muslim organization produces press releases expressing outrage when a terrorist act occurs. Some organizations have gone as far as taking out ads in major newspapers and producing TV commercials to express their outrage at terror attacks. However, these responses are not enough.
"The war against terrorism and, in particular, terrorism committed by Muslims, is an ideological battle that cannot be won without the help of Muslims themselves. These Muslim organizations should be focusing their anti-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts towards Muslims in the United States and abroad. They should be organizing rallies, going to mosques, community centers and everywhere Muslims congregate to fight the ideology of hate that is being advocated by the Jihadists terrorists and extremists.
"This is what the Muslim leadership has not done or has not done enough. What good does it do to take out ads onTV or news papers which primarily cater to non-Muslim audiences? These ads are a waste of money and are no more than a propaganda piece designed to help certain organizations claim that they are fighting terrorism.
"It is sad because Muslim 'leaders' the world over actually have the power to discredit the ideology that is relied on by the terrorists to justify their suicidal murderous behavior." [Kamal Nawash]
"This is not to say that Muslim American leaders support terrorism. However, their response to Islamic terrorism is at a minimum incompetent and ineffective. Normally the ineffectiveness of any particular organization is not a 'big deal'. In this instance however, it is dangerous and sad. It is sad because Muslim 'leaders' the world over actually have the power to discredit the ideology that is relied on by the terrorists to justify their suicidal murderous behavior. This is why the Free Muslims Coalition regularly challenges other Muslim organizations to stand up and do the right thing.
"The Free Muslims Coalition is made up of Muslims and Arabs who love their heritage and religions. However, we are enormously saddened by the violence committed by Muslims around the world and even more saddened by the silence and inadequacy of the Muslim leadership." [More information>>freemuslims.org]
7.14.05 Fourth bomber named as Jamaican-born Briton; police seeking mastermind(s)
July 14 This article by Philippe Naughton, Times Online, Daniel McGrory, Michael Evans and Dominic Kennedy provides considerable detail on the backgrounds of the london bombers and those suspected masterminds: ....Investigators believe that the fourth London bomber was Lindsey Germaine, a Jamaican-born Briton thought to have occupied a house in Aylesbury that was raided by armed police last night. Police believe that they have identified the British-born man who masterminded the suicide bomb attack. The leader of the terrorist cell is believed to be in his thirties and of Pakistani origin. He arrived at a British port last month and is understood to have left the country the day before four suicide bombers murdered at least 52 people.
Security sources believe that he has been involved in previous terrorist operations and has links with al-Qaeda followers in the United States. It is also believed that he visited the bombers in Leeds and identified targets on the Tube.
...Police believe that they have identified the British-born man who masterminded the suicide bomb attack. The leader of the terrorist cell is believed to be in his thirties and of Pakistani origin. He arrived at a British port last month and is understood to have left the country the day before four suicide bombers murdered at least 52 people.
Security sources believe that he has been involved in previous terrorist operations and has links with al-Qaeda followers in the United States. It is also believed that he visited the bombers in Leeds and identified targets on the Tube. [Full story>>timesonline.co.uk; See also theaustralian.news.com.au for a synopsis of this story, "Bombers 'wanted burning cross.'"
7.14.05 US official calls Saudis 'significant source' of terror funds
WASHINGTON (AFP) July 14 A top US official has suggested wealthy Saudi individuals remained "a significant source" of funds for Islamic terrorists around the world, despite widely-publicized efforts by the desert kingdom to shut down these channels.
The statement by Treasury Undersecretary Stuart Levey before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs contrasted with earlier upbeat assessments by other members of the Bush administration that Saudi Arabia was making good progress in stemming the flow of private money to terrorist groups.
Levey said challenges posed by terrorist financing from within Saudi Arabia are "among the most daunting" his agency has faced as it tries to persuade Islamic nations to strengthen controls over their banks and charitable organizations that are said to be funneling money to terrorist groups.
"Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda", the undersecretary told lawmakers. "Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq." [More>>turkishpress.com]
7.14.05 Taliban say Qaeda escapees safe in guerrilla haven
KABUL (Reuters) July 14 Four Arab al Qaeda militants who escaped from a heavily fortified U.S. detention centre in Afghanistan this week reached a Taliban guerrilla haven safely on Thursday, a spokesman for the rebel movement said. "The Taliban found and recovered four al-Qaeda mujahideen (holy warriors) this morning," Taliban spokesman Abdul Latif Hakimi said from an undisclosed location.
Hakimi, whose information has often proved unreliable in the past, declined to say where the escapees were, but added: "They are far away from Kabul. They are safe and now taking rest."
The U.S. military said it was pressing on with an "aggressive" hunt for the four men who broke out of the detention centre at Bagram Air Base 50 km north of Kabul on Monday, and declined to comment on the Taliban claim. "The only comment I have is that the search is ongoing and we are investigating the circumstances of how they were able to escape," Lieutenant-Colonel Jerry O'Hara said. [More>>thestar.com.my]
7.14.05 Suicide barrage on Baghdad government compound leaves two dead
BAGHDAD (Reuters) July 14 At least two suicide bombers attacked an entrance to Baghdad¹s Green Zone government compound on Thursday, killing two bystanders and wounding 13. Police said the attack involved a car bomb followed up by a bomber on foot, targeting a checkpoint guarded by Iraqi troops and police which is used by civilian employees, journalists and contractors arriving for work at the fortified complex.
³We felt a strong blast. I came out and saw a car blown up,² policeman Haider Abdel Hussein told Reuters Television. A possible third bomber was found among the wounded and detained, an Interior Ministry source said.
Another policeman at the scene said the first bomb was in a police car. As the explosion shook central Baghdad a second bomber with explosives strapped to his body rushed in and detonated among people rushing to help the wounded. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.14.05 US announces arrest of key suspect in kidnap-slaying of Egyptian envoy
BAGHDAD (AP) July 14 The US military Thursday announced the capture of a key suspect in the kidnap-slaying of Egyptian envoy Ihab Al Sherif and attacks on senior diplomats from Pakistan and Bahrain.
Khamis Farhan Khalaf Abd al-Fahdawi, known as Abu Seba, was arrested last Saturday following operations in the Ramadi area west of Baghdad, the US military said in a statement.
³Seba served as a senior lieutenant of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and is suspected in attacks against diplomats of Bahrain, Pakistan and the recent murder of Egyptian envoy, Ihab Salah al Din Ahmad al Sherif,² the US statement said. ³Al Qaeda ordered the attacks against Arab diplomats in an effort to reduce support for the government of Iraq according to a military spokesman.²
Another Al Qaeda lieutenant, Abdullah Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan al Shadad, or Abu Abdul Aziz, was captured Sunday, the command said. It said Abu Abdul Aziz was a top lieutenant of Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al Zarqawi and served as operations officer for the group. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.14.05 Japan grants drilling rights, China concerned
July 14 Japan has granted Teikoku Oil permission to test-drill a gas field in the East China Sea contested with China, after talks on the dispute broke down amid deteriorating ties. Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa told a news conference on Thursday that they authorized Teikoku Oil test drilling rights in a response to an application from the Tokyo-based company.
China immediately protested the decision to let the company explore the waters in the area. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao expressed "serious concern" over the move. He said Japan's decision will constitute a serious infringement of China's sovereignty and will complicate the East China Sea situation. [More>>chinabroadcast.cn; See more details at chinadaily.com.cn]
7.13.05 Seventeen killed in Afghan fighting
July 13 US and Afghan troops have killed 17 insurgents in two days of clashes in southern Afghanistan. A pro-government Islamic cleric was gunned downed today by suspected Taliban gunmen, the US military said. The militants were killed in fighting on Monday and yesterday in the Taliban hotbed of Deh Chopan district in southern Zabul province, the US military said.
"Seventeen enemy combatants were killed and six were captured as Afghan and US forces conducted operations south of Deh Chopan... over the past two days," it said. Another 23 people were being questioned over their involvement in the fighting, which was part of a sweep by US forces to deprive insurgents of their hideouts in the rugged, mountainous area. The clashes took place not far from Mian Nisheen district where the US military said 77 militants were killed in a three-day battle last month. [More>>theaustralian.news.au]
7.13.05 Children killed in Baghdad car blast
July 13 Up to 27 people, including seven children, have been killed and at least 18 wounded by a car bomb in Baghdad. The attack on Wednesday occurred near a patrol of US forces, police sources said. US troops said one US soldier and many Iraqi civilians were killed by the blast, including at least seven Iraqi children. Three US soldiers were among the wounded.
"The vehicle, laden with explosives, drove up to a Humvee before detonating. Many Iraqi civilians, mostly children, were around the Humvee at the time of the blast," US military spokesman Sergeant David Abrams said. Iraqi journalist Walid Khalid said a bomber wanted to detonate an explosive-laden car targeting US forces. However, the bomb detonated before it reached the US forces, he said. [More>>aljazeera.net]
7.13.05 US general says top Zarqawi aide captured in Baghdad
WASHINGTON (AFP) July 13 A key aide to Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the leading Al Qaeda operative in Iraq, has been captured by US forces in Iraq in what the top American general described late Tuesday as a ³pretty good success.² But Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers acknowledged that coalition troops in Iraq faced ³a very dangerous insurgency² that is far from being on its death bed.
³Just yesterday on the battlefield, we picked up Zarqawi¹s main leader in Baghdad, they call him the Emir of Baghdad, Abu Abd Al Aziz, and that¹s going to hurt that operation of Zarqawi¹s pretty significantly,² Myers said in an interview with PBS¹s ³The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer² program. He did not offer any details, and other defense officials were not immediately ready to talk about the circumstances of the capture. [More>>khaleejtimes.com]
7.13.05 Blair promises to deport extremist preachers
July 13 Tony Blair today said he intended to tighten the Government's controversial anti-terror laws after the London bombings which claimed 52 lives. Mr. Blair also said measures were in hand to fast-track the deportation of radical priests, to prevent them from spreading what he described as their "evil and extreme ideology," springing from a "perverted and poisonous misinterpretation of Islam."
As the police investigation continued in Leeds, Luton and London, Mr. Blair told a hushed Commons that police and security services had done 'magnificent work' in the aftermath of the July 7 bombings.
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, he called for calm after the shock of finding that the bombings had been carried out by young British men. He emphasized that the terrorists represented an extreme minority of the Muslim community, and condemned the opportunistic race attacks which have come in their wake. [More>>timesonline.co.uk via expressindia.com]
7.13.05 Police identify fourth London bomber
July 13 Police today said they believe they know the identity of the fourth of the suspected bombers who killed at least 52 people in last week's attack on London's public transport. The man, like the other three, was British-born and lived in West Yorkshire. Police believe he was a friend of the other attackers and lived an outwardly ordinary life in the Leeds area.
Three of the suspected bombers, who are thought to have died in the explosions, were named as Mohammed Sadique Khan, 30, of Dewsbury, and Hasib Hussain and Shehzad Tanweer, 22, of Leeds. Friends and family said they had no idea they had become extremists. Personal documents were found with the bombers' remains at Tavistock Square, where 13 died on a double-decker London bus, and at the blast sites at Edgware Road and between Liverpool Street and Aldgate East stations, police said yesterday. [More>>guardian.co.uk]
7.13.05 US backs Seoul's 'creative' energy aid
July 13 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday threw her support behind South Korea's proposal for massive energy aid to North Korea if it dismantles its nuclear weapons program, calling it "a creative idea" to tackle the North's needs without proliferation risks. Rice also called on North Korea to scrap its entire nuclear weapons program, encompassing plutonium and high-enrichment uranium. [More>>koreaherald.co.kr]
7.13.05 Pakistan train crash leaves 150 dead, 1000 injured
GHOTKI, Pakistan (Reuters) July 13 More than 200 people were killed and hundreds injured in Pakistan on Wednesday when a passenger train crashed into another at a station and a third train then ploughed into the wreckage, police said. Police and rescuers were searching through the twisted wreckage for more bodies and the toll from the pre-dawn disaster could rise to above 150, a police commander said speaking early in the morning. [More>>expressindia.com]; See also jang.com.pk, "Ghotki train crash toll rises to 121." and turkishpress.com, "Pakistan train crash leaves 150 dead, 1000 injured."
7.13.05 Russia already has 16,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel
MOSCOW (Ria Novosti) July 13 Russia already has 16,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel, an official from the Rosatom federal agency for nuclear energy said Wednesday. Speaking at a conference on comprehensive approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle and nuclear non-proliferation, Rosatom representative Yevgeny Kudryavtsev said that 11 power units from high-power pressure-tube reactors and 15 power units from water cooled power reactors processed 750 tons of spent nuclear fuel a year.
Kudryavtsev also said that Russia would receive 24,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel for storage by 2015. He said, "The geological isolation of the fuel (until 2015) will cost $10 billion, and storage will cost $105.01 million a year." He added that it was therefore necessary to consider how to optimize spending on the storage and disposal of spent nuclear fuel.
"We are now looking for alternative technologies for processing spent nuclear fuel and we are investigating the application of new compact technologies for disposing of the fuel," Kudryavtsev said. He said that every ton of processed spent nuclear fuel produced 100 kg of spent nuclear fuel concentrate for long-term storage in mines and up to 900 kg of regenerated uranium. [More>>rian.ru]
7.13.05 Zarqawi hits back at ex-mentor and vows to target Shiites
DUBAI (AFP) July 13 Al-Qaeda's front man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hit back at criticism from his former mentor as he vowed to pursue attacks on Shiite foes, in an Internet letter attributed to him. In the letter, Zarqawi told the Islamist ideologue Sheikh Abu Mohammad al-Maqdessi, who is currently in detention in Jordan, that "we have repeatedly said that we were not the ones to start the killings."
Before being re-arrested by the Jordanian authorities last week, Maqdessi had given several interviews in which he bitterly criticized Zarqawi for targeting Iraqi civilians and well as international forces.
The letter, posted on an Islamic Web site, said Iraq's majority Shiites were "the ones who started liquidating Sunni cadres, forcing them to flee, and violating their mosques and homes."
"They are disguising themselves under the uniforms of the police and infidel [national] guards, and they are loyal to the Crusaders," Zarqawi said in reference to U.S.-led forces in Iraq. "After all this, we cannot refrain from killing them," he said. [More>>dailystar.com.lb]
05.21.05 British lawmaker: Iraq war was for oil
LISBON, May 21 Adam Porter reports: Labour politician and former UK environment minister Michael Meacher has slammed Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush for starting a war, he says, to secure oil interests.
Speaking on Friday on the sidelines of the fourth International Workshop on Oil and Gas Depletion in Lisbon, Portugal, Meacher, a member of the British parliament, said: "The reason they attacked Iraq is nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction, it was nothing to do with democracy in Iraq, it was nothing to do with the human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein."
..."It was principally, totally and comprehensively to do with oil," Meacher continued. "This was about assuming control over the Middle East and over Iraq, the second largest producer and also over Saudi Arabia next door.
"It was about securing as much as possible of the remaining supplies of oil and also over the Caspian basin, which of course is Afghanistan." [More>>aljazeera.net]
Editorial note: For articles relating to Bush's lying to Congress and the American people with regard to his war on Iraq and other complaints that relate to his abuse of power see:
6.17-05 Federal Debt not a concern of the press
SAN FRANCISCO, June 17 Update. While the Federal Reserve continues to increase interest rates, the Exponentially rising Federal Debt is not being reported. What is not being reported is the fact that interest rates are tied to the US National Debt. This year the deficit is expected to exceed $420 billion, and interest on the debt which exceeds $8.2 trillion, is about $1 billion per day. Because the annual deficits are financed via the bond market, and because the amount of the bonds being sold exceeds demand, it is necessary to raise interest rates to attract investors in the US bonds financing the US debt. This routine of increasing debt on an exponential scale was experienced under the administration of George H. W. Bush. I predicted increasing interest rates "to sell bonds" in my conversation with Wm. F. Buckley Jr. at that time, in 1993, and I have repeated the prediction with regard to the current Bush administration's excesses and need to sell more bonds to finance the extraordinary deficits. The rate increases will continue in order to sell the overabundant US bonds. In a few words, George Bush's debt is causing your mortgage rates to increase, and they will continue to increase until the US assumes fiscal responsibility. Click here for details on this trend.
Postscript: If the EU adopts the practice of allowing large budget deficits, the consequence places a strain on the world bond market, since that market is already flooded with US bonds to the tune of some $9 trillion. Those who are allowing budget deficits also own some of the US debt. It's not a good situation, heralding a world economic collapse. That Greenspan has not reigned in the Bush administration on the US debt is a travesty.
Rising interest rates began with a Federal Reserve declaration of the "fear of inflation": WASHINGTON, March 22 The Federal Reserve raised new worries about inflation on Tuesday, setting off alarms in the stock and bond markets that the central bank might drive up interest rates faster than investors had been expecting. The Fed nudged up short-term interest rates for the seventh time in the last year, raising the federal funds rate on overnight loans between banks to 2.75 percent from 2.5 percent. It restated its intention to keep raising them at a "measured" pace in the months ahead.
But in a departure from previous declarations, the central bank said there were rising inflationary pressures beyond those tied directly to the recent jumps in oil prices. [More>>nytimes.com]
(2) The name, Allah, in Arabic is an expression of surprise. It is not unusual for the God of the Bible to be known by many names. Jewish Midrash quotes passages in the Old Testament (Torah) that cite as many as seventy names of God (and more). But they can all be reduced down to one name.
(3) Ronald L. Conte Jr., biblicalchronology.com. has an interesting analyses of comets and eclipses as they relate to Roman times and Biblical Chronology. His estimate of 54 A.D. for the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, rather than 70 A.D., is controversial, to say the least.
(4) In comparing the Hogenberg, Adrichem and Josephus maps, it appears that the structure noted as "Solomon's Temple" is, in fact, Pilate's palace, and the Antonia fortress and Strotion Tower. This leaves the adjacent "squared complex" in all three maps as the Temple of Herod. This leaves to be explained the mountain peak underneath the Dome of the Rock, whether the height of the Temple Mount was above that point, since no mountain peak is indicated in the area of the "squared complex." King Solomon's palace and stables were adjacent to the Temple Mount, and there may be confusion here with the "squared complex" on the maps. The image of "Solomon's Temple" on the Josephus map does match the description of the actual temple. The thesis that the Temple did not sit atop the peak underneath the Dome of the Rock still must be answered, since both those who advocate restoration of the Temple and those who resist it (Palestinians, who oversee the Temple Mount) have presumed that in order to restore the Temple the Dome of the Rock would have to be torn down.
(5) I saw the story on Bush's arrest in Canada November 29, 2004 on a CNN link:
This appears to be a hoax originated by Paul K. J, http://informationclearinghouse.info/article7390.htm. According to an article by Sam Varghese at www.smh.com.au: "A satirical article about Canada arresting US President George W. Bush in Ottawa and charging him with war crimes appeared as the top story on Google News without the editor's note that identified it as satire. The article was up on Google's US news page on November 30, according to Zone-H.org, a website that tracks web defacements." A blog on wolverinemalaya.com recorded the story coming from an (AP) Associated Press article: ""OTTAWA, CANADA (AP) -- On the first of his two-day planned visit to Canada, George W. Bush was taken into custody by Canadian authorities citing war crime charges. The arrest claims that President Bush has been "party to the crime of torturing prisoners held in Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib." Under Canadian law, even a non-citizen can be charged for crimes committed outside of Canada once that individual enters the country..." Nick Farrel, theinquirer.net, explains how Google picked up the story. The wolvierinemalaya.com story, as I recall, was the same report as carried in the CNN report. Dave at www.immunitysec.com provides more information regarding the story. I was not aware of the hoax (assuming it was a hoax) until 6.19.05, when I revisited the issue.
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