These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 20, 2013.
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Iran Will Stand By Assad, Which Is Just What Infidels Should Want
Assad's overthrow "red line" for Iran: supreme leader's aide
DUBAI (Reuters) - A senior aide to Iran's supreme leader warned against the overthrow of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, saying his fate was a "red line", in one of the Islamic state's strongest messages of support for the Damascus government.
Iran has steadfastly backed Assad's rule since an uprising against his rule began almost two years ago and regards him as an important part of the axis of opposition against arch-foe Israel.
"If the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, the line of resistance in the face of Israel will be broken," Ali Akbar Velayati, who is seen as a potential contender in Iran's June presidential election, said in an interview broadcast on Sunday. [and if he stays, and the Alawites hold on, they have learned their lesson, and will never again risk going to war with Israel, and "the line of resistance" to the north "will be broken"]
"We believe that there should be reforms emanating from the will of the Syrian people, but without resorting to violence and obtaining assistance from the (United States of) America," he told Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen satellite television.
Asked if Iran sees Assad as a red line, Velayati said: "Yes, it is so. But this does not mean that we ignore the Syrian people's right in choose its own rulers."
More than 60,000 people have died in the uprising against Assad, part of the Arab Spring protests that have swept aside four heads of state since 2011.
Iran, a regional Shi'ite Muslim power which backs Lebanon's Hezbollah group, describes many Syrian opposition groups as "terrorists" who are backed by Western and Arab states. Assad follows an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Velayati blamed what he called "reactionary" Arab states for the violence in Syria and singled out Qatar, accusing it of bringing in fighters from Somalia and Afghanistan to help topple Assad.
Velayati said all parties linked to the crisis in Syria needed to negotiate.
"Anyone who comes to the talks cannot negotiate on the table and support the armed elements, but must enter the negotiations and stop supporting the armed elements," he added.
The Islamic Republic has sought international backing for its six-point plan to resolve the Syrian conflict. The plan calls for an immediate end to violence and negotiations between all parties to form a transitional government, but does not call for Assad to step down.
Murdering Muslim Belmokhtar Claims To Act For Al-Qaeda, But Don't Give That Undue Attetntion
Belmokhtar was been a big-shot bandit, once given the name of Mr. Marlboro, a nod to his deeds of derring-do in cigarette smuggling. It hardly matters if he is a member, or not a member, or was once a member, of Al Qaeda. Too much attention is given to trivia like that. He could be the member of this group, or that, or not of any group. But his acts, his attitudes, and those of the men under him, reflect the Islamic texts that inculcate hatred of non-Muslims. That's what counts. Those who keep spending time solemnly parsing which Muslim murderer or which Muslim promoter or defender or camouflager of Muslim supremacism belongs to which group, are wasting time and deflecting Western attention from the real problem: Islam, and the degree to which its adherents, or those who call themselves Muslims, participoate in, or make things easier for those who participate in, the Jihad which is conducted using many different instruments, of which violence through terrorism or thorugh conventional combat, qital, is only one. And Jihad for Muslims, however they pursue it, remains the same goal: to expand the boundaries of Dar al-Islam, to ensure that in the end the world belongs to Islam, which everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
Belmokhtar revendique la prise d'otages au nom d'al-Qaida
Dans une vidéo, cet ancien "émir" d'al-Qaida au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) demande également à la France de cesser ses bombardements aériens au Nord-Mali.
"Nous, al-Qaida, annonçons cette opération bénie", déclaré le responsable djihadiste dans cette vidéo que le site n'a pas mis en ligne directement. "Nous sommes prêts à négocier avec les Occidentaux et le gouvernement algérien à condition qu'ils mettent un terme à leurs bombardements des musulmans du Mali".
Blast, drones kill 16 al Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen
SANAA (Reuters) - More than 10 suspected al Qaeda operatives were killed by an explosion in a house in south Yemen where they were making bombs, and at least six others died in two strikes from U.S. drones, tribal and official sources said on Sunday.
A bomb ripped through a house in the province of al-Bayda on Saturday night, the state news agency Saba and a local official said.
Strikes by suspected U.S. drone aircraft killed three people on Saturday and another three on Sunday in two parts of central Maarib province, tribal and government sources said.
The Yemeni Defence Ministry said in an SMS text message that a number of militants were killed in two air strikes but gave no further details.
The United States never comments on strikes by its pilotless aircraft, which it has used to hunt militants in Yemen for years. The Yemeni government allows U.S. strikes but usually does not comment on the U.S. role in specific incidents.
Yemen's government has been fighting a powerful branch of al Qaeda that grew in power and influence amid chaos in the impoverished state two years ago during a popular uprising against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is considered by Western governments to be one of the most active and dangerous wings of the global network founded by Osama bin Laden and has attempted a number of attacks against U.S. targets.
The house destroyed in al Bayda had been used for making bombs, an official from the area told Reuters on Sunday.
"We heard a massive explosion that terrified people and when we went to the house it was destroyed and everyone there was dead," the official said.
In Maarib, a pilotless plane carried out two strikes against a car on Saturday, a witness said.
"One of the strikes missed the target and the other hit the car and left the bodies of the three people in it completely charred," the witness told Reuters by telephone from the area.
He said unidentified people evacuated the bodies while tribesmen blocked the main road linking the capital of Maarib province with Sanaa on Saturday after the strikes.
The strike on Sunday took place in the Al Shabwan region of the province, the tribal and government sources said.
Earlier this month, dozens of armed tribesmen took to the streets in southern Yemen to protest drones they said killed innocent civilians and fed anger against the United States.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi spoke openly in favor of the strikes during a trip to the United States in September.
Praised by the U.S. ambassador in Sanaa as being more effective against al Qaeda than his predecessor, Hadi was quoted as saying in September that he personally approved every attack.
AQAP offshoot, Ansar al-Sharia (Partisan of Islamic Law), seized a number of towns in the south in 2011. Yemeni government forces retook the areas in a U.S.-backed offensive in June.
Algeria troops capture five kidnappers at gas plant
(AFP) – Jan. 20, 2012
ALGIERS — Algerian troops captured five kidnappers they found alive on Sunday at a desert gas complex in the wake of a bloody hostage crisis, but three other abductors were still at large, Algerian TV reported.
"Five terrorists were found still alive this morning" at the In Amenas plant, where special forces launched a final rescue bid on Saturday that left 18 people dead, including seven hostages, private television channel Ennahar reported.
But "three others are at large," the station's director Anis Rahmani told AFP.
In the town of In Amenas, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the plant, rumours have circulated since Saturday that the army assault "has not finished," according to AFP correspondents on the ground.
Most of the town's residents were still holed up at home on Sunday.
Islamist militants seized hundreds of Algerians and foreigners when they attacked the gas plant on Wednesday, and by Thursday most hostages had been freed after the Algerian special forces launched a first rescue operation.
The interior ministry on Saturday gave a preliminary toll of 21 captives and two others, as well as 32 kidnappers killed during the four-day hostage crisis which ended with the army storming the In Amenas complex.
Communications Minister Mohamed Said warned on Sunday that the toll of 23 foreigners and Algerians killed during the crisis might rise.
(CNN) - As President Barack Obama prepared to be sworn in on inauguration weekend, the White House continued to promise diversity as the president formulates his second term Cabinet.
"His Cabinet when he's finished - and he's far from finished - will have diversity including women, including people of color," Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told CNN's chief national correspondent John King and chief political analyst Gloria Borger from the White House shortly before Obama took the Oath of Office. [Should we care? Why? What about among those providing "diversity of perspectives" including someone who thinks the 1965 Immigration Act should be repealed? Or someone who thinks that "diversity" should not be a goal of government?]]
The president has come under fire for, thus far, nominating mostly white men to cabinet positions. A White House released photo of Obama meeting with advisers, mostly white men, drew further criticism when it ran in the New York Times. The White House released another photo of the president meeting with a more diverse group of staffers.
One of his most trusted aides, Jarrett said in this case "One picture does not speak a thousand words."
"He believes he makes his best decisions when he is surrounded by people who have different perspectives and give him their best ideas," she said. "I spent a lot of time in the Oval Office and I'm in there with a great number of women who he listens to and whose council and advice he trusts greatly." [How different in "perspective" on the meaning, and menace, of Islam are John Brennan, Chuck Hagel, and John Kerry?]
"The president has been surrounded by strong women throughout his entire life; raised by a single mom; lived for a while with his grandmother who was a great role model for him, obviously married to a very competent wife and his first Cabinet reflected the diversity of our country," she said.
Jarrett pointed to both Nancy-Ann DeParle, Obama's deputy chief of staff, who helped craft the president's signature healthcare initiative in his first term and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, in charge of the Affordable Care Act's implementation in the president's second term, as examples of women taking on major roles within the administration.
Since winning re-election Obama has made a number of high-profile nominations for cabinet posts, including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton who has said she will leave her post in the administration.
Originally, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice was considered a favorite for the position but withdrew her name following intense criticism for her initial comments on the handling of the September attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has been tapped for secretary of defense, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew has been nominated to be secretary of the treasury and chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan is Obama's choice to head the C.I.A. All three of these positions were headed by men in Obama's last term.
'Dies Gloriae'* IV: From Saint Euthymius The Great To The Blessed MichaÃ«l Kozal
Those of you who are regular readers at NER - and you number well into the millions, and thank-you for that support - will, by now, be aware that in this series of posts1 I am desirous of demonstrating three things, viz. that many Christians throughout the ages have always resisted the temptations of the pagan, the uncivilised and the devil-worshippers (particularly the Mohammedans), further, that in the main we have also resisted political absolutists of any hue and, lastly, that we can draw inspiration from the examples of the steadfastness of our precursors.
I am also seeking to show to those of you with no, or a limited, knowledge of Christianity just how one aspect of the Christian year works: that facet being the days of glory* (each and every day of the year is a day of glory for all Christians and all days have been so since God began this creation billions of years ago and this was reinforced, given new meaning and made splendid by Christ's incarnation and sacrifice) and how we use each and every glorious day with, in this case, particular reference to the saints who have preceded us rather than any other of the many Christian features and practices of each lustrous day. Naturally, we use the splendour of the days in other ways as well2, but in this particular series I am concentrating on those whose lives can inspire and console us, the toilers and readers at NER, as we battle the forces of evil and defend our ways of life and living - our cultures.
Concentration on just the few lives that I think can move us, and occasionally excite us to emulation, means that by selecting just one saint then I am ignoring the many other saints that we commemorate each and every bright day of the year. Those saints that I have chosen to ignore will have been equally as exceptional as people as those whom I have chosen to include. So, you may ask, what are my criteria for inclusion? Simply put, I have chosen my 'saint for the day', so to speak, by judging his direct, and I stress the word 'direct', relevance, in my sole opinion, to what we seek to do at this site, which is to defend our free, enlightened and democratic societies from the Mohammedan jihad, the oikophobes3 in our own societies and the extremists, mainly on the political left but some on the right too, who would, by their actions (inadvertent or deliberate) remove the rights of the ordinary citizen and drag our societies towards oligarchy, dictatorship or vile Mohammedan theocracy.
Despite being a Christian and extolling the virtues of our Judeo-Christian inheritance I would also strongly resist the imposition of a Christian theocracy, or, indeed, any theocracy of any religious colour whatsoever. I firmly believe in the separation of church and state and I am not, by writing this series of posts at NER, in any way attempting to subvert that idea - my intention is to remind us all of our inheritance and to inspire and comfort all of us by remembering those who have gone before us who, in some way, fought the same fight that we are fighting.
I am doing this from my Christian perspective because that is what I know and I want to share it with all of you, and also because Christianity, and your inheritance of enlightenment Judeo-Christian values and ideas, is under attack as never before. One of the most interesting pieces of knowledge that one can deduce from the bare facts in the recent Pew Research Center's reports is that Christians, who make up a third of the world's population, are also the most persecuted group of people on Earth and that Mohammedans are the people usually doing the persecuting (not just of Christians, but also of all other religions, and that, obviously, gives the lie to the perpetual Mohammedan claims about worldwide so-called 'Islamophobia'). You can find the three full reports here at the Pew Center's site , from where each report can be read and downloaded so that you, the readers, can judge for yourselves.
So, my first saint for this week is, naturally, one who is memorialised on the twentieth of January. He is known as Saint Euthymius the Great. He was born in AD377 and, after a unexceptional Christian upbringing, he became a monk circa 396. Round about 406 he became a hermit close to the monastery of Pharan just outside Jerusalem with another hermit called Theoctistus. After about five years so many people had gathered around the holy pair that they built a monastery; Theoctistus became abbot, and Euthymius retreated to a cell near the Dead Sea. It was there that he cured a boy called Terebon, the son of an Arab chief called Aspebetus, of a mystery illness, which spread Euthymius' fame far beyond the confines of Palestine. Many, many Arabs were converted to Christianity because of this and looked to Euthymius as the prime cause of their coming to Christ. (The Arab chief Aspebetus, the boy's father, was later ordained as a priest and became Bishop of his people, in which capacity we know that he attended the Council of Ephesus in 431.)
The report of this miracle made the name of Euthymius famous throughout Palestine, and beyond, and large crowds came to visit him in his solitude so he retreated, with his disciple Domitian, to the wilderness of Ruba, near the Dead Sea. Here he lived for some time on a remote mountain called Marda but later he withdrew to the desert of Zipho (the ancient Engaddi). When large crowds followed him to this place also, he returned to the neighbourhood of the monastery of Theoctistus near Jerusalem, where he took up his abode in a cave. Every Sunday he went to the monastery to take part in the Divine services. Eventually, because numerous disciples wanted him as their spiritual guide, he founded, in AD420, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a laura4 similar to that at Pharan where he had first retreated. The church connected with this laura was dedicated in AD428 by Juvenal, the first Patriarch of Jerusalem. When the Council of Chalcedon met in AD451 and condemned the Monophysite errors5, it was greatly due to the authority of Euthymius that most of the Eastern recluses and hermits accepted its decrees.
Euthymius was called home to G-d on this day in AD473 and there are two reasons why we should remember him. First, he sought solitude in order to commune with G-d but he also recognised the needs of others and often gave up his own wants and needs in order to serve the multitude that had need of his counsel - pray that we can be as wise and as selfless when we are needed by others. Second, by his example and his help for the youngster Terebon, and by his life, he converted many Arabs, thus reinforcing Christianity on the Arabian Peninsula. We are used to thinking of Arabs as devil-worshipping Mohammedans, which they are today, but we must remember that that wasn't always the case6 and that the Arabs are as much victims of that feculent prophet of the devil called Mohammed as are any of those who have ever been persecuted by the believers in his sleazy, hellish cult.
Euthymius should remind us all on this day that we must abhor the accursed, murderous cult of Mohammedanism, often called Islam today, but we must never, never fall into the trap of hating the believers in that infernal system on the basis of race, nor should we hate them as people. We must learn to revile and avoid their satanic ways and beliefs without actually hating the people themselves. Euthymius, and many others, proved that even the Arabs are capable of coming to G-d. We must take that knowledge and extend it to cover all the peoples trapped inside the upside-down world wherein good is bad and bad is good that has been inflicted on humanity by that fiend from hell in human guise called Mohammed. The example of Euthymius should help us to do so.
The twenty-first brings me to Saint Vimin of Holywood. I like to memorialise this sixth century Scottish saint because he was a very humble man who tried very hard not to let his fame turn his head - even his foundation of the monastery of Holywood (Dercongal) in Dumfries-shire was an attempt to efface himself by retreating to the wild oak wood of Nithsdale. His attempts at self-effacement were so successful that we don't really know when he was born and we are guessing at the year of his death when we say it was AD615. We memorialise him on this day because he has traditionally been so remembered in Scotland and we know from an ancient prayer in the Aberdeen Breviary about this feast day and about other monuments that bear evidence to the great devotion of the ancient Scottish church to his memory. (See the Breviarium Aberdonense et Chronicon Skonense7.)
He was an Abbot and a Bishop in the Kingdom of Fife (Fife is correctly known as, and is always called, 'The Kingdom of Fife' and usually referred to as just 'The Kingdom' when the context makes it plain which part of Scotland is being referred to) which was not an unusual combination in that day and age (see The Venerable Bede, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum -- 'The Ecclesiastical History of the English People' -- l. 4. c. 17, etc., on St. Aidan).
The other name for St. Vimin's abbey in the wild wood is 'Dercongal', which probably comes from Doire Congaill, the Gaelic for 'Congall's oak-copse', Congall (in Welsh., the name 'Cinvall') being a saint venerated by the west coast Gaelic speaking natives of the area. For this reason the abbot of Dercongal also became known as the abbot "de Sacro Nemore", abbot 'of the Sacred Grove', which became 'Holywood' in English.
Apart from the deep humility of Saint Vimin that prompted his foundation of the abbey - a humility that is completely lacking in Mohammedanism but that Christians, and many others in the civilised world, routinely strive to emulate - there is another reason for remembering St. Vimin and his remote foundation and that is that it rapidly became a centre of erudition and learning. It produced many scholars, but perhaps the most well-known of them was the famous mathematician Johannes de Sacrobosco.
John of Holywood (circa AD1195 to circa 1256), also known as Johannes de Sacrobosco, or Sacro Bosco, was a monk of Dercongal Abbey, scholar and astronomer who taught at the University of Paris and wrote the authoritative mediaeval astronomy text Tractatus de Sphaera(Treatise on [the nature of] the Sphere [of the world]) about 1230. In this book, Sacrobosco gave an account of the Ptolemaic universe as he perceived it. It was required reading by students in all Western European universities for the next four centuries. Though primarily about the astronomy of the heavens it contains a clear description of the Earth as a sphere and that description clearly demonstrates that medieval scholars were well aware that the Earth was round and not flat and that the idea that they didn't know that fact is really a much later erroneous reading of history.
John of Holywood also wrote another vitally important work known as Algorismus, more correctly De Arte Numerandi (thought to have been his first work in about 1490), in which he advanced the use of the Hindu numerals that we use today and also supported the use of the Hindu methods of numerical calculation, both of which the Arabs transmitted to the West after their bloody conquests of the much more advanced civilisations of the East. What John of Holywood is probably more famous for, however, is his criticism of the Julian calendar. In his book on computus8, called De Anni Ratione (1235), he pointed out that the Julian calendar was ten days out of true with the seasons and the stars and that some correction was needed. He didn't specify any particular correction but with astounding precision he advocated leaving one day out of the calendar every 288 years in order to keep any calendar true to nature. However, it was in this book that he perpetuated, and probably originated, the myth that Caesar Augustus took a day from February to give to August, which is just a nice fairy tale to account for the small number of days in February9.
So, without St. Vimin's humility that caused him to found his monastery in Nithsdale we wouldn't have had that most important monk and scholar John of Holywood and it would probably have taken several more centuries than it actually did for us to reach the advanced scientific society that we enjoy today. St. Vimin couldn't have known that John would one day study in his monastery, and he would probably have run a mile from any fame that that fact might bring, but, in a sense, St. Vimin is responsible for our technical prowess today. Now there's a thought!
Most people who read at this site, and many others elsewhere, are fully aware of the Mohammedan approach to children and women - they are both just possessions of some male or other and he can do to them as he wants safe in the knowledge that his appalling, so-called religion says that he can - indeed, their demon, Mohammed, whom they call, laughably, a prophet, liked to have sex with pre-pubescent girls. When Mohammedans settle in civilised countries they often follow this example but rather than molesting and abusing their own children (although they probably do that also but just don't get caught as often) they force their attentions on the children of the native populations10, and often, even more disgustingly, on the vulnerable ones at that.
It's because of the stomach-churning behaviour of Mohammedans towards children that I have picked St. Vincent Pallotti as my saint for the twenty-second of January. Vincent was born at Rome in AD1785 and died in 1850. He was buried in the church of San Salvatore in Onda11. He was descended from the noble families of the Pallotti of Norcia and the De Rossi of Rome. His early studies were made at the Pious Schools of San Pantaleone, and from there he passed to the Roman College. At the age of sixteen, he resolved to become a priest, and was ordained on May 16, 1820.
It's not because he was a sterling priest, however, that has prompted me to want him for this burnished day. He was, indeed, a great priest and an example to others in that calling, but he was also deeply concerned all his life about young people. He worked tirelessly and selflessly to rescue them from sometimes the most awful of conditions. He made time for daily visits to the Rome city hospitals and to the jails and prisons where his smile and compassion brought a ray of sunshine to those incarcerated there. He badgered the prison officials incessantly until he had obtained the separation of the youthful offenders from the adults in prison. "If you want to rehabilitate youth and keep them out of jail in the future, then give them the chance to do without a thorough training in criminality they are sure to receive from their elders here!" he is reported to have said, and he was listened to with respect by the prison authorities, and with thankfulness from those who would gain a new chance in life. He also worked with the young in some of the roughest areas of Rome and had considerable success in keeping many of them out of trouble and setting them on new paths to better lives.
Unlike the filthy and loathsome Mohammedans who prey on vulnerable children and use them in disgusting ways in order to gratify their basest desires, St Vincent helped and encouraged the young and paid special attention to the needy amongst them in order to help them live fulfilling and normal lives, as all Christians should. He is still a shining example of exactly what the Christian derived western values concerning the young are and those values point up the vast superiority of Judeo-Christian societies over the Mohammedan societies that derive their ways of doing things from satan through the nauseating words of the demon Mohammed.
St. Vincent was canonised by Pope John XXIII in 1963 and the order that he founded in 1835 - The Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Societas Apostolatus Catholici, abbreviated S.A.C.), better known as the Pallottines - perpetuates his great works and continues to remind us all of the correct way to treat other human beings regardless of their age or gender.
For the twenty-third of January I want to commemorate a very personal saint because I happen to like not only what this saint did but also where he did it, and the things that he became the patron saint of as well. I'm talking about Saint Urban of Langres in France. He was bishop of that place and during a period of persecution of Christians he hid for a short time in a vineyard. Whilst there he converted the vine dressers who then helped him in his underground ministry. Due to their work, and to Urban’s personal devotion to the Holy Blood of Christ, he developed great affection towards all the people in the wine industry, and they for him, as well. He died a natural death round about AD390 and because of his sojourn in the vineyard his intercession is often prayed for to ask for G-d's help against alcoholism, against blight, against fainting, against faintness, against frost and against storms. He has also become the patron saint of barrel makers, coopers, Dijon in France, gardeners, Langres in France, vine dressers, vine growers and vintners.
I'm very partial to the odd drop of good French wine and I am rather fond of St. Urban, just like all of those who make my favorite wines. However, throughout Christian history wine has always stood for the Holy Blood of Christ and Urban had a personal devotion to that mystical concept (I've no intention of discussing the Church's teachings about transubstantiation, consubstantiation, or symbolism in this context). His devotion should also remind us that the fruits of the earth are great gifts won by the labour of many people. Further, it should also remind us that we Christians and other civilised people trust ourselves to use wine and that the reason that the Mohammedans don't use it is a devil inspired stab at the heart of our Christianity, our Judeo-Christian heritage and our civilisations. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the Mohammedan prohibition on alcohol is somehow just one of the evils of that stinking belief system and of no real concern to us. That prohibition is a direct attack on all of us and you can gather that any time that you care to listen to the gross and sickening Mohammedans as they routinely insult us, our lives, our culture, our faiths and our histories. Moreover, by insulting our use of wine the disgusting Mohammedans are also insulting and attempting to suppress the very communion services that we offer as a perpetual Easter each and every Sunday -- without wine Christ's institution of the memory of His sacrifice is effectively diminished.
So, the next time that you fancy a glass of wine remember St. Urban and all that he, and the wine, stands for. Having done so, raise your glass and enjoy the hard won fruit of the vine - your toast should be 'St. Urban, and down with Islam!'.
The twenty-fourth of January brings us to the excellent Saint Francis de Sales. You can find a complete short biography of himby clicking on this link, but I want to concentrate on one particular aspect of his life. He wrote extensively, mostly on aspects of the Christian faith - letters, treatises, sermons, leaflets, spiritual addresses and opuscula12 and his surviving works run to many volumes. Most importantly he wrote for public consumption and the value of his writings led to him being declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope The Blessed Pius IX in 1877. However, what is interesting to those of us who contribute to NER is that he was established as a patron of writers and journalists by Pope Pius XI in 1923, so, in a sense he is also a patron saint of all of us.
St. Francis de Sales led an exemplary life full of humility, charity and good works but the one thing that marked him out was his continual emphasis on love - the love of G-d and the love we should all have for all our fellow men regardless of what they might be. Spiritual love and platonic love for all his fellows dominated St Francis' life. That love is one essential part of Christianity and it differs hugely from anything that Mohammedans believe in, or that they can cull from the supremacist and racist teachings and sayings of their base and vicious demon prophet. The emphasis on love is also common to most people in most non-Mohammedan societies as well.
St. Francis taught that we can follow G-d's message of love by frequent remembrance of His presence, by filial prayer, by having a right intention in all our actions, by having frequent recourse to Him in our use of pious statements in our speech and by making sure that our private and interior aspirations and wants are in conformity with what we know to be right. It's not difficult and, whether we are Christian or otherwise, we have St. Francis' own life as an example to guide us into the path of love.
Incidentally, and just as an aside as it were, the Saint François Atoll in the Seychelles Islands is named after him.
Saint Peter Thomas is my saint for the twenty-fifth. He was a Carmelite from a very poor background in Perigord in France and by his own efforts he rose through the church to become a bishop and then, in May AD1364, the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He worked tirelessly for the reunification of the Roman and Greek Churches. He was part of Pope Innocent VI plans for the re-formation of the anti-Turkish League that had been set up in 1350 and he led (he was in the van of the attack brandishing what was reputed to have been a piece of the true cross and he was quite badly wounded) a very successful campaign against the dark forces of Mohammedanism which resulted in the total ejection of that satanic horde from Alexandria (in early October, 1365). The victory could have been "a great and memorable work" (to quote Petrarch, Senilia, VIII, 8) had not the Latin army, through a probably groundless fear of a counter-attack, and against the opinion of Peter Thomas and a few others, shamefully abandoned Alexandria, (on October the sixteenth, 1365). Peter Thomas afterwards wrote a very sad letter to Pope Urban V and to the emperor, Charles IV, about this event13.
That wasn't the first time that he had been involved against the evil Mohammedans; during a crossing of the Adriatic in early 1355 the Saint had led, successfully, the defense of his group of travelers against a Mohammedan, probably Turkish, attack14. On Easter Sunday in 1360, at Famagusta on Cyprus, he crowned Peter of Lusignan as King of Jerusalem15, which was a demonstration of his faith in the prospects for ejecting the devil-worshippers from the occupied lands of the Middle East.
In January of 1366 Saint Peter Thomas went home to G-d. He knew first-hand of the savagery of the execrable, ungodly, occupying Mohammedans and he sustained wounds at their hands that probably hastened his earthly ending. Though as a priest he never raised a weapon himself he knew how to lead and how to inspire in battle and he did not lack courage. Although in our day and age we don't, unless it can't be helped, deal with the sickening Mohammedans in the way that was done in the time of this Saint, we still have need of courage - the courage to defend ourselves against the demonic Mohammedan legions in everyday things. Who knows, however, whether or not one day we might need the same courage as that possessed by the Saint - we may yet have to do bloody battle with the unholy Mohammedans and we will have his example to fortify ourselves with.
My final saint for this sennight resisted an altogether different tyranny - albeit, one that is much admired and emulated by the repulsive and immoral Mohammedans. For the twenty-sixth of January I have chosen to commemorate The Blessed Michaël Kozal.
He was born into a peasant family on the twenty-seventh of September in AD1893 at Ligota, Wielkopolskie in Poland. He was ordained priest in 1918, and appointed auxiliary bishop of Wloclawek, Poland and titular bishop of Lappa by Pope Pius XII on the tenth of June in 1939. He was arrested by the Gestapo on the seventh of November in 1939 as part of the Nazi persecution of the Church, and all Christians. He was imprisoned and tortured in several different places - at Wloclawek, Lad, Szczeglin, Berlin. Finally, he spent a year and nine months in Dachau extermination camp at Oberbayern in Germany. Whilst he was there he ministered to the other prisoners and suffered violent abuse from the guards.
On the twenty-sixth of January in 1943 Bishop Kozal, who had been assigned the camp number 24544, was murdered by being injected with poison by the camp doctors. His body was incinerated in the camp crematorium on the thirtieth. In the cathedral of Wloclawek there is a stone monument that was erected in 1954 to commemorate the martyrdom of Bishop Michaël Kozal and the two-hundred-and-twenty other priests of the diocese who were murdered in Dachau also.
We all know the admiration that the perverted Mohammedans have for Hitler and the Nazis (see this recent post at NER by Jerry for just the most recent example of the Mohammedan liking for the barbarity of the Nazis), and we all know just how similar the Mohammedan thinking about Jews and Christians is to Nazi thinking about the same subjects, but do we have the courage to stand up to the foul and depraved Mohammedans in the same way that Michaël Kozal, and an almost countless number of others, stood up to the degenerate Nazis. I hope so!
If your courage wavers just remember all the saints - and particularly remember The Blessed Michaël Kozal and be inspired. He kept the faith and continued to minister to people even in Dachau.
By-the-by, the twenty-sixth of January is also the day on which we commemorate St. Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus. St. Paul was the prime mover in the early church in taking the message of Jesus out from the Holy Land to the Gentiles -- without him the development of our One True Faith would probably have been a lot slower. If you are ever at Rome then go to the Papal Basilica of St. John Lateran and pay your respects to St. Paul for his head, and St. Peter's head as well (the founding Apostle of Christ), are entombed beneath the High Altar there. St. Paul's body is beneath the Papal Altar in St. Paul's Papal Basilica (often called the church of St. Paul Outside the Walls) and St. Peter's body is, naturally, beneath the Papal Altar in St. Peter's Papal Basilica in the Vatican. (The last of the four Papal Basilicas at Rome is Santa Maria Maggiore -- St. Mary the Great or St. Mary Major [because the four Papal Basilicas at Rome are the Major Basilicas and all other basilicas are Minor Basilicas] -- and there is a tradition that the Apostle Matthew is buried somewhere under this church.)
More saints next week - if the good Lord spares me.
* The Latin words, Dies Gloriae, in this title mean 'Days of Glory' and come from Saint Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae: Volume 30, The Gospel of Grace: q. 114 a. 8 co. 109-114: "[...] Prov. IV[:VIII], ["]iustorum semita quasi lux splendens procedit, et crescit usque ad perfectum diem["], [St. Jerome's Vulgate Latin Bible] qui est dies gloriae." ("...Proverbs 4:18: "But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forwards, and increaseth even to perfect day.," [Douay-Rheims Bible] which is the days of glory.")
4) A 'laura' is a cluster of built cells, or caves, occupied by hermits and usually having a church, and sometimes a refectory, as its focal points. In other words, it's a type of monastery.
5) The Monophysite heresiarchs denied, and preached against, the G-d given mystery of the Hypostatic Union of Christ's nature, i.e. that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine when he lived on earth, and thereby unwittingly undermined the essential efficacy of His sacrifice. The heresy has still not vanished even today - certain protestant churches and their members are often, unwittingly in some cases, of the heretical Monophysite persuasion, especially in the U.S.A.
6) The presence of Arabians at Pentecost and Saint Paul's three-year sojourn in Arabia suggest a very early presence of Christianity in Arabia. A fourth century church history states that the Apostle Saint Bartholomew preached in Arabia. The recent uncovering of the Church at Al-Jubail (that the current government of Mohammedan occupied Arabia won't let anyone visit or even get close to) that was built in what is now Mohammedan occupied Saudi Arabia in the fourth century, coupled with recent satellite observations of the entire peninsula that show a plethora of Christian sites, proves that the faith was once widespread in Arabia.
Christians had formed churches in Arabia prior to the time of Mohammed. Some parts of modern Mohammedan occupied Arabia (such as Najran) were predominantly Christian up to the tenth century, when most Christians, in the usual fashion of the crazed believers in Mohammed, were either violently expelled or forcibly converted to his monstrous belief system. (It seems likely from our records that some Arabian tribes, such as Banu Taghlib and Banu Tamim, followed Christianity. As a result of giving their help to Mohammed in his conquest of Arabia it seems the Banu Taghlib were allowed to keep their Christian faith and their status as Arabs if they paid the Jizya and promised not to interfere in the preaching or propagation of Islam. That situation, naturally, did not last for the untrustworthy and barbarous Mohammedans reneged on the agreement, as they always do with any agreement, as soon as they could.)
There is a possible interpretation of the old records that indicates that there was a Christian community in Najran in southern Arabia that was in conflict with the rulers of Yemen around fourth to fifth century (oddly, those rulers could have been Jewish at the time). However, much is speculation and such records as have survived are incomplete and open to a variety of interpretations, but the one thing that they do prove, quite conclusively, is that Christianity had spread widely amongst the peoples of the Arabian peninsula before the diabolical Mohammed began his fiendishly wicked campaigns.
There is also a tradition that states that the Apostle Saint Matthew was assigned to Arabia. Also, Eusebius (in his Pantodape historia, 'Universal history', often called the Chronicon, 'Chronicle') says that (circa AD190) "one Pantaneous was sent from Alexandria as a missionary to the nations of the East," including southwest Arabia, on his way to India.
7) The ancient Aberdeen Breviary (Breviarium Aberdonense) can best be described as the Sarum Office in a Scottish form. The usage of the ancient Church of Salisbury was generally adopted in Scotland and Ireland during the Middle Ages, both for the Liturgy and for the canonical hours (see the Catholic Encyclopedia at wikisource). The Chronicon Skonense that is attached to the Aberdeen Breviary is a copy of the suggested prayers for various saints (Scottish and otherwise) with reference to the history of their lives. This chronicle was most probably written by the monks at the Abbey of Scone, once the most important abbey in Scotland, which was destroyed at the reformation. However, since the Breviary of Aberdeen was mainly the work of the learned and pious Bishop William Elphinstone of Aberdeen (who reigned as bishop from 1483 to his death in 1514) and we know that not only did he bring together the materials but in some instances, notably in that of the Scottish saints, he also composed the lessons, then it is not impossible, indeed it is likely, that the Chronicle is mainly, or completely, his work also.
8) 'Computus' ('computation') is the calculation of the date of Easter for either the Gregorian or the Julian calendar. This word has been used for this calculation since the early Middle Ages when it was considered to be the most important computation that could be undertaken due to its Christian spiritual importance rather than for any other reason.
9) February has always had twenty-eight days, and that goes back to the eighth century BC when a Roman king by the name of Numa Pompilius established the basic Roman calendar.
10) Esme documents many of the crimes against children and women that are committed by Mohammedans in the UK, and some others that take place elsewhere against women and children, in herblog posts here at NER in The Iconoclast. The most recent Mohammdan outrages she has recorded here and here and here and here and here. Searching her Iconoclast posts is very instructive as to the sheer horror of the acts that Mohammedans are capable of when it comes to women, children, or the vulnerable in any society.
11) The Church of San Salvatore in Onda is dedicated to Christ the Holy Saviour. The church, which is at 57 Via Pettinari, at Rome, first came to prominence in the twelfth century. It's built on ancient Roman remains with an eighth century crypt, but it has been restored several times so there are not many traces of its Medieval buildings left. The church was given to St. Vincent when he established his missionary society, the Pallotines, in 1835.
12) Plural of 'opuscule', which word means 'a short, or a minor, literary or musical work'.
13) N. Jorga, 'Philippe de Méztères 1327-1405 et la croisade au XIV siecle', Paris, 1896, pp. 135-140.
14) J. Smet, 'The Life of Saint Peter Thomas by Philippe de Mézières', Rome, 1954.
15) L. Macheras, 'Chronique de Chypre', in the translation by E. Miller-C. Sathas, Paris, 1882, pp. 56-9; and also in: J. Smet, 'The Life of Saint Peter Thomas by Philippe de Mézières', Rome, 1954, pp. 90-92.
David Rohde Supports The French Intervention, But Remains Confused
Here is a piece by David Rohde, a journalist who was held prisoner by Taliban members in Afghanistan, and experienced their welcome at first hand. He presents himself as tough-minded, writing that
"My perspective is not neutral. Four years ago two Afghan colleagues and I were kidnapped by the Taliban and held captive for seven months in Pakistan. I saw their brutality, ignorance and determination first-hand."
A Malian Quagmire? In Defense of French Intervention
In any crisis, western military intervention should be treated as a last resort. But in the Sahel, the price of passivity would have been unacceptably high.
French soldiers stand guard at a Malian air force base near Bamako on January 18, 2013. (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)
The question from a colleague -- one whose work I admire -- could have come from anyone in the United States.
"So the French," he asked, "now have their own Afghanistan?"
The answer is yes and no. Western military interventions should be carried out only as a last resort. But Mali today is a legitimate place to act.
Several thousand jihadists threaten to destabilize Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and Algeria. Beyond the human rights abuses, their attacks will discourage foreign investment, paralyze local economies and produce vast numbers of refugees. Skeptics play down the threat, but the instability these extremists create will spread over time.
The tragic kidnapping in Algeria, where many hostages appear to have died in a botched rescue attempt today, is already prompting oil companies to pull foreign workers out of the region. Islamists can't be ignored and won't disappear. They should be confronted or contained. The question is how.
To ensure that Mali is not another Afghanistan, it is vital that France and the international community have reliable allies on the ground. They should mount diplomatic and economic efforts â€‘ not just lethal force â€‘ against the jihadists as well.
Many commentators immediately dismissed France's intervention. Some denounced it as "militarism." Others declared it "neo-colonialism." The most common phrase was "quagmire."
In Washington, even some Obama administration officials played down the threat that Mali represented, arguing that Western troops may have made things worse. Isolationism is politically easy but the wrong course. No American ground troops should be deployed, but the Obama administration should assist the French with logistics and intelligence support.
Lost in the so-far skeptical response to the intervention is a clear truth on the ground. For now, public opinion in Mali and across West Africa is hugely supportive of the French intervention. Press reports indicate that before the French arrived, the 1.8 million people of Bamako, Mali's capital, were increasingly terrified that Islamists would take the city.
"People have started to smoke cigarettes and wear long pants!" one taxi driver declared after France intervened. "They're playing soccer in the streets!"
From a military standpoint, the French had to act. More than 8,000 French citizens live in Mali, many of them in Bamako. And last week militant groups were on the verge of seizing a militarily vital airfield in the town of Sevare. Had the field been overrun, it would have been enormously difficult for troops from France or a UN-mandated West African force to have moved into Mali.
Gregory Mann, a Columbia University history professor and an expert on Mali, has written the best analysis I have found of the intervention. The crisis "needs diplomatic intervention every bit as urgently as it needed military intervention," he argues.
"Mali's troubles come largely from beyond the country's borders, as do most of the jihadi fighters," Mann told me in an email message. "It will take a coalition of countries to confront them, and building and maintaining such a coalition should be the diplomats' first priority." [Mali's troubles come from those who do not practice the easygoing, syncretistic version of watered-down Islam, but rather, take to heart the islam of Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, undiluted by time and local custom and ability to ignore some or much of what Islam taken straight up includes]
Fears of a quagmire are understandable. The problems that have plagued Mali in recent years after decades of stability sound familiar: government corruption, ethnic and separatist tensions, drug trafficking, meddling neighbors and increasingly weak national institutions, particularly the army.
A previous American effort to train the Malian army to fight Islamists failed spectacularly. And the French intervention is likely to spark retaliatory attacks like the seizure of dozens of foreign hostages in Algeria on Wednesday. Post-Iraq and Afghanistan, skepticism about any Western military intervention is healthy. And France's record of intervention â€‘ from Algeria to Vietnam â€‘ is poor. But Malians are calling for help, and a UN effort to counter the militants has stalled.
The Islamist fighters have taken control of northern Mali with surprising speed, are well organized, heavily armed and in control of a desert area the size of France. Their fighters include members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, a North Africa-based group allied with al Qaeda. In the future, they could easily use Mali as a base to carry out attacks in France and Europe.
Until now, the group has not said it intends to carry out attacks in the United States, but members of the groups are believed to have been involved in the murder of the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other Americans. They have also amassed an estimated $100 million by kidnapping Westerners and demanding enormous ransoms.
Robert Fowler, a Canadian diplomat who was kidnapped by the group in 2009, said his captors told him their hope was to create an Islamic emirate that spanned Africa. Their goal was to spread chaos from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
"They would tell me repeatedly that their objective was to extend the chaos of Somalia across the Sahel to the Atlantic coast," Fowler said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "They believed that in that chaos their jihad would thrive."
My perspective is not neutral. Four years ago two Afghan colleagues and I were kidnapped by the Taliban and held captive for seven months in Pakistan. I saw their brutality, ignorance and determination first-hand.
I believe economic growth is the best way to counter militancy, not massive Western military interventions. To me, a threat exists from militancy, it is not manufactured. Yet we declare that there is no threat or grow impatient when it is not quickly solved.
France faces months of casualties and conflict, but that should be expected. Quick solutions are illusory. So are claims that we can ignore violent militants. Countering militancy involves a combination of limited military force, expansive diplomacy and patience. We rarely show those qualities. I hope the French do.
David Rohde, Who Believes "Economic Growth" Is "The Best Way To Counter Militancy"
In his article in suport of French intervention in Mali, David Rohde appears to think this position is remarkable, or needs defending. And he offers some examples of people whom he knows -- fellow journalists? -- who apparently have their doubts because, it appears, they think of any French intervention as smacking of "colonialism" (without asking themselves if North Africa is better off, or would be irredeemably primitive, had the French not been there as "colonialists").
He thinks of himself, not quite accurately, as tough-minded, made so by his own experience:
"My perspective is not neutral. Four years ago two Afghan colleagues and I were kidnapped by the Taliban and held captive for seven months in Pakistan. I saw their brutality, ignorance and determination first-hand.
I believe economic growth is the best way to counter militancy, not massive Western military interventions. To me, a threat exists from militancy, it is not manufactured. Yet we declare that there is no threat or grow impatient when it is not quickly solved."
Really? Is that it? Is it "economic growth" that is the best way "to counter [Muslim] militancy"? Economic growth can counter some things, in some countries. It might, for example, lessen the appeal of Golden Dawn in Greece. It might lessen the appeal of chavismo in Venezuela, where a los-de-abajo caudillo plays on the resentments of the poor. But Islam, the ideology of Islam, is not dependent on poverty to attract adherents. There are plenty of very rich Muslim militants, beginning with Bin Laden (whose family was one of the richest in Saudi Arabia), and Al-Zawahiri, from a very prominent and well-off Egyptain family (his great-uncle, Azzam Pasha, was the first Secretary-General of the Arab League). There are plenty of well-off Muslims who have even left their lives in the comfortable West to join the Jihad in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere.
David Rohde should ask himself if he has indeed been dining out -- a power lunch for one -- on his being held captive, and has felt that that relieves him of the responsibly of study. To wit: study of the texts of Islam, Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira. Study of the works of the great Western scholars of Islam -- Joseph Schacht, C. Snouck Hurgronje, Henri Lammens, Antoine Fattal ("Western" in the sense of Christian), Samuel Zwemer, St. Clair Tisdall, and dozens of others who wrote before the Great Age of Inhibitiion set in, round about 1970. Study, too, of the history of Islamic conquest, of many different lands and peoples, and what happened in those lands, to those peoples, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Buddhist. Only then can he decide if indeed the menace of Islam will be lessened, or heightened, by economic development of Muslim lands.
He should look around. Saudi Arabia, a center of Islamic malevolence toward non-Muslims, whose wahhabi missionaries have been spreading their unusually virulent poison everywhere they go, is not less hostile to non-Muslims because of the fantastic sums Saudi Arabia has taken in. The Islamic Republic of Iran has not been made less hostile because of its oil wealth. Pakistan, the recipient of tens of billions of dollars in American aid, has not seen its attitude moderated toward the helpless non-Muslim minorities in its midst (see what has happened to Christians and to Hindus in Pakistan, or to Buddhists and Hindus in Bangladesh), nor has the treacherous and deeply hostile attitude toward America been modified in the slightest by the vast sums that have been heaped on Pakistan over many decades.
Where, in what Muslim land, has "economic development" lessened hostility to Infidels? There is no such place. So why does David Rohde echo, so blandly and thoughtlessly, the prescritpion of "economic develoopment"? He hasn't studied Islam or the history of Islamic conquest, or the history of how non-Muslims fare in every single Muslim country today, and he doesn't want to. He's lazy, or perhaps afraid of what he might find out. Besides, it would require thought.
He's not the worst. He's one of the least offending. And that's the problem. He's a representative case. Others, including those islip-sliding on their banana peels in the corridors of power all over the Western world, and those who utter similar hollow editorial pieties about "ending poverty" in Muslim lands as a way to end the threat of those "Muslim extremists," pieties that make no demands on them or on their audience, in the Western media, are much worse.
Look, until you are willing to study the texts of Islam and the history of Islamic conquest, and to read the intelligent studies of a great many Western scholars, and to read the testimonies of the many articulate ex-Muslims (Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ibn Warraq, Ali Sina, Afshin Elian all come immedieately to mind) then you have no right to an opinion. You are not entitled to an opinion.
Let's remind ourselves. Since 1973 alone, the Muslim members of OPEC have received, as beneficiares of the greatest transfer of wealth in human history, nearly twenty trillion dollars. You can see what they've done with it: Xanadus for the rich, private specially-outfitted 747s, planeloads of food arriving from Hediard and Fauchon every day, and Western girls to satisfy every taste, spectacular souks and las-vegas-like attractions because "money can buy everything, except civilization" as a Franco-Armenian friend of mine who spent years in Saudi building military cities once summed up his experience. This has not diminished, in Saudi Arabia or anywhere else, Muslim militancy.
And if we were, in the Western world, to continue to transfer even more money, in aid, to Muslim countries, thinking that "economic developoment" is the key, we would merely be strengthening the Camp of Islam. What would those countries be like without money? Would they be able to spread their propaganda through such well-heeled outlets as the Qatari-financed Al Jazeerea, buy or produce Infidel-threatening weaponry, or would the threat, the menace of Islam world-wide be, instead, much diminished, ideally back to what it was, say, in 1950 or, even better, in 1920?
Perhaps David Rohde will bethink himself. It's been known to happen. Let's see.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar avait confié la prise d'otages d'In Amenas à ses plus précieux lieutenants.
Mokhtar Belmokhtar, qui a revendiqué dimanche, dans une vidéo, l'attaque du site gazier d'In Amenas, pensait sans doute réussir son opération. Sinon, il n'aurait pas envoyé ses meilleurs éléments se faire tuer dans cette gigantesque prise d'otages, à laquelle l'armée algérienne a mis fin lors de trois assauts - le premier jeudi, contre la base de vie, les deux autres, vendredi soir, puis samedi matin, contre le site gazier.
Abderrahman el-Nigiri.Crédits photo : ANI/AFP
Selon un bilan provisoire, 23 otages ont perdu la vie lors de cette attaque, mais leur nombre risque d'être plus élevé, a prévenu le gouvernement algérien, dont le chef doit s'exprimer ce lundi. Parmi les 32 terroristes tués - 5 autres auraient été arrêtés vivants et 3 seraient encore en fuite - figurent les plus précieux lieutenants de Mokhtar Belmokhtar. À commencer par le chef de l'expédition, Abderrahman el-Nigiri, qui a pris d'assaut l'usine.
«Ce Maure du Niger faisait partie du commando qui mena l'attaque contre la caserne militaire de Lemgheity, au nord de la Mauritanie», relève Atmane Tazaghart, auteur d'AQMI. Enquête sur les héritiers de Ben Laden au Maghreb et en Europe. C'était en 2005 et, ensuite, Abderrahman el-Nigiri ne quittera plus Mokhtar Belmokhtar, lequel revendique l'offensive d'alors au nom du GSPC - qui n'est pas encore Aqmi. Selon la sulfureuse agence mauritanienne Nouakchott Information, par laquelle les terroristes ont trouvé un canal de communication, Abderrahman el-Nigiri serait «connu pour être l'homme des missions difficiles». Il aurait participé «à des missions importantes en Mauritanie, au Mali et au Niger».
De cette époque, l'émir du Sahel Mokhtar Belmokhtar, connu sous son nom de guerre de Belaouar, compte de nombreux fidèles, comme le Mauritanien Abdallahi Ould Hmeida. Lui aussi a participé à l'attaque contre Lemgheity, mais il aurait surtout joué un rôle important dans l'assassinat de deux touristes français dans le sud de la Mauritanie en 2010. Dans les rangs d'al-Qaida depuis l'âge de 14 ans, celui que l'on surnomme le «Zarkaoui mauritanien» a rejoint son frère Ibrahim Ould Hmeida, emprisonné après l'attentat suicide perpétré contre l'ambassade de France à Nouakchott, le 8 août 2009. Libéré, il a aussitôt rejoint la katiba de Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
«Deux Algériens dans le groupe»
Dans le groupe ayant conduit l'attaque contre le site gazier d'In Amenas apparaissent aussi les noms de deux Algériens: Abou al-Baraa al-Djazaïri (l'Algérie) qui menait les preneurs d'otages de la base de vie. De lui, on sait pour l'instant peu de chose, car de nombreux salafistes algériens se sont attribué le même nom. L'autre s'appelle Lamine Bencheneb. «C'est vraiment la grande surprise de ce casting, ironise un cadre de la lutte antiterroriste, car nous l'avions identifié comme un terroriste, mais pas comme un islamiste.» Sur son CV figure l'attaque de l'aéroport de Djanet (au sud d'In Amenas) en 2009, revendiqué par le Mouvement des enfants du Sud, un groupe de jeunes qui réclament plus de droits et de justice sociale pour les Algériens du Sud. «Depuis, le groupe a été démantelé par les Algériens, poursuit le spécialiste, mais des éléments de la nébuleuse se seraient rassemblés dans un nouveau Mouvement des fils du Sahara pour la justice islamique.» Lamine Bencheneb serait aussi lié indirectement au rapt du wali (préfet) d'Illizi, Mohammed Laïd Khelfi, enlevé en janvier 2012, et remis à Alger par les autorités libyennes quelques jours plus tard. Si les nationalités des assaillants ne sont pas encore claires - il y aurait notamment un Canadien -, l'origine de leurs armes ne fait aucun doute. «On a trouvé parmi leurs kalachnikovs un modèle typiquement libyen, l'AK104, confie une source proche des militaires. Mais aussi des roquettes F5, petites roquettes apparues pendant la guerre en Libye. Les rebelles avaient modifié des lance-roquettes d'avion pour en fabriquer des modèles artisanaux.»
Leurs tenues aussi venaient de Libye. «Il s'agit de celles données par le Qatar aux rebelles du CNT (le Conseil national transitoire, NDLR), reconnaissables à leur couleur. Les gilets pare-balles sont jaunes avec des taches marron aux dessins très spécifiques», poursuit notre source. Des copies de ceux que portaient les Américains pendant la guerre du Golfe. Et aussi des vestes et des pantalons d'un vert très reconnaissable. Enfin, «ils avaient du mortier à calibre 60, particulier à la France, dont se servaient aussi les rebelles en Libye.»
US court upholds Arab Bank sanction in Hamas finance case
By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday let stand a sanction against Arab Bank Plc for failing to turn over documents in a lawsuit accusing it of providing banking services to Hamas and other U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
The ruling applies to a group of cases pending in a U.S. federal court in Brooklyn, New York. The lawsuits were filed on behalf of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals who were the victims, or family members of victims, of militant attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories between 1994 and 2005.
Currently, more than 100 families and 700 individuals are seeking more than $1 billion in damages from Jordan-based Arab Bank in the lawsuits, according to the plaintiffs' lawyers.
Friday's decision, handed down by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, stems from the original case, filed in 2004, which has been consolidated with related lawsuits for pre-trial matters. It is expected to go to trial later this year.
The 2nd Circuit said it has no standing to hear Arab Bank's appeal until the case was resolved by the lower court. The sanction, ordered by U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon in 2010, means the jury in the case can consider the missing documents in their verdict.
Arab Bank said in a statement that it is considering its appeals options and "continues to believe that the district court's sanctions order raises serious issues of international concern."
A lawyer for the plaintiffs, Gary Osen, said he was pleased with the appeals court's decision in the long-running case.
Gershon ordered the sanction after the plaintiffs asked the bank to turn over account information relating to groups known to be, or suspected of being, linked to the designated terrorist groups. Arab Bank withheld some of the requested documents, saying that foreign bank secrecy laws prohibited their disclosure.
Gershon's sanction would allow jurors to infer, if they wished, that the bank's failure to produce those documents meant that it had knowingly provided financial services to designated terrorist organizations.
Arab Bank appealed, saying Gershon's punishment was overly harsh and that the bank was being forced to choose between running afoul of the U.S. court or violating bank secrecy laws in Lebanon, Jordan and other countries where it operated.
The 2nd Circuit panel said its decision would not preclude a future appeal of the sanctions order.
The case is Linde v. Arab Bank , 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Nos. 10-4519 and 10-4524.
Gerald Warner in the Sunday Scotsman: â€œMali myopia blinds us to falling dominoes of jihadâ€�
French Troops Arrive in Mali
A tip of the hat to Christopher Holton, Vice President for Outreach of the Washington, DC-based Center for Security Policy for sending us this Scotsman.com column by James Gerald Warner of Craigenmaddie aka Gerald Warner. Warner is a Scottish newspaper columnist, author, commentator and policy adviser to the Secretary of State for Scotland in the Cabinet of former British Conservative Prime Minister John Majors in the 1990’s. Warner gives no quarter when it comes to a wide gamut of topics that he covers in his Scotland on Sundays columns.
Don't agree with 100% of this, but I do agree with almost all of it and the parts I agree with I agree with wholeheartedly.
The West has essentially stood by and watched as Jihad has spread across Africa. All the while, dishonest politicians have been selling voters the bill of goods that "Al Qaeda" was defeated. Not to publicly belittle the Jihadist terrorists, but because it enhanced their own political fortunes.
Warner takes apart France,under Premier M. Hollande, and by implication the Obama Administration when it comes to cozying jihadists running amok in the Middle East and North Africa. He commented:
The Algerian hostage crisis which has affected lives and families as far away as Scotland is part of a politico-religious mosaic extending across four continents; unfortunately, for many analysts it more closely resembles a jigsaw with half of the pieces missing.
The first, knowing response among commentators to the Algerian terrorist attack and subsequent hostage crisis was to dismiss the suggestion that it was launched in retaliation for the French intervention in Mali: there had not been sufficient time, they insisted, for so sophisticated an operation to be mounted. The hostage-takers, it was claimed, were bandits seeking large ransoms, not jihadists.
The cultural myopia of such a claim ignores the reality that there is no perceived conflict in being both a jihadist and an extortionist from infidels: the jihadist war-chests have long been filled with ransom money received for hostages. The leader of the attack on the Ansema gas field, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is a marginalized associate of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a sincere and deadly Salafist but also an experienced negotiator of large ransoms.
It is testimony to the inefficacy of Western intelligence that Belmokhtar was reported in the media as having been killed in Mali last year. Belmokhtar is seeking to seize the initiative and embarrass the AQIM leadership that passed him over for the post of “Emir of the Sahel” – the key area between the Sahara desert and the Sudanese Savanna. The French invasion of Mali provided the ideal pretext. Algeria is an important piece in the jihadist mosaic, but it is Mali that holds the key to the current crisis.
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The jihadists are in a win/win situation. Under heavy military attack, as last week, they simply abandon towns and their modern 4x4 pick-up trucks and fall back to the desert. As a guerrilla hideout the Sahara makes Vietnam look like a national park. When the French withdraw, as must eventually happen, the boys will come roaring back, bringing with them the joys of Sharia law, amputating and decapitating with merry abandon.
Since the jihadists occupied the northern half of Mali, that country has gone in one year from being unlisted to seventh highest in the global rating for persecution of Christians, though in the view of the Obama administration that may count as a plus rather than a minus. The population of Mali is 5 per cent Christian, a vulnerable target for genocide.
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In 2011, in Ivory Coast, which borders on Mali, France intervened militarily to depose the legitimate president Laurent Gbagbo and impose a foreigner from Burkina Faso, Alassane Ouattara, and a Muslim whose militia butchered Christians on its march to the capital. The principal motive was to preserve the CFA franc, a synthetic currency circulating in 12 former French colonies which are each required to deposit 85 per cent of their foreign currency reserves in the French treasury. The notion of France as anti-Islamist crusader in Mali, or anywhere else, lacks plausibility.
The reason the jihadists are so well armed is that they are sporting the late Muammar Gaddafi’s weaponry. . .The only force, short of a nuclear strike, that can halt jihadists in Africa and the Middle East is secular dictatorships. Those existed in Iraq, Egypt and Libya and the Western powers considerately facilitated their removal; today, in Syria, the West is sawing through the bough on which it is sitting. Even now, carping critics are questioning the “democratic” credentials of the government of Mali. When the dominoes eventually fall, from Algeria to Syria, and the idea (more dangerous than an organization) that is al-Qaeda sweeps down through Africa, perhaps those idiots will prefer the Caliphate.