Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Hi, if for any reason you are tired of getting these forwards on the world
situation please let me know. I'll take you off my list.
This, I assume, appeared first in German.

> June 6, 2005
> Osama's Road to Riches and Terror
> By Georg Mascolo and Erich Follath
> The Bin Laden family disowned black sheep Osama in 1994. But have
> they really broken with the mega-terrorist? Recently revealed
> classified documents seem to suggest otherwise. Osama's violent
> career has been made possible in part by the generosity of his
> family -- and by his contacts with the Saudi royals.
> In early spring 2002, American intelligence agents tipped off
> authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina that something wasn't quite right
> with the "Benevolence International Foundation." Their reaction was
> swift; special forces stormed eight offices of the Islamic foundation
> in Sarajevo and in Zenica. They found weapons and explosives, videos
> and flyers calling for holy war. More importantly, however, they
> discovered a computer with a mysterious file entitled "Tarich Osama" -
> - Arabic for "Osama's Story."
> After printing out the file -- close to 10,000 pages worth -- the
> intelligence experts quickly realized they had stumbled upon a true
> goldmine. They were looking at nothing less than the carefully
> documented story of al-Qaida, complete with scanned letters, minutes
> of secret meetings, photos and notes -- some even written in Osama
> Bin Laden's handwriting. CIA experts secured the highly sensitive
> material, dubbed "Golden Chain," and took everything back to the
> United States. To this day, only fragments of the material have been
> published. Now, however, SPIEGEL magazine has been given complete
> access to the entire series of explosive documents dating from the
> late 1980s to the early 1990s.
> During that time, Osama bin Laden, known as "OBL" in CIA parlance,
> was primarily interested in "preserving the spirit of jihad" that had
> developed during the successful Afghanistan campaign -- a fight which
> saw an international group of Muslim fighters stand up to the mighty
> Soviet army. Bin Laden wanted to expand the group's activities to
> battle "the infidels" in the West. A full decade before the attacks
> on the Twin Towers, the documents make horrifyingly clear, bin Laden
> was already dreaming of "staging a major event for the mass media, to
> generate donations."
> Finances are the focal point in these early al-Qaida documents. OBL,
> as one of the heirs of a large construction company, had a
> substantial fortune at his disposal, but it was still not enough to
> finance global jihad. The Saudi elite -- and his own family -- came
> to his assistance.
> "Be generous when doing God's work"
> The evidence lies in the most valuable document investigators managed
> to acquire: a list of al-Qaida's key financial backers. The list,
> titled with a verse from the Koran, "Let us be generous when doing
> God's work," is a veritable who's who of the Middle Eastern monarchy,
> including the signatures of two former cabinet ministers, six bankers
> and twelve prominent businessmen. The list also mentions "the bin
> Laden brothers." Were these generous backers aware, at the time, that
> were not just donating money to support the aggressive expansion of
> the teaching of the Islamic faith, but were also financing acts of
> terror against non-believers? Did "the bin Laden brothers," who first
> pledged money to Al-Qaida and then, in 1994, issued a joint press
> statement declaring that they were ejecting Osama from the family as
> a "black sheep," truly break ties with their blood relatives -- or
> were they simply pulling the wool over the eyes of the world?
> Vincent Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism for the CIA,
> says, "I tracked the bin Ladens for years. Many family members
> claimed that Osama was no longer one of them. It's an easy thing to
> say, but blood is usually thicker than water."
> Carmen bin Laden, a sister-in-law of the terrorist, who lived with
> the extended family in Jeddah for years, says, "I absolutely do not
> believe that the bin Ladens disowned Osama. In this family, a brother
> is always a brother, no matter what he has done. I am convinced that
> the complex and tightly woven network between the bin Laden clan and
> the Saudi royal family is still in operation."
> French documentary filmmaker Joël Soler even goes so far as to refer
> to the family as "A Dynasty of Terror," in his somewhat speculative
> made-for-TV piece.
> But could this really be possible? Are the bin Ladens
> (or "Binladins," as they more commonly spell it), with their 25
> brothers, 29 sisters, in-laws, aunts and, by now, at least 15
> children of Osama, nothing but a clan of terrorists? Or are relatives
> being taken to task for the crimes of one family member, all on the
> strength of legends and conspiracy theories?
> American celebrity attorney Ron Motley plans to file a lawsuit
> against alleged Saudi backers of al-Qaida on behalf of hundreds of
> families who lost relatives in the terrorist attacks of September 11,
> 2001. Listed among the defendants summoned by federal judge Richard
> Casey at Motley's request in January 2005 were Osama and one of his
> brothers, as well as the family's billion-dollar business in Jeddah,
> the "Saudi Binladin Group."
> Tracking the bin Ladens across the globe
> To form an impression of this rather unique extended family, one
> would have to travel to the desert kingdom, where it has its roots,
> as well as to Washington, Geneva, London and the border region
> between Pakistan and Afghanistan -- in other words, to all those
> places where the bin Ladens have left their tracks or where they live
> today. And the best way to get to the bottom of this clan is to piece
> together its many parts. Only then will it become more apparent
> whether the bin Ladens are a clan of terrorists or (with one well-
> known exception) a terribly affable family.
> The bin Laden story, with its dramatic twists and turns, almost comes
> across as an Arab version of Thomas Mann's novel "Buddenbrooks." In
> both cases, it's the story of an imposing patriarch, who has managed
> to hold the clan together, and of his sons, who cannot or do not wish
> to stop the family's moral decline.
> "We have a mayor and all kinds of political heavyweights. But the
> truly ruler of Jeddah is Bakr bin Laden," says an informer who agreed
> to speak only under condition of anonymity. "But Bakr is never seen
> in public, and when he does occasionally go to the Intercontinental
> Hotel for dinner -- usually with Osama's son Abdullah -- he has the
> entire restaurant closed. During a tour of the city, the source
> points out a glass and steel palace not far from the city's downtown
> area, with its twisting alleyways and smattering of restored old
> houses. It's the headquarters of SBG, the secretive realm of Bakr Bin
> Laden, 58, the son of the family's patriarch and chairman of the
> company's board of directors.
> Jeddah is the place where the clan's founding father began his
> astonishing career. And it's also the place where the first family
> member became connected with Islamic terrorism -- not Osama, but his
> older brother, Mahrus bin Laden. US authorities have also clearly
> linked another member of the clan, Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, who is
> married to one of Osama's sisters, to terrorist attacks abroad.
> Although Bin Laden senior -- Mohammed bin Laden -- was practically
> illiterate, he was blessed with tremendous energy and keen sense of
> business. In 1930, he left his village, Ribat, in the desperately
> poor Yemeni region of Hadramaut, and headed north. In Jeddah, then a
> small city, he eked out a living as a porter for pilgrims,
> steadfastly saving his earnings to start his own company.
> A year later, when the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia gained its
> independence, the immigrant from the south was still struggling to
> make ends meet. But he quickly recognized the two factors that were
> becoming increasingly important in his adopted country: oil, which
> had been flowing from Saudi wells since 1938, and, with its enormous
> profits, was revolutionizing the country's traditional society and
> causing nomadic tribes to take up roots; and the country's
> authoritarian king, whose patronage sometimes determined survival,
> but always determined social advancement.
> A third factor that was critical to the success of the state, and was
> symbiotically linked with the monarchy from the very beginning, was
> the religious establishment in its uniquely Saudi form. The
> principles of Wahhabism-- as Saudi Islam is known -- have their roots
> with the 18th century radical zealot Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the Sauds'
> most powerful ally in their efforts to take control of the peninsula.
> After the founding of the Saudi state, fundamentalism became the
> official religion.
> The royal court builder
> Mohammed bin Laden had no quarrels with either the preachers or the
> princes; his only goal was to make it to the top, and the
> construction business was the ideal launching pad. The kingdom needed
> roads, railroads and airports. Bin Laden senior built ramps in the
> palace for the handicapped King Abd al-Aziz's wheelchair and highways
> into the mountains for his luxury cars. Bin Laden was later named
> Minister of Public Spending, and the royal family even awarded him
> the contract to renovate the country's holy sites. The family
> business, SBG, quickly developed into the court builder for the
> entire Saudi infrastructure.
> Following an old Islamic tradition, the bin Laden senior kept
> numerous wives. In 1956, he sired child number 17 with a Syrian woman
> from Latakia, and the boy was named Osama. It must have been
> difficult for the patriarch to keep track of his family; ten years
> later, child number 54 was born -- Mohammed bin Laden's last
> offspring. In 1968, the patriarch was killed when his Cessna, piloted
> by an American, crashed -- a foreshadowing of things to come.
> The king placed the family business, SBG, under the management of a
> trustee, making the bin Laden sons the de facto wards of the monarch.
> Osama was ten years old at the time and he was occasionally allowed
> to ride along on the company's bulldozers. But he had hardly known
> his father -- a deficit he recognized only later in life when he
> elevated the family's patriarch to the status of Spiritus Rector in
> matters of Islamic fundamentalism.
> Even as a boy, Osama was always considered the "holy one" in the
> family. He drew attention to himself when he denounced school soccer
> tournaments as a godless waste of time and assiduously monitored the
> houses of neighbors, taking it upon himself to enforce the state's
> prohibition of music. He enrolled in the economics program at
> Jeddah's King Abd al-Aziz University, where the curriculum was
> determined by anti-Western agitators from the Egyptian Muslim
> Brotherhood.
> The family became divided, into a more stationary branch, and
> an "international" branch that settled across the globe. One member
> of the latter camp was Salem bin Laden. He attended a British
> university, married a woman from an upper-class British family, and
> vacationed in Disneyland. In 1972, when the Saudi government
> relinquished control over SBG, Salem, as the family's eldest son, was
> named head of the company and quickly made it clear that he had no
> compunctions about doing business with the United States.
> Salem bin Laden established the company's ties to the American
> political elite when, according to French intelligence sources, he
> helped the Reagan administration circumvent the US Senate and funnel
> $34 million to the right-wing Contra rebels operating in Nicaragua.
> He also developed close ties with the Bush family in Texas. But
> Salem's successors, not Salem, were the ones who were able to fully
> capitalize on these connections. In 1988, Salem died in a plane crash
> near San Antonio, Texas, when the aircraft he was piloted became
> entangled in a power line. After Salem's death, Bakr took control of
> SBG.
> Brother terrorist
> In the meantime, trouble was brewing at home in Saudi Arabia -- in
> Mecca, of all places, and with the presumed involvement of a family
> member. In November 1979, insurgents occupied and barricaded
> themselves into Islam's holiest site, demanding an end to corruption
> and wastefulness in Saudi Arabia and charging the royal family with
> having lost its legitimacy by currying favor with the West. It was an
> act of terror that foreshadowed every major plank of the al-Qaida
> platform of radical fundamentalism -- and it was no coincidence that
> this radical group was lead by members of the Muslim Brotherhood with
> ties to Osama's professors.
> At the time, Osama was still entrenched in Saudi society, but his
> older brother, Mahrus, maintained ties to the fanatics. It's even
> speculated that he may have used his access to SBG's offices to
> obtain the renovation plans for the Great Mosque, together with all
> its secret passageways, and handed them over to the radicals. In any
> event, the fanatics forced their way onto the mosque's grounds in a
> truck that was later identified as a Binladin company vehicle.
> Mahrus bin Laden was arrested, but was then released for lack of
> evidence. The terrorist attack turned into a nightmare for the
> authorities. With the help of French special forces, the Saudis
> managed to overcome the attackers, but only after a two-week siege
> and a bloody battle claiming more than a hundred lives. For Mahrus's
> career, however, the affair proved to be nothing more than a minor
> speed bump and he later resurfaced as head of SBG's office in Medina.
> In late 1979, Osama, with the royal family's blessing, set off for
> Afghanistan to participate in the jihad against the Soviet Union,
> which had invaded its neighbor to the south. Both the CIA and Saudi
> Arabia helped fund the Mujahedeen's armed struggle against the
> communist "infidels." Prince Turki, head of the Saudi secret service,
> visited Osama several times in Afghanistan and heavy equipment
> provided by the SBG family business was used to excavate secret
> tunnels. For Osama, the support of the Saud family and the bin Ladens
> became a reliable source of funding.
> In 1990, after his triumph in Afghanistan, OBL offered the Saudi
> royal family the use of his troops to battle Saddam Hussein, whose
> forces had invaded Kuwait. But King Fahd decided instead to bring in
> American forces. The decision proved to be a financial coup for the
> family business, which helped build military bases for the outsiders,
> but it was turning point in Osama's life. Embittered, he went to
> Sudan in 1992, where he built training camps and organized attacks
> with his al-Qaida group, especially against "infidels" from the
> United States. He also made sure that the planning of terrorist
> activities remained in the family. His brother-in-law, Mohammed Jamal
> Khalifa, was involved in the first terrorist attack on the World
> Trade Center in 1993. On his visa application for the United States,
> he had listed his occupation as an "employee of the Saudi Binladin
> Group." Khalifa was briefly detained in the United States, but was
> then deported to Jordan, where he was released because of formal
> legal errors. In the past, he had also been implicated as a financial
> backer of the Philippine Abu Sayyaf terrorist organization.
> © DER SPIEGEL 23/2005
> Tracking Osama's Kin Around the World
> By Erich Follath and Georg Mascolo
> Osama bin Laden's family has disavowed itself from its
> terrorist "black sheep," but the discrepancies are considerable. In
> interviews with his family that took our reporters to Paris,
> Arlington, Virginia, Geneva and the furthest-flung corners of
> Pakistan, we take a closer look and the ties he may or may not still
> have to his relatives.
> Editor's Note: This is the second in a two-part series. You can read
> the first installment here.
> Osama also stayed in touch with his friends from the Saudi
> intelligence agency, even after Libya issued a warrant for his
> arrest, charging bin Laden with alleged involvement in the murder of
> two Germans -- an official working for Germany's Federal Office for
> the Protection of the Constitution and his wife. Prince Turki sent
> Osama's mother, Hamida, and his brother Bakr to the Sudanese capital,
> Khartoum, several times to convince Osama to abandon his terrorist
> activities. The visits were so frequent that Israel's intelligence
> agency, the Mossad, believed at the time that Osama was a Saudi spy.
> Washington increasingly came under pressure to do something about
> OBL, especially after his involvement in attacks in Somalia and
> Yemen. The US government met with Saudi officials behind the scenes,
> confronting them with satellite images of al-Qaida training camps in
> northern Sudan. In April 1994, King Fahd finally revoked Osama bin
> Laden's Saudi Arabian citizenship. The bin Laden family followed
> suit, issuing a sparse, two-sentence statement, signed by Bakr,
> disowning Osama.
> Despite these actions, OBL was still far from being a "black sheep"
> with no ties to his native country. Saudi intelligence chief Prince
> Turki visited bin Laden several times after he had moved from Sudan
> to Afghanistan to join forces with the radical Taliban. Turki
> allegedly brought along expensive gifts to Kandahar, in the form of
> dozens of pickup trucks. According to a former member of the Taliban
> intelligence service, Prince Turki and OBL made a deal: The Saudis
> would support al-Qaida financially, but only under the condition that
> there would be no attacks on Saudi soil. (Prince Turki, now Saudi
> Arabia's ambassador to Great Britain, has denied these claims,
> telling SPIEGEL that they are "nothing but fantasy.")
> On Jan. 9, 2001, OBL attended his son Mohammed's wedding in Kandahar,
> accompanied, according to CIA sources, by his mother and two of his
> brothers. The CIA also claims that "two of Osama's sisters traveled
> to Abu Dhabi" a month later, where they met with an al-Qaida agent at
> the Gulf emirate's airport to deliver large sums of cash.
> In mid-January 2005, New York federal judge Richard Casey wrote, in
> his grounds for allowing the civil suit against SBG filed by the
> families of 9/11 victims, that "the Saudi Binladin Group maintained
> close relationships with Osama bin Laden at certain times," and that
> it remains "unclear" whether these ties continued when OBL became
> involved in terrorism.
> Can this global company, with its close ties to the Saudi royal
> family, truly be brought to trial, or will the US government,
> officially allied with Riyadh in its "war on terror," work behind the
> scenes to have the case dismissed? SBG has already demonstrated its
> willingness to work with the West by entering into joint ventures
> with Motorola and a deal with Disney, and has also been Porsche's
> official agent in the kingdom. Moreover, SBG is developing new
> airport security equipment in Saudi Arabia, as well as building
> housing for US managers working in the oil industry.
> In Kazakhstan, the Saudi Binladin Group is helping build the
> country's new capital, Astana. In Syria, SBG and a Spanish company
> jointly operate the country's biggest olive oil processing plant. And
> in Dubai, the family company has just submitted a bid for a portion
> of the construction of what will be the world's tallest building.
> Next to aircraft, it seems, the bin Ladens see towers as a special
> challenge.
> HOTEL "PLAZA ATHÉNÉE". A dinner appointment with Yeslam bin Laden at
> one the French capital's most expensive and exclusive restaurants.
> He did not reserve a table. Was it because he doesn't like to
> identify himself as a bin Laden on the phone? "No no," says Osama's
> brother, "despite everything, I am proud of our family's name. But
> they know me here, so I don't need a reservation." Indeed, the staff,
> apparently accustomed to princely gratuities, practically bends over
> backward for bin Laden, a regular here, and seats us at the best
> table in the restaurant. Yeslam bin Laden, 55, orders a steak, medium
> rare. "Osama and I grew up very differently, and I never shared his
> system of beliefs," says Yeslam bin Laden.
> When Yeslam was six, his mother sent him to a school in Beirut,
> because it was far more liberal there than in Saudi Arabia. He later
> attended schools and universities in Sweden and England. Although he
> spent his vacations at home, he saw his father "rarely," and
> his "half-brother Osama no more than three or four times, the last
> time in 1987 or thereabouts." He says that his only clear memory of
> Osama is of his strict condemnation of music, and his religious
> fanaticism, which struck Yeslam as odd. Yeslam himself believes
> religion is a personal matter, and he refuses to take responsibility
> for others. "Am I my brother's keeper?" he asks, calling himself
> an "enlightened Muslim," clearly alluding to the biblical story of
> Cain and Abel.
> As a young man, Yeslam went to night clubs, drove a Porsche and
> earned his pilot's license. He studied business administration in Los
> Angeles. Photos from his college days show him with his Persian
> fiancée, a long-haired, happy hippy couple ensconced in the
> California lifestyle. He rarely received visitors from Saudi Arabia.
> One of these visitors was his devout brother Mahfus, who brought news
> of the bin Laden family, the Saudi royals and the Wahhabite clerics.
> But despite his worldly influences, Yeslam bin Laden retained his
> Saudi roots and insisted on a wedding in Jeddah. Against his wife
> Carmen's will, the women were fully veiled at the ceremony.
> After living in the United States, Yeslam spent more than a decade
> and a half in Saudi Arabia -- from 1977 to 1984 -- where he was one
> of the leading executives in the family company in Jeddah. After a
> dispute with his brothers over SBG's finances, Yeslam went to Geneva,
> where he founded an investment company that specialized in managing
> large fortunes. There were soon rumors that Yeslam had reconciled
> with Bakr and was involved once again in business dealings with the
> bin Laden family. He dreamed of the birth of a son, and probably of
> rising to the top of SBG management in Jeddah.
> When Yeslam's third daughter was born in April 1987 and he began
> spending long periods away from home, his marriage failed. According
> to his wife Yeslam, worried about his business, he became
> increasingly tense. Members of the Saudi royal family were now
> traveling to Geneva regularly and demanding his attention, especially
> the influential Prince Mishal. Yeslam bin Laden's divorce developed,
> as he himself says, into a bitter "War of the Roses." But in 2001,
> after years of troubles, he was finally successful on another front
> when he was granted Swiss citizenship. What is Yeslam's relationship
> with his brother Osama, who, as he claims, he last saw 18 years ago?
> "9/11 was a tremendous shock for me," says Yeslam, now an upstanding
> citizen of Geneva who has also donated many thousands of dollars to
> the local film festival. "Osama had long since become a stranger to
> me, nothing but a name one reads in the newspaper," he says. "I felt
> that I was being held responsible for the crimes of a relative." The
> offices of his Geneva-based Saudi Investment Company (Sico) and his
> properties near Cannes were searched by the authorities, "just like
> that, on the strength of suspicion," he says. In early 2001, he
> registered the name "Bin Laden" as a trademark. He planned to
> establish a fashion house that would sell Bin Laden jeans but then,
> heeding the advice of friends, he abandoned the idea after
> 9/11: "After the incidents in New York, it would have been seen as a
> label in poor taste."
> He developed a new business idea in the fall of 2004, a line of
> perfume. It's named "Yeslam," after its inventor and, according to
> its advertising, marries the scents of jasmine and lilies of the
> valley with an underlying note of sandalwood. In ads for the perfume,
> this combination of scents produces "a penetrating but gentle message
> for those who yearn for inner peace." The company plans to sell
> 60,000 bottles to its peace-loving customers.
> Everything could work out for the best in Yeslam's world -- if only
> these new, hateful accusations would go away. A shadow lies over the
> man who tries to be pro-American and anti-Osama with every fiber of
> his being. In late December 2004, the French paper Le Monde reported
> that examining magistrate Renaud von Ruymbeke plans to investigate
> the bin Laden family's allegedly dubious financial dealings.
> At the center of the investigation is an account that brothers Omar
> and Heidar bin Laden opened in 1990 with Swiss bank UBS with an
> initial deposit of $450,000. According to documents presented to the
> court, this account was still in existence in 1997, and only two
> people were authorized to conduct transactions: Yeslam and Osama bin
> Laden. The French court also intends to investigate information
> suggesting that €241 million were funneled from Switzerland to
> shadowy bank accounts in Pakistan through Akberali Moawalla, a former
> business partner of Sico and an acquaintance of Yeslam. Could all
> this have occurred with Yeslam's involvement or knowledge?
> "I am not involved in money-laundering, and especially not with al-
> Qaida," says Yeslam bin Laden, his voice becoming slightly hoarse and
> edgy. He says that he never used the alleged UBS account and,
> probably for this reason, forgot about it. He takes pains to point
> out that he has not been charged with anything, neither by the New
> York court nor the French judge. He says that he is "innocent until
> proven guilty" -- another Western concept that this man living
> between cultures values, knowing full well that it carries no
> particular weight in his native country.
> AND "HARRY'S TAP ROOM". It's a relatively inconspicuous burger-and-
> seafood restaurant conveniently located halfway between the White
> House and CIA headquarters in nearby Langley, Virginia. We are here
> for a meeting with the CIA agent who hunted down Osama, tried to shed
> light on the bin Laden family's business dealings, and probably knows
> a great deal about the mysterious departure of more than a dozen bin
> Laden family members from the United States after 9/11. This is the
> man who published the bestseller "Imperial Hubris" last year under
> the nom de plume "Anonymous."
> Anonymous now has a name and a face. His name is Mike Scheuer, and a
> gray beard partially covers his finely-chiseled academic face. He
> resigned from the CIA after 22 years of service, because he was no
> longer able to remain anonymous. Journalists were on the verge of
> uncovering his identity, and his book was facing harsh criticism from
> the White House. "That was when I did what had to be done," says
> Scheuer, 52, before taking a bite of his hamburger. He leaves his
> French fries untouched, glancing at his stomach. Being overweight
> isn't exactly part of the image someone wants to convey who, as a CIA
> field agent, helped arm the mujahedeen to fight the Russians in
> Afghanistan and who, in 1996, was placed in charge of "Alec," the top-
> secret unit authorized by former President Bill Clinton to hunt down
> bin Laden.
> It was the first time an entire CIA station focused on a single man.
> Scheuer headed the special unit for three years until his superiors,
> angered by his complaints that the hunt for the world's top terrorist
> was being conducted half-heartedly, reassigned him for the first
> time. But he was brought back after Sept. 11, 2001, when it became
> clear that his bleak predictions had come true. But Scheuer's
> criticism of the Iraq war ultimately destroyed his good standing with
> the White House. "Bush strengthened the terrorists with his invasion,
> but it was a truth that they didn't want to hear."
> Scheuer's axis of evil differs markedly from the president's. He
> believes that Pakistan and, even more so, Saudi Arabia are the
> epicenters of global violence. "Many Saudis support the terrorists in
> Iraq to this day - but we're the ones who are putting up the money --
> by paying $50 for a barrel of oil and making ourselves dependent on
> oil imports."
> Scheuer, an experienced intelligence expert, doubts that the entire
> bin Laden family has severed ties with Osama: "I haven't seen
> anything in the last 10 years that's convinced me that would be the
> case." In his view, SBG still derives some of its profits from
> business dealings in the Islamic world that can be linked to the
> family's supposed "black sheep." "He's treated as a hero almost
> everywhere over there," says Scheuer.
> The CIA came close to capturing OBL several times. On one occasion,
> during the al-Qaida leadership's hasty retreat from the Afghan city
> of Kandahar in the fall of 2001, family passports were inadvertently
> left behind. Saad, a son of Osama bin Laden, was supposedly sent back
> to al-Qaida headquarters to make sure the documents wouldn't fall
> into the hands of the Americans. When he realized he had forgotten
> the combination for the safe, he used a cell phone to get the
> information, directly violating his father's strict instructions.
> Several different intelligence agencies picked up the call, but by
> then it was too late to act.
> According to Scheuer, members of the bin Ladin family who were doing
> business in the United States or studying at US universities were
> almost completely inaccessible. "My counterparts at the FBI
> questioned one of the bin Ladens," the former CIA agent recalls. "But
> then the State Department received a complaint from a law firm, and
> there was a huge uproar. We were shocked to find out that the bin
> Ladens in the United States had diplomatic passports, and that we
> weren't allowed to talk to them."
> Scheuer believes that these diplomatic privileges also helped the bin
> Ladens get out of the United States quickly after September 11, in a
> bizarre episode that has even been probed by the US Congress and an
> investigative commission.
> Only two days after the attacks, when the US government had just
> reopened US air space, charter jets began taking off from various
> cities. Nine pilots flew 142 Saudi Arabians back to the kingdom. On
> Sept. 20, 2001, the "bin Laden jet" took off from St. Louis, making
> stops in Los Angeles, Orlando, Washington and Boston. At each stop,
> the plane picked up more half-brothers, nephews, nieces and cousins
> of public enemy number one. At that point, the FBI had already begun
> investigating two of the bin Ladens who were flown out of the
> country. They both lived in Falls Church, a suburb of Washington, and
> were officials in the "World Assembly of Muslim Youth."
> Richard Clarke, for many years the chief of counterterrorism at the
> White House, has revealed that he was responsible for the flights. He
> says that he grantedhis approval after having been asked to handle
> the issue. And by whom? Perhaps by Bush's chief of staff, Andrew
> Card, after coordinating the plan with Saudi ambassador Prince
> Bandar, a close friend of the First Family? "I would be happy tell
> you, but I don't remember," Clarke told a Senate investigating panel -
> - few believe he was telling the truth.
> Of course, former CIA agent Scheuer is well aware that the bin
> Ladens, as investors in and customers of the Carlyle Group, an
> investment company, had common business interests with the Bushs. In
> fact, until October 2003 George W.'s father and predecessor in the
> White House still worked as an "advisor" for Carlyle, which is also
> involved in the defense sector. Although Scheuer is no wild-eyed
> conspiracy theorist, he also believes that the US government
> was "unusually" accommodating to the bin Ladens. Does he regret
> leaving the CIA, and does he dream of returning? Scheuer, a father of
> four, says: "I liked my job. I wanted to protect the country against
> its enemies -- but not the president against his critics."
> Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
> © DER SPIEGEL 23/2005.
> ********************************************************************
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

fwd: Pakistani Terror Camps Scatter, Persist;

This whole episode has some strange elements to it. What it reveals about
Pakistan may be the most interesting part of it. RLC

Subject: Pakistani Terror Camps Scatter, Persist;
Date: Jun 20, 2005

> Los Angeles Times
> June 20, 2005 Monday
> Terror Camps Scatter, Persist;
> Recent arrests in Lodi, Calif., illustrate what authorities say is
> the failure of Pakistan to halt elusive militant training groups.
> by Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer
> U.S. counter-terrorism authorities say that the detention of a Lodi,
> Calif.-based group of Pakistani men this month underscores a serious
> problem: the Islamabad government's failure to dismantle hundreds of
> jihadist training camps.
> Long before the FBI arrested Hamid Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat,
> and accused the son of attending one of the camps, law enforcement
> and intelligence officials were watching the Pakistan-based training
> sites with increasing anxiety.
> Technically, they say, the Pakistani government was probably right
> when it declared this month that the younger Hayat could not have
> received training at a "jihadist" camp near Rawalpindi since that is
> the home to Pakistan's military and its feared intelligence agency,
> Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.
> But that's because the Pakistani officials were referring to
> the "old" kind of Al Qaeda camp shown endlessly on TV, in which
> masked jihadists run around in broad daylight, detonating explosives,
> firing automatic weapons and practicing kidnappings, these officials
> say.
> Since the post-Sept. 11 military strikes on Al Qaeda strongholds in
> Pakistan's tribal territories, the jihadist training effort has
> scattered and gone underground, where it is much harder to detect and
> destroy, U.S. and Pakistani officials said in interviews.
> Instead of large and visible camps, would-be terrorists are being
> recruited, radicalized and trained in a vast system of smaller, under-
> the-radar jihadist sites.
> And the effort is no longer overseen by senior Al Qaeda operatives as
> it was in Afghanistan, but by at least three of Pakistan's largest
> militant groups, which are fueled by a shared radical fundamentalist
> Islamic ideology. The militant groups have long maintained close ties
> to Osama bin Laden and his global terrorist network, according to
> those officials and several unpublicized U.S. government reports.
> The groups themselves -- Harkat-ul-Mujahedin, or HuM; Jaish-e-
> Mohammed; and Lashkar-e-Taiba -- have officially been banned in
> Pakistan since 2002 and have been formally designated as terrorist
> organizations by the U.S. government. That has prompted occasional
> crackdowns by Islamabad, but the groups merely change their names and
> occasionally their leadership and resume operations, authorities say.
> The groups wield tremendous political influence, are well-funded and
> are said to have tens of thousands of fanatical followers, including
> a small but unknown number of Americans who have entered the system
> after first enrolling at Pakistan-based Islamic schools, or madrasas.
> U.S. officials also accuse them of complicity in many of the
> terrorist attacks against American and allied interests in Pakistan
> and other assaults in the disputed Kashmir region.
> Many U.S. officials say it's not surprising that Pakistani President
> Pervez Musharraf hasn't cracked down harder on the militant groups
> and what they describe as their increasingly extensive training
> activities.
> For years, the ISI itself has worked closely with the groups in
> training Pakistan's own network of militants to fight ongoing
> conflicts in Kashmir and elsewhere, and to protect the country's
> interests in neighboring Afghanistan. The militant groups also derive
> tremendous influence from their affiliations with increasingly
> powerful fundamentalist political parties in Pakistan.
> Until recently, the United States did not press the issue with its
> ally, believing that those trained in the Pakistani camps would be
> sent only to fight in Kashmir and other regional conflicts.
> But that's not the case anymore, according to U.S. and South Asian
> intelligence agencies.
> The U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bin Laden's
> campaign to forge a global jihad have caused many of the Pakistan-
> based terrorists to redirect their rage toward U.S. targets, both
> abroad and perhaps even on American soil, according to the
> intelligence cited by numerous U.S. officials and counter-terrorism
> experts.
> One of the men believed most responsible for this shift is Maulana
> Fazlur Rehman Khalil, a former leader of HuM, who has been connected
> to some of the detained men in the Lodi case.
> The group previously known as HuM is now called Jamiat-ul-Ansar, and
> Khalil continues to play an important but less public role in it,
> U.S. officials said. They also believe Khalil remains closely aligned
> with Pakistani intelligence services and senior Al Qaeda leaders.
> Khalil was one of the original signers of Bin Laden's 1998 fatwa, or
> holy decree, in which he told Muslims that it was their religious
> duty to kill Americans whenever and wherever they could. That same
> year, Khalil also vowed to attack America in retaliation for the U.S.
> bombing of two of HuM's Al Qaeda-affiliated training camps in
> Afghanistan, which killed dozens of his followers and some Pakistani
> intelligence officers.
> U.S. intelligence officials believe that over the last two years in
> particular, the three militant groups and some smaller ones have
> taken in thousands of Al Qaeda soldiers and senior operatives as well
> as Taliban officials who fled Afghanistan and Pakistan's border areas
> to escape the U.S.-Pakistani dragnet.
> During that time, the camps have also become magnets for would-be
> terrorists aspiring to commit attacks against U.S. interests, the
> American officials and other experts say. The result, they say, is
> that it has become nearly impossible to get a handle on what they
> fear is a serious and growing terrorism problem in Pakistan.
> "We once knew who the enemy was and what groups were the enemy. And
> it's become much more difficult to discern that now," said Bruce
> Hoffman, a chairman of the Rand Corp. and a counter-terrorism
> consultant to the U.S. government.
> "There is tremendous overlap, and that is the problem, between Bin
> Laden and Al Qaeda, the Pakistani authorities and the Kashmiri
> groups," said Hoffman, who has observed the Pakistani militant groups
> for decades. "The overt connections may have been broken but there
> are wheels within wheels, and who the group actually is affiliated
> with is hard to tell."
> Hoffman and several U.S. officials said the groups frequently
> splinter and re-form, but that increasingly, "it doesn't matter which
> group they join because they are all feeders to each other [and many
> have] bought in completely to Bin Laden's ideology" of waging war
> against the United States and its allies.
> In the Lodi case, the Hayats have been indicted on charges of lying
> to federal agents and are being held without bail in Sacramento
> County Jail. Their lawyers and relatives have said the two, who are
> U.S. citizens, had nothing to do with terrorism.
> Three other local men have been detained on immigration charges,
> including Muhammad Adil Khan, who some U.S. officials said was the
> original subject of the long-standing investigation because of his
> suspected ties to Pakistan-based militant groups.
> While authorities have said little about the case publicly, a
> detailed affidavit accidentally released by the Justice Department
> goes into great detail about the younger Hayat's time spent training
> at a camp described only as Tamal on the outskirts of Rawalpindi,
> which itself is just a few miles from the Pakistani capital,
> Islamabad.
> In an affidavit, FBI Special Agent Pedro Tenoch Aguilar said that
> after the younger Hayat arrived in San Francisco on May 29 after two
> years in Pakistan, he was interviewed at length and eventually
> admitted attending "a jihadist training camp in Pakistan."
> Hayat, who was born in San Joaquin County in 1982, described to
> agents how he trained for six months in 2003 and 2004 in a camp run
> by Al Qaeda, and how he was taught paramilitary
> training, "ideological rhetoric" and "how to kill Americans."
> Hayat's father, Umer, who drives an ice cream truck in Lodi, told
> agents that on a visit to Pakistan, a relative who is connected to
> the camps arranged for him to tour several of the training
> facilities. Authorities also contend the father provided funding for
> his son's attendance at the camps.
> The federal complaint identified the head of the camp as Maulana
> Fazlur Rehman, which is the name of a Pakistan government opposition
> party member. But several U.S. officials said that most likely, the
> leader of the camp is the similarly named Maulana Fazlur Rehman
> Khalil, the longtime Bin Laden associate and former leader of HuM,
> who Pakistani authorities said has gone into hiding after news of the
> Lodi case broke.
> Despite the affidavit, the indictments returned last week against the
> two men do not actually charge them with attending the camp or with
> any terrorism-related charges, prompting speculation in the Lodi
> community that the FBI was backing away from allegations contained in
> the draft affidavit.
> The U.S. counter-terrorism officials said there were many unanswered
> questions in the Lodi case, including who -- if anyone -- intended to
> commit a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
> A senior FBI official said he could not comment on the specifics of
> the case but did say, in an interview, that the constantly shifting
> nature of jihadist training networks at various locations overseas
> had made the FBI's job exponentially harder than it was even just a
> few years ago.
> "The lines are blurred, there is a lot of crossover" between Al Qaeda
> and the other [militant] groups, he told The Times. "There is a lot
> of like-mindedness, a lot of like-minded individuals who see this as
> a means to an end and [this commonality of purpose] is what makes it
> less blurry. We have to look across group lines."
> The existence of the camps and their ties to Pakistan's militant
> organizations pose delicate diplomatic problems for the Bush
> administration.
> Publicly, the administration has praised Musharraf for his help in
> the U.S.-led fight against terrorism, particularly for helping to
> apprehend more than 700 suspected Al Qaeda members, including some of
> the group's most senior leaders.
> But privately, some U.S. officials and counter-terrorism experts say
> Musharraf has not done enough to clamp down on militant organizations
> and that his government's reliance on those groups for support has
> allowed the camps to flourish as never before.
> "The Pakistan military and intelligence [agency] are well-aligned
> with the radical fundamentalists," said a senior U.S. counter-
> terrorism official. "Musharraf, he's in [a] pickle ... he's trying to
> play it at both ends."
> The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity, given the
> sensitivity of U.S.-Pakistani counter-terrorism efforts.
> One Washington-based senior Pakistani official complained about such
> criticism.
> "We've lost more people in the war on terrorism than anybody. We've
> suffered badly in taking these people on and continue to do so," the
> official said. "So why would we play a double game?"
> The Pakistani government official conceded, however, that the
> militants are so much a part of society that it is hard to combat
> them, both logistically and politically. "If you go in guns blazing
> or bomb them from 30,000 feet, we can't do that," said the
> official. "It is so difficult to get these people."
> *
> Special correspondent Mubashir Zaidi in Islamabad contributed to this
> report.
> ********************************************************************
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fwd: Guilty plea for money transfers;

Hawala transfers of money have been going on for generations, but when they try
to do it in this country it is against the law. RLC

Subject: Guilty plea for money transfers;
Date: Jun 20, 2005

> The San Francisco Chronicle
Guilty plea for money transfers;
Pizzeria owner sent funds to Pakistan and Afghanistan
By Henry K. Lee

A Hayward pizzeria owner has pleaded guilty to charges that he
> illegally transferred nearly $1 million to people in Afghanistan and
> Pakistan.
> Some of the money went to a bounty hunter and former U.S. Army
> special forces member named Jonathan "Jack" Idema, who is serving
> five years in prison for torturing Afghan detainees, Virginia Kice,
> regional spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,
> said Sunday.
> Idema, a former Green Beret, claimed to Afghan officials that he was
> working with the American government to hunt down al Qaeda leader
> Osama bin Laden. U.S. military authorities have denied any
> involvement with Idema, who is being held by Afghan authorities at
> Pul-e Charkhi prison near Kabul.
> Noor Alocozy, 41, a native of Afghanistan, said Sunday that he didn't
> know Idema and never investigated the source or recipient of any of
> the funds that people transferred through his company, Noor Transfer
> Money.
> "Good people, bad people give me money. It's not my business," he
> said in an interview at Liberty Pizza on West A Street in Hayward,
> nestled in a small strip mall a stone's throw from Interstate 880. "I
> do not know who takes the money."
> Alocozy ran the money-exchange business, known as a hawala in the
> Middle East, from July 2002 to October 2003. Hawalas are fairly
> common in the Bay Area, but their informal nature often makes it
> difficult for authorities to confirm their legitimacy.
> On May 20, Alocozy admitted to U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen
> in Oakland that he transferred nearly $1 million to people
> in "Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere" without a license, court
> records show. He will be sentenced Aug. 26 on a federal charge of
> operating an unlicensed money-transfer business.
> Court papers did not specify the amounts sent abroad or the
> individuals who received money sent by Alocozy.
> But Kice said, "We uncovered receipts or documents indicating that
> (Alocozy) had conducted transactions for (Idema), and (Alocozy)
> readily admitted it."
> Alocozy's attorney, Stephen Shaiken of San Francisco, said his client
> never knew who received the money. Shaiken noted that Alocozy wasn't
> convicted of money laundering but of operating a money transmitting
> business without a state license and without registering with the
> U.S. Department of Treasury.
> "Obviously, any unlicensed business -- or licensed -- that transmits
> to that part of the world is going to be looked at," Shaiken
> said. "But if you don't know what the receiver does when they get the
> money, how is that different than doing it through Western Union?"
> Alocozy said he didn't realize he needed a state license until he
> received a letter from the Bank of America telling him that he wasn't
> in compliance. He shut down the money-transmitting operation in
> October 2003.
> Kice said authorities had developed a "money trail" showing that, in
> some cases, money being moved through unlicensed businesses such as
> Alocozy's pizzeria "support activities that are potentially
> problematic."
> Alocozy is the second person to face such charges in federal court in
> the East Bay, where there is a sizable Afghan population, especially
> in Fremont's Little Kabul neighborhood.
> Eltaib Yousif, 41, of Castro Valley was indicted May 11 on charges
> that he transferred more than $1.5 million outside the country from
> September 2001 to November 2003 without a license. The investigation
> of Yousif, who has pleaded not guilty, began after San Francisco
> Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents received a tip from New
> York authorities about suspicious deposits being made into accounts
> at several Citibank branches there and in the Bay Area, authorities
> said.
> The USA Patriot Act of 2001 enhanced the ability of federal officials
> to combat the international movement of funds through unlicensed
> money services businesses, Kice said.
> Since the act's passage, investigators have arrested 140 people
> nationwide for allegedly participating in unlicensed hawalas and
> seized $25.5 million in funds they said were intended for militants
> or terrorists.
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fwd: Shaima Rezayee

Subject: Shaima Rezayee
Date: Jun 16, 2005

> Shaima Rezayee
> By Daud Qarizadah
> Wednesday June 15, 2005
> Guardian (london)
> The television presenter Shaima Rezayee, who has been murdered in her
> home in Kabul aged 24, briefly became an icon for many Afghan youth.
> She was part of a generation in transition, caught between the
> Taliban's medieval politics, and the media revolution that has
> engulfed Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
> She was brought up in a relatively poor but open-minded family of the
> Shia Hazara minority in the Afghan northern city of Sar-e-Pol. Her
> sister was also one of the first few Afghan women athletes. She
> became known worldwide for representing Afghanistan in the 2004
> Athens Olympics.
> Shaima lived in exile in Pakistan, when the Taliban, who came to
> power in 1996, put an end to television broadcasts, smashed
> television sets, banned music, destroyed archives, burned videos and
> tapes, and stopped women from working. Her family, like many hundreds
> of thousands of Afghan refugees, returned to Afghanistan and settled
> in Kabul after the Taliban's fall.
> Shaima's enthusiasm and youthful exuberance pushed her to the world
> of Afghan television. She left school early and joined Tolo, Kabul's
> first private television station, in 2004. Soon she became the idol
> of young people who were mesmerised by her programme, HOP.
> A world apart from Afghanistan's traditional, burka-clad society,
> Shaima and her two male co-presenters laughed away with their
> innocent flirtations. This defied the mindset of those who cannot
> accept a woman showing her face publicly, let alone sit next to other
> young people in a television studio presenting a music programme. It
> was one of the few music programmes to attract young Afghans, for
> whom not much entertainment is available.
> Shaima's HOP programme broadcast western, Iranian, Indian, Turkish,
> Arabic and Afghan music. This show, as well as many other TV
> programmes, is an affront to religious conservatives. They have
> strongly attacked films and TV music programmes as anti-Islamic and
> immoral. Even state television waited for more than two years before
> daring to broadcast some classical Afghan female singers.
> Shaima defied these conventions. Her daring, relaxed female gesturing
> on the show - that would be considered so tame in the west - and her
> choice of clothing, such as hats and jeans, was also heavily attacked
> by religious leaders and conservative clerics.
> Despite the symbolic re-emergence of women in public and their
> presence in the media, there remain many restrictions for women
> working in media. Shaima was sacked by Tolo TV in March: allegedly,
> her personality did not meet its requirements.
> She is survived by her parents, two sisters and two brothers.
> · Shaima Rezayee, television presenter, born 1981; died May 18 2005
> ********************************************************************
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Monday, June 20, 2005

fwd: G2: Just 70: While we in the west celebrate our bodies, in Afghanistan a young w

<>While we in the west celebrate our bodies, in Afghanistan
a young woman is shot...

The Guardian (London)
June 17, 2005
G2: Just 70: While we in the west celebrate our bodies, in
Afghanistan a young woman has been shot for being too free
By Joan Bakewell

The death of a presenter of British television might merit a routine
obituary listing their programmes and distinctions, if any. The
report would be noted for the moment, prompt mild regret and then the
world would move on. The death of Shaima Rezayee is entirely
different. It deserves to be in the news and remain there, a reminder
of the women who struggle to emerge from the stultifying life they
endure in so many countries. The gulf between cultures resides in the
lives and often bodies of their women.

Rezayee was shot in the head on May 18 at her home in Kabul. Some
eight weeks earlier she had been sacked from her job at Tolo
Television where she had worked since 2004. It was a brief but
meteoric career, for in that time she had become the darling of
Afghan youth. Rezayee was 24 years old, pretty and bold: she dared to
present a version of the west's MTV in a country only recently
loosened from the grip of the Taliban. She had the courage to show
her face publicly alongside her two male colleagues, joking and
chatting together as they introduced videos of musical tracks. The
music was of all kinds: Iranian, Turkish, Arabic, western and Afghan.

The programme - called HOP - exemplified the porous nature of young
people's music. Cultural barriers and national boundaries have no
meaning in this world. Clearly Rezayee loved it: beyond the studio,
she wore jeans, drank alcohol, made male friends. She would have been
at home on any street in London, Paris, Barcelona, New York. But in
her own home town, she was gunned down. She had upset the mullahs and
the conservative ways of her country, been attacked as anti-Islamic
by the Supreme Court, and received death threats in the days after
her sacking. Two of her brothers were taken into custody, and there
is suspicion it might be an honour killing. The director general of
Unesco condemned the murder, declaring: "On no account can murder be
considered an instru- ment for cultural policy." Well, no.

How different it all is from the home lives of our own young women.
Summer is here and it is the year of the skirt. Legs are flashing on
every pavement; fake tans are whistling off the shelves. And everyone
under 35 has long since given up on summer tights. Bare legs - golden
and glistening - are the order of the day. Meanwhile belly buttons
are still to the fore, builders' cleavages grace the derriere, and
pregnant mums carry all before them like galleons under sail. Where
one culture fears and hides the naked female body, the other
celebrates and adorns it, flattering its curves and flesh, decking it
with colour and glitter.

The streets of the west are a feast of youthful sensuality and
delight. Not so easy if you're older, or bumpier, or slumpier. As
each year passes, the fun goes out of fashion. The bikini went in my
50s; strappy dresses are no longer within range; upper arms call for
long sleeves. And now, the dilemma of bare legs. But these are the
gripes of a self-regarding, body-conscious culture, Basically, we in
the west enjoy the freedom to celebrate our skin.

But why are religions so tough on women? In the Victorian heyday of
muscular Christianity, the rules of feminine dress would have met the
highest standards of the Qur'an. It was in religiously devout America
that Janet Jackson's breast caused so much fuss. Only as we have
become more secular have we shed our clothes and our inhibitions. Who
are these gods that they should require their own creatures to be
ashamed of their bodies? Granted, there are limits of polite society.
An attempt to have topless newreaders was only ever a porno joke. But
the notion that the supposed creator is offended by the natural
beauty of his own creation is well nigh blasphemous.

Shaima Rezyee was at the crossroads of a punitive tradition that
fears and resents women and the new tradition of global music and
universal entertainment that celebrates them. If religious extremists
of all faiths now want to put the clock back, they will have to
reconfigure the role of women as we have, within my lifetime, come to
enjoy it. The control of dress might seem a petty matter, but it is
loaded with significance. It is for individual women to decide for
themselves where along the cultural spectrum - from the easy ways of
western display to the comfort of regular concealment - they choose
to live. Who says that feminism has had its day?

fwd: Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.

Subject: Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.
Date: Jun 17, 2005

> Christian Science Monitor
> June 17, 2005, Friday
> Who are the suicide bombers? Pakistan's answer.
> By Owais Tohid
> In four years, 28-year-old Gul Hasan went from laying bricks to
> recruiting suicide bombers. An antiterrorism court convicted Mr.
> Hasan this month of planning suicide attacks on Shiite mosques in
> Karachi that killed dozens of worshipers. Now he faces the gallows.
> How people like Hasan get involved with militant Islam, and what they
> do to recruit others, are questions of increasing urgency in
> Pakistan, which has seen a spate of suicide bombings in recent weeks.
> The attacks were carried out by splinter groups formed in the wake of
> a Pakistani crackdown on militant Islamic organizations after Sept.
> 11, 2001. Smaller and more isolated than their parent organizations,
> these splinter groups receive financial backing from Al Qaeda and
> draw their recruits from the ranks of the poor and enraged, say
> Pakistani investigators.
> "This is a new breed [of militants], as suicide bombings are a post
> 9/11 phenomenon here," says Fateh Mohammad Burfat, head of the
> Criminology Department at the University of Karachi. The bombers
> are "unemployed, illiterate, and belong to poor social strata. [They
> also] perceive the US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan as
> hostile acts against the Muslim world... By suicide attacks, they get
> a sense of victory in the world and hereafter."
> Hasan entered the world of militant Islam when his brother, a member
> of the splinter group Lashkar-e Jhangvi, was arrested. Over time,
> Hasan went from being a simple carrier of weapons to a dangerous
> militant leader in Karachi responsible for recruiting and
> transporting suicide bombers, say police officials.
> Rising through the ranks
> The splinter groups "provide the new entrants with poisonous
> extremist literature to brainwash them, and then start giving them
> responsibilities from shifting weapons to providing refuge to wanted
> militants," says Gul Hameed Samoo, a Karachi police official. "One
> rises through the ranks after fulfilling [certain] tasks."
> The leaders recruit them for different purposes, with agendas ranging
> from killing Shiites to liberating Muslims from "infidels." The new
> trend of suicide bombings is packaged as a "ticket to Paradise."
> Many of the splinter groups' top leadership fought in Afghanistan and
> Kashmir. They are believed to have made contacts and trained with
> Arab militants in Afghanistan.
> Police investigators describe three layers of organization behind
> suicide attacks. In most of the cases, the mastermind is Al Qaeda,
> which gets in touch through a courier with the leader of a jihadi
> splinter group who plans the attack. The attacker is often
> a "brainwashed" jihadi.
> In the case of the unsuccessful suicide attack against Pakistani
> President Pervez Musharraf on Christmas Day 2003, police say the
> mastermind was Abu Faraj, an Al Qaeda operative now in custody; the
> planner was Amjad Farooqi; the slain chief of Lashkar-e Jhangvi; and
> the bomber was a local jihadi.
> In a New York Times opinion piece on Tuesday, Peter Bergen, author
> of "Holy War, Inc.," and Swati Pandey argued that the Islamic
> terrorists behind many of the attacks against the West are well-
> educated - not brainwashed youth from madrassahs, or Islamic schools.
> In a sampling of 75 terrorists involved in attacks against
> Westerners, they found that 53 percent had attended college - a
> figure slightly higher than US averages. "[Madrassahs] are not and
> should not be considered a threat to the United States," the authors
> wrote.
> In Pakistan, where many of the suicide attacks do not directly target
> Westerners, the Al Qaeda masterminds are often well- educated, but
> the planners and the bombers themselves generally are not.
> "There are leaders who look out for suicide bombers and usually find
> the simple, unemployed religious-minded youth with the help of a
> cleric at a mosque or madrassah," says a police investigator.
> Bomber dropouts
> Hasan, the recruiter of suicide bombers, has an eighth-grade
> education. Mohammad Jamil, one of the two suicide bombers behind the
> Christmas attack on Mr. Musharraf, was a dropout who studied at a
> madrassah in Pakistan's Frontier Province. Neither Mohammad Ali
> Khatri nor Akbar Niazi, two suicide bombers who killed 40 worshipers
> at two Shiite mosques last year, completed high school.
> Recent interrogations have shed light on how bombers are recruited
> and groomed. A police investigator quoted a detained sectarian
> militant, identified as Tehseen, as saying, "We isolate the boy who
> is willing to sacrifice his life. From then onwards he does not have
> any contact with his family or friends. We provide him religious
> books, and he prays all the time before [his] mission."
> Police nabbed Tehseen after he was injured at the scene of an attack
> on a Shiite mosque in Karachi this month. He was accompanying the
> suicide bomber as a guard.
> "In some cases, the suicide bomber gets terrified after reaching the
> target and flees. [The leaders] sometimes take the family hostage if
> the suicide bomber changes his mind," the police investigator says.
> The suicide-bomber cells operate in small groups of five to seven
> people, never staying at one place for more than two nights, says a
> police investigator.
> Moving in small cells is now a necessity for members of the larger
> splinter groups, which have been thrown into disarray by a persistent
> government crackdown, officials say. They add that the isolation of
> splinter groups, as well as their greater dependence on outside
> funding, may explain the adoption of the radical tactic of suicide
> bombing.
> "They are on the run, and short of resources. But it is the most
> dangerous tactic and rather impossible to stop like elsewhere in the
> world," says Karachi police chief Tariq Jameel. "We have to create
> awareness and counter them by eliminating extremism from the society,
> which is the best antidote to terrorism. Otherwise suicide bombings
> can give these disarrayed splinter groups a new life."
> Last month, a group of 58 religious scholars issued a fatwa, or
> religious edict, saying that Islam strictly forbids suicide attacks
> on Muslims. Further, those committing such acts at public
> congregations or places of worship cease to be Muslims.
> "Killing of any non-Muslim citizen or foreigner visiting the country
> is also forbidden in Islam since they are under protection of
> government of Pakistan," said Mufti Munib-ur Rehman, one of those
> issuing the edict.
> ********************************************************************
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> Afghaniyat Listserver Newsgroup, Afghanistan's Largest Email
> Newsgroup with over 4000 members worldwide.
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fwd: Pakistani Involvement in Afghanistan addressed

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Forwarded Message:
From: Rasul Mobin <>
Subject: Pakistani Involvement in Afghanistan addressed
Date: Jun 17, 2005

> Tolu TV (in Dari)
> Gozarosh-e Shashonim" ("The 6:30 Report") programme.
> Kabul, Afghanistan
> June 16, 2005 14:00 gmt
> The programme highlighted factors behind increasing insecurity in
> Afghanistan. The presenter said subversive and terrorist groups were
> divided into three main categories.
> 1. Taleban and Pakistan
> According to the presenter, the Taleban were the main cause of
> security challenges in the country because of their suicide attacks
> and destructive activities.
> He said the Taleban's ability to disrupt peace and stability in
> Afghanistan had encouraged the countries of the region to consider
> boosting their cooperation with the group. He said Afghanistan could
> not ensure security or hold proper parliamentary elections without
> the cooperation of Pakistan: "The Pakistani interior minister, in his
> recent visit to Afghanistan, promised cooperation with Afghanistan.
> This shows that Pakistan has control and influence over terrorist
> elements in the region."
> Sayed Hosayn Alemi, the editor in chief of the Rah-e Nejat weekly,
> said that sincere resolve by Pakistani authorities could help ensure
> security in Afghanistan: "Whenever the Taleban and Al-Qa'idah
> insurgents come under pressure in Afghanistan, they retreat to
> Pakistani border areas and inside the Pakistani territory. If
> Pakistanis did not let them hide in their country, I think the
> Taleban's activities will subside. During talks with Hamed Karzai and
> also during the inaugural ceremony of the Rahman Baba High School,
> the Pakistani interior minister promised to cooperate with the
> government of Afghanistan in ensuring security during the
> parliamentary elections.
> "This by itself proves that the Pakistanis are involved in security
> incidents in our country. When he says they will play their role in
> establishing security, it is clear that they have a role in
> disrupting security too. If the Pakistanis take sincere measures,
> they can establish good cooperation with our country.
> "Unfortunately, we have noticed throughout that Pakistani words are
> different from their deeds. They usually make good promises and raise
> very good issues, but when it comes to actions, we see that their
> words do not match their deeds."
> 2. Armed groups
> The presenter said the second factor behind insecurity was the
> presence of illegal military units in different parts of the country.
> Despite the presence of the international peacekeeping forces, these
> irresponsible military units could undermine the legality of the
> forthcoming parliamentary elections and disrupt security, he stressed
> Hazrat Wahrez, a political analyst, said two factors played an
> important role in the rise of insecurity in Afghanistan. "The first
> factor is the failure of the DDR [Disarmament, Demobilization and
> Reintegration] programme and the second one is the flexibility of the
> government towards the Taleban, who have apparently laid down their
> weapons and joined the national reconciliation process. As we can see
> in their interviews, those who have joined the government's side are
> not even apologetic about their past activities."
> Mr Alemi said the government relied on foreign troops and even the
> president's bodyguards were foreigners which in itself gave rise to
> distrust among the people.
> 3. Criminal gangs
> According to the presenter, armed robbers and kidnappers were the
> third group behind insecurity. These groups posed very serious
> threats to foreign aid organizations, he said.
> Kidnapping
> The second part of the programme looked at recent abductions in
> Kabul. Hamed Haidari, a correspondent of Tolu television, talked
> about how he had learnt about the abduction of the Italian aid
> worker, Clementina Cantoni, and about his phone conversations with
> the suspected abductors.
> Lotfollah Mashal, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said they
> had been trying to ensure Ms Cantoni's safe release. That was why
> they did had not resorted to military operations.
> Mr Mashal said they did not chase and arrest the abductors upon
> releasing Miss Cantoni because a tribal delegation, assigned by the
> government to negotiate with abductors, had promised that the police
> would not interfere.
> International community, neighbours
> The presenter concluded that unless the international peacekeeping
> forces ensure security and stability in Afghanistan, their symbolic
> presence could increase adverse reactions in the country and in the
> region.
> He said that the government and the international community should
> root out irresponsible armed people throughout the country in order
> to strengthen the rule of law and improve security all over
> Afghanistan.
> ********************************************************************
> Please inform those interested in Afghanistan to join the
> Afghaniyat Listserver Newsgroup, Afghanistan's Largest Email
> Newsgroup with over 4000 members worldwide.
> By joining the server, you will recieve "One Daily Digest" containing
> news articles, essays, announcements from Afghanistan officials, international
experts,and Afghans worldwide.
> ===================================================================
> Send an email to:
> *********************************************************************
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> <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
> <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

congress defunding public radio and tv


Public Broadcasting Targeted By House
Panel Seeks to End CPB's Funding Within 2 Years
By Paul Farhi
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 10, 2005; Page A01
A House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government's
financial support for public broadcasting, including eliminating taxpayer funds
that help underwrite such popular children's educational programs as "Sesame
Street," "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur" and "Postcards From Buster."
In addition, the subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal
money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which passes federal funds
to public broadcasters -- starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget
for next year, from $400 million to $300 million. In all, the cuts would
represent the most drastic cutback of public broadcasting since Congress created
the nonprofit CPB in 1967. The CPB funds are particularly important for small TV
and radio stations and account for about 15 percent of the public broadcasting
industry's total revenue.
Expressing alarm, public broadcasters and their supporters in Congress
interpreted the move as an escalation of a Republican-led campaign against a
perceived liberal bias in their programming. That effort was initiated by the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting's own chairman, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson.
"Americans overwhelmingly see public broadcasting as an unbiased information
source," Rep. David Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, said
in a statement. "Perhaps that's what the GOP finds so offensive about it.
Republican leaders are trying to bring every facet of the federal government
under their control. . . . Now they are trying to put their ideological stamp on
public broadcasting."
But the Republican chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on labor,
health and human services, and education asserted that the panel was simply
making choices among various worthy government programs, and that no political
message was intended.
The subcommittee's action, which came on a voice vote, doesn't necessarily put
Big Bird on the Endangered Species List. House members could restore funding as
the appropriations bill moves along or, more likely, when the House and Senate
meet to reconcile budget legislation later this year. The Senate has
traditionally been a stronger ally of public broadcasting than the House, whose
former speaker, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), waged a high-profile but ultimately
unsuccessful campaign to "zero out" funding for the CPB a decade ago.
The cuts nevertheless surprised people in public broadcasting. In his budget
sent to Congress in February, President Bush had recommended reducing CPB's
budget only slightly.
Several denounced the decision by the panel, which has 10 Republicans and seven
Democrats, as payback by a Republican-dominated House after years of complaints
from conservatives who see liberal bias in programs carried by the Public
Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. Broadcasters noted, for example,
that the 25 percent cutback in next year's CPB budget was a rollback of money
that Congress had promised in 2004.
PBS, in particular, drew harsh criticism in December from the Bush
administration for a "Postcards From Buster" episode in which Buster, an
animated rabbit, "visited" two families in Vermont headed by lesbians. And
programming on both PBS and NPR has come under fire in recent months from
Tomlinson, the Republican chairman of the CPB, who has pushed for greater
"balance" on the public airwaves.
A spokeswoman for NPR, Andi Sporkin, directly blamed Tomlinson for yesterday's
action, saying, "We've never been sure of Mr. Tomlinson's intent but, with this
news, we might be seeing his effect."
Tomlinson did not return calls seeking comment. In a statement, he said,
"Obviously, we are concerned [by the cuts], and we will be joining with our
colleagues in the public broadcasting community to make the case for a higher
level of funding as the appropriations measure makes its way through Congress."
John Lawson, the president of the Association of Public Television Stations, a
Washington-based group that lobbies for public broadcasters, called the
subcommittee's action "at least malicious wounding, if not outright attempted
murder, of public broadcasting in America." He added, "This action could deprive
tens of millions of American children of commercial-free educational programming."
Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), the subcommittee's chairman, said the cuts had
nothing to do with dissatisfaction over public radio or TV programs. "It's
pretty simple," he said in an interview. "The thinking was, there's not enough
money for everything. There are 'must-do,' 'need-to-do' and 'nice-to-do'
programs that we have to pay for. [Public broadcasting] is somewhere between a
'need-to-do' and a 'nice-to-do.' "
The subcommittee had to decide, he said, on cutting money for public
broadcasting or cutting college grants, special education, worker retraining and
health care programs. "No one's out to get" public broadcasting, Regula said.
"It's not punitive in any way."
In fact, none of the Republican members of the subcommittee publicly denounced
public radio or TV funding at yesterday's markup. Public broadcasting drew
supportive statements from Obey and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.).
Regula suggested public stations could "make do" without federal money by
getting more funding from private sources, such as contributions from
corporations, foundations, and listeners and viewers.
But the loss of $23.4 million in federal funds for children's educational shows
-- which PBS calls its "Ready to Learn" programs -- could mean the elimination
of these programs, said an official at Alexandria-based PBS who asked not to be
named because the network still hopes to regain the funding. PBS's revenue
totaled $333 million in fiscal year 2004.
The Ready to Learn group includes "Sesame Street," "Dragontales," "Clifford" and
"Arthur," among others.
The House measure also cuts support for a variety of smaller projects, such as a
$39.6 million public TV satellite distribution network and a $39.4 million
program that helps public stations update their analog TV signals to digital format.
Small public radio stations, particularly those in rural areas and those serving
minority audiences, may be the most vulnerable to federal cuts because they
currently operate on shoestring budgets.
"This could literally put us out of business," said Paul Stankavich, president
and general manager of the Alaska Public Radio Network, an alliance of 26
stations in the state that create and share news programming. "Almost all of us
are down to the bone right now. If we lost 5 or 10 percent of our budgets in one
fell swoop, we could end up being just a repeater service" for national news,
with no funds to produce local content.
Stankavich, who also runs a public radio and TV station in Anchorage, said
public radio is "an important source of news in urban areas, but it's
life-critical in rural areas," especially in far-flung parts of Alaska unserved
by any other broadcast medium.

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Abuse of rape victim by the Pakistan government

Thank God for Nicholas Kristof. I pray that Pakistan will face up to itself;
this should help if anything will. Best, RLC

Raped, Kidnapped and Silenced
New York Times: June 14, 2005

No wonder the Pakistan government can't catch Osama bin Laden. It is too busy
harassing, detaining - and now kidnapping - a gang-rape victim for daring to
protest and for planning a visit to the United States.

Last fall I wrote about Mukhtaran Bibi, a woman who was sentenced by a tribal
council in Pakistan to be gang-raped because of an infraction supposedly
committed by her brother. Four men raped Ms. Mukhtaran, then village leaders
forced her to walk home nearly naked in front of a jeering crowd of 300.

Ms. Mukhtaran was supposed to have committed suicide. Instead, with the backing
of a local Islamic leader, she fought back and testified against her
persecutors. Six were convicted.

Then Ms. Mukhtaran, who believed that the best way to overcome such abuses was
through better education, used her compensation money to start two schools in
her village, one for boys and the other for girls. She went out of her way to
enroll the children of her attackers in the schools, showing that she bore no

Readers of my column sent in more than $133,000 for her. Mercy Corps, a U.S. aid
organization, has helped her administer the money, and she has expanded the
schools, started a shelter for abused women and bought a van that is used as an
ambulance for the area. She has also emerged as a ferocious spokeswoman against
honor killings, rapes and acid attacks on women. (If you want to help her,
please don't send checks to me but to Mercy Corps, with "Mukhtaran Bibi" in the
memo line: 3015 S.W. First, Portland, Ore. 97201.)

A group of Pakistani-Americans invited Ms. Mukhtaran to visit the U.S. starting
this Saturday (see Then a few days ago, the Pakistani government
went berserk.

On Thursday, the authorities put Ms. Mukhtaran under house arrest - to stop her
from speaking out. In phone conversations in the last few days, she said that
when she tried to step outside, police pointed their guns at her. To silence
her, the police cut off her land line.

After she had been detained, a court ordered her attackers released, putting her
life in jeopardy. That happened on a Friday afternoon, when the courts do not
normally operate, and apparently was a warning to Ms. Mukhtaran to shut up.
Instead, Ms. Mukhtaran continued her protests by cellphone. But at dawn
yesterday the police bustled her off, and there's been no word from her since.
Her cellphone doesn't answer.

Asma Jahangir, a Pakistani lawyer who is head of the Human Rights Commission of
Pakistan, said she had learned that Ms. Mukhtaran was taken to Islamabad,
furiously berated and told that President Pervez Musharraf was very angry with
her. She was led sobbing to detention at a secret location. She is barred from
contacting anyone, including her lawyer.

"She's in their custody, in illegal custody," Ms. Jahangir said. "They have gone
completely crazy."

Even if Ms. Mukhtaran were released, airports have been alerted to bar her from
leaving the country. According to Dawn, a Karachi newspaper, the government took
this step, "fearing that she might malign Pakistan's image."

Excuse me, but Ms. Mukhtaran, a symbol of courage and altruism, is the best hope
for Pakistan's image. The threat to Pakistan's image comes from President
Musharraf for all this thuggish behavior.

I've been sympathetic to Mr. Musharraf till now, despite his nuclear negligence,
partly because he's cooperated in the war on terrorism and partly because he has
done a good job nurturing Pakistan's economic growth, which in the long run is
probably the best way to fight fundamentalism. So even when Mr. Musharraf denied
me visas all this year, to block me from visiting Ms. Mukhtaran again and
writing a follow-up column, I bit my tongue.

But now President Musharraf has gone nuts.

"This is all because they think they have the support of the U.S. and can get
away with murder," Ms. Jahangir said. Indeed, on Friday, just as all this was
happening, President Bush received Pakistan's foreign minister in the White
House and praised President Musharraf's "bold leadership."

So, Mr. Bush, how about asking Mr. Musharraf to focus on finding Osama, instead
of kidnapping rape victims who speak out? And invite Ms. Mukhtaran to the Oval
Office - to show that Americans stand not only with generals who seize power,
but also with ordinary people of extraordinary courage.

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