Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: 2/3/08 - 2/10/08

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    Saturday, February 09, 2008

    Now Admiral McConnell:Reversing NIE on Iran

    Reversing NIE on Iran

    mike_mcconnell.jpgNow Admiral McConnell is clearly trying to repair the damage, even if he can’t say so directly, reports the WSJ of remarks made by the Director of National Intelligence to the Senate Intelligence Committee: “I think I would change the way that we described [the] nuclear program,” he admitted to Evan Bayh (D., Ind.) during the hearing, adding that weapon design and weaponization were “the least significant portion” of a nuclear weapons program. Read more of the coverage of McConnell’s testimony before the senate committee, which the WSJ describes as amounting to a reversal of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of last December.


    Expect Admiral McConnell's resignation after he reverses the Iranian NIE.

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    Life goes on

    Ethnic Tensions Surface in Museum Dispute

    As the culture minister blocks a plan to rehouse a collection of relics in an ancient citadel, accusations of discrimination ensue.

    By Sadeq Behnam in Herat (ARR No. 283, 08-Feb-08)
    A war of words has broken out in the western city of Herat about where to house a private museum containing artifacts from Afghanistan's rich history. But the dispute appears to be more about personal and ethnic rivalries than about preserving culture.

    The museum, owned by private collector Ahmad Shah Sultani, is currently located in central downtown Herat. But both Sultani and Herat's governor Sayyed Hossein Anwari want to move it to the ancient Ekhtyaruddin fortress on the outskirts of town.

    The Ministry of Information and Culture is blocking the move and rejects Anwari's argument that the museum pieces would be safer there.

    "I absolutely oppose transferring private museums or private galleries to historical places," said minister Abdul Karim Khoram. "We will never allow the museum to be transferred to the Ekhtyaruddin castle."

    Khoram said archeologists were currently working to restore the fortress, and moving the museum there would disturb the work.

    After making a fortune as a dealer in antiquities, Sultani made it his business to salvage and preserve what he could of Afghanistan's cultural heritage. He has spent millions collecting thousands of Afghan artifacts from western Europe, Iran and Pakistan, and has said he wants to open as many as 20 museums around the country.

    While officials have in the past praised Sultani's efforts to restore historical artifacts to Afghanistan, his relationship with the government deteriorated after Khoram was appointed minister in 2006.

    Sultani has told IWPR that Khoram, a Pashtun, is opposing him because of his Tajik heritage. Governor Anwari, who belongs to the Hazara minority, added fuel to the fire by pointing to Khoram's history as a member of the fundamentalist, Pashtun-dominated faction Hizb-e-Islami.

    In an interview with IWPR, Anwari accused Hizb-e-Islami of destroying Afghanistan during the civil war of the early to mid-Nineties.

    For his part, Khoram has questioned how Sultani acquired the relics, hinting at the illegal trade in ancient artifacts.

    Mohammad Rafiq Shaheer, who heads Herat's Council of Experts, said he was opposed to opening up a museum to the public in the Ekhtyaruddin fortress while there were archeological excavations going on, because that could endanger some of the artifacts at the site.

    Minister Khoram told IWPR that installing a museum in the castle could threaten Herat's bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    But Masanori Nazaoka, a UNESCO programme specialist on cultural matters, said that would only be the case if the castle were rebuilt in a modern style.

    "If they use the castle as such for a museum, I don't think it would affect the nomination," he said, adding that the Agha Khan Foundation for Culture is currently working to restore the structure.

    Nazaoka said UNESCO has been working with the Afghan government since 2003 to prepare the documentation for nominating Herat. But this process is nowhere near completion, and the government has so far failed to check the deterioration of historical sites in the city, which it would need to do to obtain World Heritage status.

    The UNESCO representative noted that the Ministry of Information and Culture owns the castle and the land it stands on.

    "This is an internal conflict between the central government and the government in Herat," added Nazaoka.

    Sultani has cast himself in the role of a guardian of Afghan history and culture. In 2005, he brought about 3,000 pieces from his private collection to the National Gallery in Kabul for public display, and he has promised to bequeath his artifacts to the Afghan state.

    Now, however, he says the dispute has upset him so much that he is giving up his plan to establish a national network of museums.

    A former goldsmith's apprentice from Ghazni, Sultani never learned to read or write but developed an eye for beauty, which he later developed into a successful career in the antiquities trade. He fled the country during the mujaheddin war of the Eighties and now holds a British passport.

    Sadeq Behnam is an IWPR contributor in Herat.



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    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud

    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud.
    Abhishek Behl, Merinews, 09 February 2008, Saturday

    HERE ARE rifts in Taliban ranks and if sources are to be believed, the supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, has sacked Tehrik-i-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud from the rank and file and asked him to disband the movement in Pakistan.

    There are also reports that differences have cropped between senior leadership of Tehrik-i-Taliban and its chief Baitullah Mehsud over the announcement of ceasefire by the latter.

    It is being stated that senior leaders of Tehrik-i-Taliban, Pakistan have expressed indignation over the ceasefire announced by its chief Baitullah Mehsud saying that the latest announcement will badly damage the reputation of the Tehrik.

    A well-informed Taliban source said that the government wanted to create a rift in the Taliban ranks and the latest announcement was part of that campaign.

    "Report about a meeting of Taliban leaders under the chairmanship of Baitullah Mehsud is wrong, as Taliban leaders have lost contacts with each other since long," he said.

    According to him, Taliban militants were being chased and killed in Swat and some parts of tribal areas and offer of truce by the purported Taliban spokesman was severe blow to the Taliban movement.

    He said that Taliban supreme leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, had already sacked TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud and ordered him to disband the Taliban movement in Pakistan, as the Taliban activities had been affecting their jihad against the foreign forces in Afghanistan.

    An official source maintained that the government would never enter into dialogue with the militants as they had been bringing bad name to the country. "Talks will be held with tribal elders and maliks; not with Taliban militants," he added.

    He said that the reports about talks with Taliban had created a lot of problems for the government. Talks will only be held with those tribal elders, who enjoy the support of tribesmen, he went on to say.

    An important Taliban leader said, while pleading anonymity, that Taliban fighters in Pakistan considered Mullah Muhammad Omar as their leader and they would lay their arms if asked by him. "In the presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan they will never stop their activities," he said.

    A spokesman for Afghan Taliban earlier stated that there would be no negotiations until US and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

    "The Taliban will never negotiate with the Afghan government in the presence of foreign forces," he said. "Even if Karzai gives up his presidency, it's not possible that Mullah Omar would agree to negotiations."

    The Taliban leader said that they were the followers of Mullah Omar and they would never leave their leader alone in the fight against occupation forces. "As far as Baitullah Mehsud's offer of ceasefire is concerned, that might be his personal desire and it is not necessary that Taliban fighters will accept his decision," he said.

    With inputs from Jana Shah in Peshawar, Pakistan


    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud

    What next in South Waziristan?

    Adam Gadahn, USA traitor, Captured ?

    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    Macro view of Pashtoon/Taliban situation

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    Top Secret spy ops, w/ black choppers

    Story here worth the read 6 pages.




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    Adam Gadahn, USA traitor, Captured ?

    UPDATE: for 03.07.10 HERE

    Gadahn Captured ? Traitor awaiting boarding?

    Zee's boy toy, has his friends worried.

    Hotair has details.

    ( Paradigm Intel points to capture.G )

    He is a big target, in every sense of the term. U.S. intel thinks we missed him, even though he appears to have been in the area of the airstrike at the time. But:
    Jihadist sources on the Pakistan side of the border are telling local journalists they are worried. One who described himself as a “very close friend” of Gadahn said the 28-year-old California native had until recently been spending most of his time in the populated areas of South Waziristan, near the towns of Wana, Azam Warsak and Shahkai.
    The same friend said Gadahn had left for North Waziristan a week before the Predator attack in Mir Ali, where he was supposed to attend “an important meeting”. The friend said that, after the Predator attack on January 31, they lost “all contact” with Gadahn.
    “All our friends are worried about him but so far we could not make any contact with him. We had sent two of our friends to Mir Ali to locate him and provide us with details about him,” the supposed friend explained.
    He added that other militants who traveled with Gadahn also were missing.
    Lying low after al-Libi got smoked or reduced to a fine red coating on whatever remains of the safe house we hit? Roggio notes that Al Qaeda’s latest video was more amateurish than what we’ve come to expect of the Gadahn oeuvre — but then he breaks our hearts:
    Al Qaeda would have capitalized on Gadahn’s death, given his unique status as an American member of al Qaeda. “I would imagine that if Gadahn got knocked off they would have announced his death just as quickly as they did [Abu Laith al Libi’s death],” said Nick Grace, who closely tracks al Qaeda’s propaganda and activity at jihadi forums. “Having an American become a martyr would be a propaganda coup for them and I imagine that ultimately Gadahn will be more useful for al Qaeda dead than alive.”
    Yeah, good point. Surely they’d know by now if Gadahn was at the meeting with Libi. If he’s dead, why hide it?
    So he's not dead, and his body guards are also missing, and he missed important meetings, and has been out of communication.
    The missile that took out Libi, hit two guest rooms in the house.
    You can't tell which rooms are 'guest' rooms from a Predator.
    That takes forces on the ground and good Intel. Of course USA can't operate in Paki,
    so that leaves the question, WHO HAS ADAM?

    And how long before USA gets their hands on him.
    And where is he being boarded, I mean staying?

    The CIA should make an exception on water boarding for him.
    He is no longer a American, its on tape tearing up his passport and renouncing his citizenship.
    So that makes him a non-state sponsored terrorist.
    It maybe hard to find someone to waterboard him safely.
    But if it was a USA civilian doing the waterboarding, that might take the Military out of the
    criminal liability equation, ( We left Adam with Gerald for just a moment ) and I would volunteer, I think they will have trouble finding a jury that would convict me.

    And USA will make the little piggy squeal, talk, and inform on his buddies, I'm sure there is an entire file on his Hot buttons, fears, weaknesses ready and waiting, box up that Million. HUNDREDS WILL BE JUST FINE.

    Report terrorist is complete secrecy REWARD: report terrorist in Secret.


    If they used vinegar instead of water, would that still be water-boarding?
    Just a thought.

    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud

    What next in South Waziristan?

    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    Macro view of Pashtoon/Taliban situation


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    What next in South Waziristan?

    What next in South Waziristan?

    By Ismail Khan

    THE wheel has come full circle in South Waziristan. It has been a little over three and a half years since the launch of the military operation in areas dominated by the Mehsud tribe after the government had used similar tactics to force tribal militants to submit to state authority and expel foreign militants.

    The three-pronged operation is a repeat of a similar exercise that led the military into the Mehsud territory between March and July of 2004. The military did prevail after encountering stiff resistance but what it had won through hard battle it lost through negotiations in Sararogha in February, 2005. A senior government official at the time had asked: "Whose compulsion is it to strike a deal, ours or the militants?"

    Predictably, the agreement collapsed sooner than expected and the militants resumed attacks on security forces, leading to the capture of 242 soldiers last August. Grudgingly, the government agreed to a prisoners' swap, freeing 24 militants, some of them convicted of being alleged suicide bombers.

    In the words of a senior military officer: "This was a bitter pill that we had to swallow."

    For almost four years since the ill-fated Shakai agreement, Pakistan's policy in Fata, in the words of a former senior American official, has been on "auto pilot".

    Little wonder then that the military finds itself sucked into another operation in South Waziristan.

    The government has imposed a debilitating economic blockade on the Mehsud tribe and very little is coming out of the embattled zone in terms of information.

    It has caused the displacement of a large number of Mehsud tribesmen, including women and children, who had to walk on foot for miles to reach the relative safety of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan.

    To ensure unity of command, the political administration has deliberately been kept outside the loop.

    Those familiar with the military's operational strategy to "box in" Baitullah Mehsud believed that it was going well and according to plan.

    Assessment by government agencies that the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TIP) formed in December has failed to present itself as a single platform of militant groups operating in the tribal region and the settled district also helped reshape the government's strategy to deal with the Mehsud militant commander.

    Baitullah, the amir of the Pakistani Taliban, told Al-Jazeera that the TIP had been set up to counter the government's attempts to divide militant groups. He said the TIP would coordinate all activities and respond collectively, be it negotiations with the government or operations.

    However, government officials say this does not seem to be the case. Militants in Ahmadzai Wazir in South Waziristan, widely seen as pro-government, are staying neutral. In fact, they have pushed back attempts by pro-Baitullah militants from their own Ahmadzai Wazir clansmen to return to the Wazir area and use it as a fall-back position.

    In North Waziristan's regional headquarters of Miramshah, militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar is in direct contact with the government and has extended the ceasefire till February 17. He has avoided to be drawn into the conflict, despite last week's missile attack in Mirali that reportedly killed Abu Laith Al-Libbi, though the groups operating in the area are not under his control.

    In Bajaur, surprisingly, militants loyal to Maulana Faqir Mohammad, a senior figure second only to Baitullah, are also keeping their cool and have so far refrained from escalating the fighting.

    But the announcement by a spokesman for Mr Mehsud declaring ceasefire and acknowledging that the decision has been taken in view of the government's flexibility has spawned new questions.

    Denials notwithstanding, there are credible reports that talks did take place in Razmak, North Waziristan, last week. What transpired and what was offered by both sides to lead to the cessation of hostilities is not known.

    But it has caused quite a bit of confusion. The military insists that the halt in operation is the result of harsh weather conditions and it had nothing to do with the 'unilateral' ceasefire by militants.

    Whatever may be the reason for the ceasefire, it would undoubtedly bring some relief to the government and political parties which are now only days away from the February 18 elections.

    But one key question remains: What happens next? Negotiations are certainly desirable but it will not shoo away the cat of militancy that is now prowling not just in the tribal regions but also in parts of the NWFP. Clearly, the government still does not appear to have an exit plan.

    While the military operation may be important in enabling the government to talk from a position of strength rather than the hitherto weak position, perhaps more important is how it conducts the negotiations and what plan it has to strengthen its writ over the largely-lawless tribal regions in the medium- to long-term in the post-military operation scenario.

    In the words of a senior official: "Instead of waiting for the militants to open up another front, the government needs to open its own front in a positive manner by ensuring quick and cheap justice, better social service delivery and better security."

    This will happen only if the federal government allows for the much-needed structural changes in the administrative system.

    Describing the present administrative system in the NWFP and Fata as "weak, demoralised and despondent", Governor NWFP Owais Ahmad Ghani warned last week that the government system in settled districts and the political system in tribal regions were "heading towards a state of collapse".

    Admittedly, the ceasefire will bring immediate peace to the restive tribal region and areas where Mehsud has influence but how long does this new ceasefire last, given past suspicions and frequent breakdown of talks, remains to be seen.

    The apprehension is that unless the government comes up with a strategy on how to deal with the situation it will run the risk of getting sucked into another military operation in the tribal areas and at a much bigger cost.


    Al-Qaeda, Taliban chiefs hiding in Pakistan: US official.

    "There is no question that the iconic leaders of Al-Qaeda -- (Ayman al-) Zawahiri, bin Laden ... are in the tribal areas of Pakistan," the official said at a media briefing.

    "We believe that the Taliban's shura (consultation) council leaders led by Mullah Omar reside in Quetta in Pakistan," he said, referring to the capital of rugged Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan.

    The sanctuaries were not only helping Taliban fight the insurgency against Afghan President Hamid Karzai's administration, which is backed by US and NATO troops, but also posing a threat to Pakistan and beyond central Asia, the official said.


    Mr Mehsud is in a very difficult spot, they didn't complain or attack when Libi was killed last week.
    The politics behind the cease fire is Mr Mehsud, can call "shenanigans" if attacked as they declared a unilateral cease fire.
    And the Military would be viewed as the bad guys by the population, for attacking during a cease fire.
    It also allows the Takiban to bring in other taliban to vote in the Paki elections, election fraud.
    Mr Mehsud is also looking for a way out which the cease fire may give him.

    Gerald & Bill

    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud

    Adam Gadahn, USA traitor, Captured ?

    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    Macro view of Pashtoon/Taliban situation

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    Friday, February 08, 2008

    al Qaeda in Iraq plans come back, document

    The new approach was outlined last month in an internal communique, posted in Anbar mosques.

    American intelligence officials said the communique is consistent with the past leadership style of Muhajer, an Egyptian also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who took command of the group after his predecessor, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in June 2006.

    "Zarqawi did a lot of just indiscriminate killing -- it didn't matter when, where, why or how," said one senior intelligence analyst who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on condition of anonymity under military ground rules. "Masri is more picking his targets and trying to get away from the massive indiscriminate killings, because it created a big black eye for al-Qaeda in Iraq."

    The U.S. military says it destroyed much of the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007, killing 2,400 suspected members and capturing 8,800, while pushing the group almost completely out of Baghdad and Anbar province. Although U.S. officials and their Sunni allies caution that al-Qaeda in Iraq remains dangerous and could find ways to regenerate, they assert that the group now is largely a spent force.

    "We do not deny the difficulties we are facing right now," said Riyadh al-Ogaidi, a senior leader, or emir, of al-Qaeda in Iraq in the Garma region of eastern Anbar province. "The Americans have not defeated us, but the turnaround of the Sunnis against us had made us lose a lot and suffer very painfully."

    'We Made Many Mistakes'

    Resting on a blanket in the garden of a squat concrete house in Garma, Ogaidi lamented al-Qaeda in Iraq's reversal of fortunes over the past year.

    Ogaidi, 39, once traveled with 20 bodyguards in a four-vehicle convoy. But during the recent interview, he was nearly alone, wearing a white cap on his bald head and a gray dishdasha, or floor-length tunic, to disguise himself as a poor villager.

    "We made many mistakes over the past year," including the imposition of a strict interpretation of Islamic law, he told a Washington Post special correspondent. Al-Qaeda in Iraq followers broke the fingers of men who smoked, whipped those who imbibed alcohol and banned shops from selling shampoo bottles that displayed images of women -- actions that turned Sunnis against the group.

    Lehebi, 47, whose nom de guerre is Abu Khalid al-Dulaimi, said the group's main focus now was to attack bridges, oil pipelines and telephone towers, as well as U.S. troops and their Sunni allies.

    Some members of al-Qaeda in Iraq blame Muhajer, the group's leader, for their current predicament. Ogaidi said Zarqawi traveled constantly around the country to visit senior leaders and ensure that wounded fighters received compensation from the group. But he said Muhajer is rarely seen and doesn't take care of members such as Rafid, whose leg was amputated after an attack in the Garma region. Rafid now sits at home, hungry and unable to work, Ogaidi said.

    "Everyone would be scared of Zarqawi as a tough leader," he said. "Whereas Muhajer has now failed in imposing his personality on the organization. He is mild-mannered and weak."

    The emir said potential suicide bombers were told by coordinators on the border that they could choose a suicide mission, which would kill 20 to 30 U.S.-led troops or their supporters, the letter says.

    Yet a would-be bomber would then wait in the desert for months. "At the end he will be asked to do a small operation, such as murdering someone or blowing up a police car," the emir wrote. The foreigners would then become discouraged, he said, and return to their home countries.

    The letter, which referred to the situation in Anbar as an "exceptional crisis," was found in an al-Qaeda in Iraq safe house in Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad, along with a half-dozen hard drives, thumb drives and more than 100 CDs and DVDs of material from the group, U.S. officials said. The authenticity of the document could not be independently confirmed.

    In the letter, the emir said the difficulty in assigning tasks to potential suicide bombers was caused by increases in U.S. military operations and the formation of U.S.-backed Sunni tribal groups, known as Awakening councils, to fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

    "We found ourselves in a circle not being able to move, organize or conduct our operations," he wrote. "There was a total collapse in the security structure of the organization."

    At a checkpoint just south of Fallujah, Nadim Kaffi, a 44-year-old Awakening member, said al-Qaeda in Iraq was not nearly as close to the people as the Awakening councils.

    "Al-Qaeda is almost done and finished. It no longer scares anyone," he said. "It is like an old man on the verge of his grave."

    A Washington Post special correspondent in Anbar province contributed to this report.

    More at SOURCE:


    An Al Qaida Diary Of Despair



    Of course after aQ is back on top they can start breaking fingers and killing Moslem's, women, children bombing Mosques and market places again.


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    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders are directing insurgency operations in Afghanistan from the Pakistani city of Quetta, while al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is operating from Pakistan's tribal areas, a senior U.S. administration official said on Friday

    Bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri and others are operating out of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan, the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

    "Just as Mullah Omar is giving strategic direction for the Taliban from Quetta, al Qaeda senior leadership is in the FATA doing its planning," the official said, without giving the source of the intelligence.

    "The iconic leaders of al Qaeda -- Zawahri, bin Laden and people like (Abu Laith) al-Libi are in the tribal areas of Pakistan," the official added.

    Libi was killed in January in a suspected U.S. missile strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan border area.


    Image:NWFP FATA.svg

    Rumours of Mullah Omar sacking Mehsud

    What next in South Waziristan?

    Adam Gadahn, USA traitor, Captured ?

    Bin Laden, Omar operating in Pakistan - U.S. official

    Macro view of Pashtoon/Taliban situation

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    Iran gets USA 7th Army targets ready

    Iran gets USA 7th Army targets ready


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    Economic WAR:

    Just got this Email:

    On February 7, 2008, Congress overwhelmingly passed an amended version of the economic stimulus plan, H.R. 5140. I voted in favor of the bill which provides rebate checks to individuals and families and tax benefits for businesses. It also increases the limits on loans that can be insured by the Federal Housing Administration and purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which will help stabilize our housing market. This bill injects $152 billion into the economy in 2008, which is about 1% of our gross domestic product. The rebates checks will likely be sent out by the Internal Revenue Service beginning in May.

    Anyone who earned at least $3,000 in “qualifying income” during 2007, but paid little or no income tax, will qualify for checks of $300 ($600 for married couples filing jointly). “Qualifying income” includes wages, Social Security benefits, and payments to disabled veterans or their survivors. This means that over 20 million Social Security beneficiaries and 250,000 handicapped veterans or their survivors will qualify for rebate checks.

    Those taxpayers that make more than $3,000 and who pay federal income taxes will receive rebate checks of $600 ($1,200 for couples filing jointly). Eligibility for the rebate checks will phase out for individuals who earn more than $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly). Anyone qualifying for a check will receive an additional $300 for each dependent child under the age of 17. The bill also ensures that illegal immigrants will not be eligible to receive these benefits.

    For businesses, the stimulus bill will provide enhanced depreciation and expensing intended to spur investment in equipment that can be put into service this year. Hopefully, this incentive will encourage businesses to buy more goods and hire new employees.

    Although I voted for this bill, I am disappointed that it did not include a provision to extend unemployment benefits. Michigan continues to struggle with the highest unemployment in the country, and I understand that many willing workers are simply unable to find work. I believe we should continue the unemployment benefits for those who have tried to find work for months and still have not found anything.

    I am also very concerned about this bill’s effect on our nation’s debt. If this bill in fact stops a recession, it will be worth it. If it does not, it will certainly be an expensive mistake.

    If you have any questions about the economic stimulus plan, please feel free to contact me by clicking below on "Write Your Rep".

    Best Wishes,

    Vernon J. Ehlers
    Member of Congrss


    al Qaeda also said this was an economic war against America,
    so far they are loosing on all fronts..




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    Visit UAE., and stay 4 years FREE,.. BOYCOTT

    Briton jailed for four years in Dubai after customs find cannabis weighing less than a grain of sugar under his shoe


    By BETH HALE - Last updated at 10:23am on 8th February 2008

    Keith Brown

    Jailed: Keith Brown had a speck of cannabis on his shoe
    A father-of-three who was found with a microscopic speck of cannabis stuck to the bottom of one of his shoes has been sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison.

    Keith Brown, a council youth development officer, was travelling through the United Arab Emirates on his way back to England when he was stopped as he walked through Dubai's main airport.

    A search by customs officials uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g - so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar - on the tread of one of his shoes.

    Dubai International Airport is a major hub for the Middle East and thousands of Britons pass through it every year to holiday in the glamorous beach and shopping haven.

    But many of those tourists and business travellers are likely to be unaware of the strict zero-tolerance drugs policy in the UAE.

    One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport. Painkiller codeine is also banned.

    If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.

    Mr Brown was detained and arrested in September last year and has been held in a cell with three other men in the city prison ever since.

    This week the youth worker, who has two young children and a partner at home in Smethwick, West Midlands, was sentenced to four years in prison.

    A 25-year-old Briton who was found with a similar speck in one pocket as he arrived on holiday has been awaiting sentence since November.

    Meanwhile a Big Brother TV executive has so far been held without charge for five days after being arrested for possessing the health supplement melatonin.

    The authorities claim to have discovered 0.01g of hashish in his luggage.

    Last night Mr Brown's brother Lee said his case "defied belief".

    "For that sort of amount common sense should prevail, from where it was found it was obviously something that had been crushed on the floor - it could have come from anywhere."

    Rastafarian Mr Brown had been returning from a short trip to Ethiopia, where one of his children lives and where he owns property.

    He was travelling with his partner Imani, who was also stopped and detained for more than a week.

    Normally he flew direct to and from the UK, but decided to stop off in Dubai.

    "He was incensed when he called me," said driving instructor Lee, 57. "It would be funny if the circumstances weren't so unpleasant.

    "Bugs are crawling out of his mattress when he's sleeping. His family are frantic with worry and can't call him."

    Last night campaign group Fair Trials International advised visitors to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to "take extreme caution".

    Chief Executive Catherine Wolthuizen said: "We have seen a steep increase in such cases over the last 18 months.

    "Customs authorities are using highly sensitive new equipment to conduct extremely thorough searches on travellers and if they find any amount - no matter how minute - it will be enough to attract a mandatory four-year prison sentence."

    Mrs Wolthuizen added: "We even have reports of the imprisonment of a Swiss man for 'possession' of three poppy seeds on his clothing after he ate a bread roll at Heathrow.

    Cat Le-Huy

    Held: A campaign is underway to secure the release of Cat Le-Huy from a Dubai jail

    "What many travellers may not realise is that they can be deemed to be in possession of such banned substances if they can be detected in their urine or bloodstream, or even in tiny, trace amounts on their person."

    Only two months after Mr Brown was stopped economics graduate Robert Dalton was detained in almost identical circumstances.

    Mr Dalton, from Gravesend, on Kent was with two friends when he was stopped and asked to empty his pockets.

    Officials found 0.03g of cannabis in a small amount of fluff. He is currently on trial and if convicted, is likely receive a four-year prison sentence.

    Last night his brother Peter, 26, told how it took 24 hours to find out why he had been stopped.

    "As we understand, the amount of cannabis was barely visible to the human eye and was at the bottom of the pocket of an old pair of jeans.

    "He's not a drug user, but he goes clubbing and the speck was so small."

    Last week Cat Le-Huy, a London-based German national, was arrested on arrival at the airport.

    Mr Le-Huy, 31, head of technology with Big Brother production company Endemol, was arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs after customs officers found melatonin, a health supplement used for jet lag available over the counter both in Dubai and in the US.

    Authorities also claim they discovered fragments in one of his bags which they believe to be hashish. Fair Trials International said the amount was 0.01g.


    I would suggest everyone avoid Dubai, and UAE. Everyone who lands there is subject to prison whether or not they use drugs. One could step on microscopic piece of cannabis at the Airport and end up in an Muslim Prison for FOUR YEARS.

    "What many travellers may not realise is that they can be deemed to be in possession of such banned substances if they can be detected in their urine or bloodstream, or even in tiny, trace amounts on their person."

    Only two months after Mr Brown was stopped economics graduate Robert Dalton was detained in almost identical circumstances.

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    Thursday, February 07, 2008

    WAR and Anthropologist

    U.S. deploys latest tactic in Iraq: anthropology
    By Peter Graff

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - As David Matsuda tells it, he's probably the last person you'd expect to see in a U.S. military uniform climbing out of an armored vehicle in Iraq.

    An anthropology professor from the East Bay campus of California State University near San Francisco, he's a self-described peacenik who opposed the war in Iraq, did his academic research in Guatemala and never carries a gun.

    "I'm a Californian. I'm a liberal. I'm a Democrat," he says. "My impetus is to come here and help end this thing."

    Matsuda is part of the U.S. military "Human Terrain Team" (HTT) program, which embeds anthropologists with combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan in the hope of helping tactical commanders in the field understand local cultures.

    The program is controversial: the American Anthropological Association denounced it in October, saying it could lead to ethics being compromised, the profession's reputation damaged, and worst of all, research subjects becoming military targets.

    Matsuda says the concern is based on a misunderstanding of what he has signed on to do.

    "There's been a knee-jerk reaction in the anthropology community, that you've been co-opted, that you're a warmonger, like you're clubbing baby seals or something," he said. "I came here to save lives, to make friends out of enemies."

    Soldiers in northeastern Baghdad -- an area transformed over the past year from one of the most violent parts of Iraq to one of the best illustrations of the security improvements of late 2007 -- say they are grateful for Matsuda's expertise as they make the transition from fighting to peacemaking


    "It's a huge asset," said Staff Sergeant Dustin "Boogie" Brueggemann who, as a tactical psychological operations specialist, has spent the past year trying to win hearts and minds in Adhamiya, until a few months ago one of the most violent strongholds of Sunni Arab militants in Iraq.

    "The guys who were out with him were saying: 'Dr Matsuda's so smart!' Soldiers even on the lowest level now, we see the big picture just by listening to him talk," he said.

    "He gave me so much information that had I known it a year ago I could have done things differently," he said. "He gave me a history of the Ubaidi tribe. A lot of people here are members of that tribe. I knew a little bit about them, but I didn't realize just how big they were."
    ( Interesting seems he has no OSINT capabilities, or he would have known. )

    Further up the command chain, Lieutenant-Colonel David Oclander, deputy commander of the 5,000 soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, said Matsuda had given a presentation on how Iraqis resolve conflicts that proved valuable in approaching Shi'ite clerics.

    "The HTT has been a great help in making sure that when we dialogue with them, we dialogue with them in a way they understand and appreciate," he said.

    Matsuda says he arrived at exactly the right time, when a sudden sharp decline in violence opened new opportunities for engagement in his unit's area.

    The brigade is a classic example of last year's new U.S. strategy in Iraq that saw greater numbers of troops deployed to Iraq and more emphasis on interaction with civilians.

    Before the troop buildup, the entire area of northeastern Baghdad -- including about half of the capital's population -- was covered by just a single battalion of about 800 U.S. troops who suffered some of the worst casualties in Iraq


    Now the area is covered by the brigade's six battalions, including four combat battalions each covering separate neighborhoods as diverse as Sunni Arab stronghold Adhamiya and Sadr City, the giant Shi'ite slum of more than 2 million people.

    In the past six months violence plummeted, as Adhamiya's Sunni tribal leaders turned against al Qaeda militants, and Moqtada al Sadr, the Shi'ite cleric whose Mehdi Army militia controls Sadr City, declared a ceasefire.

    In December 2006, there were 450 killings in the area, mostly by sectarian death squads trying to drive rival groups out of their neighborhoods. There were just 15 killings last month, mainly by ordinary criminals, said Oclander.

    On Saturday, Matsuda -- wearing a U.S. military uniform but unarmed -- spent two hours with soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry lingering on a street in Adhamiya where a few months ago U.S. forces would have had to fight either in or out.

    They meandered in and out of shops, bought falafel sandwiches and ate them on a street corner while playing with local children who already seemed to know their names. Periodically they knocked on doors and asked permission to come inside homes for a chat. They never turned down an offer of tea.

    Most of local people were friendly, although they complained about a lack of electricity and their suspicion of the Shi'ite-led government and its security forces.

    Matsuda said he had learned a lot that day -- about who was moving into vacant houses and who was renting them out, how a local clinic got its medicines, how shop owners were getting funding to reopen their shops.

    "We have a window of opportunity here to make a difference for these people. We have to take it," he said.

    (Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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    al Qaeda desperate, dying...dangerous

    Entering a most dangerous period of the GWOT.
    al Qaeda desperate.

    Women, Children and Mentally Disabled are New 'Martyrs' For Al Qaeda - FOXNews

    American al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn, Dead

    Al-Qaeda Recruiting Westerners

    US sees shift in Muslim attitudes toward Al-Qaeda - AFP

    Attacks on Muslims may be undermining Qaeda, says US official

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq Teaching Children to Kill, US Says

    Taliban groups declare Pakistan ceasefire


    Taliban, more desperate
    By Ray Robison
    American and Coalition forces have taken the initiative in Afghanistan, and have the Taliban on the run. Yet major American media outlets, to the extent they cover fighting in Afghanistan, are portraying the Taliban as "resurgent". Going on the offense and succeeding at it always increases violence. But is being spun onto bad news/

    The increase in fighting in Afghanistan is not a sign of a stronger Taliban, but rather a more desperate one. Despite all the media reports to the contrary it is we who are surging in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda.



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    Taliban: Truce, ELECTIONS, Fraud

    Taliban calls for truce before Pakistani elections

    So they can smuggle ringers/illegal voters to vote and influence Paki elections from Afghan. It's hard to smuggle voters across active battle fields.

    Terrorism voter Fraud in Afghan and Paki.

    Are the Taliban moving "voters" across the Taliban stealth border to vote in BOTH the Afghan and Paki elections? Taliban plannig on stealing the elections?

    How much could the Taliban influence the elections in Paki and Afghan?
    Is there a cross check of voter registration for both countries?


    Mohammad Fahim Khairy said...

    The world already understood who the Taliban is and what they want. They just started Sunni and Shia war in Pakistan to make a motive for transferring of thousands Pashtuns from Pakistan to Afghanistan because of the next election. So they can make more votes for the Pashtun future president of Afghanistan.

    Why do they not go to Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad etc, those cities are more peaceful than Afghanistan?

    Now if they don't representing Pashtun why do they always supporting other Pashtuns with any politic ideologies? Shah Nawaz Tanai Ex Defense Minster of Communist regime is now on Taliban side.

    Osama Ben Ladin use Islam as tools to empower Pan Arabism so do the Taliban, they empower Pan Pashtunism.
    Source: in comments section.

    So do they know whom is voting in both Elections, Paki and Afghan?

    A Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs was even established during Zahir Shah’s time and exists to this day. This Ministry solely concentrates on the Pakistani border even though Afghanistan shares its borders with five other countries: Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and China. The purpose of this Ministry is to give the tribes of the Pashtuns living around that border area a regular salary as well as weapons under the pretense of having them protect the border. Even the Pashtuns on the Pakistani side receive Afghanistani ID cards, a steady salary and weapons for the same purpose. Not surprisingly, 90% of the violence comes from that region. Now, if the government refuses to acknowledge that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan exists, why bother having a Ministry dedicated to it as well as giving money and weapons for its protection?



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    USA ready for the mooajeandean..


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    al Qaeda/Taliban: Arabic suicide bombers: Genius

    al Qaeda suicide bombers waste the "great gift" from Allah, LIFE.

    USA is a lover of this great gift, even when al Qaeda gives them one of the al Qaeda wounded.

    USA will try and save this gift from Allah, Allah wanted him alive for a reason, USA is doing Allah's will not the al Qaeda or Taliban suicide bombers.


    The Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud have the suicde bombers DANCE for the Western Press. Taliban is political, faking religious excuses.

    Taliban claims responsibility for mosque suicide bombing




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    Wednesday, February 06, 2008


    New automated systems update war Intel news, blogs.

    ALLOW "Gmodules" JAVA to see Arabic news, in Arabic.

    and ALSO all News for "Taliban", "al Qaeda" and other blog post for both.

    Both show up in right column.


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    Intel and Ops update

    Background noise and chatter:

    USA and Israeli cyber forces scrambling yesterday, USA back to normal today.

    Cause, target unknown.


    Stealth sub

    Being stealthy is important even at 50 fathoms. Which is why the stealth aircraft experts at defence company BAE Systems have turned their hands the developing sneaky uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs). They've come up with Talisman, an autonomous sub that could be used for covert surveillance and underwater reconnaissance.

    Talisman can be controlled by a radio link when on the surface or via an acoustic signal when underwater. Its "innovatively-shaped carbon fibre composite hull", is also presumably designed to make it more difficult to detect with sonar.

    The sub's hull is also fitted with "vectorable thruster pods", which allow it to manoeuvre very nimbly, and even hover and turn through 360?? on the spot.



    Facebook Used to Mobilize Against FARC

    Listen Now [1 min 27 sec] add to playlist

    Morning Edition, February 5, 2008 · The social-networking site Facebook is being used for more than socializing. In Colombia, a Facebook page dedicated to protesting the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, that country's largest rebel group, is helping organize thousands of people in cities around the world.

    Q&A: The FARC and the Colombia Hostage Situation

    Map of Columbia
    Lindsay Mangum, NPR, January 10, 2007 · After several weeks of negotiations, Colombian guerrillas freed two women held hostage for more than five years on Jan. 10.

    The women — Clara Rojas, an aide to former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, and former congresswoman Consuelo Gonzalez — were picked up by helicopter from an undisclosed location in Colombia's jungle and flown to freedom. Their release was brokered by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, and raised hopes of freedom for others still held hostage by the rebels.

    In addition to Betancourt, those still in captivity include three American security contractors who were captured in 2003. The Colombian government has renewed attempts to set up a prisoner exchange with a Marxist rebel group, but many such efforts have collapsed in the past.

    Here is some background on the hostage situation:

    Who are the hostages?

    There are at least 750 people held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia — known by its Spanish acronym FARC. Most are held for ransom to support the insurgent group's operations, but the FARC has offered around 60 as "exchangeable." They include police, soldiers and local government officials whom the FARC wants to exchange for about 500 of its own members now in Colombian jails.

    Are any of the hostages well-known?

    The most high-profile captive is Ingrid Betancourt, a former member of the Colombian Senate who was captured when she attempted to take her presidential campaign into rebel-occupied territory. Betancourt, now 45, has been held for nearly six years. Recent video captured by the Colombian government showed her sitting dejectedly in what appears to be a jungle setting. Relatives say that she appears to be extremely thin and weak. Because Betancourt holds dual Colombian and French citizenship, the French government has been active in efforts to gain her release.

    Who are the American captives?

    The recent videos show three Americans who were captured in February 2003, when their small plane went down in a rebel-held area. The men — Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsavles and Keith Stansell — were working for California Microwave Systems, a U.S. defense contractor. Company officials say they were searching for evidence of opium poppy and coca leaf crops in the jungle. The rebels killed two other men who were on the plane, an American and a Colombian, saying they were shot as they tried to escape.

    When did we last hear about the hostages?

    The most recent direct account of the hostages comes from a Colombian police officer, Jhon Frank Pinchao, who said he escaped from the FARC last May after being a captive for almost nine years. Pinchao said he was held for a time in the same camp as Betancourt and the three Americans.



    Al-Qaeda 'will avenge US strike'

    Al-Yazid said his men will fulfill al-Libi's
    aspirations [Photo: IntelCenter]

    Al-Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan has vowed revenge for the killing of one of its top commanders in neighbouring Pakistan last week, saying Abu Laith al-Libi was killed by the weapon of "despicable cowards".
    US officials said al-Libi died when a US missile struck a compound outside the town of Mir Ali in Pakistan's North Waziristan province.

    Issuing the threat in a video statement released on Wednesday, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid said al-Qaeda fighters would retaliate against the "enemies of God" for al-Libi's death.

    "The men he trained ... will not rest until they avenge him and realise his aspirations and hopes, God willing," he said in the video recording.

    "The enemies of Allah were incapable of confronting [al-Libi] on the battlefield, nor were they able to compete with him as equals, for they are too cowardly and despicable for that. No, they used the weapon of treachery and betrayal."

    The 12-minute clip which was posted on a website bore the logo of al-Qaeda's media wing, as-Sahab, and had English subtitles.

    'Tomorrow is close'

    Al-Libi trained al-Qaeda fighters in
    Pakistan [Photo: IntelCenter]
    Al-Yazid said the martyrdom of al-Libi and other top al-Qaeda leaders only "strengthens, stabilises, sharpens and stimulates" the fight against infidels.

    "So, the killing of these heroic chiefs doesn't, and won't, end the march of jihad or extinguish its torch or put out its light as the enemies imagine," he said, adding: "Tomorrow is close."

    Up to 13 foreign fighters were killed in the attack in North Waziristan.



    DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) -- Taliban militants declared a cease-fire Wednesday in fighting with Pakistani forces, and the government said it was preparing for peace talks with al Qaeda-linked extremists in the lawless tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

    Any deal that allows armed Islamic extremists to operate on Pakistani soil would run counter to U.S. demands for the government to crack down on militants. The Bush administration contends a failed truce last year allowed al Qaeda to expand its reach into this turbulent, nuclear-armed country, and the U.S. has sounded warnings in recent days about a revival of militant strength.

    A spokesman for Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a militant umbrella group, said the new cease-fire would include the tribal belt along the Afghan border and the restive Swat region to the east where the army has also battled pro-Taliban fighters.

    Tehrik-e-Taliban is led by Baitullah Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked commander based in South Waziristan whom President Pervez Musharraf's government has blamed for a series of suicide attacks across Pakistan, including the December 27 assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

    The government has repeatedly tried to strike peace deals with local pro-Taliban militants. It has urged them to expel foreign al Qaeda militants the U.S. has warned may use their sanctuary inside Pakistan's tribal regions to plot terror attacks around the globe.

    If a cease-fire sticks and militants halt attacks, it could boost Musharraf's popularity as his political allies prepare for crucial February 18 parliamentary elections.

    But the negotiation strategy has mostly backfired in the past, with militants failing to honor agreements. A cease-fire in North Waziristan in September 2006, which collapsed in July, was widely seen as a setback in the war against terror. The cease-fire gave the Taliban and al Qaeda a freer hand to stage cross-border attacks into Afghanistan and extend their control of areas within Pakistan.



    3 Pakistani Generals Perish in Air Crash
    Arab News - Jeddah,Saudi Arabia
    The aircraft went down in South Waziristan, said Maj.
    Gen. Athar Abbas, the director general of the Inter-Services
    Public Relations Directorate. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Taliban declare ceasefire from Waziristan to Swat
    The Nation, Pakistan - Karachi,Pakistan
    He, however, was unable to disclose the number of the dead
    bodies lying in Ladha and Sararogha Forts of South Waziristan
    Agency. It merits mention that a ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Pak military chopper crashes in South Waziristan, eight dead
    The Cheers - Paikuse,Estonia
    A Pakistani military helicopter on Wednesday crashed in South
    Waziristan in which a senior army officer and seven other
    personnel were killed. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    S.Waziristan operation to continue: ISPR
    Pakistan Link - Inglewood,CA,USA
    Athar Abbas Tuesday said that the operation in South Waziristan
    would be continued till wiping out of all hideouts of the miscreants. ...
    See all stories on this topic

    Freedom for sale in Afghanistan jails
    By admin
    LAHORE: Corrupt Afghan policemen, judges and jail authorities are sabotaging the war on terror in Afghanistan by releasing captured Taliban militants from jails in exchange for bribery, according to a recent Newsweek report. ...


    Story by NATION Reporter
    Publication Date: 2/7/2008

    The United Nations has denied reports that a hotel room belonging to its former chief, Mr Kofi Annan, in Nairobi had been bugged.

    An official at the UN said the reports appearing in a South African media outlet were false.

    The official said there was a mechanism which was being used on a daily basis to detect whether the room was bugged or not.

    Efforts to get comments from Mr Annan himself were futile as he was held up in mediation talks between PNU and ODM for the better part of Wednesday. His usual press briefings after the talks did not take place.

    South Africa’s Independent Newspapers had reported Wednesday that Kenyan peace talks were in tatters after it was discovered that Mr Annan’s hotel room had been bugged.

    The paper said it had learnt from “multiple, reliable and impartial sources” ­ both in Kenya and abroad ­ that the former UN secretary-general’s business and personal conversations were being intercepted after a thorough search was carried out on his Serena Hotel room on Tuesday evening.

    “Kofi’s security aides found the device yesterday,” one source explained.

    Mr Annan is said to be “livid”, but it is not yet known how he will react to the Tuesday night revelations.

    World Class, Professional, Ethical, and Competent Bug Sweeps, and
    Wiretap Detection using Sophisticated Laboratory Grade Test Equipment.
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    Taha Hamad Yassin: killed

    IRBIL, Feb 6 (KUNA) -- Iraqi army soldiers killed Al-Qaeda leader and injured two others in clashes in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday.
    The army said in a statement one of its units killed Taha Hamad Yassin and injured two others in western Mosul.
    The operation also resulted in the detention of 11 suspected terrorists in southern Mosul, it added. (end)


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    al Qaeda spasms, fits

    al Qaeda spasms : Evidence ot its DEATH THROES.

    aQ dying, spasms will include violent reactions, and desprate acts.
    aQ training children are one of those spasms.

    Using mentally disabled also a spasm.

    Suicide Attack Targets Meeting Of Tribal Leaders BAGHDAD, Jan. 20 -- A 13-year-old boy wearing an explosives-packed vest blew himself up Sunday among a group of tribal leaders in the western prov...

    By AP/CHRISTOPHER CHESTER (BAGHDAD) — A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of a high school north of Baghdad on Tuesday, wounding 22 people including teachers and students arriving for the begi...

    a 6 year old child who was forced to put on a suicide vest and detonate it at a afghan checkpoint tells his tale. FORWARD OPERATING BASE THUNDER, Afghanistan - The story of a 6-year-old Afghan bo.

    FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - At least 27 people were killed and dozens wounded on Thursday when a suicide car bomber drove into a crowd of mourners at a funeral in Falluja, west of Baghdad, police said.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visiting Golden Mosque in Samarra after it was bombed by terrorists. Scenes include aerial shots of the mosque and surrounding area, Prime Minister Maliki touring ...


    More vile, barbarian and violent than ever before, as they realize they are loosing the support of the ummah.

    6 years now, They are running out of troops and suicide bombers, resorting to children and the importing troops, currently recruiting in Libya.
    And they will attempt to strike out at USA, conus.


    Update: 02.07.08

    US sees shift in Muslim attitudes toward Al-Qaeda

    by Jim Mannion 37 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (AFP) - US intelligence chiefs said Thursday they are seeing some signs that public opinion in the Muslim world is turning against Al-Qaeda.

    They cited indications that donations to Al-Qaeda are falling off, unusual criticism of the group by other Muslim fundamentalists, and efforts by Al-Qaeda's leadership to reach out to the umma, the body of Muslim believers.

    The shifting attitudes come despite other evidence that Al-Qaeda has gained strength in its safe havens in Pakistan's tribal areas and are improving their ability to launch attacks in the west.

    "We don't know if we've reached a tipping point yet. That's something were trying to get a focus on to get a feel for it," said Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence.

    But he told lawmakers, "There are a number of positive signs."

    McConnell pointed to the turnabout in Iraq's Al-Anbar province as the most dramatic example of Sunnis repudiating an Al-Qaeda affiliate with a resulting decline in sectarian violence.

    Saudi Arabia's forceful response to extremist attacks in 2003 also has exerted pressure on Al-Qaeda and on the flow of donations to it from wealthy Arabs, he said.

    "What we've noticed in the past year and two months is that Al-Qaeda has had difficulty in raising funds and sustaining itself," McConnell said.

    General Michael Hayden, the CIA director, acknowledged that Muslim attitudes toward Al-Qaeda were "hard to measure."

    But he pointed to a jihadist website's open invitation of questions for Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's number two, as a possible sign that its leaders are worried about eroding public support in the Muslim world.

    "To have people like bin Laden and Zawahiri governing by fiat as to what true Islam is, now being forced into a rather open dialogue with the umma, the body of believers, I think it is a remarkable step, and I don't think reflective of overconfidence on the part of Al-Qaeda now," Hayden said.

    McConnell said US intelligence has noted that several Salafist groups, a fundamentalist Muslim branch that emulates Mohammed and his early followers, have recently denounced Al-Qaeda's actions.

    "So that is another sign for us that the billion Muslims that practice their faith as good citizens are not for Al-Qaeda and that it's the extremist branch," he said.

    On the other hand, McConnell acknowledged that Al-Qaeda has had unprecedented success in uniting Muslim extremists through the Internet.

    "If you're even thinking about this you can sit down and find a website and start having dialogue and be recruited.

    "So we have seen the group that perseveres in the FATA reach from Morocco all the way across to Afghanistan," he said, referring to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan where Al-Qaeda has found sanctuary.

    Nevertheless, McConnell said, "It's my belief that at some point society will disenfranchise that extremist element and we'll see a tipping point going back in the other direction."


    Iraqi SWAT team targets al-Qaida

    We mentioned this inevitable switch.12/17/2007 09:19:00 PM

    Published: Feb. 7, 2008 at 5:53 PM
    Print story
    Email to a friend
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    SALMAN PAK, Iraq, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A tactical Iraqi security force arrested 28 alleged militants in operations targeting al-Qaida in an area approximately 20 miles south of Baghdad.

    An Iraqi SWAT unit under the supervision of U.S. Special Forces advisers launched an operation to capture an alleged al-Qaida commander suspected of overseeing militant activity near Salman Pak, Multi-National Forces-Iraq reported Wednesday.

    Intelligence officials said the suspect financed operations to recruit foreign fighters to launch attacks against Iraqi security forces, citizens and U.S.-led forces using explosives and small-arms attacks.

    The Iraqi team deployed from a helicopter landing zone and conducted clearing operations at multiple residences with U.S. forces.

    The joint security team uncovered several munitions including a suicide vest, officials said.


    Al-Qaeda tries to salvage image

    MOSUL, Iraq — Al-Qaeda militants operating here have shifted tactics to try to improve their image among Iraqis and avoid the mass civilian killings that alienated the public in Baghdad and other cities, the U.S. military says.

    The changes include warning locals to take cover before bomb attacks, relaxing the enforcement of strict Islamic laws and staging fewer attacks on Iraqi police.

    The strategy has made the population of Mosul less likely to follow the example of Iraqis elsewhere who have turned on al-Qaeda, U.S. commanders say. U.S. and Iraqi forces may have to work harder to retake Iraq's third-largest city, which is the militant group's largest remaining urban stronghold.

    "It appears (al-Qaeda) learned from their past mistakes," says Capt. Pat Ryan, an Army intelligence officer in Mosul.

    President Bush has cited the recent shift in popular opinion against al-Qaeda as a major reason for declining violence in Iraq. In Baghdad and Anbar province, many former insurgents took up arms against the hard-line Islamic group out of frustration with its indiscriminate killing of civilians.

    Lt. Jason Dickinson, the executive officer for a U.S. Army unit struggling to tame violence in Mosul, says al-Qaeda "pushed their luck a little too hard" in Baghdad but is more careful here.

    "I don't believe you're going to see the same sort of night-and-day turnaround" against al-Qaeda in Mosul, he says.

    There are as many as 30 attacks a day against U.S. and Iraqi forces in Mosul, according to the U.S. military. However, insurgents take precautions such as warning shopkeepers before bombings, Ryan says.

    After a child was hit by a stray bullet during an attack against a U.S. patrol last month, local insurgent leaders moved quickly to rein in their members, according to intercepted al-Qaeda intelligence traffic. "The leadership was unhappy that it had gone that far that they had wounded the locals," Ryan says. "The traffic said, 'Take it back a notch. We need to make sure that the locals aren't getting too upset with us.' " Ryan declined to elaborate on how the information was gathered.

    There have been few reports in Mosul of al-Qaeda trying to impose its extreme interpretation of Islamic law by beheading barbers for shaving beards or executing women accused of immodest behavior, says Lt. Col. Chris Johnson, who commands a battalion in charge of the eastern part of the city.

    Although the tactics of insurgents here may have shifted, less cautious foreign al-Qaeda fighters have streamed into Mosul before a possible U.S.-Iraqi offensive, resulting in injuries to civilians.

    Capt. Josh McLaughlin, operations officer for the Army battalion in eastern Mosul, said the increase in civilian casualties was "unfortunate," but he added, "That's the best way to get the population to say 'Enough is enough.' "



    Taliban, more desperate
    Ray Robison

    American and Coalition forces have taken the initiative in Afghanistan, and have the Taliban on the run. Yet major American media outlets, to the extent they cover fighting in Afghanistan, are portraying the Taliban as "resurgent". Going on the offense and succeeding at it always increases violence. But is being spun onto bad news/

    The increase in fighting in Afghanistan is not a sign of a stronger Taliban, but rather a more desperate one. Despite all the media reports to the contrary it is we who are surging in the war against the Taliban and al Qaeda.



    The Syrian government media is showing a toughening of its stance towards the situation in Lebanon and Gaza.....

    The following are excerpts from several of these articles:

    Teshreen: "The Resistance Has Begun to Establish Facts on the Ground"

    Teshreen columnist 'Izz Al-Din Al-Darwish wrote: "...The Arabs are divided as a result of American pressure, and are afraid to utter even one word of solidarity, which has led them to forfeit their joint role and to leave the issues – including the most crucial ones – in the hands of others... However, despite this bleak situation, an Arab resistance has begun to establish facts on the ground and to change the course of events. There is no doubt that the first real step towards active Arab solidarity will be able to turn things around – and [this step] will come sooner than the U.S. and Israel expect."(1)

    "The Arab League – A Lame Horse that Should be Put Down"

    Gerald has been forecasting al Qaeda's Doom, down hill, demise for a while:10/14/2007 07:42:00 PM

    al Qaeda's paradigm failure and down fall:11/01/2007 01:14:00 AM
    The turn around has been very quick, sudden and still not fully recognized, past two months.
    aQ and the Taliban are experiencing it, going thru it and see it much clearer then other countries.
    As time goes on it will become evident.
    All the marks are there.

    Participant observation, the "process" all point to this paradigm, news seems to confirm it.
    Bots continue to collect evidence as it unfolds.

    Indepth review:


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