Truth Frequency Radio


Jan 21, 2013

Freed Hostage From Plant In Algeria Speaks About The Terrifying Ordeal – Canadians Involved?

By Sarah Dee
theintelhub.com
January 22, 2013

Many have been following the story of the hostage situation in Algeria over the past week and it seems that the dust is finally settling. Algerian forces raided to quell the Islamist militants’ attack, but unfortunately many foreign hostages were lost in the process. It appears that the militants were targeting foreigners all along.

One of the now freed hostages describes the terrifying ordeal in his own words, in this Associated Press piece, from the moment the plant lost power:

“I ran together with other expats and hid under the desks in my office, locking the door. Attackers went scanning the office facility kicking the doors in. Luckily our door did not break and they went on to other offices,” he said. “Locals were freed, the attackers made clear from the beginning that only foreigners were a target. Expats were detained.”

The Algerian Prime Minister said Monday that the militants must have had help from a Nigerian driver that previously work at the location because they, “knew the facility’s layout by heart.” This is significant to note because the huge oil field compound is located in the Sahara desert about 800 miles south of Algiers, Algeria’s capital. The only way for the militants to know their way about the premises would be for them to have had prior knowledge of its layout. Algeria’s prime minister also said that two members of the band of militants were Canadians.

“The militants had said during the standoff that their band included people from Canada, and hostages who had escaped recalled hearing at least one of the militants speaking English with a North American accent…Officials in Canada could not confirm that any of the attackers were from there.”

Source:

Ouali, A., & Kebir, K. (2013, January 21). Inside job, 2 canadian militants in algeria siege. Associated Press. Retrieved from

Somalia, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Algeria, Eritrea: Is Africa the next Afghanistan?

January 21, 2013ERITREA – Eritrean army tanks besieged the information ministry in central Asmara on Monday after some 200 mutineers seized the building to call for political reform, diplomatic and diaspora sources said Monday. No shots had been fired and the rest of the city appeared calm, the diplomats added, although very few details were immediately available. “The ministry of information is under siege,” a diplomat said. Amanuel Ghirmai, an Eritrean journalist in Paris for independent Radio Erena, said that around a 100 army mutineers stormed the hill-top ministry — which towers over the capital of the Red Sea state — early on Monday morning. They reportedly ordered news readers at the government-run television and radio station — the only source of media for the authoritarian state — to read a statement that they will implement the country’s constitution. The statement also reportedly ordered the release of prisoners of conscience. “We do not know who is leading the situation… everybody has been put into the same room (in the ministry),” Amanuel said, adding that he had spoken to sources in Asmara. “Britain’s foreign office updated its travel advice Monday to say it had received reports of “unusual military movements in and around Asmara,” without giving further details. The reports were not possible to confirm independently, and all calls to government officials were not answered. Impoverished Eritrea beats even North Korea to rank last out of 179 countries on the Press Freedom Index of the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. All independent media was shut down after Issaias launched a draconian purge in 2001, while the Horn of Africa nation expelled the last registered foreign correspondent in 2010. However, Eritrean expatriates who had spoken to compatriots in Asmara said they could confirm reports that troops had been deployed at the information ministry, and that state television Eri-TV had stopped broadcasting, they told AFP. All Eritrea’s public media are recorded and broadcast from the ministry. “The local transmission has been cut, the only satellite signal is airing some archives,” Amanuel added. “Local radio and TV appear to have been shut down; we are seeking further information,” Britain’s foreign office added.

NY Times

The revolution will not be televised: The bloody resolution of the hostage crisis in Algeria has brought into focus the broader challenges the United States and its allies face in confronting terrorist cells that have taken up sanctuary across northern Africa. The United States and France have been courting Algeria for months, hoping to secure its support for an international effort to evict Islamic militants out of northern Mali. But the militants’ advance south, which set off an appeal for the French military intervention by the Mali government, and the hostage-taking at a gas-producing complex in the Sahara to the north have caught the United States by surprise and prompted fresh White House vows to combat terrorism in the region. In taking on the militants, Western nations are confronting multinational bands that are often able to move with relative freedom across porous African borders. And those cells have many inviting targets to choose from: the region is rich with oil, gas, uranium and other international ventures that clearly represent Western interests and in some cases are poorly defended. Also, with the United States and Britain determined not to send troops to Mali, and the French hoping to avoid an open-ended deployment there, Western nations must rely heavily on the forces of local nations who are not always open to outside advice.

France: ‘Our goal is the total reconquest of Mali’

BYRON TAU
commondreams.org
January 21, 2013

Cite terrorism, bomb, fuel terrorism, repeat.

While blowback from Libya is felt in Mali, and from Mali in Algeria, recent comments from British and French leaders lay bare western powers’ perception of conflict in Islamic lands through the lense of the war on terror that sees “terrorists” that must be stopped through military force with little thought given to the price that will be paid for the involvement.

As France continues to drop bombs on its former colony of Mali, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian left no doubt of his country’s goal there.

“The goal is the total reconquest of Mali. We will not leave any pockets” of resistance, Le Drian said Sunday on France 5 television.

Read more

Officials: Pirates Seize Oil Tanker in Ivory Coast

ABC News

By ROBBIE COREY-BOULET Associated Press
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast January 21, 2013 (AP)
Armed men have hijacked a tanker carrying 5,000 tons of jet fuel from an Ivory Coast port and taken it off the coast of Ghana, though its precise whereabouts are unknown, government authorities and maritime officials said Monday.

The Panamanian-flagged vessel ITRI was first seized Wednesday as the tanker was preparing to deposit the Jet A1 fuel at the port of Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, according to a statement Monday from Ivory Coast’s government — its first communication on the case. It said officials had located the vessel off neighboring Ghana, without specifying.

Shipowner Brila Energy, a petroleum distributor based in Nigeria, said it was monitoring the situation.

“The vessel is still missing and the hijackers whose sole objective is to steal the cargo of Jet A1 on board the vessel are yet to make any demands,” Chairman Rowaye Jubril told The Associated Press in an e-mail. He said all 16 crew members were Nigerian, and said the possibility of the fuel leaking into the water was “remote” because the vessel had not been in any accident.

Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Bureau’s pirate reporting center in Malaysia, said in many previous cases, the pirates released the crew after they had siphoned out the oil and obtained any valuable cargo.

The ship initially had trouble docking because a sand storm reduced visibility, a government statement said. Later, the ship’s captain radioed the port manager to report difficulty maneuvering. Shortly afterward, contact was lost with the vessel. Then ship consignee Koda Maritime informed port officials that armed men had taken control of the tanker.

Most hijackings in the region occur near oil-rich Nigeria.

The first recorded vessel hijacking off Ivory Coast was in October, when 14 men armed with knives and AK-47s boarded a tanker carrying 30,000 tons of gasoline. The tanker was released three days later in Nigerian waters with the crew unharmed, but the pirates allegedly made off with about 2,500 tons. The IMB said that attack was the farthest ever from Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, calling it a “potential game changer” in piracy in the region.

Peter Jones: “We must tread carefully in west Africa”

Reassuring the Malian people and establishing a command structure will prove difficult. Picture: Getty

Published on Tuesday 22 January 2013 00:00

Scotsman

EVERYONE cheered when Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi’s foul regime was brought to an end by the Libyan uprising in October 2011.

Now, however, in the bloody end to the hostage-taking in Algeria and in the intervention of French troops in strife-ridden Mali, we are seeing an unintended consequence of Gaddafi’s demise.

This fact alone – that the people causing the trouble in Algeria and Mali are heavily armed with looted Libyan weaponry – should tell outside powers that they should tread very carefully in west Africa. Rushing in is likely to make fools of foreigners and victims of very many innocent Africans.

The origins of the present conflict are, of course, much more complex than just an exodus of arms and, to some extent, trained mercenaries from Libya. That has served to amplify existing tensions. Although Algeria is closer to dictatorship than democracy on the political spectrum and, indeed, its rulers are distant supporters of the noxious Assad regime in Syria, the Arab Spring has left the regime largely unscathed. There were plenty of protests, including self-immolations of the Tunisian type that kicked off the whole Arab revolt, but they failed to spread.

In part, that is because the regime moved to defuse much of the reason for the protest by reintroducing food subsidies. But the main reason is that memories of the 1990s civil war (known as the black decade) between Islamist groupings and the Algerian victors of the war of liberation against French rule are still strong.

Estimates of the death toll range between about 50,000 and 200,000. Hardly a family was untouched by the conflict and, therefore, there was little enthusiasm for a renewed bout of blood-letting, especially as the 187,000-strong Algerian army, part of the ruling clique, earned a reputation for ruthlessness in its suppression of the Islamist factions. An amnesty offer to militants in 1999 brought an end to most of the fighting, but some elements vowed to carry on. Amid some splintering and division, the most extreme grouping, the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, changed its name to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya) or AQIM.

It has grown powerful through the smuggling of drugs and cigarettes and ransom payments for its kidnap victims. It has also been responsible for many bombings which, somewhat gruesomely, has increased its allure – as was highlighted yesterday with the announcement that Canadian Islamists were among the hostage-taking terrorists killed by Algerian forces.

Some of these elements are among the insurgents who have provoked the French intervention in Mali, and to which the taking of the BP gas plant in Algeria was a response. The rest are mostly Tuareg, the nomadic people of the west Sahara who have suffered perhaps a century of oppression at the hands of French imperialism and the post-imperial governments of west Africa.

Mali is a shambles of a country, in the hands of squabbling politicians and military types who hardly merit the “government” description. The Tuareg, some of whom have settled in the north, resent the fact that they get nothing from the country’s powers that be. This month, perhaps 2,000 armed men swept down from northern towns, including the fabled Timbuktu, seizing more towns and threatening the capital Bamako where about 1.8 million people, and most of the 6,000 French citizens in Mali, live.

French president François Hollande, belying his reputation for indecision, promptly deployed troops who, fighting alongside Malian forces, have pushed the insurgents back. The jihadists seem to have responded by vanishing, either into the desert or into the local population whence many of them came.

The threat is still clearly there, as it is across much of north-west Africa. And, in Mali especially, they know the land a whole lot better than do any troops, including Malian ones, who might be deployed to contain insurrection.

This, plus the fact that many of the jihadists are veterans of wars against the infidels in Iraq and Afghanistan (giving rise to the clumsy but perhaps horribly accurate soubriquet for the region as Africanistan in some western circles) makes finding solutions that end the threat of uprisings, murder and kidnapping no easy task.

Full Article

Baird says still no proof Canadian co-ordinated gas plant attack

  • Updated
    5:47 pm, January 21st, 2013
  • 7:34 am, January 21st, 2013
  • Sun News Canada

Baird says still no proof Canadian co-ordinated gas plant attack

DANIEL PROUSSALIDIS | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA – Algeria’s prime minister says a Canadian who goes by the name Chedad was the mastermind behind the hostage-taking crisis at a natural gas plant in Algeria, but Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird insists there is no confirmation of that yet.

“I’m certainly aware of the reports,” Baird told QMI Agency. “We haven’t been able to get any additional information from the Algerian government. We’re working to get that information as expeditiously as possible.”

Baird’s comments come after Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal held a news conference to talk about a bloody siege over the weekend that ended the hostage crisis.

“A Canadian was among the militants,” said Sellal. “He was co-ordinating the attack.”

Separately, an Algerian security source said documents found on two of the Islamists involved in he hostage-taking identified them as Canadians.

The Algerian military responded in force after about 40 al-Qaida-linked terrorists raided the gas plant near the Libyan border last week.

Some hostages managed to escape, but many others died along with their captors during the Algerian military operation.

The overall death toll has reached 67, with workers from the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Romania, Norway and the Philippines either dead or missing.

Reports of Canadian involvement in terrorism abroad got under the skin of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

He took to Twitter on Monday to say he “can’t begin to understand those who turn their backs on Canada to embrace the death cult of jihadi extremism.”

The House of Commons is in the process of making it easier for authorities to prosecute a Canadian citizen who goes abroad with the intention committing a terrorist act.

Full Article

 

Algeria Says Militants Were to Move Hostages After Blast

By Salah Slimani, Tarek El-Tablawy & Caroline Alexander – Jan 21, 2013 4:34 PM MT

Bloomberg

A multinational group of terrorists that killed at least 38 hostages, including three Americans, at a gas complex in Algeria planned to blow up the site and escape into neighboring Mali with their captives, according to the first official account of the raid.

Only the actions of the Algerian army prevented the 32-man militant squad, which had “a massive arsenal” and explosives experts, from fleeing with hostages, Abdelmalek Sellal, the country’s prime minister, told reporters in Algiers yesterday. At least one member of the terrorists was a Canadian national whose job was to contact the media, he said.

The extent of the death toll remains uncertain. Sellal said 37 foreign workers and one Algerian were killed, along with 29 militants, bringing the number of dead to 67. He said three militants were captured, with five foreign hostages still missing. Other governments have said 17 people remain unaccounted for, according to the Associated Press, and reports of the number killed have varied since the Algerian forces moved against the militants.

The operation at the In Amenas gas facility underscored the dangers Algeria faces as French forces target jihadis in Mali. Sellal, whose nation fought a decade-long battle against Islamists in the 1990s, reiterated that Algeria backed peaceful dialogue and wouldn’t commit troops to Mali.

The scenario outlined by Sellal was of an orchestrated assault planned by the militants over two months and complete with inside information from a former driver at the Saharan gas facility, operated by London’s BP Plc (BP/), Statoil ASA (STL) of Norway, and state-run Sonatrach. The siege was dealt with “professionally” by the Algerian military, Sellal said.

Full Article

US preparing counterterrorism manual establishing rules for targeted killings

A US assassination drone (file photo)

Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:26PM GMT
The US government is about to finish a detailed counterterrorism manual, which will establish rules for targeted-killing operations.

The document will be submitted to US President Barack Obama within weeks for final approval, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

A US official involved in drafting the manual — described as a counterterrorism “playbook” – who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the document “will be done shortly.”

According to the Washington Post report, some of the subjects covered in the manual are “the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when US citizens can be targeted overseas and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or US military conducts drone strikes outside war zones.”

Pundits say the decision to draft the counterterrorism manual marks a turning point, since it is an attempt to “legalize” and “legitimize” targeted killings.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 2,629 and 3,461 people have been killed in US assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, and between 475 and 891 of the victims were civilians.

Despite the Pakistani government’s repeated calls for Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues to launch strikes on the tribal areas of the country, which has strained relations between the two allies.Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures show that many of the victims of the attacks are civilians, including a large number of women and children.

Algeria crisis: names of the three American dead released

The victims’ names have been released by US authorities, amid claims that a Canadian-Alegrian militant was involved in planning the raid

Aftermath of Algerian siege.

The names of the three Americans killed during a four-day siege at an Algerian gas plant were released by US authorities on Monday, as it was claimed that a Canadian had been involved in the planning the raid.

In a statement, the State Department confirmed that Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan and Frederick Buttaccio were among the scores of international employees killed in the attack, responsibility for which has been claimed by al-Qaida linked terrorists.

Expressing “deepest condolences” to the families of the three American victims, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that officials were aware of a further seven US citizens who survived the attack.

The total number of hostages known to have been killed now stands at 48, with British, Americans, French, Japanese, Norwegian and Romanian workers among the dead. Dozens of militants also died during fighting with special forces tasked with bringing the hostage crisis to an end.

The Algerian government claimed the raid had been co-ordinated by a Canadian-Algerian jihadist and relied on extensive inside knowledge of the facility.

The deadly stand-off began last Wednesday when militants seized the facility at the In Amenas gas field in the Sahara.

It ended on Saturday, when Algerian forces mounted a final assault against the captors.

By that time, five Americans had already been taken out of the complex and led to safety. The remaining two US hostages survived Saturday’s fighting and were flown to London.

Officials had already confirmed that Buttaccio, from Texas, was among the dead at the site.

Militants had offered to release Lovelady and Rowan in exchange for the freedom of two terror suspects being kept in the United States: Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted of plotting to blow up New York landmarks, and Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani scientist apprehended after shooting at two US soldiers in Afghanistan. The White House rejected the offer.

In the statement released Monday, the State Department reiterated the administration’s belief that the terrorist assailants alone were responsible for the deaths. “As the President said, the blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms,” Nuland said.

“We will continue to work closely with the government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack of last week and how we can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future,” she said.

No details were released concerning the circumstances in which the three Americans were killed.

Four of the British victims have been named: a former member of the British speed skiing team, Carson Bilsland, 46, an oil worker originally from near Blairgowrie, Perthshire; Paul Morgan, 46, a security expert; Garry Barlow, 49, a systems supervisor from Liverpool; and planning manager Kenneth Whiteside, 59, from Glenrothes, Fife. Carlos Estrada, a Colombian BP executive who lived in London, is also believed to be among the dead.

The Algerian prime minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, said on Monday that the final decision by the country’s special forces to storm the site on Saturday was triggered by an intercepted order to execute the remaining seven hostages and by the jihadists’ plans to blow up the desert gas pumping plant which, Sellal said, could have spread debris across a 5km radius.

Sellal said 29 jihadists from the al-Qaida splinter group Signers in Blood had been killed and three had been captured alive.

He said the attack was orchestrated by a Canadian national known only as Chedad, who he said was now in Mauritania. Surviving hostages also talked of a militant at the scene with a north American accent calling on foreign contractors to come out of hiding.

John Baird, the Canadian foreign minister, said: “We can’t confirm the accuracy of these reports. But our embassy in Algiers and our team in Ottawa are working to try to verify this information.”

Sellal said the militant cell included men from Egypt, Mali, Niger, Mauritania and Tunisia, as well as three Algerians, and he claimed the plot had been hatched at least two months previously.

The attackers had driven hundreds of miles from Mali arriving across the Libyan border.

The jihadist operation “knew the facility’s layout by heart” from a former driver from the plant from Niger, Sellal said.

Sellal said the Signers in Blood group – followers of a veteran Algerian jihadist called Mokhtar Belmokhtar – had planned to blow up the In Amenas gas field and take hostages back to Mali to use as bargaining chips.

“Their goal was to kidnap foreigners,” he said. “They wanted to flee to Mali with the foreigners but, once they were surrounded, they started killing the first hostages.”

He said a guard at the gate of the complex who was wounded in the initial attack had set off an alarm that stopped the flow of gas and warned workers of an imminent attack. “It was thanks to him that the factory was protected,” Sellal said.

He said Algerian special forces had no choice but to intervene because the jihadists were going to flee the country with their captives and because they planned to kill the hostages and blow up the installation.

He said talks with the militant group had been “a real labyrinth” in which the hostage-takers made “unreasonable” demands. There was no choice for Algerian forces but to attack, he said.

Full Article

U.S. confirms three citizens killed in Algeria hostage drama

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 21, 2013 16:28 EST

The beseiged Statoil-run gas field in southern Algeria. Photo- AFP

The United States confirmed Monday that three of its citizens were among the foreign workers who died last week in an attack by Islamist hostage-takers on an Algerian gas plant.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said seven more Americans survived the drama at the In Amenas site, and identified those killed as Victor Lynn Lovelady, Gordon Lee Rowan and Frederick Buttaccio.

Earlier, Algerian authorities had said 37 foreigners of eight different nationalities had been killed in the attack and subsequent four-day siege of the facility, which ended in a bloodbath on Saturday.

Nuland said she would not be giving more details about the US dead or the survivors, out of respect for the families’ privacy, but cited President Barack Obama in blaming the Islamist militants for the bloodshed.

“As the President said, the blame for this tragedy rests with the terrorists who carried it out, and the United States condemns their actions in the strongest possible terms,” she said.

“We will continue to work closely with the Government of Algeria to gain a fuller understanding of the terrorist attack of last week and how we can work together moving forward to combat such threats in the future.”

The sprawling In Amenas gas plant was attacked on Wednesday by at least 32 heavily-armed fighters, who Algerian officials claim crossed into the country from neighboring Mali, where Islamist militants have launched a rebellion.

The gang took foreign workers hostage and Algerian forces responded with an uncompromising assault which only ended at the weekend.

Some foreign governments complained Algeria had kept them in the dark about an operation that many observers found hasty, but in public Washington and its allies have been cautiously supportive of Algeria’s move.

Iran inspiration for all regional revolutions: Egypt parliament speaker

PressTV

Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni (file photo)

Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni has lauded Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution as a source of inspiration for all the popular revolutions across the region and defended Tehran’s nuclear rights.

At a Monday meeting with Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani on the sidelines of the 8th General Assembly Meeting of the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union in Sudanese capital, Khartoum, El-Katatni also underscored the Egyptian nation’s opposition to any interference by global powers in Iran’s internal affairs and slammed the West’s double standards with regard to the Islamic Republic and Israel.

The top Egyptian legislator pointed to the North African nation’s resolve to consolidate ties with Iran and hailed the two countries’ common principles as a good ground for further enhancement of bilateral relations.

Larijani, for his part, underlined the importance of Egypt for Iran and expressed optimism that political reforms in the North African country will bring about prosperity.

“Since the beginning of the developments in Egypt, we have been constantly following up on the situation and changes in Egypt and consider your victory as a political earthquake for the country,” he added.

Iran severed ties with Egypt after Cairo signed the 1978 Camp David Accord with the Israeli regime and offered asylum to Iran’s deposed monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

However, the Egyptian revolution in February 2011 which led to the ouster of Egypt’s former dictator, Hosni Mubarak, has caused relative thaw in frosty ties between Tehran and Cairo.

ICC lawyers slam Libya over Kadhafi son’s ‘Kafka-esque’ trial

Seif al-Islam via AFP

By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 21, 2013 16:35 EST

Lawyers defending Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam at the International Criminal Court on Monday accused Libyan authorities of conducting a “Kafka-esque show trial” after he appeared in a court in his homeland for the first time last week.

The latest broadside in the legal tug-of-war between The Hague-based ICC and Tripoli over where Seif, 40, should face justice came after he appeared in the dock in the Libyan town of Zintan on Thursday on charges of “undermining state security”.

The Libyan charges were levelled after four ICC envoys went to Zintan in June and were detained for nearly a month, triggering a diplomatic row.

One of the four, Australian lawyer Melinda Taylor, was accused of carrying a pen camera and attempting to give Seif a coded letter from his former right-hand man Mohammed Ismail, who is wanted by Libyan authorities.

After Kadhafi appeared in court, ICC lawyers on Monday submitted an urgent request to the ICC “to issue an immediate decision on the admissibility of the case, and to order the government of Libya to immediately surrender Mr Kadhafi to the custody of the ICC”.

The ICC is mulling a Libyan request to put Kadhafi and former spy chief Abdullah Senussi on trial there, while the ICC itself wants to try Kadhafi on charges of crimes against humanity committed in the conflict that overthrew his father in 2011.

The ICC lawyers said that Kadhafi “is essentially being tried for attempting to communicate with the ICC via his Counsel in relation to the fact that his rights had been violated”.

“Prosecuting a defendant for trying to defend himself epitomises the very definition of a Kafka-esque show trial.”

The ICC lawyers said Kadhafi’s trial on security charges was “a completely unrelated, and abusive prosecution”.

“Such strong-arm tactics have absolutely no place in a court of law, or in any country, which claims to respect the rule of law.”

The ICC, which was mandated by the UN Security Council to investigate the Libyan conflict, issued arrest warrants in June 2011 for both Seif and Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

Lawyers for the two accused have said they will not get a fair trial in Libya, which has until Wednesday to submit its latest report to the ICC in a bid to have the court quash a surrender request.

Three Britons dead in Algeria attack, Cameron tells MPs

21 January 2013 Last updated at 16:56

BBC

Three British nationals were killed in the Algerian hostage attack and a further three are believed to be dead, along with a Colombian who lived in the UK, David Cameron has confirmed.

The prime minister told the Commons the top priority was to bring home the bodies of the victims, but cautioned it might take some time.

He was addressing MPs on 21 January 2013 on the “despicable” crisis that unfolded from 16 January at the remote In Amenas gas field near Algeria’s border with Libya.

Opposition leader Ed Miliband said the whole country was “shocked” by the “unprovoked and violent attack” and pledged Labour’s full support to the government’s response.

Algeria’s prime minister has said 37 foreigners from eight nationalities and one Algerian worker were killed in the four-day siege at the gas plant.

He said 29 of the Islamist kidnappers had been killed and three were captured alive.

Mr Cameron, who was flanked by deputy PM Nick Clegg and Foreign Secretary William Hague in the Commons, said the “resolve” shown by Algerian security services in dealing with the terrorist attack should be acknowledged.

He pledged that British intelligence and counter-terrorism assets would play their role in an international effort to “find and dismantle” the terrorist network responsible for the massacre.

The PM also told MPs he would use the UK’s chairmanship of the G8 group of richest countries to focus on the threat of terrorism.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Conservative chair of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, praised the PM’s “sober and realistic” response to the crisis.

He called for a “political, not merely a military strategy” to beat extremists in North Africa.

Full Article

West coins terms to demonize Islam

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:17PM GMT
The previous two decades have witnessed some keywords that were being used for a variety of purposes from simple propaganda to pretexts for war.

These terms are usually started by Western politicians, promoted by Western media and more often than not sold to the masses by Eastern media to give them more legitimacy. I just thought it would be amusing to highlight the sinister meaning of some of the most popular.

Regime: This word brings to mind something intense, dark, negative, repulsive, evil and even feelings of hate towards the object it intends to describe. This expression makes it very clear the power of propaganda. Just ponder on the effect this word has when associated with the following countries. The US regime, the British regime, the French regime, the South Korean regime, the Bahraini regime; that doesn’t sound nor feel right; the mind is simply not accustomed to those word associations. All of the aforementioned go better with the words governments or system or other sweeter words.

Now note the “correct” use of the word REGIME, the way the originators intended it to work. North Korean regime, the Iranian regime, the Syrian regime, the Iraqi regime, the current system is conveniently better known as government not regime.

What makes some words repulsive or attractive are mainly politicians and then news networks making them more ingrained in our minds by constant repetition of them; psychologists call it the mere exposure effect. Perhaps the best example is Myanmar. Just few months ago it was dubbed a regime but soon after Hilary Clinton and Obama visited the country and made their public approval of it the world media halted labeling the Burmese government a regime.

It is hard to believe that adults, not children, work for these networks spearheaded by CNN, Fox, MSNBC, Al-Arabiya, Al-jazeera English (which seems to have been infiltrated by Neocons and Zionists) among others and the adults in question are exceptionally intelligent; very carefully chosen. But how can they be so easily swayed to simply repeat what they hear! It bugles the mind. In any case, the intended end game is that they do manage to make very benign words appear ever more repugnant.

Fundamentalism: This word surely brings to mind names like Osama bin Laden, and Mullah Omar among others. The word has also been made to sound evil but is it?

The true meaning of this word is the fullest extent of adherence to some doctrine or ideology. It has been villainised but for me as a Muslim I couldn’t think of a more beautiful term. Islam as an ideology is not in hunt of some popularity contest title and as such being fundamental is a beautiful thing. Being fundamental is simply being fully respectful of Allah.

Being a fundamentalist means adhering to the rules of this great religion or any other ideology exactly as it is ordained. It means no selling out. The word has mainly been used to describe “hard core” Muslims but judging by the behavior of Western politicians the word is more fitting for them. Case in example, the William Hagues, Sarkozys and Obamas of this world are true fundamentalist in the sense that their thinking is rigid because they are controlled by the same mysterious force.

Specifically, these men tend to agree on things that they really shouldn’t because it makes all of them seem carbon copies of each other and quite frankly make them seem dense. Their stance on Israel despite its many atrocities speaks volumes about their fundamentalism. As you can see, the word is not copy-write material for the Muslims.

Terrorism: The natural progression from fundamentalism is into terrorism. This word too has been made to seem copy-writed by Muslims. Suicide bombers, hijackings and similar acts are almost always associated with Muslims and Islam. The truth however is that Western politicians own this word far more than Al-Qaeda and her brothers ever could.

The difference is in the texture and appearance but the result of Western terrorism is far more devastating. Western terrorists usually come in great suits, well shaved and ride in expensive limousines and always have a better and more wide reaching platform to rational-lies their terror to the world. They own the bigger share of the media through which to polish their terror.

They have managed over the years to make the world believe that mass killings by sophisticated jetfighters and high tech drones is less messier than by a dynamite-full back pack carried by a suicide bomber. They have incredibly managed to convince the masses that their killings are more merciful and are of more service to the world. However, Judging by the numbers of people obliterated by either side, you can be the judge as to who more deserves the description, terrorist.

And so it goes, in the Eastern hemisphere, if you are fighting for something but don’t belong to the Zionists or American forces or “freedom fighters” and don’t belong to forces of a “regime” then you must be a terrorist belonging to Al-Qaeda and her countless affiliates or belonging to “terror” groups of Hamas or Hezbollah.

Recently France and her buddies started attacking the Tuareg fighters which are conveniently labeled affiliates of Al-Qaeda but if the US and the other gangsters wished it so the group could have easily been deemed “freedom fighters” against the Mali REGIME. It just so happened that the group is fighting against a friendly government to the West, hence the term terrorists for the rebels and government for Mali authorities, not regime.

Double standards: This is the one word that Muslims have not been exclusively defined by a great deal as it is a more fitting word for Western politicians and their friend of the East. One prominent example is that for years they placed Gaddafi under strictest of sanctions because he had not been obey-ful to their demands but when he seemed to shift course they started flying in flocks into Tripoli to hug and kiss him. They even indeed invited him to their capitals and honored him enormously. Note that before him, Saddam Hussain received exactly the same treatment.

Somewhere along the way they realized that gaddafi wasn’t about to let them have their way with Libya’s resources so they shifted course again and ended up killing the man. We went in to support the revolution they claimed; exactly as they are busy doing in Syria at present. Just in the neighborhood, in Bahrain, where people are revolting for exactly the same reasons and for about the same period, they seem mute and deaf at the same time.

In our world, duplicity of the strong isn’t as bad as that of the weak. Hezbollah and Hamas are to be fought against as terrorists but “freedom fighters” of Syria are to be awarded medals of bravery. The Jewish state can own as many nuclear weapons as it wishes but Iran can’t be allowed to even own a functioning nuclear program for energy needs. I stand corrected though, that is beyond duplicity that is gangster mentality.
Parrotism: I personally am fond of this word because it is totally made up; it means being a brainless mouthpiece for some stronger forces then yourself. Because I couldn’t find a word good enough to describe the behavior of the media and some Arab politicians as it relates to thoughtless repetitions as is the case with Qatari’s prime minister, I came up with the second best description, PARROTISM.

The word simply means repeating what strong world leaders say without due examination. When Obama or Cameron says so and so is a terrorist and you find what is supposed to be serious media repeating the same, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The same is true with weak politicians who have been afforded great platforms on which to preach garbage.

A city state the size of Qatar for example, shouldn’t have as much say as it does on the Arab stage let alone the Muslim and world stage, but it does. It only has been afforded that much power because it keeps recycling exactly what powerful Western leaders want to propagate. Being an Arab and a Muslim, I am shamed by such attitudes and behaviors.

Free, fair and practical media is essential especially for those in pursuit of justice and free media needs to start by scrutinizing words used by the enemies of justice because those terms are the vehicles used to brainwash, manipulate and eventually legitimize disasters such as wars and other injustices. If one wishes to sermonize nonsense, at least make it original nonsense, not imitative.

Repeating without examining is either done intentionally or due to ignorance and as such responsible media and politicians needs to avoid both as none is pardonable. Repetition of words lead to replication of attitudes and copying of attitudes eventually leads to supporting injustices and atrocities.

Much of Muslim blood spilling of the last two decades has been green-lighted by politicians and media using words that authorizes it. Ahemdi Nijads and Chavezs of this world enjoy great support simply because they are original, not saints but authentic.

Press TV, RT, Wiki Leaks and the likes ought to be supported wholeheartedly by all who seek to better the world and counter intentional or ignorant-ridden media and politicians. No one is claiming that these media outlets are perfect but at the very least their intentions seem purer; resisting evil. The evidence for their just cause is that though few, they still manage to get the voices of the many across.

The media, public debates, the United Nations and other circles are infested with words meant to bend the world psyche but the good news is that the world assisted by the internet and other means is fighting back. We are fighting back. Every little contribution helps.

Algerian gas field hostage toll rises to 48

DEBKAfile January 21, 2013, 9:12 AM (GMT+02:00)

The number rose of hostages thought to have died in the four-day al Qaeda siege at the Algerian gas plant rose Monday to at least 48 after the 25 mostly burnt bodies found at the complex were all identified as those of captives. Still as many as 20 hostages remain unaccounted for, say the Algerian authorities, who promise a definitive death toll as soon as their searches of the vast complex is finished. Five suspected Islamist attackers were reportedly arrested on Sunday.

Five Taliban attack Kabul traffic police center

DEBKAfile January 21, 2013, 9:05 AM (GMT+02:00)

A massive explosion was set at the entrance to the compound Monday morning as Taliban attackers stormed the building. Gunfire and more explosions rang out from battles between them and Afghan security forces which were called to defend the compound. Taliban claimed the attack targeted a special unit where foreign instructors trained local police.

In Mali town, militants are gone but challenges for French remain

By , Monday, January 21, 4:19 PM

Washington Post

DIABALY, MALI — Soon after French forces landed in Mali, radical fighters swept into this dusty hamlet of mud houses and red dirt, and for five days last week their presence stood as a potent symbol of defiance.The fighters went house to house, residents said, telling people not to fear. The militants insisted that they were targeting only “white guys and Malian soldiers,” though they later beat local Christians.
At makeshift checkpoints, they searched anyone they suspected of being a spy. They occupied houses, both to sleep and to hide weapons. They looted medicine from the hospital and stole chickens from residents.In some cases, women were ordered to cover their faces, and men were told not to smoke. But the militants did not impose the harsh brand of Islamic law they have elsewhere in Mali, suggesting that they knew their takeover of Diabaly would be temporary.It was: By Monday, French soldiers were on patrol here and the rebels had retreated. But a visit to Diabaly, the first by Western journalists since the militant takeover, revealed the challenges that await France and its allies as they try to beat back a violent Islamist movement that has split this country in two.Many of the obstacles have become predictable for any conventional army waging a counterinsurgency, but they are no less daunting for their familiarity. They suggest a long campaign ahead in a country that has traditionally been seen as a backwater but has suddenly been thrust into the center of an escalating war between Western forces and Africa’s Islamist extremists.During their short stay, the militants thoroughly infiltrated Diabaly, residents said, turning this desert town of 24,000 into a sprawling human shield.“They placed big guns on the roof to target airplanes,” said Suleiman Dambele, 56, a veterinarian, pointing in the direction of a nearby house in his neighborhood.Residents said French airstrikes, while precise, landed uncomfortably close to the homes of civilians.Barnabe Dakou, 63, and his family were sleeping when an airstrike destroyed two rebel pickup trucks in the street outside their home. Shrapnel sliced through the walls, injuring Dakou and his 40-year-old son, Francois. Outside, the trucks were burning, and the bodies of two militants lay near a door. The family huddled together the rest of the night. In the morning, they fled Diabaly.“We took nothing with us,” Francois Dakou recalled. “We just ran.”The extremist takeover of wide swaths of Mali has been nearly a year in the making. In March, Islamist fighters took advantage of a military coup and a rebellion by Tuareg separatists to sweep across the country’s northern half. They soon pushed out the secular separatists and implemented a harsh interpretation of Islamic lawthat included public amputations, stonings and whippings.The Islamists are made up of three groups, including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — the terror network’s West and North Africa wing — an offshoot of which took responsibility for last week’s hostage crisis in neighboring Algeria, which left at least 37 foreigners dead.Full Article

Mali takes key town as nations prepare more troops

By Nima Elbagir and Ingrid Formanek, CNN
updated 8:44 AM EST, Mon January 21, 2013
Watch this video

Sevare, Mali (CNN) — The Malian military has gained control of the central town of Diabaly, a key advance in the battle against Islamist militants in the north.

The country’s forces retook the town without ground assistance from French troops, a military spokesman said. The French military confirmed that it provided only air support.

French officials said Malian forces pushed the Islamists into the forest beyond Diabaly.

Rebel control over Diabaly was one of the chief concerns to Mali and France as they tried to stop the Islamists’ movement into the south. French involvement began after militants said January 10 that they had seized another town, Konna.

French and Malian forces retook the key town of Konna from militants Friday, a French source said. Gunfire could be heard in the town Monday.

The ongoing conflict highlights the growing Islamist threat in Mali, a once-promising democracy hit last year with a rebellion from ethic Tuaregs who returned well-armed from fighting for late Libyan leader Moamar Gadhafi. A military coup followed, with Islamic extremists capitalizing on the chaos to carve out a large haven in Mali’s north.

They imposed a strict interpretation of Sharia law, banning music, smoking, drinking and watching sports on television. They also damaged historic tombs and shrines.

The developments have raised fears among global security experts that Mali could become a new hub for Islamist terrorists.

On Saturday, demonstrators in the city of Gao killed the chief of Islamic police, who was imposing Sharia law on behalf of the Islamists.

A day earlier, Islamist militants killed local journalist Kader Toure for allegedly giving information to the Malian army. The journalist was shot while on his motorcycle, a witness told CNN.

Demonstrators in Gao avenged the reporter’s death on Saturday by killing police chief Aliou Maiga, an eyewitness said.

‘It was absolutely necessary

Despite its unilateral decision to get involved, France is seeking help from its regional allies and the international community.

Christian Rouyer, French ambassador to Mali, reiterated the need for the French offensive in Mali.

“We had a friendly country that was on the verge of dying,” Rouyer said Friday. “It was absolutely necessary to act with urgency. We did it, I believe, with full knowledge of the reasons.”

Involvement brings perils.

After neighboring Algeria allowed France to use its airspace to take on insurgents, militants angry about the move stormed a gas field in eastern Algeria and took hostages, leading to three days of chaos that ended Saturday, leaving 23 hostages and dozens of Islamist militants dead.

Still, leaders from several countries have offered troops or logistical support.

The European Union has approved a training mission. Canada and Britain are deploying military transport aircraft. Nigeria is set to deploy soldiers as part of a U.N.-mandated African force to fight the insurgents.

No military aid from U.S.

U.S. policy prohibits direct military aid to Mali because the fledgling government is the result of a coup. No support can go to the Malian military directly until leaders are chosen through an election, said Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman.

So far, the United States has only shared intelligence from intercepted signals and satellites with France, defense officials said.

U.S. trainers will be in African nations to prepare forces set to be deployed in Mali. Trainers will be in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana.

The United Nations is warning of a record number of Malians fleeing to neighboring nations.

The unrest could soon displace up to 700,000 in the country and around the region, said Melissa Fleming, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency.

Full Article

Innocent civilians become main victim of US drone war: Hisham Jaber

Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:25PM GMT
PressTV

An analyst says America’s so called soft war of mistake-prone killer drone strikes is absolutely not soft as murdering people could never be considered to be gentle or sympathetic.

Press TV has conducted an interview with director of the center for Middle East Studies Hisham Jaber in Beirut to further discuss the issue. What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

The comment comes as at least four civilians have lost their lives in a new US assassination drone strike in Yemen’s central province of Marib.

Yemeni military officials said a vehicle in Marib, situated approximately 170 kilometers (110 miles) east of the capital Sana’a was targeted late on Saturday and its four passengers were killed, Saba news agency reported. The report added that the bodies of the four were burnt beyond recognition.

Washington has been using its assassination drones in Yemen and some other countries, claiming that it is targeting terrorists, but the attacks have mostly led to massive civilian deaths.

Press TV: Sir thanks a lot for joining us. You know we keep hearing about drone strikes continuing throughout the world and throughout these many Muslim countries. Are they being successful at all?

Jaber: Yes, I think the American administration did admit these tactics in order to avoid casualties and because if they use drone strikes they can be sure that no one, no American pilot would be captured or killed.

Of course they are using these tactics and Obama when he came and he did withdraw from Iraq, he is willing to withdraw from Afghanistan and I think we don’t have to expect any direct American military intervention anywhere.

If you listen to the speech of Obama yesterday we find between the lines that America is not willing to participate in any military operation directly in order to avoid casualties and etcetera.

Now using drones we have to expect that America will increase using drone strikes against their number one enemy which they consider al-Qaeda or similar groups.

They succeed sometimes; they don’t succeed other times because we have to expect many mistakes in those strikes. Many times they kill civilians instead of killing terrorists which there are plenty to attack. They made these mistakes many times in Yemen and also in Afghanistan when they killed many civilians and they claimed later that there has been a mistake.

Those mistakes are also expected in the future and America will not change its tactics. In my opinion they will increase their drone strikes in those countries and also if you want to talk about the new future tactics of the American administration I think what they call soft war is not that soft.

You know, this drone strikes is considered to be among the soft war, as we said it’s not soft; killing people is not soft at all but the new tactics will include this kind of military intervention, military operation beside plots and beside psychological warfare, beside interfering and fighting al-Qaeda or similar groups not by the American forces directly but using local regimes and local forces, like in Pakistan for example using the Pakistani army to fight al-Qaeda and also in Afghanistan.

And now America has a big problem, you know, with Muslim extremist fundamentalist groups like you know what happened in Syria. After two years America was encouraging the Gulf countries to provide weapons to the rebels in Syria.

Now America was late in discovering that at the end of the day those groups will not be under control and will present a big risk, threat and danger to America and its interests in the region.

So we have to expect more intervention in the drone strikes and we don’t have to expect any military intervention directly in the region.

At least three killed, 12 wounded as Cairo protesters clash with police over killed resident

Published: 20 January, 2013, 23:31

RT

Reuters / Amr Dalsh

At least three people have been killed and 12 others injured in clashes between police and residents in Egypt. The violence began when a bystander was hit by a bullet fired by police chasing a suspected drug dealer in northern Cairo.

The clashes began Saturday night and continued into Sunday.

The bystander, who was identified as Mahrous Mohammed, was killed after being shot in the head as he sat on the balcony of his apartment.

Angry demonstrators used rooftops near the Second Police Station in the densely populated neighborhood of Shubra al-Kheima to fire guns and hurl rocks at officers. Police responded by firing tear gas.

Officers also fired rounds into the air to disperse crowds. Security forces were deployed to prevent further attacks, Ahram Online reported.

Two police officers and one soldier were among those killed, the health ministry in Qalyubia said in a statement. Details of how they died have not yet been released.

Full Article

Residents in northern Malian town lynch Jihadist

Sunday, January 20, 2013 11:10

(Before It’s News)

Citizens standing up against sharia is a good thing — lynching? Not so good. We should never become what these savages are. But this is a war and the people must fight for their freedom against Islamic law.

Residents in northern Malian town lynch Islamist: sources Reuters (thanks to Jack)
BAMAKO | Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:30pm EST(Reuters) – Residents in the northern Malian town of Gao on Saturday lynched a prominent Islamist leader in retaliation for the killing of a local journalist earlier in the day, residents and the office of Mali’s president said.

Residents in Gao, a northern Malian town under Islamist rebel control since mid-2012, have previously protested against the strict imposition of Islamic law but, if confirmed, the lynching would be a first of a fighter by civilians.

The incident comes after over a week of French air strikes on Islamist positions sought to break the grip of al Qaeda-linked fighters on northern Mali.

Gao journalist Kader Toure was killed for having been suspected of working with foreign radio stations, according to Issa Idrissa Toure, a former colleague.

“Islamic police commissioner Aliou Toure was killed by the youth in revenge,” Mazou Toure, a Gao resident added.

Telephone networks in Gao are not working but both sources said they received the information from people who had traveled outside the town.

French broadcaster RFI interviewed a Gao resident by satellite telephone who gave a similar version of events. Meanwhile, the official Twitter feed of the office of Mali’s president also reported the information.

Toure, the police commissioner, was a local recruited by MUJWA Islamists who took control of Gao in June last year.

He gained notoriety when he was reported to have cut off his own brother’s hand as fighters imposed a strict form of Islamic law across northern Mali.

French war planes have bombed Islamist bases in Gao but residents said a number of fighters still remain in the town.

Libyan defense minister survives firefight with former rebels

By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, January 19, 2013 19:30 EST

Libyan Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghathi. File photo via AFP.

Libya’s defence minister was unhurt Saturday after being caught in a firefight between his bodyguards and ex-rebels at an airbase in the east of the country, his deputy told AFP.

Mohammed al-Barghati was leaving the airport in Tobruk, eastern Libya, when the shooting occurred, said Khaled al-Sherif.

“As the minister prepared to leave the airport by car, his bodyguards traded fire with angry soldiers and ex-rebels, but the minister was not hurt,” Sherif said.

Libya’s official LANA news agency said Barghati’s car was not the target of the shooting, blaming the incident on a clash between military units at the Tobruk airbase east of Benghazi during which “warning shots were fired.”

Barghati had been meeting with military brass to discuss means of bolstering the armed forces, his ministry said.

A military official, who declined to be identified, said the incident occurred after a former deputy defence minister in charge of the national guard and vital installations refused a government decision to quit.

The government recently decided to scrap the post of ex-minister Al-Seddik al-Ghaithi al-Obeidi, a jihadist, who was accused of refusing to put himself under the command of the army’s chief of staff.

The fledgling army and police are too weak to rein in the militias who led the 2011 uprising that brought an end to the iron-fisted rule of veteran strongman Moamer Kadhafi.

More than a year after Kadhafi was slain, Libya is still awash with weapons and the eastern city of Benghazi, where the uprising first erupted, has been rocked by a wave of attacks targeting foreign diplomats, military and police officers.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said he was considering imposing a curfew on Benghazi, a day after a car bomb killed a police officer there.

Benghazi has emerged as a hub for jihadist groups, including militants who killed US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the US consulate last September 11.

Italy temporarily closed its consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday and pulled its staff out of the country following a failed gun attack on its consul.

Police Arrest 9 Muslims Who Threw Snowballs At Haredis By Old City

Sunday, January 20, 2013 11:11

(Before It’s News) Some arrests were made in the assault that occurred almost 2 weeks ago during the snowfall:

Police have arrested six Arab youth suspected of attacking two young hareidi-religious Jewish men in Jerusalem. The six are believed to have been part of a mob assault that took place a week and a half ago during snowfall in the city.

Police had already arrested three other Arab youth in connection with the attack, bringing the total to nine.

In the attack a large group of young Arab men hurled snow at two young Hassidic men while kicking and humiliating them. The attack took place a short distance from the Old City.

The incident was filmed and uploaded on YouTube and subsequently shown in a news piece by Arutz Sheva on Saturday evening last week. Tens of thousands of people viewed the video clip, forwarding the article and the video clip among friends and posting it on to the Facebook and Twitter social networking sites to ensure that others became aware of what had happened in the Israeli capital.

The two young men who were attacked later spoke to Arutz Sheva and described the assault. The two said the mob was shouting “Death to the Jews!” in Arabic and said that they feared for their lives. They also described feeling violated and humiliated by the attack.

MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler of the hareidi-religious Yehadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) party contacted Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch last week to ask him to ensure that the attackers would be prosecuted.

They most certainly better be! The death threats the mob yelled out clearly tell that this was no mere prank, it was an act of hate. They should be ordered to undergo a rehab education program as well.

Update: Eichler thanks police for the arrest.

MORE NEWS BY NEWS >>