An invaluable resource finally becomes public.
Jonathan V. Last reports: Over at the Long War Journal, Thomas Joscelyn and Bill Roggio have the first analysis of the massive trove of documents, files, and images which were recovered at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, during the raid in which bin Laden was killed.
The cache of documents, released today for the first time by the CIA, are an amazing stockpile of information that has never before been public. Per Joscelyn and Roggio:
* For the first time, there’s a picture of Hamza bin Laden, Osama’s secretive son, who’s never before been photographed.
* There’s a file with bin Laden’s hand-written, 228-page private journal.
* There’s a good deal of evidence that at the time of his death, bin Laden was still actively leading al Qaeda.
* Also, there’s a great deal of information on bin Laden’s ties to Iran and Iraq.
Here’s Joscelyn and Roggio on al Qaeda and Iran:
One never-before-seen 19-page document contains a senior jihadist’s assessment of the group’s relationship with Iran. The author explains that Iran offered some “Saudi brothers” in al Qaeda “everything they needed,” including “money, arms” and “training in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon, in exchange for striking American interests in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.” Iranian intelligence facilitated the travel of some operatives with visas, while sheltering others. Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, an influential ideologue prior to 9/11, helped negotiate a safe haven for his jihadi comrades inside Iran. But the author of the file, who is clearly well-connected, indicates that al Qaeda’s men violated the terms of the agreement and Iran eventually cracked down on the Sunni jihadists’ network, detaining some personnel. Still, the author explains that al Qaeda is not at war with Iran and some of their “interests intersect,” especially when it comes to being an “enemy of America.” Read the rest of this entry »
Paul Sperry writes: President Obama says don’t worry, the Orlando terrorist was just another “lone actor” operating in isolation, unconnected to any larger group of supporters. In fact, these so-called “lone wolves” are running in packs, and suggesting otherwise gives the public a false sense of security.
Yet Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson echoed Obama, saying Omar Mateen was “self-radicalized” without any religious, ideological or operational support from friends, family or others in the Muslim community.
“What we do know at this point is it appears this was a case of self-radicalization,” Johnson said. “He does not appear to have been part of any group.”
A more accurate picture is that Mateen, an Afghan-American, was part of a disturbingly large Muslim family of sympathizers, supporters and even co-conspirators.
For starters, his wife could face criminal charges in the attack on the gay Orlando nightclub, the deadliest act of terrorism in the US since 9/11. Noor Zahi Salman, who wed Mateen in 2011, reportedly told the FBI she knew about her husband’s planned attack and even drove him to the site of the massacre as part of a scouting operation. She also is said to have helped him case the Disney Springs shopping complex. What’s more, Salman allegedly was with Mateen when he bought ammo and a holster used in the attack.
Prosecutors have convened a grand jury to present evidence against Salman, a Palestinian immigrant, who ultimately could be indicted as an accessory to the murders of 49 people and the attempted murders of 53 others. Possible other charges include failing to report a terrorist attack and lying to federal agents.
It appears the seeds of Mateen’s hatred were planted at home.
His Afghan immigrant father, who founded a nonprofit group to support the Taliban, preached gays should be punished. In a video Seddique Mir Mateen posted on the Web, he expresses gratitude toward the Afghan Taliban, who stone homosexuals to death, calling them “our warrior brothers.”
Other statements make it clear the elder Mateen could have passed anti-gay views onto his son.
“God will punish those involved in homosexuality,” the elder Mateen said in the wake of his son’s rampage. He seemed to rationalize the targeting of gays by pointing out that his son was offended by two gay men kissing in front of his 3-year-old son during a recent family trip to Miami. Read the rest of this entry »
Mission: Control online discourse, reduce U.S. influence
SHANGHAI— James T. Areddy writes: As social media helped topple regimes in the Middle East and northern Africa, a senior colonel in the People’s Liberation Army publicly warned that an Internet dominated by the U.S. threatened to overthrow China’s Communist Party.
Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings. Beijing had better pay attention.
Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention. Its government is pushing to rewrite the rules of the global Internet, aiming to draw the world’s largest group of Internet users away from an interconnected global commons and to increasingly run parts of the Internet on China’s terms.
“Many Western companies are surrendering to Beijing’s rules so they can build a position in China, with an online population nearing 700 million.”
It envisions a future in which governments patrol online discourse like border-control agents, rather than let the U.S., long the world’s digital leader, dictate the rules.
“Ye Zheng and a Chinese researcher, writing in the state-run China Youth Daily, said the Internet represented a new form of global control, and the U.S. was a “shadow” present during some of those popular uprisings.”
President Xi Jinping—with the help of conservatives in government, academia, military and the technology industry—is moving to exert influence over virtually every part of the digital world in China, from semiconductors to social media. In doing so, Mr. Xi is trying to fracture the international system that makes the Internet basically the same everywhere, and is pressuring foreign companies to help.
“Four years after they sounded that alarm, China is paying a lot of attention.”
On July 1, China’s legislature passed a new security law asserting the nation’s sovereignty extends into cyberspace and calling for network technology to be “controllable.” A week later, China released a draft law to tighten controls over the domestic Internet, including codifying the power to cut access during public-security emergencies.
Other draft laws under consideration would encourage Chinese companies to find local replacements for technology equipment purchased abroad and force foreign vendors to give local authorities encryption keys that would let them control the equipment.
Chinese officials referred questions about Internet policy to the Cyberspace Administration of China, a recently formed government body. That agency declined to make an official available to comment for this article. Read the rest of this entry »
Jason Leopold writes: In addition to his library of English-language books on topics such as international law, voting irregularities, and the Illuminati, Osama bin Laden also had a pretty substantial porn collection.
But the CIA won’t release bin Laden’s stash of porn, which Navy Seals apparently seized during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan four years ago. That’s because, unbelievably, it’s located in an “operational file,” which is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
An operational file is defined as:
(1) files of the National Clandestine Service which document the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations or intelligence or security liaison arrangements or information exchanges with foreign governments or their intelligence or security services;
(2) files of the Directorate for Science and Technology which document the means by which foreign intelligence or counterintelligence is collected through scientific and technical systems; and
(3) files of the Office of Personnel Security which document investigations conducted to determine the suitability of potential foreign intelligence or counterintelligence sources;
“It seems like a stretch to call these [pornographic] materials operational files,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy. “Although they may have been obtained in the course of an operation, they do not have anything to do with the planning or conduct of the operation. So they don’t really fit the definition of an operational file in the CIA Information Act.”
Moreover, even if bin Laden’s porn collection wasn’t located in an operational file, the CIA said it still couldn’t release it because US law bars the agency from mailing “obscene or crime-inciting matter.”
The CIA made these questionable arguments last week, in response to a May 26 FOIA request filed last month by David Covucci, an editor at BroBible, a site that describes itself as “the ultimate destination for Bros.” Read the rest of this entry »
CENSORSHIP: From Animal Cartoons to Opposition to the Death Penalty: Just About Anything Can Land You in Prison in IranPosted: June 8, 2015
Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to an astonishing twelve years and nine months in prison on spurious charges of ‘spreading propaganda against the system,’ ‘insulting members of the parliament through paintings’ and ‘insulting the Supreme Leader’ because of her cartoon.
Elsie Auerbach reports: It seems that not one single thing escapes the attention of hardliners in Iran, bent on using the extraordinary powers they hold to suppress every effort by Iranians to exercise their right to freedom of expression. They have even decreed that men should refrain from sporting various hairdos and—yes I am not kidding—from plucking their eyebrows, because those are considered to be indications of “devil worshipping” and homosexuality.
“She was detained for three months in 2012 and eventually given a medical release because of serious health problems including seizures and temporary loss of vision, exacerbated because of the stressful and sub-standard conditions prevailing in Iran’s prisons.”
Although such preoccupations may seem risible to some, the people who are caught up in this dragnet are suffering very real and harsh consequences.
Atena Farghadani is a 28-year-old artist and women’s rights activist. She drew a cartoon depicting some members of Iran’s Majles (Parliament) with animal heads, as a form of protest against bills that are in different stages of moving through the parliamentary process that, in an effort to boost child-bearing, would among other things, restrict access to contraception and establish preferences in hiring for married women over single women.
“She has spent eight of the last ten months in prison since her original arrest last August; her trial in one of Iran’s notoriously unfair Revolutionary Courts started on May 19. She went on a hunger strike in February 2015 to protest her detention in poor conditions and suffered a heart attack.”
We just learned that she has been sentenced to an astonishing twelve years and nine months in prison on spurious charges of “spreading propaganda against the system,” “insulting members of the parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Supreme Leader” because of her cartoon. She is also being charged with “gathering and colluding with deviant groups” because she has met with the families of those killed by government agents in the unrest following the 2009 presidential elections and because of an art exhibition she held which was attended by members of Iran’s persecuted Baha’i community.
“While she was in prison last fall she was so anxious to express herself, even behind bars and deprived of art supplies, that she attempted to use small paper cups to create art. For this she was subjected to abusive treatment by prison guards.”
She has spent eight of the last ten months in prison since her original arrest last August; her trial in one of Iran’s notoriously unfair Revolutionary Courts started on May 19. She went on a hunger strike in February 2015 to protest her detention in poor conditions and suffered a heart attack.
“They have even decreed that men should refrain from sporting various hairdos and—yes I am not kidding—from plucking their eyebrows, because those are considered to be indications of “devil worshipping” and homosexuality.”
While she was in prison last fall she was so anxious to express herself, even behind bars and deprived of art supplies, that she attempted to use small paper cups to create art. For this she was subjected to abusive treatment by prison guards. Read the rest of this entry »
GLOBAL PANIC POLL RESULTS: We told You So
Jordan Schachtel reports: In a recent survey conducted by AlJazeera.net, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.
The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, with only 19% of respondents voting “NO” to supporting ISIS.
Al Jazeera Arabic’s television audience is largely made up of Sunni Muslims living in the Arab world. Its biggest viewership numbers come from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, along with a large amount of satellite
television viewers in the United States, according to research estimates.
AlJazeera.net is most popular in Saudi Arabia, the United States, Egypt, Morocco, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to the Alexa webpage analytics site. Al Jazeera claims that it has over 40 million viewers in the Arab world.
The news that an overwhelming majority of respondents to the Al Jazeera Arabic poll strongly support ISIS may not surprise long-time trackers of the controversial network. The news outfit, which is run by Qatar’s ruling family and headquartered in Doha, has a track record rife with allegations that the organization supports the narratives of Sunni terrorist groups. Read the rest of this entry »
Margherita Stancati reports: Afghanistan’s most prominent peace envoy held secret talks with former Taliban officials in China last week, accelerating regional efforts to bring the insurgency to the negotiating table, according to individuals briefed on the matter by the warring parties.
The two-day meeting, which took place in the northwestern Chinese city of Urumqi, was aimed at discussing preconditions for a possible peace process, those people said.
“These were talks about talks,” one diplomat said.
The meeting was significant for another reason: It was facilitated by Pakistan’s intelligence agency in an apparent show of goodwill aimed at a negotiated solution to the insurgency. Read the rest of this entry »
Osama’s body was chopped up and dropped from a helicopter? That’s odd. I saw video of his burial at sea
Michael Morell writes: As a career intelligence officer, I learned that there are few things in life of which you can be absolutely certain. But I am positive that a lengthy new article by journalist Seymour Hersh, which is getting widespread attention with a whole new tale about how Osama bin Laden was brought to justice, is wrong in almost every significant respect.
I can be certain because I was deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency when senior officials from our Counterterrorism Center first brought to CIA Director Leon Panetta and me the news that they had trailed an individual whom they believed was a bin Laden courier to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. And I was there for every meeting that followed as we worked through the evidence that led our analysts to conclude that the most-wanted man in the world was hiding at the compound.
[Order Michael Morell’s book “The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism–From al Qa’ida to ISIS” from Amazon.com]
So I had good reason to know that Mr. Hersh’s 10,000-word story in the London Review of Books was filled with falsehoods. But here’s something I got wrong: I was certain that Mr. Hersh’s allegations would be quickly dismissed. After all, there was a public record about the raid in statements by the White House, Pentagon and CIA, and in books by former officials such as Mr. Panetta, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others. Then there were the media appearances by the Navy SEAL who says he personally shot bin Laden. It should have been clear that either Mr. Hersh’s version of the truth was bogus or that we all had participated in one of the most successful and complex conspiracies in modern history.
Despite the many and obvious holes in Mr. Hersh’s story, his allegations gained some traction. A number of respected news organizations ranging from the New York Times to NBC News picked up slivers of information in Mr. Hersh’s account and essentially said, “Yeah, we heard something like that too.” Almost all of these accounts were attributed to anonymous former officials—many of whom admitted having at best secondhand information. Incredibly, these “I know a guy, who knows a guy who swears that . . .” accounts were given credence over on-the-record statements made in the past four years by people who were in the room—or on the scene.
Mr. Hersh has appeared in the media in recent days saying that when I and others asserted that his report was wrong, we were offering “non-denial denials” because our objections lacked specificity. All right, let me specifically address his major allegations.
• Mr. Hersh says the White House lied when it asserted that the bin Laden raid was, as he puts it, an “all-American affair and that senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services agency (ISI) were not told in advance.” The truth is that the decision not to tell the Pakistanis was made early in the discussions of our options. We would have liked to have made the raid a joint operation with the Pakistanis—what better way to strengthen the bilateral relationship?—but we simply couldn’t trust that someone in the Pakistani system would not tip off bin Laden. I was present during all of these discussions when it was resolved that we wouldn’t inform Pakistan until after the fact. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Everybody Knows Who killed Her and Why’: Gunmen Kill Prominent Female Activist Sabeen Mahmud in PakistanPosted: April 25, 2015
Friends are calling it an assassination
(KARACHI, Pakistan)— Adil Jawad reports: Gunmen on a motorcycle killed a prominent women’s rights activist in Pakistan just hours after she held a forum on the country’s restive Baluchistan region, home to a long-running insurgency, police said Saturday.
While investigators declined to speculate on a motive for the killing of Sabeen Mahmud, friends and colleagues immediately described her death as a targeted assassination in Pakistan, a country with a nascent democracy where the military and intelligence services still hold tremendous sway.
The gunmen shot both Mahmud and her mother, Mehnaz Mahmud, as they stopped at a traffic light Friday night in an upscale Karachi neighborhood, senior police officer Zafar Iqbal said. Later, Mahmud’s car was brought to a nearby police station; blood stained the car’s white exterior, the front driver’s side window was smashed and a pair of sandals sat on the floor, surrounded by broken glass.
“Two men riding a motorcycle opened fire on the car,” Iqbal said. Mahmud “died on her way to the hospital. Her mother was also wounded,” he said.
Alia Chughtai, a close friend of Mahmud, told The Associated Press that Mahmud was driving at the time of attack and her mother was sitting next to her. Chughtai said Mahmud’s driver, who escaped unharmed, was sitting in the back seat at the time of the attack. She said she did not know why the driver wasn’t driving the car.
Iqbal and other police officials declined to speculate on a motive for the slaying. However, earlier that night, Mahmud hosted an event at her organization called The Second Floor to discuss human rights in Baluchistan, an impoverished but resource-rich southwestern province bordering Iran.
Thousands of people have disappeared from Baluchistan province in recent years amid a government crackdown on nationalists and insurgent groups there. Activists blame the government and intelligence agencies for the disappearances, something authorities deny. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen L. Carter writes:
There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages — one American, one Italian — were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al Qaeda.
“Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war.”
Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war. Civilian casualties are never good. They are a tragedy, a terrible cost that must be avoided whenever possible. But in wars, they happen.
“The problem the White House faces is its stubborn insistence that its non-war is being fought with precision. Earnest used that very word repeatedly. But it’s hard to take the claim seriously in light of calculations…”
As the philosopher Michael Walzer has pointed out, in the fluidity of minute-to-minute wartime decisions, it’s not possible to act with the sort of precision that might be called for in the classroom. Targeting noncombatants is forbidden. Nevertheless, they always suffer horribly in war. Read the rest of this entry »
In India’s Thar Desert, nomads rely so much on camels for survival that the animals are revered. Livestock owners take great pride in their camels, carving intricate patterns in their fur.
[VIDEO] Obama’s Poker Skillz: Bad Bet? Double Down! President Barack Obama Doubles Down on Bizarre Refusal to Call Islamic Terrorists Islamic TerroristsPosted: February 19, 2015
Holding a Losing Hand, The President Goes All In
President Barack Obama affirmed on Wednesday his administration’s belief that the religion of violent extremists savaging Iraq and Syria is not relevant and should not matter.
There is ‘no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist,’ Obama said at the White House’s summit on counter-terror measures. ‘There is no way to predict who will come radicalized.’
‘We are not at war with Islam,’ Obama asserted. ‘We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.’
The White House on Wednesday was blitzed by reporters demanding to know when it believes that religion is meaningful in violent attacks.
The Obama administration has been loathe to refer to ISIS as ‘Islamic radicals,’ arguing that the terrorist group’s religion doesn’t matter.
Furthermore, it has at times failed to mention the religion of victims of barbaric assaults while at other times featuring it front and center.
As foreign officials descended on Washington for the White House summit taking place next door, new life was given to the controversy and it threatened to overshadow the administration’s confab.
A statement sent to reporters on Sunday evening in which White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest condemned the ‘despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists’ jump started the debate.
Notably, Earnest did not mention that the 21 Egyptians were Christians and were killed by terrorist because of their faith.
But two days before, after three, Muslim students were murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, reportedly over an altercation involving a parking space, Obama said in a statement, ‘No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.’
The statement implied that the students’ religion and the assault were linked, even though local authorities had not yet come to that conclusion.
At Wednesday’s press briefing Fox News correspondent Ed Henry implored Earnest to explain why he did not say in his statement that the slaughtered Egyptians were also Christians and asked if the White House doesn’t believe that information is ‘relevant’ to the crime.
‘It sure is,’ Earnest replied, ‘because the ISIL extremists who carried out this attack indicated that the reason that they were killing them, wasn’t just because they were Egyptian, but also because they were Christian.’
Then why not say that? pressed Henry.
‘I can’t account for that specific line in the statement,’ Earnest said, but we’ve been clear ‘that we condemn the outrageous murder of these Egyptian citizens because of their Christian faith.’
He pointed to an op-ed from the president that ran in the Los Angeles Times today as proof of the administration’s position.
In it Obama specifically states that ‘the terrorist group we call ISIL has slaughtered innocent civilians and murdered hostages, including Americans, and has spread its barbarism to Libya with the murder of Egyptian Christians.’
But why, Henry asked, did the White House feel it was necessary to immediately invoke religion when it came to the Muslim students even though the case is still under investigation.
The White House has a principle, Earnest said that ‘regardless of the faith of the individual in question, that people should not be targeted because of their religion, and what they look like or what their last name is or how they worship.’
Obama said that last Friday, Earnest said, to articulate its own believes – and one the White House believes ‘the vast majority of Americans should be able to support.’
“It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here.”
— CNN’s Jim Acosta
‘I think we’ve been very clear about what we call it and why we approach it in this way,’ he said before moving on.
Obama’s spokesman was forced to revisit the topic of radical Islamism several times throughout the briefing, with CNN’s Jim Acosta at one point saying to him, ‘It just seems like you’re tiptoeing through the tulips here’ during a back and forth about the religious undertones of the White House’s counterterrorism summit. Read the rest of this entry »
Men attacked the mosque, at least one blew himself up
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A Pakistani official says that the death toll in a militant attack on a Shiite Muslim mosque in the northwestern city of Peshawar has risen to 19.
Provincial Information Minister Mushtaq Ghani says the attack on Friday also wounded more than 40 people. There was much shooting in the immediate aftermath of the explosion but he says the violence is now over. Read the rest of this entry »
KARACHI, Pakistan – A passenger bus crashed into an oil tanker in southern Pakistan early Sunday, killing 57 people with remains charred beyond recognition, officials said.
Dr. Seemi Jamali, who heads the emergency section at Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Center in Karachi where the remains were brought, said they had received 57 bodies. Four people were also injured, she said.
“A total nine members of my family were on board and nobody survived.”
— Abdul Hafeez
She said the hospital would have to do DNA tests to identify the victims.
The Minister of Transportation for Sindh Province, Mir Mumtaz Hussain Jakhrani, said the crash happened when the passenger bus hit an oil tanker early Sunday about 31 miles outside of Karachi.
A relative of one of the victims told The Associated Press that his sister and two uncles and all their families were on board the bus. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] THIS WEEK: Taliban Butchers 130 Schoolchildren; Sets Teacher on Fire In Front of Class | LAST WEEK: Hillary Clinton Claims We Need to ‘Empathize With’ Our EnemiesPosted: December 16, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber attacked a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 45 people, officials said.
Dozens more were wounded when the bomber, who was on foot and mingling with the crowd, detonated his explosives, said Mokhis Afgha, the spokesman for the governor of Paktika province.
“There were too many people gathered in the one place to watch the game. Dozens of others are wounded and we have reports that many of them are in critical condition.”
He said the attack happened during an inter-district volleyball tournament attended by large crowed in Yahyakhail district late Sunday afternoon.
“We need urgent help from the central government because we might need to transfer wounded people to Kabul for treatment.”
“There were too many people gathered in the one place to watch the game. Dozens of others are wounded and we have reports that many of them are in critical condition,” Afghan said. Read the rest of this entry »
…the group of Taliban militants who were behind the shooting of Malala Yousafzai in 2012 have been arrested. Until now, not a single person had been arrested. According to the army’s press officer, 10 attackers have been identified and arrested. Malala is now based in Britain, but is not able to return home to Pakistan because of Taliban threats to kill her and her family members. Two other girls were wounded in the attack…(read more)
Clashes Continue Between Antigovernment Crowds and Police
ISLAMABAD—Antigovernment protesters on Monday briefly occupied the headquarters of the country’s state television, causing its broadcast to go blank, in a further escalation of the political crisis that is threatening to bring down the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“The government claims that we are only 5,000 people. So we decided to show them what ‘5,000’ people can do, we chased the police from here.”
— Amir Shahzad, one of the protesters
Armed soldiers and paramilitary Rangers forces arrived at the scene by noon local time, prompting the protesters leave the building. The soldiers surrounded the compound. Read the rest of this entry »
(at the Avis Frank Gallery,
— Toby Harnden (@tobyharnden) June 10, 2014
For The Diplomat, Waris Husain writes: Last month the world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Dignitaries from around the world delivered speeches to mark the occasion, but UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s statement was perhaps the most remarkable, as he admitted that the United Nations was “ashamed” of its failure to prevent the mass killing. At the same time Ban was making this statement, a Shia doctor was gunned down in Karachi, Pakistan by sectarian terrorists, as part of a self-avowed campaign to “make Pakistan a graveyard” for all Shias.
The international community can no longer ignore the alarming rise in violence directed at Pakistan’s Shia minority.
Despite the escalation of targeted killings of Shia leaders and large-scale bombings of Shia neighborhoods, the Pakistani government and international community have failed to apply the lessons from cases like Rwanda in recognizing the early warning signs of an impending genocide perpetrated by sectarian terrorist groups. While the murder rates of Shias in Pakistan is nowhere close to the 800,000 Tutsis killed in Rwanda, members of the international community are duty-bound to prevent mass killing events before they occur.
The Shia’s plight must be understood in the context of Pakistan’s position within the larger sectarian struggle between Sunnis, largely supported by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and Shias, supported by Iran and its close allies. Pakistan walks a tightrope in this conflict as it shares a border with Iran, but relies on Saudi Arabia for aid and political patronage. This international tension has domestic implications with 20 percent of Pakistan’s population belonging to the Shia faith, amounting to nearly 25 million people who are being threatened with extermination by sectarian outfits.
To understand the threat that Pakistan’s Shias face, one must look to the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of Genocide, to which Pakistan is a signatory. Under the Convention, a genocide occurs when a party has the intent to destroy a religious, ethnic, or racial group “in whole, or in part” and acts on that intent by killing, injuring, or deliberately causing conditions leading to the physical destruction of that group. Read the rest of this entry »
Police said the attackers opened fire on Hamid Mir‘s car near the airport.
The presenter for Geo TV received three bullets, but was in a stable condition, the officials added.
There have been previous attempts on the life of Mr Mir, the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Pakistan is one of the most dangerous countries for the media.
The attack has been strongly condemned by Pakistani politicians, including Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Last month, Mr Sharif pledged to do more to protect journalists in Pakistan.
Mr Mir had just landed in Karachi and was on his way to the studios of Geo TV, a private Pakistani news channel, when unidentified gunmen in a car and on motorcycles reportedly tailed him before opening fire. Read the rest of this entry »
He said it was ‘the right war.’ Then he did everything he could to screw it up
“…the Obama administration’s craven politics and unrealistic expectations hastened the decline…”
Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore
The Telegraph‘s, Rob Crilly reports: A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.
It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.
“The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”
— Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan
Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.
Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.
“Apparently a symbol of power and virility, Barack Obama is the unwitting face of contraband Viagra sold in this market in Peshawar,” according to a report fromAgence France-Presse. The president is featured on a number of different forms of the drug.
Even though Pakistan has banned the erectile-dysfunction medication, the agency reports some forms are smuggled into the country from neighboring Afghanistan. Watch the entire Agence France-Press report below:
This looks like another reason to carry a Nirbheek.
- Five Hindus Hacked to Death by Muslims in Bangladesh for Attempting to Vote (deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)
- Muslim Neighbors Hack Hindus to Death, Loot and Torch Hindu Homes in Bangladesh (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Should Government of India step in to protect Hindus in Bangladesh? (niticentral.com)
- Five Hindus are hacked to death by Muslims in Bangladesh for voting (themuslimissue.wordpress.com)
- Bangladesh Hindu leaders demand more protection for minorities (dnaindia.com)
- Violence against Hindus in Bangladesh should concern India (niticentral.com)
- Muslims attack Christians and Hindus in Bangladesh in wake of election (theglobaldispatch.com)
- Bangladesh sentences eight students to death for murder (nation.com.pk)
- BJP concerned over violence against Hindus in Bangladesh (thehindu.com)
Michael Isikoff reports: The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” that were “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.
Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.
“With the help of his therapist,” wrote attorney John Kern, “Mr. Beale has come to recognize that, beyond the motive of greed, his theft and deception were animated by a highly self-destructive and dysfunctional need to engage in excessively reckless, risky behavior.” Kern also said Beale was driven “to manipulate those around him through the fabrication of grandiose narratives … that are fueled by his insecurities.”
The two sentencing memos, along with documents obtained by NBC News, offer new details about what some officials describe as one of the most audacious, and creative, federal frauds they have ever encountered.
Hostile countries with nuclear capabilities have the upper hand on the global police
The United States has given billions of dollars in foreign aid to Pakistan, whose Islamist gangs have spearheaded radical anti-American terrorism. Ever since a corrupt Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, it has been able to extort such foreign-aid payouts — on fears that one of its nukes might end up in the hands of terrorists.
By any measure of economic success or political stability, without nuclear weapons Pakistan would not warrant either the cash or the attention it wins.
An observant Iran appreciates three laws of current nuclear gangbanging:
1. Nuclear weapons earn a reputation.
2. The more loco a nuclear nation sounds, the more likely it is that civilized states will fear that it is not subject to nuclear deterrence, and so the more likely that they will pay bribes for it to behave. Gangbangers always claim they have nothing to lose; their more responsible intended targets have everything to lose.
3. As of yet there are no 100 percent effective nuclear-defense systems that can guarantee non-nuclear powers absolute safety from a sudden attack. The nuclear gangbanger, not the global police, currently has the upper hand.
Again, the actual bombs are not the problem. We do not worry about a nuclear but democratic Israel or France. We are not even bothered by a hostile but non-nuclear Cuba or Venezuela. The combination of a bomb with a rap sheet is what changes all diplomatic and strategic considerations.
Despite the tensions between the governments of India and Pakistan, this commercial, released by Google India on Wednesday, makes the point that the personal connections between Indians and Pakistanis run deep.
The story of the ad, entitled ‘Reunion’, begins in India, where an old man, Baldev, reminisces to his grand daughter Suman about his childhood friend Yousuf, with whom he lost touch after the India-Pakistan partition in 1947.
From sharia unveiled: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot last year by the Taliban for campaigning for defying a ban on female education – and now the group is again threatening to kill her.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said the group stands by its decision to target 16-year-old Malala who he said has “targeted and criticised Islam”.
“She accepted that she attacked Islam so we we tried to kill her, and if we get another chance we will definitely kill her and that will make us feel proud. Islam prohibits killing women, but except those that support the infidels in their war against our religion,” he added.
The new death threat came as Malala was named among the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be revealed on Friday. Read the rest of this entry »
Hussain Afzal reports: A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into the compound of a rival militant commander in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, killing 15 people, a government official said.
The commander, Nabi Hanfi, was not present at the time of the attack, said Wajid Khan, a local government administrator. Hanfi has been battling the Pakistani Taliban in the Orakzai tribal area where the bombing occurred.
Gunmen first fired shots at Hanfi’s compound in Balandkhel village, and then the suicide bomber detonated his vehicle, said Khan. The blast killed 15 people and wounded six others, he said.
Pakistani Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying five militants targeted Hanfi because he formed a militant group to fight them.
“Mullah Nabi had been our target, and he will remain on our target list,” Shahid told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location.
A local tribal leader, Malik Nek Marjaan, said the Pakistani government has been supporting Hanfi’s group in its battle against the Taliban.
The government has backed anti-Taliban militias throughout the northwest. But many of the militia members have been killed in attacks.
The Taliban have been waging a decade-long insurgency that has killed thousands of people in an attempt to impose Islamic law in Pakistan and end the country’s unpopular alliance with the United States.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has pushed peace talks with the militants as the best way to end the insurgency. But the Taliban have demanded the government release all militant prisoners and begin withdrawing troops from the tribal region before they will participate in negotiations.
Mollie Hemingway writes: Wealthy Kenyans and Westerners bustled about Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi on Saturday. Families ate lunch in the food court. A radio station targeting Kenyan Asians was hosting a children’s event on the roof of the parking lot.
Around noon, armed gunmen stormed the mall and exploded grenades. Thousands of terrified people dropped to the floor, fled out of exits and hid in stores. The gunmen began lining people up and shooting some of the five dozen people they would slaughter and 240 people, ages 2 to 78, that they would wound.
Al-Shabaab, which is claiming credit for the attack, is reported to have singled out non-Muslims. “A witness to the attacks at Nairobi’s upscale mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted,” according to the Associated Press.
To weed out the infidels, according to news reports, the terrorists asked people for the name of Muhammad’s mother or to recite a verse from the Quran.
Over the past year in China, the ultra-rich didn’t get richer–they got poorer and shrank in number, even as the ranks of the ultra-rich and their assets swelled in other parts of the world.
The number of China’s ultra-rich–those with a net worth of $30 million or more–slipped from 11,245 to 10,675 as the country’s economic growth slowed to its lowest pace in more than a decade, according to a new report from private-wealth consulting firm Wealth-X and UBS AG. Their total wealth also declined, falling to $1.52 trillion this year from $1.58 trillion last year. Read the rest of this entry »
By Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman