Human rights groups and Islamic terrorism

March 04, 2004

Human rights groups are complicit in murder, says Trimble


1. Islamic suicide bomber murders up to 182 people in the Philippines
2. Islamic "militants" murder at least 48 in Nigeria
3. NY Times admits: "The Palestinians have never had a mainstream leader committed to nonviolent tactics" and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the "violent wing" of Arafat's Fatah
4. Egyptian security forces kill unknown number of "militants" (and civilians) last Saturday
5. Israel orders seized Palestinian terror funds to be used for Palestinian humanitarian needs
6. Report in the New Yorker magazine: "Israel Broke Iranian Code"
7. Sunday Telegraph: "Iran poised for terror campaign against Gaddafi"
8. Now Amnesty International criticizes America for releasing Guantanamo inmates: Says Russia might be worse
9. The Nobel Peace laureate and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble calls human rights organizations a "great curse" and accuses them of complicity in terrorist killings
10. Le Monde: "32 Paris mosques now under the control of extremists"

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach various articles and notes connected to international terrorism. For reasons of space, except in two cases, I attach only summaries of these articles.


While the horrendous bombs on Tuesday in Iraq, have been well covered in the Western media, other attacks by Muslim terrorists in recent days have not. In the Philippines, the Islamic "militant group" (Reuters) Abu Sayyaf has now identified their suicide bomber on the Manila ferry that killed as many as 182 people last Friday. In Nigeria, at least 48 Christians were murdered on Tuesday by Muslim "militants" (AP). Most were in a church.


"Radical Muslim group says it caused fatal ferry blast" (The Star, Philippines, February 29, 2004). "The Muslim extremist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility today for a ferry explosion and fire that killed at least two people and left 180 others missing, according to a radio report. The Radio Mindanao Network said Abu Sayyaf spokesman Abu Sulaiman claimed Friday's explosion was revenge for government attacks in the southern Mindanao area. Abu Sayyaf has often called the radio network in the past. Fire raced through the Superferry 14 on Friday shortly after it left Manila for the central and southern islands. Witnesses reported a powerful explosion that sparked an inferno."


"48 Dead in Nigeria Religious Clash." (AP, March 1, 2004). "Suspected Muslim militants armed with guns and bows and arrows killed at least 48 people in an attack on a farming village in central Nigeria. Most of the victims died as they sought refuge in a church, police said Wednesday... For decades, the majority Christian inhabitants of Plateau and the minority Muslim population - mostly Hausa and Fulani tribespeople with origins farther north - had lived in harmony. But tensions between the two communities heightened in the past four years as 12 majority Muslim states in the north adopted the strict Sharia, or Islamic, legal codes, perceived by Christians as an expansionist threat." [One wonders why AP uses the phrase "perceived by Christians." Maybe Islam is an expansionist threat in Nigeria?]



Tucked away in a very long article (titled "On the West Bank, a Hint of Resistance Without Blood," February 29, 2004) New York Times Jerusalem correspondent James Bennet made the rare observations for the New York Times:

"The Palestinians have never had a mainstream leader committed to nonviolent tactics, despite their official acceptance of Israel's right to exist."


"With no one in power exhorting them to try other tactics, Fatah militants, in theory members of a secular faction, have tried to out-Hamas Hamas. They adopted an Islamic name for their violent wing, the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and took up suicide bombing along with the language of martyrdom."

[Tom Gross adds: It has been noted in the Western media that the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade claimed responsibility for the two recent suicide Jerusalem bus bombs, and the murder of a young Israeli couple in their car last Friday night. They have in fact been carrying out dozens of such attacks since Arafat set up the brigades in fall 2000 after he launched the so-called Intifada. However, for much of this time, the New York Times and most of the international media has consistently downplayed the involvement of the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in terrorism and suicide bombs against Israeli civilians, and the fact that they are the "armed wing" of Arafat's Fatah faction of the PLO.]



I attach this piece in part to show the very different language the Associated Press employs here in contrast with its reports on Israeli army actions. The fact that the police killed people is downplayed and put in a passive voice, and explained by the fact that the gunmen initiated the fighting. Although this is the case in most circumstances in attacks by Palestinian gunmen, Reuters and AP almost always turn things around in the case of Israel in their headlines and introductory paragraphs to make it seem like Israel initiated attacks.

"Security Forces Attack Egyptian Town" (Associated Press, Saturday, February 28, 2004; 10:42 PM). "Egyptian security forces on Saturday attacked gunmen who had taken an estimated 80 people hostage in a southern Egyptian town. Some of the captives were feared dead.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the gunmen set fire to 13 houses before many escaped into other areas of Nakhilah, a town in southern Egypt on the Nile River. A Ministry of Interior statement said police arrested 15 people and seized some weapons and large quantities of drugs in the raid.

Security forces began the attack to counter heavy gunfire from the gunmen. The troops fired tear gas and rocket-propelled grenades at mud buildings on the outskirts of town.

Eight structures collapsed from the shooting, and police fear that some hostages may have been killed.

Speaking to the AP after security forces began their assault Saturday, Izzat Mohammed Hamid said fire was coming from all directions and accused security forces of targeting houses with people in them...

Nakhilah, about 200 miles south of Cairo, has long been considered a center of illicit trade in arms and drugs."



[Press release] "Israeli Defence Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, on, February 25, 2004, directed Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mashlev to immediately plan how to transfer forthwith all of the terrorist funds that were seized in today's operation in Ramallah, to a series of humanitarian goals in Palestinian society.

Defense Minister Mofaz made it clear that Israel intends to see to it that the funds, which were designated for terrorism, will henceforth serve a variety of humanitarian purposes, including improving the infrastructure at crossing points and checkpoints, Palestinian health services, transportation for school pupils, supplying food, etc.

Defense Minister Mofaz said a short while ago that, "Instead of killing Israelis and shedding their blood, these funds will now go towards improving the Palestinians' quality of life. I have no doubt that the decisive majority of the Palestinian population prefers that these funds be used in this way and not for what they were originally intended."



In an article in the new edition of the New Yorker magazine (titled "The Deal: Why is Washington Going Easy on Pakistan's Nuclear Black Marketers?"), veteran writer on intelligence matters, Seymour M. Hersh, says that a secret Israeli intelligence unit, known as Unit 8200, broke a sophisticated Iranian code a number of years ago, enabling Israel to monitor communications, including contacts with Pakistan regarding the development of Iranian nuclear weapons.

The investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into Iran's nuclear capability was spurred by Israeli intelligence findings, which were also shared with U.S. intelligence services.

Hersh said he was told by a senior Israeli intelligence officer that Israel remains convinced that "the Iranians do not intend to give up the bomb. What Iran did was report to the IAEA the information that was already out in the open and which they cannot protect. There is much that is not exposed."


Iran poised for terror campaign against Gaddafi
By Con Coughlin
Sunday Telegraph
February 29, 2004
[Only the first part of this article is attached]

Iran is trying to prevent Libya from disclosing incriminating details of Teheran's top-secret nuclear weapons programme, by threatening to unleash Islamic fundamentalist groups opposed to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Western intelligence specialists have learned from interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects, captured close to Afghanistan's border with Iran, that a militant group of Libyan extremists is being protected and trained by terrorism experts from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The Libyan Combat Islamic Group (GICL) was expelled from Libya by Gaddafi in 1997 after it was implicated in attacks against government targets. At first the group relocated to Afghanistan, where it became closely involved in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organisation.

After the war in Afghanistan in 2001 the Libyan group was given a safe haven in Iran, together with other North African terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda. Now the Iranians have agreed to provide the Libyan dissidents with expert training to enable them to attack Libyan targets and intensify their campaign to overthrow Gaddafi.

The Iranians have told Libya of the group's presence in Iran, but promised to restrict its activities to al-Qaeda operations elsewhere so long as Gaddafi does not reveal details of Iran's secret nuclear activity.

One of the reasons that Gaddafi sought to improve relations with British intelligence following September 11 was his concern about the growing effectiveness of Libya's Islamic terrorist groups. The improved relations culminated in Gaddafi's decision, announced at the end of last year, to dismantle his weapons of mass destruction.

"This is a serious initiative by the Iranians," said a Western intelligence official with access to the interrogation transcripts of al-Qaeda detainees in Afghanistan. "They are desperate to prevent Gaddafi from spilling the beans about either Iran's involvement in international terrorism or in developing nuclear weapons."

Teheran is known to have enjoyed an unofficial co-operation pact with Libya on nuclear weapons development since the mid-1990s. Iran's nuclear programme has come under intense scrutiny since Gaddafi finally acknowledged the existence of the Libyan nuclear bomb project at the end of last year.

In the past, Libyan military officials regularly attended test-firing sessions of Iran's Shahab ballistic missile, which many weapons experts believe is being developed as a delivery system for nuclear weapons.



"Amnesty: You Gotta Know When to Hold 'Em" (Best of the Web, March 2, 2004)

The Pentagon has turned over seven Russian nationals who were among the enemy combatants held at Guantanmo Bay, Cuba, the Associated Press reports:

"However, the human rights group Amnesty International questioned the move.
"There is no evidence that the U.S. has adhered to its obligation to not forcibly return anyone to any country where they may face serious human rights violations, including detention without charge or trial, unfair trial, or torture," said Amnesty's Maureen Greenwood."

James Taranto adds: "Haven't these jokers been bitching for years about America holding enemy fighters at Guantanamo?"




Human rights groups are complicit in murder, says Trimble
Giles Tremlett in Madrid
The Guardian
January 29, 2004

The Nobel Peace laureate and Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble called human rights organisations a "great curse" yesterday and accused them of complicity in terrorist killings.

"One of the great curses of this world is the human rights industry," he told the Associated Press news agency at an international conference of terrorism victims in Madrid.

"They justify terrorist acts and end up being complicit in the murder of innocent victims."

His words drew an angry reaction from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, two of the world's biggest human rights groups, with about 200,000 members in Britain and more than a million worldwide. Steve Crawshaw, director of the London office of Human Rights Watch, said:"It is extraordinarily regrettable and disappointing that, above all, a man like that says something like this."

Mr Trimble was joint winner of with the former leader of the SDLP, John Hume, for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland. He made his comment as one of the keynote speakers at the first international congress of terrorism victims, which ended in Madrid on Tuesday night. He backed another politician at the conference, the Colombian vice-president Francisco Santos, who said that human rights groups were hindering progress towards peace in his country. "For human rights organisations to call [the Colombian rebel group] Farc 'armed opposition groups' undermines the struggle of those who have decided to side with democracy," Mr Santos said. "That is not right. It is unacceptable."

The Madrid conference ended with a declaration which went some way to supporting Mr Trimble. It said:

"We call on NGOs and other civil organisations that stand for the defence of human rights to make a commitment to defend victims of terrorism and to identify terrorist acts for what they are, regardless of their cause or pretext and without striking balances or blurring the distinction between victims and executioners."



More Mosques in France Falling Under Sway of Radicals Correspondent
March 1, 2004

French officials have noted an increase in Islamic radicals taking over Paris area mosques in the last year, with 32 mosques now under the control of extremists.

According to a study by undercover police forces, the number of radical mosques has increased by 10 in the last year. Officials say there are a total of 373 mosques or prayer groups in Paris and its suburban areas.

The study was reported in the French daily Le Monde. Police officials have declined to comment further on the findings.

According to Olivier Roy, a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, the radicalization of mosques is a result of the growing Salafism movement.

This neo-fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, which uses doctrines from the Saudi Arabian Wahhabis, appeals particularly to young, second-generation Arabs.

The Salafist movement takes its name from the Arabic as-salaf as-salih (pious forebears), referring to the prophet Mohammed and his associates.

"Salafism, or radical Islam, addresses young people who do not have the culture of their grandparents associated with Moroccan Islam, Tunisian Islam and Pakistani Islam," Roy said.

"The radicals address young people who feel rejected by western society. Those who fall under the influence of Salafism are the second generation, who experience the double phenomenon of being alienated from traditional Islamic culture and also from French society."

The increase of this form of Islam is also common to other urban areas in France as well as across the Channel in Britain. In France, there are some five million Muslims, many of them immigrants and children of immigrants from North African Arab countries.

"Older generation imams [clerics], who have practiced a much more moderate Islam, become more isolated as radicals take over," said Roy.

"They do not have the support of authorities and if there is a conflict in the mosque, the one or two people or family who created the mosque can be expelled or forced to close it down."

Despite the creation last year of an official French Council of Muslims, mosques here often remain of the grassroots type, essentially prayer groups with no official status.

According to the police, extremists take over by first criticizing the older generation's interpretation of holy texts and then bringing up political issues such as the ban of Muslim headscarves in French public schools, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and discrimination against Arabs.

To maintain and increase community support, the radicals open day-care centers and nursery schools associated with the mosques and undertake the teaching of Arabic and the Quran.

Some Salafist radicals are believed to be linked to al-Qaeda and other terror groups and the increase of radical-controlled mosques is regarded as a threat to security in France and Europe.

Roy said it was important to note that "the large mass of the movement is purely religious but among these are the minority, who are known as jihadists or political activists who are proponents of a holy war."

"Not all Salafists are terrorists but all terrorists are Salafists," he added.

Roy said there was no foreign country behind the radicals.

"While religious radicalization is linked to Saudi Arabia political radicalization is not linked to the Saudis," he argued.

"The phenomenon is not linked to a country but it is a global one, and developing particularly strongly in Western Europe."

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.