Saturday, May 23, 2009


Co-conspirator David Williams's girlfriend Cassandra McKoy insists the men were duped into the plot with the lure of a cash payday and that religious hatred had nothing to do with it.

May 23, 2009
A slick FBI informant roped four Muslim converts into a horrific terror plot to blow up synagogues and military jets by handing them piles of cash and gifts and even bags of weed, relatives of the suspects said today.

"Brother whatever you need, I will get it for you," said the man who the four petty thieves knew as Maqsood, according to Kathleen Baynes, whose long-time boyfriend, James Cromitie is alleged to be the ringleader of the plot.

She said Cromitie, 45, met Maqsood at the Masjid al-Ikhlas mosque about a year ago and promised to teach him the truth about Islam.


The man soon was coming by their apartment with increasing frequency and was always flush with cash.

"He was very persistent and every time he came for James he took him away. They said they were going out to eat dinner," she said. "Whenever we needed anything Maqsood would help -- like financially --he gave us money to pay rent.

"He was just constantly around. It was like he was stalking him."

Co-conspirator David Williams's girlfriend Cassandra McKoy insists the men were duped into the plot with the lure of a cash payday and that religious hatred had nothing to do with it.

"They aren't radicals they were just financially motivated. They aren't terrorists. If Maqsood wasn't in the picture they would've never come up with this idea," she said. "This was not their idea. They make it sound like they sought him out and said we want to do this when he's the one who approached them. He enticed them with money.

"Maqsood wasn't even allowed inside the mosque, he waited in the parking lot for them and offered them $25,000 to join."

Sources say Maqsood was really Shahed Hussain -- a Pakistani native who runs hotels upstate and has worked for the FBI since 2003 after getting into trouble in a fraud case. He played an integral role in unraveling another terror-related case in Albany in 2004.

Baynes, 42, dated Cromitie -- a career criminal who has been in jail more than 20 times -- for six years. She said he converted to Islam during his last prison stint but wasn't serious.

"James is a wannabe Muslim. He wasn't real Muslin. He never prayed," she said.

But during the course of the year, Maqsood kept trying to steer Cromitie down a path to jihad - giving him religious pamphlets, clothing and prayer rugs. In the end, it seemed that cash and gifts worked better.

She said Maqsood promised to get Cromitie jobs and once said he'd give him a black Mercedes Benz. On repeated occasions he gave Cromitie cameras, cash and even drugs.

"Maqsood gave him a lot of marijuana," she said.

An FBI spokesman did not return a call for comment on the gift giving.

Williams' mother, Elizabeth McWilliams, said her son fell under Maqsood's sway in April with promises to help with medical bills for his sick brother.

"Maqsood said 'Don't worry brother, I am going to help with your brother's hospital bills,'" she quoted him as saying. "This man did nothing but set these guys up."

Baynes said she never trusted Maqsood's intentions and that the imam at the mosque warned James to stay away from the interloper.

"James told me that the Imam said to be careful because this man is trying to recruit people to go to Pakistan," she said. "James said he was not that crazy to do something like that."

As Wednesday's attack neared, Baynes said Cromitie's mood changed.

"Lately James hasn't been the same. He was just acting different," she said. "All he would do all day is smoke weed and play video games with his friends [co-conspirators Williams, Laguerre Payen and Onta Williams]."

On the day of the attack, she said the men gathered and that Maqsood "looked real nervous."

"He was standing by the car twitching," she said.

Then, as they were about to leave, Cromitie kissed her on the cheek and promised, "Soon we are going to be all right," she said. "I guess he meant financially he meant that we were going to be okay."

She said a friend told her James had said he was going to be getting $50,000.

U.S. Relies More on Aid of Allies in Terror Cases

WASHINGTON — The United States is now relying heavily on foreign intelligence services to capture, interrogate and detain all but the highest-level terrorist suspects seized outside the battlefields ofIraq and Afghanistan, according to current and former American government officials.

The change represents a significant loosening of the reins for the United States, which has worked closely with allies to combat violent extremism since the 9/11 attacks but is now pushing that cooperation to new limits.

In the past 10 months, for example, about a half-dozen midlevel financiers and logistics experts working with Al Qaeda have been captured and are being held by intelligence services in four Middle Eastern countries after the United States provided information that led to their arrests by local security services, a former American counterterrorism official said.

In addition, Pakistan’s intelligence and security services captured a Saudi suspect and a Yemeni suspect this year with the help of American intelligence and logistical support, Pakistani officials said. The two are the highest-ranking Qaeda operatives captured sincePresident Obama took office, but they are still being held by Pakistan, which has shared information from their interrogations with the United States, the official said.

The current approach, which began in the last two years of the Bush administration and has gained momentum under Mr. Obama, is driven in part by court rulings and policy changes that have closed the secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency, and all but ended the transfer of prisoners from outside Iraq and Afghanistan to American military prisons.

Human rights advocates say that relying on foreign governments to hold and question terrorist suspects could carry significant risks. It could increase the potential for abuse at the hands of foreign interrogators and could also yield bad intelligence, they say.

The fate of many terrorist suspects whom the Bush administration sent to foreign countries remains uncertain. One suspectIbn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was captured by the C.I.A. in late 2001 and sent to Libya, was recently reported to have died there in Libyan custody.

“As a practical matter you have to rely on partner governments, so the focus should be on pressing and assisting those governments to handle those cases professionally,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch.

The United States itself has not detained any high-level terrorist suspects outside Iraq and Afghanistan since Mr. Obama took office, and the question of where to detain the most senior terrorist suspects on a long-term basis is being debated within the new administration. Even deciding where the two Qaeda suspects in Pakistani custody will be kept over the long term is “extremely, extremely sensitive right now,” a senior American military official said, adding, “They’re both bad dudes. The issue is: where do they get parked so they stay parked?”

How the United States is dealing with terrorism suspects beyond those already in the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was a question Mr. Obama did not address in thespeech he gave Thursday about his antiterrorism policies. While he said he might seek to create a new system that would allow preventive detention inside the United States, the government currently has no obvious long-term detention center for imprisoning terrorism suspects without court oversight.

Mr. Obama has said he still intends to close the Guantánamo prison by January, despite misgivings in Congress, and the Supreme Court has ruled that inmates there may challenge their detention before federal judges. Some suspects are being imprisoned without charges at a United States air base in Afghanistan, but a federal court has ruled that at least some of them may also file habeas corpus lawsuits to challenge their detentions.

American officials say that in the last years of the Bush administration and now on Mr. Obama’s watch, the balance has shifted toward leaving all but the most high-level terrorist suspects in foreign rather than American custody. The United States has repatriated hundreds of detainees held at prisons in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan, but the current approach is different because it seeks to keep the prisoners out of American custody altogether.

How the United States deals with terrorism suspects remains a contentious issue in Congress.

Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., said in February that the agency might continue its program of extraordinary rendition, in which captured terrorism suspects are transferred to other countries without extradition proceedings.

He said the C.I.A. would be likely to continue to transfer detainees from their place of capture to other countries, either their home countries or nations that intended to bring charges against them.

As a safeguard against torture, Mr. Panetta said, the United States would rely on diplomatic assurances of good treatment. The Bush administration sought the same assurances, which critics say are ineffective.

A half-dozen current and former American intelligence and counterterrorism officials and allied officials were interviewed for this article, but all spoke on the condition of anonymity because the detention and interrogation programs are classified.

Officials say the United States has learned so much about Al Qaeda and other militant groups since the 9/11 attacks that it can safely rely on foreign partners to detain and question more suspects. “It’s the preferred method now,” one former counterterrorism official said.

The Obama administration’s policies will probably become clearer after two task forces the president created in January report to him in July on detainee policy, interrogation techniques and extraordinary rendition.

In many instances now, allies are using information provided by the United States to pick up terrorism suspects on their own territory — including the two suspects seized in Pakistan this year.

The Saudi militant, Zabi al-Taifi, was picked up by Pakistani commandos in a dawn raid at a safe house outside Peshawar on Jan. 22, an operation conducted with the help of the C.I.A.

A Pakistani official said the Yemeni suspect, Abu Sufyan al-Yemeni, was a Qaeda paramilitary commander who was on C.I.A. and Pakistani lists of the top 20 Qaeda operatives. He was believed to be a conduit for communications between Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and cells in East Africa, Iran, Yemen and elsewhere. American and Pakistani intelligence officials say they believe that Mr. Yemeni, who was arrested Feb. 24 by Pakistani authorities in Quetta, helped arrange travel and training for Qaeda operatives from various parts of the Muslim world to the Pakistani tribal areas.

He is now in the custody of Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, but his fate is unclear. The Pakistani official said that he would remain in Pakistani hands, but that it would be difficult to try him because the evidence against him came from informers.

American officials said the United States would still take custody of the most senior Qaeda operatives captured in the future. As a model, they cited the case of Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd who is said to have joined Al Qaeda in the late 1990s and risen to become a top aide to Osama bin Laden, and who was captured by a foreign security service in 2006. He was handed over to the C.I.A., which transferred him to Guantánamo Bay in April 2007. He was one of the last detainees shipped there.

Statement from the mujahideen army in Iraq




Judicial reforms in the works

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia intends to develop its judicial system by making use of the experiences of the American, British, French, Malaysian and Jordanian legal systems, said Omar Al-Suwailem, director of the project for the development of the judicial system and its facilities.
“We have selected a number of international judicial systems in order to adopt their best practices while formulating the Kingdom’s strategic plan for judicial development,” Al-Madinah Arabic daily quoted Al-Suwailem as saying in its report yesterday.
A plan has been made to develop the Kingdom’s judiciary that envisages allocating a budget for providing justice to individuals; number of judges needed for every 100,000 people; number of officials to assist a judge; average days required to pass judgment on a case and the application of modern technology.
Officials will study the five judicial systems and take into consideration issues such as types of courts, number of judges and reform plans, Al-Suwailem explained.
A team has already conducted a survey of the Kingdom’s existing judicial system to identify shortcomings and make proposals for improvement.
At present, there are 266 Shariah courts in the Kingdom with 1,600 judges, but the country requires more than 4,000 judges. A judge looks into 1,184 cases annually and Saudi courts looked into 691,938 cases in 2007, the paper said.
The project has signed an agreement with KBMG Al-Fouzan and Al-Sadhan Company to provide consultancy services to its technical team. “The company has good experience in developing judicial systems in some countries and some of its experts have good knowledge of the Kingdom's judicial system,” Al-Suwailem said.
Muhammad Al-Nujaimi, professor at the Saudi Higher Institute of Law and member of the American Academy for Shariah Scholars, said many judges in the Kingdom were seeking jobs in other countries due to poor pay and heavy workload.
“Judges are offered high salaries in foreign countries. Working as private legal professionals is also highly lucrative. That is why most legal firms in the Kingdom are run by former judges,” he said.

British and American fighters respond to jihad call in Somalia

Up to a thousand foreign fighters, including Britons, have answered the call to jihad in Somalia and are leading street-fighting Islamist extremists in the war-torn capital Mogadishu, The Times has learnt.
Early yesterday the Western-backed Government launched a counter-offensive after almost a fortnight of attacks by insurgents that have killed at least 200 civilians.
At least 45 people were killed yesterday in battles across the city, the highest daily death toll for months.
The insurgents’ attacks have threatened to topple the shaky Government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed only weeks after the international community pledged £135 million to support him.
Senior security officials in the region say that the foreign fighters are behind the recent success of the extremists. More than 290 fighters from Britain, the US, Canada, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia entered Mogadishu in the past two weeks.
An intelligence report seen by The Times, which is due to be presented to the US Congress next week, states: “An estimated ten foreigners have taken the lead to command both Somali and foreign fighters in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia.”
“I have no doubt that some of the foreign fighters are British as well as North American and Scandinavian,” said Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the top Somali diplomat for the United Nations. One Western diplomat with experience in Somalia said: “These foreigners are the ones with al-Qaeda links. I would be surprised if Britons were not the leading foreign members of al-Shabaab.”
In March the propaganda unit for the al-Shabaab militia released a video entitled Ambush at Bardale, in which a white American, thought to have a special forces military background, was filmed leading dozens of Somali fighters. “Mortar by mortar, shell by shell; only gonna stop when I send them to hell,” he rapped over the footage in a clear attempt to glamorise the insurgency and appeal to young disenfranchised Westerners.
A year earlier, al-Shabaab released another propaganda video, this time of a British suicide bomber who addressed the camera in English.
“Al-Shabaab welcomes and calls foreign fighters for jihad,” said Jason Mosley, an Africa analyst at Oxford Analytica. In most cases foreign fighters bring religious fervour helping to radicalise the bulk of disparate al-Shabaab militants, who fight mostly for money or under duress.
A smaller number have military skills, financing and weaponry. “We understand that these fighters are providing training to the extremist insurgents and are helping to mobilise funding and source weapons, the level of which we have never seen before,” Nicolas Bwakira, the head of the African Union (AU) Somalia mission, said.
Intelligence sources said that foreign jihadis from Britain and elsewhere had joined an alliance of al-Shabaab factions and Hizb al-Islam extremists that have coalesced around Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. The Sheikh, who is wanted as a terrorist by the US, returned from exile in April to take on the fragile Administration of Mr Ahmed.
Mr Aweys said yesterday that nearby Eritrea was supporting him in a holy war.
His comments came on the same day as the African Union urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Eritrea because of its assistance to the rebels.
He also claimed: “There may be two or three Arabs who were moved by Islam to fight alongside us. But there is no large number of foreign Mujahideen in Mogadishu. We and the Arabs are all Muslims — so we are Arabs.”
“We are not fighting for positions but for Islam. It is agreed upon within Islam that Christians and those they support are the same — so war is incumbent upon us, like prayer.” He predicted that the Government would be defeated soon.
The current administration is the 15th attempt to form a functioning executive since the collapse of the last Government in 1991. Since then Somalia has known nothing but war and chaos.
Mr Ahmed’s hilltop presidential palace is protected by 4,350 AU peacekeepers with tanks and artillery. The besieged Government controls little more than the hill, the airport, port and a couple of roads in Mogadishu.
The Government’s fighters have a tendency to desert in their hundreds when not paid, often reappearing as hired guns for the insurgents. Mr Bwakira said that his peacekeepers were facing newer and heavier military equipment, including surface-to-air missiles. They are also falling victim to suicide attacks, which are attributed to foreign influence. In February 11 Burundian peacekeepers were killed by suicide bombers in Mogadishu. “It is an extremely dangerous development,” Mr Bwakira said.
The influx of foreigners has raised fears that Somalia might become an alternative hideout for al-Qaeda extremists from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The al-Qaeda operatives responsible for bombing US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 and a hotel in Mombasa in 2002 are thought to have found a safe haven in Somalia.
Western intelligence agencies are directing their attention and resources to the region. “If this threat is not contained Somalia could become the Swat Valley of Africa,” said Ted Dagne, a Washington-based Somalia expert.
“There is no doubt that the foreign component of al-Shabaab is more extreme than those on the ground,” said Rashid Abdi, a Somalia analyst at the International Crisis Group, who added that the bulk of the militants were hired guns, not idealogues.
“There is a feeling now that al-Shabaab is ruled by foreign fighters; that they are dictating policy and this has all come about in the last couple of months.”
Fighting figures
100 civilians killed in the past ten days
46,000 civilians displaced
10 journalists killed in Somalia since 2007
15,000 UN-AU peacekeepers now in Somalia
Sources: Times database, Committee to Protect Journalists

How America Lost the War on Terrorism and the Islamists Won

By Mahboob A. Khawaja, Ph.D. “Tyranny begins, where Reason ends”May 22, 2009 "Information Clearing House" --- Wars are planned, financed and fought by governments, not by groups or ordinary people. Wars are based on political agendas and they long for complete control over resources, people and territory. Most wars would have multiple reasons, domestic, foreign and global outreach. The American led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are fought to maintain the US domination worldwide, to occupy the untapped natural resources of the Middle East in particular the oil and gas, and to protect the value of American dollar as a stable international reserve currency.
In September 2000, the proactive policy paper written by the neoconservative intellectuals to envision “the Project for the New American Century (PNAC): sets out the milestone seeking American domination over the rest of the world powers and to meet its energies needs plans to occupy by force all the oil resources in the Arab Middle East. The blueprint supports military occupation of the oil exporting Arab countries and regime change where it is necessary to fulfill the policy aims of the New American Century of global domination.
Centuries ago, German historian Carl Von Clausewitz wrote On War: “War is not merely a political act but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means.” The small ruling elite who plans and wages war are often afraid of citizenry reaction and refusal to accept the so called antidote for the rationality of a war. Throughout the history European nationalism institutionalized the doctrine of war as a necessity to promote national interest and racial superiority over other by using war as a means to that end. Most proponents of wars have used “fear” as one of the major instruments of propaganda and manipulation to perpetuate allegiance from the ordinary folks to the elite warmongers in a crisis situation. Sheldon Richman (“War is Government Program” ICS, 05/2007), notes that “war is more dangerous than other government programs and not just for the obvious reason – mass murder….war is useful in keeping the population in a state of fear and therefore trustful of their rulers.” Ordinary citizens do not have passion for war as it disturbs the safe and secure, and destroys the living habitats. The ruling elite, the actual warmongers force people to think in their extreme terms of hatred and rejection of others so that people would be forced to align with the rulers to support and finance the war efforts. Sheldon Richman describes how Herman Goering, Hitler’s second in command, understood the discourse of war making:
“Of course the people don’t want war….but after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether, it’s a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”Paul Craig Roberts (“The Collapse of America Power”: ICS, 03/2008), attempts to explain how the British Empire had collapsed once its financial assets were depleted because of the 2nd World War debts. Correlli Barnett (The Collapse of British Power, 1972) states that at the beginning of the WW2, Britain had limited gold and foreign exchange to meet the pressing demands of the war. The British Government asked America to help finance their sustainability to continue the war. Thus, ‘this dependency signaled the end of British power.’ For its draconian wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, America is heavily dependent on China, Japan and Saudi Arabia. It is well known that American treasury owes trillion of dollars to its foreign debtors and therefore, its financial dependency is increasingly becoming an obvious indicator of the end of American global hegemony and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the US financial system have broken down and some of the leading banking institutions have gone into declaring the bankruptcy the roller coaster repercussion could be seen across the American economic, social and political spectrum of life.
Under the Bush administration, America has shrinked its capability and vitality of role and in fact appears dismantled as a superpower status in global affairs. It is no wonder that other nations of world do not seem to take America and its traditional influential stratum in any serious context. Paul Craig Roberts (The Collapse of America Power”) refers to Noam Chomsky stating that under the neoconservative Bush Presidency, “America thinks that it owns the world.” But the fact of the matter is, explains Roberts, “that the US owes the world. The US ”superpower” cannot even finance its own domestic operations, much less its gratuitous wars except via the kindness of foreigners to lend it money that cannot be repaid.” It is undeniable that the US is “bankrupt” because of the on-going wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. David M. Walker Comptroller General of the US and Head of the Government Accountability Office (December 2007). reports that “In everyday language, the US Government cannot pass an audit.”If one is a financial investor, the obvious question asks Paul C. Roberts, “would you want to hold debt in a currency that has such a poor record against the currency of a small island country that was nuked and defeated in WW II, or against a small landlocked European country that clings to its independence and is not a member of the EU?” Consequently, the American dollar is being replaced by Euro and other currencies and soon is going to be abandoned as a reserve currency in global financial system. Roberts appears seriously concerned, “if the bankrupt “superpower” will be able to scraps together the resources to bring home the troops stationed in its hundreds of bases overseas, or whether they will just be abandoned.”The War on Terror is BogusMichel Meacher, British Environment Minister under PM Blair (“The War on Terror is Bogus”) provides reliable insight on the real reasons for the “War on Terrorism.” He claims that the war on terror is superficial as “the 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination.” He further records that “the so called “war on terrorism” is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives… fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11.” In its report prepared by the Baker Institute of Public Policy (April 2001), it stated clearly that “the US remains a prisoner of its energy dilemma. Iraq remains a destabilizing influence to….the flow of oil to international markets from the Middle East” and it its recommendations elaborated the dire need that because it was a challenging risk therefore, the “US military intervention” was the most favored action (Sunday Herald: Oct 6, 2002).
Both the US and United Kingdom have increasing dependence on imported oil from the Middle East. The overriding motivation for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are shielded by political smokescreen that the US and UK will run out of sufficient hydrocarbon energy supplies whereas, the Arab and Muslim world would control almost 60% of the world oil producing capacity and perhaps more significantly 95% of the remaining global oil production capacity. The news media reports indicate that the US is predicted to produce only 39% of the domestic oil production in 2010, whereas in 1990 it produced 57% of its total oil consumption. The UK Government projects ”severe” gas shortages by 2005 and it confirmed that 70% of the electricity will drawn from gas and 90% of gas will be imported. It is interesting to note that Iraq is said to have 110 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves in addition to its approximately 15-20 % of the world oil reserves. In another research report by the Commission on America’s National Interests (July 2000), it observed that the most promising new energy resources are found in the Caspian Sea, Central Asian region and it would spare the US exclusive dependence on the Saudi Arabian oil imports. The report outlined the feasible routes for the Caspian Seas oil deliveries, one hydrocarbon pipeline via Azerbaijan and Georgia and another pipeline through Afghanistan and Pakistan would ensure the future strategic demands of the US government.
To review the documentary evidence of the 9/11 events, it is not unlikely that many strategists have seen the American Government failure to avert the 9/11 terrorist attacks as facilitating a much needed stage drama for its policy aims and an invaluable opportunity to attack Iraq and Afghanistan – a military intervention already been well planned in early 2000. The PNAC policy blueprint of September 2000 projects the transformation of the American power as an unchallengeable global superpower and the need for some tangible tragedy to make it happen. The paper outlines that it “is likely to be a long one in the absence of of some catastrophic and catalyzing event- like a new Pearl Harbor.” In his analytical view, Minister Michael Meacher (“This War on terrorism is Bogus”) states that “global war on terrorism” has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave way for a wholly different agenda-the US goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command and over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.”Did the US hegemonic war achieved any of its set goals for world domination? Have the US and UK Governments secured any viable hydrocarbon energy routes to ensure their depleting gas and oil stocks and the much planned control over the Arab oil reserves? Is the US dollar still a welcomed international currency used by the world nations?Recently, a retried American General Ricardo Sanchez challenged the prevailing notion of the Bush Administration “Mission accomplished “in Iraq, when he asserted that the occupation of Iraq is a “nightmare with no end in sight.” He claimed that the US administration is “incompetent” and “corrupt” and that the most American people could hope for under the present circumstances is to “stave off defeat” in Iraq war. Mike Whitney (“Come and see our overflowing morgues…..come and see the rubble of your surgical strikes”: An Arab Women Blues by Layla Anwar), believes that General Sanchez is neither against the war nor for withdrawal. He simply doesn’t like losing…. and the United Sates is losing.” The General is reported to have admitted that “ after more than four years of fighting , America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism.” Under President Barrack Obama, the global community looks anxiously how and when the promised change will come to America’s failed strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. How soon, the new President will be able to put the body of US politics together again after its moral, political and financial collapse. America and Britain appear lost, not knowing how to come out of the self-engineered defeat in wars against Islam. Masses have sympathies with the true believers and the Islamists appear to have lost nothing. They had no banks to declare bankruptcy and they had no Bush and Cheney to be go down in disgrace. They remain in tact and active all the fronts even buying weapons from the Us and Russia to fight against them. American strategists know well to do business in global arms market. The so called superpowers are extremely nervous not knowing how soon they could be replaced by smaller nations of the developing world. America needs a Navigational Change. President Obama got elected with the motivational promise, Yes We Can! Would President Obama know how to make a navigational change when there is nothing left to navigate for Change?Mike Whitney attempts to share a new humane perspective of the concerns of the Iraqi civilians who are the real victims of this ferocious war against their country. To reflect on how the adversely affected Iraqi people think on the on-going America-British led war and continuous daily bombing of the civilian population, Layla Anwar, An Arab Women Blues writes in her website blog:
“Everyday, under the pretext of either al-Qaida, insurgents, militants or whatever imaginary name you coined, you have not ceased, not even for one day, slaughtering our innocents……for 4 years, you have not ceased for one single day, Not during holiday periods, not during religious celebrations, not even during the day your so called God was born….if you have a God that is.”Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja, an academic with special interests in global peace and security and conflict resolution, and comparative civilizations and author of numerous publications in global affairs. His latest publication is entitled: To America with Reason. Comments are welcome:

Rehab for Terrorists?


Govt to hunt Taliban everywhere: Zardari

* President says rehabilitation of IDPs a new challenge * Says war on terror a fight for Pakistan’s survival * US must understand that drone strikes conducted by Pakistan won’t stir any reaction * Nuclear arms are in safe hands * ‘Friends of Pakistan’ conference successful LAHORE: President Asif Ali Zardari has said the government will hunt down the Taliban everywhere in the country, a private TV channel reported on Friday.Zardari told TV anchors at the Presidency in Islamabad that he had never said the government would conduct a military operation in Waziristan after Swat. “I had said the government would eliminate militancy wherever it felt the need to do so.” He said the operation against extremists would continue for the restoration of peace in the country. Zardari said the government was now facing a new challenge in the wake of the massive displacement of people from troubled areas, and the government would try its best to rehabilitate the internally displaced persons (IDPs). He said he was fully aware of the problems being faced by the IDPs and was closely monitoring the situation. Zardari said the US would not repeat the ‘mistake’ of leaving Pakistan alone. He said the war against terrorism was a fight for Pakistan’s survival. Pakistan’s nukes: About Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the president said the weapons were in safe hands. He said the transfer of civilian atomic technology from France would help Pakistan in the energy sector. Drone strikes: The president said the Americans must understand that there would be no protest if drone strikes in the Tribal Areas were conducted by Pakistan itself, and called for Pakistan to be given drone technology. About the latest meeting of the ‘Friends of Pakistan’ forum, the president said he was satisfied with the conference. Replying to a question about a memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and Afghanistan on transit trade, Zardari said it was a bilateral agreement that would not facilitate India. “India has nothing to do with this agreement,” he said. However, he was confident that relations with India would improve after the formation of new government there. daily times monitor/agencies

Rachel Maddow: Indefinite detention? Shame on you... President Obama

Military Action Underway Across the Northeast Caucasus

Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 10 Issue: 20
May 22, 2009 01:48 PM Age: 22 hrs
Category: North Caucasus Weekly, The Caucasus, North Caucasus , Home Page, Featured
By: Mairbek Vatchagaev

For the first time in recent years, joint military and police operations targeting fighters of the armed resistance are underway simultaneously in all three republics of the Northeast Caucasus: Dagestan, the Chechen Republic and Ingushetia. The operation in Chechnya involves the troops from the defense ministry and the Federal Security Service (FSB), yet it is the only place where the action is described as a police-only maneuver. The reason for the misnomer is Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s sensitivity to the term “counter-terrorist operation,” which is commonly used in the region. In Dagestan and Ingushetia, however, all similar operations are managed specifically by the Anti-Terrorism Center.In another development in Chechnya, Kadyrov delivered an embittered speech during Friday prayers at Grozny’s central mosque calling for a take-no-prisoners response to those who take up arms against the government ( The speech came on May 15, after a suicide bomber (shaheed) earlier that day detonated a bomb in front of Chechnya’s Interior Ministry, which infuriated Kadyrov. The president declared that amnesty for rebel fighters was now out of the question, and that any of them who had not yet surrendered would be eradicated. Kadyrov’s harsh statement, which has no basis in Russian laws, will most likely be revised by Moscow in order to avoid embarrassment before the Western community. Kadyrov said he had decided to deal a decisive blow against the armed resistance by dividing the mountainous areas of Chechnya into sectors where authorized officers would be charged with eliminating everyone found to be armed. In his speech, Kadyrov referred to 70 rebel fighters, but it was not quite clear whether he meant that there were 70 rebels in the area where the anti-rebel operation was being conducted or was instead repeating the old claim that the total number of rebels in Chechnya is no more than 70, and that the goal of the current operation in the mountainous area of Chechnya is to eradicate them. On May 16, Kadyrov personally traveled to southern Chechnya’s Vedeno district to oversee the operation ( At the same time, reports from the western part of Chechnya indicated that a joint operation between Chechnya’s and Ingushetia’s law enforcement troops, supported by Russia’s federal forces, is currently underway near the village of Bamut in Chechnya’s Achkhoi-Martan district, which borders Ingushetia’s Sunzha district ( Joint operations of that sort are not often seen in the region, where coordinated action remains difficult due to the many tensions clouding the relationship between regions of the Russian Federation despite their common federal ties. As for the operation’s progress, the government has already reported three dead and several wounded rebels, including one casualty believed to be a Middle East native. The rebel group was reported to consist of 20 to 25 men. Two previously stolen vehicles were also recovered during the operation ( It is not quite clear why the government claimed that the group of rebels found near the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia has ties to Dokka Umarov, as the news media reported. In accordance with the established tradition, the reports make no mention of losses among the federal forces: all the news of casualties among the interior ministry, FSB and defense ministry troops become public only in the event of an information leak. For instance, on the evening of May 17, a serviceman was taken to the hospital, which was followed by reports of one wounded soldier among the federal forces. As for the rebel siege operation, as of 1 a.m. on May 17 it was overseen personally by Ingushetia’s president, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, and one of Kadyrov’s most trusted associates and member of the Russian State Duma, Adam Delimkhanov along with his younger brother Surkho, who commands the Sever (North) battalion, which was established as a counterweight to Sulim Yamadaev’s Vostok battalion ( The involvement of top officials suggests that the hunted rebel group may not be merely associated with Umarov: there must have been some intelligence claiming that Umarov himself was with the group, and the goal therefore would be his capture, which would certainly be the best present imaginable for Kadyrov. All-day operations using artillery and aviation units were underway in Ingush villages bordering Chechnya (Dattykh, Nizhny Alkun and Chemulga) on May 17 ( The joint efforts of the pro-Moscow Chechen and Ingush governments were triggered by a number of high-profile actions carried out by the rebels as well as by what in all likelihood were criminal elements. In Ingushetia, it is often hard to determine who is behind a particular operation ( On May 16, the rebels kidnapped two residents of Verkhny Alkun village, who were later retrieved by the police during a shootout with the rebel group near Nizhny Alkun ( That same day gunmen targeted houses in Sleptsovskaya and Karabulak villages, and a stationary checkpoint near Yandare village was shot at as well (, May 17). A number of murders and armed assaults against private homes forced Yevkurov to react swiftly and mount a response to the actions of the armed opposition—specifically, the Shariat Jamaat led by Amir Akhmed Yevloev.The joint operation of May 17 was concluded with a joint press conference of Yevkurov and Kadyrov in the Ingush capital Magas, where both leaders emphasized the need for stronger coordination of their anti-rebel activities. Not much more should be expected from the joint operation considering that both presidents rushed to announce its “preliminary” results by mid-day. News reports cautiously admitting that the rebels dispersed in the mountainous areas should be read to indicate that the rebels broke the siege again ( On the evening of May 17, Yevkurov quoted a realistic number of rebel fighters (i.e. 15). Yet, despite Yevkurov’s admission, a day later (May 18) Russian news media continued to say that the rebel headcount in the area was as high as 70 ( Contradictory numbers in Russian government reports are nothing new: the FSB, interior ministry and local governments routinely give differing reports, a sign that the government agencies lack coordination even when it comes to press relations. Operations in Dagestan are not being coordinated with Chechnya but rather have continued on their routine course, and recently news reports cited places like Khasavyurt, Karabudakhkentsky district and Buinaksk. On May 13-14, a large-scale military and police operation targeting the Khasavyurt Jamaat (the Dagestan Front of the Caucasus Emirate) was conducted in the forest near Endyrei village and the Sulak River. Four rebels and one serviceman of the elite Alfa special forces group were killed during two days of fighting. The Dagestani government hoped that casualties might include the new Dagestani amir Al Bara (Umalat Magomedov); however, after Magomedov did not turn up among the dead, the government reported the casualties included the amir of the Khasavyurt sector, Amirza Abdullaev ( The government barely had time to declare victory over the local rebels when a senior police lieutenant was gunned down by unidentified individuals on May 16 in Khasavyurt ( Additional federal regiments were dispatched to Karabudakhkentsky district, designated as a site of counter-terrorism operation on May 17. This area is located to the southeast of Buinaksk and is settled primarily by ethnic Kumyks. The government reported that the forest near the villages of Kakashura, Kakamasi, Chankurbe and Dorgeli serves as a hideout for a group of rebels responsible for several assaults against law enforcement and government forces ( During his interview with the Kavkazky Uzel website on April 17, Dagestani President Mukhu Aliev admitted that dozens of interior ministry servicemen are being killed in the republic ( Taken together, military actions in the area indicate that the current year will be no exception to the general trend of increasing rebel fighter activity in the spring and the summer. Therefore, those who monitor developments in the region will be paying close attention to the government’s actions toward the rebels as well as tactics used toward their families. In the meantime, the Chechen government announced that all law enforcement agencies in Chechnya are on heightened alert and all military units are on standby ( It is not known how long the police in the republic will be operating on this status.

Rothschild’s roadmap for Dubai’s economic recovery

It is payback time for Rothschild in Dubai. The 200-year-old banking house, perhaps the bluest of the blue bloods of the world’s financial dynasties, has always prided itself on the strength of its relationships, especially with governments and global power brokers.Now, after years of cultivating Dubai corporations with advice and assistance, it has landed the big one – the brief to advise Dubai Inc on the strategy for recovery from the financial crisis. Last month it was announced that Rothschild’s Dubai office had been retained by the Government’s Department of Finance to advise on the US$10 billion (Dh36.7bn) financial support fund (FSF) raised by Dubai on the bond markets (with a further $10bn in the pipeline).
When it came to it, Dubai – with a portfolio of borrowing relationships with most of the world’s big banking groups – had only two real alternatives: Rothschild, or its great rival, Lazard. As the financial crisis has thinned the ranks of the old-fashioned merchant banks, only those two were in a position to offer Dubai the kind of independent, objective advice it needed. Its final choice was recognition of Rothschild’s commitment to the emirate and the strength of its reputation as a financial problem solver.
No doubt Nasser al Shaikh, the director general of the Department of Finance, who was personally involved in the selection process, was also impressed by Rothschild’s current involvement in the restructuring of the troubled US motor industry, as well as its role as adviser to European governments tackling the fallout of the financial crisis.Since it was appointed, Rothschild has maintained a low profile on the details of its brief. It has been quietly putting in place the ground rules and structures that will govern the day-to-day administration of the FSF. But details are beginning to emerge among informed sources in the Dubai financial community, and – although its strategy is still being finalised – elements of it are beginning to clarify as the disbursement of the first $10bn tranche gets under way.
Already, Nakheel, the troubled property development arm of Dubai World, has admitted to receiving funds from the FSF, although it has declined to say how much or on what terms.It may seem illogical that Nakheel was a recipient of funds while the strategy governing disbursement is still being finalised, but the developer’s admission that it had received money, in fact, illustrates two important factors behind Rothschild’s thinking – urgency and strategic importance.
Nakheel, faced with an immediate need to meet financial commitments to contractors and suppliers, obviously satisfied the first condition for eligibility for FSF funding. Of course, other parts of Dubai Inc, squeezed by the global financial crisis, also need short-term liquidity, but what made the Nakheel case special was its position as one of the key components of Dubai’s ongoing economic development, identified by Rothschild and the Government of Dubai.
A key qualification for FSF eligibility, as explained on Saturday by Mr al Shaikh to the media at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, is this: recipients will be those government-related corporations that are regarded as essential for the long-term future development of Dubai’s economy. In practical terms, this is likely to boil down to a fairly short list of business sectors – infrastructure, transportation – including the Metro and Maktoum airport projects – aviation, ports and shipping. Tourism is also said to be included on the list, as a key component of Dubai’s role as a global hub.
This would appear to relegate to a category of secondary importance the once-dominant property sector, the downturn of which has been one of the main reasons for Dubai’s financial predicament. But the Rothschild guidelines are flexible with regard to real estate. If the corporation or project satisfies the key benchmark of being essential to the emirate’s long-term development, it will be eligible for funding; if not, it will have to weather the full rigours of the global climate.
This gives a hint of another crucial component of Rothschild’s thinking. There is a commercial imperative at work, too. Those seeking FSF cash will have to demonstrate they have a long-term plan for financial and commercial viability, not least because the cash will have to be repaid, probably within a three- to five-year time frame. Applicants will be subjected to a robust and commercially driven analysis of their core strategy, with consistent focus on financial viability. It would be to nobody’s benefit to simply throw money at the problem. It is Dubai’s equivalent of the American “stress tests” that preoccupied the US financial sector in recent weeks.
It is worth noting, too, that the Dubai financial sector appears to fall outside the Rothschild guideline of FSF eligibility. Although they are obviously a key part of ongoing economic development, the emirate’s banks are generally regarded as being in a comparatively healthy condition, well-capitalised and with acceptable levels of non-performing loans. But whether the Rothschild strategy would allow a big financial institution with a high real-estate exposure to qualify for FSF funding is open to debate.
There are tough decisions to be made on the future of Dubai Inc. Rothschild is helping the Government make them in a considered and strategic fashion, with a focus on long-term commercial and financial imperatives.
Global Research Articles by Frank Kane

Ethiopia never left Somalia-It was a deceptive charade

The BBC and other media are reporting the "return of Ethiopian troops to Somalia". How can they "return" when they never left? My sources, who served as advisors to Abdulahi Yusuf, leader of the Eldoret formed Transitional National Government of Somalia (TNG), tell me that Meles Zenawi´s forces never left Somalia. They may have left Mogadishu but they certainly did not leave Somalia. The Ethiopian regime has lied abut its presence in Somalia from day one. After denying its presence in Somalia in 2006, it was forced to admit that it had forces all over Somalia. Then it came up with a convenient lie and claimed that it was there at the invitation of Abdulahi Yusuf´s TNG. The media reported about the presence of 8000 Ethiopian troops. That too was a lie. There were over 25,000 Ethiopian troops in Somalia.It was on Christmas Eve 24 December 2006 that the US-backed minority regime in Ethiopia invaded Somalia to oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) which was expanding its influence throughout Somalia. Sheikh Sharif, who now heads the TNG, was "hunted down" by Meles Zenawi´s forces. Vicki Huddleston and Jendayi E. Frazier called the UIC a threat to Ethiopia´s security and accused them of harboring Al Qaeda operatives, including those who bombed the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and for "introducing strict Islamic laws" and "banning khat". The invasion brought chaos and destruction to Somalia. Over a million people were displaced, tens of thousands massacred in cold blood and Somali´s infrastructures destroyed. The UN led international community created another TNG in Djibouti, forced the resignation of Abdulahi Yusuf, and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was chosen as the new President of Somalia.Just as the Bush Administration was leaving Washington, in January 2009, after two years of pillage and destruction, Meles Zenawi claiming "victory", announced that his marauding forces would leave Somalia. Only the gullible believed that unlikely story. If the Ethiopian troops were to leave Somalia, who then was going to "prop up" the new TNG formed in Djibouti? After all, it was not chosen by the people of Somalia. The west may have labeled the new TNG "moderate", but that is not going to bring it legitimacy in the eyes of the Somali people. The people of Somalia must be given the chance to choose their own leaders and set the criteria for themselves. The people of Somalia had accepted Sheikh Sharif and the UIC in 2006 in spite of the labels placed on them by Jendayi Frazier and Meles Zenawi. They had accepted Sheikh Sharif Ahmed then because he was borne out of their struggle against the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Anti Terrorism-CIA sponsored warlords who had prevented the Eldoret formed TNG from establishing itself in Somalia, forcing it to remain in Kenya for over two years. Jendayi Frazer and Meles Zenawi planned and carried out the ouster of the UIC and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed from Somalia in order to establish the puppet regime of Abdulahi Yusuf and Ali Mohammed Ghedi, a regime that would be amenable to Meles Zenawi and the West.Sheikh Sharif was forced into exile and so were his comrades. He took refuge in Eritrea where the Alliance for the Re-liberation and Reconstitution of Somalia (ARS) was formed by about 450 Somalis representing a cross section of the Somali people. They called for the unconditional removal of Ethiopian and other foreign forces from Somalia. Jendai Frazer and Meles Zenawi blacklisted Eritrea for not supporting the puppet TNG led by Abdulahi Yusuf and Ali Mohammed Ghedi. The UN Security Council decided that the TNG led by Abdulahi Yusuf was the only legitimate government of Somalia. Today, the UN is once again telling us that the only legitimate government of Somalia is the one led by Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the same person that was "hunted down" by Meles Zenawi´s forces in 2006 and 2007. The US led international community is once again insisting that all nations accept the newly formed TNG. Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was brought to Mogadishu, but the violence and destructions continue. Today, we hear that Ethiopia is once again in Somalia. I contend that they never left. How many forces did the Djibouti TNG have when it came to Mogadishu? Who took over when the Ehtiopians supposedly left in January? Did the African Union forces have the capacity to take over? How many troops were trained by Ethiopia and UNDP? Did they remain to support the new TNG or did they leave with Abdulahi Yusuf? I doubt that even the UN has answers to these questions. With all the lies being reported and repeated, it can be very hard to discern the facts about Somalia, but you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out this hoax. Let us take a look at the UN Monitoring Group´s Report of December 2008 to get a better understanding of the forces in Somalia. This is what the Report says about the TNG forces trained by Ethiopia:"…The Transitional Federal Government possesses a security establishment of fewer than 20,000 personnel, including military, police and intelligence services. Many of these, however, are believed to be "phantoms", whose pay — when disbursed — is diverted by senior commanders. Payment is irregular. Over the course of the past six months, effective force levels have been further depleted by attrition and defection…" "…The Government of Ethiopia informed the Monitoring Group in October 2008 that it had trained 17,000 Somali security personnel, but did not specify how many were police and how many military. Of that total, Ethiopia believes less than 3,000 may still be effective, suggesting an attrition rate of over 80 per cent. Since most soldiers who desert or defect take their weapons and uniforms with them, this represents some 14,000 new weapons entering Somali territory…" "…In 2008, Ethiopia began to withdraw its forces from Somalia and gradually transfer authority to the Transitional Federal Government. During the course of this process, as many as 14,000 Ethiopian-trained troops are believed to have deserted or defected, usually with their uniforms and weapons…" "…On a smaller scale, UNDP reported in January 2008 that 225 police officers whom it had trained could not be traced, and estimated that 40 per cent of trainees had deserted by November 2008. According to media reports and a senior Transitional Federal Government source, at least several hundred such trainees have joined armed opposition groups, often taking their arms, uniforms and vehicles with them…"

Here are some news reports about the defection of TNG forces:"…A group of soldiers formerly loyal to the allied governments of Somalia and Ethiopia have reportedly switched sides and "surrendered" over to militants leading the insurgency…Abdirahim Isse Addow, a spokesman for the Islamic Courts movement, said seven Somali soldiers and one Ethiopian military officer said the Islamists would welcome the defecting soldiers…A soldier who spoke for the defecting Somali troops said they were all trained in Ethiopia and deployed at the ex-pasta factory, in north Mogadishu…" (Garowe online 7 September 2008)"…During this week's fighting, some government troops have defected to the insurgents, although the government denies it. The local television station HornAfrik has run video of Islamist fighters displaying 17 military vehicles with government plates they said were brought over by defecting soldiers…" (Associated Press 15 May 2009)According to my sources, the minority regime in Ethiopia, master of gimmicks and deceptions, is at it again. In an elaborate scheme designed to hoodwink the international community and fleece donors of more funds, it seems the shameless regime in Ethiopia is passing off "Ethiopian Somalis" as Somalis. It is the same gimmick it has used to present Tigrayans as Eritreans. Farfetched you say? Well, considering the deceptive nature of the regime and its past activities…In December 2008, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia reported the following:"…At the end of February 2008, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a project document and funding request to the British Government. The project envisaged a six-month training course for 10,000 Somali police, but did not address their subsequent integration into the Somali police force. The description of the training curriculum is vague…Subsequent requests by donors and UNDP to inspect the training course on location were rejected by the Ethiopian Government. They were, however, invited to attend the graduation ceremony that took place on 5 July 2008…The Ethiopian Government provided all trainees with uniforms and individual weapons in preparation for their deployment to Somalia. The military and police contingents traveled in joint convoys from the Ethiopian border to Baidoa. The Ethiopian-trained military contingent remained under Ethiopian Command…"Why was the TPLF regime being so secretive about its training program if it was on the up and up? According to my sources, all the remaining TNG forces and the "Somali Ethiopians" are under the command of a certain Ethiopia General "Gere". If they are Somalis, why are they not under TNG control? If that is not bad enough, turns out, the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is also under Ethiopian command. It should be recalled that Meles Zenawi heads the African Union´s Peace and Security Council (AU-PSC) which created AMISOM in 2007. Leave it to the bigoted regime to come up with such a deceptive charade. There is also news about the Sheikh Sharif TNG "downplaying" Ethiopia´s presence in Somalia. That comes as no surprise. When the minority regime´s forces were hunting him down in 2006 and when he took refuge in Eritrea, he was singing a different tune. The UIC was calling for the unconditional removal of Ethiopian forces. Today, he imagines that with the blessing of the UN and AU, he is now part of the "bloc". In a shameful and reckless display of political immaturity, pandering to Meles Zenawi, he has also taken to denouncing Gimbot 7 (Ethiopian opposition), he knows nothing about. He ought to worry about the people of Somalia´s opposition to his illegitimate TNG, then worry about Gimbot 7. Instead of engaging in senseless propaganda on behalf of Meles Zenawi and the "bloc", Sheikh Sharif Ahmed ought to be calling for the unconditional removal of all Ethiopia, Burundi and Ugandan troops from Somalia, for that is what the Somali people want. He should also be calling on the international community to stop exploiting the instability in Somalia and stop the illegal fishing off the coast of Somalia; stop the dumping of nuclear and other waste etc. The UN special envoy to Somalia ought to be defending the rights of the Somali people. Johann Hari in an Independent article posted on the 5 January 2009 wrote:"...Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the UN envoy to Somalia, tells me: "Somebody is dumping nuclear material here. There is also lead, and heavy metals such as cadmium and mercury – you name it." Much of it can be traced back to European hospitals and factories, who seem to be passing it on to the Italian mafia to "dispose" of cheaply. When I asked Mr Ould-Abdallah what European governments were doing about it, he said with a sigh: "Nothing. There has been no clean-up, no compensation, and no prevention."…At the same time, other European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest resource: seafood. We have destroyed our own fish stocks by overexploitation – and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300m-worth of tuna, shrimp, and lobster are being stolen every year by illegal trawlers. The local fishermen are now starving…"The sad thing about this whole sordid criminal, almost mafia-like state of affairs in Somalia is the silence and the acquiescence of the US led international community and the duplicity of the UN Envoy as Somalia disintegrates further. Instead of pointing their blood soaked fingers at Eritrea, they ought to take a good look at the destruction and mayhem they have caused in Somalia as they advance their own interests at the expense (lives) of the Somali people. It was on 24 May 2007 that I saw Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and his delegation at the Asmara stadium, sitting in a place reserved for guests who come to participate in the Independence Day celebrations. The Government and people of Eritrea treated him with dignity and respect and as one of Eritrea´s friends. Today, as Eritrea celebrates the 18th Independence Anniversary, he finds himself neither a friend of Eritrea, nor wanted or accepted by the Somali people he purports to lead. Forgetting the magnanimity of the Government and people of Eritrea, and has joined in the anti-Eritrea chorus led by the very regimes that hunted him down in 2006. Today, while other invited guests and dignitaries experience the hospitality and friendship of the Eritrean people, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the "bloc" led by Meles Zenawi will watch from a distance as Eritrea and her people celebrate their hard earned independence.

Israeli National Radio - Audio: CIA to Israel: Prepare for a Nuclear Iran

Aaron Klein, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for and author of “The Late Great State of Israel,” reports that during a secret visit here earlier this month, CIA Director Leon Panetta told Israeli officials the country should prepare for a situation in which Iran is a nuclear power with the ability to strike.


Saudi Arabia: Media Will Help In Fight Against Extremism

Saudi Minister for Islamic Affairs Salah Aal Al-Sheikh has said that his office plans to use the Internet and satellite television channels to protect youth against extremist ideologies that target young people via propaganda.
Source: Al-Hayat, London, May 20, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Online Discussion at RevolutionMuslim - masjid Said Qutb

The Dollar is going to fall like a stone

To cover both wars, Senate passes $91.3B bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate is backing President Barack Obama's efforts to ramp up the war in Afghanistan, granting his request for $91.3 billion for military and diplomatic operations there and in Iraq.

The spending bill, approved on an 86-3 vote Thursday night, goes to congressional negotiators to work out a compromise with a similar measure the House passed. Lawmakers expected to present a bill for Obama's signature next month.

Voting against the measure were Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

The major difference in what Obama sought and what the Senate granted concerned the $80 million the president wanted for closing the U.S. detention facility at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Senate joined the House in blocking the president's plan for closing the prison until he submits a detailed plan for the disposition of the terror suspects held there.

Obama is sending more than 20,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. For the first time, the annual cost of the war in Afghanistan is projected to exceed the cost of fighting in Iraq.

With support forces, the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan is expected to be about 68,000 by the end of the year — more than double the size of the U.S. force at the end of 2008.

Among the few cautionary voices during debate over the spending measure came from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

"I want to give this administration ... the resources it needs to successfully end these wars," Boxer said. "I don't support an open-ended commitment of American troops to Afghanistan. And if we do not see measurable progress, we must reconsider our engagement and strategy there."

Debate pretty much fizzled after Democrats retreated and moved to delete from the bill money to close Guantanamo, where about 240 terrorism suspects still are held.

The underlying war-funding measure has gotten relatively little attention, even though it would boost total approved spending for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars above $900 billion.

The Pentagon would receive $73 billion under the legislation, including $4.6 billion to train and equip Afghan and Iraqi security forces; $400 million to train and equip Pakistan's security forces; and $21.9 billion to procure new mine-resistant vehicles, aircraft, weapons and ammunition, among other items.

The House version adds $11.8 billion to Obama's request, including almost $4 billion for new weapons and military equipment such as eight C-17 cargo planes, mine-resistant vehicles, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Stryker armored vehicles. The House measure also adds $2.2 billion to Obama's request for foreign aid, much of which appears to be designed to get around spending limits for 2010.

The Senate measure contains less for weapons procurement and foreign aid, setting up potentially nettlesome negotiations.

The Senate floor was often empty Thursday as senators wrestled privately over what final add-ons would make it into the bill.

In the end, several amendments were added, including one by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., to block the release under the Freedom of Information Act of government photographs showing the abuse of detainees. The administration is fighting the American Civil Liberties Union in federal court over the release of the photos, and the move was intended to bolster the government's legal position.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., won approval of an amendment requiring the president to set forth U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan and issue quarterly reports detailing whether those goals were being met.

The Senate bill includes $1.5 billion as cautionary funding to fight a possible flu pandemic, including the current outbreak of H1N1 swine flu.

The bill also contains $350 million for various security programs along the U.S.-Mexico border. But the money would not be awarded to the Pentagon, as Obama requested.

By a 64-30 vote earlier Thursday, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., to kill a proposed $100 billion line of credit for the IMF to shore up the ability of countries around the globe to cope with financial crises, along with $8 billion for existing commitments.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Army captain killed in bomb attack

From Dawn News: Friday, 22 May, 2009 | 03:15 AM PST |

TIMERGARA: An army captain and a lance naik were killed and five other security men injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb near the Islam Darra security checkpost on the Timergara-Maidan road on Thursday.

Sources said that the vehicle carrying army officials was going from Maidan to Timergara.

The dead were identified as Captain Umar Zeb and Lace Naik Shehzad. The injured, Colonel Saeed, Hawaldar Nawaz, Hawaldar Shaukat and sepoys Ahmad Ali and Ahsan Ali, were taken to the DHQ hospital in Timergara where they are stated to be stable.

After the incident, security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search operation. They claimed to have killed a suspected boy trying to flee the spot soon after the explosion. They said he had a remote-control in his hand.

However, local people said the boy was innocent and he had a mobile phone in his hand instead of a remote-control. Curfew has been imposed in the area.

Meanwhile, an exchange of fire between troops and militants took place in a nearby area. Security forces claimed to have killed 12 militants during a search operation and the exchange of fire.

The security forces also claimed to have arrested three suspect militants in the area. Fresh clashes erupted between the security forces and the Maidan Taliban at Kumbar when troops launched a search operation on Thursday morning.

A sepoy, Mahboob, was killed when militants attacked the troops. Security forces said they had killed 10 militants in a counter attack.

The security forces pounded militants’ hideouts in different parts of Maidan and fired mortar shells from Lal Qilla and Islam Dara checkposts. The situation is tense in the district after a three-day calm.

Jurors can't reach decision, ex-soldier gets life without parole

The following is from CNN:

PADUCAH, Kentucky (CNN) -- Jurors on Thursday told a judge they could not reach a decision on whether a former U.S. soldier should be sentenced to death for war crimes -- including rape and murder -- he committed in Iraq.

The lack of a unanimous decision means Steven Green will be sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to instructions given to jurors as they began deliberations on the sentence Wednesday.

Green was convicted earlier this month of murder, rape, conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with a 2006 incident near Yusufiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad. Jurors decided he was guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl, then killing her and setting her body on fire to destroy evidence. He was also convicted of killing the girl's parents and 6-year-old sister.

As jurors reported their inability to reach a decision, Green appeared to issue a sigh of relief and a small smile crossed his face. A member of his defense team, a paralegal, burst into sobs.

"We are obviously pleased with the penalty phase verdict, given the two choices available to the jury," Green's defense team said in a written statement. "However, there won't be any celebrating tonight by the defense team. Mr. Green will spend the rest of his life in jail, and the events of March 12, 2006, have forever changed the lives of many. It is a tragic case on so many levels."

During closing arguments to try to spare the life of Green, who was convicted of war crimes in Iraq, the defense argued that the U.S. military failed the former soldier, who was suffering from trauma.

"America does not kill its broken warriors," federal defender Scott Wendelsdorf, his voice choked with emotion, told the jury Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Kentucky.

Executing Green, Wendelsdorf said, would let the military "off the hook" and send the message that his superiors bear no responsibility for sending Green into combat, knowing he'd been traumatized by the deaths of several respected unit leaders.

But prosecutors seeking the death penalty told the jury Wednesday it was time to end the blame game.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Skaret said the soldiers in Green's unit who died honorably "would be rolling over in their graves" if they knew their deaths were being used to explain why Green went on the murder rampage.

Skaret said that before the killings, Green and his four co-conspirators were talking about "sex" and "screwing Iraqi chicks" rather than avenging their colleagues' deaths.

Four co-conspirators were tried in a military court. Two who testified for the prosecution are serving life sentences and will be eligible for parole in 10 years.

Green raped and killed a 14-year-old Iraqi girl after first murdering her parents and 6-year-old sister in their home, a short walk from a traffic checkpoint south of Baghdad where he was stationed.

He was on trial in a civilian court because he had been honorably discharged for a personality disorder before the crimes came to light.

In his defense, Wendelsdorf mentioned the testimony of psychiatric nurse practitioner Lt. Col. Karen Marrs. She interviewed Green in Iraq and said he exhibited characteristics that put him at risk for killing himself or others.

Green was not pulled from combat but instead was given sleeping pills and returned to his checkpoint. Defense lawyers said the army knew Green was suffering psychologically and chose to ignore it rather than give him the mental health care he needed.

Green's lawyer called the crime "horrific" and acknowledged, "No one is responsible for the death of the al-Janabi family but Steven Green."

Wendelsdorf said although the mitigating factors -- including Green's troubled upbringing -- do not excuse the crime, they should "help determine what the punishment should be."

But, the premeditated murders of Mr. and Mrs. al-Janabi and their two daughters were so horrific that those factors could not mitigate the crimes, Skaret said.

N.Y. Police: Terror Suspects Wanted to 'Commit Jihad'

The following is from Fox News:

As part of a holy war against America, four men sought to commit jihad when they plotted to bomb two synagogues and shoot down military planes, the New York City police commissioner said Thursday.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters that the men allegedly "wanted to commit Jihad" and were angry about Muslims being killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. military forces.

"If Jews were killed in this attack … that would be all right," Kelly quoted one of the men as saying at a press conference outside one of the targeted Bronx synagogues.

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The defendants — James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen — were charged with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The defendants had allegedly planned to detonate a car with plastic explosives outside the Riverdale Temple, a Reform synagogue, and the Riverdale Jewish Center, an Orthodox synagogue, located near each other in the Bronx.

The men also allegedly sought to shoot military planes at the Air National Guard base at Stewart Airport in Newburgh with Stinger surface-to-air guided missiles.

The men, all of Newburgh, are due in federal court on Thursday in White Plains, N.Y.

RAW DATA: Federal Complaint (pdf).

RAW DATA: U.S. Attorney's Press Release (pdf).

Cromitie, David Williams and Onta Williams are native-born Americans; Payen was born in Haiti and is a Haitian citizen, according to authorities.

Three of the men converted to Islam, an official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press.

The arrests came following a nearly yearlong undercover operation that began in Newburgh, N.Y., about 70 miles north of New York City.

"They stated that they wanted to commit Jihad," Kelly said. "They were disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan, that Muslims were being killed."

Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned against stereotypes, stressing that Riverdale Temple is open to people of all faiths, including a Muslim girl who sometimes prays there. Bloomberg, Kelly and other city leaders met privately with congregants early Thursday to alleviate security concerns.

Asked why the suspects chose to target synagogues in the Bronx's Riverdale section, Kelly alluded to the proximity to highways, saying it could have been a fast getaway for the suspects.

The defendants planned to "destroy a synagogue and a Jewish community center (that is also a synagogue) with C-4 plastic explosives," acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said.

Bloomberg said the alleged plot shows "that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real and underscores why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism."

According to a criminal complaint, Cromitie began working with an FBI informant in June 2008 when he told the official that his parents had lived in Afghanistan and he was upset with the ongoing war there, including the deaths of many Muslims in Afghanistan and Pakistan by U.S. military forces.

Cromitie said he wanted to return to Afghanistan and told the informant about how he'd go to "paradise" if he died a martyr, the complaint said.

He also expressed an interest in doing "something to America," according to the complaint.

The following month, Cromitie and the informant discussed a Pakistan-based terror organization called Jaish-e-Mohammed that the informant claimed to be affiliated with.

In April 2009, Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen identified the synagogues they wanted to hit and began conducting surveillance of them as well as of the Air National Guard Base where they intended to strike military planes with Stinger missiles.

The informant supplied them with a missile he said he'd obtained from Jaish-e-Mohammed, but instead, it was an FBI-made device that wasn't capable of being fired, according to the complaint.

Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Payen are each charged with one count of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the U.S., which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, and one count of conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told FOX News that former President Bush and the Department of Homeland Security should be credited for keeping the country safe following the Sept. 11 attacks.

"Maybe the Bush administration might deserve a little credit for the fact that there's not been another attack on the United States of America since 9/11," McCain told FOX News.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said if there can be any good news out of this case it's that "the group was relatively unsophisticated, penetrated early and not connected to any outside group."

One Newburgh resident who lived near Payen described the 21-year-old parolee as a "strange kid."

“He had a lot of psychological problems," Hamin Rashada told the Times Herald-Record.

Since serving a 15-month prison term, Payen lived alternatively in Newburgh and Middletown in upstate New York, with occasional stints on the street.

Rashada told the paper he met Payen through the Orange County Transition Center, a program that helps re-integrate parolees back into society.

A senior life coach with the program, Rashada worked with Payen and encouraged him to attend Friday prayers at Masjid al-Ikhlas in Newburgh, where Rashada is an assistant imam, according to the Herald-Record.

But Payen only attended the Newburgh mosque occasionally, Rashada told the paper. He said he assumed the former inmate must have been introduced to Islam in prison, where misunderstandings of its philosophies can occur because educated teachers can be difficult to find.

When he did attend, Rashada said Payen would try to impress other members of the mosque with knowledge of Islam, but was often incorrect.

Payen would then become quiet and wander off, Rashada told the paper.

A Jewish human rights group issued a statement saying the alleged plot and arrests show that Jews in the United States aren't safe.

"The shocking plan to blow up a Jewish house of prayer with what the jihadist terrorists thought were C-4 explosives is dramatic proof that the dangers from such fanaticism have not passed and that American Jews must maintain their vigilance," the Simon Wiesenthal Center said.

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FOX 5 VIDEO: Update on Foiled Terror Plot.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

By Any Means Necessary