Saturday, January 08, 2005

GlobalJihadWatch

The Big Picture

Terrorists in Saudi Arabia were dealt a heavy blow this past week. Having killed 10 members of al-Qaeda, the Kingdom is taking the threat of Al-Qaeda within its borders seriously. If Saudi Arabia continues to clamp down and eradicate terrorist havens, it could demoralize al-Qaeda, its affiliates and supporters alike. Saudi Arabia has served as the primary hub for al-Qaeda's dissemination of information to members around the globe via the bi-monthly publication Sawt al-Jihad.

Regional Briefs

North America, Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Europe, Asia, Africa

North America
Official: No Laser, Terrorism Link (CNN) - The FBI investigation into incidents involving laser beams aimed at aircraft has found no link to terrorism, the Department of Homeland Security's transportation security chief said Monday (1/3). The FBI is investigating eight incidents since Christmas involving lasers -- or lights believed to be lasers -- directed at aircraft across the nation, including in Ohio, Colorado New Jersey and DC. On 11/22, the FBI and DHS disclosed that terrorists have shown an interest in using laser beams to try to bring down flights.



Al-Qaeda Surveillance Techniques Detailed (Associated Press) - A new government intelligence bulletin describes in the greatest detail yet al-Qaeda's techniques for assessing potential targets, extolling the lethal power of flying, shattered building glass and advising that kerosene and tires are effective for a deadly arson attack. The excerpts, according to the bulletin, show that al-Qaeda operatives go well beyond basic description of a potential target to sophisticated analysis of vulnerabilities in building construction, an examination of potential police and emergency response and recommendations for possible methods of attack.

Middle East
French ex-hostage says Kidnappers Linked to al-Qaeda (Reuters) - Journalist Christian Chesnot, a French hostage who was released after four months in Iraq told Asharq al-Awsat that his kidnappers included "fundamentalists," militants linked to al-Qaeda and former members of ousted president Saddam Hussein's ruling party.



Zarqawi al-Qaeda-Linked Group Kills Iraq Governor (Reuters) - According to an Internet statement, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's group took credit for assassinating Baghdad's governor, Ali al-Haidri on 1/4. Gunmen killed Haidri in Iraq's highest-profile assassination in eight months.



Baghdad Bomb Kills 28 in "Trap" for Police (Reuters) - At least 28 people were killed in Baghdad after insurgents blew up a house that police were raiding. According to the Interior Ministry, the police were lured into a trap. Neighbors, however, said officers responded to a genuine call. Six policemen were among the 28 dead and four officers were missing.



Al-Qaeda Linked Group Claims Suicide Bombing Near Iraqi PM Office (Agence France-Presse) - The al-Qaeda linked Ansar al-Sunna group claimed responsibility in an Internet statement for Monday's (1/3) suicide car bombing near the Baghdad offices of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's political party in which four people died. At least 24 people were wounded.



Suspected Zarqawi Fighter Captured in Iraq (Agence France-Presse) - The Iraqi government announced Wednesday (12/29) the capture of a militant linked to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Mosul. The statement identified the fighter as 33-year-old Abu Marwan, a senior commander with Mosul-based Abu Talha groups, which the government said was linked to Zarqawi.



Saudi Forces Kill Suspected al-Qaeda Leader (Agence France-Presse) - Saudi security forces have killed 10 suspected al-Qaeda militants in two days of clashes in the capital, including a Yemeni thought to be the terror group's leader in the country, officials said Thursday (12/30). Saudi forces killed seven militants in a shootout late Wednesday that came just an hour after bombings at the interior ministry and a special forces base, a ministry statement said. The other three were killed in a firefight that began late Tuesday and continued overnight, said the statement carried by the official SPA news agency. The ministry identified the two most-wanted militants as Saudis Sultan Bjad Saadun al-Otaibi and Bandar Abderrahman al-Dakhil. A security source said a Yemeni among the dead, Ibrahim Ahmed Abdel Majeed al-Reemy, was believed to be the actual leader of the al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.



Al-Qaeda says Riyadh Attacks Targeted Interior Minister (Reuters) - The Saudi wing of al-Qaeda said it tried to assassinate the kingdom's Interior Minister during two high-profile suicide bombings in Riyadh last week, according to an Internet statement posted on Tuesday (1/4). The statement, signed by the al-Qaeda Organization in the Arabian Peninsula and dated 12/31, vowed to wage more attacks against "infidels and Christians." According to the Interior Ministry at least 18 people were wounded in the 12/29 attacks, in which two bomb-rigged cars were detonated outside a heavily fortified compound and a training unit for the emergency forces.



Kuwaiti Troops Held Over 'Plot' (British Broadcasting Corporation/Agence France-Presse) - The Kuwaiti army says it has detained a number of soldiers suspected of plotting to attack "friendly forces" - a reference to US troops there. About 25,000 American soldiers are currently stationed in the emirate. Kuwait is also the transit point for multinational forces traveling to and from neighboring Iraq. A newspaper reported on Tuesday (1/4) that the detained soldiers have “ideological links” to al-Qaeda.



Two Turkish al-Qaeda Suspects Extradited (Agence France-Presse) - Pakistan on Sunday (1/2) extradited two Turks suspected of links to al-Qaeda. They were immediately arrested and charged by Turkish authorities, the Anatolia news agency reported. Mehmet Yilmaz and Mahmut Kaplan, who were arrested in Lahore in August, were brought before a court in Gaziantep, where they are wanted for "membership of a clandestine Islamist organization."

Afghanistan and Pakistan
Al-Qaeda Suspects Kill Pakistani Tribal Leader (Agence France-Presse) - A Pakistani tribal politician with close links to Afghan President Hamid Karzai was killed in a drive-by attack by suspected al-Qaeda militants on Wednesday 12/29. Shahlam Khan, 50, was blasted by masked gunmen from a moving car in Wana, the main town of the turbulent South Waziristan tribal zone on the Afghan border. Authorities were investigating whether al-Qaeda-linked insurgents were behind the attack. Officials added, Khan had been receiving threatening letters from them.



Report: Suspects in Afghan DynCorp Bombing Arrested (Reuters) - Afghan security forces have arrested two men with al-Qaeda links suspected of carrying out a car bomb attack that killed about 10 people, including three Americans, in Kabul in August, state-run television reported on Saturday (1/1). The attack targeted offices used by the private U.S. security firm DynCorp to train Afghan police in counter-narcotics methods. The TV report named the two suspects as Mohammed Haidar from Tajikistan and Abdul Ahad from Afghanistan, and said Haidar had confessed to his role in the Aug. 29 bombing.



Osama Hunt Expanded Into Cities (New York Post) - U.S. intelligence agencies have expanded the search for Osama bin Laden to Pakistani and Afghan cities after analysts became convinced he has moved from the mountains to an urban environment.

Europe
'70,000 Militants Trained in al-Qaeda Camps' (Agence France-Presse) - Around 70,000 people have been trained in camps run by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, mainly in Afghanistan, a senior German police officer told a court on Tuesday (1/4). Testifying at the retrial of Mounir El Motassadeq, a Moroccan man accused of involvement in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the officer said that the militants had received weapons training and religious instruction.



Six Stand Trial for Paris US Embassy Terror Plot (Agence France-Presse) - Six Islamic militants went on trial in Paris on Monday (1/3) on suspicion of terror-related offences, with the main defendant accused of masterminding a plot to strike the US embassy in Paris. The six have been charged with criminal association in relation with a terrorist enterprise. The suspected ringleader of the militants, Djamel Beghal, was arrested in September 2001 in Dubai, where he allegedly told investigators he was involved in a plot to attack the US embassy in Paris. Beghal now says he is innocent of the charges against him. If convicted, the 39-year-old Franco-Algerian and his five co-defendants face up to 10 years in prison.

Asia
Suspected Islamic Militants Attack Troops in Southern Thailand (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) - Eight members of the Thai security forces have been wounded in a bomb blast in the insurgency hit southern province of Yala. More than 560 people have been killed since the unrest flared in Thailand's three southern border provinces early this year.

Africa
Al-Qaeda-linked Rebels Kill Seven in Algeria (Reuters) - Algerian militants believed to belong to an al-Qaeda-inspired group shot dead seven civilians near the capital Algiers, security sources said on Wednesday (12/29). The rebels, believed to be members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), carried out the attack in the small town of Khraissia.



Top Algerian Islamic Rebel Arrested (Reuters) -- The leader of Algeria's second largest Islamic rebel group has been arrested, the Interior Ministry said on Monday (1/3), dealing a fresh blow to radical Muslim militants fighting the secular government. The arrest of Nourredine Boudiafi, head of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), came six months after the killing of Nabil Sahraoui, head of the larger and more active Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), North Africa's top extremist group which has ties to al-Qaeda. The GIA, which used to number thousands of fighters, was Algeria's top rebel group until a few years ago and is known for deadly attacks on security forces and civilians at the height of the Islamic insurgency in the mid-1990s.





This report was compiled by Jonathan L. Snow and edited by Avi Jorisch.

- Mr. Snow is the Manager of Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

- Avi Jorisch is an FDD Senior Fellow.



GlobalJihadWatch is a weekly publication that tracks developments in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), specifically focusing on militant groups that adhere to the ideology known as radical Islam. Such groups constitute a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but their rhetoric and violence affords them disproportional influence in the Muslim world. Some of these groups are affiliated with al-Qaeda, while others are not. Indeed, such nomenclature is increasingly irrelevant, particularly as al-Qaeda evolves from a structured organization into an amorphous global movement. (This series will not cover the activities of militant Palestinian groups, which are covered at length in other publications

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Friday, January 07, 2005

Conspiracy Theories Surrounding the Tsunami: It was a Punishment from Allah for Sins/Christmas/Plot of Americans and Jews

Special Dispatch - Egypt/Saudi Arabia/PA/U.S. & the Middle East
January 7, 2005
No. 842

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML format, visit
http://www.memri.org/bin/opener_latest.cgi?ID=SD84205


Following practically all international events of importance, conspiracy
theories are raised in the Arab and Muslim worlds. This occurred most recently
following the Asian tsunami. Some of these conspiracy theories focused, as they
often do, on allegations that it was a plot by the U.S. and Israel. Others
speculated that the tsunami was a divine punishment for sins, including that of
celebrating Christmas. The following are speeches and articles which appeared in
the Arab media raising conspiracy theories about the cause of the tsunami; more
will be posted on the MEMRI TV Project website (www.memritv.org) in the coming
days:


Palestinian Friday Sermon by Sheik Mudeiris: The Tsunami is Allah's Revenge at
Bangkok Corruption

The following are excerpts from a Friday mosque sermon aired on Palestinian
Authority TV by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, which was recorded and translated by the
MEMRI TV Monitor Project:

"What happened there, in South-East Asia ... we ask God to have mercy upon all
the martyrs - for he who dies by drowning is a martyr. We ask God to have mercy
upon all the Muslims who died there. Allah willing, they are martyrs. But, don't
you think that the wrath of the earth and the wrath of the sea should make us
reflect? Tens of thousands dead, and many predict that the number will be in the
hundreds of thousands. We ask God for forgiveness. When oppression and
corruption increase, the law of equilibrium applies. I can see in your eyes that
you are wondering what the 'universal law of equilibrium' is. This law is a
divine law. If people are remiss in implementing God's law and in being zealous
and vengeful for His sake, Allah sets his soldiers in action to take revenge.

"The oppression and corruption caused by America and the Jews have increased.
Have you heard of these beaches that are called 'tourists' paradise?' You have
all probably heard of Bangkok. We read about it, and knew it as the center of
corruption on the face of this earth. Over there, there are Zionist and American
investments. Over there they bring Muslims and others to prostitution. Over
there, there are beaches, which they dubbed 'tourists' paradise,' while only a
few meters away, the locals live in hell on earth. They cannot make ends meet,
while a few meters away there is a paradise, 'tourists' paradise.'

"Do you want the earth to turn a blind eye to the corrupt oppressors? Do you
want the sea... Do you want the sea to lower its waves in the face of corruption
that it sees with its own eyes?! No, the zero hour has come."(1)


Advisor to Saudi Arabia's Justice Minister: The Nations were Destroyed for
Lying, Sinning, and being Infidels

Ibrahim Al-Bashar, an advisor to Saudi Arabia's Justice Minister, argued on the
Saudi Arabian/UAE Al-Majd TV channel that the sins of the affected countries
caused the tsunami:

"Whoever reads the Koran, given by the Maker of the World, can see how these
nations were destroyed. There is one reason: they lied, they sinned, and [they]
were infidels. Whoever studies the Koran can see this is the result...

"Some intellectuals, philosophers, and journalists - may Allah show them the
straight path - say this is the wrath of nature. Whoever is angry must have a
soul and a brain in order to act out his anger. Does the earth have a brain and
a body with a soul? They talk about the wrath of nature, or else they claim that
what happened was due to a fissure in the depths of the earth, which the earth's
crust could not bear. They connect cosmic matters.

"But who is the one that cracked it, split it, and commanded it to quake?! Why
don't we ask that question? Who is the one that sent the wind? Who sent the
floods? But they tell you that it was due to the ebb and tide, and that the
barometric depressions are to blame. Who commanded them to do so?

"These countries, in which these things occurred - don't they refrain from
adopting Allah's law, which is a form of heresy? Man-made laws have been chosen
over Allah's law, which has been deemed unsuitable to judge people?! Whoever
does not act according to Allah's law is a heretic, that's what Allah said in
the Koran. Don't these countries have witchcraft, sorcery, deceitfulness, and
abomination?"(2)


Saudi Professor Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzan: Allah Punishes for Homosexuality and
Fornication at Christmas

The following are excerpts from an interview on Saudi/UAE's Al-Majd TV with
Sheikh Fawzan Al-Fawzan, a professor at the Al-Imam University, which was
recorded and translated by the MEMRI TV Monitor Project:

"These great tragedies and collective punishments that are wiping out villages,
towns, cities, and even entire countries, are Allah's punishments of the people
of these countries, even if they are Muslims.

"Some of our forefathers said that if there is usury and fornication in a
certain village, Allah permits its destruction. We know that at these resorts,
which unfortunately exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia, and
especially at Christmas, fornication and sexual perversion of all kinds are
rampant. The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah.
It happened at Christmas, when fornicators and corrupt people from all over the
world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion. That's when this tragedy
took place, striking them all and destroyed everything. It turned the land into
wasteland, where only the cries of the ravens are heard. I say this is a great
sign and punishment on which Muslims should reflect.

"All that's left for us to do is to ask for forgiveness. We must atone for our
sins, and for the acts of the stupid people among us and improve our condition.
We must fight fornication, homosexuality, usury, fight the corruption on the
face of the earth, and the disregard of the lives of protected people."(3)


Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajjid: Allah Finished Off the Richter Scale in
Revenge of Infidel Criminals

The following are excerpts from an interview on Saudi/UAE's Al-Majd TV with
Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Munajjid, which was recorded and translated by the
MEMRI TV Monitor Project:

"The problem is that the [Christian] holidays are accompanied by forbidden
things, by immorality, abomination, adultery, alcohol, drunken dancing, and ...
and revelry. A belly dancer costs 2500 pounds per minute and a singer costs
50,000 pounds per hour, and they hop from one hotel to another from night to
dawn. Then he spends the entire night defying Allah.

"Haven't they learned the lesson from what Allah wreaked upon the coast of Asia,
during the celebration of these forbidden? At the height of immorality, Allah
took vengeance on these criminals.

"Those celebrating spent what they call 'New Year's Eve' in vacation resorts,
pubs, and hotels. Allah struck them with an earthquake. He finished off the
Richter scale. All nine levels gone. Tens of thousands dead.

"It was said that they were tourists on New Year's vacation who went to the
crowded coral islands for the holiday period, and then they were struck by this
earthquake, caused by the Almighty Lord of the worlds. He showed them His wrath
and His strength. He showed them His vengeance. Is there anyone learning the
lesson? Is it impossible that we will be struck like them? Why do we go their
way? Why do we want to be like them, with their holidays, their forbidden
things, and their heresy?"(4)


Egyptian Nationalist Weekly: U.S.-Israel-India Nuclear Testing May have Caused
Asian Tsunami; The Goal: Testing how to Liquidate Humanity

The Egyptian nationalist weekly Al-Usbu' has published an investigation by
correspondent Mahmoud Bakri, titled "Humanity in Danger," claiming that the
earthquake and tsunami in Asia may have resulted from joint nuclear testing by
the U.S., Israel, and India. The following are excerpts from the article:

"Was [the earthquake] caused by American, Israeli, and Indian nuclear testing on
'the day of horror?' Why did the 'Ring of Fire' explode?

"... According to researchers' estimates, there are two possible [explanations]
for what happened. The first is a natural, divine move, because the region is in
the 'Ring of Fire,' a region subject to this destructive type of earthquakes.

"The second possibility is that it was some kind of human intervention that
destabilized the tectonic plates, an intervention that is caused only in nuclear
experiments and explosions. What strengthens this direction [of thought] are the
tectonic plates [under] Indian soil [sic], since in the recent few months, India
conducted over seven nuclear tests to strengthen its nuclear program against the
Pakistani [nuclear program].

"[Various] reports have proven that the tectonic plates in India and Australia
collided with the tectonic plates of Europe and Asia. [It has also been proven]
that India recently obtained high[-level] nuclear technology, and a number of
Israeli nuclear experts and several American research centers were [involved in
preparing this].

"The three most recent tests appeared to be genuine American and Israeli
preparations to act together with India to test a way to liquidate humanity. In
the[ir] most recent test, they began destroying entire cities over extensive
areas. Although the nuclear explosions were carried out in desert lands, tens of
thousands of kilometers away from populated areas, they had a direct effect on
these areas.

"Since 1992, many research [institutes] monitoring earthquakes across the world,
such as the International Center for the [Study] of Earthquakes [sic] in Britain
and in Turkey and other countries, [indicated] the importance of no nuclear
testing in the 'Ring of Fire,' where the most recent earthquake struck, because
this region is thought to be one of the most geologically active regions over
millions of years. Thus, the international centers have always classified it as
one of the most dangerous regions [and] likely to shift at any given moment,
even without human interference.

"But the scientific reports stated that there had been nuclear activity in this
region - particularly after America's recent decision to rely largely on the
Australian desert - part of which is inside the 'Ring of Fire' - for its secret
nuclear testing.

"Similarly, many international reports spoke of joint Indian-Israeli nuclear
activity. Moreover, only this year Arab and Islamic countries intervened more
than three times in the U.S. to stop this joint nuclear activity.

"Nevertheless, although so far it has not been proven that secret Indian-Israeli
nuclear testing is what caused the destructive earthquake, there is evidence
that the recent nuclear tests, the exchange of nuclear experts between India and
Israel, and the American pressure on Pakistan regarding its nuclear cooperation
with Asian and Islamic countries [by providing India with advanced nuclear
technology in an attempt to stop Pakistani activity] - all these pose a big
question mark regarding the causes of the severe earthquake in Asia.

"Scientific studies prove that there is increasing nuclear activity under the
waters of the oceans and seas ... and that America is the first country in the
world responsible for this activity. This raises an enormous question mark...
What is puzzling is that all the previous earthquakes did not cause such great
destruction [as this one], particularly [in light of the fact that] the
earthquake's center was some 40 kilometers under the seabed of the Indian Ocean.

"One of the American researchers, Merrills Kinsey,(5) pointed out an important
fact in the scientific report that he prepared after the last disaster, which is
that the center of an earthquake that took place some 40 kilometers under the
ocean floor could not have caused such destruction unless nuclear testing had
been conducted close to the tectonic plates in these countries, or unless
several days previously there had been [nuclear] activity that caused these
plates to shift and collide - which constitutes a danger to all humanity, not
only to the inhabitants of these countries..."(6)

Endnotes:
(1) Palestinian Authority TV, December 31, 2005. To view the clip, visit
http://www.memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=451
(2) Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia/UAE), January 5, 2005. To view the clip, visit
http://www.memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=462
(3) Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia/UAE), December 31, 2004. To view the clip, visit
http://www.memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=459
(4) Al-Majd TV (Saudi Arabia/UAE), January 1, 2005. To view the clip, visit
http://www.memritv.org/Search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=452
(5) The name was not identified by MEMRI.
(6) Al-Usbu' (Egypt), January 1, 2005.


*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit
organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies
of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on
request.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Nutwatch 2005--McKinney The Absolute Bottom of The Gene Pool is Back

Here's someone who would be culled from the herd if got rid crack pots and racists--her re-election doesn't speak well for the voters in her district. She is absolutely nuttier than Cameron Diaz on an E-binge

Cynthia McKinney (D-Conspiracy)
Weekly Standard

by Matthew Continetti
THE INCOMING REPRESENTATIVE FROM GEORGIA'S 4th congressional district is the outspoken Cynthia McKinney. She is a Democrat, she is 49 years old, and she has held the job before. She held it for a decade, in fact, from 1992, when she became the first black woman elected to Congress from Georgia, to 2002--when, she says, the "hostile corporate media," allied with Republicans, "repeated falsehoods" about her, "distorted" her positions, and drove her from "my seat."

That is McKinney's explanation for her 2002 primary defeat, and she is sticking to it. But there are other explanations. Her father, Georgia state legislator Billy McKinney, shared his version with an Atlanta television reporter on August 19, 2002, the night before she lost. The reporter had asked Billy McKinney about his daughter's use of a years-old, moth-balled endorsement from former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young. Such endorsements were worthless, the elder McKinney replied, because "Jews have bought everybody. Jews." In case the reporter didn't understand, he spelled the word: "J-E-W-S." (A few weeks later, in a runoff against a political neophyte, Billy McKinney became a former Georgia state legislator.)

The actual reason why Cynthia McKinney left Congress in 2002 was that, for once, she couldn't outrun her mouth. She had walked along the cutting edge of progressive politics for years--appearing with Louis Farrakhan, calling globalization a "cruel hoax," advocating for Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe--but then, in a March 25, 2002, interview on KPFA Pacifica radio, she suddenly fell off.

"We know there were numerous warnings of the events to
come on September 11," McKinney said that day. "What did this administration know and when did it know it, about the events of September 11? Who else knew, and why did they not warn the innocent people of New York who were needlessly murdered? What do they have to hide?" McKinney thought she knew the answer. "What is undeniable," she explained, "is that corporations close to the administration have directly benefited from the increased defense spending arising from the aftermath of September 11th."

It was all downhill from there. On April 12, 2002, a synopsis of the interview appeared in the Washington Post. Democrats began distancing themselves from McKinney. She released a statement admitting she was "not aware of any evidence" proving "President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9/11," but "a complete investigation might reveal that to be the case." Then again, it might not. For that matter, McKinney might have had no idea what she was talking about.

Appearing in print just months after the September 11 attacks, McKinney's charges couldn't be excused. Nor could her list of campaign donors, which included both terrorist sympathizers like Abdurahman Alamoudi, the former executive director of the American Muslim Council, and apparent actual terrorists like former college professor Sami Al-Arian. Nor could her October 12, 2001, letter to Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal, in which she rebuked New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for returning the prince's post-9/11 "gift" of $10 million and urged bin Talal to donate the funds to "charities outside the mayor's control," especially those that dealt with "poor blacks who sleep on the street in the shadows of our nation's Capitol." Giuliani had returned the Saudi's money because it came with the implicit condition that America "address some of the issues that led to such a criminal [9/11] attack," among them "its policies in the Middle East," where "our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek." To Giuliani, such a statement made excuses for terrorism. This wasn't a problem for McKinney.





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Eastie gang linked to al-Qaeda

By Michele McPhee
Boston Herald
Wednesday, January 5, 2005

A burgeoning East Boston-based street gang made up of alleged rapists and machete-wielding robbers has been linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist network, prompting Boston police to ``turn up the heat'' on its members, the Herald has learned.

MS-13, which stands for La Mara Salvatrucha, is an extremely violent organization with roots in El Salvador, and boasts more than 100 ``hardcore members'' in East Boston who are suspected of brutal machete attacks, rapes and home invasions. There are hundreds more MS-13 gangsters in towns along the North Shore, said Boston police Sgt. Detective Joseph Fiandaca, who has investigated the gang since it began tagging buildings in Maverick Square in 1995.

In recent months, intelligence officials in Washington have warned national law enforcement agencies that al-Qaeda terrorists have been spotted with members of MS-13 in El Salvador, prompting concerns the gang may be smuggling Islamic fundamentalist terrorists into the country. Law enforcement officials have long believed that MS-13 controls alien smuggling routes along Mexico.

The warning is being taken seriously in East Boston, where Raed Hijazi, an al-Qaeda operative charged with training the suicide bombers in the attack on the USS Cole, lived and worked, prosecutors have charged.

Also, the commercial jets that hurtled into the World Trade Center towers in New York City were hijacked from Logan International Airport.

``The terrorist aspect, especially when you think in terms of 9/11 and how intent these terrorists are, will turn the heat up on our efforts with MS-13,'' Fiandaca said.

MS-13 members congregate near the Maverick Square train station sporting white and blue bandannas, their skin inked with spider webs and ``laugh now, cry later'' clown faces.

``MS-13 is the most dangerous gang in the area,'' Fiandaca said. ``They are big. They are mobile. Now they have a terrorist connection.''

The theory that Salvadoran criminals manage to smuggle people over the border was bolstered this month when two Boston men described as MS-13 leaders were spotted on the North Shore days before Christmas - a year after they were deported by Boston Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators for gang-related crimes.

One of the two men, Elmer ``Tiger'' Tejada, 24, who had been deported after being convicted of a slew of crimes, including attempted murder charges for hurling a machete at Chelsea cops, was busted in Lynn on New Year's Day. Tejada is described as ``an original MS-13 member'' from East Boston, sources said.

A manhunt has been launched for the second fugitive, who is in the country illegally, Boston police said.

The growing number of MS-13 members, and the degree of violence the gang engages in, prompted investigators from 14 local and national agencies to form the North Shore Gang Intelligence task force in 2000, Fiandaca said.

Among the most notorious local crimes attributed to MS-13 was the gang rape of two deaf girls, one 14, the other 17, in a Somerville park in 2002. Three MS-13 gang members were charged in the brutal rapes, during which one victim was knocked from her wheelchair before the assault.


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Kuwaiti 'cell' planned to hit joint exercise; 'Two to three' still held

This from teh Kuwait Arab Times

KUWAIT CITY (Agencies): Staunch US ally Kuwait uncovered a cell in its army that was plotting to attack American and other foreign forces in the country, the defence minister said Tuesday, amid suspicions the group could be linked to al-Qaeda. “It was the coalition forces and certainly the American army targetted because it is the largest,” Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah told AFP. “The number of those (still) arrested are two to three people,” he said, a day after Kuwait announced it was questioning an undisclosed number of soldiers planning to attack “friendly forces” in the country. Kuwaiti authorities are investigating “suspicions” that the soldiers could be linked to al-Qaeda, the minister said, declining at this stage to associate the suspects with the terror network.

“As long as it is under investigation, we cannot say this. No, I don’t say al-Qaeda (for sure) as long as there is an interrogation going on,” the minister said when asked if the group had links to al-Qaeda. Kuwaiti military personnel detained last week for plotting attacks against US troops had planned to strike during joint exercises, a security source said on Tuesday. “The group had intentions to attack foreign forces during training with the Kuwaiti army,” the source said. “They are now being interrogated by military intelligence.” Army Chief-of-Staff, Yousef Abdelrazzak al-Mulla, told Reuters military intelligence officials were questioning “no more than five soldiers”. “If any have proven links to the case then they will be referred to a martial court,” he said, adding those released had resumed their duties.

US embassy spokesman Mark Stroh told Reuters: “We are aware of the arrests and have been in close touch with the Kuwaiti authorities.” Kuwait has been cracking down on Islamic militants opposed to the presence of US forces in the country. Diplomats say sympathy for Saudi-born al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is on the rise among Kuwaiti youth. US forces and civilians in Kuwait, which served as the main launchpad for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, have been the target of a number of brazen attacks, two of them fatal. A US Marine was killed and another wounded in an attack by two Kuwaiti gunmen on Failaka island, east of the capital, in October 2002. The two assailants were subsequently killed.

Two US soldiers travelling on a highway south of Kuwait City in a civilian vehicle the following November were wounded when a Kuwaiti policeman shot them at point blank range. A Kuwaiti has been sentenced to life in prison for killing an American civilian contractor and wounding another in a highway ambush in Jan 2003 near a US army camp north of Kuwait City. Four US soldiers were slightly wounded when shots were fired at their vehicles in Dec 2003. The assailant was arrested. Twenty-two members of a group accused of recruiting fighters for Iraq are currently on trial in Kuwait. Around 25,000 US soldiers are stationed in Kuwait. But the country is also the main transit point for the coalition forces travelling to and from Iraq.

British, Polish, Japanese, Hungarian and South Korean soldiers are among coalition troops who are based in desert camps in Kuwait for as long as a week on their way into and out of Iraq. A Kuwaiti security source told AFP Monday that the soldiers’ arrests followed the extradition from Syria of a Kuwaiti who was heading for Iraq to fight American forces there. Al-Rai Al-Aam newspaper claimed the group was planning to attack US forces during the Muslim Eid al-Adha feast around Jan 21. Quoting security sources, it said members of the group had links with former servicemen who fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya and were dismissed from the Kuwaiti army.

In a Dec 16 audiotape, a voice attributed to terror chief Osama bin Laden called on his fighters to strike oil installations in the Gulf, as well as Iraq. Kuwait on Friday raised its state of alert almost to the maximum, boosting security around the country in the biggest show of force since the US-led Iraq war in March 2003. Armoured vehicles, with mounted machine-guns, and heavily armed security units stood guard at almost every government building, key installations and potential Western targets. The US embassy warned Dec 15 it had “credible information that terrorist groups” were preparing to carry out attacks in the country in the near future.

Target
The Saudi branch of the al-Qaeda network said on Tuesday that it had sought to kill the interior minister and his son in a car bomb attack last week targeting his ministry in Riyadh, according to a statement posted on the Internet. “The Al-Muqrin squad (of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula) prepared a difficult operation to kill Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, and his son,” said the statement, whose authenticity could not be confirmed. Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz is Saudi Arabia’s interior minister, while his son, Mohammad bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, is assistant interior minister for security affairs. Prince Nayef was outside Saudi Arabia when suspected al-Qaeda militants carried out twin suicide bombings in the capital last Wednesday targeting the interior ministry and a special forces base. Authorities said the blasts killed only the five suicide bombers although an unspecified number of people were injured.

Also:

BERLIN: Around 70,000 people have been trained in camps run by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network, mainly in Afghanistan, a senior German police officer told a court on Tuesday. Testifying at the retrial of Mounir El Motassadeq, a Moroccan man accused of involvement in the Sept 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the officer said that the militants had received weapons training and religious instruction. Motassadeq, who is charged with complicity in the murder of some 3,000 people in the suicide hijackings and membership of a terrorist organisation, has acknowledged undertaking training in Afghanistan.

MELBOURNE: Australia is setting up rapid response teams able to deploy to airports across the country as part of measures to boost security against terror threats, the justice minister said Tuesday. The four teams will be based in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Brisbane and be ready to fly to any of the country’s 146 regional airports if needed, Justice Minister Chris Ellison said. “This will enhance greatly regional aviation security in Australia,” Ellison said. “This initiative is part of a wider package which includes joint training exercises, the strengthening of cockpit doors and providing, on demand, hand-held metal detectors for regional airports.

“It’s very important that our skies in Australia are not only safe but secure and of course this extends beyond just our capital cities,” he said. The scheme will cost 20.7 million Australian dollars ($16.1 million) over five years, he said. The first eight-member team began work in Melbourne on Tuesday and all four will be functioning by July, with members including bomb experts and bomb detector dogs, Ellison said.
Back


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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Can You Say Ingrate--There I knew You Could

Yes, they will still hate us

TSUNAMI AID ALONE UNLIKELY TO REPAIR TATTERED U.S. IMAGE
Carol Giacomo, Reuters, 1/5/05
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N04453006.htm

WASHINGTON - The devastating Asian tsunami has given America a chance to
begin repairing its tattered international reputation but will not by
itself overcome hostility toward U.S. policies in Iraq and the Middle East.

Shifting gears from three years of post-Sept 11 combat operations in
Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. troops are delivering millions of dollars of
relief supplies in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to survivors of the
most lethal natural disaster in recent memory.

As the world's richest nation and only superpower, much is expected of the
United States when calamity strikes and usually much is given. President
George W. Bush, who was criticized for initially offering just $15 million,
has now pledged $350 million. Private groups are doing even more.

But America's image as a force for good has suffered profoundly --
especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds -- from its occupation of Iraq and
its unwillingness to play a more balanced peacemaking role between Israel
and the Palestinians.

Although some Muslims will benefit from the U.S. aid, "having just worked
in Iraq and Afghanistan, I'm uncertain whether or not the U.S. can overcome
the obstacles it faces in those places and the Middle East in general by
demonstrating generosity," said Ray Salvatore Jennings, former head of
conflict management programs in Iraq for the United States Institute of Peace.

"They definitely got off to slow start with the pledges of $15 million and
then $35 million but I think they soon realized the perception was very
negative and more had to be done," said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations.

"I think they realized this wasn't just a public relations exercise. The
perception of our response to this world-class disaster could have a real
impact on American policies around the world," he added
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Public Debate in Saudi Arabia on Extremism in the School System

from MEMRI

Recently, some senior Saudi education officials have called for a ban on the dissemination of extremist views in schools, and launched activities to increase teacher awareness of the issue. At the same time, education ministry officials, editors, columnists and TV critics insist that the Saudi government is not doing enough to eradicate extremism in the schools. The following are excerpts from discussions about the issue:

New Guidelines for the Educational System as School Begins

With the beginning of the Saudi school year in September 2004, senior Saudi officials called upon teachers not to disseminate extremist views among their pupils, and warned that any teacher found doing so would be fired.

On September 5, 2004, Crown Prince Abdallah bin Abd Al-'Aziz told senior education officials: "Watch your teachers. We want to serve the religion and the homeland, not terrorism..."(1)

Saudi Education Minister Muhammad Ahmad Al-Rashid said in a September 10, 2004 address marking the opening of the school year: "The criminal and insane events to which our country has been witness will not in any way shake our trust in Allah and our belief in the skills and worthiness of the security personnel... Saudi Arabia will not in any way be defeated by apostasy, going astray, and deviance from the righteous path that threaten the security and stability of society...

"Criminal deeds are the result of criminal thoughts... Teachers must understand the great difference between the teacher and the mufti. They must teach the pupils, in the best possible way, what is in the curricula, without issuing religious rulings [fatwas] and without deviating from the curriculum and force-feeding the pupils with issues that have nothing to do with them...

"The school is an enterprise [for creating] a human being, and nothing is more important than it except the home. Everyone must oppose every deviation, because most fires break out from the smallest of sparks, and thus every deviation must be taken care of and eliminated before it appears."(2)

On another occasion, Al-Rashid said that: "the Education Minister will in no way accept a teacher who holds misguided views that influence the younger generation,"(3) and that "any element implementing an extremist policy will be uprooted from the educational system."(4)

During a September 7, 2004 visit to the General Education Administration, Prince Jalawi bin Abd Al-'Aziz said: "There is no room for personal commentary by a teacher who sets the curriculum aside. He must not deviate from it - even if he has spare time during the lesson."(5)

Tabouk District Governor Prince Fahd bin Sultan said in a September 12, 2004 speech to members of the Tabouk Educational Council: "The teachers are responsible for preserving the way of thought of the young generation at the beginning of its crystallization... It is unacceptable for one of us to disseminate extremism, fanaticism, terrorism, and apostasy. We must not allow anyone who identifies with the group holding a dangerous and deviant view to [remain] among us... The weapon to which we must cling in fighting the deviant view is faultless adherence to faith, free of extremism." In his speech, he also called upon teachers to encourage the pupils to implement the principle of dialogue and to accept the view of the "other."(6)

The Fourth National Forum, organized by the King Abd Al-'Aziz Center in Zaharan and focusing on "Problems of Youth... What is Desirable and What Exists," recommended "developing the curricula" so as to cultivate among the pupils "a capacity for critical thought and creativity, [and] to educate them to good behavior and inculcate in them the values of moderation, the middle path, and respect for others - and to make them accustomed to conducting discussion and debate."(7)


Guidance and Punishment in Saudi Education

A number of measures have been enforced in the Saudi educational system to prevent extremism in the schools and to increase awareness of the issue among teachers.

Some Saudi schools have held awareness activities. The "Homeland Security - Everyone's Responsibility" project was initiated, with the aim of "emphasizing the teacher's role in protecting the homeland and its security, protecting the younger generation from destructive views, and rectifying mistaken ways of education."(8)

The Mecca Education Administration organized information campaigns in all the city's schools, with the aim of "increasing awareness regarding the danger of terrorism and the extremist view, and [for encouraging] the middle path in Islam."(9)

According to a report in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, the Al-Ta'if Region Education Ministry fired an English teacher after it is revealed that he had deviated from the curriculum and had devoted classroom time to reading from the Koran instead of to English studies. The special committee that investigated the matter determined that the teacher could no longer be allowed to teach, and that the decision was made "in order to protect the pupils from [the teacher's] dubious views."(10)

Deputy Education Minister Dr. Muhammad Bin Sa'd Al-Asimi sent a memo to all Education Administrations in Saudi Arabia, in which he instructed the removal of the Commentary and Exegesis of Koranic Words textbook, written by Hasanein Muhammad Makhlouf, from the school curricula and from the school libraries. According to an educational source, the instruction was given in order "to protect the pupils' thoughts."(11)


Education Ministry Official to Columnist: There's Extremism in the Schools

Former editor of the Saudi daily Al-Watan, Qeinan Al-Ghamdi, quoted in an article a letter sent to him by a senior Education Ministry official: "In my capacity as a senior Education Ministry official who is adopting the idea of change in the curricula in accordance with the interests of the state, I confirm to you that there is an organized ideological stream that includes key [Education] Ministry members, and that it poses a concrete danger to the ideological security in the educational environment. The danger of this extremist stream lies in its distortion of the perception of nationalism, in its dissemination of ideas supporting violence, and in its sabotage of the plans of the moderate national leadership within the ministry."

In the same article, Al-Ghamdi referred to Prince Abdallah's statements to educators on September 5: "We all know what 'this thing' is to which Prince [Abdallah] is referring with such heavy bitterness and sorrow. 'This thing' is the extremism of some teachers and officials in the Education Ministry, and perhaps among those present here there is someone to whom the Crown Prince was referring.

"[In his speech Abdallah used the word 'some' in reference to teachers who disseminate extremist views.] The word 'some' means 'a minority' - but this minority is influential. The extremist teacher influences a large number of pupils; the extremist instructor supports this kind of teacher; the extremist director supports such instructors and teachers; and the extremist school principal supports, promotes, and encourages all of them, and gives them authority. Their extremism, and not their skill, becomes the first and perhaps the only criterion for their promotion... Thus, the 'minority' becomes the most influential - not only in the Education Ministry, but also in the [other] ministries and in the universities. Although the Education Ministry is not the only elements responsible for uprooting this disease that exists in our midst, it is one of the most important elements."(12)

In another article, Al-Ghamdi wrote: "Extremism is the incubator from which the ideology of Takfir [accusing other Muslims of apostasy] emerges, which leads to terrorism... Extremism is more dangerous than armed terrorism, because the latter is carried out by known individuals or groups that can be resisted by force and quickly uprooted. But when the extremism remains, similar groups quickly appear, because the incubation continues."(13)


Saudi TV Program on Extremism in the Schools

For years, during the month of Ramadhan Saudi television has broadcast the Tash Ma Tash comedy series, which deals primarily with domestic Saudi affairs.(14) This year, one episode dealt with extremism in the Saudi state schools: The program talks about a teacher of religion who teaches tolerance and acceptance of the other and another teacher of religion who brainwashes pupils and teaches them Takfir [accusing Muslims of apostasy] and hatred of non-Muslims - and even calling for harming them when possible. The principal is aware of the latter teacher's extremist views but does nothing to stop him. Further, when it becomes known to the principal that the moderate teacher is educating his pupils to tolerance, he goes berserk and calls in Education Ministry superintendents to investigate the teacher - knowing all the while that they too hold extremist views.

When the moderate teacher decides to complain about the extremism, he is surprised to discover that the official committee that is meant to discuss the matter includes these same superintendents, as well as the school principal and the extremist teacher of religion. Here the episode ends.(15)

This episode prompted many reactions by senior Saudi education officials and by Saudi columnists. The Central Committee for the Ideological Security Program in the Riyadh district, which is headed by Abdallah bin Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Mueili, director of the Riyadh Educational Administration, discussed this episode of the series. The committee members concluded: "After discussing this episode, it was found that it was far from reality and that [extremism] is not a phenomenon that is spreading in the schools, and that it was presented [in this episode] in an exaggerated manner."

Committee head Al-Mueili noted, "The Riyadh Education Administration makes efforts to monitor those under the influence of extremist views, whether teachers or pupils. Many situations have been handled according to a particular program, with the cooperation of all concerned."(16)

Following the committee's decision, columnist Hamoud Abu Taleb wrote a harsh op-ed titled "Why Are We Misleading?" He criticized the committee's flawed handling of extremism in the schools: "This is the first time that I have heard of a so-called Central Committee for the Ideological Security Program in the educational system. Had it not been for the item published in the Al-Riyadh newspaper, I would never have known of this committee's existence, as not one of the educational officials in the other districts whom I asked had ever heard of it.

"It's good that there is a committee dealing with a sensitive matter such as ideological security in the educational institutions. Had there been no concerns about flawed [thinking] taking over, there would not be [a need for] such a committee...

"However, the honorable committee of the educators decided that there is no ideological and religious extremism in the schools. In one short sentence, it denied the existence of something that millions of residents and the [entire] country know about.

"After this total denial, the committee's tone suddenly changed, and it said that this episode [on television] is far from reality and does not reflect a phenomenon that is spreading in the schools.

"Although views are divided regarding the phenomenon and its significance, how can we come to terms with [the committee's] flat-out denial of any form of religious and ideological extremism [in the schools]?

"What is also surprising is that in the final part of the news item [published in Al-Riyadh], the committee contradicted its own denial, by saying that it was monitoring teachers and pupils influenced by deviant opinions and that many [such] situations had already been handled.

"In the name of Allah, how can such a contradiction be resolved?... Obviously this denial is not strange, since we are a nation of denial, and [this] committee is nothing new, since we are a people of committees. But [perhaps we should] giving ourselves a new title, stating that we are a people of blatant, shameful contradictions.

"This connects to an important matter that is no longer a secret [i.e. extremism in the schools], whether a television series discussed it or not, because this matter is as clear as day. Moreover, we as a society ... are already suffering from the regrettable damage and consequences [of this phenomenon].

"What is happening is dedication to and continuation of disasters that occurred in the past because of us. Now we are dealing with their results. We are beautifying matters - or, at best, making excuses for them, defending them, and praising those who caused them."(17)


Former Saudi Newspaper Editor: 'The Schools Brainwash Youth'

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the Saudi-based London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and director of Al-Arabiyya television, wrote: "I saw in one of the Saudi papers an item about two youths who wrote slogans supporting Saddam [Hussein] and bin Laden on the walls of homes in [one of the] neighborhoods, [and who were punished by] flogging...

"We are fighting bin Laden on the walls, while someone else is disseminating propaganda for him in the papers, claiming that there is a conspiracy against Islam, and that Saddam Hussein and bin Laden and others are innocent and that the Western media are conspiring against them so as to accuse Muslims of [things] that they have nothing to do with.

"Bad pupils cannot be countered before we counter bad ideas and those who disseminate them in the schools, in the media, on the Internet, in the Da'wa [Islamic propagation] circles, and in the youth camps. These [places] are the source of [these] ideas, and they brainwash the youth.

"When a youth scribbles [slogans] on a wall in a neighborhood, he is instinctively expressing the culture he has learned."(18)

Endnotes:
(1) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), September 6, 2004.
(2) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), September 11, 2004.
(3) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), September 11, 2004.
(4) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), September 7, 2004.
(5) Al-Yawm (Saudia Arabia), September 8, 2004.
(6) Al-Yawm (Saudia Arabia), September 13, 2004.
(7) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), December 10, 2004.
(8) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), October 10, 2004
(9) 'Ukaz (Saudi Arabia), October 16, 2004.
(10) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 29, 2004.
(11) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), December 21, 2004.
(12) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), September 9, 2004.
(13) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), September 11, 2004.
(14) Al-Riyadh translates the title of the show as "Make It or Break It."
(15) Arab News (Saudi Arabia), November 3, 2004.
(16) Al-Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), November 12, 2004.
(17) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 16, 2004.
(18) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 11, 2004.

*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.


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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Go Sooners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A transplanted Californian with a dilemma--Go Sooners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
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Are our children terrorist targets?

Irwin Redlener

Are U.S. children potential terror targets? While such a notion is almost impossible to contemplate, evidence increasingly suggests that U.S. intelligence efforts must be alert to this horrific possibility and that schools and first-responders should have appropriate emergency plans.

Last September, a suspected Iraqi insurgent with potential al Qaeda ties was found with a computer disk containing detailed information about the layouts and emergency plans of schools in California, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey and Oregon. This discovery came only weeks after terrorists targeted a Russian school, killing 186 children in Beslan, a strategically unimportant town hundreds of miles south of Moscow.

It is painfully clear that the Beslan school was not a random target. The explicit intent of the terrorists was to endanger the greatest number of children, and that's precisely what happened. Bombs were rigged to maximize casualties, shooters used children as human shields and suicide bombers placed themselves near as many terrified young people as possible.

Could there be a connection between the attack in Beslan and the discovery of information on U.S. schools in the possession of an Iraqi insurgent? The quite probable answer is yes, and the link is al Qaeda. Although the attack in Beslan was carried out by an ultra-extremist Chechen separatist group, active participation of "outsiders" with connections to al Qaeda was clearly established.

What is it about al Qaeda's involvement that should demand a special focus on the targeting of U.S. children as an explicit strategy? A review of information gathered in the last few years provides significant warning that children have long been considered fair game by al Qaeda. In November 2002, for instance, it was reported that the same al Qaeda group responsible for the deadly nightclub attack killing nearly 200 people in Bali also had plans to strike U.S. and western students attending international schools in Indonesia. This plot was uncovered not long after intelligence agencies intercepted a plot to attack an American school in Singapore in late 2001.

At work here seems to be the fulfillment of an al Qaeda manifesto discovered in Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, and having distinct roots in a long-standing commitment to retribution for alleged U.S. and western policies blamed for the deaths of millions in Arab and Muslim nations. In the manifesto, al Qaeda spokesperson and adviser to Osama bin Laden, Sulieman Abu Gheith, declares: "We have not reached parity with [America]. We have the right to kill 4 million Americans, 2 million of them children, and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands." The diatribe continues, alluding to the "right" to use chemical and biological weapons.

What can be done? Internationally, attacks directed at children must elicit universal and total condemnation by all communities in every nation. In particular, the people responsible for crimes against children must be labeled as murderers by the political and religious leaders of Arabs and Muslims, with the goal of marginalizing those who seek refuge in quasi-religious or political rationales. Outrage should not be expressed by America and its western allies alone.

In the United States, responding to terrorism directed at children must be a central part of national and state preparedness planning. This means marshalling and coordinating intelligence resources and carefully rethinking safety and security plans for schools and other facilities where children congregate.

For schools, basic preparations should include detailed response and evacuation plans that are coordinated with local law enforcement and other first responders. Communications systems are also necessary, along with contingency provisions, should it ever be necessary for students and school personnel to remain in a facility for extended periods. In California, Rep. Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, secured a grant from the Department of Education to strengthen primary- and secondary-school emergency response, train school personnel, students and parents in emergency procedures and strengthen coordination between school officials and first-responders and health and mental-health agencies. This should be followed by a national effort for all schools.

Finally, in thinking about the medical and emotional needs of children exposed to terrorism, children cannot be simply considered "little adults." Training and resources for first-responders -- fire, police and medical professionals -- must address the specific needs of children, particularly so in the event of a chemical, radiological or biological attack.

This must be of the highest priority for the nation. We never want to have to look back at a possible future catastrophe thinking we were sufficiently warned, yet failed to do all we could to protect our children.

Irwin Redlener, M.D., is associate dean at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, director of its National Center for Disaster Preparedness and president of the Children's Health Fund.


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U.S. now fingerprinting foreign visitors at 50 land crossings

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign visitors at the 50 busiest land border crossings in 10 states are now being fingerprinted as part of the government's new biometric screening system, the Homeland Security Department announced on Monday.
The system, called US-VISIT, scans photographs of the visitor's face and index fingers into a computer, which are matched with federal agencies' criminal databases.

Homeland Security Undersecretary Asa Hutchinson told reporters that U.S. officials have arrested or denied admission to 372 criminals or immigration violators since the system began last year at 15 seaports and 115 airports. About 17 million people have been enrolled.

"Because of the US-VISIT biometric technology, the United States is safer," said Hutchinson, noting that the system was in place two days before the end-of-year deadline.

Though no known terrorists have been caught by US-Visit, Hutchinson said it's possible that it kept out someone traveling on a forged passport who meant to do harm.

The system is actually speeding travelers through processing at ports of entry, he said. It now takes less than 5 minutes to process a visitor at Laredo, Texas; before the program was implemented, it took more than 10 minutes.

Hutchinson acknowledged that much still remains to be done. The system, for example, doesn't check against all federal databases. And the FBI only shares an updated biometric database of terrorists with Homeland Security about once a month, he said.

Another challenge is to set up an exit system so that officials can keep track of foreigners leaving the country. Homeland Security is testing different technologies for an exit system at five ports of entry and will expand the tests to others this year.

US-VISIT still has to be expanded to another 115 land border crossings by the end of 2005. By then, it's expected to process 40 million people crossing U.S. borders, which is less than 10% of the 450 million annual border crossings. About 250 million, though, are by U.S. citizens, who aren't subject to the system, said Homeland Security spokesman Dennis Murphy.

Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens with border crossing cards are exempt.

The US-VISIT system is in place in Arizona, California, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Vermont and Washington.


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Monday, January 03, 2005

FROM DAWA TO JIHAD

Here's a report that every AMERICAN needs to read now and understand the implications of

Manfred Gerstenfeld

On December 23, 2004, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior published a 60-page report entitled From Dawa* to Jihad. Prepared by the Dutch general intelligence service (AIVD), it describes radical Islam and examines how to meet its threat to Dutch society. *Dawa means to invite non-Muslims to accept the truth of Islam.

Among the close to one million Dutch Muslims, about 95 percent are moderates. This implies that there are up to 50,000 potential radicals.

· Since September 11, 2001, phenomena such as the growth of radical Islamic groups, polarization between Muslims and the surrounding society, limitations in the process of integration, and Islamist terrorism have increased in The Netherlands.



The capability of Dutch society to resist the threat of radical Islam is considered low, though recently a greater desire has become apparent among the Dutch population to become more resistant. Also within the Dutch Muslim community resistance against radical forces is low. The moderate organizations and individuals are not able to counterbalance the radical forces.


· An earlier AIVD report dealt with Saudi influences in The Netherlands, mentioning a number of mosque organizations that originated from Saudi missions and financing. The Amsterdam Tawheed mosque, which in the past has put extreme anti-Semitic statements on its website, is linked financially, organizationally, and personally with the Saudi Al Haramain Foundation. Several other mosques are supported financially by Saudi charities.



The Dutch report places the blame for the origins of the problem squarely on the deeply-rooted ideology of fierce opposition to the Western way of life among certain Muslim groups. It does not claim that the problem of radical Muslims would disappear if there were peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel and Jews are not mentioned in the report.
Dutch Intelligence Report Examines Radical Muslim Threat

On December 23, 2004, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior published a 60-page report entitled From Dawa to Jihad.1 It was prepared by the AIVD, the Dutch general intelligence service, and examines how to meet the threat of radical Islam to Dutch society. Although the report is conceptual in nature, it is evident that to achieve even a part of its goals, substantial legal and behavioral changes in Dutch society will be necessary.

This also became clear during the parliamentary debate that followed, in the statement by Maxime Verhagen, faction chairman of The Netherlands’ largest party, the middle of the road Christian Democrat party (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, which has 44 of the 150 seats in the Chambers. He proposed that judges should be able to take away constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech and assembly, from radical Muslims.2 No other party supported him.

The Minister of the Interior, Johan Remkes, observed that the prevention, isolation, and limitation of increasing radicalization is important. He added that this should be done by “all layers of Dutch society.”3 There is, however, no way that this can be realized in the current societal climate of The Netherlands.

Understanding Dutch Culture

The general attitude of Dutch society over the past decades can be characterized by two Dutch words. The first is “gedoogcultuur,” which literally means “a culture of permissiveness” but has become synonymous with “closing one’s eyes” to multiple transgressions of the law. These include disparate matters such as soft drug use, immigration policies, safety of industrial and commercial operations, as well as many other subjects. It reflects a basic anti-authoritarian attitude that is quite common in Dutch society.

The second key word is “poldermodel,” which means that efforts are made to reach a very broad national consensus on important issues. Though mainly used in the economic arena, this approach reflects Dutch society at large. The Dutch like to find solutions to problems through discussions without defining positions too sharply. This model can be explained as a legacy of Dutch history. In the past, people living behind dikes, at below sea level, had to cooperate with each other when there was danger of flooding. Both the gedoogcultuur and the poldermodel have already come under major criticism in recent years.

The AIVD report attempts to be as factual as possible. On such a problematic subject, however, this means that it cannot be politically correct as it defines part of an identifiable ethno-religious community as a danger to society. One may wonder whether the ministry would have found it politically convenient to publish the report had not Muslim radical Mohammed Boyeri cruelly murdered provocative Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in an Amsterdam street on November 2, 2004. In the following weeks there were tens of arson attempts against Muslim institutions and Christian churches. Prior to the murder, it was almost unthinkable for a government agency report to single out the Muslim community. The AIVD justified its publication by noting that it was responding to complaints by local authorities that they did not have enough information about radical Islam.

The Report’s Key Elements

The AIVD report explains that the key ideological aim of radical Islamic groups is to target the Western way of life, and to confront alleged Western political, economic, and cultural domination. Such groups may be either nationalistic or religiously-oriented. The report notes:

Among the close to one million Dutch Muslims, about 95 percent are moderates. This implies that there are up to 50,000 potential radicals.

Recruitment in The Netherlands for the armed radical Muslim struggle – mainly among descendants of immigrants – is not incidental but rather a trend.4 This issue was discussed in an earlier AIVD report published in 2002,5 that mentioned that there had been at least ten recruiters at work in The Netherlands and assumed that there were several tens of Muslim youngsters in various stages of the recruitment process.
In recent years, and in particular since September 11, 2001, phenomena such as the growth of radical Islamic groups, polarization between Muslims and the surrounding society, limitations in the process of integration, and Islamist terrorism have increased in The Netherlands.6
Of the eight categories of radical Islam defined, four aim at dawa [proselytizing], which from the report’s perspective goes beyond proselytizing to the undermining of the democratic order through abusing democratic means. Four others are of a jihadic [holy war] nature, i.e., they use or promote violence. Most of these are present in The Netherlands.
In The Netherlands one finds types of dawa in the political Arab European League Movement (AEL),7 in a limited number of Salafist mosques,8 in Islamist missions, some of which are financed by Saudi Arabia,9 as well as among individual Muslim preachers.10 Other types of dawa are promoted on the websites of foreign radical Muslim scholars11 and in chatrooms.12 Teacherless autonomous radicalization takes place, inter alia, in jails, in some Muslim schools, and in mosques.
In The Netherlands one also finds various forms of support for jihad. For example, the international radical organization Hizb ut Tahrir, which promotes jihad in a hidden way, has a presence.13 There are also local Muslim terrorist networks.14
The capability of Dutch society to resist the threat of radical Islam is considered low, though recently a greater desire has become apparent among the Dutch population to become more resistant.15
The resistance within the Dutch Muslim community against radical forces is low. The moderate organizations and individuals are not able to counterbalance the radical forces.16
Measures Proposed

The report also indicates in broad terms how the threat of radical Islam should be combated. It suggests a continuous legal check on the activities of radical Muslims regarding discrimination, hate-promotion, and incitement. However, this kind of surveillance is largely alien to the Dutch legal and police culture of the last decades. The report also repeats earlier proposed measures such as checks on the movement of money. Furthermore, while noting that improvement in the economic situation of the Dutch Muslim population is laudable, it notes that there is no proof that this limits radicalization.17

Other measures proposed are mainly medium and long-term strategies, including the distribution of better information on radical Islamic groups, collaboration with moderate forces in the Muslim community, encouraging more moderate forms of Islam, and the promotion of identity-creation among Muslims.

Other recommendations mentioned, without any concrete proposals regarding their execution, include the development of positive role models for young Muslims to replace the criminal role models that are positively viewed by some Muslim youth, as well as democracy education.

Mention is also made of the need to consider working with the authorities in those countries that send out radical Islamic missionaries, but this issue has not yet been discussed in The Netherlands.18

Why is the Report Important?

While many elements in the report have appeared in the media over the years, its importance lies in being an official document of the Dutch government. In the past, the Dutch government has largely avoided confronting the overall threat of Islamic radicalization to which its predecessors’ policies on immigration, integration, and neglect of law enforcement have contributed.

Equally important are some issues that the report fails to mention, which are the inevitable outcome of its conclusions. Radical Muslims can, by definition, only be found in the Muslim community and are dispersed throughout it. To be effective in the struggle against radical Islam, Dutch Muslims will have to be watched and scrutinized by the police and the intelligence services much more intensively than most other sectors of Dutch society. This singling out implies giving less priority to Dutch equality and privacy laws. In addition, since radical Muslims mainly interact with other Muslims, a crucial element of success will be the collaboration of moderate Muslims with the police in informing on suspected individuals.

The main foreign promoters of dawa and jihad who influence their Dutch disciples are not analyzed in the report in any detail, nor are the most influential foreign Muslim preachers of anti-Western hatred and violence named. There is little specific mention of the role of foreign governments and charities.

Saudi Influences

An earlier AIVD report, however, dealt with Saudi influences in The Netherlands.19 It mentioned that in The Netherlands there were a number of mosque organizations which are Salafist in nature, that originated from Saudi missions and financing. The Amsterdam Tawheed mosque, which in the past has put extreme anti-Semitic statements on its website, is linked financially, organizationally, and personally with the Saudi Al Haramain Foundation. Three other mosques are linked with the private Saudi mission, Al Waqf Al Islami, that is related to key figures in the Saudi establishment.

Though not explicitly Salafist, there are several other mosques in The Netherlands which are supported financially by Saudi charities, private philanthropists, or government bodies. Sometimes the payments are not made to the mosques directly but to the imams. The report considers both the origin and destination of this financing to be obscure.

Most of the radical imams come from Egypt, Syria, Sudan, or Somalia. Many have studied in Saudi Arabia. For a long time in a number of ultra-orthodox mosques, extremist sermons have included saying that secular people, socialists, or democrats were allies of Satan. Stoning was preached as a punishment for extra-marital relations, etc.

While it has not been proven that jihad has been openly promoted in Dutch mosques, there have been sermons with jihadic tendencies, such as requests to Allah to kill “the enemies of Islam” such as Bush and Sharon and the enemies of Islam in Kashmir and Chechnya.

The ambassador of Saudi Arabia in early 2004 promised full transparency on financing. However, since then, very little has happened on that matter. While there has been some recent moderation in the sermons, the AIVD now believes the incitement takes place elsewhere in smaller, closed meetings. The report concluded that there were no indications that the risks and size of Islamic radicalism and jihadism in The Netherlands had changed in any way recently.

Israel Aspects

From an Israeli perspective, the report is most important for what it does not say. It places the blame for the origins of the dawa and jihad problem squarely on the deeply-rooted ideology of fierce opposition to the Western way of life among certain Muslim groups. It does not attempt to hide behind the frequent Western escapist claim that the problem of radical Muslims would disappear if there were peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Israel and Jews are not mentioned in the report.



Accepting the report’s findings and conclusions means that the Dutch political system admits, de facto, that its societal model of excessive tolerance for intolerance and crime has failed. In this, it could become a European paradigm. However, whether a more realistic domestic policy in The Netherlands and a better insight into the extreme forms of Muslim culture will also mean a better understanding of the Middle Eastern reality remains to be seen.

Notes

1. “Van dawa tot jihad. De diverse dreigingen van de radicale islam tegen de democratische rechtsorde,” Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties, 2004 [Dutch]. (Hereafter “the Dawa Report.”)

2. “CDA: Ontneem extremist rechten,” Trouw, 24 December 2004 [Dutch].

3. “Nota AIVD: ‘westerse leefstijl doelwit radicalen,’” NRC Handelsblad, 23 December 2004 [Dutch].

4. The Dawa Report, p. 6.

5. “Rekrutering in Nederland voor de jihad van incident naar trend,” AIVD 2002 [Dutch].

6. The Dawa Report, p. 23.

7. The Dawa Report, p. 40. This movement is strongest in Belgium, but also has a Dutch branch.

8. The Dawa Report, p. 42.

9. The Dawa Report, p. 43.

10. The Dawa Report, p. 43.

11. The Dawa Report, p. 43.

12. The Dawa Report, p. 43.

13. The Dawa Report, p. 46.

14. The Dawa Report, p. 47.

15. The Dawa Report, p. 50.

16. The Dawa Report, p. 50.

17. The Dawa Report, p. 58.

18. The Dawa Report, p. 57.

19. “Saoedische invloeden in Nederland, Verbanden tussen salafitische missie, radicaliseringsprocessen en islamistisch-terrorisme,” AIVD, 2004 [Dutch].


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Sunday, January 02, 2005

At large in the US? Over 3,500 illegal immigrants from Muslim countries who have disobeyed orders to leave the country

This from JihadWatch

Buried in this story about tracking illegal immigrants is the interesting item that as of early 2003, 6,000 Muslims who absconded within the US after being told to leave the country, only 38 percent have been found. That left over 3,500 still at large. How many have been caught since then? Where are the others? What are they doing? From the Washington Post, "Tracking Down Immigrant Fugitives," with thanks to Jeffrey Imm:

Smith is part of an effort to track down 370,000 "absconders" -- illegal immigrants who have disobeyed orders to leave the country. As part of a get-tough approach after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Homeland Security Department has deployed 18 fugitive squads to catch these immigrants, including a team in Maryland....
At the top of the list were 6,000 absconders from Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, officials announced.

But by early 2003, authorities had resolved only 38 percent of those cases, either by detaining the immigrants or by confirming that they had left the country or gotten legal status, according to the 9/11 Commission. In a report on terrorist travel, the commission concluded: "It is very difficult to find alien absconders without extraordinary effort or pure luck."


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More Tsunami Pictures

Look at this series to see how deceptive and powerful the waves were http://www.coreykoberg.com/Tsunami/
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Gerard Baker: Tsunami must be fault of the US

This From The Australian

INEVITABLY, confronted with a tragedy of unimaginable scale, the human mind looks for someone to blame. In the Dark Ages, disasters were ascribed to the wrath of God. Now, in an odd inversion that we like to think of as progress, they are adduced as evidence of no God.

In the absence of a deity to decry or appease when the earth moves in such devastating fashion, humankind reaches for the next best thing - worldly authority. Authority should have known it was coming. Authority didn't do enough to prevent it. Authority was too preoccupied with its own nefarious priorities to care.

There is plenty of authority to blame for the devastation caused by the Sumatran earthquake this week. Governments in Bangkok, Jakarta and Colombo will shoulder some of it. Governments farther afield will be inculpated for the poverty of their response. Media organisations will be attacked for being too callous and too mawkish. Unsurprisingly, perhaps the most inviting target is the US.

In the past three days I have been impressed by the originality of the latest critiques of the evil Americans. The earthquake and tsunami apparently had something to do with global warming, environmentalists say, caused of course by greedy American motorists. Then there was the rumour that the US military base at Diego Garcia was forewarned of the impending disaster and presumably because of some CIA-approved plot to undermine Islamic movements in Indonesia and Thailand did nothing about it.

To be fair, even the most animated America-hater, though, baulks at the idea of blaming George W. Bush for the destruction and death in southern Asia. But the US is blamed for not responding generously enough to help the victims of the catastrophe. A UN official this week derided Washington's contribution as stingy.

It is a label that fits the general image abroad of greedy, self-absorbed Americans. They neither know nor care much about the woes of the rest of the world, do they? Did the tsunami even get a look-in on US TV news between the holiday schmalz and the football games, I have been sneeringly asked once or twice this week by contemptuous British friends.

The answer is yes, it did. News coverage of the event has been extensive, and for the most part intelligent and mercifully free of the sort of parochialism about holidaymakers that characterises so much of the European press accounts. There have been some lapses -- the New York newspaper that carried on its front page the Manhattan supermodel's harrowing tale of survival as her boyfriend was swept away by a tidal wave. There has perhaps been a little too much "what if it happened here?" alarmist self-absorption.

But for the most part Americans have watched a sobering, heartbreaking tale of unimagined calamity unfold halfway across the world. You get a sense of the heterogeneity of this country when something such as this happens. Every newspaper in every big city has been carrying stories about local Sri Lankan, Indonesian, Thai and Malaysian communities traumatised by the long-distance search for relatives and friends.

Further, in financial terms, it is not at all clear that the US is shirking its responsibilities, pledging an initial $US35 million ($45.1million) in aid, with the prospect of much more to come, and offering military assistance. You can be sure that the private US response will be even more impressive. Don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that Americans are any more generous than anyone else -- simply that they, too, are moved to mercy by the plight of others.

But even as we seek to apportion blame when catastrophe strikes, we are gripped too by a kind of fatalism. We stand in awe of nature and feel helpless before its apparently insuperable power. The rising death toll in Southeast Asia seems to mock our pretensions to progress. We may have been to the moon, eradicated smallpox and created eBay, we think, but when the tectonic plates move we are no more secure than were the barefoot citizens of Pompeii.

Yet the truth is not so grim. For centuries, steady progress has been made in the struggle to limit the effects of natural disasters. Last year, an earthquake that measured 6.6 on the Richter scale killed more than 40,000 people in the Iranian city of Bam. In 1989, a more powerful earthquake struck outside San Francisco. The death toll was fewer than 100. Of course there were demographic and geologic differences that contributed to the disparity. Of course there will never be a fail-safe protection against the most destructive efforts of nature. But it is within our reach to build systems that can mitigate their effects.

Years of scientific effort and technological investment have given the world seismic sensors; early warning systems; buildings that can bounce up and down on stilts buried deep in the earth; flood barriers and other techniques. We can discern the outlines of a strategy for preventing, or at least limiting future disasters.

As we contemplate nature's fearful capacity for destruction and our apparent helplessness, we should not forget the greater tragedy that is humankind's potential for self-destruction. It was humanity, not nature, that killed tens of millions in the wars and genocides of the 20th century. Even as we master techniques to protect us from the earth's violence, we perfect new, more effective means of delivering our own.

The Times



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