Laura Mansfield

Monday, October 03, 2005


Due to time constraints, I am consolidating all of my posts on my website at

Please visit to see the newest postings.



Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gaza TV: Fatah Wins 53%, HAMAS 26% of Seats in Local Elections

So if a terrorist organization is democratically elected what does that say?

And how does it affect the US aid that has been flowing to the PA?

Palestine Satellite Channel Television

Saturday, October 1, 2005 T11:01:44

Gaza Palestine Satellite Channel Television in Arabic at 0815 GMT on 1 October begins to carry live from the "Palestinian Media Center" a news conference by Jamal al-Shawbaki, head of the Higher Local Elections Committee, who announces the results of the third phase of the local council elections held in the West Bank on 29 September 2005.

Al-Shawbaki says voter turnout reached 84 percent. He adds that the elections took place based on the amended elections law, which takes into account constituencies and party lists. He says that in accordance with the new law, only those registered in the voters lists were allowed to vote.

Al-Shawbaki announces that the elections took place in 104 local councils, 22 of which won uncontested. He notes that 144,000 were registered to vote for 1,018 seats during this stage.

Al-Shawbaki says these seats were distributed as follows:

Fatah won 547 seats; HAMAS won 265 seats; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won 55 seats; the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) won 13 seats; the People's Party won 18 seats; the Islamic Jihad won three seats; the independents won 58 seats; and families won 59 seats.
Al-Shawbaki adds that the percentages are as follows:

Fatah: 53.73%

HAMAS: 26.03%

PFLP: 5.40%

DFLP: 1.28%

People's Party: 1.77%

Islamic Jihad: 0.29%

Independents: 5.70%

Families: 5.80%

He adds that Fatah won the seats of 51 local councils and HAMAS won the seats of 13 local councils. He notes that 40 local councils will be formed based on coalitions.

Al-Shawbaki thanks the Palestinian citizens, the Ministry of Education and teachers, and the Palestinian police.

At 0820 GMT, Al-Shawbaki begins to take questions.

Responding to a question, Al-Shawbaki says 17 prisoners were candidates, and most of them had won.

Responding to another question, Al-Shawbaki says: "In my opinion, the high turnout by Palestinians took place because Palestinians see the elections as a new struggle arena, and they want to convey to the international community that the Palestinian people, who are living and suffering under occupation, have the democratic ability to self-determination. Therefore, the international community must intervene to end the occupation, and give the Palestinians the freedom to establish a state."

The news conference ends at 0840 GMT.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Second Al Qaeda TV Broadcast Released

Al Qaeda's Media Office Releases Second 'Voice of the Caliphate' Broadcast
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Download now

The one-minute 31-second video features a lone, masked spokesman who proceeds to read a short statement denouncing the Spanish court's sentencing of Al-Jazirah correspondent Taysir Alluni to prison and stresses the need for solidarity with their brother. Unlike the first broadcast, the news presenter had no Koran or machine gun at his desk. A translation of the statement follows:

"God's peace and blessings be upon you.

In an urgent report aired a short while ago, the Qatari Al-Jazirah Channel said that the Spanish court looking into the case of our Muslim brother Taysir Alluni convicted him to seven years in prison. The Sawt Al-Khilafa Media Establishment on the Web has issued a statement strongly denouncing the practices of the infidel Crusader Spanish courts against the Muslim journalist Taysir Alluni, the correspondent of the Qatari Al-Jazirah Channel. The statement stressed full solidarity with our brother Taysir Alluni in his ordeal and against the injustice he is being subjected to due to his reporting on the news with full neutrality and according to the internationally-established standards of journalism.

Thank you and God's peace and blessings be upon you."


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mastermind behind kidnapping of Italian aid worker arrested - again

This is good news. From the Guardian UK comes the good news that the person responsible for the kidnapping of Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni has been arrested:

The "mastermind" behind the gang who kidnapped an Italian aid worker in Afghanistan in May has been arrested, interior officials confirmed.

The Afghan interior minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali, said Temur Shah was arrested in a joint operation between police and intelligence agents yesterday.

Mr Shah is accused of kidnapping 32-year-old Clementina Cantoni, who was dragged from her car at gunpoint on May 16 and released 24 days later. She had been working for CARE International in Kabul when she was abducted.

He is also accused of abducting and killing the son of an Afghan businessman and threatening a bank chairman with extortion last week, Mr Jalali said.

Mr Shah was arrested earlier this month but released after an army general said there had been a case of mistaken identity. Ms Cantoni reportedly then identified him from photographs shown to her by investigators, leading to his re-arrest.

According to reports in Italian newspapers, he was the only person who had spoken to Ms Cantoni during her captivity. She said he told her his name shortly after she had been abducted.

The Italian had been working in Kabul on an aid project helping Afghan widows and their families. After she was kidnapped, hundreds of women she had helped staged protests in the capital to call for her release.

When she was freed, Ms Cantoni said she had been treated well while in captivity.


Does Saudi most wanted have passport from Bosnia-Hertzogovenia?

This article, translated by FBIS, denies that Yunis Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hayari, one of the Saudi most wanted, has a passport from Bosnia-Hertzogovenia. Apparantly the story is making the rounds that a number of terrorists, including al-Hayari, have received passports from that country. This will be an interesting one to follow.

Ministry 'Source' Denies 'Most Wanted' Moroccan Extremist Holds B-H Passport "Wanted Arab Extremist is Not a B-H Citizen" -- BETA headline

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sarajevo, 30 Jun (BETA) -- Yunis Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hayari, one of the most wanted extremists in Saudi Arabia, does not have a B-H passport or identity card, sources in the B-H Council of Ministers said this evening.

A source in the B-H Council of Ministers told BETA that al-Hayari was given a passport in 1996 as a reward for serving in the B-H Army, but he never submitted a request for renewing his citizenship, nor does he have a valid CIPS passport or B-H identity card.

The CIPS project in B-H, that is, the introduction of uniform personal documents in line with European standards, was first implemented in 2003. The implementation of the CIPS project was one of the conditions for B-H's faster European integration, and B-H citizens exchanged their old personal documents for new, uniform throughout B-H.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry has published a new list of 36 most wanted extremists who are suspected of carrying out numerous attacks in Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Al-Hayari, originally from Morocco, is on that list. (Passage omitted)

(Description of Source: Belgrade BETA in Serbian -- independent Belgrade press agency BETA)


Ezzedin Qassam Brigades of Hamas kidnap and execute Jerusalem resident, release video on the web

The announcement was made in postings on jihadi forums, and was also sent out through the Ansar mailing list under the banner of the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, which bills itself as the "Military Wing of Hamas". (banner shown below)

The organization released a videotape of Nuriel in captivity apparently made shortly before his murder. In the tape, Nuriel appears with his face covered and his hands bound, and he urges the government, in Arabic, at his captors' demand, to release all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

In its statement, Hamas said it kidnapped Nuriel in order to exchange him for Palestinians held by Israel, but the army's massive arrest operation in the West Bank this week compelled it to kill Nuriel instead. Hamas also threatened to kidnap additional Israelis, warning: "The operation is just beginning." The army said it takes this threat seriously and reiterated that Israelis are forbidden to enter areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The group also released copies of the ID cards of Nuriel.

The video is available to subscribers of our Strategic Translations service.


Al Quds Al Arabi accuses US of flipflopping

The Arabic language newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi is a London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with an anti-US and anti-Saudi editorial line; generally pro-Palestinian, tends to be sympathetic to Bin Ladin.

This article is typical of the newspaper's anti-American slant but it does provide a good view of what many in the Arab world see as a US flip-flop.

UK Arabic Paper Accuses US of Backing Down on Support for Democratic Reforms

Editorial: "US Backing Down on Democratic Reform"

Al-Quds al-Arabi

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 T10:26:44Z

The United States has apparently backed down on its declared policy of supporting the democratic reform process in the Arab region and has started to lean toward dealing with the present dictatorial regimes, even if temporarily.

The current tour of the region by US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Hughes has provided more signs of this.

During her stopover in Cairo, Mrs. Hughes was eager to show an understanding of the slow reforms in Egypt and the viewpoint of President Husni Mubarak which says that the democratic change process needs time for enacting new legislations and laws. She did not criticize the regime at all in all her talks with officials and media representatives and focused on the means of marketing the United States as a country that is not hostile to the Arabs and Muslims.

But when she arrived in Jedda to meet Saudi King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, she was keen to praise the Saudi Government's efforts to fight terror and did not bring up at all the issues of human rights violations, the absence of freedoms, and the lack of the fair and independentce judiciary and merely referred shyly to the need to respect non-Muslims and their rights to worship.

It is evident from the above that two principal criteria govern US policy on the democratic change process in the Middle East:

The first criterion is the relationship with Israel. Democratic reforms remain marginal or occupy a lower level on the list of US priorities as long as the ruling Egyptian regime is performing its role of protecting the Hebrew State's security and continuing the political and economic normalization processes with it.

US pressures for reform in Egypt abated noticeably after the signing of the QIZ (qualified industrial zone) economic agreement between Egypt and Israel, the completion of the deal to sell it Egyptian gas, and Egypt's continued efforts to pressure the Palestinians to stop the military operations.

The second criterion is the fight against terror. As long as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to fighting Al-Qa'ida organization, changing the curricula that encourage Islamic extremism, and cooperating with the United States in the war on terror, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, then this means that it is doing for Washington what is required of it and hence is exempted from any blame or criticism. Democratic reforms therefore remain unimportant and can be frozen or postponed or even dropped completely.

This US backing down on supporting reforms will increase the hatred for US policies in the Arab region and make Mrs. Hughes' tour futile or with very limited results.

The present US administration is hated for three main reasons. The first is its war in Iraq that was based on lies, ripped a stable country apart, and killed at least 100,000 of its sons. The second is the absolute support for the Israeli aggression in Palestine. The third is the backing for the dictatorships and the preference to deal with them rather than with elected democratic regimes.

Mrs. Hughes' statements and the backing down they implied as well as her government's pressures on the Arab countries to normalize with Israel after a nominal pullout from Gaza and its insistence on remaining in Iraq are all factors confirming separately and collectively that the hatred for the United States will increase and widen and all the desperate and nominal attempts to change this glaring truth will not succeed.


New Al Qaeda video with English subtitles

An email was distributed this morning through the Al Ansar Mailing List Project containing links to a video that the email calls “They Die to be Alive 1”. The video claims to have been made by the Jihad Media Battalion. The email includes English subtitles, so it’s clearly targeted to a western audience.

The video itself, which was packages on September 23, 2005, begins with an excerpt from a speech by Osama Bin Laden and includes video footage of a series of bomb attacks on US forces in Iraq. It includes excerpts of videos previously released by various terror groups in Iraq, including the Ansar al Sunnah Army, the Army of Islam in Iraq, and Qaeda’t al Jihad in Mesopotamia.

The video is ten minutes, 35 seconds in length.

A copy of the email is in the attached file or you may view it at

The video may be downloaded from
To view the video, you will need to download it and unzip it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Now the Arabic media is mocking Al Qaeda...

Articles Mocks Al-Qa'ida Media Image, Says Viewers Tired of Tapes' 'Monotony'

Well, now the Arabic language media is mocking Bin Laden and Zawahiri. This is an interesting article from Sharq al Awsat:

Article by Dayana Muqallad:

"Al-Qa'ida Organization and the Imagination Behind the Images"

Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The latest videotape by the number-two man in Al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he blessed what he called "conquest of London and its sisters," has not succeeded in stealing our attention nor moving much in our imagination, unlike what those videotapes used to do a few years ago. Despite the fact that this videotape and the words that Al-Zawahiri uttered on it appeared on the front pages and occupied first place on Al-Jazirah's newscasts for many, many hours, this type of propaganda for Al-Qa'ida has started to become monotonous for our imagination and our viewing, to the extent that the tapes make us feel more bored and fed up, rather than stirring the emotions they want us to feel.

The appearance of Usamah Bin-Ladin himself no longer has the impact that it used to have before and after the New York and Washington attacks. Here, one may start wondering with derision as one follows Al-Zawahiri's tape, at least visually (because one's mind may wander as a result of one's boredom) that perhaps Bin-Ladin and his clique should meet and decide what to do about their image in the media, which has retracted to an extent that has become almost pitiful.

Bin-Ladin's very few appearances on the videotape and his tired features blend in well with the reports that spoke about his sickness and poor health.

This is the person who was keen on appearing fighting fit, donning ammunition and weapons, prancing around on his horse, or showing off his cleverness to a Western journalist by conducting an interview with a map behind him, only to announce years later that the map in that picture bore one of the locations targeted by his organization in bloody attacks.

There is no doubt that Bin-Ladin showed a clear infatuation with his own image before the world, particularly before the Western world, which prompted many to compare Bin-Ladin with Che Guevara, especially the fact that both of them were quite taken by their own images. It seems that the Al-Qa'ida leader has decided to substitute his image, which no longer conveys the image he aspires to convey, by repeatedly showing his aide Al-Zawahiri. But this is nothing more than a garbled repetition of the same old message, only this time it has lost all its power of attraction.

If one lets his imagination run away with him, then perhaps one can think about the image of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, who is now the new Al-Qa'ida star, the inspiration for the suicide bombers and for his fans. He is the one whose crimes have sent shivers down the spine of the whole world, while those who like him demand more of them. However, despite the narcissism Bin-Ladin displays, Al-Zarqawi displays a hatred of his own image. Or at least, this is the feeling we get. The few images of Al-Zarqawi that have been shown have revealed a restless and worried figure, given the way he looks at the camera and his reluctance to appear before it.

If it is proved that he is the one who appeared in some of the clips where the throats of foreigners in Iraq were being slit on screen, which the extremists' sites have been bragging that Al-Zarqawi himself carried out, then we would be confronting a different kind of image that Al-Zarqawi links himself to, since he believes perhaps that his image is forbidden (from being shown) unless it is for some throat-slitting here or killing there.

Perhaps Al-Zarqawi's emergence on the videotape constitutes an earthquake that could break the visual monotony of the current scenes from which Al-Qa'ida is suffering.

What has just been said is not praise for the image. Rather, it is speculation about its significance.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)


Yeah, right, sure: Palestinian Factions Agree To Stop Operations From Gaza Against Israeli Targets

Yeah right sure. We've heard this before... They must have their fingers crossed.

"Hudna means please pause while we reload our weapons" -- Charles Welty

Palestinian Factions Agree To Stop Operations From Gaza Against Israeli Targets

Voice of Palestine

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

(PLC) Deputy Ibrahim Abu-al-Naja, coordinator of the Higher Follow-up Committee of the National and Islamic Forces, has said that the representatives of factions, including HAMAS Movement and the Islamic Jihad Movement, agreed to stop (armed) operations from the Gaza Strip.

(Description of Source: Ramallah Voice of Palestine in Arabic -- Official radio station of the Palestinian Authority)


Monday, September 26, 2005

Issue 23 of Ansar al Sunnah’s magazine summarizes their previous two weeks activities

This magazine, dated the 4th day of Shaban 1426 on the Islamic calendar, corresponding to September 8, 2005, summarizes the activities of the Army of Ansar al Sunnah in Iraq (Jaish Ansar al Sunnah fe Iraq). The publication covers the two week period between the 22nd of August and the 6th of September, 2005.

The 28-page “magazine”, published in PDF and DOC format, includes a summary of the daily attacks conducted by the group.

One paragraph summaries of twenty-nine different operations are included in the publication.

The publication also outlines the kidnappings and executions it has conducted, and where they have the ID’s of the victim, they include a copy along with the summary.

The publication includes an illustrated article showing the mujahideen launching missiles on American targets. (The images were apparently taken from a video released several weeks ago.)

The publication also includes an illustrated “tutorial” describing the use of the Dragonov SVD weapon, which appears to have been copied from an internet webpage published in English.

Download entire report

(Special thanks to Archangel)


Iraqi-bound Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua

This is an interesting article from today's FBIS translations. The source is ACAN-EFE in Spanish -- Independent Central American press agency that is a joint concern of Panama City ACAN (Agencia Centroamericana de Noticias) and Madrid EFE.

The Honduras reference caught my eye.

If there are mercs available for hire by US companies, there are probably mercs available for hire by Al Qaeda, further strengthening the suspicions of the link between MS-13 and Al Qaeda.

Honduras: Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua "Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua"-- ACAN-EFE Headline


Friday, September 23, 2005 T22:05:27Z

Chilean mercenaries ordered out of Honduras after authorities learned they had come to the Central American nation to train for duty in Iraq left here Friday for neighboring Nicaragua.

Benjamin Canales, manager of the Honduras office of Your Solutions, the U.S. firm that hired the Chileans for security tasks in Iraq, told EFE the men had to leave because Honduran officials turned down a request from the company that they be allowed to remain a few more days before flying out to the Middle East.

He said the 105 Chileans left early Friday for Nicaragua, traveling by road.

Tuesday, Honduras gave the Chileans 72 hours to leave the country after immigration authorities discovered they had entered the Central American nation on tourist or business visas but were actually there for training as employees of the U.S.-based firm.

The country's constitution bars military training of foreign nationals on Honduran territory.

The existence of the Your Solutions training facility in Lepaterique, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tegucigalpa, was uncovered by La Tribuna newspaper.
Your Solutions Honduras is committed to delivering 600 private security guards to Iraq by next month, and has already sent 36 Hondurans to Baghdad.

"If we had gotten 600 Hondurans, we wouldn't have sought the Chileans," Canales told EFE, adding that the firm expects to fill its 600-guard quota through recruitment in Nicaragua.

Your Solutions is offering new hires assignments in Iraq that pay between $990 and $1,500 a month.

The incident has stirred criticism from some Hondurans who accuse their government of knowingly allowing the mercenaries to enter the country, but Defense Minister Federico Breve said Tuesday that Tegucigalpa turned down a request from Your Solutions to conduct training in the Central American country.

"This is an absolutely private issue, among private parties, to possibly carry out security duty in Iraq, and the truth is that as government and as a state, we don't have much to say," Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker said earlier this week about the situation involving his compatriots in Honduras.

"The truth is that we - as a government, as a state - we have had a very clear position on the matter of Iraq," Walker said, alluding to Santiago's consistent opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of the Arab nation. "But who hires whom in the private world is not an issue that concerns the foreign ministry."

In October 2003, 120 Chilean military veterans were hired for work in Iraq by North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, one of the principal private security contractors operating in the Middle Eastern country.


Friday Sermon in Saudi Arabia: "O God, give power to Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelief and unbelievers"

When the Imam of a mosque in Saudi Arabia, on government controlled Saudi-TV, makes comments like the ones they made on Friday, you have to wonder what they are teaching when they are not in the public eye.

OK, you probably DON'T have to wonder.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV1 in Arabic and Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV2 in Arabic, official television stations of the Saudi Government, on Friday 23 September carry live sermons from the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.

On this Friday, the sermons from the holy mosque in Mecca and the holy mosque in Medina deal with the month of Ramadan and Zakat (almsgiving).

After praising God and the Messenger, the imam calls on people to obey God and says that the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching. In this month, he says, the Koran was revealed and "the doors of Hell are closed and the doors of Paradise are opened." It is also the month of forgiveness and mercy for all Muslims, he says, adding that the month of Ramadan includes Al-Qadr Night (the night in which the Koran was revealed), urging people to stand by the poor, particularly in the month of Ramadan, and to fear God and have faith in Him as a away to forgiveness and Paradise. The imam cites relevant Koranic verses.

The imam also urges people to carry out their religious duties in an appropriate manner before it is too late.

In the second sermon, the imam warns people against indulging in entertainments, which, he says, derail people from worshiping and obeying God's orders.

Concluding, the imam prays to God: "O God, give power to Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelief and unbelievers. O God, support those supporting the religion and disappoint tyrants, atheists, and the corrupt. O God, give safety and security to this country and the rest of the Islamic countries." He also asks God to support "the mujahidin" in Palestine and to give success to the Saudi leaders.

After praising God and the Messenger, the imam says that Islam is the religion of righteous people and that the justice of the shari'a is evident in the Koran and the Sunnah.

Zakat, he says, is one of the pillars of Islam and urges the rich to stretch their hands to the poor, warning that he who denies zakat is considered an unbeliever and will receive severe punishment on the Judgment Day, citing relevant Koranic verses.

In the second sermon, the imam deals with the same theme of Zakat.

Concluding, the imam asks God to strengthen Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelievers, destroy the enemies of the religion, give safety and prosperity to this country and the rest of the Islamic countries, and grant success to the Saudi leaders. The imam also prays to God: "O God, improve the situation of our brothers in Palestine and Iraq. O God, have mercy on them, heal their wounds, and support them. O God, let them restore security and stability in their homelands. O God, protect their land and their homes by the Koran and the Sunnah. O God, save Al-Aqsa Mosque from the paws of the Jews."


Iran: President Says Nation Grounded in Faith, Love for Martyrdom Will Not Fail

Iran's President once again tells us what he believes.

The concept of a nation "grounded in faith and loved for martyrdom" is something that is difficult for those of us in the west to comprehend.

Monday, September 26, 2005

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday that a nation grounded in faith and love for martyrdom will never fail or capitulate.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the start of the new academic year in Imam Hossein University, he said the cultural achievements of the nation in the past eight years of sacred defense against Iraq were the most valuable as they would sustain the Iranian people as they continue in the path of revolution.

He further said that an unwavering faith in God, self-reliance and trust in one's capabilities were among the lessons learned by the nation during the years of sacred war.

Imam Hossein University was established in 1986 and is run by the Islamic Republic Guard Corps. Over 15,000 students are currently enrolled in the university.


Zarqawi's Terrorists Execute Jordanian Driver in Iraq

This article, from the Al-Ra'y newspaper in Amman, Jordan, shows how the local media in Jordan reports the kidnappings and executions in Iraq.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A group claiming to be affiliated with the Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers (Tanzim Qa'idat Al-Jihad fi Bilad Al-Rafidayn), led by Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, shot and killed Jordanian national Khalid Husayn al-Disuqi and disposed of his body in an area near the Iraqi side of the Jordanian Al-Karamah border crossing on the pretext of his collaboration with the US Army through his transportation of goods belonging to it. The deceased had driven his tow truck to Iraq to tow a broken down truck for a fee of 2,500 Jordanian dinars; he secured the job through a Jordanian firm specializing in services in Iraq. According to his brother, Khalid was consequently kidnapped by a terrorist group claiming to be affiliated with Al-Zarqawi.

The "terrorist" group then contacted Khalid's family using his cellular phone, and told them that he was working with the Americans and that his file was referred to Abu-Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, who subsequently sentenced him to decapitation under Islamic law. The group, however, told the family that Khalid was killed execution-style.

Negotiations between the deceased's family and the terrorist group through Khalid's cellular phone went on for four days, and finally revealed that he had been murdered and that his body had been dumped near the Amman-Baghdad international highway , where it was found by US forces and handed over to the Jordanian border police, who in turn informed his family. The body was transferred to Al-Ruwayshid Hospital and then to Al-Bashir Hospital in Amman before being handed over to his family, who laid him to rest in the Sahab cemetery yesterday afternoon.

The deceased's brother, Akram al-Disuqi, told Al-Ra'y that he had reported his brother's disappearance in Iraq to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and the company that sent him there. He said that he was contacted by his brother's abductors, who claimed to have killed his brother upon orders from Al-Zarqawi.

Al-Disuqi said that his brother was brutally tortured before he was killed, and that he plans to relay this information to all concerned parties so that they may investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. He said that he would also demand compensation from the company that sent his brother to Iraq.

The deceased is a 26 year old father of five.


Egyptian Engineer Kidnapped in Baghdad

The name of this engineer, Samuel Edward, caught my eye. Samuel Edward is not an Islamic name, so most like he is member of the Coptic Christian minority in Iraq.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A group of unidentified gunmen kidnapped an Egyptian engineer, called Samuel Edward, working for Iraq's Iraqna (our Iraq) Telecommunications Company as he was leaving his house in al-Mansour neighbourhood in Baghdad on his way to work on Monday.

Company and Police sources said that a company driver who was waiting outside the engineer's house to drive him to the company's office in the same neighbourhood was also abducted but was later released.


Friday, September 23, 2005

January 1999 Article in Al Majallah: Iraqi Intelligence Linked to Bin-Ladin

Sometimes reading old press reports truly uncovers gems.

The following article was published in the Arabic language publication Al Majallah in London in January 1999. It sets forth the claim, some two and a half years before the 9/11 attacks, that Iraqi Intelligence was linked to Osama Bin Laden.

This article is well worth reading.

Iraq: Iraqi Intelligence Linked to Bin-Ladin
London Al-Majallah in Arabic 10-16 Jan 99 p 25
Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Unattributed report: "Story of Cooperation Between Iraq and Both Taleban and Bin-Ladin; It Started Before Operation Desert Fox"

Islamabad, exclusive to Al-Majallah -- Hours after Operation Desert Fox against Iraq, a meeting was held in a mosque in Kandahar, birthplace of Taleban movement leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was attended by a number of senior Taleban commanders, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Jihad movement in Egypt, and Abu-Sa'id al-Masri, a leader of the Afghan Arabs.

According to an Afghan source close to the Taleban, a message signed by Arab and Muslim combatants was sent during the meeting to "the Muslim masses throughout the world, urging them to hit US and British interests and stage demonstrations in protest at the US-British attack on Iraq." And for the first time in Afghanistan's contemporary history since the Red Army's departure and the downfall of Najibollah's rule voices were heard shouting support for Saddam Husayn, which surprised some observers. But the developments that followed the propaganda meeting in a Kandahar mosque revealed the clues behind the relationship between both Mullah Omar's group and Usamah Bin-Ladin's group and Iraqi intelligence.

Al-Majallah's exclusive information indicates that the credit for the establishment of relations between both the Taleban and leaders of the Afghan Arabs and the Iraqi regime goes to the Iraq-based Iranian (opposition) Mojahedin-e Khalq. A delegation was sent to Pakistan from Iraq by Mas'ud Rajavi, leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, when the Taleban were in control of Mazar-e Sharif. The delegation delivered a message from Rajavi to Mullah Omar, expressing his willingness to help the movement to confront what he termed "the Iranian regime's conspiracies" against the Afghan people.

According to an Afghan source close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, the military commander of the front opposed to the Taleban, Mas'ud's services had detected the arrival of technical and military missions belonging to the Mojahedin-e Khalq from Iraq to the areas under the Talebn's control in south, southeast, and west Afghanistan since the end of August 1998. The source said that Mas'ud Rajavi's men participated effectively in organizing the Taleban's propaganda policy and running their radio aimed against Iran.

They also took part in interrogating the Iranian diplomats and technicians arrested by the Taleban in Mazar-e Sharif and Tashqurghan. However, the link between the Taleban and the Mojahedin-e Khalq remained limited until October 1998. At that time, in particular, an Iraqi intelligence official named Abu-Walid accompanied a Mojahedin-e Khalq delegation to Islamabad on 9 November; the delegation continued its journey to Afghan territory with the help of a retired Pakistan Army official who has close ties with Taleban leader Mullah Omar.

In addition to Mullah Omar, the Iraqi official also met with Usamah Bin-Ladin and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri during his travels with the Mojahedin-e Khalq delegation. Contacts then expanded between Baghdad and the Taleban and also with the leaders of the Afghan Arabs to the extent that an adviser to Taleban leader Mullah Omar met with a high-ranking Iraqi envoy in a Gulf capital in November when it was agreed that the Iraqi and Afghan sides would cooperate in the security, military, and intelligence spheres.

In December, the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad held a series of meetings between an Iraqi security official and the leaders of a number of Pakistani fundamentalist movements and elements from the Taleban, with the knowledge of Pakistani military intelligence.

According to sources close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, a group of Pakistani military intelligence officers who are still under the influence of their former chief General Hamid Gul played an influential role in strengthening the Iraqi regime's links with the Taleban and the Usamah Bin-Ladin group.

The source said that the group in question, which also has trade links with the Zardari family (family of the husband of People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto), which is known for its trade relations with Iraq, facilitated the transit to Afghan territory of Mojahedin-e Khalq elements, Iraqi intelligence men, and some of the military and technical aid paid for by the Iraqi Embassy.

On 21 December a high-ranking Iraqi diplomat normally based in Turkey visited Taleban leader Mullah Omar's residence in Kandahar, then headed for Khowst where he met with Bin-Ladin and al-Zawahiri.

An informed Afghan source has revealed to Al-Majallah that the diplomat in question, whom the Taleban leaders call by his first name, Faruq, and his nom de guerre, Abu-Muhammad, conveyed to the Taleban leader and Usamah Bin-Ladin Iraqi President Saddam Husayn's greetings and his wish to develop cooperation between Baghdad and the Arab and Afghan mujahidin in Afghanistan against "US and British arrogance and the regimes collaborating with Washington and London." Abu-Muhammad affirmed to his Afghan and Arab audience Iraq's willingness to provide financial, logistic, political, and informational support for the Taleban and the Afghan Arabs.

After the Iraqi diplomat Abu-Muhammad's visit to Kandahar, a source close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, the leader opposed to the Taleban, revealed that scores of Iraqi military intelligence men, in addition to a number of Mojahedin-e Khalq elements, arrived in Afghan territory in December, and are (now) in Kandahar, Khowst, Bamian, and Velayat-e Nimruz, adjacent to Iranian territory.


1999 Article in Sharq al Awsat Said Al Qaeda Had Anthrax

The following article, published in Arabic on March 6, 1999 in the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat, details confessions made to courts in Egypt that confirm that as of 1999, Osama Bin Laden and elements loyal to him had already purchased biological weapons including Ebola, Anthrax, and Salmonella.

Bin-Ladin Men Reportedly Possess Biological Weapons

Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic

March 6, 1999

Report by Khalid Sharaf-al-Din in Cairo

(FBIS Translated Text) Confessions by defendants in the "Albanian Arabs" case, which is being considered by the Egyptian Supreme Military Court at Hykstap Base, northern Cairo, have revealed that elements loyal to Bin-Ladin have obtained germ and biological weapons by post in return for a small sum. Factories in the former (Soviet bloc) eastern countries are supplying to whoever wants them viruses causing deadly diseases, such as Ebola and Salmonella, without verifying the identity of the importer.

Thus, a member of the organization has managed to obtain an offer for the supply of samples of anthrax and other poisonsfrom a factory in one of the East Asian countries. The germs have been made available at a price equivalent to $3,695 plus freight charges. At another point in the investigation, the defendants pointed out that a laboratory in the Czech Republic agreed to supply samples of the deadly gas, Potolinium (transliterated as published), for a sum equivalent to $7,500 per sample.

The laboratory did not inquire about the purposes for using the deadly gas.

Egyptian security agencies have conducted investigations into the case of the "returnees from Albania" over the past four months and compiled a 20,000-page report, parts of which have been examined by Al-Sharq al-Awsat. The defendants made full confessions about the nature of their activities against the Egyptian regime, such as acts of violence in Egypt and plans to destabilize the state. The confessions of the defendants revealed many surprises about the full role being played by the leaders of fundamentalist groups abroad.

The first defendant in the "Albanian Arabs" case, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Najjar, revealed in his confession, which covers 143 pages of the report on the investigations conducted by the higher state public prosecution before referring the whole case to the military justice, that Ayman al-Zawahiri was declared leader by members of Jihad group abroad several years ago; also, that 'Abbud al-Zummar, former leader of the group and founder of the Jihad Organization, who is currently serving a life sentence for the assassination of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, is no longer the actual leader of the organization and does not have any organizational authority.

This information explains the conflicting positions of the imprisoned group leaders and the absconding leaders abroad on the initiative to stop acts of violence, which was announced by the imprisoned leaders and rejected by the absconding ones. Al-Najjar says Jihad's organizational structure has become very complex since many leaders now live abroad, and those who live in Egypt are careful to not expose themselves to danger.


Moving back in time - to May 16, 2001

Every now and then I go back through the news archives. This morning, I came across this article about the now-infamous Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi, dated May 16, 2001.

Jordanian Court To Begin Trial of Al-Qa'idah Organization Member Hijazi
16 May 2001
Source: AL-RA'Y newspaper, Amman, Jordan

The State Security Court will today, Wednesday, begin the trial of Ra'id Hijazi, one of those accused of belonging to the Afghan Al-Qa'idah Organization, which belongs to Usamah Bin-Ladin. This will be his second trial, since he was tried the first time in absentia, as he was absconding from justice. Then he was arrested in Syria and delivered to Jordan.
Hijazi, who was sentenced to death by hanging, faces several charges.

These are: Possessing explosive materials without any license for use illegally and collectively contrary to the provisions of Article 12/2 of the penal code, possessing an automatic weapon with a license for use illegally and collectively contrary to the provisions of Article 11/A of the Firearms and Ammunitions Law No. 24 of 1952 and Article 76 of the penal code, manufacturing explosive materials collectively without any license contrary to Article 12/A of Explosives Law No. 13 of 1952 and Article 76, plotting to carry out terrorist actions contrary to the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960, entering into criminal agreement to commit crimes against people and property contrary to the provisions of Article 157/A of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960, and belonging to an illegal organization contrary to the provisions of Articles 159 and 160 of the penal code.

The court will also try Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalayilah, alias "Abu-Mus'ib al-Zarqawi," born in Al-Zarqa, currently residing in Afghanistan, and absconding from justice; and Lu'ay Muhammad Haj Bakr al-Saqqa, alias "Ali al-Turki Al-Daktur Ala," a Syrian national currently residing in Germany and absconding from justice. Both of them face the charge brought against them in the bill of indictment issued by Ma'mun al-Khasawinah, public prosecutor at the State Security Court. The charge is carrying terrorist actions contrary to the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960.

(Description of Source: Amman Al-Ra'y in Arabic -- Jordanian daily of widest circulation; partially owned by government.