Saturday, April 28, 2007

Turkish Military Warns Islamic-rooted Gov't

(Sorry folks. Work's been keeping me busy lately.)

Herald Sun reporting from Ankara: TURKEY is facing a political crisis after the Islamist-rooted Government clashed with the army over the latter's threat of action to defend the country's secular regime.

The row erupted after Parliament began voting on Friday on a new president in a process where the sole candidate is a former Islamist fielded by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party. The prospect of the candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, becoming head of state alarmed secularists about Islam creeping into all fields of life and prompted the opposition to boycott the vote, robbing the Government of the required two-thirds majority.

The staunchly secularist Turkish army then issued a harsh warning against questioning the country's secular system and said it would “openly display its position and attitudes when it becomes necessary.” Full story.

+ NPR: Turkey's Military on Guard Against Islam in Politics

Other news:
+ Pakistan Suicide Bomber Kills 22, Wounds Interior Minister
+ Russia cries blasphemy as statue to war dead is taken down

+ Al-Qaeda attacks on military bases foiled: Scotsman - 20 hours agoAL-QAEDA terrorists suspected of plotting spectacular suicide attacks using hijacked aircraft against western military bases in the Gulf were foiled by a huge security sweep by Saudi forces yesterday.
+ Saudis Arrest 172 Militants in Oil Plot


Afghanistan: NATO Deputy Secretary General, Ambassador Minuto Rizzo talking to Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General Rick Hillier, ISAF Commander.


Hellenic Air Force: Vought A-7E Corsair II. Treviso, Italy (Sep 6 2005)


Diversion from a mad, mad world.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Egypt Convicts Egyptian-Canadian al-Attar of Spying For Israel


Egypt's State Security Emergency Court has convicted an Egyptian-Canadian of spying for Israel and has sentenced him to 15 years in prison. In his ruling, the judge said Mohammed el Attar was "seduced by Satan into selling out his country". Leslie Boctor has more for VOA from Cairo.
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Mohammed al-Attar flashes a victory sign as he is led into the Egyptian State Security Emergency Court in the New Cairo suburb of Cairo, 21 Apr 2007Attar, who had pleaded not guilty, flashed a victory sign when he entered the Cairo courtroom. Surrounded by dozens of security personnel, Attar grasped the bars of his prison cage as he awaited the court's decision. After the judge read out the verdict, Attar was whisked to a waiting police van.
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Three Israelis, also charged in the case, were tried in absentia and also received 15-year sentences. Attar, who is 30, was fined the equivalent of $1,700.
Full article.
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Other news:

Friday, April 20, 2007

1 Wahabi killed and 2 Injured by Serbian MUP

Photo: MUP remove terrorist POS body of Ismail Prentic
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As posted by AK-Lover on MilitaryPhotos.net:

B92 News Society Crime & Justice: "Wahhabi killed in clash with police" 20 April 2007 09:54 -> 18:53 Source: B92, Beta
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NOVI PAZAR, BELGRADE, PRIŠTINA -- One person was killed, and two wounded early Friday in a clash between police and a group of Wahhabis near Novi Pazar. Police officers remove Ismail Prentić's body Around 4:50 a.m. Friday police arrived in the village of Donja Trnava near Novi Pazar, to search a house there, acting on a tipoff that the leader of the militant Islamic sect was hiding there, a MUP statement said.
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A hand grenade was thrown at the police officers as they approached the house, injuring one, the statement said.“As the police officers approached the house, ten dogs were released at them, and as they were entering the premises, the suspected terrorist group members threw a hand grenade and opened fire at the officers, injuring one,” the statement said.“Policemen then retreated to a secure point, while the Islamic extremists, in a bid to flee the scene, continued to shoot and throw hand grenades,” the statement continued.Police responded with machine-gun fire, killing the group leader Ismail Prentić. Prentić is the brother of Mirsad Prentić, arrested on March 17, when Gendarmerie forces discovered a Wahhabi terrorist camp near Novi Pazar and made five arrests. A policeman sustained minor injuries, while the injured Wahhabi, identified as Senad Ramović, was taken to a hospital in Novi Pazar and his condition remains stable."
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Police will work to eliminate terrorist threat"Special Organized Crime Prosecution has taken over the case against Novi Pazar Wahhabis charged with terrorism, a spokesman has said. He added the content of the case will remain official secret for the duration of the investigation. Meanwhile, Serbia’s Minister of the Interior Dragan Jočić issued a statement after this morning’s raid. “Police will act with determination to suppress and eliminate the terrorist threat and secure peace and safety for all the citizens of the Novi Pazar region. The Serbs and Bosniaks there are building and will continue to build friendly relations. We need to work together to prevent all extremist groups from jeopardizing our peaceful future together,” Jočić said.
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Western intelligence reports leaked recently have suggested that Sandžak, as well as Muslim-dominated regions in neighboring Bosnia, could be an ideal recruitment spot for the so-called "white al-Qaida" — Muslims with Western features who could easily blend into European or U.S. cities and execute terrorist attacks, the Associated Press reports.
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Several incidents have been reported in Sandžak within the Muslim community, with the Wahhabis accusing local Muslim clerics of failing to practice "true" Islam, and disrupting prayers at local mosques.Reuters reported Friday that a United Nations official in Kosovo, where Prentić was wanted for firearms offences, said MUP "believed that he, along with another person, was planning possible suicide bomb attacks on mosques in Novi Pazar".

Other News:
+ The manager who became a McThief: When Strike Force Maraket officers began investigating the robbery at the bustling Enfield fast food outlet last October, Iad El Masri didn't even register on their radar.

+ Ramallah: Fugitive threatens to blow himself up: Fatah member entrenches himself at police station with explosive belt after his weapon was confiscated by PA officers, threatens to commit suicide if it is not returned to him. Officers manage to gain control over him

+ Palestinian forces suffering from emotional issues: Infighting, tensions between Palestinian and Muslim groups, leads security forces to seek counseling for tension, depression

Canadian-Chinese Uighur Muslim ~ Life in Prison


Montreal (eCanadaNow) - A simmering diplomatic row between Canada and China has been exacerbated Thursday after a Canadian human rights campaigner was sentenced to life in prison on terrorism charges in a Chinese provincial court...
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The father of four came to Canada in 2001 as a refugee after spending several years in a Chinese prison, accused of dissidence, and became a citizen in 2005.
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China has never recognized Celil’s Canadian citizenship and have repeatedly admonished Canada for inquiring about the case, arguing that the issue is domestic and that Canada has overstepped its authority by attempting to intervene. Chinese officials charge that Celil is ‘a key member of the
East Turkestan Islamic Movement.’ They have long accused militants in the Uighur community of using terrorism to attain an autonomous Islamic state in the resource-rich region... Full article.
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Cho Sueng Hui aka Ismail Ax


The Jawa Report: For some, becoming a Muslim is a public renunciation of America and the West. In choosing between us and them, these converts choose them.

Many others, though, never become Muslim. Instead, these fellow travellers--Marxists, mainly--identify with them as "the downtrodden". They've already chosen them. Any them will do. The them of choice these days just happens to follow Islam and, oddly enough, disdain Marx more than Adam Smith...
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Was Cho a Muslim? I doubt it and have been saying so since day one--despite being called "hater" by the nitwits at the Arabisto who didn't bother reading the post they link to. But in his warped mind Cho was someone who was setting the crooked world straight and bringing justice to those responsible. He was the downtrodden, and American society the oppressors. Cho was no Muslim, but he chose a Muslim name to make a statement. That statement was that he was not one of us. And if that is accurate, then Muslims in America are going to need to more vocally reject groups like CAIR, MAS, and the ISNA to 'speak for them'. Because as long as these groups speak for Muslims, then the perception that Muslims are them rather than us will continue. Full article.
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Other news ~ NPR audio:
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Greece Dedicated to Fighting Terrorism

Colombo, 20 April, (Asiantribune.com): Greece has assured Sri Lanka of its fullest support to curb terrorism. Greece Foreign Minister Dora Bokayannis said Greece is presently working with the European Union and the United States in the exchange of information to curb terrorism. “We will do whatever possible to not allow terrorists or their front organizations to raise funds and to include the LTTE in the list of terrorist organizations”, Minister Bokayannis said. With the vast experience in the field of Shipping and Naval activities the Government of Greece also assured support for the Sri Lankan Government in Coast Guard training and related fields.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Wednesday (18th) met Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Dora Bokayannis during his official visit to Greece.

Earlier, Minister Rohitha Bogollagama explained the present situation in Sri Lanka and the efforts being taken by the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict. He said the Government is prepared for talks with the LTTE, but the reluctance shown by the LTTE to come to the negotiating table has hindered the peace process.

Minister Bogollagama sought the support of the international community to pressure the LTTE to return to the negotiating table and to combat all forms of terrorism including illegal arms smuggling, fund raising, drug smuggling, money laundering and human smuggling. He also noted that out of the 25 districts in Sri Lanka only two and half districts were affected by LTTE activity and therefore when countries issue travel advisories it is important to mention that the remaining areas of the country is safe to travel.

Minister Rohitha Bogllagama thanked the Government of Greece for the Euro 37 million support provided during the post Tsunami reconstruction phase. He said the people are back to business and most of the reconstruction work is now completed. Foreign Minister Bokayannis said the people of Greece had supported the building of hospitals, schools and fishery harbors and to provide boats for fishermen after the Tsunami devastation that hit Sri Lanka. She pledged to continue to do so. The two Ministers agreed to work together and appoint a joint committee for further action in the areas of Investment, Trade, Culture, Tourism, Training and Education and Fisheries.

Turkey: 3 Bible Publishing Employees Have Throats Slit


ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Three employees of a publishing house that distributes Bibles were slain Wednesday in the latest attack apparently targeting Turkey's Christian minority.

The attack added to concerns in Europe about whether this predominantly Muslim country -- which is bidding for EU membership -- could protect its religious minorities. It also underlined concerns about rising Turkish nationalism and hostility toward non-Muslims.

The three victims -- a German and two Turkish citizens -- were found with their hands and legs bound and their throats slit at the Zirve publishing house in the central city of Malatya.
Police detained four youths, aged 19-20, and also suspect a fifth, who underwent surgery for head injuries sustained apparently in trying to escape by jumping from a window at Zirve, authorities said. The five suspects had each had been carrying copies of a letter that read "We five are brothers. "We are going to our deaths. We may not return," according to the state-run Anatolia news agency.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack, and said investigators were looking into whether there were other suspects or possible links with terror groups. "This is savagery," Erdogan said. Full story
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Rescuing The Innocent

Monday, April 16, 2007

Apache





Canada's Elite Counter-IED Unit


CTV.ca Toronto: Elite unit uncovers roadside bombs in Afghanistan ~ An elite team of Canadian soldiers is tackling a growing threat from Taliban militants that strikes without warning: roadside bombs, or improvised explosive devices.
The bombs have killed more than a dozen Canadian soldiers, including the eight men recently killed this week in two separate incidents.

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"If we don't have counter-IED we're done," Warrant Officer Ward Gapp told CTV News. "It's probably going to get more critical in the future." Last month, the Canadian Forces doubled the size of its Counter-IED Unit to six. Part of the team's job is to train other troops how to spot roadside bombs. Although eight soldiers died this week, 15 other bombs were discovered in time. "IEDs are placed along the road or on a black track, and the troops are finding more of them then they are driving over and hitting," said Warrant Officer Burton White.
Full story.
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+ Al-Sadr orders followers to quit Iraqi government
+ UN Attack Helicopters Accepted in Darfur, Sudan Says
+ GlobalSecurity.org: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) / Booby Traps

+ New 84th USARRTC course helps Soldiers deal with threat from IEDs: The streets of Fort McCoy became the roads of Iraq in mid-March as the 84th U.S. Army Reserve Readiness Training Command (84th USARRTC) conducted a new training program designed to help Soldiers avoid roadside bombs during deployment.





Private Raphael Fortin, a member of the Force Protection Company stands guard on the Dahla dam on the Arghandab River. Pte. Fortin was at the site with the FP Company to provide security for Canadian Civilian Engineers during the site visit. The Force Protection Company, made up of members from the Royal 22ieme Regiment based out of Valcartier, Quebec, is tasked with providing security, defence, protection, and escort duties to the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team as they go about their various duties and tasks.

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The KPRT consists of Canadian Forces members, a civilian police contingent led by the RCMP, Correctional Services Canada, representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency. The KPRT conducts coordinated interdepartmental operations to promote good governance, assists the Government of Afghanistan in extending its authority in the province of Kandahar, and facilitates the development of a stable, secure and self-sustaining environment for the people of Afghanistan. Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) is Canada’s military contribution to Afghanistan. Canadian operations will focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance and economic development in the country.


The Canadian Forces (CF) contribution in Afghanistan comprises over 2,500 soldiers, most of whom serve with JTF-Afg at Kandahar Airfield and Camp Nathan Smith, Canada’s Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), in Kandahar City. Additional personnel are assigned to various military headquarters, support bases, and civilian organizations.


Hijab Loses Again in Canada

CTV Toronto: A Quebec taekwondo team consisting mainly of Muslim girls withdrew from a tournament after they were barred from taking part while wearing their hijabs...
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The fear is that part of the hijab could come loose during a about. Taekwondo involves kicks and throws. The team is made up of six girls between eight and 12 years old, and is affiliated with a Muslim community centre in Montreal... Full story. +
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+ Hijab in Soccer: Quebec said hijab violated a no-headgear rule set down by FIFA for safety reasons...Ontario's soccer association lets players wear religious headgear, while Quebec's rules are more vague (scroll down for story)

How Safe Are Americans?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

300,000 Protest Islamic Hue of Turkish System

New York Times ~ ANKARA, Turkey, April 14 — Tens of thousands of people filled the central streets of Turkey’s capital on Saturday to protest what they see as an increasingly Islamic tint to their government. A presidential election is approaching in Turkey, and the protesters were voicing their opposition to the head of the leading party in Parliament, with its Islamist roots, taking the post. “We don’t want to become another Iran, another Afghanistan,” said Hanife Sahin, a retired nurse, stooping under the red tent formed by a Turkish flag that ran like a river over the crowd.
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News reports said demonstrators numbered as many as 300,000, an unexpectedly high turnout for a gathering that was initially expected to draw only harder-line nationalists. The numbers underlined the deepening divide within Turkish society over the role of Islam in Turkey, a country whose very charter scrubbed the government clean of religion.
“Believe me, all of Turkey is here,” said a 27-year-old market researcher, as teenage boys draped in Turkish flags jostled her. But there are two Turkeys now. Turkish society is opening a lively, sometimes painful, debate on its past for the first time since 1923 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk stamped out public religion to create the Turkish state. That has divided society and focused attention on the contest over the presidency, which controls the military and is the country’s most important post safeguarding secularism. Officials from the ruling party, Justice and Development, known by its Turkish initials, AK, have kept their religious background away from the process of government over the five years since they were elected.

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Still, the guardians of Turkish secularism have grown increasingly vocal, before the election, in accusing the ruling party of bringing their religion into politics before the election. On Friday, the current president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, gave his final speech before a military audience in Istanbul, warning that the country’s secular system faced its most serious danger since the founding of the state. The secular establishment Mr. Sezer represents has several times in Turkey’s short history ousted ruling parties it deemed too religious.
That sentiment was splashed on banners and spoken through loudspeakers at the protest on Saturday. After five years in power, the party had made Turkish society more accommodating to Islamic piousness, many people said. A gaggle of high school girls ticked off the reasons they did not want the party and its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to take the presidency.
More women are wearing head scarves, said Ecem Karanfil, a 17-year-old in a T-shirt and jeans. “We want to feel comfortable dressing the way we want,” she said.

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Her friend said she sensed something suspicious in the attractive new design of religion textbooks being given out in their high school. “I am wondering why,” she said, as a pretzel seller squeezed by, his wares stacked in a pyramid on his head. A 65-year-old woman who had come from Izmir, a town in western Turkey, said she was annoyed at what she saw as the new state laxness allowing state workers to take time off for prayer on Fridays. “I go to the post office on Friday, and I can’t see a single person at their desk,” she said, sounding indignant. A small thing had caught Ms. Sahin’s attention. A government official had recently suggested increasing the number of letters in the Turkish alphabet to 32 to allow the language to better accommodate Arabic sounds. I’ve done pretty well with 29 so far,” she said, smiling.

Bin Laden's Foreign Legion Grows


No kidding - "...nine years after his declaration of war on the West and 5 1/2 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, their leader is as present as ever on the world stage...a series of trials of alleged Islamic militants, some accused of having links to bin Laden's closest collaborators, continues. In Afghanistan Taleban militants boast of the forces ready for a 'spring offensive'...Al Qaeda has re-established its 'nerve centre' in the lawless tribal areas of western Pakistan. The country is now considered the 'centre of gravity' of al Qaeda by security services and the 'critical battlefield' in the years to come.
Full story.
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Other news:
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Canada: Egyptian Terror Suspect `Elated to be Home': Toronto Star: ...terrorism suspect Mohamed Mahjoub has been reunited with his family after spending almost seven years in jail without charges. He returned to his home in the city's west end on Thursday night under tight conditions after being released from the immigration detention centre near Kingston known as "Guantanamo North."
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Mahjoub, 46, is an Egyptian who worked for Osama bin Laden's agricultural company in Sudan in the 1990s. He was arrested in Toronto in June 2000 and accused of being a member of the
Jihad Talaat al-Fath ("Holy War of the Vanguard of the Conquest"), a wing of an Egyptian Islamic group. He denies any link to Al Qaeda.
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Ontario Agrees to Help Canadian Soldiers' Children OTTAWA – Ontario and the federal government have ended a jurisdictional squabble, banding together to help children from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa who have become "collateral damage" of the war in Afghanistan. A potentially shaming report from the Ontario ombudsman defused the bureaucratic spat and won new money for a mental-health centre that's helping the children of soldiers deployed in Afghanistan cope with the stress of the war. Ombudsman Andre Marin said Ontario and the federal government were bickering over "a tempest in a teapot," an extra $230,000 this year for the Phoenix Centre for Children and Families, which treats children from CFB Petawawa.
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Bin Laden 'behind Luxor massacre', 13 May 1999 (BBC News)
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Alberta pepperoni bust made with high-tech U.S. help

ISAF soldier in Afghanistan

ISAF rescue 600 villagers who were trapped and in danger of drowning after their homes were destroyed by flooding in southern Afghanistan.

Iraq Suicide Bomber: 40+ Killed, 128+ Wounded


KERBALA, Iraq (Reuters) - A suicide car bomber killed at least 40 people and wounded 128 at a crowded bus station near a major Shi'ite shrine in the Iraqi holy city of Kerbala on Saturday, police and hospital sources said.
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In Baghdad, police said a suicide car bomber detonated his device near a checkpoint at the southern Jadriyah bridge, killing 10 people, wounding 15 and burning several cars in the second major attack on a bridge in the capital in the past three days.
In the volatile southern city of Basra, British forces on Friday killed eight gunmen laying landmines in an area where four British soldiers and their translator were killed by a roadside bomb that destroyed their armored vehicle earlier this month, the British military said on Saturday....A police source put the death toll in Kerbala, 110 km (70 miles) southwest of Baghdad, at 65. But Khaled al-Rubaie, media director of al-Husseini hospital in Kerbala, said 41 people had been killed and 128 wounded, many of them women and children. Full Story.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Baghdad Bloody Baghdad



BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber killed eight people in the Iraqi parliament on Thursday, brazenly penetrating to the heart of Baghdad's Green Zone to launch the deadliest strike yet in the heavily fortified compound. Defying a two-month-old U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown, the bomber slipped through multiple armed checkpoints to reach the heart of the zone, a 10 sq. km (4 sq. miles) area housing parliament, government offices and many embassies.
Full story.
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+ Iran atom plan shows need for missile shield: Germany
+ U.N. chief considers tribunal for Lebanon murders
+ Algeria fears return to "nightmare" of 1990s war

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Nasara and The Maghdub



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Father murders daughter in new Jordan honor crime
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Kuwaiti father slit his daughter's throat
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Toll from 3/31 Arab Massacre of Chad Villagers Could Reach 400
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Buddhist Woman Burned Alive
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Islam's War Against Buddhism: "...I thought about Mecca! Could any other religion intrude itself there in the holiest of places to Islam, as the tenets of Islam had so intruded itself here in the holiest place of Buddhism? No way! I could imagine immediate death being visited upon anyone that would even try – that is, if they would be admitted anywhere close to the Muslims’ holy Kabah – let alone be allowed to set up a loud public address system that would broadcast the message of another religion across the courtyards of the Grand Mosque, or any other Moslem religious site. The hypocrisy was astounding."
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+ Ohio man accused of al-Qaeda link: A man in Ohio has been accused of joining al-Qaeda and plotting to bomb targets in the US and overseas. Christopher Paul, 43, faces charges of providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
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+ Reporter's family pleads for release: The parents of the abducted Scots journalist Alan Johnston yesterday urged him to keep his chin up, as they made an emotional appeal to his captors in the Middle East to free him. Mr Johnston, a seasoned BBC foreign correspondent, was snatched as he returned home from his Gaza City office a month ago. Nothing has been heard from him or those holding him.

Algerian Islamists ~ 200,000+ Dead


(Associated Press) ALGIERS, Algeria – Bombs heavily damaged the prime minister's office and a police station Wednesday, killing at least 24 people and wounding about 160, the country's official news agency said. Al-Qaida's wing in North Africa claimed responsibility.
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Prime Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem, who was unhurt, called the attack a "cowardly, criminal terrorist act" as he spoke to reporters outside his wrecked offices.
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The attacks were a devastating setback for the North African country's efforts to close the chapter on its Islamic insurgency that has killed 200,000 people. After years of relative calm, the al-Qaida affiliate recently has recently waged several smaller attacks in the oil- and gas-rich country.
Full story.


Shadow of an AWACS Aircraft at Tinker Air Base in Oklahoma, USA. Photo: NATO Media Library.


Afghanistan, Kandahar - A mechanic inspects the exhaust of an F16 after a flight. Photo: NATO Media Library.

Survivor: Master Cpl. Brian McCallum


CBC Newfoundland & Labrador ~ A Canadian soldier who survived an explosion that killed six of his fellow troops said Wednesday that the six were like his "brothers" because they spent so much time together working on the mission in Afghanistan.
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Master Cpl. Brian McCallum emerged relatively unscathed from an explosion that killed six of his fellow soldiers Sunday.(CBC) "I feel for each and every one of them," Master Cpl. Brian McCallum told CBC News with tears in his eyes. "In a sense, working with these guys for as long as I have, I can feel their loss. They were my brothers.

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"It's horrible to know they can't be replaced."
Full story.
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U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Josh Huffman, a C-130 Hercules loadmaster, drops a box of 10,000 warning leaflets over the southeastern mountains of Afghanistan, March 6. The leaflets were used to communicate with Taliban extremists, warning them not to interfere with coalition activities. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo


A U.S. Army soldier from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 162nd Field Artillery Regiment, pulls security while other soldiers talk with the Afghan National Police commander at the Bara Border checkpoint in the Gorbuz District of Khowst Province, Afghanistan, March 22, 2007. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaac A. Graham

Monday, April 09, 2007

Remembering Fallen Canadian Brothers: Afghanistan

Our heroes have sacrificed themselves again for us. They did so for us, and for all Afghans. We can remember them and we can hang our heads and say "thank you." They are gone but will never be forgotten.

Six Canadian military families spent their Easter Monday coming to grips with the deaths of their loved ones, killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

"The fact that he died on Easter -- Easter's a special, special day, because there's hope beyond the grave," Laurie Greenslade told CTV Atlantic Monday about her 20-year-old son, Pte. David Greenslade. The St. John, N.B. woman choked back tears as she said it...

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Toronto Star: 6 Canadians killed


Sergeant Donald Lucas, of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment, was one of six Canadian soldiers killed when his light armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near the border between Helmand and Kandahar provinces.


Private David R. Greenslade, of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment

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In the news:

+ Turkish authorities today detained a man who threatened to blow up a passenger plane to divert it to Iran, officials said. The man, identified as Mehmet Goksen Gol, entered the cockpit and threatened to blow up the plane, claiming to have an explosive device on board,Ankara Deputy Governor Hayati Soylu said. The man was not armed and did not have explosives.

+ Female suicide bomber kills 16 at Iraqi police station: A female suicide bomber killed at least 16 people on Tuesday northeast of Baghdad after she set off a belt of explosives in the midst of a gathering of Iraqi police recruits, police and a hospital official said.

Remembering Fallen Canadian Brothers: Vimy, France


Troops at Vimy Ridge in 1917 by photographer Jack Turner.
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At a memorial site in France and in cities across Canada, the anniversary of the battle at
Vimy Ridge was remembered today. Queen Elizabeth called Canada's capture of the ridge from German control a "stunning victory.' More than 10, 000 Canadians and Britains were killed or wounded at Vimy Ridge (3,598 dead...7,104 wounded) which is considered a turning point in the First World War. The battle of Vimy Ridge is commemorated by the Canadian National Vimy Memorial, set atop Hill 145 near Vimy and Givenchy in the French Pas-de-Calais. It is the largest of Canada's war monuments. The monument was rededicated at Vimy Ridge today, 90 years after the start of the battle.

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Edmonton Sun: We'll Never Forget: Calling it a "spectacular victory" and Canada's "coming of age," Prime Minister Harper paid tribute to those 3,598 who sacrificed their lives in the historic battle.

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A collection of Vimy stories
+ Hell crept up on "zero hour" as Canadians fired as one
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Grateful to Canada: Thousands of grateful French citizens waved Maple Leafs and wore poppies last night as they gathered beneath a massive monument to honour Canada's war dead..."Everyone came to save us during the two World Wars," he said. "For me, Canadians mean freedom."


Canadians in a shell hole at Vimy Ridge, France.







Afghanistan: US 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment




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12,000+ National Guard Troops to Go Back to Iraq: From Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana and Ohio...in December, the Pentagon announced Monday. The deployment underscores the Army's shortage of manpower.

+ A day of violence in Iraq, hour by hour: A log of developments from across the country on the fourth anniversary of Baghdad's fall. A total of 25 people were killed or found dead in Iraq on Monday, according to police and morgues.

+ Iran announces tenfold expansion of nuclear program

+ UK Defense Ministry bans crew from selling stories to media

Afghanistan: Mar 19th Suicide Bomb

Happy Easter

This post up until Monday. Please scroll down for recent posts.





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CBS Video: Christianity In China: While the government claims that 16 million Chinese are Christian, it is estimated that between 40 million to 100 million Chinese are Christian (or 3% to 4% of the Chinese population). Christianity is also the fastest growing religion in China

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Good Friday Around The World

Below: Number of Christians in Africa and the Americas (Wiki):



Sunday, April 08, 2007

Migrants risk death to be smuggled into European Union


Image: The town of Pythagoreio (Πυθαγόρειο), on the south-eastern side of the island of Samos, Greece. Source.
IANS, April 8th, 2007: The Greek island of Samos has seen a rise in visitors lately arriving on its turquoise blue shores. Unfortunately they do not frequent the beaches or hotels catering to thousands of tourists. The 'visitors' are illegal migrants.
Their abode is usually police stations, the court and detention centre catering to boatloads of desperate migrants risking death to cross the perilous strait into Greece from neighbouring Turkey.On some Greek islands, like Mytilene, the boat arrivals occur a few times a month. But for Greek coastguard captain, Nikos Psarakis, and his crew who patrol the waters around the tiny island of Samos, the phenomenon has become an almost nightly ritual.'The problem is getting worse,' he says.
'Many times we encounter them while they are in their vessels, other times when they have been tossed into the sea and are trying to desperately swim towards shore.'At least 50 people including women and children have died in the last few months after smugglers forced them overboard in stormy seas in an effort to make a fast getaway from the Samos Coast Guard.Even when the human traffickers are not ruthless, the boats, made out of rotting wood or plastic, are overcrowded and barely up to the journey and capsize often drowning their passengers. Greece and Italy are often the next stops on the passage of immigrants following a well-known route through Turkey, costing $3,000 per person, which they are barely able to afford.
With only two Coast Guard patrol boats and 15 men to scout more than 900 sq km of sea, Guard Commander Bonofos Diamantis said his men 'were overwhelmed - and too busy working round the clock capturing migrants'.'The area under our jurisdiction is just too big to patrol and we are unable to carry out other duties such as narcotics smuggling and tourism safety,' said Diamantis, adding that smugglers prefer to make the journey to Samos because the island lies just hundreds of metres from the Turkish coast.'
Already this year we have received three times more illegal immigrants than last year combined. Dozens are dead and more than 700 migrants have been detained, the majority from Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Afghanistan,' the officer said, adding the human traffickers were often Turkish nationals.Setting off under the cover of darkness from the island's port with only a radar system to guide the patrol boat through the Aegean Sea, Coast Guard Captain Psarakis said smugglers have recently been dumping their passengers into the sea rather than facing the risk of being caught by the coastguard.'The smugglers prefer not to make the journey when the moon is bright because their vessels are illuminated and they also tend to risk the trip across the strait when the sea is rough and the winds are high,' said Psarakis.
'The women and children are the most vulnerable because they do not know how to swim.' Clearly angry, Diamantis said Turkey must do more to stop the drowning by respecting agreed guidelines for cracking down on illegal immigration from its ports.Greece has repeatedly criticized Turkey for not abiding by a bilateral agreement that allows illegal immigrants to return to Turkey, which can then either fine the illegals or deport them. 'It is characteristic that in the last four years, Greece has submitted requests for 22,000 cases for the re-entry of illegal immigrants who had passed into our country from Turkey. In these requests, the Turkish authorities accepted 1,400 of them or 6 percent.
These figures speak for themselves,' said Greek freign ministry spokesman Giorgos Koumoutsakos. 'Greece is waiting for Turkey to implement the Greek-Turkish re-entry protocol and sign the EU-Turkey re-entry agreement,' he added. Armed with rifles, Psarakis and his men stop dozens of vessels every night to inspect them. And the island's police eventually pick up migrants that are not caught at sea once they reach land. They are then sheltered on the island's crowded detention centre for three months.Some file for asylum on release while others like 22-year-old Walid from Palestine take their meagre belongings and a police-issued paper ordering them to leave the country within one month, and head to Athens.Samos, like other Greek islands, depends on tourism and many officials on the island fear the immigrant situation could affect their livelihoods. 'We do not care where they go. We just want them to leave the island which is why we pay for their ferry ticket to Athens,' said the island's deputy prefect Thanos Stilianidis. Other islanders' like Maria Kerhalya are more sympathetic to the plight of the migrants and offer food and clothing outside the island's detention centre.
The International Organization for Migration said that trafficking has become a global business generating huge profits for traffickers and organized crime syndicates.A recent study revealed that at any one time there are an estimated 15 to 30 million irregular migrants worldwide and that an estimated 700,000 women and children are trafficked annually across borders.'Many of the migrants who enter Greece want to travel elsewhere in Europe,' said Hro Nikolakopoulou-Stefanou from the Greek Council for Refugees.'They want to come to Europe but many times they do not know what that is - they only know that they will be safe there,' she added, while waiting for a ferry to take him from Samos to Athens.
Walid looks forward to the 12-hour journey, saying from there he will try to make his way to Norway. 'Why Norway? I don't know - all I know is that I am free,' he shouted, waving enthusiastically from the deck of the ship.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

News Round-Up


Diwaniya, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. forces launched an air strike in Diwaniya on Saturday as U.S. and Iraqi troops fought for a second day to overcome Shi'ite militias and bring the city back under government control. More.


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KABUL, Afghanistan -- More than 1,000 NATO and Afghan troops clashed with Taliban and took over control of a district center in southern Afghanistan long held by the militants, officials and witnesses said Saturday.
The troops used helicopters, armored vehicles and infantry in their push toward the town of Sangin in Helmand province, the world's biggest opium-producing region, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said in a statement late Friday.

"Military troops have successfully engaged several Taliban extremist strongholds and discovered a number of large weapon caches," the statement said. More.


+ Abbas: Israeli soldier to be freed France (Reuters) -- Cpl. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier held by militants in Gaza, will be released soon, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a television interview on Friday.
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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Khawaja to Face Terror Charges


The first person charged under Canada's Anti-terrorism Act will have to face seven counts alleging he participated in and helped an extremist organization in Britain, Canada's top court decided Thursday.

The Supreme Court of Canada didn't rule on the charges directly, but decided not to hear an appeal seeking to dismiss the charges against Ottawa software developer Mohammad Momin Khawaja. By declining to hear the case, the top court left a lower court ruling standing. That ruling left the seven charges in place. As usual, the Supreme Court did not explain why it chose to not hear the appeal.

Khawaja was arrested on March 29, 2004, under the then new Anti-terrorism Act. Last October, an Ontario Superior Court judge struck down part of the act as unconstitutional. The ruling said an element of the definition of "terrorist activity" violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But the judge did not quash the seven terrorist-related charges, so Khawaja's lawyer sought leave to appeal that ruling to the Supreme Court. Khawaja is currently in custody. (Source:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

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Iraqi, U.S. forces sweep through Diwaniya: DIWANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi and U.S. forces clashed with Shi'ite militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr as they launched a major operation at dawn on Friday to return the volatile city of Diwaniya to government control. In Ramadi, west of Baghdad, a truck bomb killed at least 15 people and spewed chlorine gas into the air, Iraqi police Colonel Tareq al-Dulaimi said, in the latest in a string of attacks involving the poisonous chemical. Another police captain said five people were killed.

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Sudan: Landmines continue to plague the south
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Afghanistan: Suicide bomber near parliament kills 6
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Gaza: Hamas, Fatah militants clash

+ My Photo-Op with Bashar al-Assad: Unlike St. Paul, I did not experience a blinding conversion on my journey to Damascus. That's hard to come by in a tour bus full of American foreign news editors. But I did have a minor revelation: Damascus, that ancient capital, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, is really close to Beirut, less than 55 miles away.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Get The F--- Outta My Way


This is how American soldiers need to drive through Baghdad in order to survive.

Pakistani Tribesman Turn on Taliban/al-Qaida

From AP via The Jerusalem Post: Pakistani tribesmen, bolstered by waves of volunteers, have killed dozens more foreign militants allegedly linked to al-Qaida near the Afghan border, officials said Wednesday. The latest deaths push the toll from more than two weeks of fighting in the South Waziristan region to more than 250, officials have said, leading the government to claim a victory against terrorism.
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Armed tribesmen turned on foreign militants and their local allies in the region, where Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have long found sanctuary, on March 19, apparently after a long-standing feud turned violent. According to three security officials on Wednesday, about 50 of those killed in the past 24 hours in South Waziristan were
Uzbeks. About 10 local tribesmen and one Pakistani soldier also died, they said. Poor security in the region, where the government has minimal control, puts it largely off-limits to reporters, making it hard to verify what little information emerges.

Other news:
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Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy to begin work on 1,400-kilometer-long Pan-European Oil Pipeline (PEOP), from the Romanian port of Constanta to Trieste in Italy: ...project fits with Europe’s aim of reducing its reliance on Russia and the Middle East for its energy needs. The Caspian, the region holding the world’s third-largest oil and natural gas reserves, according to US estimates, has a key role to play

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Asia's richest woman dies

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"A gift to the British people," was how President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the decision to free the 15 UK sailors and marines.

+ Iraq's Assyrian, Chaldean and other Christians seek refuge in Lebanon to avoid persecution by Islamic Fundamentalists

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back to School in Afghanistan


Photo: Superintendent James Rainville (
RCMP) beset by students at a girl's school in Mazar-e-Sharif. Supt. Rainville works out of the Regional Training Centre (RTC) in Mazar-e-Sharif to train the Afghan National Police. RTC staff visit the school often to discuss ongoing needs with the principal and distribute small items for use by the school, not least of all candy, always a popular item with the kids.
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Before 2001 the Taliban forbade education for girls and women; now over five million children - one-third girls - go to school and are clearly loving it.
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March 24 marked the beginning of a new school year for over six million Afghan boys and girls, in grades one to twelve, and the perfect time to reflect on the progress that has been made in the education sector of the country.
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In the past five years, the people of Afghanistan have reaffirmed their commitment to their children’s and Afghanistan’s future by sending their children to school in unprecedented numbers. According to the Ministry of Education, over six million children, nearly 35% of them girls, will be enrolled in school in 2007/08, compared to a little more than a million students five years ago and very few girls. Furthermore, the number of teachers in the education system has grown seven-fold. CIDA is helping to improve the education sector in Afghanistan with a particular emphasis on women and girls.
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CIDA is supporting the work of BRAC Afghanistan to deliver basic primary education for some 120,000 children, almost 85% of whom will be girls. The four-year project will also establish up to 4,000 community-based schools and train 9,000 teachers, at least 4,000 of whom will be women. There are still many more challenges despite the incredible improvement that has been made in the quality and access to education for all. For example, half of school-age children are still estimated to be out of school, with significant gender and provincial disparities; only 28% of teachers are female and are located primarily in urban areas, and an estimated eleven million Afghans are illiterate. CIDA will support the Ministry of Education to address these challenges and build a solid education system for Afghanistan. (Source:
Canadian International Development Agency)



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ISAF observation group near Maymana in Northern Afghanistan.


UK Forces in Afghanistan: Royal Irish Regiment soldier in Musa Qaleh.



German ISAF soldier posing with his best friend.


US troops and Iraqi Army on join patrol in Baqubah, Iraq (Mar 28, 2007). They come under sniper fire, engage the enemy and later do some house checking.


+ Yemen's Jihad on its Shiite Population
+ Seizure of Britons Underlines Iran’s Political Split
+ 'We're suffering too much, Mugabe must go'

Former Jemaah Islamiya Member On Salafism, Islam

Tawfik Hamid is an Egyptian scholar, author and dissident intellectual opposed to Islamic Fundamentalism. A former member of al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, a terrorist organization led then by Ayman al Zawahiri, Tawfik Hamid splintered off and began advocating a peaceful understanding of Islam that is compatible with Universal human rights and intellectual freedom. He started to preach in Mosques to promote his message of peace and as a result became a target of many Islamic fanatics who threatened his life. Hamid then migrated to the West where he has lectured at UCLA, Stanford University and Georgetown University against Jihadism and Islamic Fundamentalism. (Wiki)

Thanks to the Jawa Report for this:
Tawfik Hamid in the Wall Street Journal: "…there is much that is clearly wrong with the Islamic world. Women are stoned to death and undergo clitorectomies. Gays hang from the gallows under the approving eyes of the proponents of Shariah, the legal code of Islam. Sunni and Shia massacre each other daily in Iraq. Palestinian mothers teach 3-year-old boys and girls the ideal of martyrdom. One would expect the orthodox Islamic establishment to evade or dismiss these complaints, but less happily, the non-Muslim priests of enlightenment in the West have come, actively and passively, to the Islamists’ defense.

"These 'progressives' frequently cite the need to examine 'root causes.' In this they are correct: Terrorism is only the manifestation of a disease and not the disease itself. But the root-causes are quite different from what they think. As a former member of Jemaah Islamiya, a group led by al Qaeda’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, I know firsthand that the inhumane teaching in Islamist ideology can transform a young, benevolent mind into that of a terrorist. Without confronting the ideological roots of radical Islam it will be impossible to combat it. While there are many ideological “rootlets” of Islamism, the main tap root has a name—Salafism, or Salafi Islam, a violent, ultra-conservative version of the religion.
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"It is vital to grasp that traditional and even mainstream Islamic teaching accepts and promotes violence. Shariah, for example, allows apostates to be killed, permits beating women to discipline them, seeks to subjugate non-Muslims to Islam as dhimmis and justifies declaring war to do so. It exhorts good Muslims to exterminate the Jews before the “end of days.” The near deafening silence of the Muslim majority against these barbaric practices is evidence enough that there is something fundamentally wrong….

"…Worst of all, perhaps, is the anti-Americanism among many Westerners. It is a resentment so strong, so deep-seated, so rooted in personal identity, that it has led many, consciously or unconsciously, to morally support America’s enemies. Progressives need to realize that radical Islam is based on an antiliberal system. They need to awaken to the inhumane policies and practices of Islamists around the world. They need to realize that Islamism spells the death of liberal values."

  DO NOT SUBMIT    Canadian Women's Army Corps.