[NY Times] ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- They are dead men talking, and they know it. Gulping nervously, the prisoners stare into the video camera, spilling tales of intrigue, betrayal and paid espionage on behalf of the United States.
"I am a spy and I took part in four attacks," said Sidinkay, a young tribesman who said he was paid $350 to help direct C.I.A. drones to their targets in Pakistan's tribal belt.
"Stay away from the Americans," he said in an imploring voice. "Stay away from their dollars."
Al Qaeda and the Taliban have few defenses against the American drones that endlessly prowl the skies over the bustling militant hubs of North and South Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan, along the Afghan border. C.I.A. missiles killed at least 246 people in 2012, most of them Islamist militants.
The militants' technique -- often more witch hunt than investigation -- follows a well-established pattern. Accused tribesmen are abducted from homes and workplaces at gunpoint and tortured. A sham religious court hears their case, usually declaring them guilty. Then they are forced to speak into a video camera.
The taped confessions, which are later distributed on CD, vary in style and content. But their endings are the same: execution by hanging, beheading or firing squad.
In Sidinkay's last moments, the camera shows him standing in a dusty field with three other prisoners, all blindfolded, illuminated by car headlights. A volley of shots rings out, and the three others are mowed down. But Sidinkay, apparently untouched, is left standing. For a tragic instant, the accused spy shuffles about, confused. Then fresh shots ring out and he, too, crumples to the ground.
[An Nahar] Rebels in Sudan's Darfur claim to have seized a district capital just days after saying they took control of a major town.
The Sudan Liberation Army's (SLA's) Abdelwahid Nur faction said late on Friday it had captured the government office and army base in Guldo district near Central Darfur state's Nertiti town.
Ibrahim al-Hillu, the group's front man, called it "a great victory in the history of the war in Darfur" as his faction had never before seized a district.
He said Guldo fell after the rebels earlier on Friday captured a Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) compound to the southeast, between the South Darfur capital Nyala and Kass town.
On Monday, Hillu reported that his faction had taken the town of Golo, a few kilometers (miles) east of Guldo. While rebels often report skirmishes with government forces in Darfur, they rarely claim to have occupied towns.
Sudan's army front man could not be reached for comment.
Guldo and Golo are in the fertile and mountainous Jebel Marra area which is home to the non-Arab Fur people who gave their name to Darfur (Land of the Fur) and who are represented by Nur's faction.
The group has several hundred combatants and a "sphere of influence" limited to the Jebel Marra, a regular target for military operations and air attack according to the Small Arms Survey, a Swiss-based independent research project.
[Libya Herald] Egyptian coppers in Matruh seized a carload of ammunition yesterday morning that they say had been smuggled across the border from Libya.
The vehicle was seized by officers acting on reports that a car carrying thousands of rounds of live ammunition was travelling on the desert road between Sallum and Matruh, near to the border with Libya.
Officers stopped the car, a Toyota without number plates, and found 8,750 cartridges for small arms in the boot. The intelligence that they received had said that the ammunition had been smuggled across the land border with Libya.
Matruh's judicial police department have been tasked with writing a report on the provenance of the seized contraband.
[An Nahar] Gunmen suspected of belonging to the Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... Islamist group have killed seven people in separate attacks in Nigeria's volatile north, the police and army said Saturday.
In the first attack on Friday, gunnies opened fire and threw explosives at several targets including a cop shoppe, a prison and government offices in Maiha, a northeastern town along the border with Cameroon, leaving two dead, police said.
"Two people were killed in the attack. We lost a policeman in the attack on the cop shoppe and a civilian was also killed at the government lodge," Adamawa state police front man Mohammed Ibrahim told AFP.
"The attackers burnt down the police divisional headquarters, a court, a satellite prison, a local education authority building and the government lodge," he said, adding that the palace of the town's traditional chief was also partially torched.
No arrests have been made, he said.
Andrew Barka, head of prisons in the state, said inmates were freed during the attack on the prison.
"The satellite prison in Maiha was broken into and burnt by the attackers. They freed inmates before setting the prison on fire. I can't say how many inmates were freed at the moment because I don't have the actual number of prisoners at the time of the attack," he said.
In a related development also on Friday, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, the military front man in Maiduguri, the epicenter of previous deadly attacks blamed on Boko Haram, said some gunnies killed five people in their homes outside the city.
"Information revealed that some bully boyz sneaked into Musari, a village located on the outskirts of Maiduguri and secretly carried out selective killings of five people including a serving Nigerian police traffic warden," he said.
He said troops responded to the attack, arresting three suspects and recovering one AK 47 rifle with 10 rounds of ammunition.
No group so far has grabbed credit for the deadly attacks.
Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency is believed to have left some 3,000 people dead in Nigeria -- Africa's most populous state and largest oil producer -- since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
Boko Haram is thought to include various factions with differing aims, in addition to imitators and criminal gangs that carry out violence under the guise of the group.
A Yemeni intelligence officer has been killed by two gunmen who shot him as they drove by on a motorcycle, according to the country's Defence Ministry on Saturday.
Officer Mutei Baqutian was killed near his office in the south-eastern city of Mukalla, reported the 26 September website, which is affiliated with the Defence Ministry and quotes its news releases, dpa reported.
Earlier this month, a senior intelligence official was killed in the same city. The government has blamed al-Qaeda militants for such attacks.
[Bangla Daily Star] Law enforcers yesterday tossed in the slammer Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! 39 suspected activists of banned Islamist outfit Hizb ut-Tahrir following a clash with them before the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
During the clash, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas and charged batons to break up the Tahrir men, who retaliated with exploding hand-made bombs and throwing brick chips.
The skirmish left at least 10 people including several pedestrians and police injured.
Witnesses said around 200 members of the outlawed group brought out a procession before the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) building (opposite to the Jatiya Press Club) on Topkhana Road around noon.
When police intercepted the procession, the Tahrir men launched attack on the law enforcers, prompting them to fire at least five tear gas canisters and six rubber bullets.
At one stage, Rab personnel joined with police and rounded up the activists.
A banner and some leaflets were seized from the detainees, said Shahbagh police.
Contacted, Lt Col MM Anisur Rahman, commanding officer of Rab-3, said the Tahrir men usually show up on Fridays, but they gathered yesterday to carry out subversive activities at an Awami League rally at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
[An Nahar] Russian security forces have killed seven suspected beturbanned fascisti in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan ...a formerly inoffensive Caucasus republic currently bedevilled by low-level Islamic insurgency, occasional outbreaks of separatism, ethnic tensions and terrorism, primarily due to its proximity to Chechnya. There are several dozen ethnic groups, most of which speak either Caucasian, Turkic, or Iranian languages. Largest among these ethnic groups are the Avar, Dargin, Kumyk, Lezgin, and Laks. While Russers form less than five percent of the population, Russian remains the primary official language and the lingua franca... in an operation that saw the cut-throats briefly take a six-year-old girl hostage, officials said on Saturday.
Security forces surrounded an apartment block in Dagestan's main city of Makhachkala Friday night where the cut-throats were hiding, the National Anti-Terror Committee (NAK) said in a statement published by Russian news agencies.
The rebels opened fire as the other residents were being evacuated, including the wife of one of the cut-throats who was in the besieged apartment, it said.
Security forces returned fire, killing three of the Death Eaters. Those still alive smashed through the wall into a neighboring apartment and took a six-year-old girl there hostage.
"But thanks to the coordinated and professional actions of the special forces, the girl was freed and and remaining bandidos were neutralized," the NAK statement said, using the standard official language for killing Death Eaters.
It said the security forces killed six people inside the apartment block and another suspected Death Eater who opened fire outside.
One of those killed was the chief of the criminal group named as Gadzhimurad Dolgatov, it said. The group had been planning robberies and murders in Makhachkala, it added.
Update Jaish-ul-Islam claims Mastung blast The Jaish ul Islam spokesperson, Ghazi Haq Nawaz on a telephonic conversation from an unknown place said that attack on pilgrims' buses by the mujahideen was response of attack on Ahle-Sunnat ulema in Quetta and Karachi.
Ghazi Haq Nawaz further warned the Mastung administration to remain away from Shia sect; otherwise they would be their next target.
He also warned all CD shopkeepers in Quetta to set all CDs on fire which contain any defamation material regarding prophets, Sahaba-e-Karam and anti-Islam; otherwise they would have to face the music.
It is pertinent to mention here that the explosion occurred near the two buses in Mastung area of Balochistan on Sunday morning.
Both the buses were carrying pilgrims to Iran from Quetta, adding that one of the buses was completely destroyed, while the other one damaged partially.
He also warned all CD shopkeepers in Quetta to set all CDs on fire which contain any defamation material regarding prophets, Sahaba-e-Karam and anti-Islam; otherwise they would have to face the music.
I thought music was unIslamic? Ima confusered
Posted by: Frank G ||
[Dawn] Gunmen, riding cycles of violence, rubbed out four coppers in Quetta, capital of Pakistain's troubled southwestern province of Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... Saturday, police said.
The attackers sprayed bullets at police on a routine vehicle patrol in the capital of the oil and gas rich province, which is plagued by sectarian violence, a tribal insurgency and attacks by Talibs.
"Three copperswas struck down in his prime, while one expired at hospital," senior police official Zubair Mehmood told AFP.
Doctor Noor Mohammad at local government hospital confirmed the corpse count.
Gun and kabooms frequently target police and security personnel in Balochistan, where faceless myrmidons in 2004 began fighting for autonomy and a greater share of the region's natural mineral wealth.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
[An Nahar] An kaboom on a bus in Pakistain's largest city Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... Saturday left at least five people dead and maimed 35 others, police said.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the blast in Sadar, a congested shopping area of Bloody Karachi, officials said, adding that a bomb disposal team was trying to determine whether it was caused by a bomb or an exploding compressed natural gas cylinder.
"At least five people were killed and 35 others were maimed," police surgeon Jalil Qadir told Agence La Belle France Presse.
Bloody Karachi is in the grip of a long-running wave of militancy, political and sectarian violence.
[Dawn] The Pakistain-Afghanistan border ...also known as Pashtunistan, home of ignorance, poverty, and automatic weapons... at Torkham was reopened on Saturday after it was earlier shut down in protest over incidents of torture to Pak truck drivers by Afghan forces.
Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistain, Mohammad Omar Daudzai, was also summoned to the Pak Foreign Office regarding the incidents, DawnNews reported.
According to a Foreign Office spokesperson, ambassador Daudzai was summoned to the FO in Islamabad and informed that these incidents of torture upon Pak citizens would not be tolerated.
The ambassador assured Pakistain that the Afghan government would investigate the matter and those responsible would be punished accordingly.
He also reassured that the Afghan government would ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.
Pak security guards had closed the border crossing on Friday for the second time in a week to register their protest against what they called the illegitimate treatment of Afghan police with Pak nationals in Afghanistan. The closure of border also effectively stopped all supplies to Afghanistan and entry of thousands of Afghan nationals into Pakistain.
According to reports, the incident was apparently a tit-for-tat response after a group of Afghan passengers were meted a similar treatment on Thursday by some unidentified people near the border on Pak side.
[Fox News] Government officials say 21 tribal coppers believed to have been kidnapped by the Taliban have been found rubbed out in northwest Pakistain. Toldja so. They were good as dead the moment they were snatched...
Naveed Akbar Khan says officials found the bodies shortly after midnight on Sunday after being notified by one policeman who had escaped. Another policeman was also found seriously maimed.
Khan says the slain coppers were found in the Jabai area of Frontier Region Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. , part of Pakistain's troubled tribal region. Khan is a senior political official in the area.
The 23 coppers went missing before dawn Thursday when faceless myrmidons armed with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons attacked two posts in Frontier Region Peshawar. Two coppers were also killed in the attacks.
[Al Ahram] Two people were maimed when security forces opened fire to disperse protesters who attacked Iraq's deputy premier on Sunday, forcing him to flee a rally he was addressing, an AFP news hound said.
The demonstrators, who have blocked a key highway connecting Iraq to Syria and Jordan for the past week over the alleged targeting of their Sunni Arab minority by the Shiite-led government in Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... , threw water bottles, stones and shoes at Saleh al-Mutlak before grabbing and hitting him.
Mutlak, who is himself Sunni and from Anbar province where the protests have been staged, managed to escape after federal police arrived and fired their weapons into the air.
An aide to Mutlak, speaking on condition of anonymity ... for fear of being murdered... , said the deputy premier was all right and was returning to Storied Baghdad.
Mutlak had arrived at the rally site earlier on Sunday and began addressing the crowds, which have numbered in the tens of thousands at their peak over the past week, from an elevated platform.
But as he began speaking, demonstrators shouted "Traitor!" in an apparent reference to his being in the national unity government they were protesting against, and began throwing bottles of water at him, an AFP journalist said.
They then began hurling stones and shoes, at which point Mutlak's personal security detail formed a protective ring around him and escorted him from the platform, firing their weapons above the heads of protesters.
But demonstrators followed them and broke through the security cordon, grabbing Mutlak's clothes and hitting him in the mouth, drawing blood.
Federal coppers then intervened, firing into the air to disperse the crowd, and Mutlak was driven off in an unmarked civilian car. Two people were maimed by the gunfire.
The rallies began on December 23 after the arrest three days earlier of Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi's guards on terrorism charges, prompting the minister to call for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to resign or be removed.
Demonstrators, who have massed in Sunni-majority provinces such as Anbar, Nineveh and Salaheddin, have said anti-terror laws were being used by the Shiite-led government to target their community.
Security officials have found a large weapons cache in Narathiwat, thwarting what they believe was a terror plot planned for the New Year holidays. The discovery followed the arrest on Thursday of Rutsaran Sale, alleged leader of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) terrorist insurgent group.
The officers were inspecting a rubber plantation in Cho Airong district late Friday night when they found the weapons and explosive material buried beneath some rubber trees.
One AK and five M16 assault rifles, a shotgun and several hundred rounds of ammunition were uncovered, along with 20 kg of urea fertiliser and several sheets of metal for manufacturing explosives. Officers think the weapons were being stockpiled by Mr Rutsaran for use in attacks over the holiday weekend.
Mr Rutsaran was arrested on charges of attacking a marine police unit in Tak Bai district and shooting a schoolteacher in Cho Airong district. His interrogation led officers to the weapons.
An investigation of the seized M16 rifles found three were among the 413 guns stolen from the 4th Development Battalion in Cho Airong district on Jan 4, 2004. Four soldiers were killed that day, and the attack marked the beginning of a new phase of the southern insurgency.
[An Nahar] Forces loyal to Syria's Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Despoiler of Deraa... on Saturday seized a district of the central city of Homs after a fierce assault that sparked a humanitarian crisis, a watchdog said.
"The army launched an offensive several days ago on the neighborhood of Deir Baalbeh with heavy bombing, and the fighting and attacks continued until the rebels withdrew," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Britannia-based watchdog, which relies on a large network of activists and medics on the ground, said that several other rebel districts, long under siege by the army, were still holding the troops at bay.
It said that the fighting had triggered a humanitarian crisis in the city, referred to by anti-regime activists as "the capital of the revolution."
Homs, a longtime industrial heartland, was the target of a major army offensive in February that left 700 people killed, the majority civilians.
West of the city, the army also battered the rebel-controlled area around the Crac des Chevaliers crusader castle, a UNESCO-listed world heritage site.
In the northwest province of Idlib, festivities erupted for the fourth consecutive day between troops and rebels, mostly jihadist fighters, around Wadi Deif, the last military base under regime control in the area, the Observatory said.
Fighting also raged around Menagh military airport near Syria's second city of Aleppo, after rebels managed to penetrate the base on Thursday following a months-long siege, said the Observatory.
Assad's forces shelled farmland between Halab al-Jadida district and Mansura on the eastern outskirts of Aleppo, as warplanes overflew several towns in the north of the province.
Battles also erupted near an oil refinery in the northeast province of Raqa, where two rebels were killed, according to the watchdog.
Another two bully boyz died in fighting in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, which saw fierce battles in its picturesque provincial capital as fighter jets were sighted overhead.
Warplanes also launched raids on Kernaz in the central province of Hama, causing widespread destruction in the town, the Observatory said.
The Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC), a network of activists on the ground, said that the air strikes caused five homes to collapse on their inhabitants, leaving dozens of people injured.
Air strikes and artillery fire was also reported in several locations near Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... , including Daraya to the southwest which the army has been trying to retake for several weeks, the Observatory said.
The SRGC reported festivities between the rebel Free Syrian Army and loyalist troops in the northeastern outskirts of the capital, while the army was targeting rebel strongholds in the Eastern Ghuta region with heavy mortar fire.
[An Nahar] The newly formed supreme military council of the rebel Free Syrian Army has promoted its leader to the rank of general, in the first decision since its creation this month.
"The first decision of the supreme military council, taken on December 26, is to promote Brigadier Selim Idriss to division general," Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, head of the rebel military council in the northern province of Aleppo, said in a video message posted on the Internet late on Friday.
Idriss, a military engineer who defected from the Syrian army in July, had been elected chief of staff for the rebel military council following its formation in mid-December.
The council was created to unify the ranks of the rebellion and falls under the National Coalition, which has been widely recognized by the international community as the legitimate political representative of the Syrian people.
Idriss is responsible for commanding the wide patchwork of rebel forces, with the notable exception of the powerful Al-Nusra Front, a jihadist group blacklisted by Washington as a "terrorist" organization.
[CNN] Russia's top diplomat and an international envoy to Syria warned Saturday that the Middle East nation's conflict is becoming more militarized and sectarian, further endangering the region.
The statements came on what may be the bloodiest day since the unrest's start 21 months ago: At least 392 people were killed Saturday, the opposition Local Coordination Committees said. The toll includes 201 people who a captured Syrian soldier said had been executed in Deir Balbah, outside of Homs, after Syrian forces won a battle there, an LCC front man said.
The Syrian government has not commented on the Deir Balbah allegations, and CNN cannot independently confirm casualty reports as Syria's government has severely restricted access to the country.
Meanwhile, ...back at the comedy club, Boogie sadly admitted that he was a better peeping Tom than he was a comedian... Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Lakhdar Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... envoy, held a meeting aimed at halting any such violence by bringing both sides to the negotiating table.
Brahimi warned the civil war was devolving into fighting between factions jostling for power, rather than an effort centered on bettering the lives of all Syrians.
"I think Sergey Lavrov is absolutely right that the conflict is not only more and more militarized, it is more and more sectarian," Brahimi told news hounds after the talks in Moscow.
Their meeting appeared to signal a shift by Russia, which has staunchly opposed efforts by the U.N. Security Council to oust Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor. If he'd stuck with it he'd have had a good practice by now... , a longtime ally.
Moscow remains opposed to any foreign intervention. But as the conflict rages and the casualty count climbs to an estimated 40,000, Russia appears willing to look at options for a political transition in Syria.
"Russia is in contact with all sides in Syria. Our priority is to stop violence," Lavrov said, adding only Syrians ultimately should decide their fate.
"A lot of things now depend on external players. It's very important to stop actions that lead to militarization."
Days before the meeting, Brahimi called for the formation of a transitional government in Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... that would hold power until an election -- a key element of a proposed peace plan drawn up in June.
Lavrov also called for reviving the plan, which was crafted during a Geneva, Switzerland ...home of the Helvetians, famous for cheese, watches, yodeling, and William Tell... , conference that included representatives from world powers that had been at odds over the Syrian conflict. It called for a cease-fire, a transitional government and a new constitution, though it did not specify whether al-Assad would have to step down.
Russia and China joined La Belle France, Britannia, the United States and Turkey in agreeing on the plan, as well as Arab League nations.
But neither the opposition nor al-Assad's government has signaled a willingness to sign on to it. In fact, fighting escalated since then and rebels now control a number of locales they'd seized from al-Assad's forces.
[An Nahar] Rebels pushed to consolidate gains in northwestern Syria on Saturday, storming a key army post and fighting for control of an airbase, a watchdog said.
Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad's Despoiler of Deraa... forces meanwhile recaptured a neighborhood of the central city of Homs that had been held by rebels for most of the year after a fierce assault that sparked a humanitarian crisis.
In Idlib province, snuffies stormed the Hamidiyeh army post, paving the way for the takeover of the nearby Wadi Deif garrison, the Britannia-based watchdog said.
Fierce festivities between loyalist troops and thugs, mostly from the jihadist al-Nusra Front, erupted inside the base, where loud kabooms were heard.
Wadi Deif is one of the government's last outposts in the largely rebel-held north.
Near second city Aleppo, warplanes pounded rebel positions around the Menagh airbase, after rebels penetrated the perimeter on Thursday following a months-long siege, the Observatory said.
Air strikes and artillery fire were reported in several areas near Damascus ...The place where Pencilneck hangs his brass hat... , including Daraya to the southwest, where festivities raged as the army pressed its bid to retake the town.
In Homs, troops overran the Deir Baalbeh, which was the target of a major army offensive in February that left 700 people killed, most of them civilians.
Nationwide, at least 81 people were killed in violence on Saturday, 43 of them civilians, the Observatory said.