Edward Cody, Debbi Wilgoren and Craig Whitlock
PARIS — Islamist guerrillas seized a number of hostages, including Americans, in a brazen attack early Wednesday on a remote gas-production facility in Algeria, and the United States vowed to take all necessary steps to deal with what it called a “terrorist act.”
Algeria’s official news agency said two people were killed, including a British national, and six were wounded, two of them foreigners, in the attack by what authorities described as a homegrown Algerian terrorist group. There were conflicting accounts of the number of people taken hostage. The agency, Algerie Presse Service, said Algerian troops quickly surrounded the site.
In Rome, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said U.S. officials believe that Americans are among the hostages in Algeria but that they are still trying to determine how many.
“By all indications, this is a terrorist act,” he told reporters after meeting with Italian leaders Wednesday as part of a week-long European trip. “It is a very serious matter when Americans are taken hostage along with others…. I want to assure the American people that the United States will take all necessary and proper steps that are required to deal with this situation.”
Panetta said it remained unclear whether the hostage-takers are connected to al-Qaeda-affiliated groups that France is fighting in northern Mali.
“I do know that terrorists are terrorists, and terrorists take these kinds of actions,” he added. “We’ve witnessed their behavior in a number of occasions where they have total disregard for innocent men and women. This appears to be that kind of situation.”
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the attack and said 41 hostages were seized, seven of them Americans.
However, Algerie Presse Service (APS) said “a little more than 20 foreign nationals” were captured. It said the hostages were from Norway, Britain, the United States, France and Japan. The captors released Algerian workers in small groups, the agency said.
The assailants arrived in three vehicles and first attacked a bus that was taking foreign workers from the gas-production facility to a local airport, APS said. One foreigner was killed in that attack, and the militants then took over part of the facility and seized hostages, it said. Algerian Interior Minister Daho Ould Kablia said the attackers were Algerian “terrorists” and vowed that authorities would not negotiate with them.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said the attack was in retaliation for Algeria’s decision to allow France to use its airspace to send warplanes to neighboring Mali, where French forces have been conducting airstrikes and support operations since last week to aid Malian troops in their battle against Islamist insurgents. “
Algeria’s participation in the war on the side of France betrays the blood of the Algerian martyrs who fell in the fight against the French occupation,” a spokesman for the Masked Brigade, an arm of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, told Mauritania’s Nouakchott News Agency.
January 16, 2013
BEIRUT – On arrival to Lebanon’s capital city, all seems very functional and normal on the surface, as the city runs business as usual.
Below the surface however, there is a feeling of trepidation, an unspoken collective worry that a city and country who has gradually managed to pick up the pieces from the decades-long conflict which stretched through the 70’s and 80’s, an Israeli occupation of its south, followed by a brief, albeit destructive, ‘33 Day War’ with Israel in 2006 – might once again be dragged into another sub-regional conflict. It goes without saying that police and security services in Lebanon are on high alert.
Tourism Hit Hard
The neighboring conflict has also had a very negative impact on Lebanon’s tourism, keeping away the much-needed outside currency for which many jobs, independent hotels and other SMEs are dependent for their economic survival. But despite the recent problems, Beirut is still moving ahead, still attracting some foreign investment made visible by the hundreds of new building projects springing up all over the city. And as expected, the restaurants seem busy and the cafes are still buzzing.Already there is a tangible presence of Syrian refugees in Lebanon and in the capital Beirut, who have fled from the fighting and breakdown of society currently unfolding next door. The impact of the Syrian conflict on its neighbor Lebanon in such a short space of time is substantial.Latest reports put the number of Syrian refugees recently accumulated in Lebanon at 300,000. This figure is contrasted by the number of Palestinian refugees whose ancestors fled Israel’s ethnic cleanings in 1947-48, still housed in Lebanon today – which is currently estimated at 500,000.
The Issue of Sectarianism
Lebanon is, more than ever, a demonstration of sectarianism par excellence. In of country of 4 million, there is differentiation within the Christian community – Greek Orthodox, Maronite, Melkite, Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic, as well as within and the Muslim community – Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Druze. In addition to this, there is a substantial Armenian community, a large community of foreign nationals from the US and Europe, Asian and African migrant workers, and a small Jewish community. One might also note that the internal rifts between Christian and Muslim factions are almost as great as the polarity separating Christians and Muslim as a whole.That said, it is also the only society in the region where contrasting religions and cultures are completely intermingled and where tolerance has evolved into a virtue.
In its totality, Lebanon consists of some of 19 religions and dozens more ethnic , groups. Many a thesis and book have sought to chronicle (and will continue to argue no doubt) this strive towards cultural détente in the Levant. One such writer is Lebanese-American Professor Walid Phares, who sums up the country’s current alignment as follows:
“Although multi-ethic and multi-religious, Lebanon was viewed by the political establishment as a unitary republic which can only have a majority and a minority. Therefore, and without a mechanism of decentralization, Federation or simply pluralism, that establishment was vying over who really represents the “majority” of all Lebanese, and who reduced to a “minority.” The debate was then about numbers, census, demographic changes, communities who have allegedly increased in numbers because of poverty versus communities who have decreased in numbers because of emigration. But that was a false problem.”Much of the country’s political energy has been expended over the course of the last half century in determining who is the majority and who is the minority, and although the intention was to present a fair solution to representation in its central government, it has also been the source of internal power-politics, which some believe laid down a fertile soil for the sharp upheaval Lebanon experienced from 1975 onward.
Nowhere is the nation’s simmering ‘political ratio’ reflected more than in its own constitution – a document which goes to extraordinary lengths to secure some form of socio-religious balance. The Lebanese constitution mandates that the office President should be held by a Maronite Christian, the Speaker of the House held by a Shi’ite Muslim, and the post of Prime Minister held by a Sunni Muslim.
Many academics such as Phares, feel that the future would be brighter if Lebanon would embrace its multicultural reality and take a feather out of Belgium’s or Canada’s cap, and consider phasing out its historical obsession with ethnic and religious minorities and majorities. In other words, if Lebanon could embrace ‘multiculturalism’, it wouldn’t need the old system. This idea is easier said than done, as vested political interests and blood spilled over decades has, to a large degree, cemented traditional political and social paradigms into place.
Syria Simmering Next Door
What’s foremost on the minds of Lebanese in 2013 is what will happen with Syria, and will Lebanon we dragged to their war. Alongside this, many are left questioning whether or not Lebanon will ever achieve some form of long-term peace with its southern neighbor Israel. The former is the key to its short-term prosperity, while the latter is the key to healing wounds still festering from the wars, as well as the influx of Palestinians it has had to shoulder since 1948. The situation in Syria is made even more complex by the fact that a number of foreign powers with vested interests in Damascus regime change are supplying fighters, arms, logistics, money and mass media support – which has always been a recipe for chaos throughout history. Among these foreign actors vying for position in Syria are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, US, UK and France (somehow, it’s all beginning to look more and more like pre-WWI power-politics). Syria has long played an overshadowing role in the stability – and destiny of its smaller neighbor Lebanon. The scares still run deep from Syria’s obtuse and often disjointed alliances with different factions over the course of Lebanon’s Civil Wars in the 70’s and 1980’s. The result of Syria’s hand in those affairs has been a dysfunctional, and often times confusing relationship between Damascus and Beirut, as well as the cause for political dysfunction within Beirut itself. In 2013, however, the alignments are markedly different from previous decades. For starters, Syria, itself, is now a major piece on the global chessboard, not least of all because of its three major allies, all of whom seem to run contrary to ‘central planning‘ in the West – namely, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran and now Russia. All interested parties see Syria as the key domino, and this, rightly so, is the cause for much worry right now.
Lebanon has a number of internal issues I’m sure it would prefer to sort out first before being dragged into another sub-regional conflagration – like it’s own central government, its economy, its potentially massive tourism trade, and of course, the Palestinian refugee issue. Yesterday, I was able to travel south the ancient city of Tyre, some 16km from the the Israeli border. The ruins are stunning, but so are the Palestinian refugee camp which runs alongside it. It’s was a little tragic, if not amusing to discover there that some Palestinians in need of rock for building their homes had permanently borrowed some of the antiquity ruins next door. In a certain way, some five millennia of history puts the current protracted upheaval into some perspective.
The recent past certainly has pulled Lebanon down in a spiral of social tension and extreme economic strife, but set against the larger backdrop of successive empires and cultures who have been overlaid on to this small, but historically pivotal region, it’s merely the latest chapter in a much larger epic novel. Many people outside of Lebanon – academics, archeologists, tourists – all long to see Lebanon achieve stability and one day showcase its incredible cultural and historical wealth to the world.In essence, making the difficult transition from a fractured state, to one of stability and eventual prosperity. I talked about this to one long-term Beirut resident, named Jamal, who put it simply, “To do all this, first we need to have peace.”It’s that simple. On paper anyway.….
Writer Patrick Henningsen is a roving correspondent for the UK Column, as well as host of 21st Century Wire TV programme airing Thursdays at 6pm on PSTV SKY channel 191 in the UK.
21st Century Wire says…Brace yourself for impact, Obama’s ‘invite only’ second term starts now…
Philip Rucker and Sari Horwitz
Jan 15, 2013
The announcement, to be delivered at the White House, is also expected to include a slate of up to 19 executive actions that the Obama administration can take on its own to attempt to limit gun violence. The White House has invited key lawmakers as well as gun-control advocates to appear at Wednesday’s policy roll-out, according to two officials who have been invited to the event. Obama said at a news conference Monday that he would present his gun proposals later in the week. A White House spokesman said Tuesday morning that he could not confirm the plans.
Source: Washington Post
But why aren’t they investigating into the bizarre cover-up surrounding Sandy Hook, the event which magically spun this issue into play? Read this: http://21stcenturywire.com/2013/01/11/oopps-three-days-before-shooting-united-way-extends-condolences-to-sandy-hook-families/ …
Why are UK politicians so preoccupied with lowering the age of consent? Who asked for it to be lowered in the first place? Not parents in Britain, that’s for sure. Listen to this bit of common sense before you start your debate…
UPDATE: British PM Rules Out Lowering Age Of Consent To 14… http://news.sky.com/story/1036565/pm-rules-out-lowering-age-of-consent-to-14
Up until the last few years I used to be a big fan of BBC programming and would invest at least a few hours every day watching programmes like Eastenders, Top of the Pops, Only Fools & Horses, Question Time, Newsnight, Panorama, etc.
But these days I cannot bring myself to watch any BBC programmes at all. Even watching just five minutes worth makes me feel dirty. It’s not the quality of the programming that’s at issue, it’s the fact that the BBC is such a repulsive propaganda machine that seems to pay no attention to the concerns of the very people who are funding them.
The BBC has had it too good for too long. One of the major problems posed by the BBC is their lack of accountability to the very people who pay their wages — us. The BBC is never far away from controversy but nothing ever seems to change and no one in their corporation ever seems to be worse off as a result of their wrongdoing. Imagine for a moment that it was a completely different media company we were talking about, and not the BBC. For argument’s sake, let’s say it was ITV or Sky. What would happen is that the viewers would refuse to watch that TV station any longer and/or they would cancel their subscriptions. And if enough people did this, the company would go bankrupt very quickly. That’s because these company’s are directly accountable to their viewers who pay their wages via subscriptions or from watching the adverts. However, the BBC does not afford us this luxury to the people who fund them. It doesn’t matter how many people stop watching BBC programmes because the BBC will continue to receive £3.4 billion a year from our pockets. Therefore the BBC has no financial impetus to even want to change what they do. Even if a million people suddenly stopped watching the BBC, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the BBC’s annual turnover, which means that they can continue to anger people as much as they want without any fear of redundancies, pay cuts or the company going bust through lack of consumer confidence in their products.
Therefore we only have one real option available to us and that’s to cancel our TV Licence…
More on ‘The Great TV License Scam’…
21st Century Wire
Jan 15, 2013
When it comes to post-modern military embarrassments and gallant non-events, Somalia often comes to mind. Then again, so do the French.
So it’s a wonder why the newly hand-picked head of state in Paris thought it pertinent to tread down that dirty African road which almost always ends in tears.
Ridley Scott’s box-office hit, Blackhawk Down, did rather well despite it’s obvious post-Desert Storm propagandising, custom-designed to get Americans angry about being losers on the world military stage – a true turning point (and traumatic viewing I’m told by my American friends) in US attitudes which no doubt helped to stoke the imperial madness of King George II of Texas, as he led America’s shameless effort into his father’s New American Century. But even with Scott being fed the brief from the Pentagon’s official film producer-in-residence, Jerry Bruckenheimer, most people with intimate knowledge of the actual event will tell you that the film was still a romantic portrayal of a totally shambolic and horrific misadventure.
Indeed, the first Somali Follie marked the last time that Washington would ever bother all that much with collateral damage, or putting soldiers in the line of fire – let alone considering an actual Hollywood-style rescue. No, those are left exclusively to the likes of Bruckenheimer. It’s not that there are any brave soldiers left, it’s just become way too risky and even more messy. Any future ops would be stage-managed, and deploy scorched earth policies etc, so as to leave no witnesses in case the op went bad… Forget about Seal Team 6 and the infamous Bin Laden Raid – that wasn’t (Obama still can’t find the photos and video of the terror kingpin who according to multiple official admissions, died between 2001 and 2002), Washington will just send in the Drones to either level, or vaporise any moving animal within the blast zone. This technique has proved to work particularly well for weddings and funerals in Pakistan over the last half decade. The worst thing that can happen in this new unmanned military paradigm is that the US Army’s 22 year old play station expert in holed-up Nevada CENTCOM gets a head ache and accidentally crashes his drone into the side of a hill in Baluchistan.
But I digress…
Busy attacking his country’s upper tier with a 70% tax bracket, the somewhat receding French President Francois Hollande hasn’t been in power more than a few months… and he’s already challenging Sarkozy for the most hated man in France award. In short, he’s gone and done what any unpopular French President would do, and that’s going into some godforsaken destabilised former colonial African hell-hole to steel a bit of globalist glory. So the French played the African Double Dip Lottery – going for a shady Somalian rescue, and also attempting to throw their weight around in Mali’s latest civil war, losing at least one commando, a helicopter and its pilot on the same day – and lost both times – for now, at least.
A Bad Day for Hollande
Hollande lost men in both operations – which in itself is tragic – particularly for the families of the men lost, but he also managed to lose the French secret agent hostage – or so the French papers say. Both operations ended as heroic failures. All in all, not a good day in military terms, and hard to believe the French public would back two epic failures like this. So what really happened on the day? Let’s break it down…
The French commando operation in Somalia went horribly south following a fire fight with the latest Islamist L‘enfant terrible, al-Shabab.
The secret agent-cum-hostage was identified by his cover name, ‘Denis Allex’, and is presumed to be dead – although the al-Shabab insist he is still alive and happily eating toasties and drinking his long-life milk from a box carton.
Sadly for Hollande and France, at least one French commando is reported to have gone missing during the operation. Something smells very staged about this French agent – and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if the CIA were somehow involved at some stage in the hostage screen play – this, judging by the Intel Center logo embossed in the upper righthand corner in the hostage video. The CIA/Pentagon’s ‘media agency’, Intel Center is on record as manufacturing fake Osama bin Laden videos. Meanwhile, deep in Mali, a French pilot was killed when rebels shot down his helicopter during a sortie.
And what’s worse… we now find out that Hollande called Obama at the eleventh hour to ‘help out’. According to today’s Washington Post, Obama was forced to admit his involvement with Hollande’s Blackhawk Down… Part Deux:
“In a letter to Congress, President Obama said U.S. combat aircraft “provided limited technical support” to French forces late Friday as they attempted to rescue a French spy who had been held captive for more than three years… … Obama said the U.S. warplanes “briefly” entered Somali airspace but did not open fire and departed Somalia by 8 p.m. Friday, Washington time. He said he approved the mission but gave no other details. A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the operation, said the combat aircraft were based at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, a small country on Somalia’s northwestern border.”Mind you, with America’s dodgy track record in Somalia, why would the French ask them to help out rescuing their now not-so-secret agent (who is arguably still missing, so not officially dead yet)?
Vive Le AFRICOM! Here’s a question which no one has asked yet: what on earth are French Secret Service agents doing running around in Somalia in the first place?
The US has AFRICOM so one would expect Washington to have ample spooks on the ground in all over Africa – in their manic drive to evict the Chinese from the Dark Continent. Pourquoi France? Non! French military excursions are normally confined to the Magreb. Somalia is traditionally a US and British patch. At first glance this may look like a gallic cock-up, but look a bit closer to see how the Somali raid fits into a much bigger puzzle.
In Mali also, both the British and US militaries ran modules of this Operation in support of the French. Britain provided the use of its planes to transport troops, while the US supplied logistical support, including communications and transport. It’s well known that the US have designs on countries like Mali, Uganda and others. So it appears that the US are now using the French (and the British) to fight their new proxy wars in Africa. What were Hollande or the French multi-nation corporations promised by Washington? Land? Mali’s utilities? A nuclear power plant contract?
This latest French hand-holding exercise in Africa simply reinforces the rolling trend currently among the allied NATO member states – a plethora of joint military pacts and exercises, where various countries are tasked perform certain compartmentalised tasks within a much larger strategic operation. This new method of neo-colonial intervention is effectively the initial steps towards the formation of a One World Combat Force, or Army, performing what is essentially a World Police function. In reality, what NATO allies are really doing is farming out the job of securing western transnational corporate interests in Africa. Our advice to Hollande is simple: play to your strengths next time. French elites would be none the wiser to airlift two tons of halal fromage (Chevre and a few large wheels of Camembert should do) and a twelve cases of your most excellent Beaujolais nouveau - a gift to those Al Shababs to soften them up before you hit them with the Ricarde. Sadly, however, Hollande was left to do the only thing he could – a ‘full American’, which is code for killing many Muslims overseas – including civilians and children. This, he will quickly discover, can score some cheap political points back at home, and just like a weak Roman Emperor, it will make him look ‘strong’… temporarily. Hence, today we hear that very thing has actually happened – French Rafale fighter jets are said to have “pounded insurgent training camps, arms and oil depots” yesterday in Mali, but with some collateral damage – at least 11 civilians including three children. “Mali is now at the mercy of the French army,” said one official in Bamako. The French are learning fast – kill, and kill often. It’s worked for the US for the last decade, and still no one seems to mind back at home. That’s what you can expect – from your new One World Army. ….
EXCLUSIVE: Was BBC presenter Jimmy Savile procuring Haut de la Garenne children’s home boys in Jersey for former PM Ted Heath?
Was BBC presenter Jimmy Savile procuring Haut de la Garenne children’s home boys in Jersey for former Prime Minister Ted Heath to sexually abuse on his boat ‘Morning Cloud’ – and were these victims subsequently murdered?
Assassinations of Princess Diana and former Labour Foreign Secretary Robin Cook with barrister Michael Shrimpton. Despicable failure of BBC Trust chairman & senior Tory Chris Patten to deal effectively with internal BBC censorship of the Jimmy Savile story…
Read and hear more at Tony Gosling’s Drive Time Show
Jan 13, 2013
JIMMY SAVILE beat and raped a 12-year-old girl during a secret satanic ritual in a hospital.
Savile, who died aged 84 in October 2011, is now Britain’s worst sex offender after police revealed he preyed on at least 450 victims aged eight to 47. The girl kept her torment hidden for nearly 20 years before finally opening up to therapist Valerie Sinason.
Dr Sinason told the Sunday Express she first spoke to the victim in 1992. “She had been a patient at Stoke Mandeville in 1975 when Savile was a regular visitor.
“She recalled being led into a room that was filled with candles on the lowest level of the hospital, somewhere that was not regularly used by staff. Several adults were there, including Jimmy Savile who, like the others, was wearing a robe and a mask.
“She recognised him because of his distinctive voice and the fact that his blond hair was protruding from the side of the mask. He was not the leader but he was seen as important because of his fame.
“She was molested, raped and beaten and heard words that sounded like ‘Ave Satanas’, a Latinised version of ‘Hail Satan’, being chanted. There was no mention of any other child being there and she cannot remember how long the attack lasted but she was left extremely frightened and shaken.”
Savile was a volunteer porter and fundraiser at the hospital between 1965 and 1988 and had his own quarters there.
Five years after the hospital attack, he abused a second victim during another black mass ceremony held at a house in a wealthy London street.
The woman was 21 at the time and was made to attend an orgy, which later took on a darker twist.
Dr Sinason, director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies in London, said: “A second victim approached me in 1993. She said she had been ‘lent out’ as a supposedly consenting prostituted woman at a party in a London house in 1980.
“The first part of the evening started off with an orgy but half-way through some of the participants left.
“Along with other young women, the victim was shepherded to wait in another room before being brought back to find Savile in a master of ceremonies kind of role with a group wearing robes and masks. She too heard Latin chanting and instantly recognised satanist regalia. Although the girl was a young adult, who was above the age of consent, she had suffered a history of sexual abuse and was extremely vulnerable.
”Both victims contacted Dr Sinason, who is president of the Institute of Psychotherapy and Disability, while she was involved in a Department of Health-funded study into sexual abuse committed during rituals and religious ceremonies. She said: “Both these witnesses did speak to police at the time but were vulnerable witnesses and on encountering any surprise or shock did not dare to give all the details.”
The police took no action…
Jan 11, 2013
BEIJING: Russia and China are planning to intensify their cooperation on missile defense in response to America’s growing missile defense potential around the globe, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday.
“We are concerned about US plans to build a global missile defense system, including in the Asia-Pacific region,” Patrushev said during the 8th round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic security in Beijing.
“Our Chinese partners share our concerns and we have agreed to coordinate our actions in that respect,” he said, adding that it would help both countries to develop a “constructive” approach toward missile defense issue. Russia and China have been keeping a close eye on US moves to deploy missile defenses around the arc of the South China Sea in addition to the planned European missile shield.
Washington and Tokyo agreed last September to construct an advanced X-band missile early-warning radar in southern Japan to join an existing AN/TPY-2 radar in Japan’s northern Aomori Prefecture.
Some reports suggest that US Missile Defense Agency and the US Pacific Command are considering a third such radar somewhere else in Southeast Asia, possibly in the Philippines.
Washington is also planning to expand the grouping of Aegis-equipped US warships that patrol international waters in the region. Moscow and Beijing are objecting US missile defense initiatives saying they are worsening the global and regional security environment, especially military and nonproliferation processes, to the detriment of Russian and Chinese nuclear deterrents. Russia and China have held regular bilateral consultations on strategic issues since 2005. ..
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