Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts

Monday, May 2, 2011

Elite SEALs From Va. Beach-based Unit Swooped In On bin Laden

American Troops did another KICK-A--- Job!!  THANKYOU!!

WASHINGTON  — Helicopters descended out of darkness on the most important counterterrorism mission in U.S. history. It was an operation so secret, only a select few U.S. officials knew what was about to happen.

The location was a fortified compound in an affluent Pakistani town two hours outside Islamabad. The target was Osama bin Laden.

Intelligence officials discovered the compound in August while monitoring an al-Qaida courier. The CIA had been hunting that courier for years, ever since detainees told interrogators that the courier was so trusted by bin Laden that he might very well be living with the al-Qaida leader.

Nestled in an affluent neighborhood, the compound was surrounded by walls as high as 18 feet, topped with barbed wire. Two security gates guarded the only way in. A third-floor terrace was shielded by a seven-foot privacy wall. No phone lines or Internet cables ran to the property. The residents burned their garbage rather than put it out for collection. Intelligence officials believed the million-dollar compound was built five years ago to protect a major terrorist figure. The question was, who?

The CIA asked itself again and again who might be living behind those walls. Each time, they concluded it was almost certainly bin Laden.

President Barack Obama described the operation in broad strokes Sunday night. Details were provided in interviews with counterterrorism and intelligence authorities, senior administration officials and other U.S. officials. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation.

By mid-February, intelligence from multiple sources was clear enough that Obama wanted to "pursue an aggressive course of action," a senior administration official said. Over the next two and a half months, Obama led five meetings of the National Security Council focused solely on whether bin Laden was in that compound and, if so, how to get him, the official said.

Normally, the U.S. shares its counterterrorism intelligence widely with trusted allies in Britain, Canada, Australia and elsewhere. And the U.S. normally does not carry out ground operations inside Pakistan without collaboration with Pakistani intelligence. But this mission was too important and too secretive.

On April 29, Obama approved an operation to kill bin Laden. It was a mission that required surgical accuracy, even more precision than could be delivered by the government's sophisticated Predator drones.

To execute it, Obama tapped a small contingent of the Navy's elite SEAL Team Six, based in Virginia Beach, and put them under the command of CIA Director Leon Panetta, whose analysts monitored the compound from afar.

Panetta was directly in charge of the team, a U.S. official said, and his conference room was transformed into a command center.

Details of exactly how the raid unfolded remain murky. But the al-Qaida courier, his brother and one of bin Laden's sons were killed. No Americans were injured. Senior administration officials will only say that bin Laden "resisted." And then the man behind the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil died from an American bullet to his head.

It was mid-afternoon in Virginia when Panetta and his team received word that bin Laden was dead. Cheers and applause broke out across the conference room.

Osama bin Laden Killed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time of the September 11 attacks and famously said he wanted Osama bin Laden dead or alive, on Sunday called the death of the al Qaeda leader a "momentous achievement."

President Barack Obama called Bush in Dallas at 9:04 p.m. central time to inform him that bin Laden was dead and they spoke for four minutes, a Bush spokesman said.

The September 11 attacks were a defining moment of Bush's presidency. He launched the war in Afghanistan and the hunt for bin Laden spanned the rest of his presidency.
"This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001," Bush said in a statement.

"The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done," he said.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saddam Hussein's Aide- Tariq Aziz- Sentenced To Die

Iraq's former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, the best-known face of Saddam Hussein's dictatorial regime, was sentenced to death today for organizing a crackdown on Iraq's Shiite community two decades ago.

Two other top Hussein aides also were sentenced to hang by Baghdad's High Criminal Court.

Aziz, 74, who also served as foreign minister under Hussein, was condemned to the gallows after being found guilty of "liquidating religious parties," according to the National Iraqi News Agency. Also sentenced to hang were former Interior Minister Saadoun Shaker and Abid Hamoud, the executed dictator's secretary.

All three were sentenced for organizing a crackdown on members of Iraq's Shiite majority community following a failed 1991 uprising against Hussein, Agence France-Presse reported. The former ruling Ba'ath party members will be executed after a presidential council has confirmed the sentences.

This is the third time that Aziz -- a member of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Christian community -- has been found guilty of participating in atrocities carried out during the Hussein era. In 2009, he was ordered imprisoned for 15 years for the 1992 execution of 42 Baghdad wholesalers. He also was given a seven-year sentence for his role in expelling Kurds from Iraq's north.

He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Maryland Woman Pleads For Husbands Release From Jail In Cuba

Jessica Gresko, Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The wife of a Maryland man jailed in Cuba as an alleged spy has written to Cuban President Raul Castro to apologize and plead for his release.

Judy Gross' husband Alan Gross was arrested at the Havana airport in December 2009. At the time, he was working as a contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the government office that provides economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide.

"I recognize today that the Cuban government may not like the type of work that Alan was doing in Cuba ... But I want you to know that Alan loves the people of Cuba, and he only wanted to help them. He never intended them, or your government, any harm," Judy Gross wrote in a letter dated Aug. 4 and first reported Sunday by Reuters. "To the extent his work may have offended you or your government, he and I are genuinely remorseful."

Gross, who was able to visit her husband for the first time this summer, wrote that when she returned home she learned that the couple's 26-year-old daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"We need him, and I need him, more now than ever before," she wrote, adding that Gross' release would be viewed "as a wonderful humanitarian gesture on the part of the Cuban people."

She also told Castro that she worried about the health of her husband. He is 61, has lost more than 80 pounds since he was arrested and has developed a problem that may result in permanent paralysis in his right leg, she wrote.

Judy Gross has denied that her husband was a spy. She has said that her husband is a veteran development worker who was helping members of Cuba's Jewish community use the Internet to stay in contact with each other and with similar groups abroad. Communications equipment he brought with him was intended for humanitarian purposes, not for use by Cuba's dissident community, she said.

Gross has not been charged, but senior Cuban leaders have accused him of spying. U.S. diplomats, meanwhile, have insisted Gross was doing nothing wrong. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called for Gross' release in June, saying that his continued detention was harming U.S.-Cuba relations.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

ALL Miners Rescued...........

All 33 miners successfully rescued after spending 69 days trapped!
SAN JOSE MINE, Chile (AP) - The last of the Chilean miners has been raised from deep beneath the earth. All 33 men have now been delivered from the longest underground entrapment in history.

The foreman who held the group together when they were feared lost was the last man out. Luis Alberto Urzua was hoisted to safety in a joyous climax to a flawless rescue that captivated the world

The intricately planned rescue that ended late Wednesday moved with remarkable speed -- and flawless execution -- hauling up miner after miner in a cramped cage through a narrow hole drilled through 2,000 feet of rock.

The 33 men spent more than 69 days trapped in the lower reaches of the mine after a huge collapse of rock blocked the way out on Aug. 5.

So Far So Good For The Rescue Of Trapped Miners In Chile

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and Bolivan President Evo Morales Wednesday praised the miners before rescuers hoisted the 15th man to safety.

Victor Segovia, 48, gave Pinera a thumbs up and a hug as he stepped from the rescue capsule, the 15th of 33 trapped miners rescued. Segovia kept a journal while trapped underground for 69 days.

Victor Zamora, 33, the 14th miner rescued, hugged and kissed his six-months-pregnant wife.

Carlos Barrios, 27, the 13th miner to come out, had only begun mining eight months before the Aug. 5 collapse at the San Jose mine.

Pineria said the rescues were a victory of fear over death.

"I am more convinced than ever that the greatest wealth of our country is not copper, but our miners, he said. Morales said Bolivia would not forget the rescue of Carlos Mamani, the only trapped Bolivian miner. "This incident is uniting us more and more every day," Morales said.

Earlier, cheers greeted Edison Pena, the 12th trapped miner rescued from the Chilean mine. Pena, 34, who jogged more than two miles a day in dark tunnels, kept other miners' spirits up by leading exercises and singing Elvis Presley songs, CNN said Wednesday.

Mario Heredia Gomez, at 62 the oldest miner of the group, was the ninth extracted. He donned his sunglasses to shield his eyes, then waved a Chilean flag soon after he emerged from the specially designed rescue capsule about 8 1/2 hours after the rescue operation began.

8th miner to be rescued
The miners are being brought to the surface from more than 2,000 feet below, one by one, in a rescue operation televised around the world.

Florencio Avalos, 31, was the first miner to get into the capsule after rescuer Manuel Gonzalez was lowered into the mine. Plans called for four rescuers to join the miners below the surface during the rescue operation, which was expected to take as much as 48 hours.

Gonzalez is an expert in mine emergencies and vertical ascents, the Santiago Times reported. Television news organizations aired live pictures of Gonzalez emerging from the capsule to a warm greeting from the trapped miners.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Police Say Son Was Upset Over His Mother's Care

Paul Warren Pardus spent restless nights with his ailing mother at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and when he believed doctors had failed her, the 50-year-old shot her physician before killing his mother and himself.

Pardus was a fixture in the room since last week, after his 84-year-old mother, Jean Davis, was brought there for surgery related to cancer treatment. While speaking to Dr. David B. Cohen around 11 a.m., Pardus pulled a semiautomatic handgun from his waistband, shot Cohen in the abdomen and ran into her hospital room.

Cohen was rushed into surgery but is expected to recover. For three hours after the shooting, police treated the situation as a standoff, in which some parts of the sprawling East Baltimore campus were locked down and others were evacuated. Snipers took to the roofs, as people in surrounding buildings were ordered to stay away from windows and to draw the blinds. Images from the scene were relayed live over international television.

In the end, investigators believe Pardus and Davis were dead the whole time. After sending in a robot with a camera, they discovered the bodies — the bedridden Davis with a gunshot wound to the back of the head, Pardus on the floor, shot through the mouth.

Several Hopkins personnel, some who worked on the eighth floor of the Nelson building, said that Pardus blamed Cohen for paralyzing his mother during surgery. According to one witness who spoke with detectives, he yelled, "You ruined my mother."

"He thought it was [the doctor's] fault, but it wasn't," said a nurse, who did not want to give his name because staff members at the hospital were discouraged from discussing the incident with news media.

Pardus was a single man whose mother had moved into his tiny home in Arlington, Va., about three miles west of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Neighbors said he was a driver for a service for disabled people, but his first obligation was to his beloved mother.

"He was a very kind-hearted man, as far as we could see," said neighbor Teresa Green, 44. "The love he had for his mother showed."

Records show he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia, and he did not appear to have a criminal record beyond traffic violations. In 1998, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and a website lists him as the holder of a copyright for a screenplay and lyrics to a song called "I Love the Lord." Pardus had identified himself to hospital staff as Warren Davis, his middle name and mother's last name.

Vanessa Allen, who lived across the street from Pardus, said she didn't know him well but also saw him often with his mother.

"I always admired him, how he took care of her. That's why I was so shocked when I found out it was him," Allen said. "I can't believe he would shoot his own mother."

Thursday's shooting brought activity at some parts of the busy Hopkins hospital to a standstill. By midafternoon, floors of the Nelson building had been evacuated and the police perimeter around the hospital had extended several blocks. Police were shuffling groups of people away — some police officers even pushed patients in wheelchairs away from the scene themselves — and employees were visibly shaken and calling family members as they hurried away from the hospital.

Michelle Burrell, who works at a coffee bar in the hospital lobby, said she sent text message to a friend in a room on the eighth floor of the Nelson building shortly after the shooting. She and others had locked themselves in.

"She just let me know she was safe, and that's all I was worried about," Burrell said. She said the scene in the lobby of the hospital was chaotic, with people running for cover, locking themselves in rooms.

Jacqueline Billy, a nurse who works in respiratory care, was on the seventh floor and got in an elevator that took her up to the eighth. She was greeted by police, guns drawn, who ordered her to shut the door.

"I was petrified — the door opened and there are a bunch of guns. You never expect that," she said.

Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that tactical teams, which included the Baltimore city police and SWAT teams, the FBI, and Baltimore County SWAT teams, were called in, and had set up a command center within 45 minutes after the incident.

"By all evaluations, everything worked as designed," Bealefeld said.

In the School of Nursing across the street, students sat in a computer room and study lounge, speaking in hushed tones about the scene unfolding across the street.

A group of students, peering through the blinds, noted that large X's had been placed in several windows, presumably to note rooms that were clear. One girl read aloud a text message that said the doctor had died, information that would prove to be incorrect.

Amy Wilson, wearing purple hospital scrubs, sat on the floor of the nursing school's main lobby, beneath a flat screen TV notifying students of a "shooting incident" and instructing them to stay tuned for updates. A member of the support staff in the intensive-care unit, Wilson said staff members often have to call security or police when fights break out among family or others visiting the hospital, but she had never heard of such an attack on a medical professional.

"It's a scary reality" of working at a big institution, said Ashley Salamone, also a nurse in the intensive-care unit.

Cohen was continuing to receive treatment Thursday night. Those who work with him said he was a well-liked and respected orthopedic surgeon who has worked at the hospital for more than a dozen years and was known for performing magic tricks. They said he is a Hunt Valley resident and a father of two whose wife is a nurse at Hopkins.

Ashley Davis, an emergency room employee, said that she saw Cohen as he was rushed off to surgery. "By the time I saw him, he was on a stretcher and people were all around him," Davis said, adding that she didn't see any blood and that Cohen appeared to be conscious. When asked to describe the scene in the emergency room, she just said, "It was frightening."

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake commended the rapid response of law enforcement officials, saying that she was "very troubled by the incident" but that "the safety and security of Johns Hopkins employees was paramount throughout this whole incident."

"Hopkins is the best medical institution in the world, and this incident, as tragic as it is, is not going to change that," Rawlings-Blake said.

Although Hopkins has long made safety a priority at its medical campus in East Baltimore, located in one of the city's most dangerous areas, the hospital does not require patients or visitors to pass through metal detectors. An exception is the Emergency Department, where guards conduct searches and wave a metal-detecting wand over visitors.

Metal detectors are rare in American hospitals, and security experts say they are generally not feasible or desirable.

"We're trying to strike a balance to make our institutions warm, open and inviting, and at the same time protecting everybody who comes through," said Joseph Bellino, president of the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety, a professional organization based in Illinois.

"Most of the time we do a very, very good job," he said. "Every now and then we get these events that are anomalies."

Police are not sure when Pardus shot himself and his mother. Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman, said there were no witnesses who heard the gunshots. After he was shot, Cohen collapsed outside the doorway, and the shooter barricaded himself and his mother in the room.

"He was last seen running into the room, brandishing the handgun in the direction of his mother, who was confined to the bed," said Bealefeld.

He said police had not communicated with Pardus at any point, and investigators believe the shooting was swift. About 2 p.m., the robot camera showed the bodies, at which point police communicated, "Subject shot." That led a spokesman to initially tell reporters that police had shot Pardus, which was later corrected.

It was not clear just how grim the news delivered by Cohen was, but Pardus apparently decided a quick death was the only resolution. Investigators believe he shot his mother in the back of the head so she would not see it coming — one officer suggested that it was a "mercy killing."

"It was sad," said one official who viewed the scene.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Miss Mexico Becomes Miss Universe

A 22-year-old Mexico woman won the Miss Universe pageant Monday night after donning a flowing red gown and telling an audience it's important to teach kids family values. Jimena Navarrete of Guadalajara was first to answer an interview question Monday night and the last of 83 contestants standing in the headline-grabbing pageant on the Las Vegas Strip.

Her one-strap gown flowed behind her like a sheet as she walked. Earlier, she smiled in a violet bikini as she confidently strutted across the stage.

Asked by Olympic gold-medal figure skater Evan Lysacek how she felt about unsupervised Internet use, Navarrete said the Internet is important but parents need to be careful and watch over their kids.

I do believe that Internet is an indispensable, necessary tool for the present time," she said through an interpreter. "We must be sure to teach them the values that we learned as a family."

First runner-up was Miss Jamaica Yendi Phillipps, while second runner-up was Miss Australia Jesinta Campbell.

Navarrete -- who's been modeling since she was 15 -- is Mexico's second Miss Universe. Lupita Jones of Mexico won the title in 1991. Navarrete replaces Miss Universe 2009 Stefania Fernandez of Venezuela.

Navarrete's win thwarted Miss Venezuela Marelisa Gibson from giving the South American country a third consecutive win. Neither Gibson nor Miss USA Rima Fakih made the top 15 finalists.

With fans in some 190 countries watching on television and keeping tabs on Twitter, Navarrete and her competitors introduced themselves while wearing over-the-top national costumes. They then danced in silver and black dresses for the show's opening number before the top 15 finalists were announced.

The final 15 walked in swimsuits while Cirque du Soleil musicians played Elvis Presley songs including "Viva Las Vegas." The last 10 impressed in their gowns while John Legend and the Roots played a soulful medley including "Save Room."

By the end of the show, seven of the top 10 trending topics on Twitter had to do with the pageant, its contestants, its judges or owner Donald Trump. The mogul co-owns the pageant with TV network NBC.

Navarrete won a package of prizes including an undisclosed salary, a luxury New York apartment with living expenses, a one-year scholarship to the New York Film Academy with housing after her reign, plus jewelry, clothes and shoes fit for a beauty champion.

Campbell won the Miss Congeniality Universe award. Miss Thailand Fonthip Watcharatrakul won Miss Photogenic Universe and a second award for having the best national costume.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

bin Laden Hunter Wants To Try Again

DENVER—The Colorado man detained in Pakistan while trying to track down Osama bin Laden says he wants to try again.

Gary Faulkner said Tuesday it could be weeks or months before he makes another trip and still has to raise money for it.

The 51-year-old unemployed construction worker says he wants to bring the al-Qaida leader to the United States.

Faulkner was detained June 13 in Pakistan after he was found with weapons and night-vision equipment. Pakistan released him without charges and he returned to the U.S.

Faulkner says he believes he'll be allowed back into Pakistan. The Pakistani Embassy in Washington said no one was available to comment Tuesday.

Faulkner has kidney disease and needs regular dialysis.

Monday, August 9, 2010

German Authorities Close Mosque Where Sept. 11 Attackers Once Met

Christoph Ahlhaus, secretary of interior of the city of Hamburg, speaks during a press conference about the closing of the a mosque and the ban of Arab-German culuture organization "Taiba" in Hamburg, northern Germany, on Monday, Aug. 9, 2010. The Hamburg mosque formerly known as the al-Quds mosque and now named Taiba mosque that was once frequented by some of the Sept. 11 attackers was closed Monday by German authorities, who said they believed it is now a meeting-point for Islamic radicals again. The Taiba mosque was shut down and the cultural association that runs it was banned, a statement by Hamburg officials said. (AP Photo/dapd/Axel Heimken) (Axel Heimken, AP / August 9, 2010)

BERLIN (AP) — A Hamburg mosque once frequented by some of the Sept. 11 attackers was shut down Monday because German authorities believed the prayer house was again being used as a meeting point for Islamic radicals.

The Taiba mosque was closed and the cultural association that runs it was banned, Hamburg officials said in a statement.

"We have closed the mosque because it was a recruiting and meeting point for Islamic radicals who wanted to participate in so-called jihad or holy war," said Frank Reschreiter, a spokesman for Hamburg's state interior ministry.

He said that 20 police officers were searching the building and had confiscated material, including several computers. He was not aware of any arrests.

However, the homes of leading members of the cultural association were searched and the group's assets were confiscated, the Hamburg state government said in a statement.

Authorities have said the prayer house, until two years ago known as the al-Quds mosque, was a meeting and recruiting point years ago for some of the Sept. 11 attackers before they moved to the United States. Ringleader Mohamed Atta as well as Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah had studied in Hamburg and frequented al-Quds mosque.

Reschreiter said Monday marked the first time the mosque had been closed, and that it had been under observation by local intelligence officers for "quite a long time."

A 2009 report by the Hamburg branch of Germany's domestic intelligence agency also said the mosque had again become the "center of attraction for the jihad scene" in the northern port city.

"Latest developments have shown that the training courses, sermons and seminars by the association as well texts published on the group's home page not only violate the constitution but also radicalize listeners and readers," Monday's statement said.

By Monday morning, the group's home page on the Web had been taken down and it was not possible to reach any members directly.

It said some people who belonged to the mosque's cultural association and prayed there had traveled to a radical training camp in Uzbekistan.

A group of 11 militants that traveled to military training camps in Uzbekistan in March 2009 was formed at Taiba mosque, the report said.

Most of the group's members were either German converts, of Middle Eastern origin or from the Caucasus region.

"A very important factor for the radicalization of the group members was certainly their joint visits to the mosque," the intelligence report stated.

It appears that one man from the group joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, a terrorist organization in Central Asia, the report said.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

American Gets Death Penalty For Drug Trafficking

Jakarta. The Central Jakarta District Court on Wednesday sentenced an American citizen to death for his part in an international drug syndicate.

“Considering that during the hearings there was nothing that could lighten the defendant’s sentence, and that after deliberations the judges found the defendant proven guilty of the primary charge against him, the defendant is sentenced to death,” presiding judge Dehel K Sandan said as he read out the court’s verdict.

Frank Amado, 46, was arrested outside his apartment in Central Jakarta in October carrying 500 grams of crystal methamphetamine.

Police also found 5.168 kilograms of the drug divided in 45 small packets hidden behind a cupboard while searching his apartment.

“Frank intentionally committed a criminal act, unlawfully becoming a courier in a Class I narcotics trade together with Peyman bin Azizallah aka Sorena aka Paulo Russo,” judge Dehel continued.

Peyman, an Iranian citizen, was arrested the same day as Amado in his apartment in South Jakarta. The court found he gave orders to Amado when they met in Bangkok in June last year.

“In August 2009 Peyman met with Kami and Komayon [who are both Iranian citizens and are still at large]. The two asked Peyman to join their narcotics business in Indonesia,” Dehel said.

Peyman was asked to receive drugs from Kami and Komayon before delivering them to the customers. Peyman was offered $6 per gram of drugs delivered.

“Peyman later offered the ‘job’ to Frank and he agreed,” Dehel continued.

Amado made three deliveries before his arrest. He usually met Kami and Komayon in Pasar Festival in Kuningan, South Jakarta, before giving the stash to Peyman, who would meet him in different hotels and once in Plaza Semanggi in South Jakarta.

“The defendant was actively involved in a large-scale drug trade that could have fatal consequences for society, especially the younger generation. The sentence was to [act as a] deterrent for foreigners involved in the drug trade,” Dehel said.

The court gave Amado, who was said to have changed his testimony throughout the trial, and his legal representative Sugiyono seven days to decide whether to appeal or directly seek clemency from the president.

After the hearing, Amado told reporters he was unsatisfied with the court’s ruling and he would definitely appeal.

“People have done so much worse in this country but they are being punished for less,” he said.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Gets Birthday Punch In the Face

LOS ANGELES -- Actress Lindsay Lohan says she got an unwanted 24th birthday present from a Los Angeles waitress -- a punch in the face!

It happened at the Voyeur Night Club on Santa Monica Boulevard early Friday morning, according to witnesses.

Lohan confirmed the incident on her twitter page.
"A waitress just hit me -- punched me for no reason," Lohan said in a Tweet around 1 a.m..

The "Mean Girls" actress, who was ordered last month to wear an ankle bracelet which detects alcohol, was sipping Red Bulls and hid her SCRAM device under her thigh-high boots, according to witnesses.

Witnesses also the reason for the punch was jealousy. The waitress was upset because Lohan was hanging out with "Hills" actor Doug Reinhardt.

Lohan actually started crying when she bumped into the same waitress later in the evening at the nearby Rockstar House, witnesses say.

Lohan was also seen with British rugby star Danny Cipriani.

In 2007, Lohan was charged with reckless driving, drunken driving, and driving under the influence of cocaine. She was sentenced to probation and mandatory alcohol education classes.

Lohan recently missed a court date in the case claiming her passport had been stolen while she was at the Cannes film festival in France.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

AWOL Afghans On Facebook??

At least 11 of the 17 members of the Afghan military who went AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas and are considered deserters by their nation have turned up in the exact place you'd expect to find them in the year 2010.

They're on Facebook.

And, by the look of things, they're not unlike millions of other young men on the social networking site. One proclaims to be a fan of Paris Hilton and is a member of a group named “FREE Webcam Sex with ME!” Another is a fan of hip hop music, Michael Jackson, the tearjerker movie The Notebook, Family Guy and Sports Center. Another is a fan of soccer and the Godfather.

But others have friends whose motives may be much more sinister. Some belong to the “Afghanistan Mujahideen” group, a page that features, among other content, videos from the American-born Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn, a.k.a. Azzam the American.

According to a nationwide be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) bulletin that was sent by the North Texas Joint Terrorism Task force to law enforcement agencies across the country last week, the 17 Afghan deserters walked away from the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base, where they had been studying English. The men have military identification that would give them access to secure U.S. military installations, the bulletin read. The existence of the BOLO alert was revealed exclusively by

One week later, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement source told that only two or three of the 17 Afghans remain at large. The source said investigators have been working with Canadian immigration records and now believe that many of the men are in Canada.

David Smith, spokesman for Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, told he was told that four of the men remain unaccounted for. Of the 13 who have been located, he said, six have pending refugee claims in Canada, two have permanent residency in Canada, four are in the process of being deported and one is a conditional resident alien in the U.S. But one thing most of them have in common is an affection for social networking. found Facebook pages belonging to 11 of the 17 deserters. The wife of one of them also created a page, on which she said her husband should not have appeared in the BOLO alert because authorities knew exactly where he was — at a South Texas immigration detention center, where she said he’s been held for the past eight months.

Many of the men found on Facebook appear unconcerned that they are being actively sought by law enforcement officials, having made little or no attempt to disguise their identities or whereabouts. Eleven of the men can be linked together either directly or through mutual friends on Facebook. On June 17 at 11:50 p.m., Mohd Ali Karimi posted an online note to the Facebook pages of two of the other AWOL men, Mohammad Nasim Fateh Zada and Sardar Mohd Ahmadi.
All three list their current city as Toronto. Zada’s profile lists his favorite quotation, Reinhold Nieburh's Serenity Prayer: “God grand me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.” He says he graduated from Uluanovsk Signal Military College in 1986 and attended Military High School in Kabul, Afghanistan.

His “likes and interests” include soccer, jogging, gymnastics, history books, the movies Slumdog Millionaire and the Godfather, Fox News and CBC Radio 1.

On May 2, he posted a photo of himself at Niagara Falls, timestamped June 21, 2008 Zada’s online friends include a U.S. Army liaison officer and other members of the Afghan military.

On Sunday, Ahmadi, 32, who belongs to a Facebook group for Defense Language Institute students, posted a link to a Fox News report,

Kakar is friends with another AWOL man named in the BOLO alert, Sayed Qadir Shah Habiby, who provides this description of himself: “I like to spend time with the people I love! I enjoy having fun in what ever I do. Life is short, live it to the fullest."
He is a fan of Michael Jackson, The Notebook and Sports Center, and he says, “I want everyone to be a Democratic.” He says he graduated from National Military Academy of Afghanistan in 2008 and Kabul Military High in 2005.

In a comment posted on a friend’s wall, Habiby reveals that he studied civil engineering at NMAA and is living in California. Last active on March 29, he belonged to a Facebook group dedicated to making Pashto Afghanistan’s only official language. The description reads, in English, “To destroy a nation, Turn it into a bilingual or multilingual country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict, and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures."

It continues in Pashto,“75 percent of Afghanistan’s people speak Pashto, so this is the right of all Afghans that the national language be Pashto. In the near future, a grand jirga will be held in Kabul, so I request all patriotic Afghans to fulfill their responsibility and national duty in order to get their rights, and to put an end to Iran and its proxies.”

Another group Habiby belongs to is “Let us laugh,” a Pashto site described as “Let’s laugh so much that we forget our sorrows, but let’s not laugh too much because it’s harmful.”

The wife of Mohammad Fahim Faqier, one of the missing men, started a Facebook group page called “Set Fahim Free,” following his incarceration at an immigration detention center in South Texas. But she changed the page to “Setting the record straight for my husband: Mohammad Fahim Faqier,” once news broke that her husband, who she says has been detained for more than eight months, was included in the BOLO alert.

In an e-mail to she wrote, “Believe me no one was more shocked than me to see my husband's name and photo on that list, especially considering the fact that he wasn't missing and ICE knew exactly where he was.”

None of the AWOL men, other than Ahmadi, replied to Facebook messages. A man named Ahmad Sameer Samar, when contacted by Fox News, replied that he was not the same Ahmad Sameer Samar named in the BOLO alert.

The following 17 Afghan military members have gone AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas and are being sought in a nationwide alert in the U.S.

Abdul Ghani Barakzai, born 8/8/1977
Mohd Ali Karimi, born 9/3/1982
Mohammad Nasim Fateh Zada, born 12/4/1966
Aminullah Sangarwal, born 8/27/1982
Mohd Ahmadi, born 5/5/1978
Ahad Abdulahad, born 5/5/1984
Sayed Qadir Shah Habiby, born 5/7/1985
Javed Aryan AKA Aryan Javed, born 1/1/1987
Mirwais Qassmi, born 4/24/1974
Barsat Noorani, born 6/3/1981
Atiqullah Habibi, two dates of birth are listed on the alert: 6/2/1982 and 7/2/1982
Ahmad Sameer Samar, born 5/2/1983
Mohamed Fahim Faqier, born 6/1/1987
Obaiddullah Abrahimy, born 8/1/1979
Sayed Nasir Hashimi, born 4/5/1972
Shawali Kakar, born 12/31/1979
Khan Padshah Amiri, born 4/1/1978

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

General McChrystal Is Out........

Gen. Stanley McChrystal is no longer the top U.S. commander and strategist for Afghanistan, reportedly being told Wednesday by President Obama that he is out of a job following a scathing article in which McChrystal and his aides were quoted criticizing the commander-in-chief over his leadership in the Afghan war.

McChrystal got his marching orders as he held a face-to-face meeting at the White House, where he met with the president after a meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon.

The Wednesday meeting preceded a regular session of the administration's strategy team for Afghanistan, held in the White House Situation Room. Normally, McChrystal would have joined via teleconference but he was summoned to Washington as he faced a private flogging over the article that appeared in Rolling Stone.

If not insubordination, the remarks in the Rolling Stone magazine article were at least an indirect challenge to civilian management of the war in Washington by its top military commander.

Military leaders rarely challenge their commander in chief publicly, and when they do, consequences tend to be more severe than a scolding.

"I think it's clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed a poor -- showed poor judgment," the president said Tuesday, surrounded by members of his Cabinet. "But I also want to make sure that I talk to him directly before I make any final decisions."

Gates hand-picked McChrystal to take over the war last year, calling him a driven visionary with the fortitude and intelligence to turn the war around. Obama fired the previous commander at Gates' recommendation.

In Kabul on Tuesday, McChrystal issued a statement saying: "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."

In the Rolling Stone article, McChrystal and his staff described the president as unprepared for their first one-on-one encounter.

McChrystal also said he felt betrayed and blind-sided by his diplomatic partner, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Eikenberry remains in his post in Kabul, and although both men publicly say they are friends, their rift is on full display. McChrystal and Eikenberry, himself a retired Army general, stood as far apart as the speakers' platform would allow during a White House news conference last month.

The story characterized the general as unable to convince some of his own soldiers that his strategy can win the nation's longest-running war, and dejected that the president didn't know about his commendable military record.

The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama called McChrystal on the carpet last fall for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

It quoted an adviser to McChrystal dismissing the early meeting with Obama as a "10-minute photo-op."

"Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. The boss was pretty disappointed," the adviser told the magazine.

Some of the strongest criticism was reserved for Richard Holbrooke, Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"The boss says he's like a wounded animal," one of the general's aides was quoted as saying. "Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous."

McChrystal said he felt "betrayed" by Eikenberry for expressing doubts about his proposed troop buildup last year and accused the ambassador of giving himself cover.

"Here's one that covers his flank for the history books," McChrystal told the magazine. "Now, if we fail, they can say 'I told you so."'

Obama agreed to dispatch an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan only after months of study that many in the military found frustrating. The White House's troop commitment was coupled with a pledge to begin bringing troops home in July 2011, in what counterinsurgency strategists advising McChrystal regarded as an arbitrary deadline.

The profile, titled "The Runaway General," emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal's tight circle of aides this spring.

It includes a list of administration figures said to back McChrystal, including Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and puts Vice President Joe Biden at the top of a list of those who don't.

The article claims McChrystal has seized control of the war "by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fingerprint Program Targets Illegal Immigrants In Virginia

A federal initiative to identify illegal immigrants through enhanced fingerprint-checking at local jails is in place throughout Virginia.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said Monday that Virginia is one of 22 states in the "Secure Communities" program, which is expected to go nationwide by 2013.

Previously, fingerprints of people charged with crimes were checked against a criminal-history database maintained by the FBI. Now they also will be run through an immigration database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. If the prints match information in that system, ICE will be notified to determine the person's immigration status and take enforcement action, if warranted.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

When is to far, Too far? Dutch Court Halts Girl's Solo Sail

This young lady was set to sail, approved by her parents, yet blocked by the courts.

She was to have an experienced sailor along as a guide. This is what we are becoming, The courts have a right to infringe upon our personal lives.

I clearly remember fishing, crabbing, clamming, etc. at a very early age. I know that's nothing like sailing the world, but .... where do the people draw the line of what a nanny government can tell us?

I will say, I think she needs a bigger boat.

BTW: Big Mac's have been banned in Antarctica.

Dutch Court Halts Girl's Solo Sail

A Dutch court ruled Friday that 14-year-old Laura Dekker was still too inexperienced to be allowed to set off on her quest to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world.

Judges at Utrecht District Court placed Laura under the guardianship of child protection authorities until July to ensure that she cannot set off on her dream voyage. The ruling means Laura can continue living with her father, but her parents must consult child protection authorities about all major decisions in her life.
Laura Dekker, 14, wants to sail solo around the world, but on Friday a Dutch judge ruled that she is too inexperienced and barred her from the trip.

Laura and her parents were not in court Friday, but family spokeswoman Mariska Woertman said the teenager was "disappointed that the court does not have faith in her to leave now."

However, Woertman said Laura was confident she can be ready to sail soon after July and still set the record as the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe.

The Utrecht court first blocked her departure in August out of concern for her safety. The decision sparked a worldwide debate on how much authorities and parents should limit children's freedom to undertake risky adventures.

Laura's parents, both veteran sailors, are separated. Laura's father supported the attempt, but her mother said in a newspaper interview in September she thought Laura was too young.

Presiding judge M. Oostendorp said Laura's mother has given her blessing "so long as she has assurances about the safety measures. At the moment, as far as she is concerned, they are insufficient."
Child protection authorities welcomed the decision.

Judges said they were confident that Laura was emotionally ready for the trip, but questioned the safety precautions and her ability to continue her schooling while at sea. They said, however, her sailing skills were not in question.

A psychological analysis submitted to the court said Laura's planned trip would not impair her social or emotional development.
"The good news today is that we have established Laura is capable of making this voyage," said her lawyer, Peter de Lange.

Laura told the three-judge panel at a closed hearing Monday that she was equipping her 26-foot yacht Guppy with extra security and communications equipment and learning to use it.

"(The plans are still) too unclear, not concrete enough and too uncertain" to guarantee her safety, Oostendorp said.

Laura also told the court that she planned to wait at least until May, after school ends, to embark on the voyage and will be guided by an experienced sailor in a separate boat. She also promised to take a sailor's first-aid course and practice sleep management techniques.
De Lange criticized the judges for questioning Laura's single-handed sailing experience — which is limited to trips on Dutch rivers, close to the coast and a single solo voyage to England and back.

"They say she has not got much experience of solo round-the-world sailing. That is a bit weak," he told reporters. "How do you get experience? By doing it."

In August, 17-year-old British sailor Mike Perham became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. Earlier this month, 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson also set off on a single-handed, round-the-world trip.

De Lange said Laura can still break the record if she sets off next year.
"But the record is not her primary goal," he added. "Laura just wants to sail."