Category Archives: war

Homegrown New York Terror Plot Stopped, Four Arrested

A homegrown terror plot was stopped Wednesday night in New York City. The apprehended men were reportedly planning to blow up two Bronx synagogues and shoot down a military plane.
After a year-long investigation, four upstate Newburgh, New York men were arrested in the Bronx at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

The group was planning to blow up two Riverdale synagogues and then down a military plane with a rocket launcher. They were arrested as they planted fake bombs in front of one the Riverdale synagogues.

A friend of the suspects alerted the feds. He then worked with the FBI and the NYPD helping the police for months.

The suspects had what they believed was a Stinger missile in their car. The suspects were arrested after buying the missile from FBI agents posing as militants, who sold them what they thought was C-4 and the Stinger missile.

Police arrested ringleader James Cromitie of Newburgh and David Williams, Onta Williams and Leguerre Payen. The latter three converted to the Islamic faith while in prison.

Adjix quotes New York Mayor Bloomberg:

“I want to congratulate the men and women of the NYPD, the New York State Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force who tonight foiled a terrorist plot that targeted Riverdale Temple and Riverdale Jewish Center in the Bronx for bombing. The same plot also targeted U.S. military aircraft in Newburgh for Stinger Missile attacks. While the bombs these terrorists attempted to plant tonight were – unbeknownst to them – fake, this latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real and underscores why we must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent terrorism.”

They Are United In Death, The Five From Camp Liberty

Six men’s names will forever be connected by the stresses of the Iraq War, five will be remembered by their loved ones as the other waits his fate in military custody.
On Monday John Russell allegedly walked into a stress clinic with his gun and opened fire. In the wake five bodies littered the ground. Two of the dead had devoted their time in the service to helping those suffering from stress and three had been fighting their own demons within the clinics walls.

Navy Cmdr. Charles Springle was a Sanford Central High School graduate in North Carolina. His career in the Navy was devoted to treating those who dealt with the stress caused by the frequent deployments to the battle fields. He fought hard to take away the stigma that clouded the troops from seeking help.

AP reports:

“He regarded it as very important work,” said Bob Goodale, a friend of Springle’s and director of behavioral mental health for the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Citizen-Soldier Support Program. “We all who work in this know that it is difficult. This is an example of how difficult.”

Lubbock Online reports:

“Major Houseal was a beloved, kind and generous physician and soldier, who volunteered for additional duty in Iraq to care for our servicemen and women,” said William Biggs, an Amarillo endocrinologist who works in the same group as Houseal’s wife. “To honor the memory of Major Houseal, we have established an education fund for the benefit of his six children.”

Dr. Matthew Houseal, a psychiatrist and major in the Army Reserve was at the clinic because he felt it was the place he needed to be at. He had enlisted as an Army reservist after becoming alarmed at the rising suicide rate in the armed forces. The father of seven had worked as a psychiatrist for Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation in Amarillo. reports:

“He was dedicated to his patients. He was a family man, very thorough diagnostician,” said Bud Schertler, executive director of Texas Panhandle Mental Health Mental Retardation. “We couldn’t ask for a better psychiatrist.”

Army Sgt. Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, 25, of Paterson, N.J. was Eugenia Gardos’ youngest child. He was on his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was gunned down at Camp Liberty.

The young man who joined the service after finishing high school had come to the US from Peru as a child. His family remembers how he used to hand out candy to the kids in Iraq just as he did as a young man at home.

Military City reports:

About 10:30 p.m. May 11, Army officials showed up at the door of the place Christian shared with his wife a few blocks away.

“We were all here at home,” Carlos Bueno said. “I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard screaming downstairs. I ran downstairs and everyone had thrown themselves to the floor, thrashing around, screaming.”

“We want people to know we’re proud of our son’s Army, but if my son had died in war we would be able to handle that,” he said. “But not to die in this manner.”

He leaves behind his family and a young wife.

Spc. Jacob D. Barton, 20, of Lenox, Mo. was a quiet student who loved graphic novels and science fiction. He followed his older sister into the Army after graduating high school last year. Barton was known for sticking up for the kids who were being picked on in school.

The Army told his family that Barton died a hero, using his body as a shield to protect another man while trying to convince the gunman into putting down his weapon.

Pfc. Michael E. Yates Jr., 19 leaves behind an infant son. He followed his stepfather and stepbrothers into the Army. At the age of 17 he completed his GED and signed up for service. He had told his mother about meeting Russell, saying that the man had issues.

Yates was at Camp Liberty to deal with the stresses of the battle field knowing that he needed help to get through the hard times.

He had been home just last month to celebrate his son’s first birthday.

Alexis Mister, 18, of Seaford, Del., and the mother of Michael Yates’ son Kamren, said he was an extremely caring father. “He was always was concerned with Kamren so much,” she said. “He loved him.”

Mister said Yates came home in April for the boy’s first birthday party and doted on his son by buying him a four-wheeler. “It’s absolutely devastating,” Mister said, choking up during a telephone interview discussing Yates’ death. “My son doesn’t have a father anymore.”

Regardless of where a soldier dies he is a hero. He or she has offered up their life for the service of others.
4 votes

Shooting at Camp Liberty in Baghdad

A U.S. statement has been issued about a shooting that occurred at about 2 p.m. at an American camp in Baghdad. The shooting took place at Camp Liberty. Five coalition soldiers were killed.
Five coalition soldiers have been killed in a suicide/murder at U.S. Camp Liberty in Baghdad. Nationalities of the slain soldiers have yet to be revealed.

This is a breaking news story.
AFP reports:

“Five coalition forces members were killed in a shooting at Camp Liberty in Baghdad today at approximately 2 pm (1100 GMT),” the statement said.

MSNBC reports that a U.S. service member opened fire on his fellow soldiers. Four were killed in the attack and several more were injured. The soldier is now in custody.

Details will be added as they come in.

update 1:While initial reports indicated that the shooter had committed suicide it is now unclear how and if he was wounded.

update 2:The New York Times reports:

Reuters quoted Marine Lt. Tom Garnett, a military spokesman, as saying “the shooter is a U.S. soldier and he is in custody.”

The attack according to CNN took place at a clinic that deals with soldiers suffering from war stress.

update: All of those who were killed are US personnel but it is yet to be confirmed that they were all military service members.

Opinion: Is Waterboarding Part of Loving Your Neighbour?

Love your neighbour, treat him as you would want to be treated. That’s one of the backbones of the Christian faith. So why hasn’t there been a loud Christian voice when it comes to torture on American shores?
Surveys from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press believe that the use of torture when it comes to terrorist suspects is justified. Those who attend church regularly are the staunchest supporters of this type of torture.

Isn’t that against the belief system though? I seem to recall a tale of cast the first stone, but I could be wrong. It must of been if you cast the first stone I will scream loud and hard, but if I throw it there was a reason for it.

When did it become okay for the American government to do onto others what they would have killed others to do unto them?

If another country tortured suspected Americans on mass to get out a ‘confession’ they would be considered the enemy. Remember the Vietnam War? Korea?

Guess what America, there’s a reason that America is now considered the enemy by other countries.

Do unto others and all that jazz.

Christianity Today
reported in 2007:

“Terrorism may be perceived as a genuine threat to American society and its families,” said John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum. “In the 1980s, Christian conservatives were also strong opponents of Communism and the Soviet Union.”

Breaking down the Pew Study it wasn’t just religion that was on the side of torture, political views were another factor. It’s not that surprising that more Republicans say that torture can be justified than Democrats. Education also plays a part, the less education a person has ramps up the chances that they will be in favor of waterboarding as a justified means to an end.

But it’s the Christian voice that contradicts a belief system with the realities that concerns me the most. Peace is another word for torture? Treating your brother to humiliation is fine if they are thought to be on the wrong side?

Maybe, it’s even simpler for me. The theory that I was taught long ago in Sunday School was that two wrongs never make a right.

Somehow I don’t believe that ideal has changed.

Canadian Prime Minister Makes Surprise Afghanistan Trip

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a surprise trip to Kandahar Airfield on Thursday. While visiting the troops he warned that the increase of NATO troops in the area will lead to more violence.
This was Harper’s third visit to Kandahar.

The increase of 17,000 soldiers from the United States will allow Canada to be more effective Harper said while touring the military post.

CP 24 reports:

“The addition of American troops will allow us to do everything we’re doing now but on a much bigger scale and able to multi-task more effectively,” he said.

Harper used the time to emphasis the key development projects that are being undertaken by Canadian soldiers.

CBC reports:

Harper said that when the Canadian mission began in 2002, the Taliban had been running Afghanistan as though it were a medieval country.

“Those dark desperate days have ended. You have brought hope to those who have none,” Harper said at an appearance at Kandahar Airfield.

Harper visited the Dahla dam project that Canada has committed $50 million to help rebuilt along with the roads and waterways that are connected to it. The residents of the area rely on the dam for irrigation.

The Vancouver Sun reports:

Achievements “have not come without a cost,” Harper acknowledged in his address to soldiers. “Canada has paid dearly for this mission with our most precious asset, our brave sons and daughters . . . As prime minister, the phone calls that I make to the families of the fallen are the most difficult part of my job.”

Harper announced that Canada will also be sending $2 million in aid for UNICEF to use for education for the estimated 18,000 children in Kandahar.

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk and Ron Hoffmann, Canada’s ambassador to Afghanistan joined Harper on Thursday.

“Canada was spread thin in the past,” Hoffmann told reporters as the prime minister handed out coffee to soldiers nearby.

“There has not been sufficient forces on the ground to do this job,” Natynczyk later added.

“We’ve been trying to do this job with about 40,000 troops. That is totally insufficient.”

Two Canadian diplomats have been freed in Mali

Robert Fowler
2 votes
Vote up this image!
Your image
Allow others to contribute images
Mali officials say that two Canadian diplomats held hostage by African militants were released on Wednesday. The two were held captive for four months.
Robert Fowler and Louis Guay have been freed according to Seydou Cissouma, a spokesman for Mali’s president. The Canadian government has yet to confirm the release.

The Toronto Star reports that officials in the Foreign Affairs department urge caution and that they are still working to confirm the news about the releases.

“We are aware of these media reports and have no comment at this time. We continue to request good judgment and caution in reporting on a situation where lives may be at risk,” the official said in an e-mail to news organizations.

Fowler is a special UN envoy to Niger. He was once the Canadian ambassador to Italy.

Guay is Fowler’s assistant.

There are also reports that a German woman and a French woman were also released.

Fowler and Guay were abducted on December 14 with their driver Soumana Moukaila in Niger on route to look at a gold mine. Their vehicle was found later the same day about 40 kilometres of Niger’s capital, Niamey.

Moukaila was released last month.

The kidnapping have been claimed by Al-Qaeda’s north African branch. The group, known as AQMI said that they are also holding four European tourists since January.

While there were no demands for the release of those held the group was requesting and had received ransoms.

The Toronto Star quotes Fowler’s relative New Brunswick Liberal MP Dominic Leblanc:

“Obviously it’s been, since the 14th of December, a very, very difficult time for the Fowler family. They were hoping to have spent Christmas in Florida as a family when Bob went missing,” Leblanc said.

“From that point forward, every day and every night has been a source of concern for Mr. Fowler, for his wife Mary, for his children, so we’re very hopeful that in fact as soon as this news is confirmed it will be a very, very important celebration for the Fowler family.”

It has been confirmed that the Canadians are free.

Globe and Mail reports:

“I have spoken to members of Bob’s family…They are obviously very encouraged by the information that they’ve been given,” said Mr. Leblanc.

“Our understanding is that Bob is on his way to Bamako, Mali, and obviously until the Canadian government physically sees him, until they’re able to be in personal contact with Bob, they’re not going to confirm. But the family is certainly very enthusiastic about the news that they’ve been given and I know that they’re looking forward to hopefully reuniting with Bob in the coming days.”

Women and children make up large portion of death count in Iraq

The bombs drop on a village said to be housing insurgents. The death tolls mounts. The village mourns their dead women and children.
That is the sad tale of too many villages in Iraq where the most innocent members of the war have been the ones that pay with their lives. Analysis being carried out for the Iraq Body Count report the 39 per cent of those killed in air raids are children, 46 per cent are women. When it comes to mortars used by both American and Iraqi government forces and the insurgents the death toll is even higher; 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.

Those road side bombs that make the news do not just kill the military. One in five of the deaths are children and one in four are women.

The Raw Story reports:

“Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women,” Kim Sengupta reports for The Independent. “Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.”

When suicide bombers hit a market even more women and children perish. Pushing the numbers at King’s College and Royal Holloway, University of London academics see that the highest cost in the war in Iraq has been those who have the least amount of say, the children and women in small villages. the figures were reported in the report The Weapons That Kill Civilians, Deaths of Children and Noncombatants in Iraq.

There have been 99,774 total deaths so far in Iraq according to the IBC. The death tolls according to The Lancet is much higher with one study saying in the first three years of the war 600,000 people were killed.

IBC reports:

The authors conclude that “Policymakers, war strategists of all persuasions, and the groups and societies that support them bear moral and legal responsibility for the effects that particular combat tactics have on civilians — including the weapons used near and among them.”

Bush signed-off on stinging insect interrogation method at Gitmo

New reports coming out show that former President Bush approved the use of insects to be placed in a confinement box during the interrogation of Al Qaeda official Abu Zubaydah. The secrets the CIA wanted to be buried are now out for public display.
The rules that Bush’s administration approved from CIA interrogation are the stuff of nightmares; being thrown against a wall 30 times was allowed as was denying prisoners sleep for more than a week.

The legal memorandum for the CIA was prepared by Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee. It reviewed 10 techniques that could have been used to interrogate Zubaydah and determined they were not torture under U.S. criminal law.

Those techniques included attention grasp, walling (hitting a detainee against a flexible wall), facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and water-boarding. The memorandum was written on Aug. 1, 2002.

According to reports, Bybee says the approved torture techniques would not prove to have lasting effects on the prisoners. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

“In the absence of prolonged mental harm, no severe mental pain or suffering would have been inflicted, and the use of these procedures would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute,” Mr. Bybee wrote.

On Thursday as President Obama absolved CIA officers Thursday he in effect tied his hands to the torture used on the prisoners at Gitmo.

The CIA wanted the memos kept secret. Obama however wants the United States to be able to move beyond “a dark and painful chapter in our history.” Unleashing the cruel skeletons from the political closet is one way of doing so.

Time quotes the memorandum on the use of insects.

“You [the CIA] would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect. You have informed us [the Department of Justice] that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would, however, place a harmless insect in the box. You have orally informed us that you would in fact place a harmless insect such as a caterpillar in the box with him.”

The CIA is said to have never used the above method according to another declassified memo also released on Thursday. It has been verified that water-boarding was used to interrogate Zubaydah.

The legal rules that Bybee had written out are no longer used by the United States. President Obama signed under an executive order his first week that all CIA interrogators must follow the Army Field Manual’s rules.

Kansas City Star quotes CIA director Leon Panetta:

He said: “The fact remains that CIA’s detention and interrogation effort was authorized and approved by our government. For that reason, as I have continued to make clear, I will strongly oppose any effort to investigate or punish those who followed the guidance of the Department of Justice.”

Human Rights Watch wants more to be done though now that the secret documents have been released.

UPI reports:

“President Obama said there was nothing to gain ‘by laying blame for the past,'” said Stacy Sullivan, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch. “But prosecuting those responsible for torture is really about ensuring that such crimes don’t happen in the future.”

The US announces CIA secret prisons to be closed

Agency employees were sent an e-mail today telling them that the CIA is no longer in the secret prison business and that there are plans underway to permanently shutter them. the e-mail was sent by CIA Director Leon Panetta.
CIA Director Leon Panetta has told Congress no new prisoners have been taken in since he took the reins of the agency in February. Panetta also informed Congress that the CIA has stopped all contracts with private companies that were used for security at secret overseas CIA prisons. Those contracts were costing up to $4 million a year.

BBC reports:

“CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites,” Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said.

President Obama had vowed during his campaign to shut down the secret prisons that former President Bush’s administration had allowed the CIA to operate. During his first week in office, Obama ordered the closure of black sites and the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama has also ordered a review of the detention and interrogation policies on terror suspects.

BBC reports that there is a true change in the new White House administration on terms of detainees.

In his letter, Mr Panetta also stressed that the CIA no longer employed controversial “harsh interrogation techniques”, like “waterboarding”, or simulated drowning, which have been widely condemned.

“CIA officers do not tolerate, and will continue to promptly report, any inappropriate behaviour or allegations of abuse,” he said.

That said the CIA has the right to hold prisoners temporarily according to Panetta is they are taken. Those detainees would be only interrogated though by agency employees before being returned to their home country or the county that has a legal claim in a quick manner.

In 2005 it was revealed that the United States was running secret CIA prisons overseas. That revelation prompted world-wide outrage tainting the image of President George Bush.

Teenage suicide bomber the third Pakistan attack in 24 hours

At least thirty people were killed in an attack on the Shia community in Pakistan today. It was the third such attack in the past twenty-four hours.

Earlier attacks targeted near the UN office in Islamabad and Waziristan where 17 people lost their lives.

A teenager is behind the third attack in Pakistan within 24 hours. The suicide bomber detonated himself at a religious gathering of the Shia community.

The bomber is said to have been between 16 and 17 years of age. He detonated himself near the gate of a prayer hall in Chakwal. The town is about 90 km from Islamabad.

The teen had been barred from entering the complex by those guarding the entrance. There were about 2,000 worshipers in the prayer hall at the time of the attack. In addition to the 30 dead, 200 people were wounded.

Shanghai Daily

“Had he succeeded in exploding inside it could have caused a much bigger loss because there were hundreds of people inside,” Nasir Khan Durrani said.

Local media showed video of the carnage. Pools of blood were seen in front of the mosque.

The attack has been condemned by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who reminded people that those behind such violence want to give Islam a bad name.