Saturday, January 05, 2002

Home Front
Fox and NBC news are reporting that a small plane has crashed into the Bank of America offices in Tampa, Fla.
  • Damage appears minimal from TV footage. Police and fire are on the scene. NBC reports one person on board. Flight originated in St Petersburg, flown by student pilot. Plane was being shadowed by a Coast Guard helicopter when it crashed. Unconfirmed reports say the pilot may have been as young as 15 years old. Plane took off without clearance. First guess, it looks like a Kiddie Kopy Kat Killer.

    India-Pakistan
    Musharraf and Vajpayee shake hands - Vajpayee would rather be in Philadelphia... Paks and Indos trade fire in Kashmir... Kashmiri students march for independence... Pak cops thump demonstrating religious loons... Faisalabad thugs sprung...
  • Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf shook the hand of Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee at a South Asia summit, but the gesture did little to break the ice between the countries. Vajpayee accepted Musharraf's outstretched hand, but immediately repeated a demand that Pakistan halt what India calls "cross-border terrorism." An Indian official dismissed the handshake as grandstanding. Later, Pakistan officials sought to signal a breakthrough by saying Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and Indian Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh met on the sidelines of the summit. But Indian officials said there had been no such meeting. "There was absolutely no bilateral discussions between the two sides at any level," a spokesman for Vajpayee told reporters. The Paks act like they are still trying to figure what the Indos are so mad about.
  • Villages in India-controlled southern Kashmir came under intense mortar fire from Pakistani army units. On the Pakistan side of the Line of Control, Darra Sher Khan village in the Poonch district was shelled by the Indians during the morning and then again in the early afternoon.Yes, I've often found gunfire to be a very convincing argument, too.
  • 400 activists of a pro-independence Kashmiri students' group staged an "anti-war" rally calling on India and Pakistan to give up their claims on Kashmir. The rally through the streets of Muzaffarabad was organized by the students wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. Carrying placards and banners, the participants shouted slogans calling for a defusion of tensions between the two nuclear rivals and for Kashmiri independence. This is the "pox on both your houses" approach. Whichever side eventually wins gets to shoot them.
  • Police used batons to break up a demonstration by the Jamaat-i-Islami against the continued detention of Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other "religious" leaders. JI provincial amir Prof Muhammad Ibrahim charged that President Gen Pervez Musharraf was following the American agenda and had thus become a security risk for the country. He said that Musharraf must be removed and the power handed over to an interim setup headed by honest and pious people. "Us raving religious lunatics will guide our nation to new heights of greatness and Islamic purity! And if you don't like it, we'll kill you."
  • All the arrested activists of religious parties in Faisalabad were released by the police at the the direction of the provincial Home Department. Special police teams arrested over two dozen activists of the Tehrik-i-Jaferia Pakistan, the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-i-Taiba during surprise raids on their houses and offices on Thursday. They were released in the early hours of Friday. Yep. Looked pretty much like a crackdown for awhile there.

    Middle East
    Zinni still trying...
  • U.S. peace envoy Sisyphus Anthony Zinni met Palestinian officials, emerging still optimistic about truce prospects despite heightened tensions over Israel's seizure of a shipload of smuggled arms. Polyanna couldn't have said it any better. The violence will wax and wane dependent upon internal Palestinian politix, helped along by occasional tanks and aircraft from the Israeli side.

    Terror Networks
    Singapore rounds up its own al-Qaeda...
  • Singapore authorities have arrested 15 suspected militants, some of them trained at al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, for allegedly plotting bombings. The suspects were arrested last month, and detailed information on bomb construction and photographs and video footage of targeted buildings in Singapore were found in their homes and offices. Al-Qaida-linked material, falsified passports and forged immigration stamps were also found. The suspects have links to militant groups in Malaysia and Indonesia. The 15 were detained under Singapore's Internal Security Act, which allows people to be held indefinitely without trial. All of the arrested except one is Singaporean. The other suspect used to be Singaporean and is now a Malaysian citizen. Thirteen of the suspects are members of a clandestine organization called "Jemaah Islamiah." And who said Afghanistan had no exports but opium?

    The Alliance
    One-eyed Mullah on the run again... Taliban regrouping?... Mullah Zaeef, meet the Great Satan... Indo cops rescue Bangla kids from life as camel jockeys...
  • In Afghanistan, ex-potentate Mullah Mohammad Omar may have evaded encircling Afghan and U.S. forces at Baghran by motorcycle, according to a report from Kandahar. This "Hey, let's negotiate a surrender" stuff is starting to get old. Find who's suddenly prosperous, hit him very many times, and next time just Daisy Cut.
  • Frontier Post (not the most reliable source) reports that the Taliban has begun regrouping and intends to attack Kabul. The shuras of Paktika, Paktia and Helmand are run by Taliban under assumed names. They might want to wait a little while before doing anything rash.
  • The U.S. military in Afghanistan has taken control of Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan. He is now among 307 Taliban and al Qaeda being held by the American military. Perhaps we can collect the whole set of mullahs. They'd look nice hanging over the national mantle.
  • Indian immigration officials said they had rescued nine Bangladeshi boys, aged between four and eight years, from traffickers taking them to Saudi Arabia to work as camel jockeys. In a similar incident in September 1997, 38 Bangladeshi boys destined to be camel jockeys were rescued by Chennai immigration officials. Cheeze! Is there no cruelty the Arabians are incapable of perpetrating?
  • Friday, January 04, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Vajpayee and Musharraf at the same dinner - so what?... Vajpayee sez SAARC should focus on economic issues instead of impending slaughter... Blair tries to please both sides, pleases neither. Wotta surprise... Pak sez "My, what a lot of troops you have! Mind pulling back a little?"... Pak crackdown on religious thugs... India still waiting for "the authorities" to round up perpetrators of atrocities... Another small-fry spy jugged in India... Pak planners: Maybe crazed killers aren't the best policy tool... Crazed killer/religious lunatic umbrella organization sez maybe crazed killers aren't the way to go... Crazed killers don't agree...
  • Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf attended a royal banquet. The meeting was the first since the leaders had put their armies on war alert, but they showed no signs they might discuss a peaceful resolution. There appeared to be little chance they would have substantive talks during the SAARC summit, already shortened by the Pakistani President's late arrival. When newspersons were allowed to photograph the seven South Asian leaders gathered for the first time in three years, Vajpayee and Musharraf stood at the opposite ends of the line of dignitaries. Doesn't sound real promising. "Vajpayee had the fish sticks, Musharraf the meat loaf. At one point Vajpayee acknowledged the presence of Musharraf by passing him the salt when asked. After the banquet both leaders returned to their rooms."
  • Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee urged the SAARC summit to focus on economic issues and warned that politics should not hold up the regional body. Vajpayee sought to shift attention at the summit of the seven-member South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, away from mounting tensions between India and Pakistan. What the hell kind of economic policies are you gonna have to implement when you're radioactive?
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair said "of course, Pakistan has a very strong position on Kashmir and they are entitled to that political position but I think most people recognise and indeed the action of (Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf) has demonstrated that there cannot be any place for the type of terrorist act that we have seen in the past few weeks. Therefore, what is necessary is for the action to be taken against terrorism and then for the situation to be de-escalated to be calmed down. I will try to talk to both sides in order to make sure that we exercise as great a calming influence as possible." Translated: "Hmmm. Yasss. Both sides have their points. Perhaps we should stop the indiscriminate killing of women, children, puppies, kittens and baby ducks so we can discuss them." That's guaranteed to frost both sides.
  • Pakistan called on India to pull back its troops, saying that "maybe their whole Army" was deployed at its border. "We feel the Indian government must pull back ... to de-escalate tensions," Pakistani spokesman Rashid Qureshi said in Kathmandu ahead of the SAARC summit. Of course they've got a a lot of troops. They've got a billion people, fer cat's sake! Where'd you think they were gonna put them? France?
  • Pakistan has arrested more than 130 militants, including leaders of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. "The crackdown which started last night is still going on," Javed Iqbal Cheema said. LeT and JeM were among those detained. The Sunni extremist Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan said police rounded up more than 200 of its supporters in overnight sweeps while a Shiite radical group Tehreek-e-Jafria Pakistan said 100 of its members were detained. Now, you might not think that rounding up significant numbers of wild-eyed gunmen and religious lunatics would have much of an effect on the quality of public discourse, but you might be surprised.
  • 14 of the 20 thugs, killers and "criminal masterminds" India has requested Pakistan to extradite have Interpol "Red Corner" notices on them. An Interpol notice against Jammu and Kahsmir Liberation Front chief Amanullah Khan has been pending for over a decade and Pakistan had taken no action despite the fact that Amanullah Khan lives in Rawalpindi and is a known figure. "Red Corner" warrants are issued only after the agency is satisfied with the evidence submitted by a requesting country.No doubt the Paks were just about to get around to picking them up. Someone might try explaining this sort of thing to the Fifth Columnists who keep whining about how rather than conducting military operations we should be getting warrants from "the International Criminal Court" to "bring the perpetrators to justice."
  • A Pakistani ISI agent and four of his accomplices were arrested in West Bengal. The agent confessed that he had been collecting information on 33 Corps army headquarters in Siliguri. The raid led to the recovery of half a kilo of RDX, a grenade, arms and floppy disc on Army installations, restricted Army maps, Army special train movement maps and pocket diaries listing a large number of telephone numbers in Pakistan and the UAE. Sounds like a very painful experience. This is a real bad time to be him.
  • "It is time for Pakistan government to re-assess its Kashmir policy of supporting militancy and shift emphasis to diplomatic, political and human rights issues concerning Kashmir cause," said former information minister Mushahid Hussain. He said Pakistan should stop playing of favorites in supporting leaders in Kashmir since a similar policy had backfired in Afghanistan. "We must respect feelings and choices of the Kashmiri people and should not intervene in their internal affairs to the extent that they start distancing themselves from us," he said. Former director general of Institute of Strategic Studies of Pakistan Lt Gen (Retired) Kamal Mateenuddin said the military government should bring about fundamental changes in the Kashmir policy by first asking all militant groups to wind up their activities from Pakistani soil. That's good thinking. A little less jihad and a little closer to norms of international behavior does it. It's also good thinking to have people you don't like start your cars, to have other people you don't like taste your food at meals, and not to walk down any dark alleys, at least for awhile. Know whudda mean?
  • Hurriyat Conference has decided to send a three-member delegation to Delhi to meet diplomats of different countries to find an "honorable and fair" solution to the Kashmir issue. Comprising Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ahah Geelani, J&K Peoples Conference chairman Abdul Gani Lone and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front president Mohammad Yassen Malik, the delegation will leave shortly. The delegation "will meet envoys of different countries and stress ... an honourable and fair solution to the lingering Kashmir issue to ensure peace and tranquility and a secure future". Hmmm. Interesting development. They could simply be stepping out of the path of an on-coming bus. Trouble is, if they work something out, someone else will ignore it, tarring them with the same duplicitous brush. And if they were to work out something that was actually enforceable, someone will shoot them.
  • Gunmen fired with automatic rifles at the house of Abdul Ghani Lone, senior leader of the Hurriyat Conference, but neither he nor his family were hurt, police said Friday. See what we mean?

    Middle East
    Palestinians caught with pants down in arms shipment... But it's all an Israeli plot... Iran sez so, too, so that must make it so...
  • Israeli commandos raided a vessel in the Red Sea, capturing 50 tons of Iranian-made weapons being smuggled in by members of Yasser Arafat's security forces. The vessel was seized in international waters about 300 miles from Israel's Red Sea port Eilat in a joint operation by Israel's navy, air force and intelligence services. The vessel had been bought by the Palestinian Authority and the captain and several crew were members of the Palestinian naval police. Chairman-for-Life Yasser Arafat denied any knowledge of the shipment and offered his full cooperation and a full investigation. Cold with your pants down, ain't it, Yasser? And you know they're still gonna bill you for all that stuff. And I'll betcha they won't give the boat back, either.
  • In denying the smuggling accusations, Palestinian officials said the Israeli government made the allegations to sabotage American mediator Sisyphus Anthony Zinni's mission. Damn those perfidious Jews. They do that all the time. Just your typical Mossad frame-up operation.
  • Iran claims it has no military cooperation arrangements with the Palestinians. "Every day, the Zionist regime is making baseless claims and takes undue advantage of the indifference of international forums to the suppression of Palestinians in order to increase its inhumane activities," a foreign ministry spokesman said. Of course not. It's just business. Strictly business.

    Terror Networks
    A baker's dozen thugs rounded up in Malaysia... Irish killer blows his own head off...
  • Malaysian authorities have arrested 13 people they suspect may be linked to Sept. 11 terrorist suspect Zacarias Moussaoui. Authorities accuse the suspects of belonging to an Islamic militant group that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says aimed to topple the government and establish a hardline Islamic state comprising Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines. The suspects belonged to a wing of the Kumpulan Militan Malaysia. The group, also known as the Malaysian Mujahadin Group, trained in Afghanistan and has links with Islamic extremist organizations in Indonesia and the Philippines. It's like picking lice off the body politic.
  • A suspected anti-Catholic militant was killed when the pipe bomb he was carrying exploded in his face. William Moore Campbell, 19, died when the bomb exploded outside an abandoned house in Coleraine. Police said the victim lived nearby and the house was being used by Protestant paramilitary outlaws to store weapons. Faith and Begorrah! The lad's whole day was ruined, do doubt. 'Tis sad, the low-quality explosives we get these days.

    The Alliance
    Bad Guys kill one of our own... One-eyed Mullah hunt goes house-to-house... Ismail Khan's a law 'n' order kind of guy... Learned Elder of Islam sez we're arrogant tyrants...
  • A U.S. Army Special Forces soldier was killed by small-arms fire in eastern Afghanistan, the first member of the American military to die from enemy fire inside the war-torn country in the three-month-old campaign. A CIA officer was wounded in the shootout but was expected to survive.Mopping up is the most dangerous part. Surprised we've gone this long without taking a real combat fatality. Sadly, he probably won't be the last.
  • U.S. ground troops, working closely with Afghan fighters, conducted house-to-house searches around Baghran, where Kabul officials said they were fairly certain ex-potentate Mullah Omar was hiding. Earlier, Afghanistan's Minister for Reconstruction told Germany's ARD television he believed Omar had been captured. Australia's ABC television said it had heard the same from a senior official of the Northern Alliance. U.S. military officials denied knowledge of it. "Hi, Mrs Abdullah. Is Omar home? Well, if you see him, tell him we were looking for him, okay?"
  • Forces loyal to Herat Governor Ismail Khan have arrested a former Taliban militia commander, Mulla Wali Jan, who is said to have led an attack on the Iranian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in 1998. Since his arrest, the former militia commander has been locked up in Herat jail. The attack left eight Iranian diplomats and two journalists dead. The Herat court will try the commander after it starts functioning under the 1932 constitution, which was revived after the fall of the Taliban government. Sure hope we're supporting Ismail Khan as much or more than we're supporting crooks like Gul Agha Shirzai. He's one of the few Afghan leaders who's actually looking out for his fiefdom.
  • The imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca slammed Western arrogance saying, that it thrives on humiliating and subjugating other nations. Sheikh Saleh ibn Humeid said in his Friday sermon, televised around the world by satellite channels, that there is a huge gap between theory and practice of the Western principles of democracy, freedom and human rights. Today’s world order is "dark, characterized by arrogance, haughtiness, humiliation and disdain. It is characterized by tyranny, suppression of peoples and nations, domination and monopolization," the imam said. "What kind of principles are these that create hatred, and educational systems that allow humiliation (of others)? What kind of a system is this that sows arrogance and conceit?" Those Learned Elders of Islam get downright huffy when they can't have their way, don't they?
  • I have lotsa work to do this morning - one of those unreasonable demands of my employer. Will mine for atrocities this evening. Until then, I leave you with this thought:

    The entire world seems to be divided into three parts - wits, half-wits, and humorless bastards. Where do you fall?

    Did it hurt?

    Thursday, January 03, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Blair wants to help... Pak: give us evidence, we'll try our own thugs... Indos bump off a dozen small fry... Jaish sez campaign of mad-dog killing will continue...
  • British Prime Minister Tony Blair's office said he wants to mediate between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir dispute.
  • President Pervez Musharraf ruled out the possibility of handing over any Pakistani national accused of carrying out terrorist attacks to the Indian authorities. President Pervez Musharraf said so at a joint meeting of the Pak National Security Council and federal cabinet. Musharraf stated that action would certainly be taken if credible and satisfactory evidence was provided to Pakistan. The government was ready to try those found involved in the Dec 13 attack on the Indian Parliament. "President Musharraf remarked that Pakistan wants peace, but with honour and dignity," Information Secretary Anwer Mehmood said.
  • Indian security forces killed 12 gunmen, including five self-styled commanders of pro-Pak outfits, in separate encounters while losing a paramilitary in Kashmir valley. Militants abducted a forest official and his two guards and shot dead an alleged police informer during the period. Five militants of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, including two top "commanders", departed the gene pool in an encounter with Army troops at village in the border district of Kupwara. More small fry, cheap and easily replaced.
  • Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad vowed there would be no scaling back of its "holy war" against India in Jammu and Kashmir despite a clampdown by Pakistan authorities. "I declare on behalf of my organisation that our jihad will continue in J&K as long as our last fighter and India's last soldier is there," Jaish spokesman Rana Farooq Tahir said. "We are not afraid of war (with India). Rather we want it to take place because Kashmir can only be liberated from India by military means," Tahir said. And there we have it. The bigwigs will stay where it's warm and safe and cozy, 'cause they're too important to lay down their lives. Operations will continue in J & K until the last cheap and easily replaced cannon fodder hoodlum has been expended. And if they're lucky, they'll bring on a major war and the annihilation of millions. Gotta love 'em!

    Middle East
    "The difficult we do immediately. The impossible sometimes takes forever"... Saudis funding Hamas bomb-makers...
  • Sysiphus US envoy Anthony Zinni is back in the Middle East, attempting to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
  • Hamas engineers are developing a new missile called Qassam 3. It can carry 10 kilograms of T.N.T. explosives, and reach a distance of 10 kilometers (about 6 miles). Israeli officials arrested a Hamas activist who was on his way from the Gaza Strip to Saudi Arabia, "to arrange funding for the Qassam missile project," and transfer it to the West Bank. Documents were found on the emissary describing in detail the development process of the missile in the Gaza Strip, those behind these activities, financial costs and the intentions of the command in Gaza to transfer the knowledge and experience to their cohorts the West Bank. How industrious. And how nice of the Saudis to fund such industry. Wonder which charitable organization it was? We should send them a "thank you" card.

    The Alliance
    Talibs ready to surrender the One-Eyed Mullah... Azerbaijan arrests attempted mad bombers... Somalia next in the barrel?...
  • Supporters of ex-potentate Mullah Mohammad Omar have agreed to hand him over to Afghan authorities if the US bombing campaign is halted. Taliban commander Rayes Baghran said he would also surrender along with his force of up to 1,500 men. Rayes Baghran is also holding talks with Haji Shir Mohammad, the governor of Helmand province, who has declared his allegiance to Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai. Like, violence never solves anything, man! 'Course, in this case it probably won't. He'll try to scoot somewhere else so they can do it all over again.
  • U.S. and allied military forces are stepping up aerial-reconnaissance flights over Somalia in preparation for raids against al Qaeda terrorist bases there. 100 al Qaeda terrorists were identified recently in Somalia. The terrorists were part of the Islamic rebel group there known as Al-Ittihad Al-Islam. The Mogadishu-based group, known as AIAI, is linked to Somali warlord Hussein Mohammed Aideed and has close ties to al Qaeda. "Somalia will likely be next," said one defense official familiar with defense planning. Golly. Aideed. Who'da thunkit? Told you the Rangers want to go back. They might even be looking forward to dragging his deceased carcass through the streets, though they're really too gentlemanly to actually do that.
  • Azerbaijan arrested six members of an Islamic group that was believed to be preparing an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baku. The six included five Azeris and one Ukrainian national. A seventh person, an Uzbek national, was still being sought. The group was also targeting other international organizations in Baku. They were said to be members of a little-known Islamic militant group called Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which reportedly has followers across Central Asia, and also has links to the Islamic militants fighting the Russian army in Chechnya. Golly. Chechnya. Wotta coincidence.

    Home Front
    SneakerBoy's Dad sez he had a tough life... Firefighters and victims at WTC had it tougher... 500 pounds of Oklahome-city style bomb materials missing in LA... Good Guys 1, Left Mullahs 0, in Madison, Wis...
  • The Jamaican father of Maxwell Smart "Richard Reid" has come to the defence of his son, blaming his own prison life for the events of December 22. "Look at the terrible childhood he had and the broken home he came from," Robin Reid, 51, told The Mirror tabloid. "Look at the father he had. I have spent 18 years in total behind bars. That can't have helped can it? With that kind of childhood, what sort of defence could he put up against lunatic religious fanatics leading him astray?" Cue violin crescendo... Oh, well. Too late now. He's already an attempted crazed killer. Just go back to your own petty thievery and dope dealing, Robin, and we'll take it from here.
  • The bodies of 10 firefighters and three civilians were pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center as excavation crews opened up the lobby of one of the collapsed towers. Any one of them would have been worth a couple dozen SneakerBoys and his Dad.
  • Police throughout the Los Angeles area were on alert for a stolen flatbed truck and 500 pounds of potentially explosive nitric acid that remained unaccounted for less than 24 hours before the national college football championship game at the Rose Bowl. Los Angeles police said the thieves who took the vehicle from a business likely were not connected to terrorists and probably were unaware of potential dangers posed by the acid, which was stored in five 100-pound silver metal canisters. Ummm... Maybe you should operate on the assumption they do know, that they are connected, and that way people might look just that little bit harder for them.
  • The Madison, Wisconsin, school board president, who attracted criticism when he voted against allowing students to say the Pledge of Allegiance, told fellow board members he would not seek re-election. Sometimes the Good Guys do win. You can take his head off the pike now. They're done playing buzkashi with the rest of him.

    Fifth Column
    Ramsey Clark still loves Saddam...
  • Arguing that a decade of U.N. sanctions have nearly destroyed the Iraqi people, former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the veteran pacifist and anti-war advocate, led the formation of a group to oppose U.S. military action against Iraq. The group, a coalition of anti-war and civil action groups called ANSWER urged Americans to "act now to stop war and end racism," and join a march on Washington on April 27 to persuade the Bush administration that Americans are opposed to further military action. "To me it is the worst possible memorial you could have to those who died at the Pentagon and World Trade Center on Sept. 11th is to kill poor people in other countries by the thousands," Clark said. Clark's been in love with Sammy since the Gulf War. In fact, he seems to have a soft spot for all tin-hat dictators. Wonder where he gets his money? Wonder how much of it's written off as charitable donations. Wonder how much of it comes from Iraq - and Saudi Arabia.
  • Wednesday, January 02, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    India-Pak shake hands while thugs try to torpedo meeting... Lashkar says it'll blow the Taj Mahal... Pak cuts funding to mercenary Kashmir groups... Kashmiri "freedom fighter" mob moves offices to Kashmir... Pak condolences for baby massacre... Pak mob opposes extraditing crazed gunmen... Pak kiddies may learn to read and write... Islamists: "Hey, hey! Ho ho! Musharraf's got to go!"... Jamiat-e-Islami head jugged...

  • Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh and Pakistani Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar shook hands, spoke amiably and smiled in a conference room in Katmandu, Nepal, where a meeting of South Asian nations is convening, hinting that diplomatic talks could ease the disharmony that has pushed troops toward their shared frontier. But suspected Islamic militants detonated two grenades near the legislature in Srinagar, wounding at least 18 people in the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir. And in southern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani forces traded mortar and small-arms fire across the border. Their bosses, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, are scheduled to join other leaders there Friday. Unless Lashkar thugs can torpedo the meeting by killing enough women, children, puppies, kittens and baby ducks.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba has threatened to blow up the Taj Mahal. Security around the 17th century marble monument has been tightened following an e-mail threat from the group. "They have threatened to blow up the Taj Mahal, some other monuments and important government buildings in Lucknow," an official said. Did Lashkar headhunters pick up Mullah Omar when the regime went under? Either that, or they picked up a few pointers from the Talibs. Shucks, that'd put blowing the Bamian Buddhas to shame. When it comes to barbarity, Lashkar leaves the Taliban in the dust. Besides, it's just a monument to some woman, and we know what they're worth. Real men don't have romance in their souls. They have Kalashnikovs. And grenades. And turbans. "Beauty and grace are un-Islamic, and must be destroyed."
  • In a significant scaling down and reorientation of its Kashmir policy, Islamabad will cut support to Pakistan-based terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. However, it will continue to provide moral and diplomatic support – but not military training or supplies -- to “indigenous” Kashmiri groups like Hizbul Mujaheddin, provided such groups purge themselves of all non-Kashmiri Muslims. General Musharraf is believed to have given these assurances to Washington through the offices of the US ambassador in Islamabad in an effort to forestall a threatened war by India and punitive measures by Washington. Wot? No Arabs? No Chechens? No Paks? How can you fight a proxy war of attrition without mercenaries?
  • Jaish-e-Mohammad said it was moving its offices into Kashmir to escape a crackdown by Pakistani authorities. Officials of the mob say about 100 activists across Pakistan have been detained in the sweep. Shoots the crap out of those property values, doesn't it? Maybe they're gonna become indigenous Kashmiris so they can get back at the funding trough.
  • Pakistan condemned the attack in a remote village near Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir in which five civilians including one woman were killed by "unknown" (Lashkar-e-Taiba) gunmen. "The government of Pakistan offers condolences to the bereaved family," a Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman said. Gosh. Usually they don't notice little incidents like that. Maybe it was shooting the baby that did it.
  • The United Jehad Council, an umbrella organisation of some Pakistan-based militant outfits, has strongly opposed extradition of 20 terrorists demanded by India from Islamabad. "If it happens, everything would be finished," UJC chairman and Hizbul Mujahideen leader Syed Salahuddin said. He said the council would re-evolve its future strategy in the next few days in the wake of Pakistan government's crackdown on militants. The government action was "disappointing." Salahuddin said his organisation condemned the arrest of former leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masud Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad and other jehadi leaders. Yeah, it's always disappointing when your crazed gunmen are extradited to places they committed their crimes. That means you'll have to hijack some more airliners to get them sprung, and Kandahar won't be a good place to land them this time.
  • The governors of Balochistan, Punjab and the NWFP will shortly promulgate ordinances on compulsory primary education.
    The federal ministry of education had asked the educational ministries of the three provinces to promulgate the ordinance as early as possible. The move would create an influx of students at the primary level in the country. Under the law, it will be compulsory for the parents, except in case of a genuine excuse, to send their children to primary schools. That would seem calculated to undermine the madrassah system. The Saudis might have to find some other way to inculcate the suicide bomber philosophy into the little kiddies.
  • The Pak Jamaat-i-Islami has warned India to desist from any aggression against Pakistan saying that the entire nation will become an impregnable fortress for defence of the motherland. Addressing the annual meeting of JI's Ladies' Auxillary, secretary general of the party Syed Munawwar Hasan criticized the government for relying on the US rather than on the people. The JI leader referred to what he termed the inept policies of the government. He said President Pervez Musharraf should form a consensus interim government to tackle the situation, and hold free and fair elections for transfer of power to a democratically elected government. (I.e., to him.)
  • Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed was again put under house arrest at the Tanda Dam Rest House. The local jail is full of detained al-Qaeda.Maybe it was something he said.

    Middle East
    Israel continues cleaning up Palestinians... Al-Aqsa Martyrs say they'll be good...

  • The Israeli Army launched a sweeping arrest campaign, capturing 10 Palestinians in extensive operations in Palestinian territories. Israeli soldiers abducted one of the men, identified as Ryad Saadi Ayad, in a covert operation in the autonomous Palestinian area adjacent to the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Ayad, 27, was arrested by soldiers from a special unit disguised as Palestinians for his involvement in mortar fire against Israeli targets. Earlier, Israeli troops moved into Qabatiya, in the northern West Bank, and arrested four brothers, including Nasser Zakarni, a member of Hamas. A firefight broke out but no one was wounded.
  • Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a hard-line splinter group from Arafat’s Fatah movement, said in a statement they would adhere to the Palestinian leader’s Dec. 16 call for an end to attacks on Israel. "We pledge an absolute commitment to all the decisions issued by Arafat and the presidency," said the statement from the group. Damn. Now that is a surprise. Wonder what the definition of "adhere" is?

    The Alliance
    Another deader and now negotiating for the one-eyed mullah... Russians continue grinding Chechens... Yemenis continue chasing al-Qaeda... Kuwait sez Bad Guy's not really theirs... Hekmatyar ready for a comeback now that better men have kicked out the Taliban...

  • Negotiations for the surrender of ex-potentate Mullah Mohammad Omar were under way in southern Afghanistan, and the former ruling militia's intelligence chief was killed in U.S. bombardment last week. Qari Ahmadullah was believed to be the highest Taliban official to be killed in the campaign. Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy intelligence minister for the interim government in Kabul, confirmed Ahmadullah's death. Ahmadullah, 40, had been identified by the coalition as one of the Taliban leaders it was trying to capture. He was among 25 people killed in Naka, in Pakhtia province, on Dec. 27, when U.S. planes attacked a house where he was staying. Would that have been the village where there weren't any Taliban or al-Qaeda according to Afghan Islamic Press? Or was that another one?
  • Ten Chechen civilians died during heavy fighting between Russian forces and Chechen separatists in the south of the republic. The victims, including women and a one year-old child, were killed as Russian forces shelled the village of Tsatsan-Yurt which they have been surrounding for several days. Rebels also claimed to have killed up to 40 Russian soldiers and to have wounded a similar number around Tsatsan-Yurt, but the Russian high command denied any losses. Russian forces launched a special operation around three villages near the capital, Grozny, and said that they had killed 84 separatist fighters and arrested 20 during the offensive. A high-profile fatality was top separatist warlord Ruslan Shilayev, said to be sixth in the hierarchy of Chechen rebel commanders. The world is a better place without him.
  • Yemeni special forces backed by tanks and helicopters raided a village where Al Qaeda were believed to be holed up, leaving 12 people dead. Several more men on both sides were wounded. Yemeni army and police units laid siege to Al Hosun village in Marib province. The special troops fired shells “in the hunt for elements who returned recently from Afghanistan and who are believed to be members of Al Qaeda.” A gunbattle followed between government forces and men of the Abeideh tribe, who have sheltered the Al Qaeda supporters. The clashes “left 12 people dead from the two sides,” a tribal dignitary said. Army tanks also entered the fray and several houses were destroyed, witnesses said. Welcome home, boys. Enjoy the hospitality.
  • Kuwait announced that one among the names listed on the European Union list of persons connected to terrorism, said to be a Kuwaiti, is a Pakistani. Muhammad Khaled al-Sheikh who was identified as a Kuwaiti is in reality a Pakistani citizen but was born in Kuwait. Khaled al-Sheikh is suspected to be involved in an attack attempt against an American plane in the Philippines in 1995. And they wouldn't want him even if he was.
  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was organizing a militia of former Taliban fighters, Pakistani militants, and Pashtun warriors with the aim of destabilizing the new government in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar, leader of a Pashtun political faction, relentlessly shelled Kabul in the early 1990s as he tried to drive the Tajik-dominated government of Burhanuddin Rabbani from power. For years, Hekmatyar received money and arms from Pakistan, until Islamabad turned its patronage to the Taliban. The civil war killed thousands of Afghans, left tens of thousands more homeless, and obliterated whole neighborhoods in the capital city. While Hekmatyar is now reportedly in Iran, a Jalalabad intelligence officer said he has been told that Hekmatyar is trying to draw together an opposition fighting force. The officer said he did not have details about Hekmatyar's plans or strategy, but he emphasized that such a militia could become a significant concern and that intelligence operatives ''will be positioned to find out more information.'' Afghanistan needs this guy like it needs a good civil war. Hekmatyar may be the most evil man in the world.

    Home Front
    Moussaoui sez "no plea" - trial scheduled for one of these days...

  • Zacarias Moussaoui, the first man to be indicted on charges involving the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiring with Osama bin Laden to kill thousands of people. The trial was set to open on Oct. 14. Moussaoui, a 33-year-old French citizen of Moroccan descent, said in a statement to the court: "In the name of Allah I do not have anything to plead. I enter no plea." But U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema said she understood that to be a plea of not guilty and Moussaoui's defense attorney Frank Dunham said, "Yes." October? Ten months from now? What the hell happened to the right to a speedy trial? And how does "I enter no plea" transform into a "not guilty"? Sounds at best Alford-ish, if not "ya got the goods on me, coppers."
  • Tuesday, January 01, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Vajpayee sez knock off the proxy war... Lashkar heroes bump off a baby in Poonch... To hell with Musharraf, jihad goes on in Kashmir... And we'll blow ourselves up to prove it!...
  • Six Gulf countries denounced the attack on the Parliament at the GCC meeting in Muscat, and called on the UN Security Council to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan. Yeah, that should do it. Works every time.
  • Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee called on Pakistan to shed its "anti-India" mentality and crush terrorist groups on its soil to allow a dialogue on all bilateral disputes, including Kashmir. In an article published on New Year's Day, Vajpayee also warned the Indian people to be prepared for any eventuality in the light of the "unprecedented" crisis that has brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. "As I have said earlier, India does not want war. But we have a sovereign right to defend ourselves against cross-border terrorism, which is a proxy war that is already thrust on us," Vajpayee said. "Pakistan will be solely responsible for the consequences of encouraging terrorism against India."
  • An infant and an eight-year-old boy were among the six persons of a Hindu family killed in a massacre by Lashkar-e-Taiba militants in a village in the border district of Poonch. In the second attack against minorities in the last three days in the Rajouri-Poonch belt, militants wearing combat fatigues swooped down on the home of an ex-serviceman in a remote moutainous village and fired indiscriminately at the family. Five members of the family were killed in the firing and two others seriously wounded. Sources said Lashkar militants were behind the massacre. Yeah, that proxy war.
  • Indian security forces have destroyed at least 12 Pakistani bunkers and killed 10 Pakistani soldiers in retaliatory gunfire across the border in Kashmir.
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba mouthpiece Yahya Mujahid said the arrest of Hafiz Mohammed Saeed and other leaders ‘‘will not affect the jehad in Kashmir’’. Mujahid confirmed that Saeed had been arrested by Pakistani authorities en route to a central committee meeting in Islamabad. He regretted that Pakistan President Musharraf had bowed to the pressure created by ‘‘American and Indian propaganda that the LeT is a terrorist organisation’’. Mujahid said, ‘‘It doesn’t matter what the government does, the people of Pakistan are with us, they support the jehad in Kashmir’’. Translated: "Nothing will stop us from killing women, children and babies. That's what we do, y'know?"
  • A terrorist suicide squad stormed a heavily guarded Army transit camp at Drugmulla in North Kashmir. Two terrorists and one soldier died, while two civilians were injured. Elsewhere, at least eight militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were gunned down by the troops during 15 hours of festivities in south Kashmir. One soldier died and one was injured. Actually, it's kinda fun watching those bastards blow up, if you're not standing too close to 'em.

    Middle East
    Palestinian chorus to sing "Well hello, Zinni! This is Nablus, Zinni! It's so nice to have you back where you belooong!"... Palestinians say killing suicide bombers "fans the flames"... Israel uses tanks to arrest four Bad Guys...

  • Hopes for a breakthrough in the stalled Middle East peace process were raised as US and Palestinian officials announced the return of special envoy Anthony Zinni after a dramatic drop in violence. Arafat has arrested scores of militants, including an estimated 10 on a list of 33 top suspects submitted by Israel through Zinni. That's scores of small fry, plus 10 out of 33 Criminal Masterminds. They claimed they had arrested 17 of the 33 way back on December 2nd. Wonder where seven of them went? Our original guess prediction (December 5th) was that he'd round up a dozen or so and that they'd be released as soon as things cool off again.
  • The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of "fanning the flames" with the killing of six Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, while Israel said at least three of the men were suicide bombers trying to sneak into Israel. Helping suicide bombers meet their 72 virgins is "fanning the flames"? They thought they were being helpful.
  • Six tanks and four jeeps rumbled into Qabatiya near Jenin, sparking an exchange of fire. One of the men arrested in the operation belonged to Hamas. Two others were linked to Fatah. The army said three of the detained men "were suspected of involvement in terror activities" and said one of them was found with an assault rifle. Assault rifles are regarded as Russian-manufactured manhood in the Middle East.

    The Alliance
    Al-Qaeda detritus to move from Pakland to Kandahar... Handler sez Binny doesn't look well... One-eyed mullah hunt in Helmand... Saudis have traditional New Year celebration... Jordanian-American al-Qaeda may get the jump...
  • About 150 arrested al-Qaeda will be shifted from a Pakistani jail in Kohat to a US prison camp in Kandahar for more intensive interrogation. The detained al-Qaeda -- mostly from Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Arabian peninsula countries -- would be flown to Kandahar in batches. Four at least would be moved to Islamabad for deportation. Those would be the ones who know somebody, or brought cash.
  • ABC News reported the US armed forces had "circumstantial but compelling" evidence that Osama bin Laden was alive. The report said the United States had intercepted communications originating in Iran, in which the caller said: "You should keep bin Laden (using a code name) off of the television. He looks bad, he looks sick, and it is demoralizing to his people." Either he's alive, or they didn't get the news he's dead. Al-Qaeda has handlers in Iran? An ayatollah checking up on his investment?
  • Anti-Taliban forces were readying to corner former Protector of the Faithful Mullah Mohammad Omar. The intelligence chief in Kandahar said he had asked villagers in Helmand to hand Omar over. "We have told them to give us Omar, but no ultimatum has been issued," Haji Gullalai said. "We have two goals: to disarm irresponsible people and to get Omar, who is a criminal for the Afghan people and the whole world." He said he and tribal allies had assembled a force of up to 2,000 fighters and they were ready to try to capture the fugitive if he was not handed over. Prime Minister Hamid Karzai says American forces have launched a mission to capture Omar. Afghan officials suspect he is in the Baghran area. Maybe they've actually got a bead on him. If they get him, Afghan Islamic Press will probably say he's a civilian.
  • Three Saudi men were beheaded for committing acts of sodomy and "seducing young men." Well, that taught 'em a lesson, by God.
  • The lawyer of Raed Hijazi, a Jordanian American being tried on charges of plotting to carry out terrorist acts in Jordan, insisted his client was not guilty and called for his acquittal. On December 12, the prosecution asked for the death penalty against Hijazi and two other defendants, both fugitives. They are Ahmed Nazal Khalayleh, a Jordanian living in Afghanistan, and Mohammed Haj Saqa, a Syrian living in Germany. Hijazi was sentenced to death in absentia last year along with 21 of the 28 Islamists accused of plotting terrorist attacks on US and Israeli targets during millennium festivities. He was subsequently arrested in Syria and extradited to Jordan, where he is also accused of illegally fabricating and possessing explosives and must be retried on those same charges. Chief Magistrate Colonel Tayel Raqqad said a hearing for the verdict would be set soon. But Hijazi shouted from the dock: “Why not announce the death penalty now?” Hijazi's name is on a US list of alleged terrorists published after the September attacks. We're hoping this guys takes up cervical bungee jumping soon.

    Terror Networks
    Indonesian Muslims blow up churches to celebrate New Year... Eurobombers ring in the New Year around Strasbourg... Traditional Chechen New Year festivities in Grozny... Islamic New Year in Karachi... Hindu New Year in Lucknow...
  • Indonesia began the New Year with four churches bombed and one person dead from a grenade blast, after revellers elsewhere in the country welcomed in 2002 with fireworks and trumpets. Christian, Adventist and Pentecostal churches in the Sulawesi capital of Palu were rocked by simultaneous blasts as midnight struck, shattering church windows and injuring one person. In the light of day a fourth bomb exploded as worshippers gathered to celebrate New Year's Day mass at another Pentecostal church at 9:30 am, injuring two policemen who were inspecting the parcel it was wrapped in. In Jakarta a grenade exploded in front of a restaurant in the city's southern entertainment district at 3:30 am, blowing off a man's hand and killing him. And Happy New Year to you, too, you xenophobic terrorist bastards.
  • An explosion at a village hall in the town of Barr, near Strasbourg, France, left nine people injured. The cause of the blast, which occurred as New Year's celebrations were ongoing, was not immediately known. It was apparently caused by an bomb placed outside the village hall where some 150 New Year revellers, including several children, were celebrating. Earlier in the evening another explosion destroyed an electrical transformer in the local sports stadium. plunging the community into darkness for an hour. Elsewhere in the Strasbourg area some 40 vehicles were set alight and three police officers injured by gunshot. And Happy New Year to you, you cheese- (or cous-cous) eating terrorist bastards.
  • Rebels attacked the headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service in the Chechen capital Grozny, firing grenades and automatic weapons, but caused no casualties. And Happy New Year to you, too, you vicious Caucasian bastards.
  • At least nine people were wounded on when a bomb that police suspect was planted by Islamic militants exploded outside a popular club in Karachi. The time bomb, hidden inside a car, exploded in the parking area of the beachside Mariana Club, located in one the most affluent neighborhoods of the city. Three cars were also destroyed. No group claimed responsibility, but police said they suspect Islamic militants. Fundamentalist Muslim groups abhor New Year celebrations and consider them contrary to the teachings of Islam. Shabab-e-Milli, the youth wing of the orthodox Jamaat-e-Islami, or Islamic Party, had warned people against celebrating the New Year. And Happy New Year to you, too, you humorless Islamic bastards.
  • Adding to the confusion, hundreds of revelers fired shots in the air in various Karachi neighborhoods to celebrate the New Year despite heavy police presence and tight security. At least 15 other people sustained bullet wounds as New Year's revelers fired into the air with automatic weapons in several other neighborhoods. One was in critical condition. And Happy New Year to you, too, you morons. (Cause? Effect? There's a relationship?) Assault rifles are regarded as Russian-manufactured manhood in South Asia, too.
  • Two New Year eve revellers were injured when Hindu Sena activists opened fire with home-made revolvers to disrupt the celebrations at a fun club in Lucknow. The activists, led by their state unit president Alok Dube, reached the Super Fun and Food Centre, broke the window panes and tried to disrupt the New Year bash there. The security guard posted at the centre fired his weapon to disperse the mob. Earlier, the Hindu Sena had warned that it would stall all programs organized in the city's hotels and clubs on the New Year eve because they are against the Indian culture. And Happy New Year to you, too, you humorless cow-loving bastards. (Yup. That Super Fun and Food Centre's a real threat to traditional Hindu values!)
  • Monday, December 31, 2001

    India-Pakistan
    Pak: Just cool down... Lashkar bigwig jugged in Pakland... Pak "Most Wanted" jugged... Foreigners give Kashmir thugs a bad name... Lashkar small fry wanted to blow up the New Year... India cops bump off eight Jaish gunnies...
  • Pakistan wants to defuse tension and resolve all issues with India through talks, said Foreign Office Spokesman Aziz Ahmad Khan. "We want to cool down the situation and resolve all issues with India through talks." Pakistan is capable of thwarting every kind of aggression, he said. "Unfortunately, India has been escalating the situation from the very beginning," he added. "We want that all the troops and aircraft that are now at the forward positions be withdrawn to the peacetime position. We want the atmosphere to be made conducive so that the issues could be resolved through dialogue."
  • Hafiz Saeed, until last week the leader of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, was arrested in Islamabad while attending a meeting. He was charged with making inflammatory speeches and inciting people to violence. Another 22 followers of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed were arrested in southern Pakistan overnight.
  • Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone lashed out at foreign militants active in Kashmir. "The ongoing struggle in Kashmir is indigenous in every respect. Distortion as a result of participation of non-Kashmiri elements cannot change the indigenous chracter of the struggle," Lone said, addressing the general council of his Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference, a constituent of the Hurriya Conference.
  • Delhi police arrested a militant of Lashkar-e-Toiba. Police recovered an IED, 5.5 kg of explosive materials, ABCD timer and some detonaters from him. It is believed he had come to create blasts in the capital on the eve of New Year.
  • Security forces shot dead eight militants in a nightlong encounter in southern Kashmir. An army major was injured in the shootout, which took place at Dora village some 50 kms south of Srinagar. A news agency reported that the eight militants were members of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. Seven security personnel and two civilians were injured when militants targeted a Border Security Force picket and a police post with grenades in Kashmir valley.
  • Riaz Basra, one of Pakistan’s most wanted men, has been detained after returning from Afghanistan. Basra is implicated in several cases of sectarian violence, and heads his own Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. He was arrested from North Waziristan with a bevy of henchmen some time last week.
  • Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy mortar fire over their border in southern Kashmir in which two Indian soldier were killed and five wounded. The heaviest shelling was in the Pallanwalla sector, 80 kilometers west of Jammu.

    Middle East
    Serve some time for the cause... PA coppers pick up a couple small fry... Six more cold ones in Palestine, predictable cries for revenge
  • A senior PA security official reportedly recently tried to convince Fatah military wing Tanzim operatives in Nablus to give themselves up and enter PA jails in order to bluff US and European observers. The PA official reportedly offered $3,000 to anyone willing to spend a month in PA detention in lieu of Hamas of Islamic Jihad terrorists.
  • PA security officers arrested four men allegedly involved in the murder of tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi. The two killers, who Israel says are hiding in Ramallah, were not among them.
  • Israeli troops killed six Palestinians in two separate confrontations near the border with the Gaza Strip. The shootings came only hours after senior Israeli security officials said that attacks by Palestinian militants had dropped significantly since Arafat's speech two weeks ago calling for a cessation of violence. "We will pursue the attacks and painful blows against the Zionist enemy occupying our land," activists of the Popular Resistance Committee chanted at the funeral of one of its leaders who was among the six killed. The committee, which includes members of Arafat's Fatah and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations, said Ismael Abu al-Qumsan, its leader in the northern Gaza Strip, and two other gunmen were killed in a shootout with Israeli soldiers. Guess Zinni can unpack. How does Palestine manage to accrue a surplus of young men between 18 and 30 whose primary accomplishments in life appear to be armed and dangerous? Wouldn't it make more sense to have more McDonalds' and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, for all the fears of globalization, so there would be more jobs these people are qualified to fill? Then they'd be off the streets.

    The Alliance
    Binny's probably still alive... MI5 dropped the ball on SneakerBoy and Moussaoui... Chechen corpse count
  • Fresh U.S. intelligence shows "high probabilities" that Osama bin Laden is still alive, and fears are growing in Afghanistan that Taliban militants are regrouping. The double dose of bad news came as a new search for Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar began in mountains in western Afghanistan.
  • According to The Observer, British intelligence monitored telephone conversations between sneaker bomber Maxwell Smart "Richard C. Reid" and Zacarias Moussaoui late last year but failed to identify Reid as a potential terrorist. The calls between Reid and Moussaoui stopped in December 2000 after Moussaoui left the United Kingdon for Pakistan. Reid went to Pakistan a short time later, and both men then trained together at a camp in Afghanistan run by al-Qaeda.
  • Russian forces killed 73 Chechen rebels and took 20 prisoners in a major operation in the separatist republic. Two Russian servicemen held by rebels were freed. A top rebel leader, Ruslan Chilayev, was among those killed. A report said "mercenaries" were among the dead. Wonder who the "mercenaries" were. Arabs? Afghans? Paks?

    Terror Networks
    Dynamite Man's Dad: My Boy was Framed!
  • The father of Hadi Yousef Ghoul, the 35-year-old Jordanian arrested in the Philippines on suspicion of belonging to Al Qaeda (and possessing 281 sticks of dynamite), denied the accusations against his son. “He is religious but he has no connection with any organisation,” Yousef Ghoul said. The father accused the Philippine authorities of fabricating the evidence.

    International
    Gulf States: Let the inspectors back, before something dreadful happens
  • A Saudi-led Gulf Arab alliance urged Iraq to allow U.N. weapons inspectors back into the country or risk more tension in the Middle East. Jameel al-Hujailan, secretary-general of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), also criticized Baghdad for continuing antagonism toward its pro-Western neighbors Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. "We hope Iraq's obstinacy toward some Security Council resolutions will not lead to more tension in the region and cause more sufferings to the brotherly Iraqi people," he said in a report to a GCC summit.

    Home Front
    Showtime at the Chicago airport...
  • A former Chicago Board of Education member faces disorderly conduct charges after she was accused of commenting about a bomb in her purse while her luggage was being checked Friday at O'Hare International Airport. Anna Mustafa, 53, of Tinley Park, was at an International Terminal ticket counter preparing to board a Swissair flight to Tel Aviv when her baggage was randomly selected to pass through a bomb-detection machine.

    Fifth Column
    Stuart Reid sez we lost in Afghanistan and he can't quite make out the difference between amputations and lap-dancing (Whoa! There's one... Nope, that's not it)...
  • A war to save civilisation - or carry on lap-dancing? Stuart Reid
    The Americans have so far failed in their stated war aim: to bring Osama bin Laden and other leaders of al-Qa'eda to justice. Bin Laden has not been captured, dead or alive. (I gather, however, there have been reported sightings in Cleveland, Ohio). The al-Qa'eda network has not been destroyed (though, according to the FBI, it is active in the United States).

    All that has happened is that the Taliban have been defeated and replaced with a broad-based coalition of Hampstead-style thinkers and Nazi-style warlords. Women continue to wear burqas in Kabul, and to be whipped...

    The September criminals must be brought to justice, and their networks destroyed, but it is impossible to view an unending war against terrorism - Orwellian, unwinnable - as a crusade for true Western civilisation. What we have here is a clash between post-Christian liberal humanism and mad and murderous theocracy; between lap-dancing and limb-cropping. Oh. Well, in that case we should stop. George! Don't go after any more Bad Guys! We can't win anyway. Just "bring them to justice." Whatever the hell that means. I confess, though: Until women are forced to engage in lap-dancing, I'll continue to think we're morally superior. And even if the lap-dancing was mandatory, I'd go with that over the amputations.
  • Sunday, December 30, 2001

    Whoa! (Hack! Kaff!) There's dust all over this thing! But it's pretty interesting, given the signators and the current "where's Binny" hue and cry. (World Islamic Front is a 3-year-old manifestation of the Learned Elders of Islam. This is the "original" fatwa against the West.)

    Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders
    World Islamic Front Statement

    23 February 1998

    Shaykh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin
    Ayman al-Zawahiri, amir of the Jihad Group in Egypt
    Abu-Yasir Rifa'i Ahmad Taha, Egyptian Islamic Group
    Shaykh Mir Hamzah, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
    Fazlur Rahman, amir of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh

    Praise be to God, who revealed the Book, controls the clouds, defeats factionalism, and says in His Book: "But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)"; and peace be upon our Prophet, Muhammad Bin-'Abdallah, who said: I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but God is worshipped, God who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my orders.

    The Arabian Peninsula has never -- since God made it flat, created its desert, and encircled it with seas -- been stormed by any forces like the crusader armies spreading in it like locusts, eating its riches and wiping out its plantations. All this is happening at a time in which nations are attacking Muslims like people fighting over a plate of food. In the light of the grave situation and the lack of support, we and you are obliged to discuss current events, and we should all agree on how to settle the matter.
    No one argues today about three facts that are known to everyone; we will list them, in order to remind everyone:

    First, for over seven years the United States has been occupying the lands of Islam in the holiest of places, the Arabian Peninsula, plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, humiliating its people, terrorizing its neighbors, and turning its bases in the Peninsula into a spearhead through which to fight the neighboring Muslim peoples. If some people have in the past argued about the fact of the occupation, all the people of the Peninsula have now acknowledged it. The best proof of this is the Americans' continuing aggression against the Iraqi people using the Peninsula as a staging post, even though all its rulers are against their territories being used to that end, but they are helpless.

    Second, despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million... despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation. So here they come to annihilate what is left of this people and to humiliate their Muslim neighbors.

    Third, if the Americans' aims behind these wars are religious and economic, the aim is also to serve the Jews' petty state and divert attention from its occupation of Jerusalem and murder of Muslims there. The best proof of this is their eagerness to destroy Iraq, the strongest neighboring Arab state, and their endeavor to fragment all the states of the region such as Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan into paper statelets and through their disunion and weakness to guarantee Israel's survival and the continuation of the brutal crusade occupation of the Peninsula.

    All these crimes and sins committed by the Americans are a clear declaration of war on God, his messenger, and Muslims. And ulema have throughout Islamic history unanimously agreed that the jihad is an individual duty if the enemy destroys the Muslim countries. This was revealed by Imam Bin-Qadamah in "Al- Mughni," Imam al-Kisa'i in "Al-Bada'i," al-Qurtubi in his interpretation, and the shaykh of al-Islam in his books, where he said: "As for the fighting to repulse [an enemy], it is aimed at defending sanctity and religion, and it is a duty as agreed [by the ulema]. Nothing is more sacred than belief except repulsing an enemy who is attacking religion and life."

    On that basis, and in compliance with God's order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims:

    The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, "and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together," and "fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God."

    This is in addition to the words of Almighty God: "And why should ye not fight in the cause of God and of those who, being weak, are ill-treated (and oppressed)? -- women and children, whose cry is: 'Our Lord, rescue us from this town, whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from thee one who will help!'"

    We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it. We also call on Muslim ulema, leaders, youths, and soldiers to launch the raid on Satan's U.S. troops and the devil's supporters allying with them, and to displace those who are behind them so that they may learn a lesson.

    Almighty God said: "O ye who believe, give your response to God and His Apostle, when He calleth you to that which will give you life. And know that God cometh between a man and his heart, and that it is He to whom ye shall all be gathered."
    Almighty God also says: "O ye who believe, what is the matter with you, that when ye are asked to go forth in the cause of God, ye cling so heavily to the earth! Do ye prefer the life of this world to the hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the hereafter. Unless ye go forth, He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least. For God hath power over all things."

    Almighty God also says: "So lose no heart, nor fall into despair. For ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith."

    Pubished in the Arabic Newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi (London, U.K.) on 23 February, 1998, p. 3.

    Note the signators:
    Shaykh Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Ladin, is of course our old friend Binny, aka The Sheik.
    Ayman al-Zawahiri was then "amir" of the Jihad Group in Egypt, which folded into al-Qaeda. He's now Binny's second in command, possibly living on a very small farm in Afghanistan. Heard he was wounded a little while back.
    Abu-Yasir Rifa'i Ahmad Taha, from Egyptian Islamic Group (al-Gama'at al-Islamiyyah); tied to Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who is/was the group's "spiritual leader." He's so holy, he was arrested in 1993 in connection with the world trade centre bombing in the United States.
    Shaykh Mir Hamzah, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan, who was arrested by Indian authorities in 1993 but was subsequently released.
    Fazlur Rahman, amir of the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh, a leader of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which has operated in Kashmir, and Jamiat-ul Ulema-e-Islam
    If I could write, I'd like to write like P.J. O'Rourke:
    A child of nine or ten, wearing a F**K WAR T-shirt without the asterisks, harangued some police officers. The officers could not keep straight faces. Most of the other demonstrators were of college age, with subdermal ink, transdermal hardware, and haircuts from the barber college on Mars. But people my age were present too, and beginning to resemble Bertrand Russell, especially the women. Then I saw him: a hippie in a walker wearing a hearing aid. Sic transit generation gap.

    Or Mark Steyn:
    If you're wondering what the secret of my success is, it's as simple as George W Bush himself: know nothing. In this war, expertise is vastly overrated. Nothing is so certain as that, when a man appears on television with the words "Professor of Middle Eastern Studies" under his name, everything he says will prove to be utter rubbish.

    Likewise, all the fellows with decades of experience in the Muslim world, such as Robert Fisk of the Independent. (Sample Fisk headlines: "Bush is Walking into a Trap", "It Could Become More Costly Than Vietnam", "There is No Easy Way for the West to Sort This Out".) Even if one cannot rise to the Rutkowski challenge, surely one should be expected occasionally to get something right, especially if one works for publications that jeered endlessly at what a moron Bush is.
    India-Pakistan
    More Indians evacuating the border. Bush bears down on Pakistan while trying to defuse the tensions. Lashkar-e-Taiba puts on a false nose and glasses, continues shooting up the neighborhood.
  • At least 60,000 Indians have fled their homes in the last five days amid heavy shelling and a massive buildup of troops on both sides of the Pakistan-India border in Kashmir. Kashmir Housing Minister Ghulam M Shah said the state administration was battling to provide food and shelter to the thousands who had evacuated their villages near India's shared border with Pakistan. I think this diversionary tactic has gotten well out of hand and produced more danger to Pakland than the Learned Elders of Islam intended. Like the Palestinian flare-up, it was only supposed to divert attention and resources from Afghanistan.
  • Pakistan faced fresh US pressure to round up Islamic extremists accused of targeting India as its top military brass planned its response to any Indian attack across their tense border. President Bush has called on Pakistan to "eliminate extremists" implicated in an attack on India's parliament and urged leaders to defuse their dispute. In separate phone calls from his Texas ranch to Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bush "urged both leaders to work to reduce tensions in the region." But he specifically called on Musharraf to act decisively against groups seeking to "harm India, undermine Pakistan, and provoke a war between India and Pakistan and destabilize the coalition against terrorism." If Boskone/Ernst Stavro Blofeld/The Learned Elders of Islam had been able to set up a three-front war (Afghanistan, India-Pak, and Middle East) they'd have been closer to their Muslim-Western world war. But when Tora Bora fell they found themselves overextended. Israel could handle the Palestinians and had world opinion on its side for once and temporarily. And India-Pak as a single front would result in Pakland being defeated and maybe even reabsorbed back into India - a three-falls-out-of-three defeat for the Bad Guys. Now they're stuck with ISI, which is probably as much of a rogue organization within SPECTRE/Boskone as it is within the Pak government.
  • Bowing to the pressures from the United States, Lashkar-e-Taiba seems to have mellowed and attempted to project a more secular image. In an open letter to the United States authorities, Amir of Lashkar-e-Taiba Hafiz Muhammad Saeed said the policies of Lashkar might differ from that of the US "but we do not mean any harm to any US citizen or property." He claimed that the outfit did not believe in carrying out attacks on embassies or issuing threats. Lashkar recently shifted its activities to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pak-occupied Kashmir, after the Pakistan government instructed all militant outfits to operate only from that area to escape the eye of international community. The name of the outfit was also changed to Jamaat-Al-Dawa in keeping with a policy of ISI of changing names when the heat's on. It's an indication they're feeling the heat, but they'll try and run it out. The US has to keep pressure on Pak to get these guys under control - and preferably to disband them as a mini-Taliban.
  • Militants gunned down four members of a family in a remote village in Jammu. Heavily armed militants cordoned off Kantha village, barged into a house and opened fire on the occupants killing four and injuring another, all Hindus. Militants set afire six houses and a government school at Mora Bhai village. All the houses and the school were gutted. Call 'em what you want, they're still doing the same things.

    Middle East
    Israel and Palestinians trying to get Zinni back before something else goes wrong. Israel trying to get Syria to talk. Garbage collector blown up by a bomb somebody tossed out.
  • Israel was preparing for the expected return of US peace envoy Anthony Zinni, but despite a clear drop in violence Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was to tell his cabinet there will be no political talks without a total halt to unrest. The intended result - to distract attention and maybe even forces - from Tora Bora - wasn't quite achieved, so now we can go back to endless negotiating until another flare-up is needed.
  • Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer has sent out "signals" that Israel would be willing to renew peace talks with Syria if it agrees to rein in the Islamic militant group Hezbollah. Ben-Eliezer first suggested the offer to Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit during a July visit to Ankara, with a request that they pass it on to Syrian President Bashar Assad. An aide to Ben-Eliezer confirmed that he had raised the matter in Turkey. Ben-Eliezer again raised the proposal in a later conversation with Jordan's King Abdullah II, who passed it on to Assad. Israel radio cited what it said was a dispatch from William Burns, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, reporting on his recent meeting with Assad, in which the Syrian leader indicated he was prepared to consider new negotiations with Israel. Cheeze. What a way to do things, using two or three go-betweens at every turn. No wonder nothing is ever accomplished. Try ordering groceries that way.
  • A Lebanese garbage collector was killed when a small bomb exploded near Ain Al Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon. The bomb was concealed in a plastic bag about 30 metres from the camp on the outskirts of Sidon. Mustafa Batesh, 40, a died instantly when he tried to collect the bag. Ain Al Hilweh, Lebanon's largest refugee camp, is home to about 70,000 Palestinians and rival Palestinian factions. The camp, controlled by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fateh movement, has been rocked in the past by bomb explosions. The camp is off limits to Lebanese authorities. Must be sad not to be in charge in your own country. Kinda hard on poor Mustafa, too.

    The Alliance
    Afghans say ISI is helping Binnie. Habil says Binnie's having tea with Fazelur Rahman in Pakland. Internees up to 150 and probably still rising. Pak freezes assets of their rogue scientists, finally. Gulf States want an advertising campaign to clean up their tarnished image.
  • Afghanistan called for the deployment of international peacekeeping troops along its border with Pakistan to combat what it claims is Pakistani intelligence assistance to Osama bin Laden. Border Affairs Minister Aminullah Zadran said he has already sent his agents to the frontier to investigate what he called suspicious activities by Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence. Interior Minister Yunis Qanooni directly accused the ISI of helping the suspected terrorist "mastermind" escape capture.
  • Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Habeel repeated claims that Osama bin Laden was using the Pakistani border town of Peshawar as a base. "He is definitely in Peshawar under the protection of (militant party Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam head) Fazelur Rahman," Habeel said. "Our intelligence is absolutely accurate, we even have the names of those Taliban commanders who helped Osama to get to the other side of the border," he said. Jamiat has denied the claim. "He's everywhere! He's... He could be there." We think he's there, too. Only his plastic surgeon knows for sure.
  • The number of Taliban and al Qaeda being held by the U.S. military for questioning has risen to 150. Of the total, 139 were being detained at a makeshift jail built by U.S. Marines at Kandahar airport, including 14 brought Saturday from Shiburghan. Two others were being held at Bagram and one in Mazar-i-Sharif. Eight more, including Johnny Jihad, were being held on the USS Peleliu in the Arabian Sea.
  • Pakistan's military-led government has frozen the accounts of two nuclear scientists suspected of links with Osama bin Laden. Assets of Sultan Bashir-ud-Din Mehmood and Abdul Majid, who worked for Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission until retiring in 1999, have been frozen by the State Bank of Pakistan. The bank also froze accounts of wealthy industrialist Mohammed Tufail. All three were on the board of directors of Ummah Tameer-e-Nau, or Nation Builder, an Islamic charity declared a terrorist group by the United States on Dec. 20. Nice of them to get around to it, finally.
  • Gulf Arab leaders, worried that the West increasingly sees Arabs and Muslims as “evil,” plan to launch a multimillion-dollar media campaign to improve their peoples' image. The annual conference of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was expected to approve a plan to counter what it sees as a campaign of “hatred and enmity” towards Arabs and Muslims since the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States. “The campaign against Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, is itself a form of terrorism,” Omani Foreign Minister Youssef Bin Alawi Bin Abdullah said on the eve of the summit. It'll take a lot of money and a lot of advertising to convince most of us that smashing the WTC and the Pentagon wasn't "evil." It'll take even more to convince us that there hasn't been a sustained 20-year campaign of attacks against us.

    Terror Networks
    Singapore stops an attack on US aircraft carrier. Muslim Bad Guys still causing trouble in Philippines.
  • Acting on U.S. intelligence gathered in Afghanistan, the Singapore government earlier this month raided a "terrorist nest" and arrested 12 alleged al Qaida members suspected of planning an attack on the island nation's deep-water Navy port. Two suspected terrorists escaped arrest. Singapore officials have also failed to locate two tons of explosives intended to be used in the attack or attacks. The USS Carl Vinson was scheduled to use the port in December so "people were pretty squirrelly" about the information and moved swiftly to act on it. Sure hope they got them all. A successful attack on a target that size, and of that importance, would be the only way al Qaeda could establish that it was still in business. So they'll probably try again.
  • At least 11 armed followers of detained Muslim leader Nur Misuari and two soldiers were killed in a clash in the Philippine island of Jolo. Field reports said around 40 Misuari followers from the Moro National Liberation Front attacked patrolling members of the Marine Batallion Landing Troop in the town of Luuk, triggering six hours of fighting. Members of the Muslim Abu Sayyaf group were seen backing up the Misuari followers.

    International
    Lebanon parties vie over who likes terrorists more.
  • Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement and Ba'ath Party are arguing over which of them supports terrorist organizations/"armies of resistance" more. The Ba'ath accused FPM leader Michel Aoun, of “sowing the seeds of a new war in Lebanon with the support of the United States.” They never get tired of that stuff, do they?

    Home Front
    FBI still investigating domstic Bad Guys. We're stuck with the same old dummies at the airport.
  • The FBI is conducting more than 150 separate investigations into groups and individuals in the United States with possible ties to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization. The domestic targets include dozens of people who are under electronic surveillance through national security warrants, and others who are being watched by undercover agents attempting to learn more about their activities and associates. The large number of cases suggests the FBI's efforts against the terrorist network have gone well beyond the widely publicized dragnet that has ensnared hundreds of people in the United States and overseas. Squeal all you want about civil rights violations, privacy and that sort of thing. Remember that that squealing would stop - albeit temporarily - within seconds after a single grenade rolled into a crowded shopping mall in Philadelphia or St Paul. Strangely enough, that's exactly what happened at a crowded bazaar in Kashmir yesterday. Just make sure the measures being taken are temporary and directed against foreign-controlled and funded terrorists, not people the government doesn't like. But most of us feel enough trust for the administration to believe that's the case.
  • After stoking high expectations that the federal takeover of airport security would lead to a new breed of airport security screener, one who was better educated and more qualified to assume a position of increased responsibility, the Department of Transportation has decided not to impose rules that would displace thousands of current screeners. Most significantly, the department will not insist that screeners be high school graduates, a requirement that would have disqualified a quarter of the present work force of 28,000. Ummm... What was the advantage to making them civil servants again? You mean, we're stuck with the same people we had, both competent and in-, and now we can't get rid of the deadwood? You outta your mind, Roscoe? It doesn't take a high school diploma to figure what kind of a move that is.

    Fifth Column
    Saudis hire a loon to say the Jews did it. Berriganistas in Iraq say sactions are "weapon of mass destruction."
  • Michael Collins Piper, in an article in Arab News, says the Jews were the ones who blew the World Trade Center. Piper is a correspondent for The Spotlight, a newspaper published by Liberty Lobby, the most active anti-Semitic propaganda organization in the United States. The same writer elsewhere says the Jews killed Kennedy. And the Federal Reserve is controlled by the Bilderberger group, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations. And John McCain's family fortune was the gift of big-time gangsters. You get the drift. The Saudis are really reaching with this guy.
  • The US-spearheaded sanctions on Iraq are “weapons of mass destruction” and should be lifted immediately, US anti-sanction lobbyists said in a message to US President George W. Bush. “We are five Americans writing to you from Baghdad, Iraq ... (where we) have indeed discovered that weapons of mass destruction exist,” Voices in the Wilderness said in the letter. “We see it constantly in use when we visit the children's wards in hospitals across this country. We know its horrible power when we confront the uncontested United Nations statistics: Hundreds of thousands of little children have died as a direct result of the sanctions the US has maintained against Iraq for over 11 years." The group, which has had members in Iraq permanently since mid-November in defiance of US laws, urged Bush to lift the sanctions which were imposed by the United Nations after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Berriganistas still active in Iraq. Ho hum.