The Command Post
Global War on Terror
February 29, 2004
Explosives Intercepted in Spain

CNN

Spanish police Sunday seized more than 1,000 pounds of explosives and arrested two suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA who were planning to carry out an imminent attack in Madrid, an official said.

Civil Guards stopped the men, each of whom was driving a van, in the village of Cañaveras in Cuenca Province just east of the capital city of Madrid at 2 a.m., Interior Minister Angel Acebes told reporters.

The explosives were found in the second van, which had been readied as a car bomb, the minister said.

Posted by Michele at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Abu Sayyaf Claims Philippines Ferry Fire

AP: Abu Sayyaf Claims Philippines Ferry Fire

The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility Sunday for a ferry explosion and fire that killed at least two people, though 180 more were missing, according to a radio report.

The Radio Mindanao Network said Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sulaiman claimed Friday’s explosion was revenge for government attacks in the southern Mindanao area. Abu Sayyaf has often called the radio network in the past.

Fire raced through the Superferry 14 on Friday shortly after it left Manila for central and southern islands, killing one person and injuring 12 others. Witnesses reported a powerful explosion that sparked an inferno.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
IDF kills Palestinian responsible for attack on Jews at Joseph’s tomb

MA‘ARIV: IDF kills Palestinian responsible for attack on Jews at Joseph’s tomb

IDF soldiers on Sunday killed Iad abu Shalal the Palestinian terrorist responsible for masterminding an attack against Breslev Hassid’s at Joseph’s Tomb a couple of months ago.
Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Explosives intercepted in Spain

CNN: Explosives intercepted in Spain

Spanish police Sunday seized more than 1,000 pounds of explosives and arrested two suspected members of the Basque separatist group ETA who were planning to carry out an imminent attack in Madrid, an official said.

Civil Guards stopped the men, each of whom was driving a van, in the village of Cañaveras in Cuenca Province just east of the capital city of Madrid at 2 a.m., Interior Minister Angel Acebes told reporters.

The explosives were found in the second van, which had been readied as a car bomb, the minister said.

“The Civil Guard has prevented a tragedy. It would have been a very serious explosion, enough to make a crater of 35 meters and a blast force extending 1.5 kilometers,” Acebes said, citing the opinions of explosives experts.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:17 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Israel nabs Palestinian boys planning attacks

JERUSALEM POST: Israel nabs Palestinian boys planning attacks

Samaria district police report the arrest Thursday of 3 youngsters age 14 to 16 from the West Bank village of Tubas.

The three had in their possession makeshift firearms, and admitted their intent to perpetrate a shooting attack in Afula.

They were apprehended at the Jalameh roadblock by military police, and told investigators that they had been recruited by a local Islamic Jihad official, who also dispatched them to Afula.

The two also fabricated makeshift handguns and confessed to throwing rocks at passing cars

The three planned to carry out a suicide attack out of anger over Israel’s West Bank barrier, relatives told Associated Press Sunday.

They are among the youngest ever arrested for planning suicide attacks.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 28, 2004
Hamas man and wife injured in Gaza home blast

MA‘ARIV: Hamas man and wife injured in Gaza home blast

A member of the Hamas Islamic terrorist group and his wife were critically injured Saturday afternoon from an explosion in their home in Gaza City. the Palestinian police is investigation suspicions that the man, Yussuf Shehan, 29, was preparing a bomb when he had a “work accident.”
Posted by Laurence Simon at 03:18 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Three Palestinians killed, including two Jihad militants in Gaza strike

HA‘ARETZ: Three Palestinians killed, including two Jihad militants in Gaza strike

Three people were killed, among them two Islamic Jihad militants, and fifteen were wounded when Israel Defense Forces helicopters fired missiles at a car near the Jabalya refugee camp on Saturday evening.

The air strike targeted a small gray Subaru traveling on a road linking Gaza City with the Jabalya refugee camp.

Witnesses identified two of the dead as brothers Ayman and Amin Dahduh, who they said were members of the Islamic Jihad militant group. They said Amin was decapitated in the attack.

UPDATE:

Two Islamic Jihad militants were killed, including the head of the organization’s military wing in Gaza, Mahmoud Ouda, in an Israeli helicopter strike on a car in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Saturday evening.

Decapitating a terrorist and a terrorist group in one blow!

Posted by Laurence Simon at 02:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Suicide Bomber Blows Up in Pakistan

A Pakistani suicide bomber blew up himself and little else near Islamabad yesterday:

A suicide attacker blew himself up near a Shiite Muslim mosque in a city near the Pakistani capital on Saturday, government officials told The Associated Press.
The explosives went off prematurely, and the bomber was still a distance from the mosque, said army spokesman Gen. Shaukut Sultan.

Sultan said two people were injured in the blast, and the bomber was killed.

Posted by Michele at 11:00 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
PFLP, Al-Aksa Martyrs claim shooting attack

JERUSALEM POST: PFLP, Al-Aksa Martyrs claim shooting attack

The couple murdered in the terrorist shooting on the Hebron-Beersheba road near Eshkolot in the south Hebron Hills and close to the Green Line on Friday night are Eitan Kukoi, 30, and his wife Rima Noviko, 25, residents of the Shani Livne community.

Both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades have claimed responsibility for the attack. The PFLP said it is in response to Zionist massacres and attacks will continue.

The two were on their way to Ashdod when gunmen ambushed their car, spraying it with bullets and killing them both instantly. A resident from Meitar alerted security forces after he spotted the car with its windows smashed at the side of the road, and a Magen David Adom team that reached the site after receiving a report of the shooting at 8.24pm was forced to pronounce them dead. Security forces that reached the site combed the area for the perpetrators. Dozens of bullets from Kalashnikov rifles riddled the car.

The couple is survived by their 2-year-old.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
bin Laden Update

Reading this I wonder … was bin Laden on the Grassy Knoll? From the Guardian / AP:

Pentagon and Pakistani officials on Saturday denied an Iranian state radio report that Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan “a long time ago.”

The claim came at a time when Pakistan’s army was hunting al-Qaida suspects in a remote tribal region along the border with Afghanistan, believed to be a possible hiding place for the al-Qaida leader. The report was carried by Iran radio’s external Pushtun service, which is designed for listeners in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the language is widely spoken.

Iran state radio’s main news channel - the Farsi-language service for Iranian listeners - did not carry the bin Laden report. Iran state television also did not carry the report.

The director of Iran radio’s Pushtun service, Asheq Hossein, said he had two sources for the report. The radio quoted its reporter as saying bin Laden had been in custody for a period of time, but a U.S. announcement of the capture was being withheld by President Bush until closer to the November election.

Posted by Alan at 08:25 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack
Tehran Radio: Osama bin Laden Captured; US & Pakistan Deny Report

Ha’aretz:

Osama bin Laden has been captured along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to a report Saturday on Tehran Radio.

In the report quoting “knowledgeable sources,” the official Iranian media outlet does not specify when the al-Qaida leader was captured, and the report has yet to be confirmed elsewhere.

It said that Bin Laden was apprehended in a region populated by tribes along the border of the two countries, adding that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visit to Pakistan on Thursday was related to capturing the al-Qaida leader.

The United States and Pakistan on Saturday denied the reports.

Posted by Gil Shterzer at 06:20 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
February 27, 2004
Abu Sayyaf members sentenced

BBC News:
Two senior members of a militant Islamic group in the Philippines have been sentenced to life imprisonment for abducting an American citizen.

The two men, Hector Janjalani and Muhammad Ajijon, belong to the Abu Sayyaf group, which is fighting for a separate Muslim state in the Philippines and is said to have links with al-Qaeda.

They were found guilty of kidnapping an American man, Jeffrey Schilling, while he was visiting the island of Jolo with his Philippine fiancée in 2000.

See also this ABS-CBN (Manila) story.

Posted by Willie Galang at 10:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Leader of Japan Nerve Gas Attack Sentenced

AP: Leader of Japan Nerve Gas Attack Sentenced

Former doomsday cult guru Shoko Asahara was convicted Friday and sentenced to hang for masterminding the deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway and other crimes that killed 27 people and alerted the world to the danger of high-tech terrorism.

Asahara, founder of the apocalyptic Aum Shinrikyo cult, also was convicted of ordering his followers to produce and stockpile arsenals of conventional and chemical weapons, including the sarin gas used in the subway attack.

Asahara, 48, stood in silence as the sentence was read. Asahara is the 12th person sentenced to hang for the attacks, and the decision was widely expected. None of the 12 has been executed.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Report: Suicide attack in Gaza Strip fails

JERUSALEM POST: Report: Suicide attack in Gaza Strip fails

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the greenhouse area of Kfar Daron, in the center of the Gaza Strip.

The suicide bomber died from the explosion.

No one else was wounded.

The suicide bomber reached Kfar Darom by bicycle. When he approached a military jeep near the greenouse area the bomb that he was carrying exploded.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:40 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Police uniforms found inside Erez tunnel

JERUSALEM POST: Police uniforms found inside Erez tunnel

A 35-meter long arms smuggling tunnel was uncovered Friday noon by IDF forces near the Erez industrial zone, site of Thursday’s gunbattle, in which Sgt.-Maj. (res.) Amir Zimmerman, 25 was killed by two Palestinians, reports Army Radio.

Inside the tunnel, soldiers found Palestinian police uniforms and digging tools, which army sources believe was used by the gunmen.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:21 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 26, 2004
Fateh, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Arafat

IPC: Fateh’s Revolutionary Council Convenes For the First Time in Three Years

The meetings were called by the Secretariat-General of the council, and the senior figures included the Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, who is also the Chairman of the Fateh movement, as well as the Palestinian Prime Minister Ahamd Qurei’ and members of the Executive Committee and the Revolutionary Council inside and outside the Palestinian territories who were able to attend.

Several news reports talked also about discussions to disband the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of the movement, as Mr. Jibril Al Rujoub, national security advisor to President Arafat, pointed out that the revolutionary council would discuss the possibility of disbanding the Brigades, but Ahmad Ghonaim, one of Fateh’s leaders, said that was highly unexpected. “The main problem with Fateh is not the resistance activists, but the disassembly that leads to the absence of responsibility among the movement’s ranks,” Ghonaim told reporters.

Just in case you had any confusion about the link between Arafat, Fateh, and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade because news agencies don’t often make it clear.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 11:44 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
U.S. offers aid to R.P. Islamic rebels for peace talks

ABS-CBN (Manila):
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) must start peace talks with the government soon and win millions of dollars of development aid, or risk being declared an enemy of the United States, a US embassy official said Thursday.

US authorities are reviewing the actions of the MILF with a view to its possible inclusion in the State Department's "foreign terrorist organization" blacklist, US charge d'affaires Joseph Mussomeli said.

"It is an ongoing assessment process. It is an issue that may in the next year or two really reach a conclusion," he told a Foreign Correspondents' Association of the Philippines press forum.

(The same story from AFP/Yahoo.)

Posted by Willie Galang at 11:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Afghan Aid Workers Killed in Ambush

CNN:

Five Afghan aid workers died in an ambush near the capital, Interior Minister Ali Ahmad Jalali said Thursday, the latest in a stream of deadly attacks on civilians.

The victims were traveling in a vehicle near Surobi, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) east of Kabul, on Wednesday afternoon when they came under fire, Jalali said.

Two more aid workers were injured and another is still missing.

“We’ve made no arrests, and we don’t know how many attackers there were, but there were some reports of terrorists moving back and forward in this area,” Jalali told a news conference.

Posted by Michele at 08:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 25, 2004
IDF troops raid Ramallah banks on hunt for terror money trail

HA‘ARETZ: IDF troops raid Ramallah banks on hunt for terror money trail

Security forces raided four banks in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, seizing vast amounts of cash which Israel said was mostly sent by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to fund Palestinian militants.

The joint operation by police, the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service marked the largest-scale effort since the start of the intifada to stop the flow of funds to militant groups, officials said.

“The purpose of this operation is to impair the funneling of funds, which oil the wheels of terror against Israel,” said an IDF statement. The operation is part of the “global war” on terrorist funding, the military said.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 11:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Son of Al Qaeda Boss Caught?

From The Australian :

A son of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahri, has been captured by Pakistani forces, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers reported today.

The Urdu-language Jang daily said Khalid al-Zawahri was arrested in an operation yesterday against al-Qaeda suspects in South Waziristan, a semi-autonomous area bordering Afghanistan.

The report, quoting diplomatic sources, said Khalid was handed over to US custody soon after the arrest and flown out of Pakistan.

Military and government officials declined to confirm or deny the report.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
February 24, 2004
Two Charged by U.S. With War Crimes

From an email:

Two men alleged to have been bodyguards and aides for Osama bin Laden have been charged with war crimes and will stand trial before the first U.S. military tribunals convened since World War II, officials announced Tuesday.

Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi, of Sudan, was a paymaster for al-Qaida, and Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul, of Yemen, was a propagandist for bin Laden, the government charged in military indictments unsealed at the Pentagon.

The two men are among more than 600 foreign prisoners held at the U.S. Navy’s Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba. According to the indictments, both spent time in terrorist training camps and served as bodyguards for bin Laden.

Fox has more details.

Posted by Michele at 02:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Nathan's Central Asia "-stans Summary": Feb 24/04

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia & the Caucasus, courtesy of Nathan Hamm of The Argus.

TOP TOPIC

  • Cross-border cooperation between Pakistani, US, and Afghan forces has dramatically increased recently. Pakistani troops are confronting tribal leaders to drive al Qaeda across the border into the waiting arms of US troops in a “hammer and anvil” strategy. Every day, US and Pakistani forces appear to be on the verge of major operations along the tribal regions on Pakistan’s Afghan border. In late-breaking news, Darren Kaplan informs us that Task Force 121, Saddam Hussein’s captors, are on their way to Afghanistan.
  • Georgia’s President Saakashvili sent in Special Forces to root out rebels/bandits on the Abkhaz border, and the Abkhaz leadership seems to be happy about it. But, were Russian peacekeepers the real target of Georgia’s anti-guerilla operations around the Abkhaz conflict zone? Much like in Tajikistan, Russian peacekeepers appear to be letting bandits move across borders in which they should be contained and not protecting ethnic Georgians who have returned to the area. Georgia may be trying to drive them out to take advantage of the turmoil in Abkhazia… The breakaway region has refused to participate in direct talks with Georgia.
  • The IFPA says that the US should re-conceptualize its security relationships (the full report can be found here) in Central Asia. The crux of the argument is that the US should move towards a long-term vision for its military presence in the region rather than sticking with the ad-hoc arrangements made post-9/11. A quick glance shows this report well worth reading.

Other Topics Today Include: Khan Wilhelm; A Bad Month for Jihadists in Turkestan; The Chicken Sandwich Transforms Kyrgyzstan; Russia Revives Soviet Ob-Redirection Plans; The Uzbek Model of Economic Reform; Afghan Militia Disarmament A Success?; Uighurs Under Siege Across Central Asia; and, Much More.

Read The Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
al-Qaeda Tape: Westerners Envy Muslims

Oh, and they’re going to attack again.

Al-Jazeera aired another tape today, supposedly made by Osama bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. In the tape, he talks of more attacks on America and France’s controversial ban on head scarfs for Mulsim school girls.

In the tape aired by the Qatar based satellite Al-Jazeera, the voice said: “The Islamic nation which sent you the New York and Washington brigades has taken a firm decision to send you successive brigades to sow death and aspire to paradise

And France’s head covering ban stems from umm…jealousy.

“The decision of the French president (Jacques Chirac) to issue a law to prevent Muslim girls from covering their heads in schools is another example of the Crusader and envy that the Westerners have against Muslims,” said the voice.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true al-Qaeda tape brought to you by Al Jazeera without blaming the Jews:

He said al Qaeda is still waging jihad and “brandishes the banner of Islam against the Zionist-crusader campaign.”
Posted by Michele at 09:44 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Shin Bet: Hizbullah steps up Israeli-Arab activity

JERUSALEM POST: Shin Bet: Hizbullah steps up Israeli-Arab activity

The Hizbullah are stepping up their operations among Israeli-Arabs, Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter warned at a meeting of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee.

Dichter told the committee members that the Lebanese terror group has activated “terror attack contractors” who receive a “bonus” for every killing, Ynet reported.

The Shin Bet chief said however that the involvement of Israeli-Arabs in Hizbullah activity is mostly motivated by financial concerns and not ideological beliefs.

According to statistics Dichter revealed at the meeting, approximately 21 Israeli-Arabs led suicide bombers to attacks during 2003.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:25 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Boim: Is Palestinian terror caused by a genetic defect?

HA‘ARETZ: Boim: Is Palestinian terror caused by a genetic defect?

Deputy Defense Minister Ze’ev Boim, addressing the issue of why much of local, regional and world terrorism is directed by extremist Muslims, asked Tuesday, “What is it about Islam as a whole and the Palestinians in particular? Is it some form of cultural deprivation? Is it some genetic defect. There is something that defies explanation in this continued murderousness.”

Boim was speaking at a memorial ceremony for a the victims of a bus attack on the Coastal Highway 26 years ago.

MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) said in response that “whoever says that Palestinian behavior is caused by a genetic defect has a brain defect himself and the values of a racist fascist.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 23, 2004
In Pakistan......
George Tenet, director of the US Central Intelligence Agency, made a secret trip to Pakistan earlier this month, which could be the basis for a new anti-terrorist operation which got underway on Sunday, to hunt down members of al-Qaeda.

“There’s a major effort under way to locate al-Qaeda leaders,” a senior Pakistani official said. “The importance of George Tenet’s visit in this connection cannot be underestimated.”Neither the US nor the Pakistani government have publicly confirmed Mr Tenet’s visit. But in interviews with the Financial Times, Pakistani officials said Mr Tenet spent a day in Pakistan mainly discussing the government’s handling of recent investigations into rogue nuclear scientists, accused of selling nuclear know-how to other countries. Mr Tenet also talked about plans for a new operation along the Afghan border, the officials said.

In other news

A joint Russian-Pakistani group on combating international terrorism and other challenges started functioning in Islamabad on Monday.

This is already the second session of the group, which was set up two years ago. It will be attended by representatives of the Foreign Ministries, Interior Ministries, Justice Ministries and the Defence Ministries of the two countries.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed to RIA Novosti that Anatoly Safonov would take part in the consultations on February 23-26. “This is a working group on questions of terrorism, and appropriate problems will be discussed at this session,” a spokesman for the ministry pointed out.

The Pakistani leadership repeatedly stated its firm intention to put an end to the threat of terrorism in the country and its readiness for a broad cooperation in this sphere with other countries.

Posted by Robert Mayer at 08:42 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
The CIA in Iraq & Afghanistan

Amygdala excerpts and links to a report on the state of the CIA in Iraq & Afghanistan. It’s not a comfortable read, but it is enlightening.

This situation has been developing since the mid-70s, and post-9/11 criticisms from ex-agents like Robert Baer and Reuel Marc Gerecht were unsparing and accurate. While CIA Director Tenet’s Georgetown speech trumpeted significantly improved human intelligence capabilities, the truth is that even an incomplete fix will probably take at least five years. Until then, this is what things will often look like on the ground.

UPDATE: StrategyPage adds some further thoughts on the CIA’s “human intelligence” difficulties. It also offers a very vivid look at the moral and political challenges inherent to this kind of intelligence work, especially when viewed from a left-lib perspective. I suspect this is why my colleague Armed Liberal is always so stunned when he hears other liberals blithely propose extensive covert action, SOG teams, etc. as the preferred way to deal with al-Qaeda - so if you’re one of those, please read it.

Posted by Winds of Change at 03:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Pakistan on Hunt for bin Laden. Or Not.
Pakistani forces have mobilized in the tribal regions along the Afghan border, where al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar are believed to be hiding.

Government sources told CNN the Pakistani army is ready to conduct a big operation against al Qaeda and Taliban elements in the Wana area.

Government sources say. And then government sources deny.

But Pakistan’s Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad on Monday downplayed the mobilization of forces.

“The deployment of troops does not mean that a big operation is in the offing,” Rashid told reporters in the capital, Islamabad.

Posted by Michele at 01:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Supreme Court Refuses To Hear "Secret Case"

The Associated Press via the Washington Post reports that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear the “secret case.”

In the “secret case,” M.K.B. v. Warden, 03-6747, the Supreme Court was asked to consider whether two federal courts acted improperly in keeping a case so secret that its mere existence was revealed only by accident.

The “secret case” concerned an Algerian who worked as a waiter in South Florida and came under FBI scrutiny because September 11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Marwan al Shehhi dined where he worked in the weeks before the attacks.

In this unprecedented case, two federal courts sealed an entire proceeding and appeal, including every court filing and ruling, with no public order giving any reason for the secrecy and without making any distinction between information that should be public and that which might justifiably be secret.

You can read what is known about the secret case here.

The Supreme Court made no comment in deciding not to hear the “secret case.” The Court’s decision is available here, at page 23.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 01:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Netanyahu: Palestinian terrorism should be on trial

JERUSALEM POST: Netanyahu: Palestinian terrorism should be on trial

Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday delivered a sharp message to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, currently debating Israel’s security fence.

“It is not the killers and their dispatchers who are put on trial, it is the victims. We shouldn’t be in The Hague on trial. It’s the Palestinian terror regime and terrorist organizations that should be there. That’s the right order of things,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking at a tourism conference in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said he had a message for those sitting on the court. “You have no right to serve as the moral conscience of the Jewish people. We have our own conscience. Now our conscience tells us that saving our own lives is more important than preserving somebody else’s quality of life. Quality of life is always amenable to improvement. Death is permanent,” he said.

Netanyahu said Israel was working to save the lives of Jewish people. “However, respected judges in Europe are claiming that that the Jewish state has no right to defend itself from murderers.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Israel on maximum alert following bus attack

JERUSALEM POST: Israel on maximum alert following bus attack

Security forces were on high alert Monday following a suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem a day earlier in which eight Israelis were killed.

Israel also fears Palestinian terror groups might carry out attacks timed to coincide with the opening of the hearings over the West Bank security fence at International Court of Justice at The Hague, Army Radio reported.

Israel has also raised the alert level to level ‘C,’ just one stage before declaring a state of emergency, the radio reported.

Forces were spread out throughout the country with IDF troops patrolling the seam line and the Jerusalem envelope.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 11:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Four victims of Jerusalem sucide bombing laid to rest

HA‘ARETZ: Four victims of Jerusalem sucide bombing laid to rest

Four of the eight victims of Sunday’s suicide bombing in Jerusalem were laid to rest Monday afternoon. The eighth victim of the attack was identified Monday as Rahamiam Rami Duga, 37, from Mevasseret Zion. He was to be buried Monday at 3 P.M.

Ilan Avisedris, 41, was to be buried in Be’er Sheva at 3 P.M. and Yehuda Haim, 48, was to be laid to rest at the Givat Shaul cemetery.

Yaffa Ben-Shimol, 57, was laid to rest at midday Monday in Jerusalem. Lior Azulai, 18, Benaya Jonathan Zuckerman, 18, Nathaniel Havshsush 20, and Yuval Ozana, 31, were buried Sunday.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 11:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 22, 2004
Israel annoyed at weak EU response

JERUSALEM POST: Israel annoyed at weak EU response

Israel was “very disappointed” with the “mild” condemnation of Sunday’s suicide attack issued by Ireland in its capacity as rotating president of the European Union, Israeli diplomatic officials said.

Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen issued a statement that condemned the suicide bombing that murdered eight people and offered his condolences to the families.

Then the statement read: “Outrages of this kind are attacks on the hope for peace of all rational people. Firm action against the planners of these attacks is imperative and should be taken to the extent possible by the Palestinian security forces. Renewed security cooperation and political negotiation are essential if peace is ever to be achieved.”

The diplomatic officials characterized the Irish statement as “tepid.”

“What do they mean that the Palestinians should take action ‘to the extent possible?’” one asked. “What is so difficult for them to come out and condemn the attack outright and call on the Palestinians to immediately fight terror with all their might.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 07:59 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Bombing overshadows start of Hague hearing

JERUSALEM POST: Bombing overshadows start of Hague hearing

President Moshe Katzav issued a statement following Sunday’s bombing saying, “It is the Palestinian terrorist organizations who should be on trial before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and not the state of Israel.

“As long as they continue perpetrating acts of terrorism, Israel must build the security fence and protect the lives of its citizens. The international community must halt the double standards; nobody has the right to condemn Israel or put it on trial solely because it is taking steps to protect the lives of its citizens by means of a temporary security fence.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 06:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Cell Phones Used to Thwart Kashmir Attack

AP: Cell Phones Used to Thwart Kashmir Attack

For years, Indian troops fighting Muslim separatists in Jammu and Kashmir got tips about a pending attack or a militant hide-out from locals who slipped hand-scribbled notes into innocuous gray boxes scattered around towns.

But now that Indian authorities have eased communications restrictions in the disputed region, troops employ the airwaves to solicit information — and, they say, to save lives.

Signs imploring “Call us for Help,” with white phone numbers on a blue background, adorn sandbagged bunkers and roadside security posts across the state. Almost all Indian security officers in Kashmir now carry cell phones. Often they hand out the equivalent of business cards with their e-mail addresses.

Security officials say that after fighting what appeared to be a no-win war for the past 14 years, providing easier access for Kashmiris to mobile phones, land lines and the Internet has paid off in fewer militant attacks and lower death tolls.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 06:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
White House: PA’s condemnation of terror attack not enough

MAARIV: White House: PA’s condemnation of terror attack not enough

The White House issued a statement on Sunday in which it commented on the Palestinian Authority’s denunciation of the Sunday morning Jerusalem suicide bombing. “It is time the PA stop talking and begin dismantling the Palestinian terror infrastructure,” the statement said.

The full statement is not yet available at the White House News site.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 05:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Report: Tenet Made Secret Trip To Pakistan

This report out of the Financial Times says that CIA Director George Tenet secretly flew to Pakistan earlier this month to share information on al Qaeda with government officials there.

A Pakistani military official tells the paper that Tenet’s visit is a big deal, and describes the resulting anti-al Qaeda operations as significant.

(Cross-posted at Late Final.)

Posted by latefinal at 05:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
UN envoy: J'lem attack is war crime, but can't let terror affect Gaza plan

HA‘ARETZ: UN envoy: J’lem attack is war crime, but can’t let terror affect Gaza plan

The United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Terje Rode-Larsen, on Sunday condemned the suicide bombing in Jerusalem that claimed eight lives as a war crime, Army Radio reported.

But Larsen also cautioned that Palestinian terrorism should not be allowed to hijack Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s plan to evacuate the settlements in the Gaza Strip, the radio said.

The suicide bomber, sent by Fatah-aligned Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, struck on Egged bus No. 14 at little after 8:30 A.M., killing the eight and wounding another 66 people.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 03:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Palestinians declare another 'day of rage'

JERUSALEM POST: Palestinians declare another ‘day of rage’

In Jenin, scores of Fatah gunmen took to the streets upon hearing about the Jerusalem bombing, firing shots into the air in an expression of joy. Chanting slogans in praise of the suicide bomber, the gunmen and some merchants distributed sweets to passersby.
Posted by Laurence Simon at 03:20 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Pakistan gears up for anti-Al Qaeda operation

Reuters reports: “A brigade from the Pakistani army is already in the tribal region of Waziristan adjacent to the Afghan border where for weeks authorities have been pressuring tribesmen to stop sheltering al Qaeda suspects and Taliban fighters. Saturday, political authorities governing the semi-autonomous tribal regions asked for 8,000 paramilitary soldiers to add to the 4,000 already deployed.”

Posted by Oskar van Rijswijk at 02:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Gaza Hamas commander killed in "work accident"

JERUSALEM POST: Gaza Hamas commander killed in “work accident”

Senior Hamas comander Ahbed al Salem abu Moussa, 30 was killed Sunday morning in an explosion in his home in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip.

Abu Moussa was a member of the Hamas’ militant wing Al Zadin el Kassam.

Palestinian sources believe the explosion was a “work-related accident.” Sources believe he was trying to launch a mortar attack, when the shell exploded in his hands.

The Hamas web site described the event as a Jihad mission, and claim another man was wounded in the attack.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 01:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Hunt for Osama Bin Laden intensifies

The British Sunday Express newspaper reports :”New operations aimed at cornering al-Qaeda and Taliban holdouts sheltering in the Pakistani tribal belt where Osama bin Laden may be hiding are soon to get under way, military and intelligence sources have said.The operation will be the fourth of its kind since the September 11 attacks in the US, they added.It will centre on suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda men who Pakistan believes have married Pakistani women and are living in the tribal areas — the remote and historically autonomous regions that have never really been brought under the control of Pakistan’s central government. It will be conducted in the Waziristan tribal region in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier province, intelligence sources said.”

This news spreads through the media like a virus ..

Posted by Oskar van Rijswijk at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Egyptians condemn terrorist attack

JERUSALEM POST: Egyptians condemn terrorist attack

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s adviser, Osama El-Baz condemned the terrorist attack in meetings in Cairo on Sunday with Labor MK Matan Vilna’i.

The Egyptians said that such attacks “put spokes in the wheels of advancing the peace process.” Vilna’i called upon the Egyptians to become more involved in solving the Middle East conflict.

LOST IN TRANSLATION?
Pardon my lack of ignorance, but aren’t spokes supposed to be in wheels? By adding spokes, a wheel is stabilized and the rim is more firmly attacked to the hub/axle.

I get the distinct feeling that Foreign Minister Maher, well known for recently offering up Egypt’s army to attack Israel for the mercenary sum of one hundred billion dollars, is not condemning terror, but legitimizing and justifying it with this analogy.

A translation of the actual comments in Arabic by Maher as well as the context would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 01:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Visiting US congressman astounded by Israeli restraint

MAARIV: Visiting US congressman astounded by Israeli restraint

Gerald Nadler, US congressman from Long Island was overwhelmed by what he saw this morning: “it is simply horrifying to see it up close, to see the pieces of human flesh on the ground”, he told Maariv Online.

Israel’s restraint is remarkable to Nadler: “Any other nation on earth under attack as Israel is would have already begun bombing the Palestinian Authority. If this had happened in America, you would already see the B-52’s in the air, blowing up the place where the terrorists were sent from. It is sheer hypocrisy on the part of those who say that Israel must not build the security barrier”. Nadler added that the images of what he saw remind him of the period of the Holocaust.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 01:05 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Mofaz: Fence is potent deterrent to attacks

JERUSALEM POST: Mofaz: Fence is potent deterrent to attacks

Despite Sunday’s suicide attack in Jerusalem, the West Bank security fence is still a potent deterrent to suicide bombings, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said.

“We did not succeed this morning but lately we have had several successful cases where we thwarted suicide attacks and there is no doubt that the fence has proven itself as a successful tool against suicide bombers,” Mofaz said.

The defense minister estimated that the reason for Sunday’s attack was “in order to show that the fence is not effective against suicide bombers.”

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said at the cabinet meeting, in response to questions of the reason behind Sunday’s attack, “We don’t need to search for a reason why they kill Jews. They have been killing Jews for years and they won’t stop for one day.”

Of the 934 Israelis killed since the start of the Intifada, 584 were killed in suicide attacks.

Other ministers weigh in on the fence’s role in preventing attacks in the rest of the article.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Gov't sources: there will be no harsh military response to attack

HA‘ARETZ: Gov’t sources: there will be no harsh military response to attack

Israel will not launch a harsh military response after Sunday’s suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus that killed eight people and wounded 66, government sources in the capital said.

The remarks followed a meeting between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz held after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Sharon and Mofaz met for two hours, during which they were updated on the details of the suicide attack and discussed possible Israeli responses. Mofaz will also convene a meeting of security officials later Sunday, to assess possible responses to the bombing.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 11:03 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Buses with security system to begin operating Mon.

JERUSALEM POST: Buses with security system to begin operating Mon.

Five new buses with sophisticated suicide-bomber detection devices are to start operating Monday in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

A ceremony, which was scheduled to take place Sunday to launch the new buses, was canceled following the Jerusalem bus attack.

Last month, Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman authorized the use of the security system for public buses that can detect suicide bombers and prevent them from boarding the vehicles.

The system, jointly developed by the bus manufacturing company Ha’argaz, the Transportation Ministry and TAAS-Israel Industries, consists of a barrier for the bus’s front door, explosives detectors and a back door to be used only for exiting the bus.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Mofaz: Terrorists were motivated by start of ICJ hearings

HA‘ARETZ: Mofaz: Terrorists were motivated by start of ICJ hearings

“On the day that the International Court opens its deliberations on the security fence, we will be burying our dead,” Health Minister Dan Naveh said Sunday from a Jerusalem hospital where he was visiting some of the wounded from a morning bus bombing in the capital, in which seven people were killed and over 60 wounded.

On Monday, the International Court of Justice is scheduled to begin deliberations on the legality of the separation fence Israel is building in the West Bank.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told government ministers that the terrorists behind the suicide bombing were likely motivated by the start of the court deliberations in The Hague.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Maxim restaurant in Haifa closed for security

HA‘ARETZ: Maxim restaurant in Haifa closed for security

The Maxim restaurant in Haifa, the site of an October suicide bombing in which 21 people were killed, was ordered shut Sunday for 30 days by police, citing inadequate security procedures.

According to the closure order, the restaurant will be allowed to reopen soon providing that the owners present a new security plan which is approved by police.

According to the police report, an undercover female officer was able to enter the restaurant while wearing a mock suicide belt. A security guard checked the officer, but he failed to detect the belt.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Bin Laden: How We Missed

WaPo has posted the first in a two-article series detailing US attempts to capture Bin Laden, especially during the Clinton administration. Very much worth reading, which you may do here (via MSNBC).

This account, a detailed history of the pursuit of bin Laden before the terrorist attacks of 2001, describes for the first time aborted CIA plans to seize bin Laden at his Kandahar farm, another attempt to rain Katyusha rockets on him, and the final struggle to work with Massoud, all in vain. It is based on several dozen interviews with participants and officials in the United States, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as documents, private records and memoirs about the CIA covert action program in Afghanistan, which was designed in the 1980s to expel occupying Soviet forces and later to capture bin Laden or disrupt his activities.
Posted by Alan at 08:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Jerusalem suicide bomber kills 7

From AP via NYTimes. See also CNN's report:
JERUSALEM (AP) -- A suicide bomber blew himself up on a crowded Jerusalem bus Sunday morning, killing seven people and wounding more than 60, 11 of them seriously, police and rescue workers said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came just a day before the world court is to begin hearings on the West Bank security barrier that Israel says is crucial for keeping out bombers.

The huge blast went off around 8:30 a.m. during morning rush hour, as the bus drove past a gas station in downtown Jerusalem. The explosion ripped apart the back of the green bus and scattered body parts and shattered glass across a two block radius. The windows were blown out, the windscreen cracked and the roof was raised.

"It was like an earthquake," Ora Yairov, who was at the gas station during the explosion, told Channel One television. "The station was filled with shattered glass and pieces of flesh.'

An hour after the bombing, bodies still lay on the sidewalk. Rescue workers wrapped them in white sheets and put body parts in body bags. Security forces stood on the roof of the nearby gas station watching the crowd.
Posted by Willie Galang at 06:14 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 21, 2004
Police 'foil' Delhi airport attack

CNN: Police ‘foil’ Delhi airport attack

The Jammu and Kashmir police say they have thwarted a suicide attack planned by Pakistani militants on New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Gopal Sharma, the state director general of police, told reporters Saturday that police arrested three men in connection with the foiled attack.

“The three militants belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) were arrested by Poonch district police (and they were) from outside the state,” Sharma said.

Lashkar e-Taiba is a Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant outfit designated as a terrorist group by India, Pakistan and the United States. It has been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir. Some Western analysts say the group has had links with the al Qaeda terrorist organization.

CNN BIAS
CIA World Factbook lists Sringinar as in Indian sovereign territory. The byline on the story is: SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 06:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Jihad accuses U.S., Israeli groups of wrecking its Web site

AP: Jihad accuses U.S., Israeli groups of wrecking its Web site

Islamic Jihad, which has carried out suicide bombings in Israel, said the unidentified groups had destroyed the site to silence “the Palestinian voice.”

In a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Beirut, the group said: “In an attempt aimed at silencing the Palestinian voice - which speaks for the resistance and defends the Palestinian people’s right - hostile and malevolent Zionist and American quarters have struck the official Web site of Al Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement.”

The statement said it was trying to restore the Web site. It said this was not the first time its site had been attacked by unidentified “Zionist and American quarters.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 06:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
More on the bin Laden Watch

[The following was written by Stephen Green and originally posted here]

From the Sunday Telegraph:

A BRITISH Sunday newspaper is claiming Osama bin Laden has been found and is surrounded by US special forces in an area of land bordering north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Sunday Express, known for its sometimes colourful scoops, claims the al-Qaeda leader has been “sighted” for the first time since 2001 and is being monitored by satellite.

The paper claims he is in a mountainous area to the north of the Pakistani city of Quetta. The region is said to be peopled with bin Laden supporters and the terrorist leader is estimated to also have 50 of his fanatical bodyguards with him.

The claim is attributed to “a well-placed intelligence source” in Washington, who is quoted as saying: “He (bin Laden) is boxed in.”



UPDATE: The Australian adds one more detail — “The area makes an all-out conventional military assault impossible, according to the report. “



UPDATE: And from DeepikaGlobal:

The US has scotched reports coming out of Pakistan that its forces have captured Osama bin Laden.

”That would be news to everybody in this room. No, I haven’t heard anything — haven’t heard anything like that,” spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters at the White House here yesterday.

Asked to clarify what prompted President Pervez Musharraf to say a couple of weeks ago that Pakistani forces would have bin Laden by the year-end, the spokesman said, ”I speak for the President.

Obviously, I don’t speak for President Musharraf.” As for whether the capture of bin Landen would signal the end of the war on terrorism, McClellan said the war on terrorism would continue.



UPDATE: Read this Washington Post story to learn why you shouldn’t get too excited by today’s reports.

Posted by Michele at 04:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Rumors/Reports that Bin Laden is 'Boxed In'?

I was going to wait for more credible sources but looks like it’s about to take off in the blogosphere so here is the rumor.

(Please note these are Australian wires reporting that a British paper will be making the official report - if there is really anything to this no one should be reporting on it becuase, well, Bin Laden might have a radio!)

First reports; The Weekend Australian and News.com.auand The Sunday Mail

OSAMA bin Laden is reportedly surrounded by United States special forces in a mountain range that straddles north-west Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Internationally respected investigative journalist and author Gordon Thomas says the al-Qaida terror group leader has been sighted for the first time since 2001 and is being monitored by satellite.
In a report to be published in a British newspaper, Thomas says bin Laden is in a mountainous area to the north of the Pakistani city of Quetta.
The region is said to be a stronghold for bin Laden supporters and the terror kingpin is estimated to have 50 of his fanatical bodyguards by his side.
Thomas attributes his report to “a well-placed intelligence source” in Washington who is quoted as saying: “He (bin Laden) is boxed in.”
The area makes an all-out conventional military assault impossible, according to the report.
The plan to capture him would depend on a “grab-him-and-go” operation.
“US helicopters already sited on the Afghanistan border will swoop in to extricate him,” the report says.
It continues by saying bin Laden and his men “sleep in caves or out in the open”.
“The area is swept by fierce snow storms howling down from the 3000m-high mountain peaks. Donkeys are the only transport.”
The US special forces are “absolutely confident” there is no escape for bin Laden and are waiting for the order to snatch the shadowy terrorist leader.
The timing of that order will ultimately depend on President George Bush, the report says.
“Capturing bin Laden will certainly be a huge help for him as he gets ready for the election.
“It will be an even bigger bonus than getting Saddam.”
The article goes on to say bin Laden’s movements are continually monitored by a US National Security Agency satellite positioned over the land in which the wealthy Saudi is trapped.
Joint chiefs of staff chairman General Richard Myers said last week the US had been engaged in “intense” efforts to capture bin Laden.
But General Myers insisted that the focus of the search had not narrowed for months.
“There are areas where we think it is most likely he is, and they remain the same,” he said. “They haven’t changed in months.”
Asked where bin Laden was hiding, General Myers said: “We think in that border region somewhere. We don’t know precisely.”
Bin Laden’s whereabouts were discovered, according to the report, when US Central Intelligence Agency analysts – geographers and soil experts – studying the background in the al-Qaida boss’s latest video suggested it matched rocks in the Toba Kakar ranges.
CIA agents, working with Pakistani guides, went from Afghanistan to the region to take photographs and bring out rock and soil samples.
These were flown to Washington where the CIA analysts electronically matched them to the video background.
A two-man special forces surveillance unit infiltrated the area.
“Within a week, they had picked up the first clues that bin Laden was around,” according to a source quoted in the report.
“Other teams then slipped into the area.
“No helicopters were used, to avoid any alert.”
Once the area was sealed, the special forces troops watched and waited for the order to go in and end the largest manhunt in history.
Bin Laden, head of the fanatical Muslim al-Qaida group, is alleged to have masterminded the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Posted by Robert Mayer at 04:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
February 20, 2004
Air Maroc Update

This still sounds fishy, but not because of any al Qaeda connection. Via the Maine News:

An investment banker whose alleged phone call to his Chicago home triggered the diversion of a Moroccan-bound jetliner to Bangor was charged Friday with making false statements to the FBI.

Zubair Ali Ghias, 27, who was removed from the plane before it resumed its flight to Casablanca, appeared Friday evening before a federal magistrate. He was ordered held without bail pending a detention hearing Monday in U.S. District Court.

Book him, Dano.

Posted by Alan at 10:15 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Japan Raises Terror Alert Status

AP/FOX

Japan intensified security at airports, nuclear plants and government facilities Friday as a precaution against a possible terror attack, a National Police Agency official said.
The government’s heightened alert sent a shiver through global financial markets, knocking the Japanese yen to 10-week lows against the dollar.
The official refused to discuss whether the government had new information about a possible terror strike, but said this was the highest level of preparedness since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Japan does not have clear levels of alert like in the United States.
During the heightened alert, riot police armed with automatic rifles will guard Tokyo and Kansai international airports and nuclear power and reprocessing facilities, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. He would not disclose how many officers were added.
“We are going to beef up security at key facilities,” the official said, confirming reports by the Kyodo news service, national broadcaster NHK, and the Web site of Yomiuri Shimbun, Japan’s largest newspaper.
The heightened security came after an apparent attempt to fire projectiles at Japan’s Defense Agency on Tuesday. Two loud blasts were heard near the agency; police later found two projectile launchers.
There were no injuries or damage, but local media reported that a leftist group opposed to Japan’s dispatch of troops on a humanitarian mission to Iraq had claimed responsibility.
Larger police forces were being mobilized and additional checkpoints set up around the prime minister’s residence, U.S. Embassy, military facilities and national and local assembly buildings, the National Police official said. Security was also increased at ports, railway stations and shopping malls.
Japan is sending 1,000 air, sea and ground forces for to Iraq — its largest military deployment since World War II. In coming months, about 500 ground troops are expected to deploy to the southern Iraqi city of Samawah to purify water and rebuild schools and roads.
Japan was among the first to back the war that ousted Saddam Hussein. Many Japanese worry that cooperating with U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq could make Japan a more likely target for terrorists.
In October and November of last year, Japan issued a series of travel advisories and alerts for citizens living abroad, following threats purportedly made by the Al Qaeda terrorist network to attack U.S. allies.
News of Friday’s alert hurt the yen against the dollar. In New York, the dollar surged above 109 yen for the first time since Dec. 2, sharply higher than the 107.91 yen it traded late in Tokyo on Friday and above the 107.15 yen it was at late Thursday in New York.
Beginning in late December, police tightened security at hundreds of facilities nationwide during the new year holidays, and officers went on round-the-clock watch at train and subway stations and shipping docks. The precautions were later eased.
Posted by Robert Mayer at 02:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
AP: Supreme Court to Rule on "Enemy Combatant" Rights

A decision will be made regarding the constitutionality of holding “enemy combatants.”

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether the Constitution forbids the Bush administration from holding U.S. citizens indefinitely and without access to lawyers or courts when they are suspected of being “enemy combatants.”

The justices will consider the case of Jose Padilla, an American citizen, former Chicago gang member and convert to Islam who was arrested in his home city after a trip to Pakistan. The government alleges he was part of a plot to detonate a radiological “dirty bomb” in the United States.
Posted by Jeff M at 01:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Israel News
Three Israelis were wounded, one seriously, by accidental gunfire near Worshipers’ Way in the West Bank city of Hebron on Friday. The circumstances of the incident remain unclear. The injured people were evacuated to Hadassah Ein Karen Hospital in Jerusalem for treatment. —
Also Friday, two IDF soldiers were lightly injured when an anti-tank missile exploded close to their patrol in the Gaza Strip.
Earlier in the day, Palestinian militants fired a mortar shell at a settlement in the Gaza Strip and opened fire on an IDF base near the Gaza settlement of Kfar Darom, Israeli media reported. There were no injuries in either incident.
Hezbollah is demanding that Israel give it the bodies of 30 militants in exchange for the body of a man that Israel mistakenly transferred to Hezbollah, a Nazareth newspaper reported Friday.

A brief history of Sharonism

This week’s headlines already distributed the hide of the bear: the Katif Bloc settlements in the Gaza Strip will be evacuated, the homes will be placed under the responsibility of an international body that will supervise their transfer to the Palestinian Authority, and the army camps will be shut down, with the Israel Defense Forces deploying on the international boundary along the Gaza Strip - and all by the end of the year.

Tannenbaum

Members of the Knesset Intelligence and Secret Services Subcommittee took the unusual step yesterday of issuing a statement describing the Elchanan Tannenbaum affair as “one of the worst ever in Israel’s history.” Tannenbaum, who was returned to Israel last month after three years in Hizbullah captivity, has failed polygraph tests and suspicion has been raised as to the circumstances of his kidnapping.
Chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) said the unusual statement was issued in response to recent media reports suggesting that Tannenbaum would soon be released, and that he would not be indicted for crimes against the State of Israel. Shteinitz told Army Radio today that his vision had darkened when he first learned of the suspicions against Tannenbaum.

Yasser Arafat and Ahmad Qurei (Abu ‘Alaa) Speeches to PA Legislative Council Prior to Vote on New Government

Posted by Robert Mayer at 09:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
U.S. Flight to Morocco Diverted After Security Alert

Via Bloomberg:

U.S. authorities diverted an Air Maroc flight carrying up to 82 passengers from New York to Morocco after receiving a security alert, the Associated Press reported. The diversion came as a missing investment banker was reported to be aboard the flight …

… Eddie Rizzo, a Chicago-based private investigator, said missing investment banker Zubair Ghias phoned his family from another passenger’s cell phone before the flight took off, AP reported. Ghias’s family hadn’t seen him since Saturday and had hired Rizzo to trace him, AP said.

“I’m on flight 201 to Morocco. I’ve been captured by al- Qaeda, they want me to do something for them,” Rizzo quoted Ghias as telling his wife, AP reported. “I love you, I just gotta do this.”

Rizzo called the phone back, and the passenger confirmed the flight’s number. Rizzo then alerted the FBI who questioned Ghias’s family, AP said.

Posted by Alan at 07:32 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 19, 2004
Nuke Equipment Found in Iran

Iran just can’t stay out of the news.

U.N. inspectors probing Iran’s nuclear program have found equipment that can enrich uranium for weapons use and is far more advanced than anything Tehran (search) has previously acknowledged, diplomats said Thursday.

The find of the advanced centrifuge system is the second piece of evidence uncovered this month that casts new doubt on Iran’s commitment to prove it does not want atomic weapons.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the reported discovery raises “serious concerns.”

Posted by Michele at 03:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Report: EU panel finds Arafat did not fund terror

JERUSALEM POST: Report: EU panel finds Arafat did not fund terror

A week after the German paper Die Weld reported suspicion is growing that money from PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s office was transferred to terror organizations, the French daily Liberation reported Wednesday that a report being prepared by the EU’s anti-fraud unit (OLAF) will show no financial ties between Arafat and terror.

The paper reported that according to its sources the report will show that Arafat did not use the financial assistance from the EU to “help in any way to fund terror organizations like the Al Aksa Brigades.”

The OLAF report on whether hundreds of millions of euros to the PA was misused, is slated to be released in March.

Following the Die Weld report, which also indicated OLAF investigators had authenticated documents Israel provided the EU linking Arafat to terror groups, OLAF released a statement saying it has “not finalized its investigation. Therefore, any conclusions attributed to OLAF are premature and are not confirmed by evidence.

Read on

Posted by Laurence Simon at 01:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Multiple life sentences for Jihad men who sent Maxim bomber

HA‘ARETZ: Multiple life sentences for Jihad men who sent Maxim bomber

A military court in the West Bank on Thursday handed down multiple life sentences for two Islamic Jihad members who dispatched the female bomber who killed 21 people when she blew herself up at the Maxim restaurant in Haifa in October 2003.

The court gave the Islamic Jihad leader in Jenin, 36-year-old Amajad Abeidi, 23 life sentences and a further 50 years imprisonment for his role in the attack.

Sami Jaradat, also 36, and a close relative of the bomber, received 21 life sentences and an additional 50 years jail time.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:05 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Terror groups said planning attacks on Israeli, Jewish targets

HA‘ARETZ: Terror groups said planning attacks on Israeli, Jewish targets

Palestinian and international terrorist organizations decided at a recent Beirut conference to launch a wave of terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests worldwide, Army Radio quoted the Kuwaiti newspaper A-Siasa as saying Thursday.

According to the report, there will also be similar attacks against coalition troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:39 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
February 18, 2004
Palestinian Health Minister survives restaurant shooting

HA‘ARETZ: Palestinian Health Minister survives restaurant shooting

Gunmen opened fire on a Palestinian minister and a top economic official in a Jenin restaurant Wednesday, the latest in a series attacks on Palestinian officials in the West Bank

Both men escaped without injury, but two bystanders were lightly injured. The attack was apparently carried out as a result of a struggle between Fatah groups on the allocation of budgets for the development of the city.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 02:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Australian Mufti Speaks Candidly

From The Australian :

A senior Liberal MP today urged the Federal Government to consider action against the leader of Australia’s Muslims for praising Islamic suicide bombers and calling for a holy war against Israel.

The Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali, made the comments in recent sermons and interviews in Lebanon, according to an internet dispatch by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

Christopher Pyne, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services, said he was appalled and horrified by Sheik Alhilali’s alleged support for violence.

But a spokesman for the Sydney-based Mufti said he had been taken out of context.

According to MEMRI, the Mufti told an interviewer in Lebanon he supported suicide attacks by Muslim martyrs.

We are proud of the Islamic resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Kashmir…,” Sheik Alhilali is reported to have said.

We support the resistance and support, with all our might, the martyrdom operations carried out by the Palestinian liberation movements, operations that are a legitimate act against the cruel occupation, according to all international norms and conventions.”

The Mufti is also reported to have called in a sermon in Sidon for a jihad, or holy war, against Israel, adding: “The war waged by the US and Israel against the Muslims is a cruel war aimed at annihilating the (Islamic) nation.”

The Mufti’s spokesman in Sydney, Keysar Trad, said MEMRI had taken the Muslim leader out of context.

The Mufti is a proponent of peace and peaceful solutions to any conflict,” he told ABC radio.

I spoke to him today and he assured me that the context in which he made his message was not in the way that it was reported by these people.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:05 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
February 17, 2004
Rajoub: Hamas will not take over Gaza Strip

JERUSALEM POST: Rajoub: Hamas will not take over Gaza Strip

“The Hamas will not gain control over the Gaza Strip in the future,” Jibril Rajoub, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s national security adviser, said Tuesday.

“Though Hamas leaders declare that their movement will ‘take over’ the Gaza Strip in case of an Israeli withdrawal, the Palestinian people will not allow it.”

Rajoub added: “Our people want a secular regime. They want a democratic government, not a fundamentalist government.”

Posted by Laurence Simon at 12:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
February 16, 2004
Aid to PA halved over transparency issue

REUTERS/HA’ARETZ: Aid to PA halved over transparency issue

Diplomats said the EU did not plan to further slash funding commitments to the Authority in 2004 but insisted that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat approve bank transfers of security salaries.

“The 40 million euros are available but have been held back until we are assured of transparency,” a Western diplomat said.

“Holding back the release is more an issue of transparency than an issue related to the present…discussion that the funds (may) be going to fund terrorism,” he said.

Last week the EU fraud squad began an inquiry into allegations that some of its donations to the Authority were diverted to Palestinian suicide bombers.

Palestinian security officials said the meager salaries of members of the security forces were usually sent in bags to commanders who in turn distributed the money as they saw fit.

“Some of this money doesn’t actually reach the security men,” the diplomat said.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 02:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 15, 2004
Nasrallah: It’s our right to place mines along the border

MAARIV: Nasrallah: It’s our right to place mines along the border

The Lebanese terror organization, Hezbollah, said on Sunday for the first time in public it asserts its right to plant mines on the border between Israel and Lebanon. Hezbollah’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, said, “There are some places on the border where the Israelis are used to crossing. I say this publicly: It’s our right to plant explosives and set ambushes there.” Nasrallah added, “Should we abandon this area so that the Israelis can plant mines, kill people or kidnap someone?”.

Nasrallah commented on the most recent incident on the northern border - when Hezbollah forces fired a missile at an IDF bulldozer and killed a soldier. “The fate of that Israeli bulldozer will be the fate of any Israeli who treads on Lebanese soil or water,” he threatened.

Interesting how the UNFIL doesn’t mind land mines being places in their midst by the Iranian-funded and Syrian-funded Lebanese. Must be a big vote of confidence for their “peacekeeping” mission.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Hizbullah arsenal explodes in Lebanon

JERUSALEM POST: Hizbullah arsenal explodes in Lebanon

A series of explosions Sunday destroyed a two-story ammunition dump in south Lebanon that belonged to Hizbullah, according to Lebanese security officials.

They said the explosions were set off by a short circuit caused by lightning during a strong storm shortly before dawn Sunday.

There were no reports of casualties. The ammunition dump was located in the basement of a building between the villages of Majadel and Shehabiyeh, some 20 km. from the border with Israel.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 05:52 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack
Palestinian journalists boycott PA coverage

JERUSALEM POST: Palestinian journalists boycott PA coverage

The boycott, which goes into effect on Sunday, is also directed against the PA Ministry of Justice, which is accused of failing to take appropriate measures to punish the perpetrators.

The journalists were instructed not to cover the activities of the security forces or interview their commanders until tough measures are taken against those responsible for a spate of attacks on correspondents and newspaper and TV offices.

On Sunday, the journalists are expected to stage a sit-in strike outside the offices of the Gaza City prosecutor to demand an inquiry into three recent cases in which local journalists were targeted in the Gaza Strip. Last week some 200 journalists from the Gaza Strip declared a one-day strike to protest against the recurring attacks on their colleagues.

The boycott decision was taken over the weekend in response to the torching of a car belonging to Munir Abu Rizek, the Gaza City bureau chief for the PA daily Al-Hayat al-Jadeeda. The incident took place early Friday morning, while the car was parked outside Abu Rizek’s home in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City.

A statement issued by the syndicate condemned the attacks as “a new chapter in the campaign of terror directed against Palestinian journalists.

Never mind that whole campaign of terror against Jews, mind you.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:15 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Some of the People, All of the time

From The Australian :

More than a thousand people attended an anti-war meeting in Sydney today on the anniversary of mass global protests against the war in Iraq.

On February 15 last year, millions of people joined massive demonstrations in over 600 cities around the world to oppose the US-led invasion of Iraq.

In Sydney, over half a million people took part in marches to show their disapproval.

Meeting organiser Pip Hinman said hundreds of people were today turned away as the University of NSW auditorium filled up within minutes of the doors opening.

Controversial documentary maker John Pilger and former senior intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie, who quit the Office of National Assessments in protest against the government’s reasons for sending Australian troops to Iraq, addressed the crowd, Ms Hinman said.
{…]
Ms Hinman said a wide range of people attended the meeting which included a special screening of Mr Pilger’s latest film Breaking the Silence: truth and lies in the war on terror, which was mainly shot in Afghanistan.

Posted by Alan Brain at 09:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Taliban Ambushes Mine-Clearers

From Reuters via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

Suspected Taliban gunmen have shot dead four Afghan deminers in an ambush in western Afghanistan, the worst incident targeting aid workers in six months, officials said.

The deaths follow several days of violence in south-east Afghanistan that killed three people, a United States soldier among them.

The four worked for the Organisation for Mine Clearance and Afghan Rehabilitation, a local partner of the United Nations, which condemned the killings.

The special representative of the secretary-general, Mr Jean Arnault, expresses his shock and outrage at the brutal and cold-blooded murder of the four,” United Nations spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said.

The cowardly act committed against them cannot be tolerated.”

Three of the men died immediately when their two-vehicle convoy was sprayed with bullets on Saturday in the western province of Farah, and the fourth died after radioing in news of the attack.

If these killers hoped to stop demining in Afghanistan, they should know that our commitment to this work is absolute,” said Dan Kelly, manager of the UN Mine Action Centre for Afghanistan.

Local officials blamed the attack on the Taliban, saying it was not a robbery.

Posted by Alan Brain at 08:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
February 14, 2004
Bush OKs Private Meeting With 9/11 Panel

He’ll meet with the panel, but he won’t testify publicly. Read more here at the Guardian.

Posted by Alan at 11:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 13, 2004
US set to impose sanctions against Syria

MAARIV: US set to impose sanctions against Syria - Due to Damascus’s ongoing support of terrorism.

The U.S. intends to impose sanctions against Syria shortly, Secretary of State Collin Powell told Congress on Wednesday.

The law called the Syrian Accountability Act allows the U.S. to impose sanctions against Syria because of terrorist activities that originate in it. Now Washington has decided to change gears and begin the background work to enforce the bill. Powell revealed the intention to enforce the bill in answer to a question by New York Congressman Engel. The Secretary of State said his office was examining “all of the possibilities and implications of enforcing the bill”. Powell thought the bill would come into force within weeks.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:11 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Qatar blast claims life of ex-Chechen leader

From Reuters:
DOHA (Reuters) - Former Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev died on Friday from injuries sustained when his car was hit by a blast in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, police said.

"He is dead," Qatari police official Haman Ali al-Misnad told Reuters after leaving the surgical intensive care unit at Hamad Hospital in the capital Doha where Yandarbiyev had been taken. The official gave no further details.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera television said earlier that Yandarbiyev was seriously injured and two people traveling with him were killed when their car was hit by a blast in the Qatari capital Doha.

A hospital spokesman told Reuters that Yandarbiyev was leaving a mosque after Friday prayers in north Doha's Dasma area when the blast occurred.
Posted by Willie Galang at 10:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 12, 2004
NBC: Soldier accused of trying to aid al-Qaida

According to MSNBC, a National Guard member has been arrested for helping Al Qaeda.

Spc. Ryan G. Anderson has been charged with “aiding the enemy by wrongfully attempting to communicate and give intelligence to the al-Qaida terrorist network,” U.S. officials told NBC News. The officials said that Anderson was caught up in a sting operation conducted jointly by the Army, the Justice Department and the FBI. Anderson, however, is currently being held and charged only by the Army. Anderson is a Muslim, officials said.
Posted by Jeff M at 06:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Woman suspected of mediating between militants, Hezbollah

HA‘ARETZ: Woman suspected of mediating between militants , Hezbollah

A Palestinian woman from East Jerusalem has been arrested on suspicion of meditating between Tanzim militants staying Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat’s headquarters and their Hezbollah operators in Lebanon

The woman, Fada Abdullah, 28, who works as nurse for the Palestinian Red Crescent organization, was arrested on Wednesday. She is divorced mother who lives in East Jerusalem.

Due to her job, she frequents Arafat’s Muqata in Ramallah, and has freedom of movement between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

Par for the course for the terrorist taxi service that is the Palestinian Red Crescent, but acting in such a manner is a gross violation of the PRC’s obligations to the ICRC.

Not that the ICRC will hold them accountible, mind you.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 05:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
EU anti-fraud unit links PA to terror

JERUSALEM POST: EU anti-fraud unit links PA to terror

The European Union’s anti-fraud unit (OLAF) believes documents Israel provided showing Palestinian Authority financial support for terror are authentic, Israeli diplomatic officials said Thursday.

The German daily Die Welt reported last week that suspicion is growing that money from PA Chairman Yasser Arafat’s office was transferred to terror organizations, meaning that EU funds were used to help finance terror activities for the first two years of the current violence.

The EU budgeted some 10 million euros a month to the PA from the Fall of 2000, when the current violence erupted, to the Fall of 2002, when questions about usage of the funds forced the European Commission to stop payments.

Calling Chris Patten… Chris Patten…

Posted by Laurence Simon at 04:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
UN Finds Centrifuge Design In Iran
VIENNA, Austria (AP) — U.N. inspectors in Iran have discovered undeclared designs for an advanced centrifuge used to enrich uranium, diplomats said Thursday, another apparent link to the nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan.

Preliminary investigations suggest the design matches drawings of enrichment equipment found in Libya and supplied through the network headed by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the diplomats told The Associated Press.

The discovery came as Mohamed ElBaradei, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, called on the United States and other countries to relinquish nuclear weapons to make it more difficult for such weapons to fall into the hands of terrorists.

Filed at 12:20 p.m. ET

Via NYT

Posted by Robert Mayer at 01:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
More Flights Cancelled

FOX:

British Airways announced that a flight with a history of disruption to Washington, D.C. has been canceled for Sunday once again due to terror fears, along with a flight to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Flight 223 from Heathrow to Washington’s Dulles Airport was grounded for Sunday, while Monday’s Flight 263 from London to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia also was scrapped.

The airline said the decision “follows government advice to cancel those flights for security reasons.”

Flight 223 has been delayed or canceled eight previous times this year because of U.S. security alerts. Saudi flights also have been canceled several times.

Posted by Michele at 06:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 11, 2004
Text of Bush's WMD Speech

Transcript from FOX

The following is the text of President George W. Bush’s remarks on nuclear proliferation delibered at the National Defense University on Feb. 11. 2004:

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all. Be seated, please.

Thanks for the warm welcome. I’m honored to visit the National Defense University.

For nearly a century, the scholars and students here have helped to prepare America for the changing threats to our national security. Today the men and women of our National Defense University are helping to frame the strategies through which we’re fighting and winning the war on terror

.


Your center for counterproliferation research and your other institution colleges are providing vital insight into the dangers of a new era. I want to thank each one of you for devoting your talents and your energy to the service of our great nation.

I want to thank General Michael Dunn for inviting me here. I used to jog by this facility on a regular basis. Then my age kicked in.

I appreciate Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger from Germany. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here today.

I see my friend, George Schultz, a distinguished public servant and true patriot with us. George, thank you for coming. And Charlotte (ph), it’s good to see you.

I’m so honored that Dick Lugar is here with us today. Senator, I appreciate you taking time and thanks for bringing Senator Saxby Chambliss with you, as well.

I appreciate the veterans who are here and those on active duty. Thanks for letting me come back.

On September the 11th, 2001, America a and the world witnessed a new kind of war. We saw the great harm that a stateless network could inflict upon our country — killers armed with box cutters, mace and 19 airline tickets.

Those attacks also raised the prospect of even worse dangers of other weapons in the hands of other men.

The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological or nuclear weapons.

In the past, enemies of America required mass armies and great navies, powerful air forces to put our nation, our people, our friends at risk.

In the Cold War, Americans lived under the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but believed that deterrents made those weapons a last resort.

What has changed in the 21st century is that, in the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction would be a first resort, the preferred means to further their ideology of suicide and random murder.

These terrible weapons are becoming easier to acquire, build, hide and transport. Armed with a single vial of a biological agent or a single nuclear weapon, small groups of fanatics or failing states could gain the power to threaten great nations, threaten the world peace.

America and the entire civilized world will face this threat for decades to come. We must confront the danger with open eyes and unbending purpose.

I made clear to all the policy of this nation: America will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most deadly weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

Meeting this duty has required changes in thinking and strategy. Doctrines designed to contain empires, deter aggressive states and defeat massed armies, cannot fully protect us from this new threat. America faces the possibility of catastrophic attack from ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. So that is why we are developing and deploying missile defenses to guard our people.

The best intelligence is necessary to win the war on terror and to stop proliferation, so that is why I have established a commission that will examine our intelligence capabilities and recommend ways to improve and adapt them to detect new and emerging threats.

We’re determined to confront those threats at the source. We will stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We’ll block them from being transferred. We will prevent them from ever being used.

One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors and force their influence upon the world.

These nations pose different challenges. They require different strategies.

The former dictator of Iraq possessed and used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. For twelve years, he defied the will of the international community. He refused to disarm or account for his illegal weapons and programs.

He doubted our resolve to enforce our word. And now he sits in a prison cell while his country moves toward a democratic future.

(APPLAUSE)

To Iraq’s east, the government of Iran is unwilling to abandon a uranium-enrichment program capable of producing material for nuclear weapons. The United States is working with our allies and the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that Iran meets its commitments and does not develop nuclear weapons.

(APPLAUSE)

In the Pacific, North Korea has defied the world, has tested long-range ballistic missiles, admitted its possession of nuclear weapons and now threatens to build more. Together with our partners in Asia, America is insisting that North Korea completely, verifiably and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs.

America has consistently brought these threats to the attention of international organizations. We’re using every means of diplomacy to answer them. As for my part, I will continue to speak clearly on these threats. I will continue to call upon the world to confront these dangers and to end them.

In recent years, another path of proliferation has become clear, as well. America and other nations are learning more about black market operatives who deal in equipment and expertise related to weapons of mass destruction.

These dealers are motivated by greed, fanaticism or both. They find eager customers in outlaw regimes; paid millions for the parts and plans they need to speed up their weapons programs.

And the deadly technology and expertise on the market, there’s the terrible possibility that terrorist groups could obtain the ultimate weapons they desire most.

The extent and sophistication of such networks can be seen in the case of a man named Abdul Qadeer Khan. This is the story as we know it so far.

A.Q. Khan is known throughout the world as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. What was not publicly known until recently is that he also led an extensive international network for the proliferation of nuclear technology and know-how.

For decades, Mr. Khan remained on the Pakistani government payroll earning a modest salary. Yet he and his associates financed lavish lifestyles through the sale of nuclear technologies and equipment to outlaw regimes stretching from North Africa to the Korean peninsula.

A.Q. Khan himself operated mostly out of Pakistan. He served as director of the network, its leading scientific mind, as well as its primary salesman.

Over the past decade, he made frequent trips to consult with his clients and to sell his expertise. He and his associates sold the blueprints for centrifuges to enrich uranium, as well as nuclear design stolen from the Pakistani government.

The network sold uranium, hexafluoride, the gas that the centrifuge process can transform into enriched uranium for nuclear bombs.

Khan and his associates provided Iran and Libya and North Korea with designs for Pakistan’s older centrifuges, as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models. The network also provided these countries with components and, in some cases, with complete centrifuges.

To increase their profits, Khan and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges. Other necessary parts were purchased through network operatives, based in Europe and the Middle East and Africa.

These procurement agents saw the trade in nuclear technologies as a shortcut to personal wealth. And they set up front companies to deceive legitimate firms into selling them tightly controlled materials. Khan’s deputy, a man named BSA Tahir ran SMB Computers, a business in Dubai.

Tahir used that computer company as a front for the proliferation activities A.Q. Khan network. Tahir acted as both the network’s chief financial officer and money launderer. He was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients.

Tahir directed the Malaysia facility to produce these parts, based on Pakistani designs, and then ordered the facility to ship the components to Dubai. Tahir also arranged for parts acquired by other European procurement agents to transit through Dubai for shipment to other customers.

This picture of the Khan network was pieced together over several years by American and British intelligence officers. Our intelligence services gradually uncovered this network’s reach and identified its key experts and agents and money men.

Operatives followed its transactions, mapped the extent of its operations. They monitored the travel of A.Q. Khan and senior associates. They shadowed members of the network around the world. They recorded their conversations. They penetrated their operations.

We’ve uncovered their secrets. This work involved high risk. And all Americans should be grateful for the hard work and the dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.

(APPLAUSE)

Governments around the world worked closely with us to unravel the Khan network and to put an end to its criminal enterprise. A.Q. Khan has confessed his crimes. And his top associates are out of business.

The government of Pakistan is interrogating the network’s members, learning critical details that will help them prevent it from ever operating again. President Musharraf has promised to share all the information he learns about the Khan network and has assured us that his country will never again be a source of proliferation.

Mr. Tahir is in Malaysia, where authorities are investigating his activities. The Malaysian authorities have assured us that the factory the network used is no longer producing centrifuge parts. Other members of the network remain at large.

One by one, they will be found and their careers in the weapons trade will be ended.

As a result of our penetration of the network, American and the British intelligence identified a shipment of advanced centrifuge parts manufactured at the Malaysian facility. We followed the shipment of these parts to Dubai and watched as they were transferred to the BBC China, a German-owned ship.

After the ship passed through the Suez Canal bound for Libya, it was stopped by German and Italian authorities. They found several containers, each 40 feet in length, listed on the ship’s manifest as full of used machine parts. In fact, these containers were filled with parts of sophisticated centrifuges.

The interception of the BBC China came as Libyan and British and American officials were discussing the possibility of Libya ending its WMD programs.

The United States and Britain confronted Libyan officials with this evidence of an active and illegal nuclear program. About two months ago, Libya’s leader voluntarily agreed to end his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, not to pursue biological weapons, and to permit thorough inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

We’re now working in partnership with these organizations and with the United Kingdom to help the government of Libya dismantle those programs and eliminate all dangerous materials.

Colonel Gadhafi made the right decision, and the world will be safer once his commitment is fulfilled.

We expect other regimes to follow his example. Abandoning the pursuit of illegal weapons can lead to better relations with the United States and other free nations.

Continuing to seek those weapons will not bring security or international prestige, but only political isolation, economic hardship and other unwelcome consequences.

(APPLAUSE)

We know that Libya was not the only customer of the Khan network. Other countries expressed great interest in their services. These regimes and othreats of a new era.

America and the nations of Australia, France and Germany, Italy and Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have launched the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict lethal materials in transit.

Our nations are sharing intelligence information, tracking suspect international cargo, conducting joint military exercises. We’re prepared to search planes and ships to seize weapons and missiles and equipment that raise proliferation concerns, just as we did in stopping the dangerous cargo on the BBC China before it reached Libya.

Three more governments, Canada and Singapore and Norway, will be participating in this initiative. We’ll continue to expand the core group of PSI countries. And as PSI grows, proliferators will find it harder than ever to traorld’s efforts to stop the spread of deadly weapons.

First, I propose that the work of the proliferation security initiative be expanded to address more than shipments and transfers. Building on the tools we’ve developed to fight terrorists, we can take direct action against proliferation networks.

We need greater cooperation, not just among intelligence and military services, but in law enforcement, as well.

PSI participants and other willing nations should use the Interpol and all other means to bring justice to those who traffic in deadly weapons, to shut down their labs, to seize their materials, to freeze their assets.

We must act on every lead. We will find the middlemen, the suppliers and the buyers. Our message to proliferators must be consistent and it must be clear: We will find you, and we’re not going to rest until you are stopped.

(APPLAUSE)

Second, I call on all nations to strengthen the laws and international controls that govern proliferpassed the Nunn-Lugar legislation. Senator Lugar had a clear vision, along with Senator Nunn, about what to do with the old Soviet Union. Under this program, we’re helping former Soviet states find productive employment for former weapons scientists. We’re dismantling, destroying and securing weapons left over from the Soviet WMD arsenal. We have more work to do there.

And as a result of the G-8 Summit in 2002, we agreed to provide $20 billion over 10 years, half of it from the United States, to support such programs.

We should expand this cooperation elsewhere in the world. We will retain WMD scientists and technicians in countries like Iraq and Libya. We will help nations end the use of weapons-grade uranium and research reactors, urge more nations to contribute to these efforts.

The nations of the world must do all we can to secure and eliminate nuclear and chemical and biological and radiological materials. As we track and destroy these networks, we must also prevent governments from developing nuclear weapons under false pretenses.

The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty was designed more than 30 years ago to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons beyond those states which already possess them.

Under this treaty, nuclear states agreed to help non-nuclear states develop peaceful atomic energy, if they renounce the pursuit of nuclear weapons. But the treaty has a loophole, which has been exploited by nations such as North Korea and Iran.

These regimes are allowed to produce nuclear material that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs. So today as a first step, I propose a way to close the loophole.

The world must create a safe, orderly system to field civilian nuclear plants without adding to the danger of weapons proliferation. The world’s leading nuclear exporters should ensure the states have reliable access at reasonable cost to fuel for civilian reactors, so long as those states renounce enrichment and reprocessing.

Enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The 40 nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to sell enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning enrichment and reprocessing plants.

(APPLAUSE)

This step will prevent new states from developing the means to produce fissile material for nuclear bombs.

Proliferators must not be allowed to cynically manipulate the NPT to acquire the material and infrastructure necessary for manufacturing illegal weapons.

For international norms to be effective, they must be enforced.

It is the charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency to uncover banned nuclear activity around the world and report those violations to the U.N. Security Council.

We must ensure that the IAEA has all the tools it needs to fulfill its essential mandate.

America and other nations support what is called the additional protocol, which requires states to declare a broad range of nuclear activities and facilities and allows the IAEA to inspect those facilities.

As a fifth step, I propose that by next year, only states that have signed the additional protocol be allowed to import equipment for their civilian nuclear programs.

Nations that are serious about fighting proliferation will approve and implement the additional protocol.

I’ve submitted the additional protocol to the Senate. I’ve urged the Senate to consent immediately to its ratification.

We must also ensure that the IAEA is organized to take action when action is required.

So a sixth step, I propose the creation of a special committee of the IAEA board which will focus intensively on safeguards and verification. This committee, made up of governments in good standing with the IAEA, will strengthen the capability of the IAEA to ensure that nations comply with their international obligations.

And finally, countries under investigation for violating nuclear nonproliferation obligations are currently allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors.

(APPLAUSE)

As we move forward to address these challenges, we will consult with our friends and allies on all these new measures. We will listen to their ideas. Together, we will defend the safety of all nations and preserve the peace of the world.

Over the last two years, a great coalition has come together to defeat terrorism and to oppose the spread of weapons of mass destruction — the inseparable commitments of the war on terror.

We’ve shown that proliferators can be discovered and can be stopped. We’ve shown that for regimes that chose defiance, there are serious consequences. The way ahead is not easy, but it is clear.

We will proceed as if the lives of our citizens depend on our vigilance, because they do.

Terrorists and terror states are in a race for weapons of mass murder, a race they must lose.

(APPLAUSE)

Terrorists are resourceful; we’re more resourceful. They’re determined; we must be more determined.

We will never lose focus or resolve. We’ll be unrelenting in the defense of free nations and rise to the hard demands of dangerous times.

May God bless you all.

Posted by Michele at 05:04 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Bush Gives Speech on Fight Against WMDs

“America and the entire civilized world will face this threat for decades to come. We must confront the danger with open eyes and unbending purpose. I made clear to all the policy of this nation: America will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most deadly weapons.”

Story at FOX, full transcript as it becomes available.

Posted by Michele at 03:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
IDF kills 14 Palestinians in Gaza

JERUSALEM POST: IDF kills 14 Palestinians in Gaza

In the operation launched in the north Gaza Strip, Palestinians reported that at least three of the dead were Palestinian policemen. Among the dead were Mohammed Hilles, 18, the son of Ahmed Hilles, the top leader of Yasser Arafat’s Fatah faction in Gaza and the son of the Fatah secretary general in the Gaza Strip.

Other casualties include Mohammed Al Ejleh, 30, Mohammed Abu Armana, 23, Haytham Abed, 22, Ismail Abul Atel, 30, Akram Eqeilan, Mahdi Zaidiya, and Hani Abu Skheila, 27, from the Jabalya refugee camp and Amer Elghemari.

Hamas member Abu Skheila was one of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin’s bodyguards. According to Israeli security forces, he was involved in the bomb attack on a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza last October, in which 3 US security guards were killed. Sources also say Abu Skheila was planning further terrorist attacks.

Well, there go those plans.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:53 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack
Robi's S. Asia Briefing: Feb 11/04

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen.

PAKISTAN’S NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION SCANDAL

  • Last month we talked about Pakistan’s rogue scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan who confessed this month to sharing nuclear weapon information with a variety of countries. Robin Burk’s special report provides great information on the topic. While Khan was pardoned by President Musharraf, most likely as part of a deal to get a total confession and cooperation, he is now saying that a pardon will be based on what a Pakistani investigation might find.
  • Musharraf has mea culpa’d saying he long suspected Khan of supplying nuclear weapons information on the black market but did not act because he did not have proof and that if the U.S. had proof they should have supplied it earlier. The U.S., though, is refuting his claims saying they provided Pakistan with ongoing evidence of a “black market in nuclear technology for years.”
  • There is also evidence that Khan provided information to Iraq in the early 1990’s for its nuclear weapon program. There is also very recent information that Khan assisted in the removal of special material from Iraq.

Other Topics Today Include: Terrorist Cells in Pakistan Target U.S.; South Asian Internet Virus Makers; The Israel-India Alliance; Terrorism roundup in South Asia; and more.

Read The Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 09:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Moscow Militia finds Explosives Cache

But it may not be terrorist-related. From The Australian :

Police in the Russian capital have found a cache of explosives that would be enough to stage many blasts of the kind that occurred in Moscow’s subway last week, a news agency reported Wednesday.

Police found two sacks containing about 25 kilograms of TNT in a garage in eastern Moscow on Tuesday night, the ITAR-Tass news agency said. It said the police were trying to track down its owners.

Moscow police spokesman Pavel Klimovsky said that investigators had questioned people who said they had extracted the explosives from World War II ammunition they found while searching for military garb in the areas that saw battle between the Red Army and Nazi troops.

Klimovsky said the people who possessed the explosives told police they had intended to turn over the explosives to the authorities.

Posted by Alan Brain at 05:41 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Al Qaeda confirms 2 killed in Saudi

From The Australian :

Two members of al-Qaeda have been killed in Saudi Arabia where they were wanted by security forces, according to a statement published on the internet today in the name of the terror network’s Gulf branch.

Amer bin Mohsen al-Zeidan al-Shihri and Abdul Ilah al-Utaibi fell as martyrs during a clash with the forces of the apostate regime of the (ruling) al-Saud in the al-Suweidi district of Riyadh,” the statement said.

The names of the two martyrs were on the list of 26 fighting heroes wanted by this dictatorial regime on the peninsula of the Arabs,” said the statement which was attributed to “The al-Qaeda Organisation on the Arabian Peninsula”.

Posted by Alan Brain at 05:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
February 10, 2004
Islamic Extremists Enter US, Join Sleepers

Wash Times reports on Islamic extremists entering the the US.

Islamic radicals are being trained at terrorist camps in Pakistan and Kashmir as part of a conspiracy to send hundreds of operatives to “sleeper cells” in the United States, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

The intelligence and law-enforcement officials say dozens of Islamic extremists have already been routed through Europe to Muslim communities in the United States, based on secret intelligence data and information from terrorists and others detained by U.S. authorities.

A high-ranking foreign intelligence chief told The Washington Times in an interview last week that this clandestine but aggressive network of training camps “represents a serious threat to the United States, one that cannot be ignored.” The official said as many as 400 terrorists have been and are being trained at camps in Pakistan and Kashmir.

Pakistani officials are denying the accusations.

Posted by Jeff M at 11:58 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
February 09, 2004
Germany Blames U.S. For Acquittal

Germany blames the U.S. for the acquittal of an alleged Septtember 11 conspirator last week.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that many commentators say it is the decision by U.S. authorities to withhold key evidence from the Hamburg trial of Abdelghani Mzoudi that left the court no choice but to acquit.

Mzoudi’s acquittal highlights the different approach taken by Germany and the US in the war on terrorism. Germany is more focused on prosecuting terrorists, while the United States focuses on preventing terrorism regardless of the impact on possible prosecutions.

According to the Monitor:

Washington defends its position that it does not want to air in public courts the intelligence gleaned from interrogation of suspected terrorists. The fear, say security analysts, is that allowing key terror suspects to testify openly in court could allow them to divulge information and send messages to their comrades. It would create a security risk.

Posted by Dan Spencer at 09:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Robin's Winds of War: Feb 9/04

Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today’s “Winds of War” is brought to you by Robin Burk.

TOP TOPICS

  • As our Sunday discussion noted, terrorism is going regional in response to the successful efforts to dismantle much of al Qaeda’s leadership.

Other Topics Today Include: hunting al Qaeda on the border; poppies and fake dollars; LET Down Under; assembling bombs mid-flight; Palestinian Authority in chaos; Sharon and Gaza; Iranian moderates cave; GITMO tribunals; emerging hotspots in the Andes and Sri Lanka; Asian free trade zone; weather and the war on terror; Turkish relaxation.

Read the Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 10:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 08, 2004
al Qaeda, Nukes and Bomb Building

NYT:

A pan-Arab newspaper said Sunday that the al Qaeda organization led by Osama bin Laden bought tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine in 1998 and is storing them in safe places for possible use.

World Net Daily:

Two former senior Pakistani nuclear scientists who were based in the Afghan town of Kandahar met Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden several times before the fall of the Taliban. They were later detained and questioned on their return to Pakistan [More fearmongering from WND here].

Guardian:

Islamic militants have conducteddry runs of a devastating new style of bombing on aircraft flying to Europe, intelligence sources believe.
The tactics, which aim to evade aviation security systems by placing only components of explosive devices on passenger jets, allowing militants to assemble them in the air, have been tried out on planes flying between the Middle East, North Africa and Western Europe, security sources say.

[links via AllahPundit]

Posted by Michele at 02:06 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack
February 07, 2004
Islamic Jihad Vows Revenge for Commander's Death

REUTERS: Islamic Jihad Vows Revenge for Commander’s Death

A leader of Islamic Jihad vowed on Saturday that the militant group would avenge the killing of one of its commanders in an Israeli helicopter missile strike.

The leader, Abdallah al-Shami, told Reuters shortly after his close relative Aziz al-Shami died of his injuries in hospital that the killing “increases their determination to launch powerful and painful strikes against the enemy.”

He said revenge would be exacted “so that the enemy will not have time to celebrate his crime.”

Earlier reports had the Islamic Jihad terrorist-leader surviving the attack, his legs blown off.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:12 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
February 06, 2004
Rumsfeld: NATO to Have Greater Role in Afghanistan

AP is reporting that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld sees NATO having more of a role in the future of Afghanistan.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Friday he expects the NATO alliance to expand its military contribution greatly in Afghanistan by summer and eventually take over the entire operation except for the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

If that should occur, it would be a remarkable evolution from the months immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Then, the United States welcomed British military help in Afghanistan but carried out the most intensive phase of the war largely by itself against Afghanistan’s militant Muslim rulers and the al-Qaida fighters harboring in the Central Asian country.

More than 11,000 U.S. troops still are in Afghanistan, and NATO has about 8,000 providing security mainly in the capital, Kabul. NATO is not involved in combat operations in Afghanistan.

The article goes on:

One reason for U.S. interest in getting more NATO help in Afghanistan: the military already is stretched thin by Iraq, where at least 100,000 troops will remain for at least another year.
Posted by Jeff M at 03:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Putin rules out talks with Chechen rebels

THE HINDU: Putin rules out talks with Chechen rebels

Blaming Chechen leaders for the Moscow metro train blast that left about 40 people dead and over 120 injured, Russian President Vladimir Putin, today ruled out talks with the “terrorists”.

“Russia does not hold talks with the terrorists, it destroys them,” Putin declared at a Kremlin news conference.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 03:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
F-18s "buzz" Bay Area

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports:

Two Navy fighter jets rattled North Bay residents at dusk Thursday, roaring loudly while flying tight circles over Petaluma for several minutes. …

[T]he federal radar facility that tracks aircraft in the region… said the flight was authorized, but wouldn’t say what the planes were doing. …

Some residents said their homes shook from the roar of the planes.

Unnerved callers were concerned that the fighters could be tracking possible terrorist activity. Others initially thought a plane was crashing.

“They must have been trying to make a show of force or something,” said resident Tom Burrows. “I doubt somebody would be practicing … over the treetops over town just for the hell of it.” …

[Mike Glose, manager of Petaluma’s municipal airport] speculated that someone may have violated restricted airspace before landing in Petaluma, and the F-18s were scrambled as a precaution. A similar scenario played out days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when two planes were followed by fighter jets into Petaluma.

I have an eyewitness report from San Rafael over on my blog. Excerpt:

Last night about 6 PM, I was sitting here working at my desk when I hear a plane in the air… it sounded like a commercial jet….

Not 5 minutes later, I hear a VERY VERY VERY loud sound in the air… I mean shake my windows loud…

I run out into the back yard, look up into the semi-dark sky and see two F-16 fighter jets fly over my house… so low I can see great details on the planes…
they seemed to be going after the earlier plane…

Posted by Brendan at 02:09 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Senate Buildings Opening After Ricin Discovery

The NY Times is reporting that the Russell and Hart Senate Office Buildings have reopened. All Senate office buildings are expected to be open for business no later than Monday.

Senate office buildings began reopening Thursday as investigators said they still had not determined how the poison ricin got into the mailroom of the Senate majority leader on Monday.

Hundreds of Congressional staff members, eager to return to desks that had been off limits for days, clustered outside the entrances to the Russell Senate Office Building across Constitution Avenue from the Capitol and streamed in when the doors opened just after noon.

Officials said the collection of unopened mail, the decontamination of the office and the environmental testing of the Senate buildings were all proceeding smoothly and more quickly then they had expected. As a result, the Capitol police reopened the Hart building Thursday evening, ahead of schedule.

The Dirksen building, where the poison was discovered, is scheduled to reopen no later than Monday morning, but officials were trying to get it back in business sooner as well.

Posted by Jeff M at 01:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Zaka to display bombed out bus at the Hague

JERUSALEM POST: Zaka to display bombed out bus at the Hague

Israel’s Zaka (Disaster Victims Identification) organization announced Friday that it would place a terrorist-bombed bus outside the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

The burned-out bus was the target of a suicide bombing, in which 11 people were murdered in Jerusalem last week,

The court will hold hearings on Israel’s security fence on February 23rd, and the organization has received the approval of the Hague municipality to set up the installation

Posted by Laurence Simon at 10:12 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Terrorists In Gitmo Get Lawyers

Six military detainees at Guantanamo Bay have been given defense lawyers, as part of the process that will lead to their military tribunals:

The Department of Defense announced today that Guantanamo detainees Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al Bahlul of Yemen and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi of Sudan have been assigned military defense counsel.

Although neither detainee has been charged, both are in the group of six detainees President Bush determined to be subject to his military order of Nov. 13, 2001.

Military commission rules require that a defense counsel be available to an accused sufficiently in advance of trial to prepare a defense.

A trial date hasn’t been set because formal charges haven’t yet been brought.

(Cross-posted at Late Final.)

Posted by latefinal at 09:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Russian Terror Attack: Update

Pravda:

Act of terrorism was thoroughly planned

The main version of Russian law-enforcers - delayed fuse was used in Moscow Metro. The explosion was localized in relatively small area, therefore probably there was no suicide bomber in the Metro train car, said Deputy Mayor of Moscow Valery Shantsev.

The time and place of the explosion were thoroughly selected - the rush-hour when trains are overcrowded with people going to work. At this time of the day plenty of people go from Paveletsky Railway Station and Circular Metro Line to the factories and other institutions located along the “green” line where the explosion happened. The “green” line had the highest concentration of passengers.

In addition, the Metro spot where the explosion happened is located under the Moscow River. This could cause more accidents, such as water leak into the Metro tunnel. Why did the explosion happen 300 meters away from Avtozavodskaya Metro Station? Terrorists could hope that smoke out of the tunnel can cause panic at the station. Also, a terrorist never works alone. The accomplice could be waiting at Avtozavodskaya Station, and from there he/she could activate the fuse when it reached the zone of his remote control operation.

There is also a version that the explosion could be some auxiliary action in the plans of terrorists. They could elaborate another operation, such as bringing people or equipment to Moscow while law-enforcers are in a turmoil caused by the explosion.

Posted by Michele at 09:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Moscow metro blast kills 30

CNN: Moscow metro blast kills 30

An explosion has ripped apart an underground Moscow metro train car during the morning rush hour, killing at least 30 people and wounding 70 others, according to the Ministry of Emergency Situations.

It is not clear if the explosion was the result of a terrorist attack, but a police source told Russia’s Interfax news agency they are not ruling out that possibility.

The blast destroyed the second car of the train, which was traveling from Paveletskaya station to Avtozavodskaya station, southwest of the city center, around 8:40 a.m. (12:40 a.m. ET), the ministry spokesman said.

UPDATE: Death toll reported to be 40. Still no word on whether it’s Chechen-Islamic terror or criminal gang pre-election terror.
UPDATE 2: The words suicide bomber are being passed around a lot.

Interfax quoted investigators as saying first information indicated a woman suicide bomber was behind the attack.

Has Dror Feiler asked for a photo of her yet?

Posted by Laurence Simon at 04:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
February 05, 2004
Hamas terrorist killed in Gaza explosion

JERUSALEM POST: Report: Hamas terrorist killed in Gaza explosion

Hamas military wing commander in refugee camp near Gaza City was killed Thursday night in an explosion inside his home, Yediot Ahronot’s website reported.

The terrorist was identified by Hamas officials as Abdel Naser Abu Shuka, 36, Reuters reported.

Shuka reportedly died after receiving an ‘explosive package’, Ynet quoted Palestinian sources as saying.

Other reports say that he was preparing the explosive when it went off.

Posted by Laurence Simon at 09:24 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Alleged 9/11 Helper Acquitted

FOX:

A Moroccan man accused of aiding the Sept. 11 hijackers was acquitted by a Hamburg court Thursday following a 5-month trial that was only the second trial ever of a suspect in those terrorist attacks carried out by Usama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network.

Abdelghani Mzoudi, 31, stood silently as presiding Judge Klaus Ruehle read the verdict, keeping his arms folded while staring down toward the floor.

Prosecutors had sought the maximum 15 years in prison on more than 3,000 counts of accessory to murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Last February, similar evidence secured the maximum sentence against Mzoudi’s friend Mounir el Motassadeq — the world’s first Sept. 11 conviction.

Federal prosecutors alleged Mzoudi provided logistical support to the Hamburg cell under lead hijacker Mohamed Atta (search), helping with financial transactions and arranging housing for members to evade authorities’ attention. Mzoudi spent time at a terrorist camp in Afghanistan in 2000.

Mzoudi’s lawyers denied the charges, saying that while their client was friends with many of the Sept. 11 principals, he knew nothing of the plot to attack the United States.

Posted by Michele at 07:03 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
JI suspects held in Ireland

From ABS-CBN/Today (Manila): (See also this BBC link.)
A Filipino Muslim couple -- whose names have not been released -- were arrested in Northern Ireland on suspicion of being a conduit of funds for the Jema’ah Islamiyah network in Ireland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Wednesday the arrest Friday of a Filipino nurse working there and her husband. They are Muslim converts.

The department said the nurse was released Wednesday and cleared of terrorist charges.

But her husband was detained for interrogation. Irish police said the husband’s presence and activities in Northern Ireland were “quite suspicious” because he was unemployed but had reportedly huge amounts of money.
Posted by Willie Galang at 01:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 04, 2004
UN Concerned over Nuclear Black Market

This is a bit of a worry. From Reuters, via the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) :

The United Nations nuclear watchdog and Western diplomats say the nuclear black market which Pakistan’s top atomic scientist used to sell technology might be far bigger than initially feared.

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the pioneer of Pakistan’s atom bomb, has publicly confessed that he leaked nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

A spokeswoman for the International Atomic Energy Agency says its big priority now is to find out if there are any other countries that might have benefited from his nuclear network.

Western diplomats in Vienna, where the atomic agency has its headquarters, say Iran, Libya and North Korea might only be the tip of the iceberg.

They say other countries could have been customers of what they call Khan’s network of nuclear middlemen.

Posted by Alan Brain at 10:48 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: Feb. 4/04

Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit.

TOP TOPICS

  • Is George W. Bush’s foreign policy winning friends in Africa? Hard to say, but French influence on the continent may be waning.

  • Head Heeb notes a new free trade agreement for Central Africa, one of the least integrated (and most war-torn) regions on the continent.

  • Abiola reminds us that counting the number of people in Africa with AIDS is far from straight-forward.

Other Topics Today Include: War on Terror update; Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe; War and peace in Sudan; African peacekeeping operations; African art; Straits of Gibraltar tunnel; and Nigerian scam emailer revealed!

Read The Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 10:17 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 03, 2004
Ricin Vial Sent To White House

The Washington Post reports that the Secret Service intercepted a letter addressed to the White House in November that contained a vial of the toxin ricin.

The letter, signed by "Fallen Angel" and containing complaints about trucking regulations, was nearly identical to one discovered Oct. 15 at a Greenville, S.C., mail-sorting facility. It was accompanied by a metal vial that contained powdered ricin, sources said.

In the South Carolina case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was called in to test the mail facility and its workers. The FBI also released detailed information about the case and, earlier this month, announced a $100,000 reward for information leading to a conviction.

But the existence of a similar letter sent to the White House was not disclosed until yesterday, and then only by law enforcement officials who asked not to be identified by name.

[. . .]

In October, postal workers at a Greenville, S.C., mail facility that serves a regional airport discovered an envelope marked: "caution RICIN POISON Enclosed in sealed container Do not open without proper protection."

Inside the envelope was a metal key chain vial containing white powdered ricin. The envelope also contained a typewritten letter identifying the writer as a fleet owner of a tanker company and protesting regulations mandating more rest hours for truck drivers on the road. No arrests have been made in the case.

The letter writer also claimed to have the ability to make large quantities of ricin and threatened to use the poison if the regulation changes were not dropped. The rules went into effect as scheduled Jan. 4. The envelope in Greenville was addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a DOT spokesman.

[. . .]

On Monday, authorities announced that a white powdery substance found near a pile of mail in Frist's office had been tentatively identified as ricin, and further tests yesterday confirmed the presence of the poison, which is made from castor beans.

Perhaps this Ricin scare is just a criminal matter and not terrorism.
Posted by Dan Spencer at 11:44 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
Ricin Updates

Capitol police are looking at a suspicious powder that was found on the first floor of the capitol building.

(via Fox TV)

More as it comes…

UPDATE: The FOXNews header now reads “All-Clear Given in Capitol Building.”

Update: Military testing has confirmed the ricin testing from yesterday.

Posted by Michele at 11:54 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Nuclear Surveillance in D.C.

Quietly, behind the scenes, the U.S. government is working to make key cities “hard targets” for dirty bombs and smuggled nukes. Back on February 14, 2003, I had this to say in “A Capitol Hill Trip Report

“I did not get that from Powell’s security detail and I was a great deal closer. That is when I realized that I had been “electronically frisked” in multiple sensor wave lengths before Powell actually left Dirkson, and that this had been passed to Powell’s inner ring security detail before Powell exited the building. The whole of Capitol Hill is now a “Free Fire Zone” for the most advanced surveillance technologies the US government can afford.”

Now compare that to the following article in the January 9th 2004 Washington Post

Read The Rest…

Posted by Winds of Change at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Suspicious White Powder Found at CT Post Office

FOX

State environmental officials and federal agents were investigating the discovery of an unidentified white powder at a postal distribution center.

Department of Environmental Protection officials say an employee found the powder in an envelope Tuesday morning. The facility remains open, and officials say they’ve isolated the area where the powder was discovered.

The Wallingford facility is the same postal center at which investigators found anthrax spores in 2001. The substance found Tuesday has been taken for testing, DEP officials said.

Fox TV is reporting that the substance is ricin.

Posted by Michele at 09:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Senate Buildings Closed, Frist Calls Ricin Event a Terrorist Activity

FOX:

Three Senate buildings will be closed Tuesday following “several confirmations” that a white, powdery substance found Monday in the Dirksen Senate Office Building is the deadly poison ricin, Capitol Police said.

The powder was found by a Senate postal worker shortly after 3 p.m. Monday near the office of Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn. Initial tests resulted in one positive and one negative for ricin. The substance was then transported by the Capitol Police Hazardous Device Unit to a laboratory, where two out of three tests came out positive for ricin.

Dirksen and the other two main Senate office buildings were to be closed Tuesday for officials to check other mail in the buildings, but the Capitol was to remain open with the Senate convening Tuesday morning as scheduled

Sen. Frist: “The mailroom was in my office …. This is a terrorist activity.”

AP reports that people have been decontaminated:

At least 16 people on the floor were decontaminated, and others who might have been in the area were urged to contact Senate officials, Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer told reporters at a late Monday night news conference. The decontamination procedure was not explained, but witnesses saw some people emerging into the cold from a van outside the Dirksen building clad only in T-shirts and pants. One wore a white jumpsuit.

Symptoms of ricin poisoning usually appear within six to eight hours, so it is unlikely that anyone will get sick from this, as they would have shown symptoms already.

In another statement similar to the one quoted above, Frist seemed to have backed down from his terrorist claim and instead said:

“This is a criminal action.”

Posted by Michele at 06:20 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
February 02, 2004
Ricin Found in Office of Sen. Frist [Updated: Ricin Confirmed]

A white, powdery substance found in a Senator Frists’s mailroom has tested positive for a deadly substance:

A U.S. Capitol police spokeswoman said the department is investigating the matter but would not comment on the substance found, saying only that preliminary tests were positive for a “hazardous substance.”

Sources say that the substance is ricin.

Overview of ricin.

ABC News has a few more details. Just a few.

Developing, updates as we get them. Keep in mind this story is just breaking and should be treated as fragile. Meaning, the whole story could fall apart soon.

Update: They’ve changed the wording from tested positive for ricin, to could be ricin.

Update 2:

“There are several confirmations the substance is ricin,” a Capitol Police spokesman said in a press conference late Monday night.

The substance has since been taken to Fort Detrick in Maryland for more definitive testing. The spokesman said results of the tests would be announced at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning

Posted by Michele at 09:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
No New Flights to be Grounded

FOX

The “specific and credible” terrorist threats that led to the cancellation of seven flights have passed and there are no plans to ground any more flights, government officials said Monday.

“At this point we do not have any new threat reporting targeting specific flights like we did over the weekend,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Posted by Michele at 04:47 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 01, 2004
Eight Killed in Afghan Bombing

FOX

remote-controlled bomb, thought to have been planted by Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters, exploded as a southern Afghan mayor and his family drove by, killing him and seven relatives, a provincial governor said Sunday.

Six people were arrested. No other details were immediately available.

Provincial Gov. Jan Mohammad Khan said the blast occurred at about 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon in Deh Rawood (search), southern Uruzgan province, as the vehicle of Mayor Khalif Sadaht passed on its way home. Deh Rawood is about 250 miles southwest of the Afghan capital, Kabul.

“Taliban or Al Qaeda did this attack,” Khan told The Associated Press without elaborating.

The victims included the mayor’s three sons and four other relatives, Khan said. Five other people were wounded.

Posted by Michele at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Iran blasts Bremer remarks on Qaeda

From Iran’s IRIB:

Iran challenged on Sunday Iraq’s US Governor Paul Bremer’s allegations that members of Al Qaeda had fled to Iran from Iraq, calling on him to back up his claims with proof if there was any.

“Mr. Bremer must present evidence in order to substantiate the accuracy of his allegations,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters here during a weekly press briefing.

“We have already announced that our borders are being controlled up to a very high degree and we do not allow any illegal movements (inside our territory) and that we will legally deal with any Al Qaeda members whom we may find,” he added.

Posted by Alan at 08:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack