Saturday, March 31, 2007

Mar 31, 1821 ~ Massacre on Chios, Greece


WIKI - The Chios massacre in 1821, refers to when Turkish soldiers began the massacre of thousands of Greeks around the Ottoman Empire.
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In one of the most notorious occurrences, the Chios Massacre during 1822, about 42,000 Greek islanders of Chios were hanged, butchered, starved or tortured to death; 50,000 were enslaved; and 23,000 were exiled. Less than 2,000 managed to survive on the island. The Greek word katastrofi (which also means "destruction" or "ruin") is commonly used to describe these events. The island itself was devastated and the few survivors dispersed throughout Europe in what is now known as the Chian Diaspora. German Admiral Wilhelm Canaris claimed to have been descended from the Diaspora. The massacre was well-documented and reported and sparked outrage in Europe. French painter Eugène Delacroix painted a masterpiece depicting the horrors that occurred.
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For 2000 years, Chios merchants and ship-owners had dominated trade and diplomacy throughout the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean. The Ottoman Empire had allowed Chios unique and almost complete control over its own affairs as Chian trade and the very highly-valued
mastic plant harvested only on Chios were of great value to the Sultan. The cosmopolitan Chians were also very prominent in Constantinople. Following the massacre, the island never regained its commercial prominence.

In Chios you can see the scars of the massacre. About 25km from Hora is the isolated mountain town of Anavatos perched on a hill.


This town is completely abandoned. All of its people were killed or threw themselves off the cliffs rather than be captured by Ottoman Turkish troops, and no one ever moved back. It remains a ghost town and a memorial to the dead. It is maintained and parts are being restored, but nature is taking over.


Nearby is the monastery of Nea Moni, founded in the 11th century and built by Constantine Monomachos. During the Massacre of Chios, 3,500 women and children sought refuge in the fortified monastery which was ultimately penetrated by the Ottoman Turks, who killed the refugees and the 600 monks who lived there. The remains of the monks are kept in a public ossuary as a reminder of the tragedy. (last three photos and text for them taken from
Dean Christakos' site).

Tal Afar Bomb Deadliest ~ 150+ Killed

BAGHDAD—The Iraqi government raised the death toll on Saturday from a truck bomb this week in the town of Tal Afar to 152, making it the deadliest single bombing of the four-year-old conflict.
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Interior Ministry spokesman Brigadier Abdul Kareem Khalaf told a news conference that 347 people were wounded in Tuesday's attack on a Shi'ite area. There was another, small truck bomb in the mixed northwestern town on the same day. Khalaf said 100 homes had been destroyed in the main blast, which officials have blamed on al Qaeda. The explosion left a 23-metre (75-ft)-wide crater. It took us a while to recover all the bodies from underneath the rubble of the homes ... what did they achieve by using two tonnes of explosive to kill and wound 500 in a residential area?" Khalaf asked at a news conference.
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Tal Afar mayor Najim Abdullah Jibouri said he believed the ministry number was exaggerated, putting the death toll at around 100. Durad Kashmula, the governor of Nineveh province, which includes Tal Afar, as well as the provincial police chief said they agreed with the Interior Ministry. The past week has been the bloodiest in Iraq since the government launched a security crackdown in Baghdad in February aimed at halting the country's slide toward civil war. (Source: Reuters on
The Epoch Times)
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Nearly 500 Killed in Iraq This Past Week
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Other News:
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Artillery rocks Mogadishu on third day of fighting: MOGADISHU, March 31 (Reuters) - Shelling rocked Mogadishu for a third day on Saturday, overwhelming hospitals with casualties as Ethiopian and Somali troops backed by helicopter gunships attacked Islamist rebels and clan militia. Scores of civilians have been killed in what the International Committee of the Red Cross says is the capital's worst fighting for more than 15 years. Ethiopia said its military had killed more than 200 "armed remnants" of a hardline Islamist movement ousted from Mogadishu in a war over the New Year.

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Civilian deaths mount in Mogadishu
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Iranian Leader: U.K. Sailors Trespassed
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US: No Iran prisoner swap
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Robert Mugabe's misrule is in danger of spreading
+
Pakistan successfully tested an indigenous short-range, nuclear-capable missile on Saturday
+ Greek Shipping: The Greeks were also helped by the U.S. Government, which, aiming to revive Greece's merchant marine after World War II, sold them 100 Liberty ships on easy credit terms (don't ask me what this has to do with anything, it's my blog)

Riots in Paris...Again

More than 100 people fought with the police on March 27 at the Paris train station of Gare du Nord, which handles the Eurostar service to London, suburban trains and the subway. Violence broke out after a ticket check in the subway. Images of youths destroying stores and ticket booths raised the specter of the 2005 riots, when thousands of cars were burned in three weeks of violence in suburbs populated mostly by immigrants from North and sub-Saharan Africa and their French-born offspring. (Source: Bloomberg)

+
Paris riot turns election focus to banlieues

+ LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - Gunmen kidnapped a foreign oil worker from an offshore oil rig in southern Nigeria early Saturday, officials said.



+ Arab Militias Racially Cleansing Chad of Black Africans

Friday, March 30, 2007

US Marines vs. Insurgents, Baghdad University

US Marines battle insurgents fighting from Baghdad University in Baghdad, Iraq



Thursday, March 29, 2007

UK Forces Were Inside Iraqi Waters


Iranian Television has aired a video of the 15 British sailors and marines captured by Iran in what it claims were its waters.
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The broadcast included footage of Faye Turney, the only female captive, who said that the British had "trespassed" into Iranian waters when they were taken captive Friday.
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Iranian Foreign Minster Manouchehr Mottaki has told the Associated Press that British diplomats would be allowed to meet with the British service members, but it is unclear when. Mottaki also said that in order for the 15 to be returned, Britain must express its regret for entering Iranian waters. Earlier today, the British government presented evidence that it said proved the Royal Navy personnel were in Iraqi waters when they were seized. (Source: NPR)
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Photo: Britain's Ministry of Defense says this map, made with global positioning data, proves that British sailors and marines were inside Iraqi waters when they were captured by Iran March 23.
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Other items:
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+ Immigration Bust Targets Travel Agencies
+ Lesson's From History (American Crusader)
+ Oil Prices Climb Amid U.K.-Iran Tension
+
+ Muslims in Nigeria Club Christian Teacher to Death
+ Nigerian Muslims Follow Up Murder with Church Burning
+ Islamist Extremists Use Kidnapped Children, Mentally Ill in Bombings

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Arab Bank


The Arab Bank, formed in 1930, is a prominent financial institution in the Arab world, with 400 branches and offices in 25 countries, including Cyprus. Its parent company is Arab Bank plc incorporated in Amman, Jordan, where its headquarters are also located. The bank was founded by Abdul Hameed Shoman in Jerusalem during the time of the British mandate. The bank's chairman, Abdul Majid Shoman, died July 6, 2005 at the age of 94. As of 2007, the bank is the subject of a lawsuit because it has compensated the families of suicide bombers.
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MSNBC article: "Terror ties at a Middle Eastern bank? FBI investigates Arab Bank for allegedly supporting suicide bombers and doing business with suspected terrorists; bank denies charges"
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By Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit (Updated: 12:15 p.m. ET May 11, 2005) ~ AMMAN, Jordan, August 2001: A suicide bomber hits the Sbarro pizza parlor in Jerusalem, killing 15 people, including an American — Shoshana Greenbaum, a pregnant schoolteacher.
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The Palestinian bomber's name was Izz Ad-Din Al-Masri. His parents told NBC News that soon after the bombing a group that helps families of suicide bombers told them they'd be compensated for their son's "sacrifice." "They told me to go to the Arab Bank and open an account, and you will receive a salary," says the bomber's father, Shuhail Ahmed Al-Masri. He says almost immediately, he began receiving $140 a month. And after the Israelis leveled his house, he says he was told to go to the bank and pick up more money — $6,000.
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Al-Masri's father says he was told to open an account at the Arab Bank branch in the West Bank settlement of Jenin. There, he says he's received money almost every month for the last three years. The branch, plastered with posters eulogizing suicide bombers, isn't the only one allegedly paying bombers' families. An ad in a Palestinian newspaper told dozens of martyrs' families to pick up money at the nearest branch of the Arab Bank. "Those types of payments are aiding and abetting terrorism," says Jimmy Gurule, a former official at the U.S. Treasury Department who was in charge of cutting off money to terrorists.


The FBI tells NBC News that it's now conducting a criminal investigation into the Arab Bank's alleged movement of funds for suspected terrorists. The investigation was triggered after U.S. regulators examined Arab Bank operations in New York City on Madison Avenue. U.S. officials tell NBC News that regulators found that the bank had 40 to 60 suspected terrorists and groups as customers. They were allegedly associated with al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah. Officials say all had accounts with the bank or had moved money through the New York office. "I'm not aware of another situation involving a bank operating in the U.S. that has conducted itself in such a manner," says Gurule. The Arab Bank, headquartered in Jordan, turned down repeated requests for an interview, so NBC visited bank headquarters in Amman. And only got as far as the lobby.
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Lisa Myers: Does the bank support terrorism?

Omar Al-Sheik, Arab Bank official: Of course not.
Myers: Does the bank believe it's proper to move money to help terrorists?
Omar Al-Sheik: Of course not.
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In a statement, the Arab Bank denies ever knowingly doing business with terrorists. And officials insist the bank has never moved money for anyone officially designated a terrorist by the U.S. government.However, NBC News provided the bank with documents showing it dealt with three Hamas terror groups even after they were blacklisted by the United States. It's against the law for banks in the United States to handle transactions for terrorists on the blacklist. The bank says the three transactions still were legal because they occurred outside the United States but that in the future it will honor the U.S. blacklist worldwide. As for suicide bombers, the Arab Bank strongly denies ever knowingly handling payments for bombers' families. Their statement reads, in part: "Arab Bank considers suicide bombings an abominable human act."

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Then what about that ad telling bombers' families to collect money at the Arab Bank? The bank says it didn't place the ad. After NBC News provided account numbers for the Al-Masri family, the bank froze the account, which the bank claims was opened before the bombing. Shoshana Greenbaum's father, who moved to Israel after her death, is now suing the bank. "This organization, if allowed to continue with a mere slap on the wrist, would be sending a message that it's perfectly all right to support terrorism," says Alan Hayman. The bank, which Israeli officials call "the Grand Central Station of terrorist financing," has been forced to shut down much of its U.S. operation but remains a dominant player in the Middle East.
+
+
Arab Bank responds to NBC News
+ Manager Sami Makarem: "Welcome to Arab Bank Cyprus"
+ Arab Bank fined $24M for funding Palestinian terror by Avi Krawitz, published in the Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2005
+ http://www.terror-lawsuit.com/ Home page for the class action Litle v. Arab Bank.
+
+ Israeli Terrorism Victims Win Major Victory in Landmark Arab Bank Case:
NEW YORK, Jan. 30, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a stunning victory for more than 1,600 survivors and family members of those killed by terrorism in Israel, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued a major ruling that is expected to lead to a trial for their landmark civil action against Arab Bank.

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Judge Gershon rejected the bulk of a defense motion to dismiss the case, ruling instead that suicide bombing attacks and other forms of violence directed against civilians in Israel violate customary international law, that "plaintiffs have successfully stated claims for genocide and crimes against humanity," and that plaintiffs have established a cause of action under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Antiterrorism Act. She found that the plaintiffs had pled sufficient evidence that "Arab Bank's provision of banking services facilitated money laundering and also facilitated the payments from [a Saudi Arabian] Committee to the suicide bombers' beneficiaries," creating "an incentive for suicide bombings."

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"This is a great victory for everyone -- not just those of us who have had our loved ones savagely murdered in acts of terrorism, but for everyone who loves and wants peace," said Iris Almog Schwartz, an Israeli citizen who lost her mother, father, brother and two nephews in the suicide bombing of Restaurant Maxim in Haifa on October 4, 2003.

Islamists Murder Two Iraqi Nuns

Baghdad, Iraq: Two elderly sisters, both Chaldean Catholic nuns, were stabbed to death in their home in Kirkuk, city police reported Tuesday, saying the motive for the attack was not known.

Kirkuk police 1st. Lt. Marewan Salih said Fawzeiyah Naoum, 85, and her 79-year-old sister Margaret, were stabbed multiple time by two intruders who raided their home Monday night near the Cathedral of the Virgin in Kirkuk. They lived alone and there was no sign of a robbery, Salih said. Chaldean Catholics are an ancient Eastern rite now united with Roman Catholicism. Adherents live mainly in Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq and most speak a dialect of Turkish. Source: International Herald Tribune.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Cpl. Pat Tillman


Former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman gave up a lucrative NFL career in 2002 to fight in Afghanistan with the elite Army Rangers. He enlisted, along with his brother Kevin, who gave up the chance of a career in professional baseball. The two brothers completed training for the elite Army Ranger school in late 2002 and were assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington. Cpl. Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan April 22, 2004.
+
Pentagon investigators find that high-ranking military officers made critical errors in reporting the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. But officials conclude that there was no criminal wrongdoing in the death of the former

+ Defense Department Inspector General's Report on Tillman's Death (6 MB)
+

Monday, March 26, 2007

George Canyon ~ “I Want You To Live”


George Canyon ~ “I Want You To Live”
http://www.georgecanyon.com/

Canadian country star serving the Air Force in his own special way: Like so many young Canadians with a dream of joining the Air Force, Canadian country singer George Canyon did all the right things in his hometown of Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

He joined the air cadets, brushed up on his high school math and science and entered university with a passion for airplanes that simply would not go away. "My whole life as a kid was about joining the Air Force," Mr. Canyon said from his home in Alberta this week. Unfortunately, for medical reasons, he was unable to join the Air Force. It was around that time that he began to pursue his other passion - music. Read the full article on the Canadian Air Force site.

Gas Find Could Be America's Largest

"Drilling tests in Alaska's North Slope have revealed ‘staggering’ deposits of gas hydrate that could contain 200,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is over a hundred times greater than most reserves, says the US Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).
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"Gas hydrate is an ice-like solid that results from the trapping of methane molecules, the main component of natural gas, within a lattice-like cage of water molecules. Dubbed the "ice that burns," this substance releases gaseous methane when it melts. The find, within the Milne Point unit of the greater Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska's North Slope, is a joint project of a consortium co-funded by NETL and conducted through the National Methane Hydrate R&D Program, which is a DOE-led collaboration." Source: EngineerLive.com

News Round-Up

+ 5 terrorists killed: Pakistan challenges northwestern Pakistani school militants after hearing that they wanted to "motivate" students for holy war

+
US Secretary of State Rice admonished Greece for its signing of a pipeline deal with Russia and Bulgaria, saying the transport of oil through Europe was “an issue of common interest for the USA and Greece.”
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Human Rights Watch: torture and rape of pro-democracy activist and blogger Muhammad al-Sharqawi in police custody

+ Iran Warns That Sailors May Face Charges
+
Khalilzad: U.S. Patience 'Running Out'
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Five US soldiers killed by bombs

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Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers have bombed an air force base next to the country's only international airport using attack aircraft for the first time in the island's long-running civil war.

+ Machine gun-toting terrorists in Baghdad gunned down a mixed Shiite-Sunni group of children playing soccer in a park: The Interior Ministry's daily report listed the children as among nearly 50 people killed Saturday in random attacks around the country, the report said.
+ U.S. doubts Saudi terror arrests
+ UK Extremists Encourage Violence against Women
+ Ex-Terrorist Tells Muslims to Stop Denying Islamic Terror...



Released: 2001. Filmmaker: Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan

Canadian Airforce McDonnell Douglas CF-188A Hornet (CF-18A), Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM or just Canadian AirForce) Canadair CT-133 Silver Star 3 (CL-30) - Nicknamed Silver Shark and flying with Utility Squadron VU-32 of CFB Shearwater in special colors. Location: Trenton, Ontario.

+ Canadian and US aircraft supporting the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) will conduct joint training in the Canadian North early next week.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Mar 25 ~ Greek Independence Day



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 Some of Bouboulina's weapons.
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Flag on left: Greek guerilla flag. The revolutionary motto: ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Η ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ (Freedom or Death) the main motto of the Greek War of Independence and the current national motto of Greece, is horizontally written, in black, in the lower part of the flag. This flag was used by the Greek guerillas against the Ottoman occupation during the independence war (1821-1829).

Flag on right: Flag of Ypsilantis' Sacred Battalion. Alexander Ypsilantis (1792-1828) was a Greek who served as a general in the Russian Army. He was the leader of the political movement called Philiki Etairia (1820-1821) and led an invasion of Moldavia in an abortive attempt to liberate the Balkans from Ottoman rule. Red stands for the imperial purple robe and the self-government of the Greek people; white stands for innocence of the just cause of the Greek struggle against tyranny; and black represents the death of the Greeks for country and freedom. The obverse of the flag shows Saint Constantine (Emperor Constantine the Great) and his mother Saint Helena, flanked by the words, in black: ΕΝ ΤΟYΤΟ / ΝΙΚΑ (In this sign / thou shall conquest). The reverse of the flag shows a phoenix emerging from the ashes. It was the flag of Alexander and Demetrius Ypsilantis. The members of the Sacred Battalion and Georgios Olympos, heroes of the Greek independence struggle, fought and died under this flag.

+ Greek-American Easter in Kentucky

+ Fellow blogger Stavros was born in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey of Greek parents who immigrated to the USA in 1956. He grew up in New York City, joined the Marine Corps at age 19 and retired from the Corps twenty two years later. Stavros has a good post titled "The Meaning of Greek Independence": "The history of the struggle against the Ottoman Empire is replete with tales of daring and bravery, unfortunately, it is also a litany of man's inhumanity to man. Struggles of this type, against a determined and fanatical enemy, are never high-browed affairs as many Philhellenes like Lord Byron found out. The uprising in 1821 was a no holds barred war of attrition that can only be characterized as a fight to the finish. No quarter asked and none given. After all, the Greek subjects of the Ottoman Empire were nothing more than slaves. Slaves either submitted to the will of the Sultan or were to be made an example of and easily expendable. "

The Muslim Brotherhood


Part 1.


Part 2.
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The Muslim Brotherhood or The Muslim Brothers (Arabic: الإخوان المسلمون al-ikhwān al-muslimūn, full title "The Society of the Muslim Brothers", often simply الإخوان al-ikhwān, "the Brotherhood" or "MB") is a world-wide
Sunni Islamist movement founded by the sufi Islamic lawyer Hassan al-Banna in 1928. It has spawned several offshoot organizations in the Middle East, dedicated to the credo: "God is our objective, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle is our way..." The MB is the largest opposition force in many Arab nations, especially Egypt, is the worlds largest most influential Islamic group and seeks to install in stages an Islamic Caliphate across the Muslim world. (Source: Wiki)
+
+
The Muslim Brotherhood's Conquest of Europe by Lorenzo Vidino (Middle-East Quarterly)


Part 3.


Part 4.


Part 5.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Beyond 2009?



MONTREAL (AFP) - Canada may keep soldiers in
Afghanistan' to help stabilize the worn-torn nation beyond February 2009, its current commitment, it was reported, citing military documents.
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The French-language Montreal daily La Presse said 235 million Canadian dollars (200 million US) has been budgeted to maintain Canada's military presence in Afghanistan in 2010 and 2011, according to files obtained through access to information legislation. Last year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government pushed a two-year extension through Parliament to February 2009, but did not exclude the possibility of a further commitment.
Opposition leader Stephane Dion vowed last month to bring Canadian troops home in February 2009, if his Liberal Party returned to power in the next general election, expected this year.
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The Liberals accused Harper of having already made up his mind to extend the mission, despite his public denials. "All the documents suggest this government is just searching for a way to announce that we will be in Afghanistan after 2009," Liberal MP and defense critic Denis Coderre told La Presse. Defense department spokeswoman Carole Brown told AFP that planning for a longer stay was undertaken. "This plan details what units will make up our first and second line of operation until 2010. But the fact that we have identified particular units in no way implies that we will necessarily be using them in Afghanistan after 2009," she said.
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This MCpl, a signal operator with Task Force Kabul, mans an observation post on TV Hill in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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Other News:
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Greek embassy in DR Congo hit by shell
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Greece offers $1.6 million reward for info on group that attacked U.S. Embassy
+
Afghanistan: Med Evac Flies First Non-stop to Germany
+
Afghan, U.S. Troops Discuss Future with Elders
+
Soldiers Transform Quarters into Aid Station in Afghanistan

HAF Lockheed C-130H Hercules (L-382) Eindhoven, Netherlands. Mar 14, 2007.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Afghan Forces Kill 69 Taliban Militants

KABUL, March 23 (Reuters) - At least 89 people, including 69 Taliban rebels, were killed in two days of fighting in Afghanistan, officials said on Friday, as violence soared with the onset of spring.
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The Islamist rebels were killed in fighting with Afghan forces in the south on Thursday after the troops, backed by NATO forces, launched an offensive against the rebels in two areas in Girishk district of Helmand province.
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Seven policemen were also killed and 19 Afghan soldiers wounded, Defence Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi told a news conference, adding troops had begun a "cleaning up operation" after the attacks. "Even though our forces did not have enough equipment like tanks and armed vehicles but with the weapons that they had ... they could inflict heavy losses on the enemy in several hours of fighting," Azimi said. He said many rebel bodies still remained on the battlefield while the Taliban had taken away 10 of their fallen comrades. Seventeen guerrillas had also been arrested, Azimi added. Elsewhere, 12 private Afghan security guards and an Afghan driver were killed in the southern province of Kandahar on Friday when the Taliban ambushed their convoy of supplies for coalition troops, their Afghan contractor said.
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Fighting has intensified across Afghanistan after winter and analysts say 2007 is a make-or-break year for the Taliban as well as their opponents. Last year was the bloodiest since the hardline Islamists were ousted by U.S.-led forces in 2001. NATO and the Afghan armed forces have launched their largest offensive ever in Helmand, targeting the Taliban and drug lords who are reaping record crops for the second year running. Operation Achilles in northern Helmand involves 4,500 NATO troops and 1,000 Afghans.
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A statement from the coalition said NATO troops provided flank protection, air support and medical evacuation during Thursday's offensive. "This particular component of Operation Achilles is being conducted to put pressure on Taliban extremists, foreign terrorists and their narco-trafficking criminal associates that continue to operate within the general population," it said. Helmand is the main drug-producing region of Afghanistan, the world's leading producer of heroin.
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Separately, a suicide bomber attacked a convoy of Western troops in the eastern province of Nangarhar on Friday and at least one soldier, a woman and a child were wounded, witnesses and officials said. (Source: Reuters AlertNet)
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Photo: Battalion 3 of the Afghan National Army marches inside the Kabul Military Training Center. The facilities were renovated by the U.S. Army
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+
Forces from NATO mission rescue flood victims in Afghanistan
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+
Iranian president cancels speech before UN Security Council
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US House of Representatives okays 2008 deadline for Iraq pullout
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+
British and Afghan forces flex their muscles in Musa Qaleh
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TAC helps Army rebuild Afghan forces


2006 Aug: Camp Bastion, Southern Afghanistan ~ Paratroopers and soldiers of the
Royal Irish Regiment prepare to board an RAF Chinook for Operation Atomi, to Musa Qaleh.


Somewhere in Iraq: Royal Irish Regiment soldier proudly flying the former flag of Northern Ireland (flag from 1953-72)


An armed Land Rover of 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment advances past an oil well set alight by Iraqi insurgents (sometime in 2003).


Mechanic Spc. Keith Wright, B Company, 27th Brigade Support Battalion works on a Humvee. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Kendra Evers, 27th Brigade Support Battalion)

Private Michelle Norris, Major William Chesarek

Private Michelle Norris has become the first ever woman to be presented with a Military Cross, one of the highest awards for exemplary gallantry against the enemy on land.

At the same ceremony the Queen also presented Major William Chesarek from the United States Marine Corps with a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), awarded for gallantry in action during operations. He became the first American serviceman to receive a DFC since the Second World War.

During an operation to disrupt mortar and rocket attacks in Al Amarah, Maysan Province, a UK Warrior Armoured vehicle was disabled and during its recovery British troops came under repeated attack from rocket propelled grenades (RPG) and small arms fire from insurgents using large, hostile crowds for cover.

Private Norris, aged just 19 and deployed as a medical orderly with The Queen's Royal Hussars Battle Group, was in another Warrior involved in the recovery. When her vehicle came under attack, the commander took a potentially fatal shot to the head from a sniper. Private Norris climbed out of the vehicle to tend his wounds while the sniper continued firing and other small arms and RPG fire continued around her. With the help of a colleague she was able to get her commander back into the vehicle. Read the full story.

UK Forces in Iran: Deja-Vu All Over Again


The detention of 15 British sailors by Iran on Friday in the Shatt al-Arab waterway echoes a similar incident in the disputed area in 2004.
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On June 21 of that year, three British river-patrol boats carrying eight Royal Navy sailors were detained by Iran after apparently straying across the Shatt al-Arab waterway into Iranian territory, a situation that, some observers felt, provided Tehran with a timely opportunity to punish Britain and remind it and the United States not to ignore its voice in the region.
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After top-level British-Iranian talks, the sailors were turned over to British diplomats on June 24 and taken to the British embassy in Tehran under tight security. They were then flown to Dubai.
More here: Globe And Mail (Photo from the 2004 incident)
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+ British sailors detained by Iranian forces in Gulf: Fifteen British sailors have been detained by Iranian forces in Iraqi waters. The members of the Royal Navy were detained in the Persian Gulf after boarding a merchant ship they believed was being used to smuggle cars into Iraq, said CTV's London Bureau Chief Tom Kennedy.
Britain said the incident took place in Iraqi waters, where it has UN permission to routinely board and search merchant vessels

News Round-Up


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+ In a surprise development in a 20-month-old investigation, British counter-terrorism police have arrested three suspects in connection with the deadly 2005 London transit bombings: The deadliest bombings in London since the Second World War, 53 commuters were killed and more than 700 people were injured in the blasts that targeted three subway trains and a double-decker bus. The four suicide bombers were also killed.
+
+ Sea containers 'alternative' for terrorists: report: The Senate security and defence committee -- which this week released a report slamming airport security in Canada -- says sea containers are an "obvious alternative" for terrorists trying to target Canada. In its second report in two days, the all-party National Security and Defence Committee says some foreign ports have already developed technology to scan shipping containers, but no such system has been put in place in Canada.
+
Photo: Greek flag during the reign of Nikephoros Phokas (963-969) and his successors, blue and white replaced even the imperial red and gold. This conjectural design features the cross with the initials for ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ (Christ). Greece celebrates it's Independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire on March 25th.

The Pentagon Channel: "Around The Services"

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Training Islamic Child Soldiers


By the Naqshbandi Sufi Army. Naqshbandi (Naqshbandiyya) is one of the major
Sufi orders (tariqa) of Islam.

+ India, Bahrain to combat terrorism, intensify business ties
+
Post-Soviet Radicals and Spread of Terrorism
+ Casablanca residents stand up against terrorism, call for change

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iraq Footage


Marines encounter an ambush by a group of insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq. (Apr 2006)


Iraqi Police and U.S. Soldiers conduct a cordon search on an apartment complex in Tameem Iraq. (Feb 2007)

+ Iraqi insurgents used children in a suicide attack this weekend, raising worries that the insurgency has adopted a new tactic to get through security checkpoints with bombs: Maj. Gen. Michael Barbero, deputy director for regional operations in the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said adults in a vehicle with two children in the back seat were allowed through a Baghdad checkpoint Sunday. The adults then parked next to a market in the Adamiya area of Baghdad, abandoned the vehicle and detonated it with the children still inside, according to the general and another defence official. "Children in the back seat lower suspicion, we let it move through," Barbero said. "They parked the vehicle, the adults run out and detonate it with the children in the back." "The brutality and ruthless nature of this enemy hasn't changed," Barbero said. (Source: Toronto Star)

Pakistan Army Kills 100+ "Militants"

Pakistan's government said Wednesday that fighting this week between local and foreign militants near the Afghan border, which has killed about 100 people, is testament to the success of efforts to get tribesmen to root out al-Qaida fighters.

But the bloodshed also underscores the government's inability to police the region and could unleash a cycle of violence between the warring factions, experts warned. At least two children were killed and around 20 wounded when a stray mortar round hit their school bus after the fighting broke out Monday in South Waziristan, where international humanitarian agencies have no access.

Senior government and intelligence officials said about 105 people - mostly Uzbeks and Chechens and their local supporters - had been killed in three days of clashes. It was the deadliest episode reported involving foreign militants who fled to Pakistan's lawless tribal regions from Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. Source: Forbes

Photo: Pakistan's Air Force Chief Air Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed, right, speaks during the arrival ceremony of JF-17 Thunder military aircraft, Monday, Mar. 12, 2007 in Kamra, 76 kilometers (46 miles) West of Islamabad, Pakistan.

Canadian Forces ~ Integrated Tactical Effects Experiment


God, I love my country...and the men and women who serve it.

Write up from Canadian Forces Combat Camera: The Integrated Tactical Effects Experiment (ITEE), taking place on the eastern seaboard from 2-20 November, 2006 is a significant exercise within the Standing Contingency Force (SCF) concept of operation.

The aim of the exercise is to evaluate and define the feasibility of the deployment and maintenance of a high readiness sea based and seaborne joint expeditionary task force for Canada. Participating in the ITEE are Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen and women, along with ships from the Naval Task Group, G-Wagons, Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) III and Sea King helicopters modified for troop transport. Key to the experiment is the expertise of the U.S. Navy combined with the U.S. Marine Corps mentorship and the lending of USS Gunston Hall, an amphibious assault ship embarking CF Staff and troops required to test the SCF concept.

+ U.S., Iraqi Forces Target Diyala's Sunni Insurgents: They seek to deny insurgents access to a region that has been an insurgent stronghold.

+ Roadside Bombs Plague Iraq Patrols: Spotting IEDs — and sometimes, triggering them — has become routine for American soldiers in Iraq.

+ Bush Discusses Iraq -- and Omits the 'V' Word: Speaking on a day that marks four years since the start of the war in Iraq, President Bush says the security crackdown in Baghdad is showing signs of progress.

+ U.N. Set to Debate New Sanctions on Iran
+ State of the Deal on Afghan-Pakistani Border

+ America's 'Al Qaeda Homegrown' from Oregon: Adam Gadahn, the American-born spokesman for al-Qaida, is the first American to be charged with treason in more than 50 years. Gadhan, who was born in Oregon, is thought to be hiding near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. How he came to be there is the subject of a new article in the Jan. 22 issue of The New Yorker.

+ Accident on British nuclear sub claims 2 sailors


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Canadian Forces ~ Mission Support Squadron (MSS)


In May 2006, the first Mission Support Squadron (MSS) went into operation at Cold Lake, Alberta, in support of 408 (Tactical Helicopter) Squadron at Exercise Maple Flag. The MSS provides logistical support to a deployed Air Force component, known as an Air Expeditionary Unit (AEU). http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca

Humour: Iran Declares War on Sparta

In response to the film ‘300,’ Iran says it will defeat Sparta.

By Andy Borowitz, March 20, 2007 (Newsweek) - In what foreign policy experts believe to be a direct response to the hit American movie “300,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today declared war on Sparta. Even for the mercurial Ahmadinejad, the move struck many diplomatic insiders as extraordinary, since the consensus in the international community is that the city-state of Sparta no longer exists.
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But, according to a close associate of Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president’s thoughts turned to war after seeing a matinee showing of “300” this past Saturday at the Tehran Cineplex 12. “He was hopping mad at the way the Spartans kicked the Persians’ butts,” the aide said. “I haven’t seen him this angry since he saw that thing with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore.”
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At a press conference in Tehran today, President Ahmadinejad directed his most barbed comments at the 300 Spartan warriors depicted in the film. “So you think you are a match for the entire Persian army?!?!!” Ahmadinejad said. “Well, let’s see if you’re a match for Iran’s nuclear program!”

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Hours after the Iran president issued his taunt, however, White House spokesman Tony Snow pounced on the remarks, claiming that they were proof that Iran’s nuclear program was not as peaceful as Ahmadinejad has purported. But Ahmadinejad rebutted Snow’s charges, telling reporters in Tehran, “We have been building a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes only, but now we plan to drop that peaceful reactor on top of those damned Spartans.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

Greek Special Forces


The video is in Greek with no subtitles. It's more interesting listening to the audio anyway, but if it bothers you that much you can just turn the volume down and put on a Metallica CD.

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Greek Role 2 hospital workers and officers of the Greek army hand out food and gifts to children at a refugee camp near Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan

Greece has approximately 180 personel in Afghanistan, some stationed at Kabul airport and others at hospitals. There are around 130 soldiers and 45 air force personnel. At least two were wounded in a suicide attack in November 2005.


Major Kapravelos Commander of the Hellenic 505 Battalion in Egypt with General Whitcomb of US 3rd army



In the News:
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Christian Assyrians in Baghdad Neighborhood Forced to Pay 'Protection Tax'

Mastrogiacomo Freed in Afghanistan

+ Italian La Repubblica journalist Daniele Mastrogiacomo Freed in Afghanistan: Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said Mastrogiacomo's release was obtained through the collective effort of Italian authorities, humanitarian officials and the Afghan government. Taleban rebels kidnapped the Italian journalist in southern Helmand province, along with his Afghan driver and interpreter. They accused Mastrogiacomo of spying for British forces.
The Afghan driver was killed last week. The interpreter is believed to have been freed along with the journalist but no details were immediately available.

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U.S. embassy convoy was hit by a Taliban suicide car bomber in Kabul on Monday, killing an Afghan teenager by the road and wounding officials in the motorcade, police and an embassy spokesman said.

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Iraqis Express Frustration as War Enters 5th Year

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Siberian mine blast kills 78; 50 trapped


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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty moved Monday to end a much-criticized tax break for oil sands producers, but softened the blow to the industry by providing a long lead time for the changes.

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Pashtuns (also Pathans or ethnic Afghans) are an ethno-linguistic group with populations primarily in eastern and southern Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan.

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Army Reserve Soldiers from the 7th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) are supporting Operation Enduring Freedom as part of ISAF-VIII in Kabul.

+ Afghans rejecting Canadian troops for Taliban, survey finds: In a survey to be released in London today by the Senlis Council think tank, Afghan men in the Canadian-controlled areas of Kandahar province and in the neighbouring British- and U.S.-controlled regions say they are being driven to support the Taliban because of disillusionment with the NATO military effort and poverty created by the continuing conflict. A team of 50 researchers polled 17,000 Afghan men in randomly selected districts in the Kandahar, Helmand and Nangarhar provinces of southeastern Afghanistan between March 3 and March 12.

The study found that 72 per cent of men in the region know how to fire a weapon, making them potential Taliban recruits. The average annual income in the region of $747 (U.S.) is equivalent to two months pay for a Taliban fighter.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN - This addict gets his opium supply for free from his nephew, who harvests poppies on his farm in Kapisa Province.


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN - Drug addicts smoke pure opium paste while one holds a baby in Kapisa Province, about 100 miles north of Kabul, where many farmers are growing opium-producing poppy plants. Afghanistan is the worlds leading producer of poppy fueling the heroin drug market.


An Afghan soldier, far left, and a man who lost his legs to a land mine walk through their neighborhood as two boys fill water buckets at a well behind the bullet pocked Eid Ghah mosque in Kabul Saturday (AP/David Guttenfelder)


Bamiyan, Afghanistan - Road from the bazaar and the cliff face. (
Luke Powell Photographs)


Village of Pusht-i-Mazar, Afghanistan (
Luke Powell Photographs)


Bamiyan, Afghanistan: Volleyball is more often seen in Afghanistan than soccer. It is much easier to make a smooth, somewhat level place to play volleyball. (
Luke Powell Photographs)

News Round-Up


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Photo: Bust of King Leonidas of Sparta. On the first day of the siege Xerxes demanded the Greeks surrender their arms. Leonidas replied Μολὼν Λαβέ ("Come and get them"). This phrase has been re-used by generals and politicians throughout history and often repeated in popular culture. Today it is the emblem of the Greek 1st Army Corps

Infidel Babe: Elena Paparizou



Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day ~ Éirinn go Brách



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Stephen Colbert celebrates St. Patrick's Day (love him or hate him, he made me laugh here)
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Barrack Obama has an Irish great, great, great grandfather (Belfast Telegraph)

The longest-running Saint Patrick's Day parade in Canada occurs each year in
Montreal, Québec. The parades have been held in continuity since 1824; however, St. Patrick's Day itself has been celebrated in Montreal as far back as 1759 by the Irish soldiers of the Montreal Garrison, following the British conquest of New France.
In Canada, Saint Patrick's Day is an official holiday only in the province of
Newfoundland and Labrador. Some groups, notably Guinness, have lobbied to make Saint Patrick's Day a federal (national) holiday.
In Manitoba, the Irish Association of Manitoba runs an annual three day festival of music and culture based around St Patrick's Day. (Source: Wiki)


Toronto's City Hall has what is called a "courtesy flag pole" where other countries' flags are flown on special days of the year. The Irish flag is flown every year from March 11 - 18 in "Recognition of Irish Heritage and Cultural Appreciation Month" (The Greek flag will be flown on March 25 in honour of Greek Independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire)

  DO NOT SUBMIT    Canadian Women's Army Corps.