British Islamic Party launches boycott of US companies

A british Muslim group has joined forces with a Gulf based human rights agency to launch a campaign for an Islamic people's economic boycott of the USA. The Islamic Party of Britain in conjunction with the Gulf based International Muslim Rights Forum (IMRF) announced its plans to persuade Muslims worldwide to avoid buying Israel-friendly products.

"The people of the Islamic World at large will not remain silent in the face of Israel's campaign of genocide against Palestinians, we shall no longer be silent as silence is tantamount to being accomplices to the murder being perpetrated by the State of Israel," commented Daud Pidcock, Head of the Islamic Party of Britain.

The party said that the US has blindly supported Israel politically and militarily, turned a blind eye to war crimes committed by the Israeli army against the occupied civilian population in Palestine. It also noted the US House of Representatives’ vote of support of Israel at the height of the recent human rights violations, while condemning Palestinian civilian attempts at self-defence.

"The US has also made every effort to hamper and obstruct any UN move to investigate Israeli war crimes or to condemn Israel for its barbaric murder of Palestinian children," added Pidcock.

The IMRF for its part pointed out that the world's one billion Muslims are outraged by both Israel's grotesque crimes against humanity as well as US condoning of Israeli policy. It said that the Islamic world would demonstrate that the blood of Palestinian children and innocent civilians would have a dear economic price for Israel and its backers.

The Islamic Party of Britain said these US products and services have been selected due to their high presence in the Islamic world as well as the fact that some of these items account for nearly 30% of the operating profits of some of these aforementioned US firms.

The organizers said they hope that the boycott campaign will be spread throughout the Islamic world via an integrated marketing communications plan that will target as many Muslims as possible in both the eastern and western hemispheres.

"This campaign will not cease until the UN's international criminal court, without hindrance from the USA, embarks upon the full pursuit of justice in the form of bringing to trial the Israeli officers and soldiers responsible for the cold blooded and premeditated slaughter of Palestinian civilians. We are particularly concerned with the trained Israeli army snipers, who are carrying out a shoot to kill policy of both Palestinian children and civilians," said Monal Seidan, Director of the non-profit IMRF, an association of western Muslim based in the Middle East.

"If needs be we will expand the list of US products to include further American economic interests, such as including the US dollar under the "D" category and we are confident that this campaign will be taken up wholeheartedly by the peoples of the Islamic world, some of whom have already begun their own local boycott of US goods," added Seidan.

The organizers claim it is unacceptable that Israeli war criminals walk free today with the liberty to commit further heinous crimes against Palestinian children, with neither the UN nor any other official body attempting to bring them to account. They point out that Israel is perpetrating horrific crimes against humanity with blatant contempt and defiance of all international resolutions and charters.

A recent on-line petition by the IMRF was signed by nearly 10,000 people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, Arab and non-Arab, recently submitted to the UN demanded that the International Criminal Court launch a full war crimes investigation against the state of Israel.

"We ask the world, do you believe Palestinians are human beings? If the answer to this question is yes, then the faces of Israeli criminals should be exposed to the world and put on trial for their crimes. Amnesty International's preliminary investigation has already described Israel's recent acts as war crimes. What more is the world waiting for?" asked Pidcock.

The campaign will be called the ABC boycott as it covers the following categories of key US consumer products:
A: Airlines (TWA)
Apparel (Levi/Wrangler)
B: Banking (Citibank)
Beverages (Coca Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Maxwell House Coffee,)
Baby Products ( Pampers)
Burger Restaurants (McDonalds)
C: Cars (GM/Ford/Chrysler)
Cosmetics (Revlon, Estee Lauder)
Calling Cards (AT&T)
Cigarettes (Marlboro)
Cleaning products (Ariel)

JINSA Behind Drive To Cover-Up Israeli Spy Scandal

Executive Intelligence Review News Service
(EIRNS) - One of the "Mega" agencies that mobilized to quash the Fox TV pick-up of our Israeli spy scandal was JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

JINSA President and CEO David Steinmann is also a director of CAMERA (Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting in America), the group that actually staged the e-mail, fax, letter, and phone call mobilization that squeezed Fox TV, to the point that they removed the transcripts of the four Carl Cameron segments from their own web site.

While CAMERA lists Tom Lantos among its advisors, along with Sharon cabinet minister Natan Sharansky, it is JINSA that is the real hotbed of "Mega" and "X Committee" clout, particular inside the Pentagon.

On its own website, JINSA boasts that "Only one think tank puts the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship {first} -- JINSA!"

JINSA lists among its directors: Richard Perle, Steven Bryen (whose wife, Shoshana Bryen is still one of the few full-time JINSA employees), Max Kampelman, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Jack Kemp, Michael Ledeen, Joshua Muravchik, Kenneth Timmermann, and James Woolsey.

Beyond these hardcore "X Committee" operatives, JINSA's board also includes a dozen or more retired flag grade U.S. military officers, including Lt. Gen. Anthony Burshnick (USAF), Gen. Crosbie Saint (USA), Maj. Gen. Lee Downer (USAF), Adm. Leon Edney (USN), Gen. John Foss (USA), Adm. David Jeremiah (USN), Adm. Jerome Johnson (USN), Maj. Gen. Jarvis Lynch (USMC), Rear Adm. Sumner Shapiro (USN).

JINSA makes no bones about the fact that it is recruiting an Israeli fifth column inside the U.S. military command.

They sponsor frequent all-expense-paid junkets to Israel for retired officers, which are co-sponsored by the Israeli Defense Force; they run an exchange program for military academy cadets at West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy with military institutes in Israel; and they host lecture programs at all the military institutions in the U.S. where they bring in top IDF and Israeli intelligence officials.

One of the top figures on the JINSA lecture circuit is Dore Gold, who is a top aide to Sharon and is about to come to Washington as the Israeli ambassador.

JINSA's output of policy papers and press releases also makes clear that they are leading proponents of the "Clash of Civilizations," and the drive to lure the U.S. into a suicidal military alliance with an Israeli marcher lord state.

Typical of JINSA's operations of late are their sponsorship of a series of lectures by Iraqi National Congress honcho Chulabi, and their Sept. 13 press statement, calling for the U.S. to "go beyond bin Laden" to launch military attacks against Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Algeria, "and even our presumed friends Saudi Arabia and Egypt."

The release demanded that the U.S. bomb Beirut and Damascus, cut military aid to Egypt, and revoke the Presidential ban on assassinations.

Tribal Leaders in Pakistan Warn the U.S. to Keep Out

Mon Mar 25, 8:59 AM ET
By RAYMOND BONNER The New York Times

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, March 24 Tribal leaders from the treacherous mountainous areas along the border with Afghanistan (news - web sites) have an unambiguous message for American commanders who have suggested that they might enter the region in pursuit of Al Qaeda fighters: Don't.

One tribal leader, wagging his finger for emphasis, said that tribal elders saw America as the enemy and that his people would sacrifice their lives to keep American soldiers off their land.

A more moderate leader, a well-educated man, said more calmly that no foreigner may go into the tribal areas without permission. That warning must be taken seriously; ages ago, Alexander the Great was turned back, and for the last 53 years, until December, no soldiers, not even Pakistanis, were allowed in.

In separate interviews, the tribal leaders, Pashtun Muslims, expressed other views the Bush administration would certainly find discouraging: that the core of American policy is a hatred of Muslims and that Osama bin Laden (news - web sites) was not responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Such sentiments portend great turbulence for Washington and for Pakistan's leader, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who has cast his lot with the United States and the war on terrorism.

The war in Aghanistan will drag on for a long time if the tribal areas, which share a porous 450-mile border with Afghanistan, become a safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters to rest and regroup. This is exactly what American officials believe the fighters are doing, with some reason, because men from those regions poured into Afghanistan to fight early in the war.

Last week a senior American commander in Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Franklin L. Hagenbeck, raised the possibility that American forces might cross into Pakistan in "hot pursuit" of fleeing Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

American officials have raised the possibility of such an operation with General Musharraf, and when General Hagenbeck's remarks were reported here, there was no denial or reaction by the government, a tacit message of assent.

But the dangers lurk. Politically, General Musharraf, who faces vocal and violent opposition to his alliance with Washington, cannot afford unrest in the tribal areas, Pakistani political observers say. The Federally Administered Tribal Area consists of seven defined tribal agencies, home to some five million people, in northwest Pakistan. The agencies have their own councils, courts and law, and the rule of the leaders is absolute. On Friday, an elder who dissented from the ruling of the grand council of the Orakzai tribe had his house burned down as punishment.

It was only after intense negotiations and promises of substantial amounts of development money (and other money that is not publicly discussed) that the tribal councils even allowed the Pakistani Army to enter the region, in December. Pakistan now has 12,000 troops patrolling the border, concentrated on a 50-mile stretch of mountains overlooking a region of Afghanistan where American troops have been engaged in some of the fiercest fighting.

"We have completely sealed off the border," said an army spokesman, Maj. Amir Uppal. There is "no possibility" that Al Qaeda soldiers are hiding in the area, he said in an interview. Few take that claim seriously. While it is easy to patrol the major road crossings (there are only a handful), the mountains hide thousands of trails, worn by men, women, families and donkeys over centuries. A Western diplomat in Islamabad noted that the United States, with all its trained law enforcement officials, ditches, canals, fences and sophisticated sensors, could not seal the relatively level border with Mexico.

The border may be harder to cross now than four months ago, but it is by no means impossible.

Ibrahim Khan, 19, said he crossed on Friday. Standing beside mud huts in a refugee camp where horses pulled wooden carts loaded with firewood, he said that at one point he and two friends were spotted by Pakistani soldiers, who fired on them with machine guns. They found easy cover in the mountains and, when it was safe, they finished their journey.

Another man, in the central market here, said he and his family had been able to cross after paying Pakistani soldiers. Before he could continue, a man selling shoes and T-shirts told him he should not speak about such things. Other refugees fleeing Afghanistan have said that the going rate is $200 a family.

Men have been crossing the border to fight in Afghanistan for years. When the United States began bombing the Taliban, men from the tribal areas again went over to fight.

"Unfortunately, we did not have the means and resources to fight such a large and sophisticated army like the Americans," said Shakirullah Jan Kokikhel, a chief of the 100,000-member Kokikhel tribe.

Tribal people are famously proud, tough and self-confident, and Mr. Shakirullah, 69, with a grizzled beard, is all of those. He is no political neophyte. For 20 years, he fought for adult suffrage in the tribal areas, where until 1997 only the tribal chiefs could vote, and on Saturday he was headed to Islamabad to march in a demonstration against General Musharraf.

"Listen to me," he said, pointing his finger and switching from Pashtu to English. "There was a time, when Russia was in power, we liked Americans." Indeed, when the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, men from the tribal areas joined the guerrilla army that was backed by the United States. "Now we hate Americans. Under our tribal rules, we designate an enemy. America is now the enemy."

Under tribal rules, once the elders have spoken, everyone falls in line. His views, however harsh, are widely held in Pakistan and throughout Muslim Asia and Southeast Asia. "We don't hate individual Americans, like yourself," he went on. The problem is the policy of the American government. "It is against Muslims," he said several times, categorically.

As proof, Mr. Shakirullah cited East Timor (news - web sites), where the United States backed a referendum on independence "because they are Christians." The United States does not demand the same in Kashmir (news - web sites), he said, because they are Muslims.

Mr. Shakirullah insisted that there were no Taliban or Al Qaeda forces in his area. But what would happen, he was asked, if the American forces, not believing that, entered the area? "There is already hatred of Americans among our elders," he answered, "among our women and children, but then that hatred will reach its peak, and then we will fight them."

What about the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon (news - web sites)? Was Mr. bin Laden responsible? "Our research has shown that the Jews did it," he said, without any doubt. In a far milder way, Ajmal Khan agreed with Mr. Shakirullah. A leader of the Maddakhel tribe, Mr. Ajmal, 50, was in Peshawar to meet with the provincial governor, a meeting that shows he is far more amenable to the government.

Like Mr. Shakirullah, Mr. Ajmal, dressed in an immaculate white, loose fitting waistcoat and trousers and a large turban, said there were no Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters in his area. If the Americans had evidence to the contrary, they should share it with him, and he and the elders would round them up.

Asked who was responsible for the World Trade Center attacks, Mr. Ajmal, a university graduate, former military officer and former minister of sport, grew uneasy. "It must be the Jews," he said.

He said he knew that President Bush (news - web sites) had convinced General Musharraf that Mr. bin Laden was responsible for the attacks, but "he didn't convince me."

Indonesian Muslim groups blast plans to invite Shimon Peres

25 March 2002
Indonesian Muslim leaders have expressed outrage following reports that the largest Islamic organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, is inviting Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres to a talk on globalization in Jakarta on March 30-31.

Chief organizer Nur Hamid Ketang told the media that Peres was "an old friend" of the Nahdlatul Ulama and that the organization was seeking to obtain Israel’s help to overcome the social, economic and political crisis facing the country.

Indonesia has the world’s second-largest Muslim population and its government has resisted establishing ties with Israel. Under former president Abdurrahman Wahid, however, the government secretly undertook a policy to open trade ties with Tel Aviv; this policy has not been revoked by President Megawati Soekarnoputri who replaced Wahid in July 2000.

"If Peres ever set foot in Indonesia, what will we do?" asked a Muslim leader in a gathering of 5,000 people at Al Azhar Grand Mosque in Jakarta last Friday to show solidarity to the Palestinian cause. His congregation chanted, "kill, kill!"

Speakers from groups such as KISDI (Indonesian Committee for the Islamic World Solidarity), Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia (Indonesian Council of Islamic Da’wa), PAHAM (Center for Legal and Human Rights Advocacy), Front Pembela Islam (Defenders of Islam Front) and others, all spoke out in Friday;s gathering.

Hussein Umar of Dewan Dakwah accused Nahdlatul Ulama of attempting to stir not only trouble but of dividing Indonesian Muslims into opposing camps over the plan.

Adian Husaini of KISDI recounted former president Sukarno’s tough stance on Israel and Zionism in 1955 when the latter rejected an Israeli delegation to the Asia African conference in Bandung. "Let us hope that (Sukarno’s daughter) President Megawati will emulate her father", Adian said.

Barisan Muda Nahdlatul Ulama, the youth wing of NU whose activists are organizing the event, stated on Sunday in a letter to a newspaper. "We are apologizing to all Muslims for our plan (to host) a national gathering and invite former Israeli President Shimon Peres." Chief organizer Nur Hamid Ketang admitted the invitation was extended by former president Abdurrahman Wahid, who is also a member of the Shimon Peres Foundation for Peace.

He went on to delineate the reasons for the invitation: "Firstly, he is an old friend of NU and a promoter of peace between Palestine and Israel ... (there is) a wish to seek to establish economic cooperation and to offer solutions to the multidimensional crisis facing Indonesia."

"Secondly, as the largest Muslim organization with more than 50 million members, we feel it our moral...responsibility as young people to build the infrastructure for the establishment of the civil society.

"Thirdly (we argue for) the importance of striving for a pluralist society (endowed with) global values and the perspective for peace following the WTC tragedy. Fourthly...the dignity of the nation is the reason (why we are holding the talk) to discuss strategies to anticipate the accusations of the United States that Indonesia is the breeding ground of terrorists," said Nur Hamid.

Hindu extremist leader says riots were necessary

Ten Palestinian martyrs, one Israeli settler dead in 36 hours

24 March 2002
Israeli occupation troops killed six Palestinians, four of them civilians, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the past 36 hours, Palestinian sources said.

Israeli tanks on Saturday opened fire on civilian neighbourhoods outside the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, killing two young men, Naji Ahmed Ajrami, 19, and Issa Wasfi Al-Nether, 20. The two were members of the Palestinian police force.

In Khan Younis in central Gaza, the Israeli army opened fire indiscriminately on civilian neighbourhoods, killing a civilian, 35-year old Hasan Abu Namous, and seriously injuring another man.

Israeli occupation troops also bombarded civilian areas in Rafah and surrounding areas for three hours Saturday night and Sunday. In the West Bank, the Israeli army killed a Palestinian college student on Saturday, Nidal Ibrahim Alalami, reportedly in cold blood.

A fifth Palestinian civilian was killed Sunday east of Gaza when Israeli soldiers opened fire on civilians at the Muntar neighborhood. The sixth Palestinian martyr was identified as Basem Abu Shehadeh, 25, a Force-17 fighter, who was fatally wounded while trying to repulse Israeli tanks which entered the village of Dir Sudan north west of Ramallah.

Palestinian guerrillas retaliated for the killing by attacking an Israeli settler bus travelling on a bypass road near Ramallah, killing a Jewish settler. Fatah, the mainstream PLO faction, said on Sunday Palestinian resistance against Zionist occupation of the Palestinian homeland would continue as long as the occupation did.

"Our struggle and Jihad will continue as long as one occupation soldier remains stationed on our soil," said a statement issued by the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah. The statement, published in the Palestinian daily al-Ayyam, rejected the American classification of the Palestinian struggle against occupation and apartheid as "terrorism." "This is not terrorism, this is a legitimate resistance against military occupation and aggression."

The statement condemned the American classification of the Aqsa brigades as a terror groups as "scandalous" and "sheds a lot of doubt on the integrity of the US as an impartial broker in the conflict." Fatah called on the American administration to reconsider its decision to that effect, saying that rescinding the decision would help restore calm and put the peace process back on track.

Also today Israeli forces shot dead four Palestinians after they fired at Jordanian border guards and then slipped into Israel along the border, official sources in the two countries said. According to Israeli security sources, the incident occurred near the Tel Katsir kibbutz, but the identity of the four men remained unclear.

The group, armed with Kalashnikovs, had crossed the border from Jordan, and were shot dead by Israeli troops close to the Sea of Galilee, sources said. Meanwhile, a Jordanian army spokesman confirmed Sunday that a military patrol had been fired on Saturday evening by a group of men trying to slip into Israel, but denied the army had shot dead two of the guerrillas.

The incident came as one of several outbursts of violence reported as U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni renewed attempts to arrange a Middle East cease-fire ahead of an important Arab summit that begins in Beirut, Lebanon, on Wednesday. Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 and the border has remained mostly quiet, with the security forces from the two countries working to prevent attacks.

21 March 2002
In a startling revelation, Professor Keshavram Kashiram Shastri, 96-year-old chairman of the Gujarat unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, told that a list of shops owned by Muslims in Ahmedabad was prepared on the morning of February 28 itself.

Shastri was replying to an allegation that shops in Ahmedabad were looted on the basis of a list prepared by the VHP in advance and that the violence was not a spontaneous outburst against the carnage in the town of Godhra.

A scholar of the Mahabharat and a highly respected literary figure of Gujarat, Shastri said in a tape-recorded interview, "In the morning we sat down and prepared the list. We were not prepared in advance."

Asked why they did it, he responded, "Karvun j pade, karvun j pade (it had to be done, it had to be done). We don't like it, but we were terribly angry. Lust and anger are blind." He said the rioters were "kelvayela Hindu chokra" (well-bred Hindu boys).

He said there were two reasons for the inactivity of the Ahmedabad police during the rioting. "They feared death," he said simply. "And some of them were Hindus who thought, let the mob do whatever it wants."

He agreed that the atmosphere in the city now is so charged that if he were to go to the Muslim-dominated Kalupur area of Ahmedabad, he would not come back alive. He admitted that people had been burnt, mosques razed, and shops looted, but argued that all that had been done in a "frenzy". Shastri agreed that violence was not the answer to violence, but remarked, "These things [non-violence] look good in the shastras. Our boys were charged because in Godhra women and children were burnt alive. The crowd was spontaneous. All of them were not VHP people. The Waghri community (a caste) didn't even know the victims of Godhra, but they have done an amazing job! They are not our members. In villages all these people who were angry are not our people. They are angry because Hindutva was attacked. This is an outburst, a tremendous outburst that will be difficult to roll back."

He said the situation could get worse and bigger riots were possible. "There will be a war," he said. "So much poison has spread that it's difficult to contain it now."

Asked how he, a scholar and a man of letters could condone innocents being burnt alive, he remarked, "The youngsters have done even those things which we don't like. We don't support it. But we can't condemn it because they are our boys. If my daughter does something, will I condemn it?

"We don't believe that the boys have done something wrong, because this was the result of an outburst. But we do feel that they should not have gone so far. But that's an afterthought. We needed to do something. It is said that snakes that are not poisonous should keep the enemy away by hissing once in a while."

He agreed that in Hindu philosophy, such actions are sinful, "but it's done! Now we should work for peace. Because India can't afford such disturbances."

The Ahmedabad police have so far arrested 977 persons on charges of rioting, looting, burning and killing people in response to first information reports filed by the victims and relatives of the dead.

According to the police, the search for looted goods has been quite successful. In many colonies and slums, looted good have been found abandoned on the roads by rioters fearful of being caught.

According to a police source, a legislator in Ahmedabad has sought police protection because the relatives of those arrested have been nagging him day and night to get them out. A senior police officer told that the arrested boys are now blaming local leaders and saffron activists. "Our boys did it because the mobs and leaders supported it. Now how can you arrest them?" say the relatives of the rioters.

According to Shastri , "The VHP has formed a panel of 50 lawyers to help release the arrested people accused of rioting and looting. None of the lawyers will charge any fees because they believe in the RSS ideology."

OSAMA bin LADEN says his brother

JEDDA, Saudi Arabia -- A half brother of Osama bin Laden says the freedom fighter's family has its own information that bin Laden is alive and that he does not have kidney disease requiring dialysis.

In an interview with CNN correspondent Rula Amin, Sheikh Ahmad -- who did not want his last name revealed -- also said he does not believe that bin Laden, part of a large and wealthy Saudi family, could be behind the September 11 attacks against the United States.

"He is my brother. I know him. I lived with him for years. I know how much he fears God," Sheikh Ahmad said. He and Osama have the same mother but different fathers.

Sheikh Ahmad spoke fondly of his older brother, describing him as a simple, deeply religious man with "a very soft heart" who "hates injustice."

Such words stand in stark contrast to how President Bush and other world leaders have described bin Laden, branding him the mastermind behind the September attacks.

Sheikh Ahmad said his mother received a call three weeks ago saying Osama was fine. He did not say who made the phone call.

"He said they believed the phone call was credible, that Osama is alive," said CNN's Amin.

The half brother knows bin Laden better than much of the rest of the family, which officially denounced Osama in the mid-1990s after he condemned the Saudi royal family for allying itself with the United States against Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.

Sheikh Ahmad said he visited bin Laden a few times when bin Laden lived in Sudan and he saw him in Afghanistan last year.

Sheikh Ahmad said he was "very worried" when the United States declared him a wanted man, but his concerns have eased.

"It's easier now. We got used to it. We know any minute it's possible that we will hear some bad news," he said. <

Sheikh Ahmad spoke Arabic and his comments are based on English transcript of the 15-minute interview. It was taped this past Tuesday in a friend's house in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, where he lives

Sheikh Ahmad said he and his mother last saw bin Laden at the January 2001 wedding of one of Osama's sons in Afghanistan. It was at that wedding that Sheikh Ahmad said his infamous brother told him that stories he required kidney dialysis were not true.

"He loved his family and friends, gatherings. He especially adores his mother. First comes God, then his mother," Sheikh Ahmad said.

Sheikh Ahmad was hesitant at first about doing the interview but agreed, believing he knew a side of Osama that he wanted to share with others.

"We grew up together in the same house," he said. "Osama is known for being a simple person, very merciful, a very soft heart. It's impossible that anyone would sit with him and not like him or get bored. Frankly, Osama is very close to the heart and very popular."

Asked whether he believed his brother would be captured, Sheikh Ahmad replied, "I can't tell. As his brothers, we wish him safety."

Their mother, he said, was "worried most" about bin Laden.

"She is an expert now, more than any media person. She watched all the news on all the different TV channels. We get her all the newspapers, the interviews, and she is always discussing it."

Whatever his brother's fate, Sheikh Ahmad said he would like to portray his brother should Hollywood ever make a movie about him.

Throughout the interview, Sheikh Ahmad spoke repeatedly of his bin Laden's religious devotion.

"No joking about this, when we were very young, he would wake me up and my sister. We were lazy, we were young, but we had to get up; he was our older brother. He would say, 'Ahmad, get up, get up,' and we would. We would pray with him and then just go to school, without going back to sleep."

Sheikh Ahmad recalled going to the movies with bin Laden, seeing cowboy and karate movies, a youthful practice that stopped when bin Laden turned 14 and turned even deeper to religion.

He said he was not surprised his brother turned so deeply to religion.

Pakistan sees Indian hand in church bombing

18 March 2002

Unconfirmed reports indicate that Indian intelligence agencies may have masterminded yesterday’s bombing of a Protestant Church in Islamabad.

According to the reports the five churchgoers who perished and the scores injured may have been pawns in the unending feud between the countries’ secret services.

Pakistani intelligence says the attack was an Indian Secret Service attempt to fix a botched attempt to make the Godhra train incident, which triggered massive reprisals against India’s Muslims, "stick" to Islamabad.

Vikram Sood, head of the Indian intelligence service RAW, is said to have received severe dressing down last week for the failure to connect the torching of a train in India’s Gujrat state carrying Hindu extremists to the site of the demolished Babri mosque. He was asked, said a western diplomat in Moscow, "to find some way, and find it quick, to turn the hostile attention of the world toward Pakistan."

Meanwhile another correspondent, Sergi Pyatakov, adds from Moscow: Well- known Russian journalist, Arkady Dubnov, described the incident as "a case of cold blooded butchery which has RAW written all over it." He also said that RAW has been proved to be behind the Chithisinghpura massacre when on the eve of Clinton’s visit to India, 34 Sikhs were slaughtered.

In another incident, six Indian soldiers were caught red-handed trying to set a Sikh village on fire in Indian-held Kashmir. The Church attack, he said, may quite possibly be another incident of this kind.

The attack killed five people and wounded 45 others - up to seven seriously. The dead include a U.S. diplomat's wife and their teen-age daughter, an Afghan, a Pakistani and a fifth unidentified victim - possibly the attacker.

The wounded include 12 Pakistanis, 10 Americans, and at least five Iranians. Others hurt include the Sri Lankan ambassador to Pakistan, and people from Ethiopia, Iraq, Germany, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Britain, Australia and Canada.

There has been no claim of responsibility. Pakistani authorities blame Islamic militants who oppose the U.S.-led war on terrorism, and Pakistan's crackdown on religious extremists.

The Protestant International Church is located in a heavily guarded section of Islamabad near the U.S. embassy, and is attended by diplomatic families from several countries.

Officials and witnesses say there were about 70 worshipers in the church Sunday when a lone attacker entered, began shouting, and then started throwing grenades. General Musharraf called the attack a ghastly act of terrorism aimed at sabotaging Pakistan's national interests. RAW has an extensive network of agents and anti-government elements within Pakistan, including dissident elements from various sectarian and ethnic groups of Sindh and Punjab.

Published reports allege that as many as 35,000 RAW agents entered Pakistan between 1983-93, with 12,000 working in Sindh, 10,000 in Punjab, 8,000 in North West Frontier Province and 5000 in Balochistan.-

Russia staged terrorist attacks as pretext for new Chechnya invasion

18 March 2002
The Russian media magnate Boris Berezovsky has accused Russian special services of a series of apartment-block bombings in 1999 to justify a crackdown on Chechnya that led to the election of Vladimir Putin as President.

Mr Berezovsky, speaking at a news conference in London, produced what he said was "real proof" of the claim, and called for the European Union to investigate the September 1999 bombings that left 300 dead.

The details released yesterday were circumstantial and the likelihood is that the murky events that propelled Mr Putin into the Kremlin will never be fully explained. Mr Berezovsky said that while there was no evidence that Mr Putin himself had given the order for the 1999 terrorist attacks, he was guilty of failing to prevent them or being "passive".

Mr Putin was head of the domestic successor of the KGB, the FSB, from 1998 until August 1999, when he became Boris Yeltsin's Prime Minister. His decision to reignite the war with Chechnya in reaction to the bombings in three Russian cities, which were immediately blamed on Chechen rebels, was widely seen as ensuring his successful election as president the following March.

The attacks "had no equivalent or precedent in Russia", Mr Berezovsky said. "Two and a half years later, no one can say the people who did it are in jail, nor can we really say who did it."

The Independent was the first newspaper to report in January 2000 the allegations that the FSB was behind the apartment-block bombings, and investigated a further case in the Russian city of Ryazan where residents had suspicions that they escaped a similar attack. The FSB's director, Nikolai Patrushev, has said that the Ryazan incident, in which four sacks of the explosive material hexogen were reportedly found with a detonator on 22 September 1999, was a "training exercise". According to the FSB, the explosives were in fact bags of sugar.

Nikita Chekulin, a former acting director of the Russian Scientific Research Institute who was recruited by the FSB in 2000, said yesterday that he had documentary evidence to show that tons of hexogen had been bought by the special services in 1999 and 2000.

"Tons of this material with false markings were transferred to various cover organisations in Russian regions," Mr Chekulin said, adding that there had been a cover-up at a senior level. A 10-minute extract of a French documentary was also shown which, according to Mr Berezovsky, proved that the FSB was behind the bombings and the foiled Ryazan attack.

The film highlights similarities in the type of explosives reportedly found at Ryazan and in the explosions in the cities of Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk. The film concludes: "Why doesn't Putin open an enquiry? The answer would appear to be obvious. The risk for the Kremlin is too great. If the inquiry was to establish that the FSB is responsible for the 1999 attacks, the legitimacy of all those in power would be called into question."

According to Mr Berezovsky, the attacks were launched because "the FSB thought that Putin would not be able to come to power using democratic means".

Mr Berezovsky dismissed suggestions that he might have his own political motivations, prompted by the closure of his independent television station TV6 by Mr Putin.

Mr Berezovsky, who lives in self-exile in London to avoid Russian corruption charges, had threatened to reveal documentary evidence of his claims ever since his television station was shut down in January.

In a counter-attack against Mr Berezovsky coinciding with his public appearance in London, the Russian Prosecutor General's office said that he might be declared a wanted man on the ground that he was "a financial sponsor of international terrorists". The accusations concern his alleged connections with Chechen criminals in both Chechnya and Moscow. The Prosecutor General claims that Mr Berezovsky spent $10m financing the raid by Chechen militants into Dagestan in 1999.

Pavel Barkovsky, the deputy head of the special investigations unit in the Prosecutor's Office, claimed that Mr Berezovsky had been involved in a number of high-profile crimes in Chechnya, including the abduction of the Russian Interior Ministry envoy Gennady Shpigun, who was later murdered.

The bombs terrified Russians, as they were designed to do, because they were left in working-class apartments. The worst was in Kashirskoye Shosse, in central Moscow, where an explosion at 5am on 13 September 1999 killed 124 people as they slept. A wave of fear and rage swept Russia. Chechens were widely blamed. Islamic independence fighters in Chechnya had invaded the neighbouring republic of Dagestan a few weeks before.

Russian troops were soon ordered across the Chechen border. Within weeks Mr Putin became a symbol of Russian patriotism and the most popular man in the country.

From the beginnings there were suspicions about who was behind the bombings. Foreign newspapers, in the summer of 1999, had reported that officials in the Kremlin had discussed launching a "terrorist" campaign against their own people.

When The Independent interviewed survivors of the Kashirskoye Shosse explosion before the presidential election, which was easily won by Mr Putin, many doubted the official explanation. "It was only at the beginning that we thought it was the Chechens," said Svetlana Nikolaevna, who worked in a kindergarten. "Now we think it was people in the Kremlin administration who wanted to stay in power."

A number of Muslims from the North Caucasus, though few from Chechnya, were arrested but security officers admitted they did not know who had given the orders for the attacks. A problem for investigators is that those who bombed the buildings may not have known for whom they were ultimately working.

US Muslim students turned back from Britain

18 March 2002

Six Muslim teenagers who had flown to UK from America to study Islam sparked a terror scare at Birmingham International Airport last month, it has emerged

The Muslim students, aged between 17 and 18, from New Jersey, arrived for their visit to the Al-Hijrah College in the Balsall Heath area of the city on 24th February only to be refused entry by suspecting immigration officials and placed on the next available flight home.

But the Continental Airlines pilot flying to the US then refused to take off with them on board. In the confusion, police boarded the plane and arrested the six students. A spokesman for the Home Office said immigration officials were satisfied that the teenagers intention to study in Birmingham was not genuine.

After their arrest the six were locked up at police stations in nearby Solihull and Manchester before finally being deported to America. Their teacher, Imam Ramee Muhammed, criticised the authorities, claiming that his pupils had been subjected to interrogation about Osama bin Laden. He said: "We were shocked and outraged. As African-Americans we are used to doors being closed to us but, as Muslims, too, we are hit twice."

Zainab Abdullah, mother of a 16-year-old detainee called Muhammad, the youngest in the group, said she was shocked by the British Officials’ decision.

Mrs Abdullah claimed the students were interrogated on whether they supported bin Laden or Al-Qaida and what their views were on September 11. A spokesman for Continental Airlines confirmed the pilot had refused to allow the six to return to the US because of their inappropriate behaviour at the gate, while boarding the flight. He did not elaborate on the inappropriate behaviour.

The airline spokesman added that three teenagers returned to the US from Manchester Airport while the other three went via Birmingham. A British Home Office spokesman said immigration officers refused them entry because they were satisfied that their intention to study was not genuine.

French hotel declines to host Israelis

A French hotel refused to receive Israeli guests, protesting the massacres perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people, an Israeli newspaper has reported.

Yadiot Aharonot, in its online edition, said that an Israeli couple, Shay and Davna Lang, living in Tel Aviv, wished to go to France. They used the Internet to look for a small hotel at the Froubance area, in Paris, and they found a suitable hotel called "Bistayd De La Fab".

"To the Langs surprise, they were told the hotel boycotted Israel and they were not welcome," the paper added.

When contacted by the paper, the hotel owner, Sisiel Mouzwa said, "this is the only way we can express our rejection of Israeli policies. We refuse Sharon's methods and policies, but we have nothing against the Jews".

"We used to host Israelis before the second Intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation that erupted September, 2000), there was no problem. But now we do not want to host them, it will not help anyone here," Mouzwa added.

She said that the hotel guests usually have dinner together. "The presence of Israelis may stir trouble," she said. "What is happening there is very saddening. We hope you can reach peace soon".

Mouzwa went on to say that other neighbouring hotels avoid receiving Israelis under various pretexts. "They claim having no vacant rooms, for example. However, we opt for the truth. An Israeli coming to us may be against Sharon's policies, but this is the only way we have to protest the Israeli policies. We used the same way with South Africans several years ago," she concluded. Copyright 2001. This news item is distributed via Middle East News Online ( All rights reserved. May not be redistributed, published or used for broadcast without prior written authorisation from Middle East News Online.

Website releases names of Israeli spies in Texas

14 March 2002 The website has released the names of the Israeli spies arrested in Texas, and published details of the anatomy of the organization.

According to the report, available at, a Mossad agent named Italy Simon, who was arrested in Irving, Texas, headed the operation, with a man named Michael Calmanovic, an Israeli communications expert who was also arrested in Irving, heading the Texas branch.

Working with Ofir Navon, an explosives expert, and Dilka Borenstein, another intelligence officer, both of whom are still at large, the group recruited 13 "art students", including Eran Moshe, a member of Israeli Special Forces Michael Gal, and Aren Ofak, the son of an Israeli army general. Marina Glickman, a Mossad agent, worked with exposives expert Zeev Miller to run the Retaliz Raanana front. Tomer Ben Dor, an expert in missle defense technologies, headed the Nice company.

Their front man for the AmDocs company was a man named Ophus Baer. The group established branches in San Diego, California, Little Rock, Arkansas, Hollywood, Florida, and Miami, Florida, headed by Yaniv Gilor, Sharon Ratzady, Hanan Serfaty, and Legum Yochai, respectively.

The group worked to infiltrate US Army bases and steal information, and is accused of helping to plan the September 11 World Trade Center attacks. US politicians and media networks, who are either owned or afraid of Israel and its control over much of the US government, have played down the incidents, and information on the penetration has been barred from most nightly newscasts and newspapers.

Hindu mobs attack Muslim homes in Gujarat

14 March 2002
A mob of more than 5,000 Hindu militants defied a heavy police presence to rampage through a village of Gujarat and put more Muslim homes to the torch.

Deputy superintendent, B.L. Parmar, was quoted by newsmen as saying that one person was wounded when police opened fire in Kawant to control the mob. Most of the village’s Muslim houses have been deserted after the worst religious bloodshed in a decade.

Reinforcements of soldiers later arrived in Kawant, which has been under curfew since a 2,000-strong crowd looted and torched some Muslim homes late on Wednesday.

Reports from other cities and towns also said that despite the presence of army units Hindu fanatics were terrorizing Muslim families and threatening to kill them.

Meanwhile a curfew was imposed on the town of Chhota Udaipur, in the Baroda district of Gujarat, where police today opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob indulging in arson and looting.

The authorities have also decided to conduct a flag march by the Army in the area and Panwad, Tejgarh, Naswadi, Bavijetpur, Chotta Udaipur and Sankheda talukas falling under Chhota Udaipur division.

Meanwhile, two small bombs exploded in different areas of the city on Thursday, even as police intensified combing operations following Wednesday's violent incidents in the district.

Following Wednesday's violence at Bhavmanpura, police have recovered 50 petrol bombs and sharp weapons from the vicinity of a police station in Panigate. Also in Gujrat a historic 16th century mosque near the Jethabhai stepwell in the Isanpur area in Ahmedabad in the western Indian state of Gujarat was dismembered by Hindu vandals using bulldozers and heavy-duty cranes.

According to the Indian Express, a New Delhi-based English daily, an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) official confirmed the demolition was a meticulously planned operation, and neither policemen nor municipal corporation officials saw nor heard anything.

V. Nair, senior conservation assistant of the ASI, was positive that the stone structure could not have been bought down without using heavy duty equipment.

The protected monument was built by Malik Isan, a lieutenant of Sultan Mehmood Begda. "I went to the spot and asked people how the masjid was pulled down.

"I was told the mob had run away from the place, and that nobody knew how it was demolished," Nair said. It will take at least two years to reconstruct the mosque.

The ASI had renovated the mosque seven years ago. Another protected mosque, the Muhafiz Khan Masjid at Gheekanta, was ransacked and damaged.

But here, "only one jharokha (balcony) and the boundary wall was broken down," Nair said. Maulana Shabbir Ahmed Siddiqui, Imam of the Jami Masjid in Ahmedabad, said that the Gujarat carnage saw 44 masjids, dargahs and tombs being damaged.

"In the case of Gumte Masjid, some heavy duty equipment has been used," he added. In fact, at several other places in the city, there’s no sign that a shrine ever existed.

"The masjid has not only been demolished and the debris cleared, even the roads have been tarred over to cover all tracks."

Police in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) have asked Muslims not to offer Friday prayers in the city in a bid to prevent violence on the day a Hindu rightwing group has threatened a religious ceremony near a demolished mosque in Ayodhya.

According to reports fearing a stand-off between Hindu extremists and Muslim worshippers, Maharashtra has barred the assembly of four of more people in public. All processions except those for weddings and funerals have been banned.

Police have refused permission for public prayer sessions that rightwing groups like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal had threatened Friday. While Hindu devotees would be allowed to collect inside temples, the congregation would not be permitted to spill over outside.

Police have asked the Muslim community to refrain from holding Friday prayers in public. Muslims assemble in large numbers within and outside mosques every Friday. Due to shortage of space in mosques, the congregation invariably spills onto the streets.

Maharashtra has deployed personnel of the reserve police and the Rapid Action Force across the state to prevent trouble. Paramilitary forces are on standby.

Mumbai was the site of worst anti-Muslim rioting in the aftermath of the Babri mosque demolition 10 years ago

Top-secret US conference on terrorism ends in New Zealand

13 March 2002
A top-secret international conference on terrorism attended by senior U.S. officials including the FBI chief ended at an exclusive New Zealand resort Tuesday.

The New Zealand government refused to comment on the meeting at the Millbrook resort near Queenstown in the Southern Alps, but reporters were able to identify Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) head Robert Mueller leaving aboard a U.S. air force Gulfstream Jet.

Unsighted, but also believe to have attended, was Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet.
Security heads from Britain were also believed to have attended, AFP reported.
An FBI spokesman in Washington later confirmed Mueller was present but had left Tuesday afternoon for Canberra, Australia, for talks. New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark's office declined comment.

"We do not comment on secret intelligence service-type of issues," a spokeswoman said.

Millbrook has been under strict surveillance since the weekend when the group arrived. Media were escorted off the grounds and agents in golf carts patrolled the area.

A Queenstown Airport control tower spokesman said one aircraft arrived from Guam and the other flew in from Kiribati.
After leaving Queenstown, Mueller flew to Canberra and the second jet flew to Hawaii.
U.S. embassy spokesman Don Washington said terrorism was a major issue at the meeting, as well as fighting crime.
Staff at a local restaurant which hosted a dinner for the group reported heavy security with special agents significantly outnumbering the diners.

Otago rural police area controller inspector Phil Jones said police were providing security for the officials in Queenstown but was unable to comment further.

Israeli defence force has alot to learn !

13 March 2002
After the invasion of the Balata refugee camp by a regular brigade of the IDF, the brigade commander appeared on television and said that he had expected the Palestinians to fight like tigers, but that they behaved like pussycats.

This is a frightening sentence, because it discloses a startling fact: the Brigade commander does not understand in what kind of campaign he is engaged. He has to be told, with all due respect: "Sir, you are fighting the wrong war!" Clearly, he believes that he is engaged in a conventional war between armies. The enemy is supposed to stand up and fight like men, assault rifles against tanks and fighter planes.

The commander and all his colleagues, including the Chief-of-Staff and his deputy, would be well advised to read a good book about guerilla warfare, such as Mao Tse-Tung’s treatise, which tells the guerilla fighter: Never confront the regular army. When the army attacks, you disappear. When the army is not ready, you attack.

For example: The army surrounds Arafat in Ramallah, destroy a Merkava tank in Gush Katif. A whole brigade invades Balata; get out and send a single fighter to kill the team of a check-point near Ofrah. A brigade attacks Jenin; get out of their sight and infiltrate Atzmona settlement.

The statement by the brigade commander indicates that the IDF is fighting on a front that does not exist, and is not prepared for fighting on the front that is there. It’s like a general setting out to conquer Syria and holding a map of the Sudan in his hands.

Since Chief-of-Staff Mofaz and his senior officers don’t even understand the nature of this struggle, they are failing. Out of frustration and anger they shoot in all directions and commit a small massacre every day, without any purpose or chance of success.

Since they were not trained for this kind of struggle and do not understand it, they are condemned to commit every possible mistake. One after another, they use all the methods that have already failed in Algeria, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam and a dozen of other countries.

They try to starve the inhabitants into submission ("closure"), and inadvertently turn them into potential suicide-bombers with nothing to lose. They assassinate the chiefs of the fighting groups ("targeted prevention"), and clear the way for younger, more efficient and more energetic commanders. The kill massively ("you have to strike them") and turn the relatives of the victims into avengers.

If this is the way of the generals, the "political echelon", composed of pensioned generals, is worse. They imprison Arafat in Ramallah in order to prove that he is "irrelevant", and turn him into the most relevant person in the entire Middle East. As a result, all internal criticism of Arafat has ceased. Practically all Palestinians admire their President, who is taking part in their lot, suffers like them and is risking his life like them.

And beyond that: tens of millions of Arabs, who see rousing reports from beleaguered Palestine every hour on al-Jazeera TV, compare the courageous Palestinian leader to their own rulers, who are now very worried indeed. In response they sounded the alarm in Washington and have compelled President Bush to do something.

Sharon and Ben-Eliezer declare that if the Palestinians are made to suffer more and more, they will eventually surrender and agree to live in several ghettos, as proposed by Sharon. In practice, the opposite is happening: the more the pressure on them mounts, the more their unity grows, their methods of resistance improve and their readiness to suffer and not to surrender increases.

Thousands of Palestinians are ready to undertake actions leading to certain death, and their number is growing. How many Israelis are ready to go into action if there is no chance at all of coming out alive?

Palestinians know full well that they are fighting for their very existence; Israelis know that they are fighting for the settlements and bankrupt politicians.

The Israeli government cannot win this struggle. After paying a terrible price - slaughter and destruction - this will become clear to the public, the government will fall and we shall make peace according to the Saudi Crown Prince’s excellent proposal.

Israeli army carries out bloody pogrom in more refugee camps

The Israeli occupation army today rampaged through and ransacked several Palestinian refugee camps in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, killing and maiming scores of Palestinians.

Hospital sources in the two regions reported that over 30 Palestinians were killed and 200 others injured in a sustained Israeli onslaught against Palestinian population centers and refugee camps.

As many as 18 Palestinians, including a mute young boy, were killed when Israeli American-supplied Apache helicopter gunships strafed the narrow streets of the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza with heavy machinegun fire.

Sources at the Shifa hospital in Gaza said 45 civilians were wounded, 15 of them seriously.

More than 70 Israeli tanks converged on the densely populated camp, firing indiscriminately with their heavy machineguns.

The Israeli army also brought a fleet of more than 20 buses to transport Palestinians males who were to be arrested to concentration camps inside Israel.

However, stiff resistance from Palestinian defenders apparently forced the Israeli army to leave the camp shortly before dawn today.

To cover its failure to overtake the camp, the Israeli army destroyed several iron workshops at the camp where ironworks are forged.

The Israeli army claimed the workshops were making missiles and mortar shells.

Palestinians scoffed at the Israeli claim calling it " mendacious and silly."

Later on Tuesday, Israeli helicopters rocketed an aluminium factory in Gaza, killing four people, including three brothers. In Ramallah, the more than 150 Israeli tanks, backed up by Apache helicopter gunships, thrust into the town and surrounding refugee camps Tuesday amid indiscriminate bombardment of residential neighbourhoods.

Some tanks took positions outside the headquarters of Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat, thus nullifying an earlier Israeli decision to allow the Palestinian leader to leave Ramallah.

Arafat has been under virtual house arrest in Ramallah for the past four months.

Hospital sources in Ramallah reported that at least six Palestinians were killed and 15 injured in Ramallah and the Am'ari refugee camp.

Palestinian information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said the Israeli army was effectively re-occupying the west Bank and Gaza Strip, undoing the Oslo process.

"This is a major offensive aimed at reoccupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Sending Zinni to the region was a manoeuvre because we believe the United States had been informed of Sharon's intentions."

In Bethlehem in the south of the West Bank, Israeli troops continued to humiliate Palestinian civilians in ways an elderly Christian clergyman described as "very much like Nazi treatment of Jews during WWII."

"When you round up young men as if they were animals and stamp serial numbers on their bodies, you are doing exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews and others in detention camps in Europe."

However, Israeli officials expressed satisfaction at the "low level of international criticism of IDF operations."

Israeli state-run radio quoted the Israeli army commander in the West Bank, Gershon Yitzhak, as saying that he was pleased with international reactions.

The United States, whose policy in the Middle East is determined to a large extent by payments to congressmen by American Jewry, has not condemned the Israeli rampage.

Hindu fundamentalists vow to rally at site of demolished mosque

Hindu activists in India say they will go ahead with a ceremony Friday at a religious site also claimed by Muslims. A dispute over the site sparked deadly sectarian violence that has killed more than 700 people over the past two weeks in the western state of Gujarat. (Parvin Togadia) The leader of the World Hindu Council says Hindus have the right to gather, even if India's Supreme Court rules against the rally. The court is scheduled to consider the issue Wednesday. It also has been asked to rule on who should control the site of the demolished Babri Mosque in the town of Ayodhya claimed by Hindus. The Hindu official made the comment after Muslim leaders rejected a compromise proposal to build a new Hindu temple near the ruins of a mosque, rather than on the same site, as hard-line Hindus had been demanding. The Muslims say the proposal drawn up by a Hindu leader is incomplete.

The dispute involves a site (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where a 16th century mosque stood until 10 years ago, when it was destroyed by Hindus claiming it as a site of an ancient temple dedicated to a Hindu god (King Ram).

The destruction of the mosque sparked sectarian violence that killed thousands of people.

The worst sectarian violence since then was triggered late last month (February 27) after Muslim activists set fire to a train returning Hindu extremists from a visit to Ayodhya after being attacked and seeing a young female assaulted. Most of the victims in riots that followed have been Muslims.

The violence has quieted in recent days, but officials are concerned it could resume ahead of Friday's planned Hindu ceremony at Ayodhya.

Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee told a group of Islamic clerics Saturday his government will abide by a pending Supreme Court ruling on whether the World Hindu Council would be allowed to hold the ceremony.

Two arrested in India for selling Bin Laden tapes

Two men have been arrested in the east Indian state of West Bengal for selling cassettes praising Osama bin Laden, police said Sunday.

According to police superintendent Pankaj Dutta of Nadia district, 300km north of the state capital Calcutta, the two men - Abdul Hannan and Babul Sheikh - who are Indian nationals, were caught on Saturday while selling cassettes promoting the ideas and actions of Bin Laden.

The arrests were made at Kaliachawk and Sujapur villages of the district.

"The arrested persons were charged with waging a war against the state," Dutta said.

"We have seized 15 cassettes from the arrested men and also traced a house where the cassettes were being made," he added. "We are searching for the main suspect behind the racket. He has been selling these cassettes in different districts of West Bengal after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York."

Dutta said the possibility of the two men working at the behest of Pakistan secret service - the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) - cannot be ruled out.

"We are interrogating them," he said.

The cassettes are about the fall of the World Trade Centre towers and the "heroic deed" of Osama bin Laden, the police officer added.

Pakistan to deport 7000 Arabs

Pakistan is planning to deport thousands of foreign students including 7,000 Arabs studying at its religious schools, the Arabic Asharq Al-Awsat daily reported quoting a Pakistan Interior Ministry source. The source said the plan, to be presented to President Pervez Musharraf this week, is aimed at reducing the presence of "extremists", who come to the country under the pretext of religious education. Pakistani officials have estimated the number of Arabs studying in the country at nearly 17,000. There are more than 6,000 religious schools in Pakistan with about 600,000 students including 16,000 Afghans.

Islamabad intends to deport those Arabs and Afghans who came to the country without the permission of their governments.

Meanwhiel the US has said it does not anticipate American troops to go after escaped Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters who have crossed the border into Afghanistan, Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday.

Mr Powell said he considered Pakistan to be quite capable of "controlling their own terrain".

The secretary was replying to a question on reports that Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters might be attempting to regroup in Pakistani areas bordering Afghanistan.

There have also been reports that fighters have been trickling in from Pakistan to reinforce those confronting US and coalition troops around Shahikot in Gardez, eastern Afghanistan, close to the border with Pakistan.

Massacre in Jabalya refugee camp, Ramallah under attack

Israeli military forces are in the process of committing another massacre in Jabalya refugee camp, north of Gaza Strip Tuesday dawn.

Israeli forces occupied the refugee camp and imposed a tight military closure on Tel al-Za'tar, Beit Lahya, Beit Hanoun and other areas north of Gaza.

Since 12:30, 18 Palestinians have been killed and dozens wounded, some critically, while ambulances have been unable to reach the wounded inside Jabalya refugee camp.

Only one of those killed has been identified: Iyad Issa, 27 years old, targeted with a bullet in the head.

Confrontations continue to take place between the residents of the refugee camp and the invading Israeli army. Dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles invaded the refugee camp at 11:00 pm under intense shelling.

Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles supported by attack helicopters are in the process of invading Ramallah and al-Bireh from all entrances under heavy fire.

Major military reinforcements have been reported at the entrances of the city and near Qalandya and al-Am'ari refugee camps.

Helicopters continue to circle Ramallah.

Israeli army kills more civilians in refugee camp invasion

The Israeli occupation army kept up its onslaught on Palestinian towns and refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, killing more civilians and vandalizing property.

Hospital sources said at least six Palestinians were killed Monday and scores others were wounded in heavy bombardment of Palestinian population centers.

The Israeli army entered the northern Palestinian town of Qalqilya before dawn Monday amid a barrage of machinegun firing on streets and civilian homes.

"They are shooting at everything moving," said the correspondent of Al-Jazeera Television in the city.

More than 50 Israeli tanks and armored vehicles took part in the offensive against the undefended town, Israeli sources said.

The Israeli army took over several buildings in the town for use as posts for sharpshooters.

At least two Palestinians were reported killed, one a civilian and the other a Palestinian policeman.

One citizen of the beleaguered city described the Israeli army onslaught as "a barbaric army against unarmed civilians who can't defend themselves."

"It is Apache helicopters, Merkava tanks, and thousands of crack soldiers against terrified men, women and children who dream of becoming free from military occupation."

The Israeli army said its operation in Qalqilya was aimed at "killing or apprehending terrorists."

Israel brands as "terrorists" all Palestinian resistance activists fighting the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime.

In Bethlehem farther to the south, Israeli tanks overran the densely populated Deheishe refugee camp, destroying several shanties.

Moreover, Israeli forces detained 600 youths between the age of 14-50 and took them to an unknown detention camps inside Israel.

Palestinian sources said Israeli troops were conducting searches for weapons and suspected resistance fighters during which acts of vandalism were reported.

"They expelled us from our homes and villages at gunpoint in 1948, and now they are coming to kill us, my God, there is no justice in this world," said Hasan Farraj, a refugee living in the camp.

The Israeli army defended its operations against the civilians, saying "it was necessary to restore deterrence against Palestinians."

In the Hebron region, Israeli troops opened fire from their automatic weapons Monday morning at a group of Palestinian labourers who reportedly sought to bypass an Israeli roadblock near Dura.

At least one worker was killed and two others injured.

The Israeli army said the workers violated an army order barring Palestinians from moving on roads throughout the West Bank.

The Palestinian condemned the order as "Nazi instructions."

"Did it not occur to those Zionist criminals that people need to move around and go to work to earn bread for their kids," said Omar Jadallah, a farmer who witnessed the shooting.

The Israeli occupation army adopted draconian measures against Palestinian civilians aimed at breaking their will to withstand Israeli repression.

These measures include open-ended curfews, denial of work and employment, cutting off electricity and water supplies, and barring travel and transportation between Palestinian population centers.

The Israeli apartheid regime says it will give Palestinians limited human rights if they agree to come to terms Israeli domination and military occupation.

The United States, whose policy in the Middle East is determined to a large extent by the American Jewish lobby, strongly supports Israeli repression against Palestinians.

South African Muslims acquitted of murdering evil gangster

6 March 2002
The Cape High Court today acquitted the National Co-Ordinator of the movement, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, Abdus Salaam Ebrahim and his co-accused of the murder of the notorious gang leader, Rashaad Staggie.

Justice John Foxcroft’s ruling was met by cries of Allahu Akbar(God is Great) from the packed public gallery.

In clearing them of murder, Judge Foxcroft said there was not enough evidence to link them to the actual killing of Staggie, who was shot numerous times and set alight during a Pagad march on his home in Salt River, Cape Town, in August 1996.

With Ebrahim in the dock were the organisation's chief of security Salie Abader, Moegsien Mohamed and former Pagad member, Abdurazzaaq Ebrahim.

The judge, however, convicted the accused, except Abader, on the charge of public violence. A tearful Abader walked out of the dock, a free man, into the awaiting arms of family and friends.

On the public violence charge, the judge said there might well have been a legitimate intent of the marchers to deliver a message at Staggie's home, concerning his alleged drug dealing. But he added that the leaders of the march must have realised the danger of violence breaking out was great.

The marathon investigation into the case and subsequent arrest of the four accused, has been dogged by controversy. It emerged during the trial, that Deputy Judge-President of the Cape, Justice Jeanette Traverso, authorised the installation last year of secret video cameras and monitoring equipment in the trial courtroom.

The state also decided not to pursue the evidence of two photo-journalists in the case, who refused to testify.

Commenting on the outcome of the case, Pagad National Legal Co-ordinator Cassiem Parker said the trial should never have taken place. "They are not responsible for the murder and terror in South Africa, they are not the criminals", he said.

Sentencing for the convictions for public violence is expected tomorrow.