BOKO Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau said the sect would not be defeated by the security forces. The leader of Boko Haram also defended recent attacks on Christians, saying they were revenge for killings of Muslims. In his first video message, posted on YouTube, Shekau referred to attacks on Muslims in recent years in several parts of northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram militants attacked several churches on Christmas Day, killing dozens of worshippers. This has led to some reprisals in the mainly Christian South. Mosques in two states have been attacked.
In the 15-minute video, Mr Shekau, wearing a red and white turban, a bulletproof vest and sitting in front of two Kalashnikov rifles, said he was responding to recent statements from President Goodluck Jonathan and the leader of the country's main Christian organisation, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He warned President Jonathan that Nigeria's security forces would not be able to defeat the group. Defending the latest spate of violence, Mr Shekau referred to the killing of Muslims in places like Jos, Kaduna, Zango Kataf and Tafawa Balewa in recent years. Some of these places have seen bitter communal clashes but they are often based on long-standing disputes over resources such as land (settled farmers, of a tribe that are mainly Christian object to the incursion onto their land of Muslim nomadic Hausa tribesman, who have been making their way down from the northern Muslim states for decades. It is a facet of islam over 1400 years to always want land. The Christian farmer's objections may be based on their ownership - the Muslim nomad's impulse to encroach is islamic as well as greed)
"We are also at war with Christians because the whole world knows what they did to us," Mr Shekau said in the video, speaking in Hausa. Mr Shekau said the group could only hold talks with the government in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
Wherever one looks in Britain, one sees an insidious kind of corruption: not the obvious, money-under-the-table variety, but something even worse and in the long run more corrosive because it is more difficult to eradicate. It is a deep moral and intellectual corruption.
The Times Educational Supplement is Britain’s most important journal for the teaching profession. In the January 6 edition, it described the methods school principals use to deceive the official inspectorate of schools. The inspectorate’s reports, in the words of the TES, “are vital checks on the performance of schools, relied on and trusted by parents and those running and working in the system.” The precise extent of the principals’ cheating is, in the nature of things, difficult to measure. But once the principals know that an inspection is coming, many employ techniques such as paying disruptive pupils to stay home, sending bad pupils on day trips to amusement parks, pretending to take disciplinary action against bad teachers, drafting well-regarded teachers temporarily from other schools, borrowing displays of student work done in other schools, and so forth. It’s Gogol’s Government Inspector translated to the educational sphere.
In response to such stories, the inspectorate is now to make unannounced inspections instead of routinely warning schools in advance. But how much knowledge of human nature did it require to know that inspections announced in advance were likely to be, not inspections at all, but elaborate charades? In other words, the deceived practically demanded to be deceived, so that (in reality) there was no deceit at all—except, of course, of the public.
The apparatus of pseudo-inspection led the public to believe that the ever-solicitous government was doing its best to raise educational standards. Only in this way could the fact be disguised that government spending on education—with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs, easy to create but difficult to destroy—doubled while standards actually fell, either relative to other countries or even absolutely.
A long-running terrorist financing investigation centered in Columbia ended Wednesday when a federal judge ordered two men, including a former U.S. Congressman, to prison.
She sentenced three other defendants to probation for their work with a Missouri charity that purportedly had ties to Islamic extremists. Those ties had subjected the charity to intense scrutiny for 13 years.
All five men either were employees or associates of the Columbia-based Islamic American Relief Agency. The charity closed its doors in October 2004 after the U.S. Treasury Department declared it to be one piece of a global network that supported Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.
None of the men charged in the criminal case, first filed in 2007, were alleged to have knowingly provided support to terrorists. And on Wednesday, federal prosecutors made no allegation that any of the Missouri defendants knew that their foreign counterparts, including officers of the Islamic African Relief Agency in Sudan, had close ties to terrorists.
“If we had a terrorist event we would have charged a more serious case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Peter Gonzalez said.
Most of the defendants sentenced Wednesday pleaded guilty to illegally funneling money to Iraq in violation of economic sanctions enacted during the Saddam Hussein era. Others pleaded guilty to acting as unregistered foreign agents while representing the charity before the U.S. government.
• Former Michigan Rep. Mark Deli Siljander, 60, to one year and a day in prison for obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Siljander now lives in Florida.
• Mubarak Hamed, 55, the charity’s executive director, to four years and 10 months in prison for sending more than $1 million to Iraq in violations of U.S. sanctions. Hamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Sudan, lives in Columbia.
• Abdel Azim Elsiddig, 55, a part-time charity fundraiser, to two years of probation for acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Elsiddig, an Illinois resident, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
• Ali Mohamed Bagegni, 57, a charity board member, to six months of probation and 50 hours of community service for violating the Iraq sanctions law. Bagegni, a Libyan and naturalized U.S. citizen, formerly was a teacher in Columbia.
• Ahmad Mustafa, 59, a charity fundraiser, to six months of probation and 50 hours of community service for his role in the sanctions violations. Mustafa, a lawful permanent resident alien, lives in Columbia.
At his guilty plea in July 2010, Elsiddig admitted that he hired and paid Siljander to persuade government officials to remove the charity from a Senate Finance Committee list of Islamic organizations suspected of supporting terrorism and to restore the charity’s ability to receive U.S. government contracts.
In 1999, the Agency for International Development barred the charity from receiving federal foreign aid contracts, reckoning that such agreements would “not be in the national security interest” of the United States.
In his plea agreement, Siljander, a Republican who represented Michigan in Congress from 1981 to 1987, admitted that he lied to federal authorities about the charity’s payments to him, telling them that the money was to have assisted him in writing a book about reconciling differences between Muslims and Christians.
Before hearing his sentence, Siljander accepted responsibility for his conduct and pleaded for mercy.
“I stand before you broken in so many ways,” Siljander said. “I did something wrong. I mistreated the system I believed in and I mistreated my family and friends.”...
The Bizarre Case of Convicted ex-Congressman Mark Siljander
Source AP: Ex Congressman Mak Siljander circa July 2010
Yesterday, ex-Michigan Congressman Mark Siljander was sentenced in a Kansas City federal courtroom to 13 months for his involvement in a bizarre plot to funnel funds to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Reuters report , “Ex-Congressman gets year over links to defunct Muslim Charity,” presented some of the facts and Siljander’s involvement with the disbanding Muslim Charity:
Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a former three-term Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, pleaded guilty in 2010 to obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent on behalf of the now-defunct Islamic American Relief Agency.
As part of his plea deal, Siljander admitted he had lied to the FBI and prosecutors in denying he was hired by the Missouri-based charity, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips of Kansas City said in a statement.
The agency, which Phillips said "secretly funneled more than a million dollars to Iraq" in violation of U.S. economic sanctions, was closed in 2004 after the U.S. Treasury Department designated it as a global terrorist organization.
That same year, it hired Siljander, who had served in Congress in the 1980s, to lobby for the agency's removal from a Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding terrorism, Phillips said. He also sought to get the agency reinstated as an approved government contractor, a status it lost in 1999, she said.
Phillips said Siljander received $75,000 in payments from the charity that the agency concealed by routing them through non-profit entities.
A 42-count federal indictment returned in 2008 had also accused the agency and its former executive director, Mubarak Hamed, of engaging in prohibited financial transactions for the benefit of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan mujahideen leader designated by the U.S. government in 2002 as a terrorist.
The government said that Hekmatyar, a former warlord who fought against the Soviet Union and later served as Afghanistan's prime minister in the 1990s, supported al Qaeda and the Taliban and had "vowed to engage in holy war against the United States and international troops in Afghanistan."
Siljander served in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly six years, from April 1981 to January 1987. He later ran a Washington-based business called Global Strategies, a marketing and public relations company. He also was an ambassador to the United Nations.
That it took the FBI and US attorneys in Kansas City to perfect this plea bargain over four years since the January 2008 indictment may not surprise many, who are used to the grinding mills of federal prosecution. Was this plea bargain deal timed to be exquisitely coincidental with the Obama Administration sudden release of Taliban detainees from Guantanamo? Taliban leaders who were then flown to the Qatar to flush out an office alleging engaging Afghan Peace commission in ‘secret negotiations’. That the Taliban mints in excess of $300 million annually in illegal drug trafficking profits from the poppy fields of South Afghanistan is not a concern for the Obama Administration rushing to exit this graveyard of civilizations. These abrupt moves are perhaps a furtherance of its recently announced national security strategy to focus on containment of China. For many of us that Pentagon press conference on last Thursday with President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta amounted to virtual abandonment of the Long War against the man-made disaster of Jihad that swept across the globe in the wake of 9/11.
Siljander looks like a poster boy of an ideological hitchhiker drawn from the pages of my dog-eared copy of The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movementsby San Francisco dock- worker philosopher, Eric Hoffer. Watch several videos by Siljander engaged in his ratiocination of his transformation, at his Deadly Misunderstanding website, here.
Schlussel noted her shock at Siljander’s dismaying transition:
Mark Siljander, who represented a Congressional district in Western Michigan, is the last guy I’d think would do this. . . What happened to my former boss in the years since he was the most pro-Israel, the most anti-Islamist Congressman on Capitol Hill?
I don’t know. But here’s why I’m so shocked. When I worked for Mark Siljander, in the summer after my junior year of high school, and again when I was headed to college, I was just 16, but more than an intern. I wrote speeches for him, I helped tutor him in Hebrew, which he learned to speak and write, and I accompanied him to many events.
What makes the allegations in the indictment so shocking is that Siljander is a Born-Again Evangelical Christian. We had fast days in his office. There were prayer circles. So deeply religious and so deeply against the Islamic threat, Siljander was known, at the time, as the most pro-Israel Congressman on Capitol Hill, with many Jewish and pro-Israel Evangelical contributors from all over the world. My father was one of those contributors. His Chief of Staff, Robin Luketina, even served in the Israeli Defense Forces.
Mark enlisted me to help him write a tough bill espousing sanctions against the Soviet Union because of its persecution of Soviet Jews. And he enlisted my help in pro-Israel and anti-PLO legislation.
That’s why it’s so hard for me to read that he may have played for the opposite team–for the enemy.
This is the Congressman–who when I worked for him–was decades ahead of his time in understanding the Islamist threat worldwide and to America. That he’d reverse course sickens and saddens me.
I think this was about money. Since he lost his Congressional seat, he was hard up for money and was involved in many failed business ventures, including an AIDS-Test-By-Mail. (He also ran, unsuccessfully, for Congress from Virginia.)
Desperation and money do bad things.
Credit Schlussel for putting her finger on what motivated Siljander’s fall from grace. Given his upcoming term in a federal country club prison, perhaps the ex-Congressman from Michigan and former US UN Ambassador might write a mea culpa and redeem himself. That is the hope and perhaps a final page in this bizarre tale.
À la question «êtes-vous d'accord avec les idées défendues par le FN», 31% des sondés ont répondu favorablement. C'est le plus haut score du parti sur les douze dernières années. En 2000, ils n'étaient que 17% à répondre dans le même sens. Les précédents pics remontent à mai 2002 (28%) et décembre 2006 (26%), soit pendant, ou peu avant, les élections présidentielles. Le score du FN avait par la suite chuté à 18% en janvier 2010.
L'adhésion aux idées du Front National est segmentée en fonction du milieu socioprofessionnel et de la zone d'habitat. Les personnes adhérant aux idées proviennent plutôt des milieux ouvriers (40% d'accord) et des zones rurales (41%). A contrario, le rejet du FN est très fort chez les cadres (76%) et dans les zones urbaines (67% en désaccord au niveau national, et 78% sur les métropoles Paris-Lyon-Marseille). Mais le désaccord global avec ce parti chute de dix points par rapport à 2011.
«Le terme “Front national” est en train de se normaliser. Avant, c'était un peu repoussoir. Ce phénomène est en train de s'éroder», explique Edouard Lecerf, directeur général de TNS Sofres. «Le FN a particulièrement augmenté chez les moins de 35 ans. En un an, leur taux d'adhésion aux idées du FN passe de 11 % à 28 %».
Pour 51% des Français, les musulmans ont trop de droits
La TNS Sofres a également interrogé son panel sur une série d'affirmations reprenant les thèmes traditionnellement liés au Front National. Les Français se montrent majoritairement d'accord avec des idées comme «la justice n'est pas assez sévère avec les petits délinquants» (66%), «on ne défend pas assez les valeurs traditionnelles» (63%), ou «il y a trop d'immigrés en France» (51%), avec un rebond assez net d'adhésion à ces affirmations sur les deux dernières années. Mais la tendance sur le long terme est plutôt à la stabilité, voire à la baisse.
En 2000, 76% des sondés trouvaient qu'il fallait donner plus de pouvoir à la police (52% aujourd'hui), et 63% en 2005 pensaient qu'il y avait trop d'immigrés dans le pays (51% en 2012). L'adhésion au retour de la peine de mort a chuté de 45% en 2000 à 33% aujourd'hui, en dépit d'un regain de 4 points en un an. L'affirmation «on ne se sent plus vraiment chez soi en France» reste stable ces douze dernières années, avec environ 45% d'opinions favorables. Mais les questions concernant l'Islam ont le vent en poupe. L'affirmation «on accorde trop de droits à l'Islam et aux musulmans en France», a ainsi fait un bond de 10 points entre 2010 et 2012 (51% d'accord).
«L'effet Marine Le Pen se confirme. Les idées du FN ont été lissées de certains aspects un peu rugueux qui étaient portés par Jean-Marie Le Pen. D'autre part, ces idées ont été banalisées parce que reprises largement par d'autres»», explique au Monde TNS Sofres. La plupart des idées testées dans ce sondage ont en effet été reprises par l'UMP et notamment son aile droite, représentée par le collectif la Droite populaire.
Evolution des opinions favorables de 2000 à 2012 selon le sondage TNS Sofres.
«Espoir chez certains d'un nouveau 21 avril»
Autre aspect de la banalisation du parti, l'image de Marine Le Pen. Si 45% des Français la considèrent comme la «représentante d'une extrême-droite nationaliste et xénophobe», ils sont 41% à plutôt la voir comme l'incarnation «d'une droite patriote attachée aux valeurs traditionnelles». Un quart des Français souhaitent également que Marine Le Pen soit présente au second tour de la présidentielle de 2012, un score qui monte à 44% chez les sympathisants de droite dont 23% chez les sympathisants UMP. Ces derniers sont sûrs à 38% que la chef du Front National sera au second tour, alors que 49% des Français estiment qu'elle ne passera pas le premier tour.
Un dernier chiffre exprime à lui seul la normalisation du FN. 53% des Français estiment que ce parti représente un danger pour la démocratie. Ils étaient 62% à dire de même en 2000, et 70% en 2002. «En général, plus le score du FN est haut, plus les Français ont tendance à le considérer comme un danger. On est dans une période où le FN est électoralement fort, et pour autant il n'y a pas de crispation sur son danger pour la démocratie», explique le directeur de TNS Sofres au Monde. «On a, depuis 2002, vécu avec la crainte d'un nouveau 21 avril. Ce que l'on mesure aujourd'hui, c'est qu'il peut y avoir, chez certains électeurs, l'espoir d'un nouveau 21 avril cette année.»