Saturday, January 19, 2002

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Friday, January 18, 2002

The Alliance
Israelis beat up Palestinian Authority for bat mitzvah attack
  • Israeli aircraft attacked Palestinian government headquarters in the West Bank town of Tulkarem and moved troops into Ramallah in retaliation for a Palestinian shooting up a little girl's bat mitzvah. Israeli forces occupied the Ramallah homes of Tawfeek Terawi, the Palestinian Authority's intelligence chief, and Fatah movement leader Marwan Barghouti. Israeli troops also reoccupied the town of Bitunia, which is adjacent to Ramallah in the West Bank, and Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer ordered the army to close off access to the Palestinian territories.
    Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed the "credit" for this attack, and the Palestinians bitched that the Israelis had their plan already worked out to avenge the attack. It's pretty hard to justify an attack that vicious and stupid.

    Terror Networks
    Lashkar and Jaish to stand down
  • Lashkar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammad have decided to suspend their activities in Jammu and Kashmir in response to the crackdown by the Musharraf government in Pakistan. Sources said radio intercepts by Indian security agencies reveal both groups have asked their cadres to restrain their activities for the time being. About 1,000 activists of the two groups — a majority of whom are Pakistani nationals — are presently active in the Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region. Most commanders of the two groups have gone underground to escape arrest.
    They intend this to be a temporary measure, but if Pakland keeps up the pressure and keeps the funding cut off, the gunnies are goners. India wins, Pakland wins, we win. Thank you, Mr. Rumsfeld! By the way, that stuff about "For every Osama you kill, a thousand will spring up to take his place" - that's all hooey. When you cut off a snake's head, the body wiggles for awhile, but eventually it dies.

    Aideed: Al-Qaeda arriving in Somalia
  • Several members of Al-Qaeda arrived in Somalia last week, via the port of Obio, Somali warlord Hussein Mohamed Aidid told reporters in Ethiopia. Aidid's father's forces were involved in heavy fighting with an ill-fated UN operation spearheaded by US troops in Somalia in 1993. Aidid named the arrivals as Sheikh Abdurahman Jhalid Zubeir from Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdellah Al-Mahdi from Yemen, and Sheikh Abdelmejid and Sheikh Zeit Abu Mussa from Egypt. He said members of a local extremist group, Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, also entered Somalia with the al-Qaeda members.
    Aidid isn't his father - in fact he's an ex-Marine, who fought in the Gulf War. Bite the bullet, recognize him as the government, and give him the support to clean up the country.

    Bosnia turns over six Algerian gunnies to U.S.
  • Bosnian authorities turned six Algerian terror suspects over to U.S. authorities after a tense all-night standoff with protesters in front of a Bosnian jail. A Sarajevo court initially had ordered the men released because their period of detention without being charged had expired. Supporters of the men clashed with police to prevent the transfer, but police used batons to clear the way for police vehicles transporting the hooded and shackled men. U.S. officials confirmed the six, who were arrested in October by Bosnia police, had been handed over, but would not reveal their present whereabouts. Human rights officials in Sarajevo immediately condemned what they described as illegal and unethical pressure by Americans in Sarajevo on local authorities to turn the men over, despite several local court rulings that should have prevented the transfer.
    That's okay. Criticize all you want. As long as we have them. We'd probably like to talk to their "supporters," too, if it's alright with the human rights wieners.

    Brits arrest four more gunnies in Leicester
  • Anti-terrorist police arrested four people in Leicester in the latest phase of a continuing operation to round up suspects believed to be involved with terrorist activities. The arrests of two men and two women, aged 28 to 31, on immigration charges followed the arrests of 13 people in London and Leicester on Thursday. All 17 people are now in custody in Leicester and are being questioned by agents from the security forces as well as immigration authorities. Nine of the men arrested during Thursday's operation were held on suspicion of terrorism, and the rest of the suspects face charges related to immigration offenses. Officials had no immediate comment on reports by a French radio station, Europe 1, that the arrests were linked to investigations into planned attacks by Islamic militants in France.
    Britain will look much nicer after a good housecleaning, too.

    Seven Russian troops killed in Dagestan
  • Seven Russian soldiers died and three others were seriously wounded when a troop truck was blown apart in the center of Makhachkala, capital of Dagestan. Dagestan, a mainly Muslim province which borders on Chechnya, has seen several flare-ups of unrest of its own over the past few years.
    Being next door to Chechnya doesn't help matters. Y'know, the more money the Saudis put into the area, the higher the level of violence becomes. Just can't understand why.

    Greece on al-Qaeda hit list
  • Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said Greece had been told that it had been targetted by Al-Qaeda. Papandreou told reporters that the information came from Lebanon and was gleaned from Al-Qaeda prisoners who were not identified. He gave no further details, but a Foreign Ministry source said Greek officials had been briefed on the situation by US and Israeli intelligence services. They were told that Al-Qaeda suspects arrested in Lebanon had been planning attacks against US and European targets in Greece and other European countries.
    Can't understand why they'd target Greece. You can't get much more anti-American than they are.

    Home Front
    No teevee trial for Moussaoui
  • A federal judge has denied a request for televised coverage of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui.
    He can't have a pony, either.

    Sara Jane gets two ten-year sentences
  • Mad bomber-turned-housewife Sara Jane Olson was sentenced to two consecutive 10-year prison terms for her role in a 1975 bomb plot during an emotional court hearing in Los Angeles, and was then shipped off to Sacramento to face a newly filed murder charge that also stemmed from her days in the Symbionese Liberation Army.
    Too bad about that, Sara Jane. Look on the bright side: you could be on your way to Guantanamo. Move over, Mumia!

    Multiculti firefighters' memorial is no more
  • A developer has scrapped plans to commission a politically correct statue that would have changed the races of two of the three firefighters who took part in a celebrated flag-raising at Ground Zero. After talks with Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, developer Bruce Ratner abandoned efforts to erect the statue, which was to be based on a photo that made the front pages of newspapers nationwide. All three firefighters in the original picture are white. But Ratner's plan called for one fireman to be white, another to be black and the third Hispanic - setting off a firestorm of controversy.
    Millions of us non-politically correct rubes are highly gratified. It's our feeling that honoring the three specific firefighters would have honored all firefighters. Changing the races of the men makes them abstractions. It honors the commissioner's piety and relegates the actual heroes to side issues. There's also the argument that among those working in the ruins were other "races" than the three represented, so there really should be more than just three. There should be an Athabaskan to honor the Native Americans, and an Eskimo, and a Hindu, and a Sikh, and a Bushman and an Australian aborigine... Don't foget the handicapped - put one of the firemen in a wheelchair. And women. We have two sexes, you know. Make sure at least some of those are female. Don't make the bosoms too big, 'cuz that'd be sexist. Oh, and the lesbians: have some of the females holding hands or something, okay? And we all know there were lots of dogs there, working right alongside the people, so add a puppy.

    There actually are practical problems with how to represent the "Hispanic race." I personally think it was the sombrero that shot the whole idea down in the end.
  • Correction! Correction! Correction!
    Yesterday Rantburg reported, based on faulty wire service information, that a Palestinian snuffy had shot up a wedding party in Israel. We deeply apologize for mistakenly accusing an al-Aqsa hero of such an atrocity. It wasn't a wedding party, it was a bat mitzvah.
    So there. Those young girls can be dangerous, you know. Takes a lot of guts to shoot 'em up. Especially the singer, and the girl's granddaddy. Significantly, when Abed Hassouna's gun jammed guests, including young Nina's grandmother, rushed at him, hurling beer bottles and chairs. Motti Hasson, a neighbor, slammed the snuffy's face with a chair. Guests thumped the sonofabitch unconscious and dragged his bleeding carcass outside the banquet hall. A police officer arriving at the scene put him away like any other mad dog.

    Seems being a crazed gunman's getting to be a dangerous occupation, even for suicide killers.

    Thursday, January 17, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Peace seems to be on the horizon for Indo-Pak
  • India's defense minister said he believes that despite another terrorist attack blamed on militants in Kashmir, the standoff between his country and Pakistan may be "on the way to resolution." Asked about a Kashmir bomb blast that killed one and injured 15, he said: "Against the backdrop of recent developments I have reason to believe sooner or later these issues will now be on the way to resolution."
    The Bad Guys miscalculated terribly in the Parliament bombing. It was supposed to be a diversion from Tora Bora, maybe involve Pakland and India in a spat and draw troops from the western border. Instead, it brought the two countries to the edge and scared the Paks enough that they ended up cracking down seriously on the religious loons. Following closely on the heels of getting waxed in Afghanistan, the gunnies were shown to be not as tough as they appeared. Truly an historic event.

    Fazlur Rahman goes underground... Three more groups to be banned
  • Pakistan is planning to ban three more militant outfits active in Kashmir: Harkat-ul Mujahideen, Al Badar and Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami. The government is holding high level deliberations to ban these outfits and the announcement could come in the next few days. There have been reports of police arresting leaders and militants of these two groups. Police also raided the house of the leader of Harkat ul Mujahideen, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, but he managed to go underground.
    If it's the same Fazlur Rehman, he's one of the signators of the Crusade Against Christians and Jews, along with Binny and al-Zawahri. It's be a lot better for world peace and the health and safety of numerous Pakistanis if he met with some sort of tragic accident.

    Kashmir thugs bomb market
  • A bomb exploded in a busy market in Indian-administered Kashmir, killing one man in the first major suspected guerrilla attack since Pakistan began a crackdown on Islamic militants. The blast coincided with the arrival in New Delhi of Secretary of State Colin Powell on a mission to defuse tension between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan. Eight other people were injured in the blast, three critically. The makeshift bomb concealed in a drain exploded in the Kanakmandi market of Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir. "This was obviously a militant attack. No sane element would do this," a police official said.
    That statement pretty much sums it up in a nutshell (so to speak). From the point of view of an unbalanced mind, some "special gift" had to be prepared for Powell's arrival, especially given the crackdown on loons in Pakland. "Whatever you do, don't disagree with him. It'll set him off."

    Crackdown on Bad Guys continues in Pakland
  • Police arrested scores of suspected militants in Kashmir and sealed dozens more offices of Islamic extremists as part of President Pervez Musharraf's crackdown on terrorism. In the latest raids, police closed offices of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammed in the capital of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir as well as several other cities and towns of the region. Authorities also closed down offices of the Harakatul Inqalab-e-Islami, a smaller militant group. In most major cities and towns of Pakistani Kashmir, banners, billboards and wall-chalking calling for jihad against India have been removed. More arrests were also reported in Punjab, Sindh and other parts of Pakistan.
    A country always looks better after a thorough housecleaning, doesn't it?

    Three snuffies depart gene pool in Kashmir
  • The Indian army killed three militants in the first major gun battle between security forces and rebels since Islamabad outlawed two frontline pro-Kashmiri separatist groups in Pakistan. Police said the dead men belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
    Nice shootin', Mukkerjee! Lessee, here. That's 4,995 left to go.

    Terror Networks
    Al-Aqsa snuffy bumped off
  • Khamis Ahmed Ali, 42, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, was killed near the Askar camp in a half-hour shoot-out. An Israeli military statement said that "a unit on operations overnight in the village of Askar, in a sector where Israel ensures security, surprised an armed terrorist who was killed in an exchange of fire." The death brought to 1,138 the number of people killed as a direct result of the intifada, or Palestinian uprising, including 874 Palestinians and 242 Israelis. His body was handed over to the Palestinians.
    Snuffy will get a nice funeral, with lotsa people shaking their fists and shooting guns into the air to show their manhood. Then they'll forget about him move on to the next deader. Sad, isn't it? A person never expects his own death to be boring. Enjoy the virgins, Khamis.

    Palestinian suicide thug shoots up Israeli wedding party
  • A gunman opened fire on a packed wedding hall in the Israeli city of Hadera, wounding some 20 people, police sources said. The sources said the attacker was a Palestinian, with a belt of explosives strapped on, who had also hurled a grenade. At least five people were killed. A source said the gunman was shot but it was not clear if he had been killed.
    Well, we certainly hope he's not dead. There are some people who'd like very much to talk to such a heroic fellow. We've found that people are much less likely to be armed when they're at weddings, too.

    PFLP sez it'll kill Palestinian Authority security chiefs if it can't have its way
  • The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine threatened the lives of Palestinian Authority security chiefs if they do not stop arresting their members. "We warn the Palestinian Authority's security leaders, especially Tawfiq al-Tirawi, head of West Bank intelligence, and Ramallah police chief Mohammed Saleh, to stop arresting our members and leaders, otherwise our hand will reach them whatever guards they may have," the group said in a statement.
    Any time now, they're gonna go to the matresses. These guys get their dialog from bad movies, don't they?

    Israel jugs nine PFLP
  • Nine members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine were arrested by Israeli security services in the West Bank. They are accused of having prepared attacks against Jewish settlers with weapons provided by the PFLP in Nablus.
    Bet those arrests made certain Palestinian Authority biggies happy. Imagine being able to say to yourself, "Maybe I'm gonna get blown up, but at least I know it ain't gonna be by Ali "Lips" Moussa or Hasni "Big Tony" al-Mansour." Wotta comforting feeling.

    MNLF looking for an excuse to resume hostilities
  • Up to 50 members of the 400-member police "special mobile group", drawn from detained Muslim leader Nur Misuari's Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerrilla group, were to have been shipped out of Misuari's stronghold of Jolo. However, the men have refused to turn in their firearms and decamp, demanding that Army Scout Rangers and Marines also be pulled out of Jolo. "If their demand is not met, they may return to the hills," an official warned. The former rebels have been restricted to camp since Wednesday, when members of the unit allegedly butchered three Scout Rangers in a clash at the Jolo public market. The unit was also involved in a firefight with Marines in Jolo on Tuesday that left 32 people dead including nine Marines.
    Not to be brutal or Machiavellian or anything, but wouldn't it be a lot more cost-effective if there was an "unfortunate accident"? Maybe something involving explosives?

    The Alliance
    Five al-Qaeda caught wearing women's clothes in Pakistan
  • Five suspected members of al-Qaida network were arrested in Pakistan after a high-speed car chase as they tried to flee into a tribal area out of the government's reach disguised in women's burqas. The men were taken into custody outside Daoud Khel in Punjab province after they struck a pedestrian and police chased them. Local police said the men included a Saudi, a Yemeni and at least one Pakistani.
    Hey, guys. You're not in Afghanistan anymore and the Taliban's not there anymore. You'll have to stop when you hit one of the "natives" with your car. By the way, that's a stunning burqa, Adbul. Oooh, and there's matching underwear, too! How stylish!

    Two Algerian snuffies charged in Britain
  • Two Algerian men allegedly involved in a plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy in Paris were charged with membership in al-Qaida and police said eight others were arrested under Britain's Terrorism Act in raids north of London. Brahim Benmerzouga, 30, was charged with directing terrorism, inciting terrorism overseas, membership in a proscribed organization and conspiracy to support terrorism by raising funds. Baghdad Meziane, 37, was charged with possession of racist videos and a solar-powered battery which could be used to power explosive devices or make satellite telephone calls. Both men had been detained by immigration authorities since their arrest on Sept. 25 in the city of Leicester, 100 miles north of London, according to the Crown Prosecution Service. The prosecutors said both men were suspected of involvement in the Paris embassy plot.
    See you later, boys. Much later. Bet they're wondering how many times their names and aliases appear in those Afghan computer files.

    Singapore info leads to Philippines arms cache
  • Philippine authorities dug up a cache of explosives and arrested three men with suspected links to al-Qaida network. Authorities were acting on information supplied by Singapore, which is investigating a suspected al-Qaida cell in its midst. Among the stockpile, authorities found cylinders of explosive materials packed in cartons and wrapped in blue plastic. The markings on the cylinders indicated they were manufactured in the Philippines province of Bataan, west of Manila. Police also dug up 17 dismantled M-16 rifles, detonation cords and other bomb-making materials. Officials would not release information on the three men arrested. Workers dug up the arms cache in the yard of a house rented by a man identified as Abu Ali Ramos in the village of Labangal.
    Nice, the way all those little pieces of intel fit together. The hard drives in Afghanistan lead to the gunnies in Malaysia and Singapore, and the Singapore lead stretches to Indonesia and the Philippines.

    Yemen to toss foreign religious fanatics
  • More than 100 foreigners enrolled in Muslim religious schools in Yemen, including British and French nationals, have been detained and are awaiting deportation, an official newspaper reported.
    Yemen has enough trouble of its own, without importing it from elsewhere.

    International
    Sammy sez Iraq is ready to take on the US
  • Iraq won't be caught off guard if attacked by U.S. forces, sometime romance novelist and President-for-Life Saddam Hussein said. During an address marking the 11th anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War, Saddam accused the United States of resorting to war rather than dialogue. He warned it would lead to the United States' collapse "in the near future" as the world's sole superpower.
    Yeah, yeah. Just shut up, Sammy. We'll get to you after we've taken care of the important stuff. Sammy's a good illustration of the difference between "terrorism" and "terrible." This guy's ego is bruised because no one's afraid of him.

    Arafat: Israelis kill Palestinian children for spare parts
  • Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web today posts this link to Arafat's charge, via Islamic Association for Palestine press release, that Israelis kill Palestinian children and sell their body parts.
    The truth is out there. This isn't it.
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Musharraf introduces electoral reforms...
  • President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to a long-standing demand from the non-Muslim minority for a single electorate system. The president also substantially increased the number of seats in the National Assembly and increased the quota of seats reserved for women in a series of reforms ahead of elections later this year. Under the existing separate system of voting, 10 seats were reserved for non-Muslim minorities, with exclusive elections for their communities. The system, introduced in 1985, was strongly opposed by non-Muslims, particularly Christians. "It will remove insecurity in the Christian community," said Shahbaz Bhatti, president of Christian Liberation Front. The National Assembly, dissolved after the 1999 coup which put Musharraf in power, will be increased from 237 seats to 350 in the elections expected to be held by October. The number of seats reserved for women has been raised from 20 to 60, and 25 new seats have been created for technocrats. The reforms also include a requirement that National Assembly candidates must hold a university bachelor's degree. That should be good for a raft of votes from grateful minorities, and at the same time should weaken the influence of the fundos. Requiring a bachelor's degree locks out the madrassah graduates. Not a bad move. Only thing that bothers me: Does everybody in Pakistan have a "Liberation Front"?

    Almost 2,000 thugs rounded up in Pakland...
  • As part of a sweep ordered Saturday by President Musharraf, authorities have rolled across Pakistan, climbing compound walls, breaking down doors and arresting men they say are Islamic militants. Since Musharraf banned two anti-Indian groups and three other organizations, police have sealed 615 offices and arrested 1,957 suspects. Surprising, the number of arrests that took place in well-to-do neighborhoods. Yasss. Surprising. Heh heh.

    Pakland cracks down on madrassahs...
  • The Pakistani government has sent a 21-point questionnaire to all madrasas and mosques in the country seeking adminstrative and functional details. The exercise is part of the implementation of the measures announced by President Musharraf in his televised speech to the nation against religious extremism and sectarianism on Saturday. The questionnaire seeks information on the year of the establishment of the madrasa or the mosque, the sect it belongs to, details of its office-bearers, its source of funding (government, local or private donations), and whether it is housed in in a built-up premises or mud structure. The madrasas not getting themselves registered with the government during the current exercise will be closed down, an official said. Also shut will be the seminaries found indulging in sectarianism, extremism and terrorism. There will be a great weeping and gnashing of teeth over this. They've fought previous efforts along the same lines tooth and nail.

    Gunnies shoot up Lahore airport...
  • Two unidentified men exchanged gunfire with security men at the Lahore airport, wounding at least three security men. The gunmen, riding a car, fired volleys of bullets at the Airport Security Force officials at the main entrance. The security officials fired back, smashing the car's windshield, but the gunmen managed to escape. No group claimed the responsibility for the attack, which occurred when no flights were scheduled. There will be lots more of these little episodes as the Professionally Pious register their unhappiness with Musharraf.

    Mysterious fire destroys records on banned groups...
  • The mysterious fire that broke out in a 16-storey state-owned building in Islamabad reportedly destroyed valuable records containing information on Islamic militant outfits, some of them which were banned by the Pakistan government. The 16-storey building was largely gutted in the fire and fire officials said that more than 10 floors were completely destroyed. The fire was initially noticed in the top 16th floor which housed the records of the militants outfits. Golly. What a surprise. Who could've expected such a thing? I'll bet you could knock Hamid Gul over with a feather.

    125 Pak jihadis return from Afghanistan...
  • 125 jihadis of the now-banned Tanzim Nifaz Shariat-i-Mohammadi (TNSM) arrived home after being released from prisons in Afghanistan. The activists were part of the thousands of other TNSM volunteers who had gone to Afghanistan led by their now-detained amer Maulana Sufi Muhammad in November. Hundreds have returned since the fall of the Taliban and thousands others are still unaccounted for, or are in prisons in Afghanistan. One of the activists said that at least 12,000 of the formr TNSM volunteers had been arrested in Kandahar, Kunduz and Kabul. That figure sounds a bit high. It's probably a euphemism for "a whole lot."

    India eases stance with Pakland...
  • India said it was open to dialogue with Pakistan and called a speech by the Pakistani president "path-breaking." Indian Home Minister Lal K. Advani praised a speech in which President Musharraf condemned terrorism and vowed to curb Islamic militants. Advani's comments followed his return from Washington and came on the eve of a visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell. Musharraf appears to have taken a deep breath and set about doing things right. Here's hoping he's successful - and that none of his constituents shoots him.

    Terror Networks
    PLO arrests head of PFLP...
  • Israel has dismissed Chairman-for-Life Yasser Arafat's arrest of Ahmed Saadat, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said it was another faked arrest in Arafat's "empire of lies". Israel denies Arafat has made good on promises to crack down on radicals when he pledged a ceasefire last month that led to several weeks of relative calm. The Damascus-based PFLP, a secular left-wing faction of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, warned the arrest would sink the Palestinian Authority into "complete political confrontation with all nationalist and Islamic Palestinian forces, without exception, and with the Palestinian people in its entirety". Abdel Rahim Mallouh said a senior Palestinian Authority official had told the PFLP its chief was being invited to a political meeting. Awwww. We can't believe that! Arafat? Lie to somebody? You gotta be kiddin'! That'd never happen - not Mister Good Faith! (Actually, this little Parcheesi game is getting boring.)

    Palestinian bumped off by mistake...
  • A Palestinian man carrying medical supplies was found dead in his car in the West Bank. Israeli police said gunmen apparently mistook him for a Jew. It was the third shooting death in two days on the West Bank. Oops. Sorry 'bout that.

    MNLF violence continues in Philippines...
  • Five soldiers were killed in fresh fighting in the southern Philippines island base of jailed Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari, pushing the death toll to 37. Provincial governor Yusop Jikiri said the soldiers were attacked on Wednesday near the Jolo public market, a day after a firefight around a pro-Misuari rally nearby left up to 32 people dead, including nine soldiers and 20 Misuari supporters. The fighting occurred a week after Malaysia deported Misuari to stand trial for rebellion.
    The tactic will be to escalate violent clashes to the point where the Great Man's release can be demanded with some chance of compliance. Some hostages, maybe a few head-choppings, and he's back on the streets.

    Arroyo taking heat over US help against Abu Sayyaf...
  • President Gloria Arroyo has come under fire for the planned deployment of US Special Forces troops in the southern Philippines for joint operations against Abu Sayyaf. Senators demanded an intelligence briefing, and an opposition leader warned that both governments were retracing the circumstances that led to the US military debacle in the Vietnam War. First steps in opposing the operation: bring political pressure to bear to call it off.

    Nepali Maoists stage jailbreak...
  • A group of Maoist terrorists attacked the central jail of Surkhet district in Nepal, and helped to free 32 inmates by digging a tunnel at the backside compound of the jail. One group of Maoists attacked the jail with guns and kept security personnel occupied by exchanging fire with them while others helped the inmates escape. Background noise. This is one of the few groups operating that's not associated with al-Qaeda. The politicals seem almost quaint.

    The Alliance
    Al-Qaeda money man turns himself in...
  • A leading financier of the al Qaida terrorist network has turned himself in at the airport in Kandahar. CNN, quoting U.S. military sources, reported early Wednesday that the as yet unnamed financier "literally showed up at the front gate ... and is now in custody." The financier's surrender came not long after American troops captured seven more prisoners. Military officials said it was not clear if the prisoners were from al Qaida or the Taliban, but they were captured in eastern Afghanistan, where defense officials believe al Qaida members are still at large. Nice to have the money guys. You get the checkbook, you get the organization.

    Possible chem weapons discovered in Afghanistan...
  • US forces have discovered canisters at an undisclosed site in Afghanistan that from the outside appear to be chemical weapons. "There are canisters that have been found that ... externally .. appear to be weapons of mass destruction. But until we get into them, look at them, analyze it, find out what it was, we're not going to know," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. He said the canisters appeared to contain chemical agents. Not a surprise. There were reports last month of cannisters labeled "Sarin" gas. Turned out they were empty.

    Al-Libi sings, Yemen plot uncovered...
  • Foreign Ministry officials in Yemen said information received from the United States came from interrogations of a senior al-Qaida figure, Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, who is in U.S. custody, tipped them to the threat against the US embassy in Sana'a. Al-Libi is a Libyan who ran some of bin Laden's training camps. The plan called for detonating a truck loaded with a ton of explosives. That's one blocked. There will be others. Eventually they'll manage to get one to work again. But until then, let's keep pushing our advantage. Doesn't sound like al-Libi expects to be going anywhere, ever. Otherwise he wouldn't have broken omerta.

    Home Front
    More al-Qaeda gunnies arrive at Guantanamo...
  • A third group of 30 Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners from Afghanistan arrived at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo. The arrivals bring the number of captives held at the "Camp X-Ray" detention center to 80. Perhaps Mary Robinson would like to pop by and care for them, since she's so concerned.

    More charges against Maxwell Smart...
  • A new indictment against attempted Shoe Bomber Maxwell Smart "Richard Reid," included charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted homicide of U.S. nationals overseas, placing explosive devices on an aircraft, attempted destruction of an aircraft, attempted murder of 197 passengers and crew, interfering with a flight crew, attempting to set fire and destroy an aircraft, and a new anti-terrorism offense, attempted wrecking of a mass transportation vehicle. Ummm... The sentiment is good, but I was always taught that "weapons of mass destruction" referred to Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons.

    Sneaker Boy was al-Qaeda target scout...
  • Captured computer files in Afghanistan indicate "Reid's" travels last summer were a target scouting mission for al-Qaeda. "Brother Abdul Ra’uff" followed the same itinerary as Shoe Boy during the same time frame. A senior Israeli intelligence official says Israel is "positive" Reid was been sent to Israel by al-Qaida to scope out possible targets. That would seem to indicate "Brother Abdul" was a pretty trusted operative. It would also seem to line him up for the high jump.

    Johnny Jihad to be charged with conspiracy to kill Americans...
  • The U.S. Justice Department charged American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh with conspiracy to kill Americans overseas. He will be tried in a civilian court and could face life in prison. The U.S. military, which has been holding Walker, will turn him over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to face trial in the U.S. He was captured at Konduz and took part in the Kala-i-Jangi uprising. Mike Spann was killed at Kala-i-Jangi. Guilty. Shoot him. How come we haven't seen Mary Robinson dwelling on the illegality of the Kala-i-Jangi uprising?

    Algerian boom boy jugged for 24 years...
  • Mokhtar Haouari, an Algerian who belonged to a militant Islamic group with suspected links to Osama bin Laden, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his role in a plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport and U.S. millennium celebrations. Haouari, 33, was found guilty last July of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist act by helping Ahmed Ressam bring explosives into the state of Washington from Canada in late 1999. Just lock him up and leave him there until somebody takes a hostage or two. It'll come.

    Charges against five Symbionese Liberation Army goons...
  • Five members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a radical U.S. group which gained fame in the 1970s by kidnapping newspaper heiress Patty Hearst, were charged with murder in connection with a 1975 bank robbery which killed a bystander. Authorities announced the charges after police raided homes in Oregon and California to arrest three of the suspects: Emily Harris, her ex-husband Bill Harris and Michael Bortin. Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully said that first degree murder charges would also be filed against Kathleen Ann Soliah, who as Sara Jane Olson pleaded guilty in October to aiding and abetting a separate crime committed by the extremist group, and James Kilgore, a former SLA member who remains at large. The murder charges stem from the April 21, 1975 shooting death of Myrna Opsahl, a 42-year-old mother of four who was shot and killed when the group raided the Crocker National Bank in Carmichael, California. Even if the perps are rounded up in an old folks' home, they should still be brought to trial, no matter how long ago it was. The victim will still be dead. There's no difference between them, Shoe Boy, Johnny Jihad, or the al-Qaeda snuffies at Guantanamo.

    International
    Mary Robinson sez al-Qaeda prisoners are POWs...
  • Taliban and al Qaida fighters held at a U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are prisoners of war who should be repatriated once armed hostilities end unless they face criminal charges, a U.N.'s human-rights official said. "The overwhelming view of legal opinion is that they were combatants in an international armed conflict and their status is defined and protected by the Geneva Conventions of 1949," said Mary Robinson, U.N. high commissioner for human rights. "They are prisoners of war." Asked about reports of an estimated 50 prisoners being drugged while transported and kept in outside cages, Robinson told reporters, "We are very concerned and are seeking to ascertain more information." Shucks, Mary. We sure are sorry we turned down your offer to round them up for us. Nice of you to step in and take charge, now that the shooting's over.
  • Today's Pat and Mike Joke
    Pat and Mike were approaching a Londonderry pub when there was suddenly an enormous explosion. A Prostestant bomb had gone off in the very building they were intending to visit. Quickly they ran toward the building, and as they did, a head rolled out of the smoldering ruins and across the pavement, to spin to a stop before them. Pat stooped, picked it up and held it for Mike to see.

    "Sure now Mike, isn't this Sean Murphy?"

    Mike looked closely, then let his breath out in relief. "No, Pat, no, it couldn't be. It's an amazin' resemblance, I'll admit, but Murphy is much taller than that."
    No Senzayuma Watch
    Andrea points to an MSN article harping on PC office manners. She sez "Guess what? It's not nice to make fun of minorities! Wow. Who knew?"

    Some things stick in your mind, and others stick in your craw. That article's been in the craw all night and throughout most of the day. I've jumped up and down to try and loosen it, and I had the Little Woman (less than 18 inches tall!) heimlich me a couple times, all with no success.

    MSN must be a really crummy place to work, a place utterly devoid of humor. If the old senzayuma is what sets man apart from the animals, MSN must be overrun by swine. Think how many jokes you've ever heard in your life that haven't been at someone's expense, drawing a verbal caricature. Pat and Mike? The priest, the minister and the rabbi? Bruce and Lance? Alistaire and Percy? The French army? Abdul and his beloved camel? Cowboy Tom and the sheep? All the hundreds of Clinton jokes? "There were these two hookers, see?" How about Ole and Lena, every Chinese laundry joke ever told, and all those Polish jokes? Tyrone and Tyreene? Horny men? ("'Grewsome, isn't it?' - 'Yes, hasn't it!'") Little Johnny jokes are offensive to foul-mouthed little boys, Little Suzy jokes to promiscuous little girls. Perhaps elephant jokes don't offend a group from one point of view, but let's not be speciesist, or the Animal Liberation Front will burn your house down and PETA will sue you.

    The really, really awful thing about PC is its utter lack of a senzayuma. The (small L) libertarian cringes at the attempt to control one's very thoughts. Comes the libertarian revolution, after we've shot all the professors of English and sociology and the staff of Salon, everyone will have to take his/her/its/their turn in the barrel of mockery. It is more (small D) democratic for a proud people to be able to offend not only everyone but anyone, with the question of who a person will offend at a given moment being left to tact and good manners.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    Musharraf sez no compromise on support to Kashmir struggle... Religious fanatic parties can't operate under new names... Pak gunnies to go underground... Paks can't find the money trail... 5,000 thugs on banned group rolls... Six religious fanatic leaders arrested in Quetta...
  • Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said his government would never compromise its support for the Kashmiris' struggle against Indian rule despite its crackdown on Islamic militants. "There should be no doubt in any mind about our commitment to the Kashmir cause and the people of Kashmir," he said while addressing the inaugural session of the newly constituted National Kashmir Committee. "We will continue to support the just freedom struggle of Kashmiris politically, diplomatically and morally," the general was quoted as saying by the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just make sure they can the "armed struggle" approach. Talking's not as romantic as shooting and blowing things up, but it'll be more effective and it prevents radioactivity.
  • The Pakistan government said the five radical Islamic groups it banned at the weekend were prohibited by law from operating under new names. The interior ministry also said in a statement newspapers might be prosecuted if they published statements in support of the banned groups. The Nation newspaper on Monday quoted a spokesman from the banned Tehrik-e-Jafria Pakistan (TJP) as saying it would operate under the name of Quaid-i-Millat Jafria. Shucks. They hate it when that happens. They'd still be crazed killers even if they renamed themselves the Snuggly Puppy Party.
  • Pakistani militants belonging to the five banned outfits have gone underground to circumvent the order of President Pervez Musharraf. Commanders of the rebel groups have ordered thousands of followers to go into hiding. Many have already changed their identities. In another move to prevent their telephone messages from being tapped, Islamic militants said they were working to build a communication network that would enable them to continue their actions without tipping off the authorities. A follower of Lashkar-i-Taiba said that members would keep in touch with one another via "web-based e-mail, internet bulletin boards and electronic paging, as well as short-messaging services on their mobiles." If they'd been doing it right from the start, they'd already be hidden underground. Up until now, Pakland hasn't even been trying to make it hard on the snuffies.
  • Pakistani officials have had little success in tracking down the financial assets of the terrorists. The Central Bank has so far found no money in their accounts. No surprise. Lots of their money's in ISI coffers, but probably the bulk of it is in the accounts of affiliated "charities" and other dummies. Look into religious institutions' accounts, too; there'll be a bunch there. The remainder's outside the country - not that much, 'cause it's harder to reach - and in wife and kiddy accounts, a single remove from the actual user. You're welcome. Glad to help.
  • Pakistan's Interior Ministry has estimated that the five Kashmiri rebel groups have about 5,000 people on their rolls, many of them trained in guerrilla warfare. That's really not a huge "army" in a state of 150 million or so. They'll form a threat to law and order until the money runs out - not from their own coffers, but from al-Qaeda and whoever's the next level up from Osama bin Laden. Once that's gone, they'll wither away because they'll have to get jobs.
  • Militants ambushed BSF patrol parties at two places, injuring a sub-inspector in Jammu and Kashmir where two gunnies, including a self-styled district commander of Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen, were arrested. Well, guess that's 4,998 left on the rolls. We're making progress, aren't we?
  • Police arrested six leaders of religious parties as part of the crackdown on activists of extremist organizations. The leaders were taken into custody when they gathered outside the Quetta Press Club to address a press conference. Meanwhile, provincial authorities raided over 160 madrassahs functioning in different parts of Balochistan. Golly. That's terrible. Those poor, pious holy men! Well, Hazel, guess things'll be quiet around there for awhile.

    The Alliance
    US intel going over the books with Kuwait... MILF in cease-fire with Philippines... MILF to give up kidnaping hobby... Levin sez we may shake the Saudi dust from our feet...
  • An American intelligence delegation is meeting with several security, financial and banking officials in Kuwait to collect information about bank accounts and names in the framework of the terrorism-fighting campaign. The least glamorous part of intelligence gathering is wading through piles of financials. It's also among the most productive parts. Bet all those address books and check stubs they picked up in Afghanistan made the search a lot easier.
  • The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed to set up local monitoring teams to ensure compliance with the ceasefire and rehabilitation agreement they signed in August. The agreement calls for a halt to the fighting, normalization in the conflict areas in Mindanao, and relief, rehabilitation and development programs. Representatives of government and MILF negotiating panels met in Cotabato City on the composition of the monitoring teams, which will include representatives of local government units, two non-government organizations, and the religious sector. The negotiating panels have also urged representatives of the Organization of Islamic Conference to "observe and monitor" the ceasefire as well as the implementation of an agreement contained in a joint communiqué the two sides issued on Aug. 7. How interesting. Yesterday US Special Forces were on their way to advise the government troops, today MILF (they changed their name?) is ready to adhere to the agreement they made last year. Sadly for Abu Sayyaf, the openly al-Qaeda affiliated group won't have the option. They'll have to change their hats and pretend to be somebody else, or else go to Yemen.
  • The Moro Islamic Liberation Front vowed to impose “harsh sanctions” against its members who are involved in kidnapping. Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, issued the stern warning following police and military reports about alleged links of some MILF rebels to kidnapping groups in Mindanao. The warning came in the wake of a threat from Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte that he would lead an attack against MILF camps that were being used as sanctuaries of kidnapping groups. Ain't it coincidental that they should decide to go out of the kidnaping business now? Next thing you know, they'll stop chopping people's heads off. Of course, jihad won't be quite as much fun without it.
  • The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee wants the United States to close the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia and shift its air operation to another base in the region, possibly Bahrain. "The situation at the Saudi base seems very unclear. We may need to move that base," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. "I have an unease about our presence in Saudi Arabia. I think we may be able to find a place where we are much more welcomed openly." Levin added that behind the scenes, the Saudi government is no more welcoming than it behaves publicly. "I do think there is a real problem when we are told by a country, presumably an ally, doesn't want us to be seen," he said. "They act as though somehow or other they are doing us a favor." As the Saudis told Bush last August, the time may have come for a parting of the ways. Bahrain or Abu Dhabi might appreciate us more than our "best friends" the Saudis. And next time Iraq decides to roll south, maybe they'll pass Kuwait and take Saudi Arabia instead. Should that come to pass, we might have to have our national hair done, so we won't be able to make it to the defense until all the Saud family is in Monaco or Biarritz. There might even be a personable young Emir in Bahrain or Abu Dhabi who wouldn't mind too much picking up the governmental reins in Arabia.

    Terror Networks
    Al-Aqsa bumps off somebody's granddad... Palestinian snuffies shoot another woman... Philippine political rally leaves 20 dead... MNLF coordinating with Abu Sayyaf...
  • Two Israelis, one of them an 72-year-old man, were killed in West Bank attacks, despite official Palestinian insistence that a truce with Israel was still in force. Avi Boaz, 72, a resident of the Maale Adumim Jewish settlement, was found with a bullet wound to the head in Beit Sahur, a Palestinian town near Bethlehem. Israel accused the Palestinian naval police of complicity in Boaz's abduction and killing at a police checkpoint, saying they had either turned a blind eye, or possibly even helped. The killing was claimed by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Al-Aqsa said the settler was "an officer of the Zionist intelligence services" and that his killing was "a lesson ... for those with the blood of our people on their hands". Yeah. So let that be a warning to all those septuagenarian secret agents. Besides, they're so much easier to bump off than the younger ones. Less likely to be armed, too.
  • Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli woman and injured another in a drive-by shooting at the gates of the Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev. Fatah leaders insisted a ceasefire declared by Arafat a month ago was still in force. Yeah. An old man and a woman - no big thing. Inconsequential. Just ignore them while we "negotiate."
  • Army troops in civilian clothes reportedly fired at a 10,000-strong rally in Jolo, Sulu by supporters of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari and then shot it out with responding police forces, leading to at least 20 deaths and numerous casualties. Col. Jose Mabanta, Armed Forces spokesman, said nine Marines, two cops, three civilians and a Moro National Liberation Front integree were killed. At least six other persons were wounded though some reports put the number of wounded at 18. Initial reports were confusing, but sources said the fighting started after cops arrested at least one Marine in civilian clothes for carrying a grenade. Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all, except for the dead. MNLF sez the government set it up to justify having the Americans work with the locals against them, but this sounds more like a traditional Philippine political rally.
  • The Abu Sayyaf and armed followers of MNLF leader Nur Misuari are fortifying their forces in preparation for launching attacks in Western Mindanao. The leader of the Misuari forces, Papa Jalaide, has been meeting with Abu Sayyaf leader Abu Inundail since Jan. 8 in Sulu. Jalaide, together with several leaders of Abu Sayyaf including Ghalib Andang alias "Commander Robot" and Mujib Susukan, were among those charged for rebellion along with Misuari for leading the attack on an Army headquarters in Sulu in November. More than 100 people, mostly Misuari loyalists, were killed in the attack. A formidable enemy, indeed. I've often thought of naming myself "Commander Robot." It has such a romantic ring.

    International
    Sudan peace talks in Switzerland...
  • Ceasefire talks in Switzerland between the Sudanese government and the main rebel group have got off to a positive start. The two sides are meeting behind closed doors in the central Swiss town of Burgenstock to try and agree on a ceasefire in the mountainous Nuba region. Eleven representatives of the Khartoum government and seven members of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) arrived in Burgenstock, near Lucerne, for talks sponsored by Switzerland and the United States. Wonder if the government negotiators brought any slaves with them. They do make such thoughtful gifts. Sure is nice to see this set of Taliban trying to get civilized.
  • Monday, January 14, 2002

    India-Pakistan
    India waiting and watching... Over 500 arrested in Punjab... Pak mullah sez Islamic revolution brewing... Afghan Defense Council mullah calls for riots in Peshawar... Hurriyat tries to put a good face on it... Lashkar will try to carry on... Pak Muslim League just hates it... Baker's dozen snuffies decomposing in Kashmir...
  • Defense minister George Fernandes made it clear that India will not pull back its troops from the borders with Pakistan until General Musharraf translates his words into ‘‘concrete action’’ on the ground. The onus is now on the Pakistani President to ‘‘act fast’’ to deliver on his commitments. ‘‘The mobilization of Indian forces at the border is complete and any effort at de-escalation can come only, and I repeat only, if and when cross-border terrorism is effectively stopped,’’ said Fernandes on the eve of his visit to the US. Can't expect much yet. If Musharraf can hold it together through a crackdown on the psychoceramics things'll get better. But India's probably still got as much chance of facing a religious loon as Musharraf's successor sometime soon.
  • Government officials say they envisage a step-by-step process of rapprochement, should Musharraf persist on his reform course. ‘‘We will not be wanting for a response whenever Pakistan does anything positive, but we will not stick our necks out either,’’ says a senior Cabinet minister. Yeah. Don't take it too fast, and lend a hand when you can. The fundos are a significant minority in Pakland, but they're not that big a minority. The Paks really should think "secular," though. That's their ultimate salvation.
  • At least 254 offices of four banned religious militant groups have so far been sealed and 533 activists arrested in the Punjab. Good haul. The Bad Guys say the number was higher, but they tell lies even when they don't have to.
  • A Pakistani Muslim cleric said President Pervez Musharraf's sweeping crackdown on religious extremism was sowing the seeds of Islamic revolution. Maulana Abdul Aziz, imam of Islamabad's main Red Mosque, said while there had been no immediate backlash to Musharraf's crackdown, announced on a Saturday, a reaction was brewing. "This government is paving the way for Islamic revolution by creating hurdles for the Islamic parties. There may not be instant reaction but they will respond once dust is settled," the preacher said of Musharraf's decision to ban five militant Muslim groups, including two fighting Indian forces in Kashmir. Here's hoping he continues his rant in jail soon. But we suspect the worst he'll get is house arrest.
  • "Jihad runs in our blood, and it can't be eliminated just by banning few groups in the country," said Maulana Samiul Haq, chief of the Afghan Defense Council, a coalition of 35 pro-Taliban Islamic militant groups. He called on all Muslims to join in an anti-government demonstration Jan. 27 in Peshawar. Hell, yeah! Jihad's lots more fun than getting a job and working for a living and being a good citizen. And it pays more, when you're a mullah. If you're really lucky, you can make your country just like Afghanistan was.
  • Syed Ali Geelani, a prominent Jamiat-i-Islami leader and former chairman of the All-Pakistan Hurriyat Council, said, ‘‘It is encouraging to note that Pakistan would continue to offer political, diplomatic and moral support to Kashmiris.’’ Senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq categorically rejected Musharraf’s declaration that Pakistan would not allow extremists to perpetuate terrorism in the name of ‘‘Kashmir struggle’’. ‘‘Musharraf’s declaration would not prevent Kashmiri from carrying on the ‘freedom struggle’, he said. Hurriyat conduits in Pakistan have also informed its leadership in Srinagar to lie low following Musharraf’s speech. Meanwhile, besides arresting four middle-level Hurriyat leaders, in Srinagar and Anantnag, police raided the houses of Hurriyat leaders. Police also searched the houses of two relatives of senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Buchpora. The Paks are now implementing the much-needed crackdown. Hopefully it'll continue.
  • Even if Pakistan follows up on its President‘s declaration against supporting terrorism, an immediate end to militancy in the Valley is unlikely. Laskhar-e-Taiba and other Pakistan-based militant outfits have reiterated their resolve to continue the ‘‘holy war’’ in Jammu and Kashmir. Army sources point out the ammunition dumped by the militants over the past 12 years will help them carry on for six more months at least even if Pakistan actually stops sending consignments of arms and ammunition to militants. According to a Laskhar militant Abdul Majid alias Batta, there are about 2,000 young boys in the LeT ranks operating here, who are indoctrinated to the extent that they would kill even their parents to carry out their Amir‘s (leaders) orders. If the Bad Guys let up at all, they're finished. Right now they're probably trying real hard to find more funding - assuming the ISI really cuts them off.
  • Secretary General of Pakistan Muslim League Saranjam Khan has said that Gen Pervez Musharraf had strengthened the weak and anaemic case of the terrorist state of India by succumbing to her unjust demands. Ummm. Yep. We can put him down in the "no" column.
  • Indian troops shot dead 13 "freedom fighters" including two alleged Dutch gunmen. Indian security forces claimed that two of the slain militants were from the Netherlands and said they were gunned down after they attacked a patrol in Srinagar. "Armed with knives the two attacked a BSF patrol party, injuring two of our men," an Indian army spokesman said. "Alert BSF personnel guarding the gate of the hotel shot the two dead." The BSF identified them as "el-Bakiolli Ahmed" and "el-Hussuowi Khaliq" and said they held Dutch passports. Five members of Kashmir's Hizbul Mujahideen group were also shot dead in separate gunbattles in southern Kashmir. Two of them were from Pakistan. Six other gunmen were killed in other fights in the area. That's the stuff. Keeping on shooting and knifing. Import a few outside gunnies. And then sit around and try to figure out why the government's cracking down on you just for bringing the nation to the brink of nuclear war.

    Terror Networks
    Palestinian networks back in business...
  • An Israeli soldier was killed in ambush and his officer was injured Monday hours after a Palestinian militant accused of killing at least nine Israelis died in a bomb explosion. The flare-up follows the death of Raed Mahmoud Raaf Carmi, 27, chief of Fatah's armed wing in Tul Karem. Carmi was killed when a bomb exploded near his car while he was walking in the street. Palestinian Information Minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said the attack "represents a new escalation. It is an invitation by the Israeli government for a suicide attack. This is more playing with fire. This is a clear representation of the intentions of (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon and his government." Israel Radio quoted Fatah's al Aksa Brigades as assuming responsibility for the soldier's death and saying the cease-fire was cancelled because of the attack on Carmi. Israeli officials did not assume responsibility for Carmi's death -- one of them terming it a "work accident," a euphemism for having a bomb go off prematurely and killing the person building the bomb or planting it -- but said it proves the Palestinians lied when they said he was in custody. More background noise killings. Life's so boring when when a cease-fire is in effect. Can't prove your manhood without potting a few Jews now and then.

    The Alliance
    Three Brit al-Qaeda in Guantanamo, more on the way... 450 al-Qaeda in custody... Banditi kidnap American in Afghanistan... US to lend a hand in Philippines... Threat to embassy in Yemen...
  • Three Britons are among suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban prisoners being held by US forces on Cuba. Six more Britons suspected of links to the Taleban or al-Qaeda in Afghanistan are reportedly being sent to the camp. Enjoy your Caribbean vacation boys. Don't have too many Bahama Mamas!
  • The U.S. military now holds almost 450 "extremely dangerous" prisoners, 20 of them at Guantanamo. Another 30 prisoners are en route to the jail, comprised of a series of open 6-by-8-foot cells. U.S. Marines and Army soldiers have 361 "detainees" at Kandahar and 52 in Bagram. Even more important than the detritus of al-Qaeda are all those notes, papers, computers and phone lists they're picking up.
  • The United States said it was investigating reports that an American citizen had been kidnapped in Afghanistan and was being held hostage. "The details are unclear. The Bureau of Consular Affairs is in touch with the American's supposed wife, and with Embassy Islamabad," a State Department spokeswoman said. War's over. Let's get back to the traditional business of the country.
  • U.S. special forces will join the Philippine military in operations against Muslim guerrillas, but will limit themselves to advice and will not take part in combat. The operation, billed as a joint exercise, will be the first significant military expansion of Washington's war against terrorism beyond Afghanistan. In line with curbs in the Philippine constitution, the special forces and other U.S. troops supporting them will not go into battle themselves against the rebels. Not a good place to be, but the PI will be better off without Abu Sayyaf. They seem to be doing a good enough job themselves against the Moro National Liberation Front. Unless they can line up new funding, both groups should be slowly evaporating within the next six months.
  • The U.S. Embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa tightened security and suspended some services after the Yemeni government passed on information suggesting "an increased terrorist threat." Yemeni authorities deployed extra police around the embassy and closed off some nearby streets after a caller told embassy staff that the mission and U.S. citizens would be attacked. A State Department official said the threat was linked to al Qaeda. The remnants will need to have some sort of a hit in the near future just to convince the jihadis that they're still alive and operating.

    International
    Sudan offers cease-fire...
  • Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir offered to temporarily stop bombing rebel positions for four weeks in a meeting with former Sen. John Danforth, President Bush's special envoy to the conflict. "We offered to declare a voluntary, unilateral cessation of aerial bombing for four weeks as a test," Bashir's top adviser on the conflict, Ghazi Salah el-Din Atabani said. Atabani said he hoped the move would "prepare the atmosphere for a comprehensive cease-fire." U.S. officials in Danforth's delegation were skeptical. Are he trying to make the point that just because he practices slavery he's still not in the same category as the Taliban? US prestige would appear to be up.