Saturday, March 29, 2008
Jihadi "bloggers" arrested in Italy
Milan newspaper Il Giornale reported on 25 February that seven individuals were arrested and under investigation for online activity in support of al-Qa`ida and global jihad. Article details include:
* This is the first instance of al-Qa`ida linked web activity being managed directly by Italians.
* Three suspects are in Florence, and their ages are 26, 49, and 55.
* Two of the suspects are described as a 21-year-old female university student from Reggio Calabria and a 19-year-old male student from Latina (near Rome).
* The suspects were in contact via the Internet with the former imam of Carmagnola, Abdul Fadl Mamour, who was previously deported from Italy and is currently based in Senegal.
* The Imam would translate official statements from al-Qa`ida into Italian, and would translate questions for al-Qa`ida leaders from his followers from Italian into Arabic.
The Rest @ Internet Haganah
The missionary, Steve Godbold, was seized in the northern Tibesti mountains near the Libyan border more than a week ago by the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT).
MDJT leader Aboubakar Choua Dazi said on Wednesday his group was questioning Godbold, a member of the Christian missionary organization The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM), because it suspected he was a Chadian government spy.
"Mr Godbold was working on a humanitarian assistance project funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, at the initiative of the former U.S. ambassador to Chad," Solomon Atayi, public affairs officer at the U.S. embassy in N'Djamena, told Reuters.
He was clarifying a previous description given by other U.S. officials who had said Godbold was working as a sub-contractor on a U.S. government-financed development project.
Atayi said the Defense Department-funded project Godbold was engaged in involved the drilling of village wells.
Chad's Secretary of State for the Interior Abderamane Djasnabaille said local authorities and traditional leaders in Tibesti were in contact with his abductors and trying to obtain his release. Local people had also been mobilized.
"There are hopes that he can be freed in the next few days," he told Reuters.
MDJT leader Choua Dazi told Reuters by telephone from southern Libya on Wednesday that his group would consider releasing Godbold in two or three days after they had finished questioning him. He added Godbold was being well treated.
The Rest @ the The P0rtland Tribune
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
We already found and published the outline here.
- The book is still in the reserve section of many libraries in the US
- The Authors have the rights back from Cambridge Press, and are talking to US publishers
- There are aleged "underground copies"
Cross linking suggests that they are trying to promote the old site as well.
They reported an attack on 16-03-08
Tuareg-led MNJ rebels attacked the military post at Banaibangou, just 125 miles north of Niger's capital, Niamey. The attack began at 7 PM March 16, resulting in the death of 3 Niger army soldiers;
- MNJ took a policeman hostage, along with 2 vehicles and all of the weapons at Banibangou.
- MNJ stayed several hours after the attack in conversations with the local people who thanked them, according to MNJ.
- AFP, relaying the government's official stance, said that those killed were a soldier and a policeman, and that another policeman was "missing"
- The Niger government also claimed that several rebels were either injured or killed, and that they fled.
See the following article..
Malian Tuareg rebels’ military commandant, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Fagaga:“We will eliminate any of Al-Qaeda elements on our controlled areas”
The military commandant of the Tuareg rebels in Mali, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Fagaga has threatened eliminating elements belonging to Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, GSPC activating in the Sahara, [renamed AQIM] in case attempting approaching areas being controlled by the rebels, southern the Algerian borders.
- Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Fagaga told El Khabar in a phone call yesterday [05-03-08], the rebels have managed intercepting movements of GSPC elements, converted into Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, inside Mali and Kidal region, the nearest Malian province to the Algerian borders
- Hassan Fagaga has further denied the presence in the rebels’ controlled areas of any elements belonging to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb since Yahia Djouadi, alias Yahia Abu Amar, has succeeded Mokhtar Belm ElKhabarokhtar as the Emir of the ninth region a year ago.
- He further made allusion to armed clashes took place with Belmokhtar fellows two years ago as being the last time Al-Qaeda elements had attempted penetrating to areas controlled by the rebels.
- However, Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Fagaga has not denied the presence of GSPC elements on the Malian territories, saying: “we do acquire information disclosing the infiltration of some of them to villages near Kidal region in the north.”
- Fagaga has further reiterated the will of his Movement continuing chasing off Al-Qaeda elements from its areas, saying “we have already told them and we still do telling them go away from our territories and do what you want.”
The Rest @El Khabar
Sunday, March 16, 2008
By JAMES BROOKE, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES
Published: March 15, 1988
For over a decade, the United States and France quietly bolstered the defenses of this thinly populated desert land, hoping to block expansion by Libya, a northern neighbor of Niger.
- The effort paid off last year, when Niger's neutrality gave neighboring Chad a free hand to expel a Libyan occupation army.
- In contrast, Libya has become the prime arms supplier for the Sudan, on Chad's eastern flank.
- The Sudan is now a major launching area for Libyan attacks on Chad. Last week, in the largest clash since Chad and Libya accepted a cease-fire last September, Chadian troops reportedly killed 20 Libyan soldiers who had entered Chad from the Sudan.
- Western complaisance about Niger dissolved last Nov. 10 when Seyni Kountche, Niger's President for 13 years, died of a brain tumor in Paris. Over the years, President Kountche had compiled a long list of complaints against Libya's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
In the 1980's, Libya broadcast appeals in local languages, inciting Niger's Tuareg and Hausa tribesmen to revolt. At the time Abdoulaye Diori, the eldest son of a deposed President of Niger, lived in Tripoli where he reportedly headed a Libyan-financed exile group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Niger.
- In 1985, Tuareg rebels affiliated with the group attacked a desert outpost of Niger, Tshin-Tabaradene.
- Embassy Relations between the two countries withered and work stopped on the construction here of an imposing new Libyan People's Bureau, or embassy.
- But seeing opportunity in the death of President Kountche, the Libyans mounted what one European diplomat here called ''a charm offensive.'' The Libyans sent their Foreign Minister to President Kountche's funeral, were host to Niger's Foreign Minister in Tripoli, and invited Niger's new President, Col. Ali Seybou, to visit.
- In Niamey, construction resumed on the Libyan Embassy and the Libya-Niger Friendship Club was revived.
- Today, Libyan cultural centers are ready for inauguration in Niger's two largest cities, Naimey and Zinder.
- In Tripoli, the Libyans promised to disband the Niger rebel group and to pay a decade-old debt of $7.4 million owed for a shipment of uranium from Niger.
With this impoverished nation of six million people, the temptation is great to get along with its wealthy northern neighbor. According to the World Bank, Niger has the 10th-lowest recorded per capita income in the world - $200. On the other side of a 250-mile border lies Libya, which is rich in oil and which boasts Africa's highest per capita income - $7,500.
In the years before Colonel Qaddafi tried to undermine Niger's Government, Libya gave the country a Koranic school and a fleet of city buses, opened a trade bank, and built the central mosques in Niamey and Zinder.
''We are following a policy of good neighbors - and we didn't choose our neighbors,'' Niger's Foreign Minister, Mahamat Sani Bako, said in an interview about the improved relations with Libya.
To prevent Niger from following in the path of the Sudan, Western countries have woven close trading and supply links with the country's armed forces.
- The United States and West Germany virtually created Niger's 100-man air force.
- Drawing on ties dating back to the French colonial era, France supplies and trains Niger's 4,000-man army.
- The most striking example of Western commitment to Niger was the United States' $3.2 million renovation of an airstrip at Dirkou, a Saharan oasis 180 miles west of Chad and 280 miles south of Tummo, a Libyan base on the border with Niger.
- Inaugurated last December, the strip lacks radar and is reachable only by C-130 transport planes of the Niger Air Force when weather permits.
- The United States gives Niger's air force C-130 spare parts, training for about 15 airmen a year in the United States and training in Niger for two parachute companies.
- American military aid to Niger, totaling $18 million since 1982, has included parachutes, mortars, machine guns, recoilless rifles, radios, ambulances and X-ray machines.
- But because of across-the-board budget cuts, American military aid dropped this year to $1 million from a recent annual high of $5 million.
In contrast, French military aid to Niger rose 25 percent this year, according to a French military officer here. He declined to give specific figures.
- The French maintain a 57-member military mission here and each year they send about 50 officers from Niger to French officer schools.
- For the present, Niger's strong historical ties to France and Libya's recent history of subversion here combined to make people here leery of the Libyan charm campaign.
''We want to live in peace, but we also know what is Qaddafi's philosophy, his instinct for domination,'' said Mr. Bako, the Foreign Minister.The Rest @ The New York Times
Saturday, March 15, 2008
After hours of wrangling over the text of their sixth peace accord in two years, Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir signed the latest agreement late on 13 March in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, vowing once again to stop providing support to rebel groups opposing the other.
The stated aim of the accord is "to put an end, once and for all, to disputes between the two countries and re-establish peace in the sub-region."
The accord was mediated by Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and signed during the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in the presence of UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon and an array of African leaders and Arab and western diplomats.
Past agreements also called on both sides to stop providing safe haven to rebel groups.
- In Chad, rebels bent on ousting President Deby have launched countless attacks including one in February which reached the capital N'djamena.
- In Sudan, rebels are fighting government forces and allied militias in Darfur the region bordering Chad.
A new element in the latest accord is that Chad and Sudan agree to a "contact group" led by Libya and the Republic of Congo which would meet monthly and monitor compliance.
Chadian rebels have already dismissed the new peace pact and vowed to pursue their campaign to overthrow President Deby unless he agreed to a dialogue, according to reports.
Yet the sultan of the Fur, the largest ethnic group in Darfur, was optimistic about the new agreement. "I am hopeful that Sudan and Chad will stop supporting each other's rebels and this will reduce tensions," Sultan Salah Eldine Mahamat Fadoul told IRIN in an exclusive interview while visiting Dakar for the OIC meeting.
"I think Chad and Sudan really need to calm the situation down. The [proxy] war between them has cost them both a lot," he said.The Rest @ AllAfrica.com
Jimma (JT) – A Spokesman for the al- Shabab insurgents in Somalia said it will continue fighting the Somalia government even if Ethiopian troops withdraw from Mogadishu
This stance is a stark contrast to previous claims by the insurgents that other Somali-owned peace talks, after Ethiopian withdrawal, were possible to create a coalition government after Somalia’s 17 years without a government.
According to Radio Somaliweyn, Al Shabaab spokesman Muktar Robow said Somali government officials should be charged for war crimes. Muktar added that his fighters will “continue the Jihad” against the Somali government and against Somalis who support it.
Al Shabab is often considered as the military wing of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) and Muktar Robow has previously worked as ICU’s Deputy Commander after his service for the Taliban, based in Afghanistan. The ICU leadership is currently based in Eritrea; however, the Al Shabaab group has also shown its dissatisfaction with some ICU members who have allied with concerned Diaspora Somalis in Eritrea.
In contrast, Prime Minister Nur "Adde" Hassan Hussein has called for a broader reconciliation with the opposition, including with the hardline Al Shabaab. He opposed the previous stance of his government to exclude armed groups from the peace talks.
The Rest @ Jimma Times
APA-Bissau (Guinea-Bissau) The Army Chief of Staff in Guinea-Bissau, Gen. Batista Tagme Na Wai on Tuesday, disarmed the police in the capital, Bissau, during a surprise visit to the Internal Affairs Ministry.
Gen. Na Wai gave no explanation for the action which has led the public into believing that something unpleasant could erupt.
Following the army boss’s order the stock piled of weapons in the premises of the internal affairs ministry and in the various police stations in Bissau were collected and transferred to the Army Staff headquarters.
The move was followed by the sacking of Salvador Soares, the Director of Armament and Ammunitions at the Internal Affairs Ministry and replaced by Dety Ifanda, a close relative to Gen. Tagme Na Wai.
The policemen who were guarding the Minister Certorio Biote were also replaced by soldiers upon decision of the Chief of Staff.
Several police officials contacted by APA refused to comment on the move which many consider here as "sensitive."
"This is an extremely sensitive issue", a police officer who begged for anonymity said.
The Rest @ African Press Agency
Saturday, March 08, 2008
- Money laundering is the crime of attempting to bring into financial system, resources that were earned illegitimately.
- Such resources or proceeds may be money, property as other assets.
- In essence, the act of conversion is the issue being discussed here.
- It is all about making dirty money clear enough to spend without anyone raising an eyebrow.
However, to be strategically functional, GIABA’s mandate includes the following:
- Development of strategies to protect the economies of member states from abuse and the laundering of the proceeds of crime;
- Improvement of measures and intensifying efforts to combat the laundering of proceeds from crime in West Africa and to strengthen co-operation amongst its members.
GIABA’s membership consists of all member states of the ECOWAS, namely, Republic of Benin, Republic of Ghana, Republic of Gambia, Republic of Guinea, Republic of Liberia, Republic of Guinea Bissau, Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of Burkina Faso, Republic of Cape Verde, Republic of Mali, Republic of Niger, Republic of Senegal, Republic of Siera Leone, Republic of Togo, and finally, the Federal Republic of Nigeria inclusive.
It has been made clear that observers status within GIABA shall be granted to African and non-African states, as well as inter-governmental organisation; which support the objectives and actions of GIABA and which have applied for observer status.
For GIABA to grow and fully functional in its commitment, it is in view of this fact that the organisation considered a few of them for a collaborative team work, some of which are:
- the central bank of signatory state,
- Regional Securities and Exchange Commisison,
- the West African Economics Monetary Union (UEMOA),
- the West Africa Development Bank (BOADC), the World Bank,
- the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
- the Financial Action Task Force (TATF) on money laundering,
- World Customs Organisation (NCO),
- the Common Wealth Secretariat and the European Union (EU).
The establishment of GIABA as an FATF-style Regional Body (FSRB) is a demonstration of the strong political commitment of member states to combat money laundering and terrorism financing and cooperate with other concerned nations and international organisations to achieve this goal within its regional strategies framework. GIABA has the capacity to support its 15 members states to effectively combat the menace of money laundering in the region.
As the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing increase with globalization, criminals are also becoming adoptable, taking advantage of the slightest opportunity to break the law.
The gap between the rich and the poor seems to contradict conventional wisdom that income disparity would close as the world economy becomes more integrated. This is even the more reasons why the economies must be protected which would in turn attract foreign investment in the region.
Several workshops have been organized – the first one was sometime in Lagos tagged: and this second one in Abuja was the launching of GIABA House.
The first one was organized in Lagos. It was a two-day awareness raising workshop for journalists, civil society organisation and professional groups. It was in that workshop that Mr. Tola Akinmutini, a representative of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CTN), Lagos, observed that the initiative is a welcome development in sub-regional collaborative efforts aimed at frontally addressing the social, economic and political problems plaguing the various countries in recent times.
Considered quite alarming, the multi-dimensional challenges of Money Laundering (ML), Terrorist Financing (TF) and Drug Trafficking (DT) to sustainable development effort of West African countries have become so clear to leaders in various countries that a collective approach in resolving them is not only desirable but expedient.
Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in his administration identified enthronement of the rule of law and best practice in governance as one of the cardinal polices of his administration.
The government is optimistic that "Proper enthronement of the rule of law will dissuade people from engaging in illicit drug trafficking, shun terrorism and avoid financial crime", said President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Director general of GIABA, Dr. Abdullahi Shehu in an opening address of the two-day workshop in Lagos identified the effect of financial crime. He said that, "Financial crimes constitute a major menace of our time and which requires concerted effort of all stake holders to tackle".
However, the official opening of GIABA House at the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja revealed the secrets of money laundering and terrorism financing in the sub-region, most especially in Nigeria.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
N'DJAMENA, March 5 (Reuters) - The European Union's military force in Chad is sending a team to Sudan to recover a body which officials there believe is that of a French soldier killed after he strayed over the border, the EU force said on Wednesday.
If the soldier is confirmed dead, it will be the first fatal casualty suffered by the EU force (EUFOR) since it started deploying in late January on a U.N.-backed mission to protect refugees and civilians in conflict-torn eastern Chad.
- The French special forces soldier went missing on Monday after he and a colleague accidentally crossed the Sudanese border in a vehicle near Tissi in the remote region near the Chad, Sudan and Central African Republic frontiers.
- They were fired on by Sudanese troops.
- The other French soldier was wounded but was able to rejoin EU forces.
- France and the EU have apologised to Sudan for the frontier violation.
- EUFOR spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Poulain said Sudanese authorities had informed EU officials that their forces had found a body in the area where the clash took place.
- The body was being transported to the Sudanese capital Khartoum.
- Ali al-Sadig, a spokesman for Sudan's Foreign Ministry, confirmed the body was in Khartoum and said the French would "confirm whether it is the missing soldier or not".
Monday's incident is embarrassing for EUFOR, as its mission in Chad does not include trying to secure the long, porous Chad-Sudan frontier, and much less confronting Sudanese troops.
- The force's mandate is to protect some half a million Sudanese refugees and Chadian civilians who have fled violence spilling over from Sudan's Darfur region.
- "It's unfortunate this happened now, but one of the goals of this reconnaissance is precisely to check out the terrain, especially the frontier, because the maps are rather imprecise," Poulain told Reuters by telephone. He said the EU soldiers' crossing into Sudan had been accidental.
- It had occurred in a rugged bush area with no clear demarcation between the converging frontiers of Chad, Sudan and Central African Republic.
One of the patrol vehicles, which Poulain said carried EUFOR markings, crossed into Sudan without realising it. "It was halted by Sudanese forces and when the others in the patrol came to rescue it, they came under fire," Poulain said.
The French soldier wounded in the clash found his way back to Chadian territory, while the other went missing. His body was thought to be the one recovered by the Sudanese forces.
The authorities estimate that 32 million in investment and tax revenues that should generate work for three years.
Some 500 jobs and community infrastructure will also be created for the benefit of local people, the statement added.
Thanks to the recent rise in price of uranium, which had collapsed in 1980, especially in the wake of the decision of China to develop civil nuclear power, the Nigerian authorities have decided to diversify their partners in the 'mining of ore.
Thus, in August 2007, Niger had already issued 29 permits research and exploitation of uranium to new companies, ending 40 years of near monopoly of the french group Areva on the exploration, exploitation and sale of its uranium.
In addition to the two deposits that operates in the North, Areva btained permission in January to invest more than 1 billion euros to operate a giant site Imouraren extraction.
With production of almost 5,000 tons of uranium per year, Imouraren, estimated at 200,000 tons, will place the Niger second in the world by 2011.
The Rest (in French) @ APA Agence de Presse Africaine
There was a report of an Arrest of four members of a cell of the called "GSPC" in the report, which was reorganized a year ago into the AQIM. The report, written in French, claimed that a the cell, active between Bamako and Timbouctou,has alegedley been dismantled by the Malian securitie Services.
Among them is reportedly an "Algerian Afghan" a fomerme member of the GSPC dispatched by the emir of GSPC (AQIM) to reorganize the troops.
Also captured was Abou Osama, a war veteranwho fought against the Russian army in Afghanistan. He was also alegeldy part of the GIA, before rejoining the GSPC
Security sources wer sited.
Abou Osama is alegedly works under the direction of Droukdel and it is suggested the only way this arrest could have happened is if the Toureg Tribal bossess turned him in.
It was a very brief, confusing post in an obscure blog....More to follow as it becomes avaiable
See more @ Kidal.info
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
This means that they are likely to try and travel and do business in Africa, especially in Shia communites where they can go unnoticed.
UNITED NATIONS, March 3 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council imposed a third round of sanctions on Iran on Monday for refusing to suspend sensitive nuclear activities but Tehran dismissed the council's decision as illegal and illegitimate.
There were 14 votes in favor, no votes against and one country, Indonesia, abstained. Previous sanctions resolutions were adopted unanimously in December 2006 and March 2007.
The resolution calls for more travel and financial restrictions on named Iranian individuals and companies and makes some restrictions mandatory.
-Keep in mind:
- Libya voted for the sanctions
- Vietnam voted for the sanctions
- United States voted for the sanctions
- Britain voted for the sanctions
- France voted for the sanctions
- China voted for the sanctions
- Russiavoted for the sanctions
- Indonesia did not vote for or against the sanctions - they abstained
The names of the companies listed in the sanctions are:
- The new sanctions authorize inspection of cargo shipments at airports and seaports transported on planes or ships owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line that are suspected of containing banned items.
- The resolution introduces financial monitoring of two banks with suspected links to proliferation activities, Bank Melli and Bank Saderat.
- It calls on all countries "to exercise vigilance" in entering into new trade commitments with Iran, including granting export credits, guarantees or insurance.
- The resolution also orders countries to freeze the assets of 12 additional companies and 13 individuals with links to Iran's nuclear or ballistic missile programs — and require countries to "exercise vigilance" and report the travel or transit of those Iranians.
The People listed in all three of the UN Travel Bans:
- Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, of the Revolutionary Guard military corps and close associate of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He has alegedly tried to get around previous UN sanctions.
- Mohammad Qannadi, AEOI Vice President for Research & Development
- Dawood Agha-Jani, Head of the PFEP (Natanz)
- Behman Asgarpour, Operational Manager ( Arak)
- Seyed Jaber Safdari (Manager of the Natanz Enrichment Facilities)
- Amir Rahimi (Head of Esfahan Nuclear Fuel Research and Production Centre, which is part of the AEOI’s Nuclear Fuel Production and Procurement Company, which is involved in enrichment-related activities)
- Amir Moayyed Alai (involved in managing the assembly and engineering of centrifuges)
- Mohammad Fedai Ashiani (involved in the production of ammonium uranyl carbonate and management of the Natanz enrichment complex)
- Abbas Rezaee Ashtiani (a senior official at the AEOI Office of Exploration and Mining Affairs)
- Haleh Bakhtiar (involved in the production of magnesium at a concentration of 99.9%)
- Morteza Behzad (involved in making centrifuge components)
- Dr. Mohammad Eslami (Head of Defence Industries Training and Research Institute)
- Seyyed Hussein Hosseini (AEOI official involved in the heavy water research reactor project at Arak)
- M. Javad Karimi Sabet (Head of Novin Energy Company, which is designated under resolution 1747 (2007))
- Hamid-Reza Mohajerani (involved in production management at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan)
- Houshang Nobari (involved in the management of the Natanz enrichment complex)
- Abbas Rashidi (involved in enrichment work at Natanz)
- Ghasem Soleymani (Director of Uranium Mining Operations at the Saghand Uranium Mine)