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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Israeli-Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak has been sentenced in Paris to 6 years in jail for arms trafficking, corruption and tax evasion. His lawyer says he is a victim of political and legal machinations.

The businessman’s partner, French magnate Pierre Falcone, has also been convicted to six years behind bars and was immediately arrested. Arkady Gaydamak was sentenced in absentia, and it is unclear whether he will ever serve the prison term, as he reportedly is currently living in Russia.

The judge said that Gaydamak’s guilt is burdened with his attitude toward justice – the Israeli businessman of Soviet origin has ignored all requests to appear in court.

Gaydamak’s lawyer told RIA Novosti news agency it’s very much likely that they are going to appeal the court’s decision.

Falcone’s attorney is confident the case was politically motivated.

“The court hasn’t looked for any other guilty persons, even though the investigation revealed that state services had been well informed,” he is quoted as saying. “The court has interpreted the case in a wrong way. Obviously, we are going to immediately appeal the decision and demand that Pierre Falcone be released.”

The two businessmen are accused of buying Soviet-made tanks, helicopters and artillery pieces and then selling them in the 1990s to Angola during a civil war.

All the weapons – worth about $ 790 million – came from Russia through a French-based firm and its subsidiary in Eastern Europe, a company controlled by Gaydamak and Falcone.

The businessmen did not deny that they organized arms supplies to Angola.
  • What they refused to admit is the accusation that they sold 170,000 antipersonnel mines.
  • The two also claim they didn’t have to get the French approval for weapons supplies, since they were transported to Angola through the territory of former socialist states.
  • The lawyers cited a letter sent last summer to Falcone by French Defense Minister Herve Morin where the official said the trade didn’t require permission.
  • The judge nevertheless said the letter would not influence the outcome of the case.

The Rest @ Russia Today




AL-ITIHAAD - (Hizbu Da’wah) the US Circle That Recruits Somali Suicide Bombers?

This article appeard on the fifth of October 2009 in Hiiraan Online, and appears to be a reprint of an article by Abu Raas Hasan, who publishes the aburaas Blog. In it, he describes the people, organizations, and methods used to recruite American-Somalias into Jihad.

He has written previously about Hassan Dahir Aweys, with particular effort to assign blame for the current state of Somalia. I have been unable to corroberate his entire chain of events an d conversations, but they are generally consistent with other events I have found from other sources.

-Shimron Issachar




Since 2006 when the Somali conflict became well-known to me, I started a very extensive research which I shall demonstrate throughout this article. My research included reading countless number of articles, books, and as well as listening to thousands of hours of audios. In addition, I have observed much in the media concerning the missing Somali men (or boys)—some who were reported to have become the first suicide bombers that ever carried American passports. A lot of these men (or boys) had links to the Somali Diaspora in Minnesota, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and Ohio. After researching the lives of these young men, I was stunned to find out that none of them had the traits of extremists. For this reason, I started to wonder as to exactly how these youths became so fanatical in such short-time that they would perpetrate such evil practises. Just to give a quick example, many of these youth had facebook accounts whereby they posted their pictures! Hence, I started to ask myself, ‘what terrorist puts his pictures on facebook?’…things were not adding up. In this paper, I will expose some of the elements that were a crucial to the radicalization of these youth.We should all asks ourselves the question, who sent our youth to Somalia so that they could become terrorist? Because so many people are scared of this question, I have taken it upon myself to clear this matter and to provide some tangible answers in which we may rely on. Many will rush to criticize me and call me names, but my intent in writing this is, first is, to please Allah, and then to show the true reality of certain organization within our community. In other words, I have no concern over other people feelings because our own dignity as Somali people is in great jeopardy, while also the name of our beautiful religion is tainted.

SHORT HISTORY OF AL-ITIHAAD aka AL-‘ITISAAMI n the early 90s when the ugly civil war erupted in Somalia, the members of the Islamic movement called, “al-Itihaad al-Islaami” held an emergency meeting on whether they should take part in the civil war or not. Interestingly, amongst the top leaders of this group at that time was nobody else but Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys. A group of people from the members of al-Itihaad al-Islaam refused and thus were either expelled or left the group because they saw the civil war as a ‘fitnah’ (trails) between fellow Muslims.

  • At this point it was clear that certain figures such as Mr. Bin Laden had made contact with Hasan Daahir Aweys and other elements within the al-Itihaad al-Islaami group. The evidence for this is the fact that Mr. Bin Laden himself speaks of it in some of his audios.
  • When the civil war broke out, Mr. Aweys and his group decided however that they would join the war and thus ended up deploying their military might in what is known as the ‘Araale’ bridge. This is the first military operation that was ever conducted by al-Itihaad.
  • What was also interesting was that their claim that this was a part of ‘global Jihad front,’ although, all parties involved in the war adhered to the Islamic tenets. This campaign miserably failed and Al-Itihaad did not achieve much progress.

Almost a decade later, Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys is back to square-one again in mobilizing his militia to successfully drive-off the warlords who controlled Southern Somalia.

  • For the first time, he had actually completed what seemed to be a successful military campaign against his foes. But we all witnessed that it was short-lived after Aweys’ hunger for power and his eyeing other regions of Somalia caused him the biggest loss ever as the Ethiopian army once again invaded Somalia.
  • The Ethiopians have always proofed Aweys wrong by showing that he was only capable of fighting his fellow Muslim brothers in the battlefield.

As a result of Mr. Aweys weird military tactics, a new group is born. They are young; they are motivated by the whole chaos in Somalia. They look to the east for leadership, as Mr. Aweys has failed them too many times…they see Bin Laden. The appearance of this group is mostly due to that fact that people in the ‘Jihadi’ movement were fed up with Aweys as he always aligned himself with his tribe. This group calls themselves “Harakatu al-Shabab al-Mujahideen.”

Mr. Aweys and others amongst his group (al-‘Itisaam) fled to Eritrea where they formed a lose alliance with many different groups including those very warlords they had once fought in the streets of Mogadishu. Aweys’ alliance included secularist who did not even support the idea of a ‘Sharee’ah state.’

  • This left many wondering as to what his true intentions were as one of the members of the alliance was a former war-lord named Hussien Aideed. The infamous character is responsible for the some of the worst atrocities that has ever occurred in Somali soil, yet, Mr. Aweys saw him fit for his alliance.
  • Not only this, but Mr. Aweys made takfeer (lit: excommunication from the fold of Islam) of Hussien Aideed for supporting the government and for also saying that both countries would turn into a single country. Anyhow, Mr. Aweys led the Ethiopians into Somalia, then all of the sudden, he is in Eritrea—relaxing in one of the most beautiful cities in earth, and all this was at the expense of the blood of the innocent Somalis.

President Sharif Ahmed who was once part of the Islamic Courts Union broke up with Mr. Aweys for several reasons. It was mainly due to the fact that they did not even belong to the same ideological group.

Mr. Aweys is al-‘Itihaad while Sharif Ahmed is from al-Islaah. To cut the story short, Sharif took the place of old Mr. Abdullah Yusuf and successfully made the Ethiopians leave Somalia soil only leaving behind the AMISON troops that numbered 8,000.

In brief moment after the Ethiopians pulled out of Somalia, Mr. Aweys shows up in Mogadishu with a smirk in his face. In matter of weeks, him and his rebellious ‘offsprings’ (i.e.al-Shabab) attacked Mr. Sharif’s government and battle continues until today.

  • As we speak, Mr. Aweys is trying hard to unite with al-Shabab and has said this in the media several times, but only time will till their true fate. But if you ask me, I highly doubt that Bin Laden, who is the legitimate leader of al-Shabab will ever allow this to happen.
  • The proof for this is the latest fighting that is occurring in the port city of Kismayo between Hizbul “Islam” and al-Shabab militia.

COMING TO THE WEST

  • Back to the beginning of the civil war in Somalia. Al-Itihaad or al-‘Itisaam first came to the west along with the Somali migrants.
  • Some of them even boldly lied about their clan status so that they could be admitted as refugees to the United States. Take the example of a man by the name “Shayk” Ibrahim who was deported after government found out that he lied concerning his status. He is now in Ethiopia heading ONLF, the al-Itihaad branch.

This is just one of the cases amongst many. Upon arriving in the west, they were able to use community funds to establish a chain of mosques across the west.

  • For instance, in the United States, they were able to build mosques in Minnesota, Ohio, California and Washington.

One of al-Itihaad’s representatives for the west was “Shayk” Muhammad Idrees.

  • He was a deputy to the main leader in Somalia, Mr. Bashir Salad. Mr. Idrees is no longer in America as he has fled after his activities were detected by government radars. Many believe that Mr. Bashir Salad along with Mr. Idrees, and “Shayk” Ibrahim were behind uniting all of the mosques in American under what they called, “Golaha Imaamyada” (lit. Umbrella of Imaams).
  • After the disappearance of Mr. Idrees from America, nobody really knows who the new deputy is, but many speculate that it is probably one of the local Imaams in either Nashville, Tennessee or Saint Paul, Minnesota. I say it is the ‘Shayk” Abdirahman in Minnesota and this is only for the blind to see.
  • The main important thing here is the fact that this group remained a secret club in the Somali community; and for this reason, it has become diffuclt for many of us to identify who is who.

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN AL-‘ITISAAM IN SOMALIA AND AL-‘ITISAAM IN AMERICA

Now, you are probably wondering how such connections can be made. Allow me to demonstrate. When Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys was exiled (or fled) to Eritrea, guess who paid for his expenses there?

  • Yes, it was members who attended local Somali mosques around North America and perhaps they might have been running the mosques...And you know what, that money came out from the pockets of innocent Somalis who had no idea what this sinister group was up to; and that they only paid this money in good intention when they were told that money was being sent to “orphans in Somalia.”
  • Moreover, an associate of mine called me in one late evening to share with me something very interesting. It was Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys doing a phone conference with bunch of Somalis from North America (the phone number had an area code 612!).
  • This is one of the famous conferences rooms where lectures are broadcasted and many attended.
  • The conference had a moderators who would put forth questions to Mr. Aweys while others advised Mr. Aweys to be patient…one particular individual said, “O Shayk, supplicate for us.”

Now, do you see the connection here? There must been over hundreds of people logged on to that conference room. It was also in this particular phone conference room that I listened to a gruesome discussion concerning some events that took place in Somalia.

  • It was when a group of women, Mogadishu residents to be precise, were cleaning the streets, when one of these fanatics (al-Shabab) attacked them with bombs which caused them to die. So, one of the particular nights, there was much discussion in the room concerning this topic to point that some of the people showed dislike of such actions.
  • Interestingly, an individual logs into the room while the conversation is still fresh and claims that he “had just spoken to Mogadishu and that those women who were targeted worked for the Ethiopian kuffar.”
  • Then, many people started to say, “Maashallah.” I felt so sick to my stomach that I decided to never attend this conference room again, and that I was even more determined now to expose those who were promoting these sick ideas.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RADICALIZATION OF OUR YOUTH?

With all this in mind, we shall move on to discuss how these young men became so radicalized that they would actually go thousands of miles to war ravaged Somalia in order to slay innocent Somalis.

No doubt, there are individuals who are promoting extremism in the midst of our community, but by what median are they using to lure all these youth. This is very simple to explain.

  • The youth are divided into two categories:One type of youth is those who are able to understand the Somali language easily and can listen to lectures in the Somali language.
  • On the other hand, you have the second type of youth who can only understand the English language as they spent most of their life in the west.

With regards to the first, they listen to wide number of lectures in Somali language. And I am not afraid to name the speakers.

  • Hasan Daahir Aweys
  • Hasan Turki
  • Hassan Hussien Aadam,
  • Muhammad Abdi Umal

are amongst some of the audio tapes that are widely listened to by the Somali speaking youth [who attend al-‘Itisaam controlled mosques in North America).

Furthermore, all of Hasan Daahir Aweys and Hasan Turki’s lectures are underground and that they are not published openly (as both men are on FBI most wanted list).

Next, Hassan Hussien Aadam is the main speaker and all time favorite for many youth because of the fact that this man enjoys a quality that no other Somali “Shayk” enjoys. He is charismatic, funny, and young.

It is my personal belief that he is the most to radicalize the young Somali speaking youth—He uses all types of median to reach his audience be it, DVDs, Audio cassettes, and internet conferences (i.e. via Paltalk).

In one of his audio tapes, he says that the whole World is darul Kufr, while also in another tape he claims that Saudi Arabia is the land of kufr even though Mecca and Medina are located there.

Shayk Muhammad Abdi Umal on the other hand is also one who enjoys the support of large audience. Many youth are fond of his lectures in which he preached Jihad and by the way, most of his lectures with regards to this topic are pre-dated in the early 90s. In the past couple of months he has become very critical of the way al-Shabab and other fanatics in Somalia are operating, however the case, many Somali youth are still being lured to listen to his old recorded lectures and because they are widely accessible through audio recordings and internet.

One of the main reasons for his split with this group whom he once called “mujahideen” is that he feared the Kenya government as there was a lot of reports indicating that he was radicalizing youths.

Some even accused him of helping to fund the war in Somalia. However, I must state that these are baseless claims.On the other hand, the second type of youth as we have mentioned have no idea of the Somali language, yet, they still become radicalized. So, how does this happen?

  • Let it be known that even for the English speakers there are such materials that can turn an innocent Somali-youth into a kamikaze-like terrorist who is only quenched by the blood of the innocent. Interestingly, I have observed that these individuals are using a person by the name, “Shayk” Anwar al-Awlaki.
  • He is an American-born of Yemeni decent who somehow became radicalized in a very strange way (properly due to the fact that most of what he knows about Islam is self-taught). This man openly promotes suicide-bombing and boldly claims that it is part of Jihad! He also started to interfere with the affairs of Somalia when al-Shabab came into the picture. And for this reason, he became well-respected by Somali fanatics everywhere.
  • In his website, he gives them counsel and tells other Muslims to aid them in their “Jihad” against the “infidel” government of Shayk Sharif Ahmed. He further translated a book about “Jihad” written by, al-Qeada member named, Yusuf al-‘Uyaree (who was shot dead by Saudi security forces!). He is currently located in Yemen where he records lectures online in conference rooms.
  • Uponing visiting his website, I was surprised as to how many Somali youth were listening to him. And surprisingly, many of the youth who left for Somalia were all fans of al-‘Awlaki.

Thanks to this man, there are Somali youth who were on drugs six months ago and are now talking about martyrdom-operation through suicide bombings.

For starters, one could observe the website called, al-qimmah, where Hassan Hussien Aadam and Anwar al-‘Awlaki are some of the all-time favorite speakers. Hassan Hussien Aadam wrote a lengthy treatise declaring the government of Somalia to be disbelievers and this can be viewed on that website for anybody who can read the Arabic language.

In addition, there are letter of thanks from al-Shabab leaders to Mr. Anwar Awlaki thanking him for his counsel.

WHO IS WHO?

So who are these individuals and what organization do they operate in? Allow me to introduce the ‘Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.’ In my research, I also focused on the different groups that exist amongst the Somalis. There are four main groups, and they are

  • a.) al-‘Itisaam (formerly al-Itihaad)
  • b.) Soofiyah (they call themselves ahl Sunnah wa Jama’ah)
  • c.) al-Islaah (former al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen)d.) Salafiyah (opponents call them, salafiyah Jadeedah).
  • The aforementioned groups all control different mosques in the Somali communities throughout the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.

However, our main concern is the group called al-‘Itisaam, as all of the youth who went to Somalia for “Jihad” are linked to their mosques.

  • None of the other groups supported these fanatics. It is also interesting to note that out of all of these groups, al-‘Itisaam are the ones who are pushing an agenda and that they are also the most organized in comparison to the rest of the other groups. For example, a number of years back, they were able to unite all of the mosques that were controlled by them via what they called, “Golaha Imaamyada” (lit. The Umbrella of Imaams). In this way, if something was to happen to any of them, they could hire powerful lawyers to represent them through the support of the community.

Like it or not, Al-‘Itisaam are the wolf in Sheep’s clothing. They have exported the ideas of Hasan Daahir Aweys, Hasan Turki, Hassan Hussien Aadam and the rest of the preachers of hate to the innocent Somali youth in the west.

  • That is way I am not surprised when FBI is questioning them at the airport.

AL-‘ITISAAM DECIEVES PEOPLE

  • Recently when all this came to light, they (al-‘Itisaam members in US) started to condemn these youth and free themselves of their actions. How can they condemn terrorism in America while they are committing it in Somalia?
  • Many mothers are without their children now and members of al-‘Itisaam continue to enjoy wearing their white thobes with nice salaries. This is injustice. And quite honestly, I don’t blame the mosque per say as it is only a physical structure, but I blame those men who are hiding inside the mosques claiming to be community leaders.

Let me reiterate that the mosques were established as places of worship and not for some ‘secret club’ with a political agenda.Recently in Columbus, Ohio and many other cities in North America, they (al-‘Itisaam) started to make all this noise when one of their leaders was detained by authorities while he was on his way to “hajj.”

They organized a community forum in Columbus, Ohio and they were spreading and saying that, “our ‘ulemaa our being harassed by authorities.” If you ask me, here is what they’re trying to do: They are trying to make it seem as if authorities are hunting for Somalis so that they can have the community to fight for them;

I say nay, authorities are hunting for people that they suspect of being part of al-‘Itisaam and not the common Somalis. Hence, they want to use Somalis as scapegoat. I say this because we should ask ourselves the following question, how come all of the other Somalis who were going to Hajj were not detained? I hope we all see the point now here.

CONCLUSION AND FINAL REMARKS

Finally, al-‘Itisaam has always operated as a ‘secret club’ within Somali communities. They have managed to take our sons away right before our very eyes and turn them into extremists by exporting the preachers of hate.

  • We should resist this and expose them in every opportunity we get because it is true as the saying goes; they are indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • Readers should also be aware that they have recently changed the name of their organization to the “Hizbu Da’wah” after they started to come under fire from all directions, we should not be fooled by this.
  • We should prevent them from our gatherings and our communities.

I advise my fellow Somalis to wake up from their slumber and realize that there are people who are pulling the rug under our feet. I suggest that we should purge these people from our mosques and places of worship as they are nothing but trouble. These are the very people that have destroyed our country and the blood of our innocent people is on their hands.

- Abu Raas Hasan

Abu Rass Hasan is young a true Somali in every sense of the word. He believes his people’s culture, religion, and way of live have been hijacked by warlords, fanatics, and ignorant fools. In the the year 2006, he decided to be active part of his community by bring relevant issues to the table. He currently runs the blog: http://aburaas.wordpress.com/. For any questions or comments please contact me at: raasthepirate@gmail.com

The Rest @ Hiiraan Online




Sunday, October 25, 2009

How Baitullah Mehsud Came to his End

On August 5, Baitullah Mehsud, the all-powerful and utterly ruthless commander of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in a US missile strike in South Waziristan. At the time of the strike, he was undergoing intravenous treatment for a kidney ailment, and was lying on the roof of his father-in-law's house with his young second wife.
At about one o'clock that morning, a missile fired by an unmanned CIA drone tore through the house, splitting his body in two and killing his wife, her parents, and seven bodyguards.

His death marked the first major breakthrough in the war against extremist leaders in Pakistan since 2003, when several top al-Qaeda members based in the country were arrested or killed. Over the last few years, Mehsud's estimated 20,000 fighters gained almost total control over the seven tribal agencies that make up the Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan.

Mehsud's death plunged the Pakistani Taliban, composed of some two dozen Pashtun tribal groups, into an intense struggle over leadership, creating an opportunity for the CIA and Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence (ISI) to take action against the extremists. After ousting in April and May the militants who had seized the Swat valley—which is not in the tribal areas but north of the capital city of Islamabad—the Pakistani army is now pursuing the Pakistani Taliban with more determination: in mid-August, two of Mehsud's senior aides were arrested, one in FATA and the other in Islamabad while seeking medical treatment.


The US is anxious for Pakistan to continue its pressure by launching an offensive in Waziristan, the region in the southern part of FATA—first in South Waziristan to eliminate the Pakistani Taliban there and then in North Waziristan, where al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban leaders are based.

Much More @ New York Review of Books



Sunni Chiefs Declare Jiahd on Shiite Rebels in North Yemen

SANAA, 24 Oct — The military online website, 26-September Saturday said a number of social and tribal figures in Yemen “have urged the state to open up the door of Jihad to fight Zaydi Shiite rebels in north Yemen,” stressing “Jihad against the insurgents is now a religious duty upon all Yemenis.”

“The rebels are implementing a Satanic agenda for foreign powers, targeting social peace and the nation’s stability and security,” said 26-September and quoted a number of dignitaries as saying “Jihad must be declared against this group of terrorists so that citizens can join the battle.”

The Grand Sheik of Bani Hoshish tribes, Muhammad Bashir said “the rebels committed atrocious crimes in our area last year and I was among a few who talked to them in a bid to bring them back to the right path but in vain.

What they are doing in Sadaa and Harf Sufian today shows they are aiming at destroying everything. They shut down schools in north Yemen as they did in our area last year in order to teach their satanic ideology.”

Sheik Ibrahim Ali al-Maqdeshi from Dhamar said “the insurgents have corrupted on earth and the Islamic ruling must be upheld against them: their hands and legs have to be cut off and then they should be crucified as God has ordained,” adding “this cancer has to be eradicated and all the people in Dhamar are ready and willing to join the ranks of the army.”

The Rest @ Yemen Hearland Tribune



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Khat, Miraa, Somali and Northern Kenya Addiction Growing

Nairobi — Every afternoon, Garissa town residents meet for a miraa (khat) chewing session. The twig is a way of life in this stuffy and sun bathed town.

"Miraa creates a social bond and keeps most of us away from crime and drug abuse," says Ahmeddin Nur. A group of young men high on the mild narcotic plant nod their heads in agreement.

But this is about to change if proposal to ban trade and use of miraa in the town becomes a reality.

In a recent workshop on Islam and health, more than 40 religious leaders backed the call to ban miraa in the district.

A potential showdown among traders, consumers and the leaders is looming. Miraa traders and lovers have vowed to demonstrate against the proposed move.

A farmer harvests miraa in Meru North. Muslim leaders want the sale and consumption of the crop banned in northern Kenya.

Although livestock is the chief source of income in the district, the twig provides an alternative for many families.

If the demonstrations go ahead, it will revive memories of similar confrontations in Somalia when residents rose against the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC.

In 2006, the Islamists banned khat and closed entertainment joints.

Street protests

These triggered street protests and the UIC, who had attracted goodwill for restoring order, found itself on a collision course with the people.

Three people were killed when UIC soldiers opened fire on the demonstrators.

Mama Zeinabu Abdi, a Garissa resident who has been in miraa business for the last five years, says it is the only source of income for her and other families.

"The business has made me educate my three children in secondary schools," she says at her miraa stall on Ngamia road. Mr Steven Mayak says he is supporting three school going children with the trade.

Religious leaders say they are not against the income generating trade per se.

"Miraa business has been used to aid trafficking and peddling of hardcore drugs like cocaine, heroin and bhang," the Garissa Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims (Supkem) leader, Sheikh Hussein Mahat, said while reading the resolutions.

Spread of HIV

Mahat said the drugs adversely affect the community by promoting immorality, poor performance in education and the spread of HIV/Aids.

The leaders also want sale of alcohol, condoms and video showing banned.

The North Eastern Provincial Medical Officer of Health Dr Osman Warfa said drug abuse is a big factor in the spread of HIV.

"The HIV prevalence rate in the town shot from 1.6 per cent to 2.6 per cent last year," he told the workshop. It is as a result of this revelation that the leaders proposed the ban.

Two days later, religious leaders met a section of youths to enlist their support.

This elicited mixed reactions from traders and consumers of the stimulant.

Mr Abdinassir Abdi, a taxi operator, said: "The ban is long overdue. It is time the future of the youths is protected. Many people have become useless and lazy as a result of drugs. I support the resolutions."

Miraa is an addictive plant and has taken toll on the socio-economic life of the province.

Activities in the province come to a halt in the afternoons when majority of the residents partake the stimulant.

Women traders

Some women complain that the shrub has contributed to breakdown of family values. "Men have abandoned their family roles and spend most of their income on the drug," Mrs Rukia Ali regretted.

Ironically, most of the miraa traders in the district are women unlike other parts of the country where men dominate the business.

They can be spotted at the dusty roadsides, mostly past midnight, selling the stimulant under a lantern lamp. Here, the lantern is a sign of a miraa outlet.

A report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) indicates that miraa trade is slowly overtaking livestock as the economic mainstay in this region. The twigs managed a near 5 per cent GDP growth in 2006.

In a province where alcohol is not consumed on religious grounds, miraa chewing is a favourite pastime.

A vehicle arriving with the twigs always stirs the sleepy villages. Not even the sweltering heat can stop women and men from scrambling for the stimulant.

When the delivery of fails, villagers become edgy and gloomy.

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A first time visitor here will be surprised by the sudden pandemonium of hooting vehicles and shouting announcing the arrival of miraa.

The driver of the miraa vehicle is usually accorded respect .

In the afternoons, it is common for major towns in Northern Kenya to be deserted, save the stray livestock.

Locals remain behind closed doors to chew miraa for several hours. The cross-legged residents also puff cigarettes and sip tea.

The effect of the stimulant is evident as they engage in animated talk. The dens become the region's parliament.

But this routine could be redefined if the religious leaders' proposal to ban the miraa takes effect.

The Rest @ AllAFrica


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Russia Trying To Buy Merchant of Death's Freedom With Weapons Sales

Russia has been doing everything within its power to free Vkitor Bout.
TBDA suggests that arms are, or continue to be shipped out of Romaina, Moldova and bulgaria toward Africa, possibly through Sudan, many using Viktor Bout's airline connections.

I am suggesting that the GRU wants their primary arms transporter, with his African connections, out of Jail to go to work.

Keep this in mind as you read this 19/10/09 Story from the US Neewsweek.

-Shimron Issachar



U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly nervous that notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout may soon be released from a Thai jail due in part to a pressure campaign by the Russian government aimed at blocking his extradition to the U.S. to stand trial on weapons trafficking charges.

The 42 year old Bout, a former Soviet military officer, has long been regarded by many veteran U.S. counter-terrrorism and intelligence officials as the ultimate "transnational criminal" – a character straight out of a James Bond novel who eluded capture for years as he allegedly supplied weapons of war to the Taliban, Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and a host of other rogue regimes, drug traffickers and criminal organizations.

In what was once viewed as a major coup for U.S. law enforcement, Bout was nabbed by Thai police in a Bangkok luxury hotel last year as part of an elaborate Drug Enforcement Administration sting operation. Bout has been indicted in a New York federal court for conspiring to supply the Colombian FARC, a State Department designated terrorist organization, with 700 surface to air missiles, thousands of guns, and airplanes outfitted with grenade launchers and missiles. Under U.S. law supplying weapons to any such organization can be prosecuted in American courts.

But Justice and State Department officials have been jolted by recent setbacks to their efforts to have Bout (often dubbed "the merchant of death") extradited.

"We may be having our worst nightmare realized -- one of the world's worst arms dealers is going to be let go," said Juan Zarate, the former White House counter-terrorism adviser under President Bush who had encouraged the DEA to launch the Bout sting and has continued to follow the case closely.

The most stunning defeat came in August when a Thai criminal court rejected the U.S. government's extradition request -- on what U.S. officials viewed as the ludicrous grounds that the FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, was a legitimate political organization and not a bona fide terrorist group. The ruling prompted the burly mustachioed Bout to stand up in court and flash a victory sign. Bout, for his part, has maintained his innocence and his associates maintain a website, that calls the charges against him "ficticious" and "propaganda."
The U.S., working with the Thai attorney general's office, immediately appealed. But late last month, officials in Washington were jolted anew when they got an alarming cable from the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. The cable reported that the judges on the Thai appellate court had secretly met with the arms dealer, his lawyer and translator on Sept. 15 - without anybody from the U.S. Embassy or the Thai attorney general's office being notified of the session, according to two U.S. law enforcement officials familiar with the cable who discussed its contents with Newsweek but declined to be identified talking about sensitive matters. An official at the Thai embassy in Washington emailed Newsweek a statement saying, "The Court is independent from the government. The government cannot issue a statement or intervene in the process in anyway which affect the outcome of the Court's decision."

(What has been especially infuriating, to U.S. officials, are repeated intelligence reports described to Newsweek by the officials, that the Russian government has been pulling out all stops to prevent Bout's extradition-including offering sweetheart oil deals --- apparently because of fears that if sent to the United States and confronted with the prospect of decades in federal prison, he may tell what he knows about the complicity of high level members of the Russian military and security services in his activities.

U.S. officials say it is no accident that the Russian Duma, controlled by former Prime Minister Vladimer Putin's party, passed a resolution last year officially denouncing Bout's "illegal prosecution" and that last February, Thailand made its first purchase ever of Russian helicopters, buying six mi-17 choppers for $9 million a piece.

"It's amazing the lengths to which [the Russians] are going," said one U.S. law enforcement official who is directly following the case. "The guy knows a lot. His connections go all the way to the top." (Officials at the Russian Embassy in Washington last week did not respond to a request for comment.)

All this has recently gotten the attention of top Obama administration officials. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder have both raised the issue with Thai government officials. And last week Deputy Attorney General David Ogden made the Bout case the prime topic of a meeting with Thailand's Minister of Justice in Bangkok, telling him and other Thai officials that Bout's extradition is "a matter of great importance to the United States."
The question for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, however, is whether the high level attention from Washington may be too little-- and too late.

, ,

The Rest @ Newsweek



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Uzbekistan Arms Trafficking

According to TBDA, Someone in Tashkent Toshkent Uzbekistan has persistently been tring to find Viktor Bout, over the last fortnight, and looking for a Viktor Bout airline connection. I am not sure how Ruslan Saidov is connected, but Badr and Tiramavia Ltd, astril and Botir airlines are being sought out.....

Shimron Issachar

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hawala and bank Dahabshiil - Abdirashid Duale How It Works

What follows is an excerpt from an interview of Abdirashid Duale, the founder of Dahabshiil. It was published by Somaliland Express on 09/09/09.



-Shimron Issachar

What makes you different from the other money transfer service providers like Western Union and Money Gram?


We are totally different from Western Union and Money Gram because we are inexpensive and oriented towards business as well. Dahabshiil like the other international money transfer services is a truly global operation providing a broad range of financial services to businesses both large and small and international organisations as well as the private individuals. We also operate under full banking licenses in a number of East African countries and are expanding this aspect of our business month on month.

  • We have 1,000 branches and agents in over 40 countries around the world and international offices in London and Dubai.
  • We have offices in 18 states in the US. We are the leading financial services organisation in the Horn of Africa. We focused on the quality of service.
  • We can transfer as much as a business man wants within seconds while our competitors may take some time. Our services are internet based like theirs but we put a lot of emphasis on the time factor.

The other difference we have from them is that we allow our customers to negotiate with us. A person sending US $100 to the US or UK will only pay $2 as service fee and when it is an inland transaction say sending money from Kampala to Arua, $100 will be sent for less than $2. We aim at serving more people while charging less so as to earn more.

The Rest @ Somaliland Express





Sunday, October 11, 2009

Reogranization of MNJ

INFORMATION

The Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ)announced a reorganization

has the honor to inform national and international opinion that since 09 October 2009, its delegation members Executive Movement from the MNJ reorganization of August 31, 2009, Located in Agadez.

Composition of the Delegation :1 --
  • Mr. KALAKOUWA Amoumoune : Chief of General Staff of the NJ and Executive Chairman of the Movement2 --
  • Mr. FELTOU Ghissa : Policy Coordinator, head of the NJ Committee for negotiations and a member of the Management Movement,3 --
  • Captain WARTARÈNE Aghali : Member of the General Staff of NJ and member of the Management Movement,4 --
  • Mr. MOHAMED Issony : Member of the General Staff of NJ and member of the Management Movement,5 --
  • Mr. HALIL Amoumoune : Member of the NJ Committee for negotiations and a member of the Management Movement,6 --
  • Mr. EZAGHAGUE Alhadi : Member of the NJ Committee for negotiations and a member of the Management Movement,7 --
  • Mr. Mohamed EKIJI : Member of the NJ Committee for negotiations and a member of the Management Movement.
  • This move follows a meeting of Sabha in Libya meeting at which the MNJ has shown its full availability and given all the guarantees for a return of peace in our country.

After Agadez, part of the delegation leaves today October 10, 2009 in Niamey for a meeting with more affrondie authorities in Niamey, before leaving for Tripoli, where they will be joined by other members of the Management Movement, including those living abroad and whose availability permitting, to implement the various commitments of Sabha.

Then return to Tripoli

  • 1 - Mr. KALAKOUWA Amoumoune,
  • 2 - Captain WARTARÈNE Aghali,
  • 3 - Mr. MOHAMED Issony,
  • 4 - Mr. Mohamed EKIJI

Remain in Agadez to address practical issues of combatants:

  • 1 - Mr. FELTOU Ghissa,
  • 2 - Mr. HALIL Amoumoune.
  • 3 - Mr. EZAGHAGUE Alhadi,

The Rest @

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pakistani Comando Raid Saves 25 Hostages

This attack demonstrates a step-up in hostage

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Pakistani commandos raided a building inside army headquarters early Sunday and freed 25 people held hostage for more than 18 hours by Islamist fighters, a military spokesman said. Three captives and four hostage-takers were killed, while one militant was believed to be on the run.

The audacious assault on the country's military establishment showed the strength of militants allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban ahead of a planned army offensive on their heartland in South Waziristan along the Afghan border and signaled that any push there would be met with more attacks across Pakistan.

The government said the siege had steeled its resolve to go through with the South Waziristan offensive, calling it "inevitable." The United States and Pakistan's other Western allies want the country to take more action against insurgents also blamed for soaring attacks on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Explosions and gunshots rang out as commandos moved into a building in the complex just before dawn Sunday, while a helicopter hovered in the sky. Three ambulances were seen driving out of the heavily fortified base close to the capital, Islamabad.

Two hours after the raid began, two new explosions were heard. The army said it was "mopping up" the remaining insurgents.

Up to five heavily armed militants took the hostages after they and about four other assailants attacked the main gate of the army headquarters Saturday, killing six soldiers, including a brigadier and a lieutenant colonel. Four of the attackers, who were wearing army uniforms, were killed.

No group claimed responsibility, but authorities said they were sure that the Pakistani Taliban or an allied Islamist militant group were behind the strike. The city is filled with security checkpoints and police roadblocks.

Army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said 20 of the hostages had been kept in a room guarded by a militant wearing a suicide vest who was shot and killed before he managed to detonate his explosives.

He said the 25 who were freed included soldiers and civilians. Three captives were killed, along with four militants, he said. "It was a very skilled rescue operation," he said.

One of the hostage-takers was believed to be on the run, and the military was searching for him, Abbas said.

Saturday's siege followed a car bombing that killed 49 on Friday in the northwestern city of Peshawar and the bombing of a U.N. aid agency earlier in the week that killed five in Islamabad. The string of attacks destroyed any remaining hope that the militants had been left a spent force by the death of Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. missile strike in August.

A week ago, Baitullah Mehsud's successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, told journalists summoned to a briefing in South Waziristan that the Taliban would launch more attacks on military, government and other targets in the country.

The army — which until 2001 had patronized various militant groups for use as proxiealley this year.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a Waziristan offensive was now "inevitable."

"We are going to come heavy on you," he warned the militants.

In its brazenness and sophistication, Saturday's assault resembled attacks in March in the eastern city of Lahore by teams of militants against the visiting Sri Lankan cricket team and a police training center, which the insurgents took over for eight hours before security forces retook it.

The attack began shortly before noon when the gunmen attacked the main gate with assault rifles and grenades after bundling out of a white van that reportedly had army license plates.

"There was fierce firing, and then there was a blast," said Khan Bahadur, a shuttle van driver who was standing outside the gate. "Soldiers were running here and there," he said. "The firing continued for about a half-hour. There was smoke everywhere. Then there was a break, and then firing again."

After a 45-minute gunfight, four of the attackers were killed, said Abbas, who initially told the Geo television news channel that the assault was over and the situation "under full control."

But more than an hour later, gunshots rang out from the headquarters compound, and Abbas then confirmed that other gunmen had eluded security forces and slipped into the compound.

A police intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday had warned in July that members of the Taliban along with Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group based in the country's Punjab province, were planning to attack army headquarters after disguising themselves as soldiers. The report was given to the AP by an official in the home affairs ministry in Punjab's home department.

Officials said Saturday that they had raided a house in the capital where the attackers were believed to have stayed. They found military uniforms and bomb-making equipment.

Militants regularly attack army bases across the country and bombed a checkpoint outside the army compound in Rawalpindi two years ago — one of several major bombings to hit the garrison city in recent years. But rarely have the Taliban mounted an armed assault in the city involving multiple fighters.

Associated Press writers Chris Brummitt and Asif Shahzad contributed to this report from Islamabad.




The Rest @ The AP

Friday, October 09, 2009

Viktor Bout, Arms Trafficker, May Be Released Soon

If Americans think we have problems with the recent disruption of a suspected terrorist cell in New York, they haven't seen anything yet.

An appellate court in Thailand appears primed to uphold a recent lower court ruling that will unleash Viktor Bout, universally known as the "Merchant of Death," back on the global community. To say that Bout is upset with the United States after spending more than a year in a Thai prison would be a gross understatement.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Council (NSC) and the Department of State, not to mention the United Nations, many other countries and several international human rights groups, had been tracking Bout for several years, and all believed he posed a formidable risk to our national security and the global community.

So it was no surprise when the NSC asked me, as the chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2007, to direct the agency's tradecraft at bringing Bout to justice. The NSC was impressed with the DEA's recent string of successes in apprehending a number of high-value terrorist-related suspects, all captured utilizing purely judicial methods - exactly what President Obama strongly advocates.

Bout, whose legendary character is the basis for the movie "Lord of War" and the subject of the highly successful book "Merchant of Death," has been held in prison since his arrest by Thai authorities. Bout, who many intelligence experts think is a former KGB agent, fell for an extraordinarily complex DEA undercover operation that lured him from Russia to Thailand for the sake of consummating a major arms deal with undercover DEA operatives, who he thought were representing the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

FARC, which is designated by the U.S., the European Union and many other nations as a terrorist organization, has also been labeled my most experts as the world's single-largest cocaine trafficking cartel. The DEA sting was closely coordinated with our intelligence community, as well as high-level officials of the same Thai justice system that could be turning this malevolent thug loose on a world that would be far safer if he were kept behind bars.

The evidence clearly reveals that Bout believed he was selling a massive quantity of AK-47 assault rifles, surface-to-air missiles and rocket-propelled grenades to FARC for use against U.S. personnel and interests. This latest event in Bout's shadowy existence adds yet another layer of intrigue onto the man who is responsible for facilitating terrorism, murder and genocide at levels unmatched by anyone else in recent time.

Bout exploded onto the international scene shortly after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when he effectively leveraged his high-level former Soviet military and intelligence contacts and pounced on a capitalistic opportunity to sell a limitless assortment of Soviet arms that had been stockpiled during the Cold War. I'm talking about everything from AK-47 assault rifles by the millions to such advanced heavy weapons as Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunships, tanks and Igla surface-to-air shoulder-fired missiles that can knock down commercial airliners as easily as a sawed-off shotgun could blast ducks in a barrel.

His clientele were the potpourri of modern-day scum: global terrorists, ruthless dictators, merciless drug kingpins and other transnational organized criminal groups. However, it is the mark that Bout left on Africa that qualifies him as the world's deadliest "shadow facilitator."

Bout flooded the continent with hundreds of thousands of AK-47s and other modern weaponry before his arrest. Those arms replaced machetes and other archaic weapons wielded by heavily exploited and drugged young boys, who made up the ranks of several insurgent groups, and instantly transformed them from random murderers into perverse, mindless killing machines operating with assembly-line efficiencies. A million or more innocent Africans were slaughtered.

The recent Thai lower-court ruling declared that Bout could not be prosecuted in Thailand because the country did not distinguish the FARC as a terrorist organization, nor did the court recognize the group as a "criminal organization," which is utterly ludicrous. Many nations do not agree with our country's list of designated terrorist organizations, but every responsible nation in the world recognizes FARC as an international organized crime powerhouse. And we did not ask Thailand to prosecute Bout; we simply asked that Thailand extradite him to the U.S., so we could prosecute on our own soil a treacherously dangerous man who is hell-bent on supporting terrorism directed at our country and mayhem throughout the world.

The arcane lower court decision came after a year's worth of judicial proceedings that strongly indicated the Thais would move to approve extradition. Many intelligence experts, as well as international human rights activists, think Thailand's judicial action is highly suspicious. One thing is for sure: the last thing Russia wants is Bout on American soil spilling his guts after getting a taste of American justice meted out in a federal courthouse.

Something else is certain: Treacherous men hold grudges. If the NSC thought Bout was a substantial threat to our national security before the DEA stung him hard, he will certainly be a greater danger once the Thai government unleashes him on the global community.

Michael A. Braun served as the assistant administrator and chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for four years before retiring in October 2008, after 34 years in law enforcement.

The Rest @ The Washington Post



Thursday, October 08, 2009

AQIM Threates Chines Workers in Algerian

DUBAI: A prominent Al-Qaida militant on Wednesday threatened to attack Chinese targets in "reprisal" for the July 5 riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

He urged Uygurs in Xinjiang to "make serious preparations" for a "holy war" against the Chinese government and called on fellow Muslims for support.

Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a video posted on an Islamist website yesterday, called for "a true return to their (Uygurs) religion and ... serious preparation for jihad in the path of God the Almighty and to carry weapons ..."

He urged the Muslim world to "support them (the Uygurs) with all they can".

It was not the first time a terrorist group has threatened to attack Chinese targets after the July 5 riots, in which nearly 200 civilians, most of them Han Chinese, were killed.

In mid-July, Al-Qaida's Algerian-based offshoot, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), issued a call for "reprisals".

AQIM pledged to target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria as well as Chinese projects and workers across northwest Africa, said the London-based international consultancy Stirling Assynt.

The Chinese embassy in Algeria then issued a statement on its website urging Chinese organizations and citizens in Algeria to be on alert.

Justin Crump, head of terrorism and country risk with Stirling Assynt, told China Daily: "Although AQIM appears to be the first arm of Al-Qaida to officially state they will target Chinese interests, others are likely to follow".

In August, the leader of a group calling itself the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) urged Muslims to attack Chinese interests worldwide.

TIP has claimed violent attacks in the past, including the bombing of two public buses in Shanghai in May last year.

The Rest @ Reuters - China Daily



Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Money Laundering Scheme Exposed

Srinagar, Oct 8 (IANS)

A money laundering (hawala) racket run to fund the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) seperatist group was busted in Jammu and Kashmir, a police official said Thursday.
On a tip-off, police arrested a trader from the uptown Hyderpora locality of Srinagar a few days back, the official said.

“During interrogation, the trader revealed that he and his accomplices in Jammu and Amritsar (in Punjab) have been running a hawala racket to fund LeT cadres,” the officer told IANS here.

On the revelations made by the trader, police have also arrested a trader in Jammu and another in Amritsar, he said.

“The arrested traders had been taking a 40 percent cut for running and supporting the racket and passing on the other 60 percent to LeT militant group,” the officer said.

According to police, traders would receive pulses and other goods from Pakistan-administered Kashmir through the Line of Control (LOC) and sell the received merchandize here without sending any goods in return. The trade along the LoC is on a barter basis.

The Rest @ The Indian