Meredith MacRae aka Sally Ann Morrison in "My Three Sons (TV 1964--1965)" aka Billie Jo Bradley in "The Beverly Hillbillies (TV 1966--1970)" aka Billie Jo Bradley in "Petticoat Junction (TV 1966--1970)" aka Nancy Williams in "Grand Jury (1976)" aka Laura Kline in "My Friends Need Killing (1976)" (Died in 2000 at age 56)
Tracey E. Bregman aka Lauren Fenmore Baldwin in "The Young and the Restless (TV Soap 2012)" aka Lauren Fenmore Baldwin in "The Bold and the Beautiful (TV Soap 2007)" aka Trish Carruthers in "The Love Boat (TV 1982)" aka Ann Thomerson in "Happy Birthday to Me (1981)" aka Amy Lowell in "The Funny Farm (1983)" (age 49)
[Tolo News] At least five people, including a local police commander, were killed in their car travelling to Khudiadad village in Afghanistan's northern Baghlan province Tuesday, a provincial police chief said.
Central Baghlan's police chief Mohammad Kamin said the incident happened while local police force commander Daadullah was travelling with some of his fellow coppers.
He did not provide details on what occurred.
Daadullah previously worked with Taliban, but after he joined the Afghan reconciliation program he was appointed to the local police force.
Taliban front man Zabihullah Mujahid claimed the group's responsibility for Daadullah's death.
Meanwhile, ...back at the secret hideout, Scarface Al sneeringly put his proposition to little Nell... east of Afghanistan's capital in Nangarhar The unfortunate Afghan province located adjacent to Mohmand, Kurram, and Khyber Agencies. The capital is Jalalabad. The province was the fief of Younus Khalis after the Soviets departed and one of his sons is the current provincial Taliban commander. Nangarhar is Haqqani country.. province, at least two people were killed and three others were maimed when their car went kaboom! while travelling on the road, however, they were all myrmidons, a local official said.
Five men were in a car full of bombs on the road between the Torkham to Mohmand ... Named for the Mohmand clan of the Sarban Pahstuns, a truculent, quarrelsome lot. In Pakistain, the Mohmands infest their eponymous Agency, metastasizing as far as the plains of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta. In Afghanistan they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar... districts when the blast occurred, Nangarhar security chief Ebadullah Talwar told TOLOnews.
According to Ebadullah, all the five men in the car were terrorists.
Also on Tuesday, south of Kabul in eastern Ghazni province, a hail of rockets landed near the scenic provincial capital city's central mosque.
The rocket attack maimed six civilians, but no one was killed, according to provincial governor Musa Khan Akbarzada.
Judging from the direction they came from, the rockets were fired from the Khake Ghariba and Pir Qarzadara areas of Ghazni, Akbarzada added.
Meanwhile, ...back at the hoedown, Bob finally got to dance with Sally... just north of Kabul in the smaller Parwan province, a hand grenade attack in Dunya Radio station in Parwan province injured one, provincial front man Roshna Khalid said Tuesday.
The incident occurred at around 2:00am as several gunnies threw hand grenades inside the Raido's building, injuring one of the security guards, Khaled added.
In Afghanistan's southern Uruzgan province, a bomb shook the governor's office around 10:30am, according to the police chief front man Farid Havel.
No one was killed in the blast, but provincial health officials said that two people were maimed and brought to the hospital from the incident.
Meanwhile, ...back at the desert island, Bert was realizing to his horror that he'd had only one bottle for one message, and he'd forgotten to include a return address... an Afghan forces operation in central Wardak province has killed six myrmidons, Wardak police chief front man said.
The operation took place Monday in Nerkh district of Wardak province, led by Afghan cops.
Several different types of ammunitions were also seized, the front man said.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Top negotiators for Sudan and South Sudan have met for their first talks since deadly border fighting last month took them to the brink of war, even as Juba accused Khartoum of fresh air strikes.
Teams from both sides are in the Æthiopian capital to restart the African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... -led talks which were stalled by heavy festivities last month, the worst fighting since the South won independence last July.
Khartoum stressed its "commitment to reach a negotiated settlement to all issues of differences" and promised "its full adherence to peace and stability between the two countries," it said in a statement released as talks began.
Sudan added it hoped the talks would mark a "new chapter" in relations "away from conflict and warring."
Southern President Salva Kiir said ahead of the talks that "amicable dialogue on the outstanding issues with Khartoum is the only option for peace."
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Police were trailing four terrorism suspects a week before the Monday blast in Nairobi in which 36 people were maimed.
Sources in the force told the Nation that detectives, who had been monitoring the movements of the four, were alarmed when they changed sim cards six days to the kaboom at Moi Avenue's Assanand's House.
This is one of the leads detectives are pursuing in the hunt for those responsible for the attack.
Three of the suspects are said to be based in Nairobi and the other one in Mombasa, where a Moslem lobby group yesterday condemned the attack.
The Kenya National Moslems Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao demanded the resignation of those charged with the protection of Kenyans.
In the Nairobi kaboom, police sources said the suspects' movements were being monitored using their mobile phones.
However, a poor excuse is better than no excuse at all... detectives have established that the phones which were being tracked were nowhere near the scene when the kaboom went off.
And on Tuesday, American detectives joined the hunt for the suspects. Internal Security assistant minister Orwa Ojode said the government had sought assistance in tracking down the suspects.
Focus on two men
"For Nairobi and parts of the country to be safe, we will need the assistance of the FBI and even the Scotland Yard (from the UK). We are determined to wipe out the terrorists," he said.
Police said investigations had concluded that the kaboom was caused by an improvised bomb ''planted by criminals''.
''The investigating team is now working to establish the identity of the perpetrators of this serious crime,'' front man Eric Kiraithe said in a statement adding that they were zeroing in on two men.
One of the suspects, whose photo police circulated, is identified as Emrah Erdogan. He is believed to have entered Kenya through Garissa from Somalia on May 3.
Mr Kiraithe also said tests were being done to establish the materials used in the explosive. However, man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them... some sources indicated that a fertiliser bomb could have been the cause of the lunch-time kaboom.
Detectives from the Federal Bureau of Investigations were at the scene collecting samples for tests.
Samples for analysis
They sifted through the debris using special metal detectors. Samples collected were sent to the Government Chemist and the US for analysis.
The development came as fresh details emerged about events leading to the kaboom that caused a huge hole in the ground and blew off iron sheets from the roof.
Ms Susan Mwangi, the owner of stall number 11, next to number 10 where the kaboom occurred, said the device was placed there in a bag by a man posing as a customer.
Quoting her employee, Ms Esther Wamoyo who was maimed in the kaboom, she said: "She (Esther) said a middle aged man had come to the stall at around 10.30 am and wanted to buy a T-shirt, and he returned later at around 1 pm, just moments before the kaboom."
The saleswomen in stalls number 10 and 11 normally sit together and when the man came in, they attended to him.
He wanted to buy a T-shirt but the two stalls do not deal in T-shirts. And when the man, described as heavily bearded, returned, Ms Wamoyo offered to bring him the item from nearby stalls.
"It is at that time he put down his bag and left pretending to be going to fetch a colleague... barely two minutes after, the kaboom went off," said Ms Mwangi.
The saleswoman in stall number 10, identified only as Josephine, was critically injured and is at KNH's Intensive Care Unit. Ms Mwangi said Ms Wamoyo was too traumatised to talk to the press. (READ: Five victims still at KNH)
On Tuesday, Medical Services minister Anyang Nyong'o told Parliament that five people were still being treated at the hospital. Two suffered 80 percent degree burns and are in ICU "in critical but stable conditions."
Briefing the House, he said 23 were treated with soft tissue injuries and discharged. Mr Ojodeh said the government will crack down on those who deal in the explosives, which are widely used in the construction industry.
Police said the victims would speak to detectives as soon as their conditions improve. A spot-check by the Nation on Tuesday revealed no signs of stepped-up security in the many buildings with stalls in the centre of the city.
"As you can see, there is no one screening those who come and no security measures of any kind are in place. We are just praying for God's protection," said Ms Trizer Mwende at Kikwetu building on Moi Avenue.
In related news, two men police suspect to have terror links have not been traced since last Wednesday night when they were taken in Molo by people colleagues allege were coppers.
Mr Sylvester Owino Opiyo aka Musa Osodo and his friend Jacob Musyoka are said to have been driving to Kisumu in the company of two women when their vehicle broke down at the Molo junction.
While they were repairing the vehicle, coppers accosted them and after interrogation, picked the two men and went away with them, leaving the women with the vehicle at the scene. The vehicle was towed to Molo cop shoppe.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] The al-Shabaab ... the Islamic version of the old Somali warlord... militia have shrugged off recent strategic losses and growing military pressure to launch an ambush on the president -- who escaped unhurt -- and fire on foreign warships.
Two Somali soldiers were maimed when al-Shabaab gunnies opened fire as President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed drove down the Afgoye corridor, a key road and home to the world's largest concentration of displaced people, for the first time since its capture on Friday.
"Desperate terrorist snuffies tried to disturb the visit of the president at the Afgoye corridor by ambushing his convoy, but security forces repulsed them," said Somali security official Mohamed Moalim.
"The president is well and continued his trip smoothly." The armoured convoy was guarded by African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... troops and Somali government soldiers, who seized the hard boy stronghold of Afgoye last week after a four-day battle.
The pro-Shabaab website Somalimemo.net said Shebab fighters had carried out the attack against "the head of the enemy" and that Sharif had been saved after he was "surrounded by African Union troops and white gunnies for his safety."
The loss of Afgoye, which controls key roads some 30 kilometres northwest of the capital Mogadishu, was another major blow for the hard boys, who have been on the back foot for several months despite launching a wave of guerrilla attacks.
While the al-Shabaab still control large parts of southern Somalia, regional armies and government troops have been clawing territory off them, with AU forces in Mogadishu, Æthiopian soldiers in the south and west, and Kenyan troops with the AU in the south.
After the fall of Afgoye, the port town of Kismayo is the last major rebel bastion. The Shebab said Tuesday they had engaged in a fierce exchange of gunfire there with foreign warships.
"The mujahideen fighters opened fire and repulsed two military ships that approached the coast of Kismayo, they were coming close to the coast when they were attacked," said Sheikh Hassan Yaqub, a top Shebab official in Kismayo.
(Sh. M. Network)- The front man of Al shabab fighters for the military operations Sheik Abdi-aziz Abu Musab, said they have killed a number of Somali and AMISOM soldiers in six coordinated attacks took place between Mogadishu and Afgoye district.
"We waged simultaneous attacks on both Somali and AU troops. Yesterday our fighters carried out at least six offensives against TFG and AMISOM forces in several locations betweenMogadishuand Afgoye town. One on Agoye and during those attacks, the fighters managed to inflict heavy casualties upon the collation troops (Somali and AU) controlling there," said Abu Musab.
On the other hand, the governor of Lower Shabelle region for Somali government Abdiqadir Mohammed Nur Sidi, told Shabelle Media that Government forces captured many Al shabab elements after security operations in Afgoye district, 30 Km north-west Mogadishu.
[Al Ahram] Military police have cooled for a few years Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! eight people over an arson attack on the Ahmed Shafiq campaign headquarters in Dokki, Giza, a security source at Giza cop shoppe said Monday.
The suspects are yet to be named.
The source also denied earlier reports that well-known activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah had taken a prominent role in the events, and added that no official complaints had been received over his alleged involvement.
The Giza investigations bureau is currently questioning the suspects.
The incident took place following a number of protests across the country in response to the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission's (SPEC) official announcement that Mubarak-era prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Moslem Brüderbund nominee Mohamed Mursi are to compete in the presidential election run-offs on 16 and 17 June.
Yemeni warplanes and artillery strikes killed 20 al-Qaida-linked militants in heavy shelling and clashes on Wednesday in the country's south, according to Defense Ministry and military officials.
The ministry said an air raid targeted a militant communications station near the southern coastal town of Shaqra early Wednesday, killing three and wounding seven.
Military officials say the station was used by the militants to direct operations using the Internet, wireless communications and a satellite telephone.
Elsewhere, army shelling and clashes in the western the town of Jaar, an al-Qaida stronghold, left 17 fighters and six soldiers dead and injured 12 over the past 24 hours. The army is conducting an offensive against the town, which has been in al-Qaida's hands for more than a year.
The army "fought a fierce two-hour battles with terrorists," the statement said, adding that army engineers defused land mines planted by al-Qaida militants.
Residents who fled Jaar say that al-Qaida militants were using heavy weaponry, including tanks.
ADEN: Yemeni troops have captured rebel-held positions on the outskirts of the southern city of Jaar, a military official said yesterday, pushing ahead with a US-backed offensive to uproot militants from the country. He said at least 10 militants have been killed in the fighting since Monday night and that the Yemeni army was within 2-3 km from Jaar.
"Seizing this area will help us gain control of Jaar city," he told Reuters. "Our goal is to advance into the city."
The military official said troops advanced by at least one km in Jaar's direction in the past 24 hours. "The troops are continuing to shell the northern and central parts of the city."
Jaar residents said that food supplies were running short and many were unable to flee the city due to heavy shelling.
The governor of Abyan Jamal Al-Aqel said that the military has asserted control on several southern towns that militants tried to control in the past, including Lawdar and Mudiyah, adding that heavy fighting inside Zinjibar was continuing.
[An Nahar] Five people have been killed in an assault launched by al-Qaeda gunnies Tuesday on a Yemeni army convoy ferrying supplies to troops in the restive southern Abyan ...a governorate of Yemen. The region was a base to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army terrorist group until it dropped the name and joined al-Qaeda. Its capital is Zinjibar. In March 2011, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula declared the governate an Islamic Emirate after seizing control of the region. The New York Times fastidiously reported that those in control, while Islamic hard boyz, are not in fact al-Qaeda, but something else that looks, tastes, smells, and acts the same. Yemeni government forces launched an effort to re-establish control of the region when President-for-Life Saleh was tossed and the carnage continues... province, a military official said.
Three Yemeni soldiers and two fighters of al-Qaeda were killed during the assault on the military convoy in the village of Mazraat Mashhour, southwest of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, the official told Agence La Belle France Presse on condition of anonymity.
The bully boyz "failed to seize the contents of the convoy" which was headed to Zinjibar from the southern port city of Aden, the official said, adding that fierce festivities continued as troops fought to capture the quiet provincial capital which has been under the control of bully boyz since May 2011.
Yemeni forces launched an all-out offensive on May 12 this year to oust al-Qaeda from towns and cities in Abyan which it has captured over the past year.
Since the offensive began, at least 343 people have been killed, according to a tally compiled by AFP, including 249 al-Qaeda gunnies, 58 military personnel, 18 local cut-throats and 18 civilians.
For a map, click here. For a map of Coahuila state, click here
By Chris Covert
A total of five unidentified individuals were found in a grave in a remote area of Coahuila state and five others were killed or were found dead over the weekend in the La Laguna region of Coahuila state, according to Mexican news and Twitter accounts.
A Mexican Army unit was dispatched Saturday to a canyon in La Roja de la sierra de Arteaga, where the unit found a grave containing the remains of five individuals. The victims had been tortured and were shot at the site. Several spent shell casings were found at the scene. News reports say the victims had been dead for two years.
Arteaga municipality is adjacent to Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila. According to reports the location is about 15 kilometers by dirt road, presumably to the east of the Monclova-Monterrey highway or Mexico Federal Highway 57. It is unclear the circumstances which sent the army unit to the location to find the grave.
According to a posting at Nota Roja Koneocho blog, a total of five individuals were shot to death or were found dead in the La Laguna region of Mexico
Two men were shot to death and three others were wounded at an office near the intersection of calzada Abastos and Independencia. Only one of the victims, Houston Andres Lopez, 22, was identified.
At Plaza Cuatro Caminos, a man identified by a relative as Antonio Avalos de la Paz, 30, was found shot to death.
Two individuals, identified as Esteban Velazquez Perales and Jessica Guerrero Galvan, were shot and wounded near the intersection of calles Sarabia and Revolucion.
Two taxi drivers were shot and wounded near the intersection of calzada Lazaro Cardenas and Rodriguez Triana.
Enedino Goday Flores, 23, was found shot to death in La Laguna colony.
An unidentified man in his 30s was found shot to death near the intersection of calles Campo and Nuevo Zaragoza.
Near Diagonal Reforma an unidentified man was shot and wounded in an armed mugging outside a grocery store.
The La Laguna region in Mexico is astride Mexico Federal Highway 40, the northernmost contiguous major highway linking the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. La Laguna encompasses the cities of Torreon in Coahuila, Ciudad Lerdo and Gomez Palacio in Durango. It is also the site of the security operation Seguro Laguna commanded by the Mexican Army, specifically the Mexican XI Military Region. Seguro Laguna was initiated last fall.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
A firefight between a Mexican Army unit and armed suspects has claimed the lives of 12 armed suspects Tuesday, according to Mexican news reports.
According to information found on the website of El Universal news daily, the confrontation took place near the village of Palo Gacho in Emiliano Zapata municipality, where the Mexican Army maintains a security checkpoint.
According to a report published at the website of Milenio news daily, a group of armed suspects travelling aboard several vehicles refused an order to stop, which initiated the gunfight.
Soldiers at the scene also seized an undisclosed number of weapons and vehicles.
According to the Milenio report, a Twitter posting from the government of Veracuz state disclosed that a number of military checkpoints are set up on major roads into Xalapa.
Emiliano Zapata municipality is about 15 kilometers southeast of Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state, and about three kilometers southwest of Mexico Federal Highway 140.
The security operation was billed as part of Seguro Veracruz, a joint security operation similar to Seguro Laguna, which combines municipality state and federal security assets in an effort to stop illegal drug manufacture and distribution in the area as well as migrants travelling to the north and the United States.
In a related report on the website of Univisionnoticias.com, four unidentified individuals were found dead near the village of Matacocuite in Veracruz municipality. A total of100 individuals have been murdered or found dead in less than a month in Veracruz state.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
Azerbaijan foiled an attempt to stage terrorist attacks while the country was hosting the Eurovision Song Contest last week, and tossed in the slammer Book 'im, Mahmoud! dozens of suspected plotters, the security ministry said Wednesday.
"The main goal of the group was to stage terrorist acts in Baku during the Eurovision," the National Security Ministry said in a statement. "As a result of the measures taken, 40 members of the group were tossed in the slammer Book 'im, Mahmoud!
This singer was in Eurovision in 09 representing Russia. Notice the Asian influence in this video.
I speak of Âèêòîð Öîé. She is like a camelion. Not known in this country but has several good videos to her credit.
A man was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Moscow court that found him guilty of aiding suicide bombers who had planned a terror attack in the Moscow in 2010.
Timur Akubekov was sentenced to 10 years in a high-security prison by the Moscow City Court. Akubekov will be on probation for two years once he serves his term. No evidence was examined in the trial and no witnesses questioned because Akubekov had signed a pre-trial cooperation agreement with investigators.
Ibragimkhalil Daudov set up a gang in Dagestan in October 2010 to plot a series of terror attacks in Moscow and Dagestan, including an explosion on Moscow's Red Square Dec 31, 2010.
Akubekov was ordered to ensure that female suicide bombers Zeinap Suyunova and Daudov's wife Zavzhat Daudova be brought to Red Square, show them where to blow themselves up and control the attack, according to investigators. Akubekov was then supposed to inform another gang member, Shamil Paizulayev, when the attacks were carried out.
Suyunova was to have detonated a homemade explosive device on her body in the crowd celebrating New Year's Eve in Red Square. Daudova was to have waited for the authorities to arrive and blown herself up near them.
Daudova died while trying to fasten an explosive device on her body in a hotel. Suyunova failed to perpetrate her terror attack as well. She lost the switch from her homemade explosive device, which rendered it unable to operate.
Having also lost her mobile phone and without knowing where in Moscow Red Square was, she failed to communicate with her fellow plotters to receive instructions from gang leader Daudov. She decided to escape and took a bus to Kizlyar in Dagestan.
Suyunova was brought to Moscow in January 2011. She was found guilty of banditry, an attempt to perpetrate a terrorist act, and illegal manufacture and possession of explosive devices.
Akubekov was detained in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, in the same month.
A court earlier in May sentenced Suyunova to 10 years in a medium-security prison.
Kommersant business daily said Suyunova got involved in terrorism against her will. She said she made friends with a group of Wahhabis while studying pharmacology in the Stavropol region, left home and married a man who turned out to be a terrorist militant.
There but for the grace of Allan ...
After her husband was nabbed for organising terrorist attacks, Suyunova was taken to Dagestan where she was told that her spouse had died and she had to take revenge for him by blowing herself up in Moscow.
(Sh.M.Network) -- Two Danish brothers originally from Somalia were jugged Drop the rosco and step away witcher hands up! on suspicion of plotting a terror attack,Denmark's security service said Tuesday.
The two brothers, ages 18 and 23, were set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock Book 'im, Mahmoud! late Monday -- one in the western city of Aarhus and the other as he arrived by plane at Copenhagen's international airport, said the Danish Security and Intelligence Service, or PET.
The men were suspected of "being in the process of preparing an act of terror" after they were overheard talking about methods, targets and different weapons types, PET said in a statement, suggesting the suspects had been under surveillance. One of them had been to a training camp in Somalia run by the Islamist thug group al-Shabaab ... the personification of Somali state failure... , the agency said. The Somalia-based al-Shabaab has links to al-Qaeda.
The suspects are "Danish citizens of Somali origin" who have lived in Denmark for 16 years, PET said.
"According to PET's assessment the arrests have prevented a concrete act of terror, and the arrests therefore don't lead to a changed evaluation of the terror threat inDenmark," PET said, adding that the terror threat level in Denmark remains "serious."
The Scandinavian country has been in the crosshairs of Islamist terror groups after the publication of newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005.
A Somali man living in Denmarkwas convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 10 years in prison after breaking into the home of one of the cartoonists with an ax in 2010.
Last year, a Chechen-born man was sentenced to 12 years in prison for preparing a letter bomb that went kaboom! as he was assembling it in a Copenhagen hotel in 2010.
Another trial is under way in Denmark against four men accused of plotting a shooting spree at another Danish newspaper.
A man tied by prosecutors to two Seattle terror suspects has admitted attempting to run two Marines off Interstate 5.
Keep reading, it sounds like a case of 'sudden jihadi syndrome'...
Jailed since last September, Michael McCright pleaded guilty to related charges last week and admitted to swerving at a government vehicle carrying a uniformed Marine sergeant and another noncommissioned officer on July 12.
McCright, who also goes by Mikhial Jihad, pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges so he will not face a life sentence under Washington's "three-strikes" law. Prosecutors plan to request a five-year prison term.
In the incident, the Marine sergeants had left a local processing center. While the staff sergeant driving the car remained in uniform, the other man had changed into civilian clothing.
The two were on the interstate when a small blue car sped toward them. A bearded man in a skull cap, McCright, was behind the wheel. As the car came alongside the Marines, the staff sergeant noticed McCright spot his uniform. The staff sergeant told police, "His eyes widened and he appeared to become angry."
McCright forced the government car into the emergency lane, then pulled in front of the Marines' vehicle and slammed on his brakes, nearly causing a collision.
The passenger in the Marine's car called 911 and reported the license plate number to the police. Investigators later linked the car to McCright and phoned him. At the time, McCright denied any involvement and said he rarely drove the car. He was arrested on Sept. 8 in Seattle.
Prosecutors have said McCright was in contact with Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, a Des Moines man accused of plotting an attack on a South Seattle military processing station.
McCright's connection to Abdul-Latif has not yet been disclosed, though the latter remains in federal custody pending trial on terror charges.
In court documents shortly after McCright's arrest, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Gary Ernsdorff said, "Investigators have confirmed that the cell phone used by the defendant ... was used on at least three occasions to contact Abdul-Latif prior to Latif's arrest by federal authorities. The FBI is continuing to investigate defendant McCright's possible connection to domestic terrorism."
Abdul-Latif, 33, and LA resident Walli Mujahidh had been accused of plotting a suicide attack on a military processing center. Prosecutors claim the men planned to storm the center to kill recruits and Department of Defense workers there. Mujahidh later pleaded guilty.
The plot was allegedly foiled at the last moment after another Muslim man
and honorable American
approached by Abdul-Latif in late May contacted Seattle police, and then acted as an informant.
McCright remains jailed on $2 million bail charged with second-degree assault. He is expected back in court on Oct. 12.
McCright, a repeat violent felon, may have faced a life sentence as a "three-strikes" offender if convicted on the original charge of second-degree assault. Instead, McCright pleaded guilty to two counts of felony harassment and one count of attempted malicious mischief.
McCright is scheduled to be sentenced in June and remains in jail. Abdul-Latif and Mujahidh also remain confined. Abdul-Latif faces a life sentence.
Attacking Marines, I'd sooner stick my hand into a bailing machine, less damage that way.
Posted by: Recneck Jim ||
"... Marine Sergeant and a non-commissioned officer ..."? Does no one edit anything anymore? When I was in a sergeant was A non-commissioned officer,
Posted by: Ho Chi Snore2328 ||
Ho Chi Snore - that was actually my mistake. The original article says "another noncommissioned officer". I got sloppy while boiling down the story. Thanks for pointing that out so I could correct it.
Rolled over from yesterday because it was posted late.
From the NYT. Lots of information was 'given' to these reporters; it's part of an effort to make Champ look engaged and forward thinking as the Commander in Chief. But if you want to know how we're making the decisions as to who should and should not be drone-zapped, you can start here.
WASHINGTON -- This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.
President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.
"How old are these people?" he asked, according to two officials present. "If they are starting to use children," he said of Al Qaeda, "we are moving into a whole different phase."
It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret "nominations" process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Shades of Lyndon Johnson picking out targets in North Vietnam to be bombed, and pretty much with the same concerns.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding "kill list," poring over terrorist suspects' biographies on what one official calls the macabre "baseball cards" of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises -- but his family is with him -- it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
"He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go," said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. "His view is that he's responsible for the position of the United States in the world." He added, "He's determined to keep the tether pretty short."
LBJ thought the same thing. That's why the North Vietnamese ended up putting anti-aircraft guns on the roofs of hospitals.
Nothing else in Mr. Obama's first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record.
Conservatives are confounded only because Champ is, by and large, doing what Dubya did and what McCain said he'd do as well. That's what has the liberals baffled, though the better word for the liberals is 'dismayed'...
His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president's own deep reserve.
In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers
Most of whom talked without attribution...
described Mr. Obama's evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.
They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda -- even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was "an easy one."
His first term has seen private warnings from top officials about a "Whac-A-Mole" approach to counterterrorism; the invention of a new category of aerial attack following complaints of careless targeting; and presidential acquiescence in a formula for counting civilian deaths that some officials think is skewed to produce low numbers.
It's all about the Lawfare, and that means keeping the 'innocent' deaths down to the point of making them next to invisible. That salves the liberal consciences. Without that salve the liberals would balk.
The administration's failure to forge a clear detention policy has created the impression among some members of Congress of a take-no-prisoners policy. And Mr. Obama's ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.'s strikes drive American policy there, saying "he didn't realize his main job was to kill people," a colleague said.
Detaining people means tribunals or even civilian trials. When your Attorney General has already said that the civilian trials will result in guilty verdicts then the world correctly sees your trials as shams and kangaroo courts. Add in the potential for terrorist attacks and the ability of those being tried to use our legal system against us, and it's easier to play Whack-a-Mole, even if you have to wield the hammer yourself.
Beside the president at every step is his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to a dogged police detective, tracking terrorists from his cavelike office in the White House basement, or a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president's attempt to apply the "just war" theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.
Just war theory doesn't work well against an adversary that refuses to subscribe to the same theory of war.
But the strikes that have eviscerated Al Qaeda -- just since April, there have been 14 in Yemen, and 6 in Pakistan -- have also tested both men's commitment to the principles they have repeatedly said are necessary to defeat the enemy in the long term. Drones have replaced Guantanamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, "When the drones hit, they don't see children."
Dennis C. Blair, director of national intelligence until he was fired in May 2010, said that discussions inside the White House of long-term strategy against Al Qaeda were sidelined by the intense focus on strikes. "The steady refrain in the White House was, 'This is the only game in town' -- reminded me of body counts in Vietnam," said Mr. Blair, a retired admiral who began his Navy service during that war.
Humans like to count things. Counting dead terrorists is a natural response to dealing with terrorism. We comfort ourselves in thinking that it's the number of dead terrorist bodies that matter. In the short term it's nice to see the number three's pile up like cordwood, but in the long-term what matters is convincing Mahmoud that it's better to be an auto mechanic than a terrorist.
Mr. Blair's criticism, dismissed by White House officials as personal pique, nonetheless resonates inside the government.
William M. Daley, Mr. Obama's chief of staff in 2011, said the president and his advisers understood that they could not keep adding new names to a kill list, from ever lower on the Qaeda totem pole. What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough.
"One guy gets knocked off, and the guy's driver, who's No. 21, becomes 20?" Mr. Daley said, describing the internal discussion. "At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?"
See above. The key is to convince #21, or #210, or #2101, that it's time to go do something else with their lives.
'Maintain My Options'
A phalanx of retired generals and admirals stood behind Mr. Obama on the second day of his presidency, providing martial cover as he signed several executive orders to make good on campaign pledges. Brutal interrogation techniques were banned, he declared. And the prison at Guantanamo Bay would be closed.
What the new president did not say was that the orders contained a few subtle loopholes.
Since every promise from Champ has an expiration date...
They reflected a still unfamiliar Barack Obama, a realist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by his own rhetoric. Instead, he was already putting his lawyerly mind to carving out the maximum amount of maneuvering room to fight terrorism as he saw fit.
Lawfare 5001, the graduate school version.
It was a pattern that would be seen repeatedly, from his response to Republican complaints that he wanted to read terrorists their rights, to his acceptance of the C.I.A.'s method for counting civilian casualties in drone strikes.
The day before the executive orders were issued, the C.I.A.'s top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, had called the White House in a panic. The order prohibited the agency from operating detention facilities, closing once and for all the secret overseas "black sites" where interrogators had brutalized terrorist suspects.
"The way this is written, you are going to take us out of the rendition business," Mr. Rizzo told Gregory B. Craig, Mr. Obama's White House counsel, referring to the much-criticized practice of grabbing a terrorist suspect abroad and delivering him to another country for interrogation or trial. The problem, Mr. Rizzo explained, was that the C.I.A. sometimes held such suspects for a day or two while awaiting a flight. The order appeared to outlaw that.
Mr. Craig assured him that the new president had no intention of ending rendition -- only its abuse, which could lead to American complicity in torture abroad. So a new definition of "detention facility" was inserted, excluding places used to hold people "on a short-term, transitory basis." Problem solved -- and no messy public explanation damped Mr. Obama's celebration.
I'm surprised Champ wanted to keep rendition, since its every mention causes HRW, CCR and AI to have a hissy fit.
"Pragmatism over ideology," his campaign national security team had advised in a memo in March 2008. It was counsel that only reinforced the president's instincts.
Even before he was sworn in, Mr. Obama's advisers had warned him against taking a categorical position on what would be done with Guantanamo detainees. The deft insertion of some wiggle words in the president's order showed that the advice was followed.
Some detainees would be transferred to prisons in other countries, or released, it said. Some would be prosecuted -- if "feasible" -- in criminal courts. Military commissions, which Mr. Obama had criticized, were not mentioned -- and thus not ruled out.
As for those who could not be transferred or tried but were judged too dangerous for release? Their "disposition" would be handled by "lawful means, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice."
A few sharp-eyed observers inside and outside the government understood what the public did not. Without showing his hand, Mr. Obama had preserved three major policies -- rendition, military commissions and indefinite detention -- that have been targets of human rights groups since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
But a year later, with Congress trying to force him to try all terrorism suspects using revamped military commissions, he deployed his legal skills differently -- to preserve trials in civilian courts.
It was shortly after Dec. 25, 2009, following a close call in which a Qaeda-trained operative named Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had boarded a Detroit-bound airliner with a bomb sewn into his underwear.
Mr. Obama was taking a drubbing from Republicans over the government's decision to read the suspect his rights, a prerequisite for bringing criminal charges against him in civilian court. The president "seems to think that if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war," former Vice President Dick Cheney charged.
Sensing vulnerability on both a practical and political level, the president summoned his attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., to the White House.
F.B.I. agents had questioned Mr. Abdulmutallab for 50 minutes and gained valuable intelligence before giving him the warning. They had relied on a 1984 case called New York v. Quarles, in which the Supreme Court ruled that statements made by a suspect in response to urgent public safety questions -- the case involved the location of a gun -- could be introduced into evidence even if the suspect had not been advised of the right to remain silent.
Mr. Obama, who Mr. Holder said misses the legal profession, got into a colloquy with the attorney general. How far, he asked, could Quarles be stretched? Mr. Holder felt that in terrorism cases, the court would allow indefinite questioning on a fairly broad range of subjects. Satisfied with the edgy new interpretation, Mr. Obama gave his blessing, Mr. Holder recalled.
"Barack Obama believes in options: 'Maintain my options,' " said Jeh C. Johnson, a campaign adviser and now general counsel of the Defense Department.
'They Must All Be Militants'
That same mind-set would be brought to bear as the president intensified what would become a withering campaign to use unmanned aircraft to kill Qaeda terrorists.
Just days after taking office, the president got word that the first strike under his administration had killed a number of innocent Pakistanis. "The president was very sharp on the thing, and said, 'I want to know how this happened,' " a top White House adviser recounted.
In response to his concern, the C.I.A. downsized its munitions for more pinpoint strikes. In addition, the president tightened standards, aides say: If the agency did not have a "near certainty" that a strike would result in zero civilian deaths, Mr. Obama wanted to decide personally whether to go ahead.
Why not let him push the button himself?
The president's directive reinforced the need for caution, counterterrorism officials said, but did not significantly change the program. In part, that is because "the protection of innocent life was always a critical consideration," said Michael V. Hayden, the last C.I.A. director under President George W. Bush.
It is also because Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.
In which case, what -- 'sorry'?
Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good. "Al Qaeda is an insular, paranoid organization -- innocent neighbors don't hitchhike rides in the back of trucks headed for the border with guns and bombs," said one official, who requested anonymity to speak about what is still a classified program.
This is true, and we should (and at Rantburg we do) acknowledge the truth of it. Camp-followers share the fate of the camp. The difference is, we don't wring our hands over it.
This counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths. In a speech last year Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama's trusted adviser, said that not a single noncombatant had been killed in a year of strikes. And in a recent interview, a senior administration official said that the number of civilians killed in drone strikes in Pakistan under Mr. Obama was in the "single digits" -- and that independent counts of scores or hundreds of civilian deaths unwittingly draw on false propaganda claims by militants.
But in interviews, three former senior intelligence officials expressed disbelief that the number could be so low. The C.I.A. accounting has so troubled some administration officials outside the agency that they have brought their concerns to the White House. One called it "guilt by association" that has led to "deceptive" estimates of civilian casualties.
"It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants," the official said. "They count the corpses and they're not really sure who they are."
Said another way, it doesn't matter how you score the deaders: terrorists, terrorist supporters, camp followers, hangers-on, and so on all must get the same message. The body count is irrelevant long-term: what matters is whether or not you are changing behavior.
About four months into his presidency, as Republicans accused him of reckless naïveté on terrorism, Mr. Obama quickly pulled together a speech defending his policies. Standing before the Constitution at the National Archives in Washington, he mentioned Guantanamo 28 times, repeating his campaign pledge to close the prison.
But it was too late, and his defensive tone suggested that Mr. Obama knew it. Though President George W. Bush and Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate, had supported closing the Guantanamo prison, Republicans in Congress had reversed course and discovered they could use the issue to portray Mr. Obama as soft on terrorism.
And oh, by the way, everyone realized that releasing the jokers held at Gitmo would lead to the deaths of more innocents...
Walking out of the Archives, the president turned to his national security adviser at the time, Gen. James L. Jones, and admitted that he had never devised a plan to persuade Congress to shut down the prison.
"We're never going to make that mistake again," Mr. Obama told the retired Marine general.
General Jones said the president and his aides had assumed that closing the prison was "a no-brainer -- the United States will look good around the world." The trouble was, he added, "nobody asked, 'O.K., let's assume it's a good idea, how are you going to do this?' "
It was not only Mr. Obama's distaste for legislative backslapping and arm-twisting, but also part of a deeper pattern, said an administration official who has watched him closely: the president seemed to have "a sense that if he sketches a vision, it will happen -- without his really having thought through the mechanism by which it will happen."
That of course is how he differs from LBJ: LBJ was the master manipulator of the legislative process. Dubya was pretty fair at it himself having dealt with the Texas legislature. But Champ was always disdainful of the legislative grind when he was a state senator, and later U.S. Senator, so it's no surprise that he didn't have the stomach for it as president.
In fact, both Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the attorney general, Mr. Holder, had warned that the plan to close the Guantanamo prison was in peril, and they volunteered to fight for it on Capitol Hill, according to officials. But with Mr. Obama's backing, his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, blocked them, saying health care reform had to go first.
When the administration floated a plan to transfer from Guantanamo to Northern Virginia two Uighurs, members of a largely Muslim ethnic minority from China who are considered no threat to the United States, Virginia Republicans led by Representative Frank R. Wolf denounced the idea. The administration backed down.
That show of weakness doomed the effort to close Guantanamo, the same administration official said. "Lyndon Johnson would have steamrolled the guy," he said. "That's not what happened. It's like a boxing match where a cut opens over a guy's eye."
The Use of Force
It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government's sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects' biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.
This secret "nominations" process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia's Shabab militia.
The video conferences are run by the Pentagon, which oversees strikes in those countries, and participants do not hesitate to call out a challenge, pressing for the evidence behind accusations of ties to Al Qaeda.
"What's a Qaeda facilitator?" asked one participant, illustrating the spirit of the exchanges. "If I open a gate and you drive through it, am I a facilitator?"
Pretty much, yes...
Given the contentious discussions, it can take five or six sessions for a name to be approved, and names go off the list if a suspect no longer appears to pose an imminent threat, the official said. A parallel, more cloistered selection process at the C.I.A. focuses largely on Pakistan, where that agency conducts strikes.
The nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by Mr. Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name. He signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on the more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan -- about a third of the total.
Aides say Mr. Obama has several reasons for becoming so immersed in lethal counterterrorism operations. A student of writings on war by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, he believes that he should take moral responsibility for such actions.
He can do that without having to approve each strike individually.
And he knows that bad strikes can tarnish America's image and derail diplomacy.
"He realizes this isn't science, this is judgments made off of, most of the time, human intelligence," said Mr. Daley, the former chief of staff. "The president accepts as a fact that a certain amount of screw-ups are going to happen, and to him, that calls for a more judicious process."
But the control he exercises also appears to reflect Mr. Obama's striking self-confidence: he believes, according to several people who have worked closely with him, that his own judgment should be brought to bear on strikes.
Asked what surprised him most about Mr. Obama, Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, answered immediately: "He's a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States."
In fact, in a 2007 campaign speech in which he vowed to pull the United States out of Iraq and refocus on Al Qaeda, Mr. Obama had trumpeted his plan to go after terrorist bases in Pakistan -- even if Pakistani leaders objected. His rivals at the time, including Mitt Romney, Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Mrs. Clinton, had all pounced on what they considered a greenhorn's campaign bluster. (Mr. Romney said Mr. Obama had become "Dr. Strangelove.")
In office, however, Mr. Obama has done exactly what he had promised, coming quickly to rely on the judgment of Mr. Brennan.
Mr. Brennan, a son of Irish immigrants, is a grizzled 25-year veteran of the C.I.A. whose work as a top agency official during the brutal interrogations of the Bush administration made him a target of fierce criticism from the left. He had been forced, under fire, to withdraw his name from consideration to lead the C.I.A. under Mr. Obama, becoming counterterrorism chief instead.
Some critics of the drone strategy still vilify Mr. Brennan, suggesting that he is the C.I.A.'s agent in the White House, steering Mr. Obama to a targeted killing strategy. But in office, Mr. Brennan has surprised many former detractors by speaking forcefully for closing Guantanamo and respecting civil liberties.
Harold H. Koh, for instance, as dean of Yale Law School was a leading liberal critic of the Bush administration's counterterrorism policies. But since becoming the State Department's top lawyer, Mr. Koh said, he has found in Mr. Brennan a principled ally.
"If John Brennan is the last guy in the room with the president, I'm comfortable, because Brennan is a person of genuine moral rectitude," Mr. Koh said. "It's as though you had a priest with extremely strong moral values who was suddenly charged with leading a war."
We had that in the Crusades. Worked well then too...
The president values Mr. Brennan's experience in assessing intelligence, from his own agency or others, and for the sobriety with which he approaches lethal operations, other aides say.
"The purpose of these actions is to mitigate threats to U.S. persons' lives," Mr. Brennan said in an interview. "It is the option of last recourse. So the president, and I think all of us here, don't like the fact that people have to die. And so he wants to make sure that we go through a rigorous checklist: The infeasibility of capture, the certainty of the intelligence base, the imminence of the threat, all of these things."
Yet the administration's very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive. While scores of suspects have been killed under Mr. Obama, only one has been taken into American custody, and the president has balked at adding new prisoners to Guantanamo.
"Their policy is to take out high-value targets, versus capturing high-value targets," said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the top Republican on the intelligence committee. "They are not going to advertise that, but that's what they are doing."
Capturing high-value targets exposes our guys to new risks. One could argue that killing the targets instead, particularly by drone-zaps, avoids the risks to our pilots, special forces, etc. But that's not why Obama is ordering the drone-zaps.
Mr. Obama's aides deny such a policy, arguing that capture is often impossible in the rugged tribal areas of Pakistan and Yemen and that many terrorist suspects are in foreign prisons because of American tips. Still, senior officials at the Justice Department and the Pentagon acknowledge that they worry about the public perception.
"We have to be vigilant to avoid a no-quarter, or take-no-prisoners policy," said Mr. Johnson, the Pentagon's chief lawyer.
Why? Isn't that a 'strong horse' policy for that part of the world?
The care that Mr. Obama and his counterterrorism chief take in choosing targets, and their reliance on a precision weapon, the drone, reflect his pledge at the outset of his presidency to reject what he called the Bush administration's "false choice between our safety and our ideals."
But he has found that war is a messy business, and his actions show that pursuing an enemy unbound by rules has required moral, legal and practical trade-offs that his speeches did not envision.
One early test involved Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban. The case was problematic on two fronts, according to interviews with both administration and Pakistani sources.
The C.I.A. worried that Mr. Mehsud, whose group then mainly targeted the Pakistan government, did not meet the Obama administration's criteria for targeted killing: he was not an imminent threat to the United States. But Pakistani officials wanted him dead, and the American drone program rested on their tacit approval. The issue was resolved after the president and his advisers found that he represented a threat, if not to the homeland, to American personnel in Pakistan.
Then, in August 2009, the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, told Mr. Brennan that the agency had Mr. Mehsud in its sights. But taking out the Pakistani Taliban leader, Mr. Panetta warned, did not meet Mr. Obama's standard of "near certainty" of no innocents being killed. In fact, a strike would certainly result in such deaths: he was with his wife at his in-laws' home.
"Many times," General Jones said, in similar circumstances, "at the 11th hour we waved off a mission simply because the target had people around them and we were able to loiter on station until they didn't."
But not this time. Mr. Obama, through Mr. Brennan, told the C.I.A. to take the shot, and Mr. Mehsud was killed, along with his wife and, by some reports, other family members as well, said a senior intelligence official.
The attempted bombing of an airliner a few months later, on Dec. 25, stiffened the president's resolve, aides say. It was the culmination of a series of plots, including the killing of 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex. by an Army psychiatrist who had embraced radical Islam.
Mr. Obama is a good poker player, but he has a tell when he is angry. His questions become rapid-fire, said his attorney general, Mr. Holder. "He'll inject the phrase, 'I just want to make sure you understand that.' " And it was clear to everyone, Mr. Holder said, that he was simmering about how a 23-year-old bomber had penetrated billions of dollars worth of American security measures.
Was he similarly angry over the Fort Hood shooting?
When a few officials tentatively offered a defense, noting that the attack had failed because the terrorists were forced to rely on a novice bomber and an untested formula because of stepped-up airport security, Mr. Obama cut them short.
"Well, he could have gotten it right and we'd all be sitting here with an airplane that blew up and killed over a hundred people," he said, according to a participant. He asked them to use the close call to imagine in detail the consequences if the bomb had detonated. In characteristic fashion, he went around the room, asking each official to explain what had gone wrong and what needed to be done about it.
"After that, as president, it seemed like he felt in his gut the threat to the United States," said Michael E. Leiter, then director of the National Counterterrorism Center. "Even John Brennan, someone who was already a hardened veteran of counterterrorism, tightened the straps on his rucksack after that."
David Axelrod, the president's closest political adviser, began showing up at the "Terror Tuesday" meetings, his unspeaking presence a visible reminder of what everyone understood: a successful attack would overwhelm the president's other aspirations and achievements.
In the most dramatic possible way, the Fort Hood shootings in November and the attempted Christmas Day bombing had shown the new danger from Yemen. Mr. Obama, who had rejected the Bush-era concept of a global war on terrorism and had promised to narrow the American focus to Al Qaeda's core, suddenly found himself directing strikes in another complicated Muslim country.
Dubya was right again. Thanks for acknowledging that, NYT.
The very first strike under his watch in Yemen, on Dec. 17, 2009, offered a stark example of the difficulties of operating in what General Jones described as an "embryonic theater that we weren't really familiar with."
It killed not only its intended target, but also two neighboring families, and left behind a trail of cluster bombs that subsequently killed more innocents. It was hardly the kind of precise operation that Mr. Obama favored. Videos of children's bodies and angry tribesmen holding up American missile parts flooded You Tube, fueling a ferocious backlash that Yemeni officials said bolstered Al Qaeda.
The sloppy strike shook Mr. Obama and Mr. Brennan, officials said, and once again they tried to impose some discipline.
In Pakistan, Mr. Obama had approved not only "personality" strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but "signature" strikes that targeted training camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants.
But some State Department officials have complained to the White House that the criteria used by the C.I.A. for identifying a terrorist "signature" were too lax. The joke was that when the C.I.A. sees "three guys doing jumping jacks," the agency thinks it is a terrorist training camp, said one senior official. Men loading a truck with fertilizer could be bombmakers -- but they might also be farmers, skeptics argued.
Now, in the wake of the bad first strike in Yemen, Mr. Obama overruled military and intelligence commanders who were pushing to use signature strikes there as well.
"We are not going to war with Yemen," he admonished in one meeting, according to participants.
His guidance was formalized in a memo by General Jones, who called it a "governor, if you will, on the throttle," intended to remind everyone that "one should not assume that it's just O.K. to do these things because we spot a bad guy somewhere in the world."
Mr. Obama had drawn a line. But within two years, he stepped across it. Signature strikes in Pakistan were killing a large number of terrorist suspects, even when C.I.A. analysts were not certain beforehand of their presence. And in Yemen, roiled by the Arab Spring unrest, the Qaeda affiliate was seizing territory.
Today, the Defense Department can target suspects in Yemen whose names they do not know. Officials say the criteria are tighter than those for signature strikes, requiring evidence of a threat to the United States, and they have even given them a new name -- TADS, for Terrorist Attack Disruption Strikes. But the details are a closely guarded secret -- part of a pattern for a president who came into office promising transparency.
The Ultimate Test
On that front, perhaps no case would test Mr. Obama's principles as starkly as that of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and Qaeda propagandist hiding in Yemen, who had recently risen to prominence and had taunted the president by name in some of his online screeds.
The president "was very interested in obviously trying to understand how a guy like Awlaki developed," said General Jones. The cleric's fiery sermons had helped inspire a dozen plots, including the shootings at Fort Hood. Then he had gone "operational," plotting with Mr. Abdulmutallab and coaching him to ignite his explosives only after the airliner was over the United States.
That record, and Mr. Awlaki's calls for more attacks, presented Mr. Obama with an urgent question: Could he order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial?
The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.
Mr. Obama gave his approval, and Mr. Awlaki was killed in September 2011, along with a fellow propagandist, Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but was traveling with him.
If the president had qualms about this momentous step, aides said he did not share them. Mr. Obama focused instead on the weight of the evidence showing that the cleric had joined the enemy and was plotting more terrorist attacks.
"This is an easy one," Mr. Daley recalled him saying, though the president warned that in future cases, the evidence might well not be so clear.
In the wake of Mr. Awlaki's death, some administration officials, including the attorney general, argued that the Justice Department's legal memo should be made public. In 2009, after all, Mr. Obama had released Bush administration legal opinions on interrogation over the vociferous objections of six former C.I.A. directors. This time, contemplating his own secrets, he chose to keep the Awlaki opinion secret.
"Once it's your pop stand, you look at things a little differently," said Mr. Rizzo, the C.I.A.'s former general counsel.
Mr. Hayden, the former C.I.A. director and now an adviser to Mr. Obama's Republican challenger, Mr. Romney, commended the president's aggressive counterterrorism record, which he said had a "Nixon to China" quality. But, he said, "secrecy has its costs" and Mr. Obama should open the strike strategy up to public scrutiny.
"This program rests on the personal legitimacy of the president, and that's not sustainable," Mr. Hayden said. "I have lived the life of someone taking action on the basis of secret O.L.C. memos, and it ain't a good life. Democracies do not make war on the basis of legal memos locked in a D.O.J. safe."
Tactics Over Strategy
In his June 2009 speech in Cairo, aimed at resetting relations with the Muslim world, Mr. Obama had spoken eloquently of his childhood years in Indonesia, hearing the call to prayer "at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk."
"The United States is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam," he declared.
But in the months that followed, some officials felt the urgency of counterterrorism strikes was crowding out consideration of a broader strategy against radicalization. Though Mrs. Clinton strongly supported the strikes, she complained to colleagues about the drones-only approach at Situation Room meetings, in which discussion would focus exclusively on the pros, cons and timing of particular strikes.
At their weekly lunch, Mrs. Clinton told the president she thought there should be more attention paid to the root causes of radicalization, and Mr. Obama agreed. But it was September 2011 before he issued an executive order setting up a sophisticated, interagency war room at the State Department to counter the jihadi narrative on an hour-by-hour basis, posting messages and video online and providing talking points to embassies.
Mr. Obama was heartened, aides say, by a letter discovered in the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. It complained that the American president had undermined Al Qaeda's support by repeatedly declaring that the United States was at war not with Islam, but with the terrorist network. "We must be doing a good job," Mr. Obama told his secretary of state.
Moreover, Mr. Obama's record has not drawn anything like the sweeping criticism from allies that his predecessor faced.
Of course not: the Left was working to bring Dubya down; they're only kvetching about Champ. Imagine how Obama would behave if Cindy Sheehan, the MSM, Code Pink, etc were all after him.
John B. Bellinger III, a top national security lawyer under the Bush administration, said that was because Mr. Obama's liberal reputation and "softer packaging" have protected him. "After the global outrage over Guantanamo, it's remarkable that the rest of the world has looked the other way while the Obama administration has conducted hundreds of drone strikes in several different countries, including killing at least some civilians," said Mr. Bellinger, who supports the strikes.
By withdrawing from Iraq and preparing to withdraw from Afghanistan, Mr. Obama has refocused the fight on Al Qaeda and hugely reduced the death toll both of American soldiers and Muslim civilians. But in moments of reflection, Mr. Obama may have reason to wonder about unfinished business and unintended consequences.
His focus on strikes has made it impossible to forge, for now, the new relationship with the Muslim world that he had envisioned. Both Pakistan and Yemen are arguably less stable and more hostile to the United States than when Mr. Obama became president.
Pakistan and Yemen are failed states. They will never be stable; they will always be hostile. Unfortunately Anne Coulter, she with the cold, dark heart, has a point: you'd have to forcibly convert all the people in those countries to Christianity to change their behavior. That's not going to happen.
Justly or not, drones have become a provocative symbol of American power, running roughshod over national sovereignty and killing innocents. With China and Russia watching, the United States has set an international precedent for sending drones over borders to kill enemies.
Mr. Blair, the former director of national intelligence, said the strike campaign was dangerously seductive. "It is the politically advantageous thing to do -- low cost, no U.S. casualties, gives the appearance of toughness," he said. "It plays well domestically, and it is unpopular only in other countries. Any damage it does to the national interest only shows up over the long term."
But Mr. Blair's dissent puts him in a small minority of security experts. Mr. Obama's record has eroded the political perception that Democrats are weak on national security. No one would have imagined four years ago that his counterterrorism policies would come under far more fierce attack from the American Civil Liberties Union than from Mr. Romney.
Aides say that Mr. Obama's choices, though, are not surprising. The president's reliance on strikes, said Mr. Leiter, the former head of the National Counterterrorism Center, "is far from a lurid fascination with covert action and special forces. It's much more practical. He's the president. He faces a post-Abdulmutallab situation, where he's being told people might attack the United States tomorrow."
"You can pass a lot of laws," Mr. Leiter said, "Those laws are not going to get Bin Laden dead."
It's a very detailed description of the process of deciding who is going to die, or suffer death. Many individuals and agencies involved, working in groups, sharing information and conclusions and findings, similar to a judicial panel.
I guess we could call it a "death panel". Kinda catchy.
The elevation of decision making of this type to the Presidential level has, as mentioned, numerous secord order effects. One NOT mentioned is the fact that battlefield actions regarding "kill or capture" across the wider spectrum of operation tend to be seen through the same prism and severly impact all other operations.
Aggressive battlefield interrogation of prisoners detainees and all-source intelligence fusion are icky. Submit your requests to update the data-base to the lawyers, and release them all within the rules of the specified detention periods. Only the King will decide who is to live, die, or be further detained.
Yet another potential second order effect as posted here this morning:
U.S. officials among Iranian assassination plot targets
The beginning paragraphs of a 3-page report from the Washington Post. It wasn't just about Israel after all.
In November, the tide of daily cable traffic to the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan brought a chilling message for Ambassador Matthew Bryza, then the top U.S. diplomat to the small Central Asian country. A plot to kill Americans had been uncovered, the message read, and embassy officials were on the target list.
As you know, tactical interrogation reporting (prisonor reporting) helps feed the HUMINT collection and analysis process. Prisoners are "sources" and good sources, prisoners, or others.... be hard to find. Without prisoners (and we don't even call them that anymore), whom you can question and interrogate over lengthy periods of time, you have lost a valuable collection capability. Sole reliance upon national systems and their multi-agency handlers, has it's downside(s).
The idea that only some God level arbiter, or a national agency can make final detention and interrogation decisions has a chilling, WTF effect at the squad level.
Drone theory was something I was on board with, but this puts it in an awkward light.
Barack Obama, a realist narcissist who, unlike some of his fervent supporters, was never carried away by believed a word of his own rhetoric. Instead, he was already putting his lawyerly mind cravenly scheming to carving out the maximum amount of maneuvering room to fight terrorism as he saw fit maximally cover his ass.
Maybe Axelrod is there to produce the domestic drone list.
The picture of him going over a targeting list like a dinner menu is a put off. "Let's see, what do I feel like..Yemani..Somali..I know, Pahkistahni, making me look bad with their road blockade. Garcon! (clap clap) Make it so."
Should come as no great surprise. Obama, the ultimate Statist, the arbiter of all decision making, to include that of life over death. Like the son Tiberious, he clearly relishes the power as well as the task.
See also DEFENCE.PK/FORUMS > OBAMA CHANGED DEFININTION OF "CIVILIAN" IN DRONE WARS | WORLDNEWS: REPORT: OBAMA EMBRACED [expanded = very broad]DISPUTED DEFINITION OF "CIVILIAN" IN DRONE WARS.
* SAME > THE HANDS-ON APPROACH TO LEGAL FORCE.
I dunno - iff these Artics + similar were meant to help divert or protect the Bammer + US Govt. from becom targets for Radical Islamist Terrops widin CONUS, THEY'RE DOING A POOR JOB.
IMO, to a dedicated MilTerr's eyes all these Artics validate a Terrop(s) agz the Bammer, NOT IN-VALIDATE, espec given past rhetiric of vengeance agz the US for the Drone Strikes, deaths of Muslims in general, + Drone-led killing of Senior ot Top Leaders.
[Dawn] Two soldiers were killed and several injured in a Taliban ambush in Kot Langarkhel area of South Wazoo Agency on Monday morning, according to local political administration and intelligence officials.
However, a poor excuse is better than no excuse at all... a Taliban beturbanned goon put the toll at five.
Khadim, a close associate of local Taliban capo Shamim Mehsud, told Dawn that Islamic fascistiattacked a group of 10 security personnel as they were fetching water on mules and donkeys from a well in Kot Langar village of Ladha subdivision.
He claimed that five personnel were killed, three injured and two fled.
The beturbanned goon also reported the death of a mule and a donkey in the ambush.
In Tank, police claimed to have repulsed a beturbanned goon attack on Mullazai cop shoppe early on Monday.
According to police, a group of 80 to 90 Islamic fascistiholding heavy weapons attacked the cop shoppe.
Policemen fought against attackers for over one hour forcing the latter to flee. Later, security personnel also showed up.
They jointly cordoned off the area and began search operation.
During the search, a roadside improvised bombwent kaboom! after a police van hit it. The kaboom injured coppers Samiullah, Fayyaz, and Bashir, who were taken to the District Headquarters Hospital, Tank.
Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain later claimed the credit for the attack.
According to a front man for TTP, Ihsanullah Ihsan, told news hounds from Qazi's guesthouse an undisclosed location that Taliban would continue fighting the government until Shariah was enforced in the country.
He also grabbed credit for Nowshera attack on a security forces' convoy and said security forces were his group's main target and such attacks would continue.
In Mohmand ... Named for the Mohmand clan of the Sarban Pahstuns, a truculent, quarrelsome lot. In Pakistain, the Mohmands infest their eponymous Agency, metastasizing as far as the plains of Beautiful Downtown Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta. In Afghanistan they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar... Agency, Islamic fascistion Monday blew up a government boy's primary school in Qayumabad Lakaro area of Safi tehsil. However, we can't all be heroes. Somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by... no loss of life was reported.
Local officials said the building was completely destroyed by bombs used in the act of terrorism. The kaboom was so loud that it shattered windowpanes of nearby houses.
An official of the local political administration confirmed the kaboom and said as the area was remote and the blast took place at night, assessment of the damage had yet to be done.
Over the last few months, 95 schools, dozens of health centres and a few telephone exchanges have been targeted by Islamic fascistiin Mohmand Agency.
In Safi tehsil alone, more than 45 schools have been blown up leaving more than 25,000 children without education. People, especially those living in the far-flung areas of the agency, have also complained of poor health facilities, especially after the destruction of these centres.
[Dawn] A police superintendent who had played an active role in the Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... Operation and a doctor friend of his were rubbed out in a gun attack in Korangi, while seven people were killed in other parts of the metropolis on Monday.
SP Shah Mohammad and Dr Dilshad were targeted outside his clinic in Bengali Para, Korangi No 3 ½. The lone security guard of the SP, constable Riaz, also sustained gunshot wounds in the attack and was rushed to a hospital.
"Shah Mohammad was perhaps the first SP-rank officer killed in Bloody Karachi's recent history," said DIG Admin Khalid Sheikh.
Earlier, DSP Nawaz Ranjha had been bumped off on M.A. Jinnah Road in August 2010.
"Dr Dilshad had come out of his clinic to see off SP Shah Mohammad when gunnies riding cycle of violences arrived there and fired gunshots before speeding away," said SDPO Qasim Ghauri.
The police quoted the maimed gunman as saying that four to six suspects riding cycle of violences took part in the attack.
"The SP was rubbed out at point-blank range," AIG Operations Naeem Ahmed Sheikh told Dawn. "He was shot seven times with a 9mm pistol."
The doctor sustained four gunshot wounds, the police said, adding that all the three victims were shifted to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre. The SP was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital, while Dr Dilshad died during
treatment. Constable Riaz was still under treatment at the JPMC, said the officials.
Inspector general of police Mushtaq Shah, meanwhile, reached the crime-scene and while talking to the media described the incident as a assassination.
He said: "We are trying to probe the motive behind the murders. It can be a result of the victim's participation in Bloody Karachi Operation as he was Gulberg SHO during the 1990s operation."
The police Sherlocks told Dawn that Dr Dilshad was a close friend of the SP who used to visit him often spending two to three hours at his clinic. On Monday, too, the officer arrived at his clinic and after sitting there for some time he was about
to sit in his official jeep bearing registration number (SP-1235) when he was targeted, said SDPO Ghauri.
Shah Mohammad was presently working as SP (administration) in the east zone of the police.
"During the Bloody Karachi Operation, he was posted at the Gulberg and Taimuria cop shoppes as the station house officer," recalled a police brass hat having same reputation.
The slain SP was also nominated in a second FIR lodged at the Gulberg cop shoppe in connection with the killing of Altaf Hussain's brother, Nasir Hussain, and his nephew, Arif Hussain.
The first FIR was lodged at the Gadap cop shoppe in 1995 after the two bodies were found there. Then in 1997, a second FIR (130/1997) was lodged at the Gulberg cop shoppe on a complaint of Shoaib Bukhari, a member of the MQM
coordination committee, under Sections 302, 364-A, 109 and 34 of the Pakistain Penal Code against six persons -- Pakistain People's Party slain chairperson Benazir Bhutto ... 11th Prime Minister of Pakistain in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistain People's Party, who was murdered at the instigation of General Ayub Khan. She was murdered in her turn by person or persons unknown while campaigning in late 2007. Suspects include, to note just a few, Baitullah Mehsud, General Pervez Musharraf, the ISI, al-Qaeda in Pakistain, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who shows remarkably little curiosity about who done her in... , former chief minister of Sindh late Abdullah Shah, former federal interior
minister late Major General (retd) Nasirullah Khan Babar, the then SHO Rao Anwar Ahmed Khan (now SP), the then SHO Shah Mohammad (now SP) and SI Ahmed Shah.
The dear departed SP had five children and a wife in Punjab. He recently contracted his second marriage with a woman, Kaneez Fatima, a resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar.
The dear departed served at various cop shoppes and in police zones and was promoted to the rank of SP only two months ago.
Two activists rubbed out
Two activists of the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, formerly known as the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistain ...a Sunni Deobandi organization, a formerly registered Pak political party, established in the early 1980s in Jhang by Maulana Haq Nawaz Jhangvi. Its stated goal is to oppose Shia influence in Pakistain. They're not too big on Brelvis, either. Or Christians. Or anybody else who's not them. The organization was banned in 2002 as a terrorist organization, but somehow it keeps ticking along, piling up the corpse counts... , were bumped off in the Zia Colony area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal on Monday night, police said.
Gulshan SP Salam Sheikh said that Mufti Zeeshan and Danish were going on a motorbike to attend a lecture in Zia Colony when they were killed in a drive-by shooting. They sustained gunshot wounds to their head and chest. Both were rushed to
nearby Patel Hospital where they were pronounced dead on arrival, the police said, adding that the bodies were later shifted to the JPMC for a post-mortem examination.
SP Sheikh described the incident as an act of assassination.
Police Sherlocks collected several spent bullet casings of 9mm pistol from the scene of the crime.
Following the killing, some protesters hurled stones at passing vehicles. They also had gun sex and set fire to tyres blocking the traffic.
Similar scenes were witnessed at Aisha Manzil, Hasan Square and Nagan Chowrangi, where intermittent gunfire compelled traders to pull down shutters.
Homeopathic doctor killed
Late Monday night, a homeopathic doctor was bumped off in Orangi Town, police said.
They added that Tariq Shams, a resident of Tauheed Colony, was bumped off in Millat Colony on his way home.
The officials quoted some passers-by as saying that one of the three men riding a motorbike fired at him, leaving him dead
on the spot.
The police later collected a spent bullet casing of 9mm pistol from the scene.
In a statement, the Pakistain Islamic Medical Association condemned the killing of Dr Shams and described the city's law and order situation as pathetic.
Transvestite rubbed out
Earlier, a transvestite was bumped off at his home near Mohammadi mosque in Jutland Lines on Monday morning.
An official at the Brigade cop shoppe quoted area residents as saying that 45-year-old Siraj, son of Shams, had an altercation with someone before being killed.
The victim used to live alone, the official said, adding that some people entered the residence in the early hours and killed the transvestite before fleeing away.
He quoted area residents as saying that they had heard a hue and cry from Siraj's home.
The police said the victim was a dancer and used to perform at wedding ceremonies and other occasions.
The body was shifted to the JPMC where his younger brother, Amir, received the body following medico-legal formalities.
The motive of the murder was yet to be ascertained, said the police Sherlocks, adding that they had registered an FIR (134/2012) against faceless myrmidons on a complaint of Amir.
Body found in Korangi
The body of a 24-year-old man was found from bushed behind the government degree college in Korangi No 6 on Monday morning.
Saeed Gul aka Afghani was kidnapped before being killed, said an official at the Awami Colony cop shoppe.
The official said the victim was trussed up and shot in the head.
The body was shifted to the JPMC for medico-legal formalities and later moved to the Edhi morgue.
The police later registered an FIR (185/2012) against faceless myrmidons on behalf of the state.
Trader killed in Clifton
A young trader who was shot at near the Clifton underpass died at a hospital late Monday night.
Adnan Rafiq was shot four times near Mehran shopping centre in Clifton block 8, said an official at the Clifton cop shoppe.
He was rushed to the JPMC where he died during treatment, said Clifton SHO Asif Jakhrani.
"The victim was a resident of Delhi Colony Clifton and had a garment shop in Clifton."
The police picked up his friend, Sami, for interrogation following the incident.
Man rubbed out in Kharadar
A young man was rubbed out near Jodia Bazaar within the remit of the Kharadar cop shoppe.
Imran, son of Fateh Mohammad, was targeted on Napier Road, said DSP Zafar Ali Shah.
He added that the victim was an area resident and was nominated in a murder case.
The body was shifted to the Civil Hospital Bloody Karachi and handed over to the victim's heirs after medico-legal formalities.
Malaysia is hosting talks between the government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The renewed discussions follow up on those in Kuala Lumpur in April, when negotiating teams completed "The Decision Points on Principles," contained in a document signed by the two groups.
Filipino presidential adviser on the peace process Teresita Deles said, "We are hoping that the next round of talks will be able to build on the gains established with the signing of the Decision Points on Principles during the April meeting."
Topics being negotiated include power-sharing and resources, increased Muslim participation, more active Shariah courts, the implementation of "Islamic principles of justice and fairness in the region to promote the efficient administration of justice" and the development of an autonomous political regime that can replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
A bomb in the Thai province of Pattani has killed three people and wounded four others. The bombing in Pattani's Kapho district targeted security volunteers.
Officials said a bomb containing about 15 pounds of explosives was packed into a fire extinguisher and buried under a road. The device was detonated by wire from a rubber plantation about 650 feet away as civilian defense volunteers passed by in their truck.
[Al Ahram] Syria's main opposition coalition called on Tuesday for a UN Security Council resolution authorising the "use of force" and welcomed the expulsion of top diplomats from several Western countries.
After economic sanctions and the expulsion of top diplomats from several Western countries, the UN Security Council should "adopt a resolution under Chapter VII (of the UN Charter) allowing the use of necessary force in order to put a stop to the genocide and the murders committed by the regime's militias," the Syrian National Council said.
The SNC also welcomed the expulsion of "the regime's ambassador in Gay Paree and its representatives in Australia," adding that it "expects other countries to follow suit."
Several Western countries -- including La Belle France, Australia, Britannia, Spain, Germany and Canada -- announced the expulsion of Syria's diplomatic representatives on Tuesday, in protest over ongoing repression in Syria and a massacre in the central town of Houla.
"Ending diplomatic relations and imposing economic sanctions on the regime is an essential part of the response to the horrific massacres that the regime is carrying out," the statement said.
[An Nahar] At least 19 people were killed in violence on Tuesday in Syria, where festivities between regime troops and rebels raged, monitors said.
In central Homs province, seven non-combatants were killed overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Three of them died when the army shelled the outskirts of restive Qusayr, while four died in the city of Homs.
One of those killed in Homs was filmmaker and photography student Bassel Shehade, who returned to Syria from the United States around three months ago, according to a Facebook page set up by activists.
His killing at the hands of regime forces was an act of "treason to humankind," the page said.
In northern Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... province, rebels and regime forces clashed on the edge of Atarib town on Monday night, the Britannia-based Observatory said.
In Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... province, festivities broke out between rebels and regime forces after the army raided two areas, Al-Halala and the outskirts of Qatna. The brother of a rebel fighter was killed, the rights watchdog said, adding that dozens were badly maimed.
Also in Damascus province, a civilian was killed in Ain Tarma village by regime forces' gunfire.
In central Hama, two civilians were reportedly killed by sniper fire, while two regular army troops were killed in northeastern Raqqa.
Regime forces pounded the town using "heavy machine gunfire and shells," the Observatory said, saying five rebel fighters were also killed.
In northwestern Idlib province, a civilian was rubbed out in Maaret al-Numan village, where rebels and regime troops also clashed, injuring five regular soldiers.
The violence raged on the second day of U.N.-Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... envoy Kofi Annan ...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo... 's visit to Syria, where more than 280 people have been killed since Friday, according to a toll compiled by Agence La Belle France Presse based on Observatory figures.
Of the total, 108 people were killed in the central town of Houla on Friday to Saturday.
The killings took place despite a ceasefire that has been continuously violated ever since it came into force as part of Annan's six-point peace plan on April 12.