Tuesday morning, breaking news in the UK is that a car bomb attack on the French embassy in Tripoli, Libya, has caused substantial damage. Early reports claim that two guards were injured but there are no other reports of casualties or fatalities. This could change. Updates will follow.A car bomb is suspe
cted but not confirmed. The blast occurred at about 7am local time. The embassy is in a middle-class area of the Libyan capital. Apart from the embassy there are residential properties and shops such as BHS and Marks and Spencer.
The blast blew out windows in the vicinity of the embassy.The embassy building has been extensively damaged.
A security wall surrounding the property and two parked cars were destroyed in the attack. At time of writing the reasons for the bombing are not known. Suspicion that it was an Islamist motivated terrorist attack, a reprisal for France's involvement in Mali and parts of the Maghreb has been voiced.This is the first such attack in Libya since the civil war, although there have been others elsewhere, such as Benghazi.
All are indications that all is not well in Libya since the fall of the Gaddafi regime.Sky news later reported:
Libyan foreign minister Mohammed Abdel Aziz condemned the attack on the embassy, calling it a "terrorist act". "We strongly condemn this act, which we regard as a terrorist act against a brother nation that supported Libya during the revolution" of 2011 that ousted the regime of Moamer Kadhafi, Abdel Aziz told AFP news agency at the scene of the blast.
In Paris, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius condemned the bombing, calling it an "abhorrent act." In a statement, Mr Fabius said his ministry was "in liaison with the Libyan authorities" and that France will "do everything it can to shed light on the circumstances of this abhorrent act and to quickly identify the perpetrators".
Police and fire officers were attending a huge fire at a fertiliser plant in Texas when an explosion, which some have described as resembling a nuclear event, rocked the area. Footage of the explosion is online as some in the area were filming the fire when the explosion hit. At time of writing there is no confirmation as to the number of dead and injured but the situation looks bad.
"More than half of the town has been evacuated and people are still being pulled from damaged buildings following the blast in West, near Waco. The blast - which the US geological survey said had a 2.1 magnitude - was so powerful that a nearby block of flats was destroyed and 130 residents of a local nursing home were injured" reports Sky News
. The explosion occurred around 8pm local time. There are reports of fatalities and many injuries.The nature of the fertiliser plant means that chemical inhalation has caused respiratory injuries to people in the vicinity.
Many buildings were damaged, some extensively. Following the explosion the fire was abandoned to burn away as fears of further expolsions rose.Investigatiors will aim to ascertain what caused the blaze. Was it "just one of those things" or
the act of an arsonist? In light of events in the USA this week authorities will be searching for any links between the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, potetially lethal letters containing ricin which were sent to President Obama and a US senator and this blaze. NBC News
reports that federal agents have arrested a suspect for mailing the ricin positive letters. Paul Kevin Curtis of Tupelo, Miss. allegedly sent the lettters, both signed "I am KC and I approve this message." The letters both included the text "to see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance."
Comment:The West is jittery right now. The USA having experienced a bloody week is on edge. Were all of the incidents mere coincidencies or coordinated acts? The fertiliser blaze may have been an accident but it could have been a ploy to lure first responders to the secene in time for a scheduled explosion.Sadly there could be many reasons behind the attacks and many organisations. A home-grown nut, perhaps a gun lover, is not out of the question. Due to the location of the latest incident the "Waco" siege will not be ruiled out. It was an incident which sprang to mind quickly following the Boston Marathon bombing.
On Sunday, February 28, 1993 the Waco siege began. It ended violently 50 days later on April 19. The siege began when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
(ATF), accompanied by several members of the media, attempted to execute a search warrant at Mount Carmel Center
ranch, a property of the religious group the Branch Davidians
. It was located in Elk, Texas
nine miles (14 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco
April 19, 1995 Timothy McVeigh
bombed a federal building in Oklahoma. He cited the Waco siege as a reason for his actions. It was a deadly bombing resulting in the death of 168 people (including 19 children under the age of 6) and injuring more than 600. There are other US incidents at this time of year which have been qestioned as Waco related. notably the Columbine massacre.The latest news from the fertiliser blast is that two people are dead and at least 66 people are injured, 38 seriously.Update 10.18am BSTThe fertiliser plant had
54,000lbs (20 tonnes) of anhydrous ammonia on site reports the BBC
. Emergency services said the amonia may have caused the explosion. However in some reports it appears that the explosion was in the town away from the fertiliser plant. TEK updates will follow.........RIPSources:NBC NewsSky NewsWikipediaCNN
Wednesday evening in the UK is that a man has been arrested on suspicion of the Boston Marathon bombings. Fox News in the USA and Sky News in the UK broke the story. Media sources are now waiting for a press conference which the FBI is due to hold.The man arrested on suspicion of the attack is expected to appear before a federal court today. He was seen on CCTV dropping a suspicious looking bag and moving between the two sites of explosions Monday.
According to the BBC
"The breakthrough reportedly came from security video of a man dropping off a bag on the street near the race's finish line, before walking away".Within an hour or so police and federall officials went on record to deny reports of an arrest
Update Wednesday 10.30pm BSTThe FBI press conference is cancelled. Authorities claim they have identified a suspect from CCTV footage but need more time before they hold a conference.Updates will follow..
...........Related reading:Patriot Day Boston, bombs scar day
, includes updatesWorldwide security beefed up following Boston bombingsBoston marathon hit with bombs
David Coleman Headley, a 52-year-old Pakistani-American, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for his part in the 2008 terror attacks across Mumbai, India.
Headley could have faced a life sentence or the death penalty but the leniency of the court was due to his co-operation with investigators. Arrested in 2009 he immediately came clean.
His cooperation revealed vital intelligence about the Pakistan-based terror network at the heart of the attacks. Prosecutors, in pushing for a more lenient sentence, hope that future suspected terrorists will also co-operate.
The Indian authorities and victims of the attacks, however, expressed their disappointment at the sentence. Headley could be back on the streets eventually but, even with good behavior, not before he is 80 years of age.
Headley carried out reconnaissance enabling the Mumbai attackers to carry out their mission. On various scouting missions Headley gathered information. This enabled the attackers to plan their terror mission well.
High profile locations were hit in Mumbai, a city widely acknowledged as the financial capital of India. The terrorists attacked two major hotels, the Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi Trident, resulting in a siege. Explosions and gunfire rocked the city.
The terrorists launched their attacks on Nov. 26, and they lasted until Nov. 29, 2008.
A series of attacks killed 164 people, including children. Hundreds sustained injuries. In court for the sentencing Headley faced some of the victims.
Linda Ragsdale, a 53-year-old Tennessee children's author was visibly angry as she shouted at close range to Headley.
Shot through her back, the bullet passed along her spine and then out of her thigh. Ragsdale was in a hotel restaurant when gunmen burst in. As they fired randomly at the diners people dived for cover. "I know the sweet sickening smell of gunfire and blood. I know what a bullet can do to every part of the human body ... These are things I never needed to know, never needed to experience."
In passing sentence the judge made it clear that he disapproved the lenient sentence. Judge Harry Leinenweber said the Mumbai assault was so unfathomable and terrifying that, "perhaps the lucky ones were the ones who didn't survive. I don't have any faith in Mr. Headley when he says he's a changed person and believes in the American way of life."
Headley was born Daood Gilani. His father a Pakistani and his mother American. In 2006 he changed his name. The name change enabled him to move more freely to India. Sky News
reports that in 2012 India secretly hanged the lone surviving Mumbai gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab. Opinion
A dreadful terror attack. One likened to 9/11 by the Indian authorities. It caused terror in a busy city. It damaged the city's reputation for tourism. Many families were left broken.
Was 35 years in jail an appropriate sentence, or in trying to ensure that other suspected terrorists speak out? Or have the authorities set a deadly precedent?
Will the sentence deter a would-be-terrorist aged 25? Would the court have been as lenient with a younger man?
Sources ABC SkyNews CNN
Israel has bombarded Gaza for a fifth day. The attacks on this small strip of a country have come via land, sea and air. Currently the death toll from this week's escalating violence is said to be 48 killed in Gaza and three civilians in Israel. Of the 48 around half are said to be civilians. That includes 13 children.Israel has a more sophisticated missile interception system plus a greater arsenal than the Palestinians. There are claims that Gaza receives its weapons via tunnels from Iran. Whether that is true is not known. In many ways it should be immaterial. The facts indicate in our opinion that both coutries are on a hiding to nothing right now
.In Gaza media buildings have been shelled. These have included at least one that houses foreign media.
Israel claims that eight rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza after midnight Saturday. Three hit home. How many were fired from Israel? That is not so easy to find out. Israeli PM Netanyahou has now said that it is ready to "significantly expand its operation in Gaza" With 75,000 reservists called up he appears to be preparing for a brutal invasion of Gaza. Time will tell if that is the case or if it is more mind games.UNICEF, a worldwide charity, has said that the children of Gaza are suffering greatly and that the bombing is intense. One worker spoke of the daily fears of the charity workers families in Gaza.OPINIONBlaming each other will achieve nothing. It is time for this to be resolved. If this is at all possible it will be by way of negotiations. Simply bombing each other is nonsese. Such episodes run their course and inevtably conflict flares up again.
Destroying Hamas is unlikely to alleviate the situation. Modern war tends to breed more would be rebels with hate in the hearts. Civilians who lose everything may feel they have nothing to lose in rising up.This blogger is happy that Mitt Romney is not in the White House as this conflict may have already escaleted if that was the case. His words on Israel may have simply been spin but we can never be sure. With so many conflicts in the Middle East right now Israel and Gaza is just one more problem. With much of the Middle East in dissaray certainly Gaza will have less ready support than perhaps two years ago.
A David and Goliath situation. As in that case the biggest may not necessarily be the winner.Note: If you do not belive that Romney, Obama and the US election has not impacted on the timing of this latest outbreak of violence read this related reportUpdate:
Sunday November 18, 18.20 GMTThe death toll in Isreal remains at 3. In Gaza it is 67.
Israel has called its latest onslaught on Gaza Operation Pillar of Defenc. You can call it any fancy names you like, as is often the case with military attacks, but it is still the murder of civilian. Sooner or later it will need negotiations to resolve the issues. Even after a protracted War both sides often have to sit down and reach an agreement.
A detainee at the infamous Guantanamo prison died on Saturday September 8, 2012. Today the prisoner has been named as Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 32-year-old Yemeni who had been held in Gitmo since 2002.
A ten year jail term on a young man, which would have been so much longer had he not died. Incarceration at Gitmo rarely follows any rules or conventions. The US can paint the picture however they want to suit their own ends but the facts speak for themselves. When you forgo rules such as fair and free trials with proper sentencing you set a precedent which one day will bite back.
Look online to find a little information about this man and his death: "The detainee found dead in a maximum-security cell at Guantánamo was a Yemeni captive with a history of suicide attempts who at one time won a federal judge’s release order, only to see his case overturned on appeal and rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The detention center on Tuesday identified the dead captive as Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, in his 30s, held since January 2002 as prisoner No. 156. Latif was found unconscious in his cell Saturday afternoon, the military said. Guards and military medical staff could not revive him. He was the ninth detainee to die in the 11 years of the detention center.
The military withheld Latif’s identity while the Naval Criminal Intelligence Service began an investigation and the Obama administration notified members of Congress and Latif’s family of the death."
Today is September 11, 2012 eleven years to the day since the Twin Towers were struck by terrorists killing many immediately and many more in the years that followed. Two wars in the name of 9/11 resulted in too many civilian and military deaths. Two wars that helped destabilse a huge area of the World.
Gitmo, a notorious prison was created in a supposed civilised country, The USA. Prisoners maltreated. Prisoners who did not stand trial nor receive a sentence. Prisoners who were tortured. Prsioners such as Adnan who have died in Gitmo. Nine such deaths at the last count we believe.
In July 2012, 168 prisoners remained in Gitmo. Various sources online are still fightimg for their release. Some prisoners may be terrorists whilst others may be relative innocents caught up in the madness that followed 9/11. Gitmo remains as America's shame. If there are accusations and allegations to answer then so be it. Simply locking people up and throwing away the key is barbaric.
RIP Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif
The death of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi yesterday closes a chapter in terrorist attacks but for many it leaves unanswered questions. UK PM Cameron commenting on the news said our thoughts should be with the 270 fatalities of the Lockerbie plane bomb. PanAm flight 103 was on its way from London to New York in December1988 when a bomb exploded. It killed all 243 passengers and 16 crew members plus 11 members of the public when the debris fell to earth in the Scottish village of Lockerbie.
The majority of those killed on the plane were Americans. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was alleged to be responsible for this act of terrorism and sentenced to a life sentence in a Scottish jail. Megrahi was released from jail in 2009 on compassionate grounds. He was suffering prostate cancer and his death was supposedly imminent. The loved ones of the victims of the bomb wanted him to "rot in hell" and mainly felt he should die in jail.
This early release caused a furore then and still does. His death May 2012 makes many believe that he was not released as death was imminent but rather for political ends. These are thought to be trade with Libya and or political relationships. At least one doctor in the UK has, since Megrahi's death, said that his extended length of life was in part due to the treatment he received once back home, which he would not have received in the UK.
A UK relative of one Lockerbie bomb victim has questioned the guilt of Megrahi. In America it is widely felt that he was guilty but that he did not act alone. People over there would like to see others brought to justice.The death of Megrahi has understandably reopened old wounds and brought many people to the fore. One speaking on UK TV Sunday May 20, 2012, raised a subject that the Americans would rather forget. This is the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655.
Flight 655 was a civilian flight. It was shot down by US Forces in July 1988. It was the end of the Iran Iraq war and the plane was flying over the Strait of Hormuz. It was in Iranian air space and not infringing any territorial claims. All of the civilians on board this plane were killed. 290 in total were on-board, including 66 children and 16 crew.
Responsible for this plane destruction and the 290 deaths was United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes (CG-49) and its command. Those killed were from various countries including Iran, United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Yugoslavia and Italy.
For some this terrible tragedy is in part responsible for the Locerbie tragedy. Look online and you will find plenty of information regarding this plane's demise and the compensation that eventually the US paid out, obviously accepting liability.
What the man interviewed on UK TV was talking about though was how the US has never apologised for its actions. How the US cannot see that their actions in July 1988 could have led to the Lockerbie tragedy in December 1988. Tit for tat reprisals are nothing new. In some ways the recent war in Iraq and ongoing war in Afghanistan were just that, in response to 9/11.
So many times writing articles regarding such issues involving the US this blogger brings to mind "As you sow so shall you reap" With so much of the US supposedly God fearing individuals it puzzles how they can not see this too.
One year ago today, Osama Bin Laden was captured and unceremoniously killed. His death brought closure for some, especially the loved ones of the people killed in the 9/11 bombings.It is hard to think that some will have mourned Osama but of course they will. His loved ones and no doubt his followers.
The West still has large numbers of military personnel fighting in Afghanistan because of 9/11. The civilians of that country have had more than 10 years of occupation. Whilst we in the west are good at choosing to forget the man, woman and child on the streets of Afghanistan you just have to ask yourself one question. If the UK or the US had Afghan troops stationed on our streets, trying to impose their laws upon us, how would we react? Add to this rogue incidents such as US troops urinating on dead Taliban, careless handing of the Koran and 17 civilians being killed by supposedly one US solider and it not hard to guess how the people feel. Excuses just do not wash any more.
The way that Bin Laden was captured, killed and disposed of though has led the way to many conspiracy theories. Is he really dead? Did the US kill him this way to shut him up? And on it goes. Many people still believe that in some way the US authorities were involved or complicit in 9/11, and those believers will not be easily convinced otherwise.
After the death of Bin Laden this blogger tried to write some of her thoughts on his death and how it made her feel. This is what she wrote on Hubpages,
within a few weeks of his death:
"The media has been full of questions and articles about Bin Laden and his death. It seems that having wanted Bin Laden dead for such a long time many such people cannot believe the news.
Conspiracy theories abound and will probably do so for many years to come. How do I feel about Bin Laden's death? Well I am not really sure. Having seen the question though I thought I would try to understand and acknowledge my feelings on the matter, so here goes.
On that fateful day, 9/11, my husband was ill and we were home wiaiting a doctor's appointement. As the UK 24 hours news service flashed the images of the first strike we were shocked to the core.
Was it an accident? If it was why was the plane so low? If it was a terrorist attck it would not have passengers on board, right?
As we sat transfixed the day's events began to play out in real time. Initially the media showed people choosing to jump to their death rather than take thier chances in the fire. Can you blame them? It must have took great courage but to stay was to be certain death for so many.
The second plane hit leaving no doubt that it was an act of terrorism.
News began pouring of the other would be attacks and it seemed the world was on the brink of war.
People wherever you went, even in the UK, talked of little else for days. Speaking with a more informed family member I learned the name Osama Bin Laden and that he was no stranger to terrorism. These days words like the Taliban and Al Qaeda trip of the tongue easily, but then they were unfamiliar to many people, including myself.
No-one could watch the footage of that day and not be moved. In the West it brought sorrow and pain. In some parts of the East it brought jubilation, causing more hate.
Working in a hospital I encounter people from all countries on a daily basis. One thing that struck me at the time is how quickly people's perceptions can change. One trainee doctor from abroad, who wore a turban, began to be verbally abused. Not directly of course but by the coward's way of being underhand and whispering. Subtle changes.
This guy had worked with us for quite some time, was caring, good at his job, polite, friendly and fun so what had changed? He had not.
Perhaps all of this is what helped form my eventual feelings when I heard of the death of Osama Bin Laden.
Having never stood trial for the crimes he is supposed to have committed, he went to his death an innocent man. NO, I hear you say, he was guilty. However, he was never proved guilty of anything, so what else could he be?
He may have claimed responsibilty for some acts of terrorism, but that could just have been the rantings of a madman. Having never stood trial there will always be rumours and a feeling of unfinished business.
I had thought that I and others may sleep easier in our beds once Bin Laden had departed this planet, but we probably will not.
Justice was not been served but rather a lynch mob did what it felt it needed to do. You can argue the toss until you are blue in the face but to all intents and purposes that is what it was.
Terror and terroists have no place on earth but we must fight them, not murder them and break international laws to meet our ends. If we do so we are not much better than them, are we?
I know this will be emotive but remember I am answering a question and this is my personal answer.
So how did I feel.
Glad in one way but not happy nor jubilant. Wary in another way, of what might follow. Hopeful in that at last our troops may be able to return home, from places such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Happy for the relatives of those who have died in these terrorist attacks, as they may now have some closure. Sorry that the US felt the need to exclude the Pakistan authorities and illegally enter another country.
The more I think about it perhaps the killing of Bin laden prompted a multitude of feelings not least, anxiety. Will the Taliban reciprocate? Will we see an increase in terrorist attacks? Who will suffer the most? Is global conflict coming?
On 13th May 2011 two suicide bombers in Pakistan killed 80 people The death toll included, mainly, raw police recruits but also a handful of citizens. The Taliban were quick to call the media and claim responsibility for the attack. It was a reprisal for the death of Osama Bin Laden.
So where do we go from here? Heaven only knows."
Eleven months on is the world a safer and better place? Is Afghanistan returning to normal life? Are our military home? Is the Middle East a better place to live, even if you are a woman? Has terrorism ended in Pakistan?President Obama has added the capture and death of Osama Bin Laden to his election campaign. It may prove a positive for him in the US. It would not for me. The nature and circumstances surrounding the death would not sit well. Nor would the ongoing drone attacks countries such as Pakistan have experienced. Yet in my heart I am an Obama fan and hope he will secure another term in the White House. He may not be perfect but he is the better option for the US and the World right now. You may disagree, as is your prerogative.As for Bin Laden he is one of many who sadly do not treasure live on this earth nor hold any liberal thoughts. Too may in the West, including some Western politicians appear not to either.Tages: Osama Bin laden, death of Bin Laden, Barack Obama, Afghanistan, Pakistan drone attacks, terrorism
There have been media reports today in the UK of a terror suspect awaiting trial. Babar Ahmad has been held for seven years without trial. Mr Ahmad in an exclusive interview with the BBC has accused the police and prosecutors of mishandling his case.He has been fighting extradition to the US, hence his long incarceration.
Current Home Secretary Theresa May has recently happily signed extradition orders for UK citizens, which have resulted in most being dispatched to the US for trial.
Mr Ahmad is due to find out April 10, 2012, whether he will be tried in the US or not. The BBC report states "The Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service have denied impropriety. The unprecedented interview in the maximum security Long Lartin Prison came after the BBC challenged a government ban on filming Mr Ahmad. The High Court ruled that there was an overwhelming public interest in hearing Mr Ahmad discuss his case, because of his unique situation."I have been in prison now for nearly eight years without trial," Mr Ahmad said. "I am facing extradition to the US to spend the rest of my life in solitary confinement. I have never been questioned about the allegations against me. "I do not hold the Americans responsible for anything that has happened to me, but I think it is fair to say that I am fighting for my life - and I am running out of time."The 37-year-old from Tooting in south London was arrested in 2004 on an extradition warrant from the United States.The BBC fought a High Court battle to allow Mr Ahmad to be interviewed. US prosecutors say he headed a terrorist "support cell" in London through a website called Azzam.com. He faces life imprisonment if convicted. Scotland Yard had arrested Mr Ahmad the previous year, but released him without charge.
: How a person can serve more than serve years in jail without trial beggars belief. What has happened to UK justice?