Shutting-Down the US Training Mission In Afghanistan

[SEE:  Afghan Village Militias Accused Of Abuses  ;  SOCOM Boss Discusses “training proxy native forces to overthrow a hostile government”]

U.S. Winds Down Afghanistan Aid Program 

Military Pulls Out Development Teams That Had Been Central to War Strategy

BY NATHAN HODGE

JALALABAD, Afghanistan—The U.S. military is ending a massive nation-building experiment in Afghanistan, shutting down teams that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into roads, schools and administrative buildings in the country’s hinterlands.

The shutdown, part of the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition forces over the next year, will mark the end of a hearts-and-minds campaign that has been central to the military’s strategy.

As part of an effort to improve the reach and reputation of Afghanistan’s central government, the U.S. and its allies set up over two dozen Provincial Reconstruction Teams around the country to dispense development aid and …

 

 

Killing Zetas Leader Merely Taking-Out the Trash for Sinaloa Cartel

“Chapo” Guzmán emerges as the big winner after Zetas leader’s death

The death Sunday of Zetas leader Heriberto Lazcano will have two major consequences in the drug world, an expert on the Zetas said: Joaquin “Chapo” Guzmán, the notorious leader of Sinaloa drug cartel leader, emerges as the big winner, and violence may increase.

George W. Grayson said Lazcano’s death would leave Guzmán with one less rival, which will affect his battle over the Juárez smuggling corridor, where the Carrillo Fuentes cartel had formed a loose alliance with the Zetas.

Miguel “Z-40” Treviño Morales, another high-ranking Zeta and a fugitive, is considered next in line to take over the Zetas.

“Assuming ‘El Lazca’ (Lazcano) is dead, (Treviño Morales) emerges as the uncontested leader of Los Zetas,”

Grayson said Tuesday. “He is prepared to advance his interest through unspeakable violence. This infuses fear in foes and promotes discipline within the ranks of Los Zetas.”

Grayson said Los Zetas “have a line of replacements for (comrades) killed and captured. The problem is that the new plaza bosses are younger, less experienced in the use of weapons, more likely to use drugs, and seek to earn their stripes through savagery.”

Mexican authorities reported that Lazcano, 37, was one of two men whom navy marines killed Sunday near El Progreso, Coahuila. On Monday, an armed commando entered the funeral home where Lazcano’s body was being prepared for burial and snatched the body.

Officials have not confirmed whether fellow Zetas took Lazcano’s body.

In a previous body-snatching, Grayson said, Zetas gunmen broke into a cemetery in 2007 in Poza Rica, Veracruz, “smashed open with hammers the gravestone of their comrade Roberto Carlos Carmona, and carried away the casket containing his body.”

Grayson said Mexico’s marines scored a major victory with Lazcano’s death. Grayson is co-author of a 2012 book about the Zetas, “The Executioners’ Men” (Transaction Press).

Mexican President Felipe Calderón commended the marines who took down Lazcano in a firefight.

The Mexican marines responded to a tip that heavily armed men were in El Progreso area, and were fired on by the suspects.

Officials said the suspects used military-grade weapons against the marines, including grenade-launchers and assault rifles.

Authorities were able to identify Lazcano before his body was taken through fingerprints and facial features that matched his photographs. Officials had records of Lazcano from his days as a Mexican special forces soldier.

In a June 27, 2011, article for Time magazine, journalist and author Ioan Grillo said that Lazcano reportedly had received military training from Israeli and U.S. forces. Lazcano belonged to the elite Mexican Airborne Special Forces Group before he deserted in 1998 to go work for the Gulf drug cartel under Osiel Cardenas.

He and other founding members of the Zetas broke away to create an independent drug-trafficking organization that became known for brutal violence, including skinnings and beheadings, and alleged mass murders of rivals and immigrants.

The Zetas grew exponentially, expanding their influence to 11 Mexican states, to several U.S. states and to Central America, South America and Italy.

Its members are known for their military-style discipline and use of advanced technology. They recruited and trained former Mexican soldiers, police at all levels, and Guatemalan ex-special forces, known as Kaibiles.

The Zetas had maintained a small and low-key presence in the region that includes West Texas, Southern New Mexico and Chihuahua state. But that changed in June when U.S. authorities indicted 14 alleged Zetas members in connection with money laundering involving the breeding and racing of quarter horses in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and California.

Some of the horses that allegedly belonging to high-level Zetas leaders raced in Ruidoso. Zetas leader Miguel Treviño Morales and two of his brothers were among those indicted in the horse-breeding and racing schemes.

Authorities in Mexico and the United States together had offered a $7 million bounty for Lazcano.

Grayson said that the Lazcano’s death will make Guzmán more powerful in the underworld of drug trafficking.

Phil Jordan, former director of the El Paso Intelligence Center, said that U.S. authorities continue to investigate alleged Zetas for trafficking weapons to Mexico through El Paso and Juárez.

The Zetas, based in the state of Tamaulipas, are considered allies of the Carrillo Fuentes drug cartel, which includes La Linea in Juárez.

This week, Chihuahua state authorities linked the Zetas to the slaying two years ago of activist Marisela Escobedo in Chihuahua City.

Mexican authorities also implicated the Zetas in the 2011 shooting attack in Mexico against two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, who was killed, and Victor Avila of El Paso, who was wounded.

Jesús Enrique Rejon Aguilar, the Zetas’ alleged number three man, was extradited last month to face charges in the United States as a suspect in Zapata’s death.

Diana Washington Valdez may be reached at dvaldez@elpasotimes.com; 546-6140.

Texas Punishing Students Who Refuse Microchip-Tracking–(Only a matter of time before your state does this)

Texas schools punish students who refuse to be tracked with microchips

AFP Photo/Philippe Marle

AFP Photo/Philippe Marle

A school district in Texas came under fire earlier this year when it announced that it would require students to wear microchip-embedded ID cards at all times. Now, students who refuse to be monitored say they are feeling the repercussions.

Since October 1, students at John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School in San Antonio, Texas, have been asked to attend class with photo ID cards equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips to track every pupil’s location. Educators insist that the endeavor is being rolled out in Texas to stem the rampant truancy devastating the school’s funding. If the program is judged successful, the RFID chips could soon come to 112 schools in all and affect nearly 100,000 students.

Students who refuse to walk the school halls with the card in their pocket or around their neck claim they are being tormented by instructors, and are barred from participating in certain school functions. Some also said they were turned away from common areas like cafeterias and libraries.

Andrea Hernandez, a sophomore at John Jay, said educators have ignored her pleas to respect her privacy and told her she cannot participate in school elections if she refuses to comply with the tracking program.

Hernandez said in an interview with Salon that subjecting herself to constant monitoring through an RFID chip is like being branded with the “mark of the beast” – a reference to the Bible’s apocalyptic Book of Revelations. When she reached out to WND with the school’s response, though, she said that she was threatened with not being allowed to vote for her school’s homecoming king and queen for disobeying the student ID rule.

“I had a teacher tell me I would not be allowed to vote because I did not have the proper voter ID,” Hernandez told WND. “I had my old student ID card which they originally told us would be good for the entire four years we were in school. He said I needed the new ID with the chip in order to vote.”

After Hernandez refused to wear an RFID chip, WND reported that Deputy Superintendent Ray Galindo issued a statement to the girl’s parents: “We are simply asking your daughter to wear an ID badge as every other student and adult on the Jay campus is asked to do.” If she is allowed to forego the tracking now, the repercussions will be harsher than just revoking voting rights for homecoming contests once the school makes location-monitoring mandatory, he argued.

“I urge you to accept this solution so that your child’s instructional program will not be affected. As we discussed, there will be consequences for refusal to wear an ID card as we begin to move forward with full implementation,” Galindo wrote.

The girl’s father, Steve Hernandez, told WND that the school was somewhat willing to work with his daughter, but said that the family is unwilling to “agree to stop criticizing the program” and publically endorse it.

“I told him that was unacceptable because it would imply an endorsement of the district’s policy and my daughter and I should not have to give up our constitutional rights to speak out against a program that we feel is wrong,” Mr. Hernandez responded.

The Northside Independent School District expects to collect upwards of $2 million in state funding by reversing its poor attendance figures, with the RFID program costing around one-quarter of that sum to initiate and another $136,005 in maintenance. The new funding may not offset the other damages that could arise: Heather Fazio of Texans for Accountable Government told WND that she filed a Freedom of Information Act request for $30 and received the names and addresses of every student in the school district.

“Using this information along with an RFID reader means a predator could use this information to determine if the student is at home and then track them wherever they go. These chips are always broadcasting so anyone with a reader can track them anywhere,” she said.

Kirsten Bokenkamp of the ACLU told the San Antonio Express-News earlier this year that her organization expected to challenge the board’s decision to use the tracking system, but the school went ahead with the program undeterred. Steve Hernandez told WND that he approached the ACLU abour representing his daughter’s case, but Rebecca Robertson of a local branch of the organization said that, “the ACLU of Texas will not be able to represent you or your daughter in this matter,” saying the case did not meet the group’s criteria.

Turkish Military Jets Force Syrian Passenger Plane To Land, Pilot Forced To Sign False Confession

Turkish officials forced Syrian passengers to sign fake papers: Claim

ISTANBUL

A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on Oct 10. AFP photo

A Syrian passenger plane is seen after it was forced to land at Ankara airport on Oct 10. AFP photo

Passengers on a Syrian passenger plane that was grounded for several hours by Turkish authorities on Oct. 10 said they were forced to sign “fake papers” indicating that the aircraft had made an emergency landing.

The A-320 plane, traveling from Moscow to Damascus, was grounded by Turkish authorities on suspicions that it was carrying military equipment destined for Syria. When the plane was intercepted by Turkish authorities at around 6:30 p.m., it was carrying 37 people, including crew, daily Hürriyet reported on its website.

“Four people in the plane were beaten up [and] forced to sign the papers. Two of them were crew and the other two were passengers. We don’t know what the papers were about. We were worried about the situation of the captain. They took him away and they threatened him, saying he would be taken under custody if he didn’t sign the emergency landing documents,” one of the hostesses on the plane, Shirin Azis, toldRussian TV channel RT.

One of the passengers, Fatima al-Saman, said the captain was forced to sign a document that claimed military aircraft had no role in the grounding of the plane and that the aircraft had been forced to make an emergency landing.

“They were going to take the captain hostage if we didn’t obey their conditions. They were threatening us. The captain told us that ‘I either have to sign that document that I made an emergency landing, or they will take me hostage,’” she said.

“They started to take down some of the luggage. They opened [the bags] up and took pictures. We all saw what was inside. There were no arms or whatseoever there.  There were only some auxilary equipment and papers, but there were no rockets. [The claims that there were weapons on board] are all lies.”

According to authorities, the plane was carrying 12 large parcels containing military communication devices.

Tensions between Turkey and Syria have been running high amid sporadic exchanges of fire along the border since Oct. 3, when a Syrian mortar killed five in the Turkish border town of Akçakale.

Guns and Bombs are No Option in Islam

 

Guns and Bombs are No Option in Islam

 source

March 2011

The Arabic equivalent of blasphemy is shatm. Blasphemy finds no mention in the dictionary of Islam. It is only an innovated term. According to Hadith  (saying of the Prophet of Islam), any innovation in the religion of Islam is liable  to be rejected. It is a fact that the Pakistani legislature has passed a law that blasphemy is a cognisable offence and one who commits it is liable to capital punishment. But the authentic sources of Islam are only two: the Quran and the Hadith. No Mufti or legislature has the right to add such a law to the Islamic Shariah.
The Prophet of Islam started his mission in AD 610 in Mecca and he died in AD 632 in Medina. During these twenty-two years there were some people both in Mecca and Medina who used abusive language against the Prophet of Islam. But the Prophet never said they should be killed. He opted for only two kinds of response: either he avoid the issue or he asked some of his companions to meet them and remove their misunderstanding.
Looking at the early history of Islam, I can say that the present Muslims must adopt this prophetic model. Muslims must either ignore such events or they must respond to them in a peaceful manner, that, is, statement for a statement, a book for a book. There is option for Muslims.
According to the Creation Plan of God, everyone is free. Freedom is everyone’s birthright, so no one can abolish anyone’s freedom. People are free to use their freedom as they please, if you disagree with the point of view of your fellow beings, you can express your views in a rational manner; you must try to address their minds. Guns and bombs are no options for a Muslims.
Killing in the name of blasphemy is common, especially in Pakistan. Further, it is strange that no Muslim of repute speaks against this unislamic act. Almost all such Muslims are silent on this issue. This silence is highly objectionable. As an Islamic scholars, I would like to say that this so-called blasphemy is not a crime but remaining silent about these killings is no doubt a crime. There is a Hadith that if you see an evil and you fail to speak out against it, you are a dumb Satan.
If you take the act of blasphemy as a difference of opinion, then it will be to your advantage. Difference of opinion invites discussion, which give a good opportunity to remove the misconceptions. Moreover according to the Quran, difference gives you an opportunity to turn an enemy into a friend.
Islam emphasises a rational approach. The Quran does not ask others not to use abusive language against Islam; it enjoins Muslims not to use abusive language against other religions. Islam tries to root out the cause of blasphemy rather than command people to kill those who commit blasphemy. Save others from your evil, to be saved from the evils of others.

It Is Not Man’s Task, To Punish Blasphemers and Unbelievers

We have caused more damage to the true image of Islam than the recent stupid video  

 
Blashemy (Abusing  Prophet)
 
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
 
The Qur’an is the most authentic source of Islam. The Qur’an clearly states which actions are crimes and specifies what kind of punishments are to be meted out for them.
We learn from  verse 24:4  of the Qur’an that if a pious woman is defamed without any proof, such a person, in the eyes of the Qur’an, becomes a criminal who deserves physical punishment by a court of law. When the Qur’an mentions this crime, it also mentions the specific punishment along with it.
Now let us look into this matter from another aspect. The Qur’an states that since ancient times God has sent prophets in succession to every town and every community. It says, moreover, that the contemporaries of all of these prophets adopted the same negative attitude — but with far greater intensity — as has been mentioned in the Qur’an with regard to chaste women. For instance, the Qur’an says: “Alas for human beings! They ridicule every messenger that comes to them.” (36:30) 
There are more than two hundred verses of this nature, which reveal that the contemporaries of the Prophet repeatedly perpetrated the same act which is now called ‘abuse of the Prophet’ or ‘using abusive language about the Prophet’.Prophets down the ages have been mocked and abused by their contemporaries (36:30), some of the epithets cited in the Qur’an being “a liar” (40:24), “possessed” (15:6), “a fabricator” (16:101), “a foolish man” (7:66). The Qur’an mentions these words of abuse used by prophets’ contemporaries but nowhere does the Qur’an prescribe the punishment of lashes, or death or any such deterrent punishment.
This clearly shows that ‘abuse of the Prophet’ is not a subject of punishment, but is rather a subject of dawah. That is, one who is guilty of abusing the Prophet should not have corporal punishment meted out to him: he should rather be given sound arguments in order that his mind may be addressed. In other words, peaceful persuasion should be used to reform the person concerned rather than attempting to kill him.
There is a verse in the Qur’an to this effect: “God knows all that is in their hearts; so ignore what they say, admonish them and speak to them in such terms as will address their minds.”(4:63) 
This verse means that those who adopt a negative stance towards the Prophet will be judged by God, who knows the innermost recesses of their hearts. The responsibility of the Prophet and his followers is to observe the policy of avoidance, and, wishing well, convey the message of God to them in such a manner that their minds might be properly addressed. 
This case is made out in the Chapter entitled Al-Ghashiya: “Do they never reflect on the camels and how they were created, and on the sky, how it is raised aloft, and on the mountains, how they are firmly set up, and on the earth, how it is spread out? So, exhort them; your task is only to exhort, you are not their keeper. But whoever turns back and denies the truth, will be punished by God with the greatest punishment. Certainly, it is to Us that they will return.” (88:17-26) 
These verses of the Qur’an tell us about what approach the Prophet was required to adopt. This approach was that people should be addressed by arguments. Attempts should be made to satisfy them rationally as to the veracity of the religion. And notwithstanding any negative reaction on the part of those addressed, this same positive style of dawah(conveying the message of God to people) has to be adhered to. It is not the task of the dayee to assume the role of a keeper. So far as punishment and reward are concerned, that is a subject wholly in the domain of God. God will gather together everyone on the Day of Resurrection and then, according to their deeds, will reward or punish them. 
Another important aspect of this matter is that at no point in the Qur’an is it stated that anyone who uses abusive language about the Prophet should be stopped from doing so, and in case he continues to do so he should be awarded severe punishment. On the contrary, the Qur’an commands the believer not to use abusive language directed against opponents: “But do not revile those [beings] whom they invoke instead of God, lest they, in their hostility, revile God and out of ignorance.” (6:108) 
This verse of the Qur’an makes it plain that it is not the task of the believers to establish media watch offices and hunt for anyone involved in acts of defamation of the Prophet, and then plan for their killing, whatever the cost. On the contrary, the Qur’an enjoins believers to sedulously refrain from indulging in such acts as may provoke people to retaliate by abusing Islam and the Prophet. This injunction of the Qur’an makes it clear that this responsibility devolves upon the believers, rather than that others be held responsible and demands made for them to be punished. 
Looked at from this angle, the stance of present-day Muslims goes totally against the teachings of the Qur’an. Whenever anyone — in their judgement — commits an act of ‘abuse of the Prophet’, in speech or in writing, they instantly get provoked and their response is to start leading processions through  the streets, which often turn violent, and then they demand that all those who insult the Prophet be beheaded. 
All those who initiate such provocative processions and demand the killing of supposed ‘abusers of the Prophet’, are instead themselves the greatest culprits when it comes to abuse of the Prophet. Their violent conduct has resulted in the public being lead into believing that Islam is a religion of a pre-civilized era, that it imposes a ban on free thinking, that it is a religion which believes in thought crime, and that it is a religion of violence, etc. 
It is Muslims themselves who are entirely responsible for the formation of this negative image of Islam.Distorting the image of Islam in this way is, indeed, the greatest of all crimes. 
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan (born January 1, 1925) is one of India’s leading Islamic scholars and peace activist.. Based in New Delhi, he has authored over 100 books, and edits the monthly journal Al-Risala. He also heads the Centre for Peace and Spirituality. He has received, among others, the Demiurgus Peace International Award, under the patronage of the former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev; the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honor; the National Citizen’s Award, presented by Mother Teresa and the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award (2009). He has translated the holy Qur’an in simple and contemporary English and wrote a commentary on the Qur’an and currently gives lectures on several Indian and Pakistani Television channels.