The MailOnline has an article about Muslims protesting the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment.
The report calls the Muslim protesters an "anti-war group" and the other "pro-army supporters". Judging by the signs shown in the photos, the Muslim group seems more anti-soldier and anti-British government.
Two of the soldiers supporters were arrested but only monitored the other group. I'd really like to read reports from people who were there to find out if the treatment of each group was even-handed and fair.
Researchers at Harvard say that publicly voiced doubts about the U.S. occupation of Iraq have a measurable "emboldenment effect" on insurgents there.
I'm not going to question the patriotism of the politicians who take any opportunity they can to be negative, but I think it's pretty clear that their primary allegiance is to their own egos.
A group called CRAV is threatening terrorist attacks if Nicolas Sarkozy doesn't do something to support their industry (keep out foreign wine). They have already shot at trucks, blown up a railroad and attacked buildings.
CRAV stands for "Regional Committee for Viticultural Action" but it's fitting that it could also be an abbreviation for craven. Their behavior is nothing but cowardly.
It's difficult to take accusations of psychological torture seriously when the list of "offenses" includes being provided with "cheap, branded, unscented soap".
How many ways have you heard Hezbollah pronounced during the last week?
My favorite is Hez-BOWL-ah, rhyming with ebola. (Which is pretty much my reason for preferring it.)
Proper pronunciation - Hezballah/Hizballah/Hizb'allah means "Party of God" so it should be pronounced "hizb allah".
If we want to crack down on countries that
support allow terrorism, should Britain be next?
Indian officials believe that some British businessmen are using bogus charities to fund terrorist attacks, including the Bombay train bombing.
Manmohan Singh, the Indian Prime Minister, raised the terror link with Tony Blair at the G8 summit in St Petersburg yesterday, reminding him that India handed over a detailed dossier three years ago identifying 14 men living in Britain and was assured the suspects would be investigated.
“Since then nothing has been done, and the money still coming from Britain helps to pay for the terrorist camps where we believe the bombers were trained and this atrocity was planned,” a senior Indian security official said last night.
The article doesn't give any reasons for the failure to act on the information that was provided other than, "It is difficult to track the money trail...". I don't know enough about UK laws to know why, when they have the names of people and the "charities", that it would be difficult but the cynical side of me wonders if the government thinks that it would be impossible to stop the money from going somewhere and having it fund terrorism outside of the country is preferable to funding it within.
I don't believe that's really the case. I think it's more likely to be something stupid like the fear of appearing to target minorities.
The Basque separatist group ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) has announced a permanent cease fire to begin on Friday.
Many Spaniards believed that after the March 11 2004 terror attacks in Madrid, carried out by Islamic extremists, ETA had effectively been stymied. The idea is that popular revulsion over terrorism made deadly violence politically unthinkable for the group.
The last "permanent" cease fire declared by ETA was in 1998 and ended in 1999.
Set 19 (pdf) contains seven Tribunal hearings (summaries are in the extended entry).
In each case unclassified evidence or accusations are presented. In some cases a request is made to present classified evidence at a closed tribunal at a later time. After the presentation of the unclassified evidence the detainee is allowed to make a statement if he chooses and to answer questions from the Tribunal and his Personal Representative.
If one accepts the evidence as factual, then there is cause for all of the detainees to remain at Gitmo. If one accepts the detainees' statements as true, then none were fighting against coalition forces nor did they have any involvement in terrorist activities. Due to this conflict between the evidence presented and the detainees' testimony, any conclusions from these reports would be subjective.
ISN #457: Mohammed Gul - several of the questions in his case were about his name, whether Gul was a common name in his village and whether there were others with the same name. To me, this implies that he was known by name as a member of a terrorist organization and the Tribunal was trying to make sure that he was the correct Mohammed Gul. (There was no statement verifing this in the record.) Neither he nor the witness testified that there were others with the same name in their village.
The detainee denied the accusations but did not provide any evidence to contradict them.
Conclusion - There is enough evidence presented to continue to detain him.
ISN #1013: Name unknown - The detainee admits to trying to enter the United States illegally through Mexico but denies any relationship with terrorist organizations.
Conclusion - There is enough evidence to detain him.
ISN #686: Name unknown - the detainee refuses to answer most of the questions saying that the answers are in his file even thought the Tribunal tells him that they have not read the file and do not have it. He denies the accusations but will not make statements supporting his denials.
The report states that there is classified evidence that is not presented in this hearing.
Conclusion - Inconclusive from testimony given. Should detain pending presentation of classified evidence.
ISN #103 - Name unknown - the detainee would not participate in the Tribunal process. His reply to the accusations was made by his Personal Representative. The PR was able to confirm that the detainee traveled from China to Afghanistan but was unable to confirm or deny any accusation about involvement with terrorist groups, individuals, or activities.
Conclusion - Inconclusive from evidence given.
ISN #440: Mohammed (changed to Osama), last name unknown - The detainee denies accusations of fighting against coalition forces and of being a member of a terrorist organization. He does admit to working with a charitable organization that the United States has classified as having ties to Al Qaida.
Conclusion - The detainee has requested evidence be sent from his home. Although the evidence presented suggests cause to continue to hold the detainee, no conclusion can be made until the presentation of the detainee's evidence.
ISN #1050: Name unknown - The detainee makes contradictory statements that first seem to agree with the accusations and then to deny them. A request is made by the Recorder to present classified evidence at a later time.
Conclusion - Inconclusive from testimony given. Should detain pending presentation of classified evidence.
ISN #1043: Abdul Razak - the detainee was a government worker under the Taliban. He was first President of Customs and then Minister of Commerce. He admitted this but denied involvement in military affairs. There was a request by the Reporter to present classified evidence at a later time. According to the detainee, President Karzai excuse all former government workers who were not opposed to the new government.
Conclusion - although his positions in the Taliban government would indicate a fairly high involvement with them, his actual role and knowledge of terrorist activities cannot be determined from this report.
Notes: At least a couple of the detainees were captured by the new Afghan military. It is possible to draw a couple of different conclusions. The Afghans are aware of tribal relations and the detainees involvement with terrorist groups so one might have a reasonable assumption that there is evidence to continue to hold the detainees. Or, the Afghan military wants to be seen as being efficient in ridding their country of people with terrorist/Taliban ties and have taken people into custody on circumstantial evidence.
The tribunal presents the accusations (association with forces engaged in hostilities, possession of a weapon and communications equipment, he was captured with a recruiter and other Taliban members, had worked for Hezb-E Islami Gulbuddin, that coalition forces were fired upon during the seizure, and was captured near a suspected Taliban facility) and the detainee denies them all other than admitting to being in the general area (in his home in Afghanistan). Most of the questions involve asking the detainee about his living in Saudi Arabia during the Taliban rule and his return to Afghanistan.
The detainee presents one witness, Khan Zaman, who appears to be another detainee and a resident of the same village in Afghanistan. The detainee mentioned that Khan and Gul both have the same meaning and the witness said that all the residents of the village were of the same tribe so I think it's possible that there is a familial relationship also.
Many of the tribunal's questions for the witness involved asking about the number of people in the village with the name Gul and whether the detainee's name, Mohammed Gul, was common.
The detainee was accused of trying to enter the United States illegally through Mexico, of using forged travel documents, of traveling on a vessel that was the focus of Operation Southern Watch, and that the smuggler who operated this vessel had close ties to known terrorist groups.
The detainee admitted to trying to enter the country illegally but denied being present on the vessel or knowing about the smuggler's relationship with terrorist organizations.
There is no introductory summary of the accusations against the detainee. It is noted that the Recorder requested a closed sesson at a later time to present classified information. (One question later on indicates he was arrested due to suspected ties with Al Qaida.)
This detainee said he is a student (from Yemen) in Pakistan and had no other statement to make.
When questioned about his studies he says the answers are all in his file. The tribunal tells him that they do not have access to his file but he refuses to provide any other information about whether he was studying at a University or taking religious studies.
He was arrested by Pakistanis in a house with several other people and has been at Gitmo for about two years according to his testimony.
The detainee denies the truth of the exhibits against him but refuses to make any relevant statements on his own behalf. He again answers several questions by saying the information is all in his file.
The Personal Representatve summarizes the accusations - the detainee is associated with Al Qaida, has trained with Al Farouq, that he was captured with ammunition, that he was captured with others associated with Al Qaida, that he is associated with Jama'at al-Tabligh and that this is a missionary organization used as a cover to mask terrorist activities. The detainee denied the accusations that involved his actions and claimed no knowledge of other people or groups.
The detainee did not want to take part in the tribunal process. His representative read the allegations and answers given by the detainee during a previous interview. The detainee admits to traveling from China to Afghanistan in August/September 2001. He stayed in a guest house in Kabul for about six weeks. The Personal Representative cannot say whether the detainee traveled with an individual who may be involved in the East Turkistan Islamic Party. The detainee left Kabul for Kandus when the U.S. bombing started. He was captured and was later present at the Mazar-E-Shariff prison uprising.
The detainee stated that the PR accurately represented his statements.
In November 2004, the tribunal tried to arrange for a witness named Mamar Diann to come from Yemen to testify. The Yemen government has not responded to the request so the witness was not present.
The detainee was accused of traveling to Afghanistan using forged documents. He denied this saying that the documents were real but he had changed his name to Osama. He was accused of receiving weapons training in Afghanistan but said that he had not done so. He learned how to use a Kalashnikov at age seven and did not need training with that and had not received training with any other weapons. He claims to have been employed by a charity group. In answer to further questions, the detainee denies any involvement with terrorist or with fighting against coalition forces.
Much of his testimony was about his reason for traveling to Afghanistan. He went there to earn money working for a charity to post bail for his grandfather who had stabbed someone and to avoid retaliation.
The detainee had requested a character witness but this was denied since it wasn't relevant to the accusations. The Recorder presented evidence and asked for a closed Tribunal session later to present classified evidence.
The detainee admitted to being a student at madrassas in Afghanistan. He denied acting as a guide for groups committing attacks. He admits to being arrested on the battlefield after the group he was with exchanged gun fire with the Afghan Militia Force. He seems to contradict this later under questioning. He says he was arrested while walking to a village.
He denies learning about jihad in the madrassa and says he doesn't know the meaning of jihad.
Detainee Abdul Razak is accused of being a member of the Taliban and working for them as President of Customs and then as Minister of Commerce from 1996 to 2001. He admits to this but denies having any involvement in military affairs.
According to his testimony President Karzai announced that former Taliban government workers were excused but he was still arrested. The detainee believes this reversal was due to the Americans entering Afghanistan. A later statement says that the announcement said that those not in opposition to the new government were excused.
The detainee says he was not in opposition to the new government but his nephew was. The detainee had been arrested at his nephew's home.
Captain Ed of Captain's Quarters is organizing a review of a study by Mark and Joshua Denbeaux and a group of Seton Hall law students on documents about detainees at Guantanamo.
I read some of a few Reprocessed Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) documents that I picked at random. (I've volunteered to read some for the review but just sent the email and haven't been assigned any yet.)
What I learned from reading the responses to the questions by a few detainees is that some men decided to leave their homes, families, and businesses for an undetermined amount of time to travel to someplace near Tora Bora. Only one of the detainees had a clear reason for going, to fight Hindus in Afghanistan. Some others reminded me of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, they were drawn there for reasons that they couldn't (or wouldn't) explain.
In every testimony I read the detainee denied receiving any training but also said he was taught to use a rifle. Each one said that he spent most of his time building or repairing buildings.
From my random readings I have this hypothesis:
Self-described problems (lack of education, mental illness due to a fall off a mountain) along with the description of the work done in the camps indicates that at least some of the detainees may have been recruited simply to do the grunt work needed to support others who were receiving a higher level of training.
Because their answers were vague and conflicting it is possible that the detainees are lying about their reasons for going to Afghanistan and their involvement in terrorist training. Without a review of the evidence that is still classified it is difficult to determine what the detainees intentions were. One might assume that their presence in the camp would indicate an intention to receive training and take part in terrorist attacks regardless of whether they actually received any training.
I don't think that a lack of training or participation in attacks absolves the detainees any more than a driver in a bank robbery would be considered not guilty because he/she didn't enter the bank. While the men say that they do not know what was going on in the camp they do admit to providing aid and support.
Update: I have been assigned Set 19 (pdf).
Other than Danish Havarti (a smooth, creamy cheese that is one of my favorites) and Lego (with three kids, we have so many of this product that I'm thinking of using them to build an addition on to the house) I can't name any Danish imports. So I Googled it. And there at the bottom of the first page was what looked like my best resource - Google Answers: List 100 Danish products? But when I clicked on the link I found "The requested content is no longer available. It has been removed by a Google editor." I checked the cached version and can't figure out what was so offensive about it that led to its removal. Was it an effort to avoid showing a list (although a list of companies/products had not yet been provided) to boycotters? To supporters?
I did find that Denmark is a large exporter of canned ham and pork products. I don't imagine that the boycott will affect those companies but the anti-boycott may.
Mohammed Daoud who planned the Black September murder of the Munich Olympic Israeli athletes is upset that he wasn't consulted for Steven Spielberg's film about the event.
After reading his comments about it, I think he's just mad that the movie isn't about him. Or he's insane. Quite possibly both.
The London Times reports on an undercover investigation.
A Sunday Times reporter spent two months as a recruit inside the Saviour Sect to reveal for the first time how the extremist group promotes hatred of “non-believers” and encourages its followers to commit acts of violence including suicide bombings.
The reporter witnessed one of the sect’s leading figures, Sheikh Omar Brooks, telling a young audience, including children, that it was the duty of Muslims to be terrorists and boasting, just days before the July 7 attacks, that he wanted to die as a suicide bomber.
After the attacks that claimed 52 lives, another key figure, Zachariah, justified them by saying that the victims were not “innocent” people because they did not abide by strict Islamic laws. In the immediate aftermath the sect’s leader, Omar Bakri Mohammed, said: “For the past 48 hours I’m very happy.” Two weeks later he referred to the bombers as the “fantastic four”.
Read the whole thing.
A man wearing a heavy coat was warned to stop but instead ran and vaulted the station's barriers.
"It's vital the police give a statement about what occurred and explain why the man was shot dead." - Muslim Council of Britain
Hmm, the man was wearing a heavy coat on a day when the low temperature was only 60 degrees (F). The police, who had previously announced their intent to shoot to kill if necessary, had considered him a suspect and had been following him. The told him to stop but he ran instead. Shooting at the torso of someone wearing a bomb could detonate the bomb. Shooting just to disable a bomber would not stop him from detonating it himself. Given the circumstances, the police had little choice.
Update: It appears that the man who was shot had no connection with the bombings. Although he was shot by the police, I place the blame for his death on the terrorists. They were the ones who put the police in the position of having to take action.
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.
The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.
A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America -- with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.
Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government's emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it's prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington, D.C. to help with local rescue efforts.
Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks.
The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight, and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business, as well.
The search is underway for those who are behind these evil acts. I've directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.
I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance.
America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism. Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me."
This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.
Thank you. Good night, and God bless America.
I've read more than a few blog posts complaining about the media calling the terrorist who held school children in Russia hostage Chechen separatists, hostage-takers, rebels, or militants. (Here and here, for example.)
One of my husband's employees is originally from Russia. He has other names for these terrorists...but none that I would repeat in polite company.
Attack just this year include:
February 6 - a bomb on a Moscow subway kills 30 to 41 people (reports vary) and injures at least 92.
May 9 - a bomb in a Grozny stadium kills at least 24 people including President Akhmad Kadyrov who was trying to control separatist violence.
June 22 - at least 92 people are killed by gunmen in Ingushetia.
August 24 - two passenger aircraft crash killing 89 people.
August 31 - a female suicide bomber outside a Moscow subway stop kills 9 other people and injures at least 51 others.
September 1-3 - school children, parents, and teachers are held hostage. At this point, 150 are estimated dead with hundreds more hospitalized.
In 2003, over 200 people were killed and hundreds more wounded.
The recent attack on the school is not unusual, many of their acts of terrorism over the last few years have been directed at "soft" targets including at least three hospitals, a couple of shopping centers, apartment buildings, a theater, a religious (Muslim) festival, a rock festival, along with attacks on trains, subways, and the streets.
Don't think Chechnya is only Russia's problem. Five of the nineteen terrorists who hijacked the American aircraft on September 11 had previously fought in Chechnya. Reports suggest that Al-Qaeda still sends members to Chechnya for training and also tries to recruit non-Arabs from the area to avoid detection through racial profiling.