This is the first of two dispatches today dealing primarily with the way in which extremist Muslim violence is increasing across the globe while at the same time general global violence is on the wane. Please note that moderate Muslims are often the victims of such extremist Muslim violence and the items included below should not in any way be construed as being anti-Muslim. The problem is the fundamentalist version of Islam which continues to threaten everybody else, and due to political correctness is still not reported on properly in the mainstream western media – Tom Gross
In the article attached below, Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance, says “No Christian burned copies of the Quran. No Christian even can think of doing it. We have maximum regard and respect for the Quran and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”
ARRESTS MADE OVER BEHEADINGS OF FIVE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLGIRLS IN INDONESIA
The Vatican has described the grisly beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls in Poso, Indonesia as “barbaric.” Most press in Europe and America have yet to comment in any substantive way on the grisly beheadings.
Whereas the killing of a single al-Aqsa terrorist by Israel in a gunbattle is placed as the very first story on BBC World Service News (as it was last week, for example), such an inhuman act against innocent schoolgirls merely because they were Christian is buried in the news, if reported on at all.
According to Indonesian police, six people with masks killed the teenage girls with machetes. Poso is a predominantly Muslim seaside town. About 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslim. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active extremist minority in recent years.
The article (attached below) also reports that two other girls (a Muslim and a Christian) were killed by a gunman on a motorbike whilst sitting in their homes in downtown Poso.
To read about similar persecutions of Christians in Egypt, please see the recent dispatch “Red Cross: Persecution of Christians ‘outside our area of expertise’ (& other items)” (November 3, 2005).
ORPHANS OF KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS “ADOPTED” BY TERRORISTS
A leading human rights organization in Pakistan, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, have said that Islamic terrorist groups have taken orphans from the recent earthquake-devastated areas in Kashmir and placed them in Jihad training camps.
Following the earthquake which killed as many as 87,000 people on October 8, the so-called militants were among the first groups to arrive with aid. Some Pakistani government officials are also suspected of passing children to some of the Jihadist groups.
Fahad Burney, of the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said “We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained.” (Full article, from the Times of London, below).
TERRORISTS USING UNSENT E-MAIL “DRAFTS” TO CO-ORDINATE ATTACKS
Some of the Kashmiri orphans may also end up receiving expert computer training in these camps. The Singapore-based New Paper has reported that e-mail is becoming a growing terrorist battle front.
Terrorists are using free email accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail to pass each other messages without ever sending an actual email. If a group of people in different locations have the same email ID and password they can all log on and write messages for each other by leaving them in the unsent drafts section of an email account (for example hotmail) without being tracked.
There will be no record of a message being transmitted, and the IP (Internet protocol) addresses of the correspondents will not help in tracking down the messages or the location of senders.
U.N. SAYS GLOBAL VIOLENCE HAS DECREASED; INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ON THE INCREASE
The penultimate article below cites a new United Nations Human Security Report which says armed conflicts have declined by 40 per cent since the end of the Cold War in 1989. The report gives much of the credit for the decrease in armed conflict to the United Nations. But it does concede that there has been an increase in international terrorism (without specifically mentioning it is almost all because of Muslim fundamentalism).
A study earlier this year by the Rand Corporation concluded that the U.N. is successful in 66 per cent of its peace efforts. A second report in 2006 will focus on the indirect cost of warfare. (Perhaps a report on the varied effects of terrorism or the rise in suicide bombers would have been more useful.)
DESPITE IRAQ, PALESTINIANS STILL COMPRISE LARGEST GROUP OF SUICIDE BOMBERS
According to a report by Tel Aviv University, Palestinians comprise the largest group of suicide bombers. The study cited 400 Palestinian suicide attackers to date compared to 376 Iraqi suicide bombers.
The report said that in the period from 1983 to mid-September 2005 there have been more than 1,323 suicide bombers worldwide. Suicide strikes have been carried out by thirty groups and were pioneered by Hizbullah in Lebanon in the 1980s.
U.N. CONTOL OF THE INTERNET MAY PROVE DISASTROUS
The final article below concerns the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, which opened yesterday in Tunis.
Award-winning journalist Claudia Rosett (who is a subscriber to this email list) argues that “a U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.”
SILVAN SHALOM RETURNS TO TUNISIA
The Conference will also be attended by Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, and Communications Minister Dalia Itzik. Shalom, who was joined on the trip by his mother, is making his first trip to Tunisia, the place of his birth, since leaving at the age of one.
An “Israir” plane carrying Shalom to Tunisia, marks the first direct flight from Israel to the North African Arab country. For other signs of improving relations between Israel and various Arab states, please see the dispatch “Small signs of improving Arab-Israeli relations (despite today’s suicide attack)” (October 26, 2005).
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom held two meetings in Tunis yesterday. The Israelis described the meetings, held on the sidelines of the conference, as “unscheduled.”
I attach six articles, in full, below.
-- Tom Gross
NEAR POGROM AGAINST CHRISTIAN HOLY SITES IN PAKISTAN
Muslim Crowd Burns Two Pakistan Churches
By Asif Shahzad
The Associated Press
November 12, 2005
Hundreds of Muslims attacked and burned two churches in Pakistan on Saturday after reports that a Christian man had desecrated Islam’s holy book. No one was injured in the blazes.
A school, student hostel and the home of a priest were also torched by the crowd of about 1,500 Muslims near the town of Sangla Hill, about 80 miles northeast of Lahore, said police official Ali Asghar Dogar. The attacks were being investigated. About two dozen people had been arrested, Dogar said.
The fires came a day after a local Muslim resident accused a Christian of burning a one-room Islamic school along with copies of the Quran. Dogar said the allegations were apparently leveled by people who lost money while gambling with the Christian man on Friday, but police had detained him and were investigating.
Shahbaz Bhatti, head of the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance which promotes the rights of minorities in mainly Muslim Pakistan, denied the charges and condemned the attacks on the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.
“No Christian burned copies of the Quran,” he told The Associated Press. “No Christian even can think of doing it. We have maximum regard and respect for the Quran and Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.” Bhatti accused local Muslim leaders of using mosque public-address systems to urge Muslims to attack the churches.
Non-Muslims comprise just 3 percent of Pakistan’s 150 million-plus population. The country’s Christian minority generally coexists peacefully with the Muslim majority, but there have been occasional attacks on churches and Christian clergy by Islamic extremists railing against Western influence in Pakistan.
Thousands of Pakistanis joined angry street protests this spring over the alleged desecration of the Quran by interrogators at a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba. Desecration of the holy book carries the death penalty in Pakistan.
FIVE TEENAGE CHRISTIAN GIRLS BEHEADED IN INDONESIA
Five held over beheading of Indonesia schoolgirls
November 9, 2005
Indonesian officers have detained five people, including a former soldier, over the beheading last month of three teenage Christian girls in the volatile eastern region of Poso, security officials said.
A spokesman for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the attacks, as well as a separate incident on Tuesday evening when unidentified gunmen shot and critically wounded two schoolgirls, were an attempt to reignite religious violence in the area.
The grisly beheadings, which occurred a few days before a major Muslim holiday, triggered an outcry across Indonesia as well as in Poso, a regency on Sulawesi island where sectarian fighting raged from 1998 to 2001.
“The role of these five people is still being investigated by police officers,” said deputy national police spokesman Soenarko Artanto, adding no suspect has been named in the case.
He refused to clarify whether the army is holding the five. The military have claimed credit for capturing four of them. “Four people have been captured by members of battalion 714 and they will be handed over to the police. Three of them are civilians while another is a former military policeman,” said Major General Kohirin Suganda, the Indonesian military’s chief spokesman, referring to the Poso-based infantry unit.
Suganda said the capture took place a few days ago. Police have said up to six people dressed in black outfits and masks killed the teenage schoolgirls with machetes near downtown Poso and labeled the perpetrators “terrorists.”
The army, playing an increased role in Indonesia’s fight against terrorism, recently created anti-terrorism desks at all levels of its so-called territorial command structure, which reaches down to village level. The Vatican described the killings as “barbaric.”
Most of the previous communal violence in the large but sparsely populated Poso regency, 1,500 km (930 miles) northeast of Jakarta, happened around the predominantly Muslim seaside town of Poso and the hilltop Christian town of Tentena.
Muslim-Christian clashes in the Poso regency killed more than 2,000 people between 1998 and 2001, when a truce was reached. While the worst violence abated after the peace deal, there have been sporadic outbreaks since, including market bombings last May in Tentena that killed 22 people.
In the latest attack on Tuesday, gunmen on a motorbike shot the two teenage girls -- a Muslim and a Christian -- as they were sitting together near their homes in downtown Poso.
President Yudhoyono had ordered security forces to find the perpetrators, his spokesman Andi Mallarangeng said. “From the first case, we have made progress and identified the perpetrators,” Mallarangeng told reporters, without elaborating on whether he meant the same four detained.
“(The attacks) did not come from one religion but had people from different religions. It seems the purpose is to provoke religious emotions among Poso residents so that there will be chaos,” he said.
About 85 percent of Indonesia’s 220 million people are Muslim. But in some eastern parts, Christian and Muslim populations are about equal. Most Indonesian Muslims are moderates, but there has been an increasingly active militant minority in recent years.
ORPHANS OF KASHMIR EARTHQUAKE “ADOPTED” BY TERRORISTS
Quake orphans ‘adopted’ for jihad
The Sunday Times (of London)
November 13, 2005
Children orphaned by the Kashmir earthquake are being “adopted” by terrorist groups that hope to train them to fight in the jihad, or holy war, writes Dean Nelson.
Pakistan’s leading human rights organisation, the Ansar Burney Welfare Trust, said jihadi groups fighting the Indian government were taking orphans off the streets and putting them in training camps.
The organisation said it also had evidence that sympathetic government officials were passing children on to the jihadis to be looked after. The popularity of the Islamic militants has risen sharply since the earthquake struck on October 8, killing more than 87,000 people.
The militants were among the first to arrive with aid at some of the worst affected villages. Their organisation and ability to commandeer lifting equipment and tents have generated significant new support. But according to human rights campaigners they are using their new popularity to smuggle weapons and recruit the young and vulnerable.
“We have heard from very reliable sources and seen with our own eyes that orphaned and lost children are being taken by jihadi organisations in northern Pakistan to be trained,” said Fahad Burney, of the trust.
Jamaat-ud Dawa, one of the largest jihadi groups in Pakistan, has called openly for orphans to be handed over for an “Islamic education”.
Pakistan moved quickly following the quake to ban adoptions after aid agencies warned of child trafficking.
Another hazard facing children is pneumonia, which is taking its toll among the 750,000 survivors living in tent camps. Action Against Hunger said it was now seeing one or two cases every day, and was aware of some children dying from the illness.
(Additional reporting: Mohammad Shehzad)
TERRORISTS USING E-MAIL TO CO-ORDINATE ATTACKS
Terrorists turning to e-mail
United Press International
October 31, 2005
Terrorists around the world are turning to e-mail to coordinate their attacks.
A manual posted on the Muntadiyat al-Farouq forum, a Muslim hard-liner’ forum, warns against using hand phones to coordinate operations because of stricter controls introduced by governments. But the next battle front may be e-mail, the Singapore-based New Paper reported Monday.
Jeffrey Pool, a research consultant with Washington-based think-tank Jamestown Foundation, told The New Paper that militants have been exploiting “single-use free e-mail accounts through Hotmail or Yahoo.”
“In such a scenario, they will not actually send an electronic message. Instead, they will compose a message and then save it as a draft,” Pool said. “The intended recipient is given the login information through another e-mail account (or another medium entirely). He then logs in and views the saved message draft.”
A group of people can have the same e-mail ID and password so that they can log on and read messages without sending any.
There will be no record of a message being transmitted, and the IP (Internet protocol) addresses of the correspondents may be useless.
U.N. SAYS GLOBAL VIOLENCE HAS DECREASED; BUT INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM ON THE INCREASE
Global Violence Has Decreased, U.N. Says
The Associated Press
October 18, 2005
Armed conflicts have declined by 40 percent since the end of the Cold War primarily because the United Nations was finally able to launch peacekeeping and conflict-prevention operations around the world, according to a new study.
The first Human Security Report paints a surprising picture of war and peace in the 21st century: a dramatic decline in battlefield deaths, plummeting instances of genocide, and a drop in human rights abuses.
The only form of political violence that appears to be getting worse is international terrorism, a serious threat but one that has killed fewer than 1,000 people a year on average over the past 30 years. Tens of thousands were killed annually in armed conflicts during that time, said the report, which was financed by five governments and released Monday.
Despite the dramatic improvements in global security, the report warned against complacency, noting that 60 wars are still being fought around the world, including serious conflicts in Iraq and Sudan’s western Darfur region.
“The post-Cold War years have also been marked by major humanitarian emergencies, gross abuses of human rights, war crimes, and ever-deadlier acts of terrorism,” it said. “The risk of new wars breaking out – or old ones resuming – is very real in the absence of a sustained and strengthened commitment to conflict prevention and post-conflict peace building.”
Nonetheless, the report said there also was no cause for pessimism.
Andrew Mack, a professor at the University of British Columbia who directed the study, said the end of the Cold War eliminated tensions between capitalism and communism, cut off U.S. and Russian funding for proxy wars, and most importantly liberated the United Nations.
“With the Security Council no longer paralyzed by Cold War politics, the U.N. spearheaded a veritable explosion of conflict prevention, peacemaking and post-conflict peace-building activities in the early 1990s,” the report said.
A Rand Corp. study earlier this year concluded that the United Nations was successful in 66 percent of its peace efforts, but even the 40 percent success rate some believe is more accurate would be an achievement considering that prior to the 1990s “there was nothing going on at all,” Mack said.
“We think the United Nations, despite the many failures, has done in many ways an extraordinary job ... very often with inadequate resources, inappropriate mandates, and with horrible politics in the council,” said Mack, who was the director of strategic planning in U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s office from 1998-2001. “If the politics were less horrible, the resources more adequate ... the U.N. could do a much better job.”
According to the report, armed conflicts have not only declined by more than 40 percent since 1992, but the deadliest conflicts with over 1,000 battle deaths have dropped even more dramatically – by 80 percent.
Notwithstanding the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995, mass killings because of religion, ethnicity or political beliefs plummeted by 80 percent between the 1988 high point and 2001, the report said. The year 1988 was marked by the end of the bloody Iran-Iraq war and Saddam Hussein’s Anfal campaign, in which hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or expelled from northern Iraq.
Since the post-World War II era, the average number of battle-deaths per conflict per year – the best measure of the deadliness of warfare – has also been falling dramatically, though unevenly, the report said.
In 1950, the worst year, the average war killed 37,000 people directly, Mack said. “By 2002, it was 600 – an extraordinary change.”
The postwar period also saw the longest period of peace between the major powers in hundreds of years, and attempted military coups have been in decline for 40 years, the study found.
“Today most wars are fought in poor countries with armies that lack heavy conventional weapons – or superpower patrons,” the report said.
But a few high-tech wars have been fought by the United States and its allies since the end of the Cold War, first against Iraq to liberate Kuwait, then in Kosovo and Afghanistan where the huge military advantage led to quick victory and relatively few battlefield deaths.
“The current conflict in Iraq is the exception. While the conventional war that began in 2003 was over quickly and with relatively few casualties, tens of thousands have been killed in the subsequent – and ongoing – urban insurgency,” the report said.
Mack, who directs the Human Security Center at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, said the report relies on new data from the Conflict Data Program at Sweden’s Uppsala University and other sources. He said its statistics were probably the best available but emphasized that decent data on wars and conflicts remained hard to obtain.
The report was funded by Canada, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and Britain. Mack said a second report in 2006 will focus on the indirect costs of warfare.
“THE LATEST CASE OF THE U.N. MISINTERPRETING ITS NOBLE MANDATE”
‘Divide’ and Conquer?
Why dictators are cheering the U.N. Internet turf grab
By Claudia Rosett
The Wall Street Journal
November 16, 2005
If Paul Revere were alive today, he’d have his midnight work cut out for him. Most likely he’d be spreading the alarm not on horseback, but by Internet: The U.N. is coming! The U.N. is coming!
The United Nations’ so-called World Summit on the Information Society opens today in Tunis, Tunisia, proposing to set up U.N. sway over the Internet under the slogan of bridging the “digital divide.” But that’s the wrong metaphor. This three-day jamboree is a U.N. turf grab: the latest case of the U.N. misinterpreting its noble mandate to promote peace as a license to take a piece of anything it can get.
For anyone who cares about the vast freedoms and opportunities afforded by the Internet--for pajama-clad bloggers, for journalists, for businessmen and especially for people in the poorest countries--it is time for a call to arms. Sen. Norm Coleman, whose investigations into U.N. corruption have provided him with more insight than most into the cracks and chasms of that aging institution, has already warned in The Wall Street Journal against the possibility of Tunis becoming a “digital Munich.” Whether America retains control over the root directory or some other setup ultimately evolves, the clear bottom line right now is that allowing the U.N. to involve itself in these questions is the wrong answer. A U.N. unable even to audit its own accounts or police its own peacekeepers has no business making even a twitch toward control of the Internet.
Worse, the corruption and incompetence at U.N. headquarters, however disturbing, are the least of the problems linked to the U.N.’s bid to control interconnectivity. The deeper trouble is that the U.N. has embraced the same tyrants who in the name of helping the downtrodden are now seeking via Internet control to tread them down some more.
That is hardly the kind of information, however, that U.N. organizers of this Tunis turf grab are about to share. The U.N. Web site for this event goes heavy on high-tech doo-dads, and very light on the highly relevant big picture. For instance, the site includes two scroll bars. One shows select news coverage of the summit. The other shows funding contributions from various quarters, including the governments of Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia, all distinguished as perennial members of Freedom House’s list of the world most repressive regimes. Except the U.N. site doesn’t make mention of the censorship and brutal internal repression of these regimes--only of their participation, and their money.
As usual, the U.N. for reasons sadly unrelated to actual performance, is styling itself as the champion of the poorest people, in the poorest countries. (This is the same U.N. that still hasn’t repaid or even apologized to the people of Iraq for the billions worth of their national assets that were grafted, stolen and wasted under U.N. supervision in the Oil for Food program). In the face of mounting public concern over the Tunis summit, Secretary-General Kofi Annan betook himself recently to the pages of the Washington Post to argue that the main aim is “to ensure that poor countries get the full benefits that new information and communication technologies--including the Internet--can bring to economic and social development.” Mr. Annan concluded with what I suppose was meant to be a clarion call: “I urge all stakeholders to come to Tunis ready to bridge the digital divide,” etc., etc.
What Mr. Annan evidently does not care to understand, and after his zillion-year career at the U.N. probably never will, is that for purposes of helping the poor, the problem is not a digital divide. It is not the bytes, gigs, blogs and digital wing-dings that define that terrible line between the haves and the have-nots. These are symptoms of the real difference, which we would do better to call the dictatorial divide.
In free societies, all sorts of good things flourish, including technology and highly productive uses of the Internet. In despotic systems, human potential withers and dies, strangled by censorship, starved by central controls, and rotted by the corruption that inevitably accompanies such arrangements. That poisonous mix is what prevents the spread of prosperity in Africa, and blocks peace in the Middle East, and access to computers, or for that matter, food, in North Korea (which is of course sending a delegate to Tunis).
But never mind the realities, as long as Mr. Annan and his entourage see an opportunity for more U.N. turf, job patronage, global clout and funding (including the prospect of a “ka-ching” for the U.N. cash register every time someone logs on). Leading the charge, with policy documents posted on the U.N. information summit site, are such terrorist-breeding blogger-jailing regimes as those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and such millennial pioneers of backward motion on free speech as Belarus and Russia. China’s rulers, who have recently been availing themselves of modern technology to censor the Chinese word for “democracy” out of Internet traffic, and to track down and punish its users, have been toiling away to add their two cents to this summit. Sudan, better known for genocide than free speech, has registered to set up a pavilion. Were Saddam Hussein still in power in Iraq, as Mr. Annan tried to arrange, the odds are good that a front company for his regime, with U.N. blessing, would be setting up a booth in Tunis as well.
From the same U.N. that in 2003 brought us Libya chairing the Human Rights Commission, there is of course the usual U.N. tragicomic touch of holding this summit in a dictatorship such as Tunisia, a country highlighted by Human Rights Watch this week as a place that “continues to jail individuals for expressing their opinions on the Internet and suppress Web sites critical of the government.” That’s from the press release accompanying a far more ample 144-page report entitled “False Freedom: Online Censorship in the Middle East and North Africa,” which details obstacles placed in the way of Internet access, and penalties doled out to those who defy them, in places such as Iran, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia itself.
Somewhere among the crowd now aiming to rewire the world out of Tunis are no doubt a fair number of genuinely well-intentioned people. Somewhere down the line, if the U.N. Internet grab goes ahead, they, like the rest of us, will end trying to exercise their rights to get online--and asking themselves what went so wrong.