These are all the Blogs posted on Tuesday, 26, 2013.
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Boko Haram Shows Video Of Kidnapped French Family
From the Times of Nigeria and the Telegraph
A video posted online Monday apparently shows seven French hostages kidnapped from northern Cameroon, with a masked militant claiming the radical Islamic group Boko Haram from neighboring Nigeria holds them.
The video, posted to YouTube and mentioned on a jihadist website, shows one of two French men reading a statement, with a woman in between them. Four children sit on the ground near them, flanked by two masked militants wearing camouflage uniforms and holding rifles.
A masked militant in front says in the video that Boko Haram kidnapped the French hostages, a family of three adults and four children who were taken from outside a national park in Cameroon's Far North Region on Feb. 19. A black banner in the background, bearing the images of the Quran flanked by two Kalashnikov assault rifles, also resembles a symbol previously used by Boko Haram.
The man says the kidnappings came due to the French military intervention in northern Mali, where its troops have fought with Malian soldiers against Islamic extremists who took over the north in the months following a coup last year. The man also threatens the Nigerian and Cameroonian government, calling on them to release their imprisoned members.
The hostages were later identified as Tanguy Moulin-Fournier and his wife Albane, as well as their four sons, Eloi, Andeol, Mael and Clarence. The boys have interesting names. St Andeol worked with St Polycarp to evangelise ancient Gaul. St Mael was a Breton who went to Wales and later became a hermit. Tanguy's brother Cyril Moulin-Fournier was on vacation and with them at the time. The three adults are all around 40 years old.
A total of 15 French citizens are currently being held in western Africa. In addition to the seven kidnapped in Cameroon, there is one other in Nigeria and seven thought to be in northern Mali
The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the video's authenticity Monday, though it shares similarities with some Boko Haram propaganda videos published in the past.
However, in this video, the man speaks entirely in Arabic, while other Boko Haram videos have its leader Abubakar Shekau also speaking the Hausa language of Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north. Boko Haram has not published a video featuring hostages before. The video appears to have been filmed outside, as prayer mats hung in the background sway in a breeze.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement that "for us, these images are horribly shocking. They show cruelty without limits." He said France is fully mobilized to free the hostages but "verifications needed in these circumstances" are under way.
Posted on 02/26/2013 4:05 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Catholic priest shot dead and church set on fire during Zanzibar music festival that promotes religious tolerance
Catholic priests say they are living in fear after a clergyman was murdered on the final day of a music festival promoting religious tolerance.
Father Evaristus Mushi was shot dead by two men on motorcycles on the last day of the Sounds of Wisdom festival in Zanzibar and his death has prompted concern that religious tensions on the holiday island are increasing. Since the murder on February 17 a church has also been set on fire. Five churches were torched on the island in 2012.
Protestant pastor Mathew Kachira was killed on February 10, Catholic News reported, and Father Ambrose Mkenda was shot and wounded on Christmas Day.
In November a Muslim cleric was injured in an acid attack. The island is classed as a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania and some believe that terrorists demanding independence from Tanzania are behind the murder.
Bishop Shao said clergy have been sent threatening texts following Father Mushi's murder. It has been reported that priests and bishops in Tanzania received texts praising the Somalia-trained men who murdered the priest and warned of further attacks at Easter. The bishop said warnings had also been received that the killings would continue until Muslim leaders jailed after disturbances on the island last year were freed.
The murder happened on the final day of the tenth Sounds of Wisdom festival or Sauti za Busara. Yusuf Mahmoud, the festival director, told the crowd that a major purpose of the event was 'breaking down barriers between Muslims and Christians, black and white', Fundamentalist Muslims consider music to be haram – a music festival is unlikely to appeal.
Three days later the Pool of Siloam Church was set on fire
The majority of islanders are Muslim, with Christians making up as little as five per cent of the population.
Retired Anglican bishop John Ramadhani told The Guardian that religion was being used for political goals. He said: 'There has been harmony and toleration in the past but I think there is perhaps a belief that Christians should not be here.'
Posted on 02/26/2013 4:44 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Newham councillor accuses Respect campaigner Yvonne Ridley of using â€œinflammatoryâ€� language
Yvonne Ridley is the dozy bint par excellence – the dozy bint who keeps on giving.
She excelled herself in East Ham in the London Borough of Newham earlier this month. This is the local paper, the Newham Recorder.
A lead councillor has accused Respect campaigner Yvonne Ridley of using “inflammatory and dangerous” language after she accused Newham Council of “ethnic cleansing.”
Yvonne Ridley used the comments to describe Newham Council’s policy of seeking accommodation outside the borough for people on its social housing waiting list when addressing a largely Muslim audience at a meeting at the Empire venue in East Ham on February 13.
George Galloway also spoke at the same meeting at which he suggested Yvonne Ridley would make a good MP for Newham.
Newham council made national news last year when it transpired it had written to 1,179 organisations, including a housing association as far away as Stoke-on-Trent, looking for homes for families on housing benefit. By extension these are families where no adult is in paid employment. Unlike earlier overflow into Essex they could not commute to their work from that distance.
She later admitted that “accusing Newham council of “ethnic cleansing” perhaps wasn’t the best choice of words. Essentially what I was attacking was the council’s gentrification plans for the area which could only be achieved by removing huge swathes of poor and impoverished families from Newham. I called it ethnic cleansing, perhaps because of the demographics of those being targeted, but I suppose social cleansing would be more apt.”
There is a group being ‘cleansed out of Newham and it isn’t the Muslims. Remember this which I spotted in Stratford, not far from the Town Hall a few years ago. Accomodation for Indian or Bangadeshi only? Telephone Mr Aziz, or Tariq or other common Muslim names?
This link is to a paper from the University of Oxford entitled MUSLIMS IN THE LONDON BOROUGH OF NEWHAM. It isn’t dated but from internal references it was completed in the spring of 2006. It begins:-
The borough is proud of having the largest proportion of non-White population in the country. More than 60% of its population is from a non-White ethnic group and this proportion is even higher amongst the young …
Fast forward to 2012 and the figures released from the 2011 census. As reported by the Telegraph in December 2012
Only 16 per cent of people in Newham, London are white British, the lowest percentage in England and Wales.
As reported last week in the Daily Mail
Census figures show that between 2001 and 2011… five London boroughs saw the proportion of white Britons fall by more than a quarter. The largest decline was in Newham, East London, where the decrease was 37.5 per cent.
Anecdotally I know a lot of Newham’s black Christians have moved out to Dagenham and small towns along the north bank of the Thames. Purfleet and Grays spring to mind. Secular Muslims who did not relish the prospect of living in the shadow of the megamosque also contemplated the possibility of moving.
I think the possibility of the borough becoming monoculturally Islamic, like Tabighli Jamaat’s current HQ in Savile Town, is one of the (several) reasons the Council refused the planning permission for the megamosque. Incidentally the group Ridley and George Gallactica were addressing, the Newham People's Alliance are the pro-megamosque pressure group whose demonstration three weeks ago against that decision caused the Town Hall to close for safety.
I fear that Sister Mariam Ridley is not being completely straight again.
Posted on 02/26/2013 6:26 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Churchill On Islam, Yet Again
This paragraph, from The River War, needs to be put up at regular intervals, as punctually as punctuation:
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome."
Posted on 02/26/2013 6:54 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Prof. Avi Kober: Iron Dome And The Dangers Of Euphoria
From The BESA Center:
Iron Dome: Has the Euphoria Been Justified?
by Prof. Avi Kober
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 199, February 25, 2013
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Early praise for the Iron Dome system may be deserved. Yet Israel’s deterrence capability has not been enhanced, and the Iron Dome may initiate an arms race among Israel’s enemies to try and defeat it. Moreover, its success lowers the chance for Israeli punitive actions that are needed for deterrence.
In early February 2013 the IDF deployed the Iron Dome anti-rocket system in northern Israel, to fend off potential threats in the area. This system is truly an impressive technological achievement. It was evaluated as an asset, thanks to the system’s ability not only to save lives but to also afford greater freedom of choice for the political and military echelons regarding when and how to respond to attacks on the home front.
Praise for Iron Dome
Even initial critics have admitted that the system’s ability to intercept some 90 percent of the missiles fired at Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza in November 2012 – which would have otherwise hit populated areas – is beyond the developers’ expectations and a significant contribution to Israeli defensive capabilities. The system saved lives of civilians and troops, which makes it attractive to Israel’s casualty-averse society, particularly in conflicts that do not endanger Israel’s most vital security interests, let alone its survival. Its high cost is still lower than the damage inflicted by Palestinian or Hizballah rockets on property, let alone the cost in human loss. Each intercepting Iron Dome missile costs approximately $50,000, whereas the damage inflicted by one rocket on Israeli targets is much higher, estimated at around $750,000 for one “average” middle age Israeli killed or $190,000 for damage caused to property. The United States’ readiness to assist Israel in funding the system means that its burden on Israel’s security budget is, and will be, tolerable.
Criticism of Iron Dome
A handful of strategic experts have spoiled the euphoria, raising some doubts regarding the system’s efficiency. For example, some claim that the system can hardly cope with thousands of enemy rockets, particularly with the challenge of multiple rocket launchers, and that it has from the start been technologically unable to defend the communities located close to the Gazan border; such a defense would require other systems, like laser interceptors. They also argue that the effect of Iron Dome is limited because some rockets manage to penetrate the system.
But there are additional negative aspects of the system that should be considered. A major problem is created by the fact that it does not produce deterrence. Iron Dome is unable to destroy the appetite of the Palestinians and Hizballah to attack Israel, as it contributes neither to deterrence-by-denial nor to deterrence-by-punishment. In the former type of deterrence the attacker is expected to pay a high price by being denied by the adversary’s defensive deployment, while in the latter type of deterrence the attacker is expected to pay a high price as a result of the painful offensive retaliation of the adversary. Currently, Iron Dome can do no more than frustrate the challenger, not deter him. Furthermore, the tacit, often unintended message conveyed by deploying defensive systems – that the challenged side is ready to tolerate attacks on its home front – has put Israel in a position of weakness against an enemy that is ready to kill and be killed, and has negatively affected its deterrent posture.
It is also argued that Israeli towns will not be held hostage by Palestinian groups. This is only partially true. The sirens and the 10 percent of the rockets that will penetrate Iron Dome-covered areas – and even rockets that were intentionally not intercepted because the system’s radar had calculated that they were going to fall in empty areas – have a demoralizing effect. The trickle of rockets still forces Israeli citizens to seek shelter during rocket attacks and disrupt routine life. Even a more complete system will not allow the maintenance of a peacetime routine, because the debris of the intercepted rockets, as well as that of the interceptors themselves, will be a danger to people in open areas. Furthermore, due to Israel’s ability to sustain rocket attacks thanks to a low casualty rate, border communities are doomed to suffer from prolonged conflict and be held hostage by Hamas and Hizballah.
The argument that the system provides freedom to the political leadership and the IDF time to prepare for offensive actions is problematic, too. It can easily be presented the other way around: a lack of casualties among Israeli civilians might make any large-scale military punishment operation almost illegitimate, both externally and domestically.
Finally, the problem of Iron Dome to handle large quantities of rockets launched against Israel serves as a catalyst for an arms race, as it encourages challengers to acquire large quantities of missiles and rockets to penetrate the defensive cover. It was for this reason that during the Cold War the superpowers agreed to avoid deployment of such systems, save for in very limited areas. Israel’s tiny size does justify such deployment, but this cannot change the fact that Israel’s enemies have long ago identified Israel’s active defensive weaknesses and have been arming massively for this purpose, a process that challenges Iron Dome and other active defense systems.
The most positive aspect of Iron Dome is the system’s life-saving capability, and the feeling among Israeli citizens that they are now better protected, which should not be underestimated. Some doubts exist regarding the system’s benefits, though. The system does not provide protection for those living close to the border, and hardly frees the home front from disruption of daily life and demoralization. In addition, it is counterproductive as far as deterrence is concerned, and might create the impression that Israel is prepared to tolerate enemy rocket attacks. Furthermore, Iron Dome might tie Israeli hands rather than afford freedom of choice and action as far as retaliation is concerned, and could weaken Israel’s traditional offensive approach. Finally, the system might stimulate a quantitative arms race as a result of an Arab attempt to take advantage of Iron Dome’s difficulties in coping with a large quantity of rockets.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rightly said that “we will not protect ourselves to death.” Iron Dome is good news only on one condition: that the political and military echelons in Israel acknowledge its limitations.
Posted on 02/26/2013 6:50 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
The French Government Is Missing An Opportunity To Turn Black African Muslims Against Arab Muslims
If black African Musilms, especially those from West Africa, identify with Islamic terrorists, that merely testifies to the idiocy of the French government in not properly exploiting the news from Mali. The black Africans in Mail were delighted with -- the flags were waving, the people were crying and screaming in relief -- the intervention of French forces. They hated, in Gao and Timbuktu and everywhere else, the rule of the true-blue Muslims, the ones called Jihadis. Why was this not deliberately disseminated, not merely on the television news, but through articles, and bringing Malians to France to report on the hideousness of the Muslims who wanted to impose Islam undiluted? Why has the French government not subsidised all manner of publications and videos (for Youtube exposure) on how "the Arabs' have enslaved blacks, on the full extent of the "hideous trade" that started earlier, ended later, and was much more deadly -- with a 90% mortality rate for the young black African males seized by the Arabs and castrated in the bush -- than the Atlantic slave trade of the Europeans. Why has there not been sufficient attention paid to the prohibition on music in Islam, the result of Muhammad's pronouncements recorded in various Hadith, and the destruction of muscial instruments, the killing of musicians, in northern Mali as in Afghanistan, with the wedding-singers, or in Algeria (with the singers of Rai who have been murdered).
As in Libya, where the French and other NATO forces missed the opportunity -- there were 5,000 air sorties by NATO planes -- to destroy the armories of Qaddafy, and especially all of his most potent weapons, including his airforce and supplies of missiles -- now in Mali the French have missed the opportunity to divide the Camp of Islam within France, to encourage resentment by black African Muslims against the Arabs.
The French security services surely know how valuable has been the resentment of Berbers against Arabs, and how useful that has been to them. Why has the French government done nothing to disseminate information about the mistreatment of black African Muslims by Arabs, and about all the ways that islam, taken straight up, is incompatible with the way of life of black Africans, syncretistics and easygoing in their Islam for now, but with Saudi money paying for mosques and imams all over the place, not necessarily for long.
From The New York Times:
Feb. 23, 2013
French Intervention in Mali Raises Threat of Domestic Terrorism, Judge Says
PARIS — The French military intervention in Mali has increased the threat of domestic terrorism, with some French citizens of black African ancestry becoming more willing to fight under the banner of jihad, according to France’s most prominent investigative judge dealing with terrorism.
The concerns of the French authorities were once largely limited to residents of North African Arab ancestry, like Algerians and Tunisians, but attention has broadened to include those French with roots in Mali, Senegal, Nigeria and Niger, the judge, Marc Trévidic, said in an interview.
At the same time, since a Frenchman of Algerian ancestry, Mohamed Merah, 23, killed seven people last March in Toulouse, the French police and intelligence agencies have been opening more investigations but have not been given more investigators, and have also become less willing to monitor terrorism suspects for longer periods of time before intervening and detaining them, Mr. Trévidic said.
“After Merah,” who said he had been recruited into Al Qaeda, “the French are afraid of terrorism,” Mr. Trévidic said. “They are afraid that you can have one or two or three Mohamed Merahs. And they could be right; no one really knows.”
Mr. Trévidic, 47, has been dealing with terrorism cases since 2000, before Al Qaeda’s attacks in the United States, and he is perhaps the best-known of the eight investigating magistrates assigned to a special antiterrorism court in Paris. When he started, he said, terrorism was simpler — “there were no women, no children and few groups.”
Now, “the field of suspects is much larger, so the situation gives me a little fear,” he said. “We’re fighting groups that are less powerful and organized than before, but which are much more difficult to detect.”
The Mali intervention has raised the stakes, he said, at home and abroad, where French tourists and workers are more vulnerable to kidnapping. When France said several months ago that it would intervene in Mali, with the help of African forces, “at that moment young Muslims in France heard that Shariah is in force in northern Mali and they wanted to go there to defend this ‘real Islam’ against an announced intervention,” he said.
The authorities began to notice an increase in the number of French passport holders departing for Mali. Mr. Trévidic is now dealing with the case of four Frenchmen, at least two of whom are in Mali, he said, who are believed to be fighting alongside the militants. As the intervention continues, he said, “now the main problem is to try to stop the departures, because if we can’t, the threat will be higher and higher.”
“Because they will be trained and come back and organize themselves,” he added.
For the moment, he said, the threat is not large, because these groups are small and disorganized. “But we have a lot of citizens in France who are also Malians, Senegalese, Nigerians and Nigeriens, and they have passports and can also go there, and the frontiers are very long and fluid, so it will be very difficult.”
Just this month, the police arrested a man from Senegal, “and we know him because his brother went to Mali, and we think he went to Mali, too,” the judge said. “Of course he was arrested, and we don’t know exactly yet what he intended to do.”
About 50 or so French Muslims have traveled to Syria to fight, he said, “to join who knows what group.”
Mr. Trévidic has been criticized for his outspokenness, but he is more considered than a predecessor, Jean-Louis Bruguière. An investigating magistrate in France holds great power, working with and directing the police, gathering evidence both for and against the accused. The work is especially delicate when the issue is terrorism.
Mr. Trévidic fears that France is falling behind the threat, with a system devised to look at larger, better organized groups. The case of Mr. Merah, who had been under surveillance for some time, shocked the authorities. Few cases were opened before his attacks, and the resources of the police and the judiciary were cut to save money. After the shootings, many cases were opened but without sufficient personnel to handle them, Mr. Trévidic said.
Another consequence, he said, is that the French counterintelligence agency, the D.C.R.I., is more reluctant to conduct lengthy surveillance on suspects who have been abroad, fearing that, like Mr. Merah, they will commit a crime in the meantime. “After Merah, our policemen are afraid,” Mr. Trévidic said. “They don’t want to monitor people for a long time after they come back, because if they monitor someone and this guy commits a bomb attack it will be terrible a second time for D.C.R.I.”
But quick detentions are bad for the investigation, because there is less chance to discover a suspect’s contacts or plans. “If they arrest the guys immediately, the evidence is thin for us, and after all, we are a judicial system,” he said. Since Mr. Merah, he said, many suspects have been arrested, but at least 20 potential cases have been thrown out for lack of evidence.
The suspects are also younger, he said, and angrier. “The young Muslims I see in my office have developed a kind of paranoia,” he said. “They are sure that we want to fight Islam, that we’re against Islam. They were born in France and were not practicing Muslims, but now they pray and they are sure we are against Muslims.”
Part of the problem, he said, is the lack of religious education in public schools, which are secular and rarely provide comparative religion courses. “So no one tells them about their own story, their own origins,” he said. “They have only what they can pick up themselves on the Internet or from some friends, and where there is no foundation, you can go to extremism very quickly.”
Young second- and third-generation Muslims in France are often badly integrated, live in largely segregated, poor suburbs and feel at home nowhere. “So some find their pride in religion now, in extremism,” Mr. Trévidic said. And they are left out of the national conversation, he added.[What does he mean by this treacly "national conversation"? That France should not be France, the French dilute their Frenchness, in order to make immigrants who were not invited but rather allowed reluctantly or negligently in, feel better about themselves? Is that what the Wesetern world should take as its impossible task -- the encouragement of self-esteem among foreigners living among them, by diluting or denying what makes France France? Why? For what reason?] Even on issues like banning the niqab, or full facial veil, “there is no discourse for the Muslims, for those who want to wear the niqab, to explain that their religion does not require it,” he said. “For all these problems it’s always the same. We talk only to the people who agree with us.”
For now, “the danger is not so big, perhaps, but the threat is big,” he said. “This is the way terrorists win — they can win with very little.”
Posted on 02/26/2013 9:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Marissa Mayer, Misperceived To Be A "Champion Of Women""
How important is it for employees to work together physically in the same space? For Marissa Mayer, the chief executive officer of Yahoo!
Posted on 02/26/2013 10:13 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Syrian Sunnis Blow Up Hezbollah Convoy
From The Times Of Israel:
February 26, 2013
Trucks headed from Damascus to Beirut blown up by landmines, opposition forces say
Syrian rebels said they attacked and destroyed a convoy carrying Hezbollah operatives and officers of the regime’s army near the Lebanese border on Tuesday.
Trucks carrying the fighters, including a high-ranking Syrian officer, were blown up by landmines planted on the Beirut-Damascus highway after the rebels were informed of the convoy’s route, a statement by the Free Syrian Army said. According to the statement, all of the passengers were killed in the explosion.
The convoy was reportedly en route to Lebanon, where its members were slated to meet an unnamed security official.
Last week, Syrian rebels fought Hezbollah operatives, targeting the Shiite organization’s interests in Lebanon for the first time since the fighting broke out almost two years ago.
The Syrian rebel organization said in a statement on Thursday that FSA forces had launched two attacks against Hezbollah in northern Lebanon’s Hermel province.
“An FSA brigade launched two consecutive attacks at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, the first of which targeted a group of Hezbollah fighters in the western Qusayr district in Syria, killing or wounding all of its members,” the statement read. The attack was carried out with machine guns and antitank rockets against two four-wheel-drive vehicles used by Hezbollah.
In the second attack, several FSA brigades attacked with mortar shells a Hezbollah artillery position in the Hosh al-Sayyed Ali area inside Lebanon and “achieved direct hits,” according to the statement.
Posted on 02/26/2013 10:45 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
You Decide If, Given Everything You Know, These Are More Likely Exceptions, Or Related To A Rule
Grocer gets 2.5-year sentence for $844,000 food stamp fraud
An Illinois grocer was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison Monday for defrauding government and nutrition programs.
Khaled Saleh, 48, the owner of Sunset Food Market in Waukegan was charged with illegally exchanging cash with customers using food stamp cards and nutrition coupons during an undercover investigation.
Saleh was sentenced to 30 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle.
Saleh, along with his wife, Fatima Saleh, 37, acquired more than $844,000 by paying customers approximately half the value in cash for goods purchased at other stores using their benefits.
They then re-sold the same items in their store at a substantially higher price.
During the investigation, an agent with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, exchanged food stamp benefits for cash and used benefits to purchase formula at a discount store, which he then re-sold for half the price in cash to the Salehs on several occasions.
The couple was arrested in May 2011 and both pleaded guilty last August to conspiracy to defraud government programs.
The government forfeited $391,616 in cash and bank account funds that were seized from the Salehs, and Khaled Saleh was ordered to pay $453,013 in restitution for the remaining balance.
Sentencing for Fatima Saleh has been postponed to March 22.
Doctor charged with rape, murder
Hampsted Village is a suburban neighborhood near New Albany with modest homes, tidy yards and children playing in the streets.
Police aren't often called to the neighborhood, which is why many neighbors were surprised by the recent arrest and murder indictment of Ali Salim, 44, of 5077 Turner Close.
Salim, a doctor who works for the Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon was indicted Feb. 20 by a Delaware County grand jury related to the death of 23-year-old Deanna Ballman and her unborn child.
Salim was indicted on two counts of murder; one count of rape; one count of felonious assault; one count of corrupting another with drugs; one count of kidnapping two people; one count of tampering with evidence; and one count of abuse of a corpse, according to the Delaware County sheriff's office.
Salim pleaded not guilty to the charges Feb. 21, said Kyle Rohrer, spokesman for the Delaware County prosecutor's office.
Salim on Feb. 25 posted the required 10 percent of his $1 million bond to be freed from jail until his trial, currently scheduled May 7.
Delaware County officials said last week that Salim, a permanent U.S. resident and a Pakistani citizen, would be under house arrest and would wear a GPS-tracking cuff if he were released on bond.
Ballman was a 2007 Lakewood High School graduate who was enlisted in the United States Army National Guard. She had two children, then ages 1 and 3, and lived in Etna Township near Pataskala at the time of her death.
Her body was found in the back seat of her car Aug. 1 on Bevelhymer Road in Harlem Township in Delaware County. She was nine months pregnant and had been reported missing July 31 to the Pataskala Division of Police after telling her family she was going to answer a Craigslist ad to clean a New Albany-area home.
On Aug. 2, the Columbus Division of Police assisted the Delaware County sheriff's office in serving a search warrant at Salim's house, said Columbus police Sgt. Christine Nemechev.
Though Salim has a New Albany address, the portion of Hampsted Village in which he lives is in Columbus.
Jeffrey Dittmer, past president and current trustee of the Hampsted Village homeowners association, said the address issue caused some confusion at the time.
O'Brien said investigators believe that Salim injected Ballman with heroin. An autopsy showed she died of an acute heroin overdose; her family, friends and National Guard commander told prosecutors they had never seen evidence that Ballman used drugs.
Nemechev said Columbus police had been called to Salim's home four times since 2011.
The most recent was April 18, 2012, when a burglar alarm was triggered.
In September 2011, they went to the home because a friend couldn't reach him, and on Dec. 1, 2011, they checked on him because he didn't show up for work, which was reported as "unusual behavior."
On Dec. 2, 2011, they went to the home for a dispute between Salim and a woman who said he did not pay her for pictures he had taken of her.
Dittmer said he did not remember any issues about Salim reported to the homeowners association.
Several neighbors who live on Turner Close and were contacted by ThisWeek declined to comment on Salim's arrest.
Two other doctors also live on Turner Close, which also caused confusion.
"We weren't sure what to do about it," Dittmer said. "We weren't sure if we should say anything about (the other doctors) or not, or if that would make the situation worse."
Salim has a valid medical license but had not been working recently, authorities said.
Posted on 02/26/2013 10:18 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
A Musical Interlude: Guilty (Al Bowlly)
Posted on 02/26/2013 10:56 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Not To Be Used Unless You Are A Soldier And Fighting In World War II
Otherwise, it's intolerable. No, I've changed my mind. Not even if you are a soldier fighting in World War II is it tolerable.
Posted on 02/26/2013 12:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Libyan Weapons Not Only In Mali, But Also In The Sinai
Covert auctions in Egypt put arms that freed Libya into hands of terrorists
Egyptian security forces arrest militants after a firefight in Egypt’s north Sinai region last year. Weapons once used in Libya are finding their way into the region, say Israel Defense Force sources. (Reuters)
Terrorists with links to Al Qaeda and Hamas drive in for the clandestine arms auctions. (Reuters)
The mountains and desert of Sinai provide a rugged backdrop for the illicit arms auctions. (Reuters)
An estimated 250,000 Bedouins live in the lawless Sinai desert, where weapons used in Libya are sold at auctions. (Reuters)
The weapons that helped Libyan rebels oust dictator Muammar Qaddafi are turning up for sale at clandestine auctions in Egypt’s lawless Sinai Desert, where shadowy buyers purchase firearms for Al Qaeda and Hamas operatives, sources told FoxNews.com.
The illicit sales take place in the barren Sinai peninsula, where Moses is believed to have wandered with the children of Israel for 40 years. Auctions announced through the grapevine bring caravans of foreigners, all with huge sums of money at their disposal and all with the same mission, Israel Defense Force sources told FoxNews.com.
The vast and rugged desert area inhabited by an estimated 250,000 Bedouins has borders with Egypt, Gaza and Israel, as well as a long coastline on the Red Sea. While the location makes it easy for buyers to come from various regions, it also combines with the impromptu nature of the auctions to make them almost impossible to stop.
“There are more and more contacts between Al Qaeda and the small groups in Sinai,” a senior source in the Israel Defense Force told the Washington-based Investigative Project on Terrorism.
“There are more and more contacts between Al Qaeda and the small groups in Sinai.”
- Senior source in the Israel Defense Force
The hosts of these auctions aren’t just doing it for the money, the source said. Al Qaeda-linked jihadists are becoming more and more influential in the region, and playing a large role in who shows up for the auctions and who leaves with the bombs, anti-tank missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons that are peddled there.
“If at the beginning we saw these tribes supporting terror cells for the sake of money, now we see it becoming more an ideological support, and we see more and more cases that these groups of Al Qaeda-influenced extreme jihadists are becoming more powerful than the tribes," the source said.
With Libya rendered an unstable tribal nation rife with internal power struggles between secular moderates and radical Islamists in the wake of Qaddafi’s ouster, accountability for weapons in the north African country is impossible. The U.S., which denies directly supplying arms to the Libyan rebels, is concerned about weapons being sold in the region.
“The potential for proliferation and smuggling of unsecured small arms and weapons in the region is a concern to the U.S. government and the international community,” a U.S. State Department official told FoxNews.com.
The New York Times reported in December 2012 that the Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar, only to express alarm when evidence mounted that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants.
Qatar, strong supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, may well have been playing both sides of the game, as the U.S official strongly hinted to The New York Times. The weapons being auctioned in the Sinai desert almost certainly include many sent by Qatar to Libya, a disturbing consequence that had been flagged early by some American officials.
The weapons don’t always travel too far before they are deployed. A violent ambush by Islamist rebels from Sinai on an Israeli bus and a civilian car near Eilat, in August 2011, killed eight Israelis and got the attention of IDF officials. The bombs, anti-tank missiles and automatic weapons used in the attack were more sophisticated than typically seen, and the fleeing terrorists fired an RPG at an Israeli helicopter pursuing them.
The State Department official who spoke to FoxNews.com said the U.S. is working with Libya to contain weapons, and with Egypt to stop their spread once they make it to the desert.
“The Libyan government has assured us that security is its No. 1 priority,” the official said. “We remain concerned about the security situation in the Sinai, and continue to engage with the Egyptian government about this issue. We believe the Egyptian government recognizes potential threats from the Sinai as well. Securing the Sinai is vital to peace in the region.”
Under President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has started to take action against the radical jihadists, including Hamas, which ironically is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood that propelled Morsi into office. Stopping the spread of the weapons originating from Libya is no diplomatic issue – it is in Egypt’s own interest.
Last August, 16 Egyptian border police were surprised in the night and killed by terrorists attacking from Sinai who went on to breach the Israeli border before six of the attackers were killed by Israeli forces. The fact that Egyptian forces were targeted demonstrated that for hard-core Al Qaeda-inspired Islamists, even the Muslim Brotherhood is not radical enough and is viewed as the enemy.
Egypt has been increasingly intercepting weapons in the Sinai over the last month, including the interdiction of two tons of weapons bound for the Gaza Strip two weeks ago. Egyptian forces have also flooded as many as 200 smuggling tunnels into the Hamas-governed strip, making weapons deliveries significantly harder.
Morsi’s efforts have Israeli security services mildly encouraged, although Egypt alone may not be able to neutralize the proliferation of Qatari-supplied weapons that originally reached Libya with tacit U.S. approval. And the threat of those weapons being turned on U.S. and other Western citizens in the Middle East and potentially around the globe remains.
Posted on 02/26/2013 12:23 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
NATO Had Months And Months To Destroy, Or Seize, Libyan Weaons -- Why Didn't It?
Remember the more than 5,000 sorties by NATO planes over Libya, designed to prevent Qaddafy from using his airforce against the rebels? Woudln't it have made more sense simply to have destroyed his airforce -- planes and helicopters -- on the ground? Woudln't it have made more sense to destroy as many of his weapons armories that could be found, all the while claiming plausibly it was being done to help prevent them from being used against the rebels? And once Qaddafy had fallen, wouldn't then have been a good time to locate the remaining weapons depots, with the help of some agents on the ground, and destroyed them, before the local Arabs were still momentarily grateful for NATO's help, and not quite focussed on that weaponry?
So why didn't NATO take the occasion offered it? Why, after the fiascos in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the continuing fiasco of meretricious Pakistan, but before all the other fiascos of the "Arab Spring" which consisted not of revolutions, but rather of a series of uprisiings against a local despot, but as that local despot was always, for his own reasons, an enemy of the Greater Despotism of Islam (for despots -- Qaddafy, Saddam Hussein, even Mubarak -- don't like the rivalry posed by Muhammad, don't like the opposition that necessarily will be most potently mosque-based), and the Greater Despotism of Islam is back, with a vengeance, in Libya and in Tunisia and in Egypt, with scattered returns, as yet, from tribal-riven Yemen and sect-riven Bahrain and Syria.
Now those weapons have gone southwasrd to Mali, and perhaps to Niger and Burkina Faso and Nigeria and Senegal -- who knows? And they have gone eastward to Egypt, and to the Sinai, where Al-Qaeda and groups just like Al-Qaeda buy them up.
What a chance was missed. Has any Stone Of Folly been left by the West unturned?
Posted on 02/26/2013 12:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Perhaps Al Gore Can Get Al-Ajami's Sentence Reduced By "Speaking Truth To Power"
Go right ahead, don't mind us chickens, and Speak That Truth, Al Gore, To That Power, Al Thani, and To Al-Thani's Propaganda Megaphone, Al Jazeera.
Only dictatorships jail poets: On Qatar, Al Jazeera and free speech
| February 26, 2013
"You can't have Al Jazeera in this country and put me in jail for being a poet."
So said Muhammad Ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami, who has now been in jail in Qatar for over a year. His crime was that he posted a poem online that was deemed to offend the emir and contravene the Gulf state's penal code which explicitly bans calls for the overthrow of the government.
This week, Al-Ajami's sentence was reduced from life in prison to 15 years. How very generous.
Qatar has used its massive oil wealth to become a major international player, especially in recent years, adding hard power of direct military intervention in places like Libya to its extensive use of the 'soft' power of money and media.
Although Qatar pursues its own goals, for the most part these coincide with the West's [mistaken aims] in the region, which is why you'll often see and hear the regime referred to as "moderate" (a term that really just means a government the big western powers are not trying to overthrow.)
The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, is almost never referred to in mainstream media as a dictator. This despite the absolute nature of his family's rule, and despite the brutal treatment of the majority of workers in the country -- migrants denied basic labour and human rights.
Al Jazeera is a key weapon in Qatar's soft power arsenal, bolstering its carefully crafted image as a benevolent monarchy. The global media outlet was called out by some for being slow to report on the jailing of al-Ajami. Its report today on the reduced sentencing elides some important details.
For instance, they don't quote the poet's response to his new sentence. The Associated Press story , in contrast, includes it:
"Unjust," shouted poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami in the heavily guarded courtroom in Qatar's capita, Doha, after his appeal to drop the conviction was denied. The court cut the life sentence handed down in November and imposed a 15-year term instead.
This outrageous attack on free speech must not stand.
The only upside -- poetic justice, if you will -- of this sickening episode is that by jailing a poet Qatar's government has proven the point of all its critics.
Here's hoping that the global effort to free al-Ajami brings much needed attention to the plight of all who suffer deprivation of their most basic human rights in the apartheid petrostate of Qatar.
Locking up a poet may end up freeing up a lot of truth.
Only dictatorships jail poets.
Posted on 02/26/2013 3:49 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Manchester University society shut down after anti-gay Muslim video expose
From Pink News
A society at the University of Manchester has been shut down after a student secretly filmed an extremist Muslim saying gay people should be killed – with a complaint then received by police.
The comments were secretly recorded by Middle East studies student Colin Cortbus at a public meeting organised by the Global Aspirations of Women student group at the University of Manchester’s Students’ Union earlier this month.
When Mr Cortbus asked the chairperson of the meeting – whether “in the Islamic society in which you strive for,” would they “feel comfortable, personally and morally, to kill a gay man?”
The chairwoman of the meeting replied: “Absolutely.”
Mr Cortbus also asked whether in the Islamic state they were advocating – would they feel confident to kill him if he “did something as completely innocent as kiss another man outside the Students’ Union.”
The chairwoman replied: “Yeah, absolutely,”
Following a complaint to Greater Manchester Police, the Global Aspirations group has now been closed by the Student Union Executive.
Posted on 02/26/2013 4:44 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax