Terrorist Hordes Overrun Three Peshawar Check-Posts–22 Soldiers Kidnapped


Two killed, 22 levies personnel missing in checkposts attack


-File Photo

PESHAWAR: Two levies personnel were killed and more than 22 others are missing since the early hours of Thursday after militants launched a massive assault on three checkposts on the outskirts of Peshawar, official sources told Dawn.Com.

The militants destroyed two checkposts and also took away weapons, a double cabin pick-up, besides setting a vehicle ablaze.

More than 100 levies personnel had been deployed at the three checkposts and about 22 have not reported back and its feared they had been kidnapped along with their weapons.

Sources said that heavily armed militants attacked the Zaray, Zarka Kohi Hassankhel and Ghaki Sar checkposts between 01:50 am to 02:45 am on Thursday, ransacking two posts and blowing up one completely.

Militants attacked the Zaray levy checkpost at about 01:50 am. The exchange of fire continued for many hours which resulted in the deaths of two levies personnel, while one other was injured in the attack, officials said.

The officials also said that about 60 soldiers were deployed at the checkpost.

The second attack was launched on the Zarka Kohi Hassankhel checkpost at about 2:15 am. The militants destroyed the building after overpowering the security personnel following a gun-battle that lasted for an hour.

Besides bombing the building, the militants set ablaze a vehicle and took away another double cabin pickup along with ammunition at the checkpost.

The third attack according to the official sources was launched at about 2:45 am at Ghaki Sar checkpost in Musa Darra area of Peshawar.

At least 15 to 20 levies personnel were deployed at the checkpost, who retaliated after being attacked. No casualties were reported as the militants fled the scene.

Looking At the Saudi Police State With Rose-Colored Glasses–What About A Saudi Spring?

Saudi Arabian Stocks Are The Value Story for Next Year, VTB Says

By Zahra Hankir

Shares in Saudi Arabia will offer the “value story” across emerging markets next year as stableoil prices and government spending are set to lure investors to the Arab world’s largest stock market, according to VTB Group.

“We expect the first half to be bullish for Middle East and North Africa equities and see Saudi Arabia as the value story for 2013 across the emerging market space,” analysts Digvijay Singh and Alexey Zabotkin at VTB Capital Plc, the London-based investment-banking arm of VTB, wrote in a research note today, with an overweight recommendation on the kingdom. Oil prices, infrastructure spending and dividend yields are among catalysts that will help boost share prices, they said.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is embarking on about $500 billion in government spending and projects including the world’s tallest tower in Jeddah. The Saudi benchmarkTadawul All Share Index (SASEIDX) gained 7 percent this year, lagging the 15 percent gain for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index. (MXEF) The Saudi index offers a dividend yield of 3.6 percent compared with 2.7 percent for MSCI EM Index.

The Tadawul All Share Petrochemical Industries Index is the second-worst performing sector among 15 sub-indexes on the index, with a decline of 5.2 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s left the companies valued at 14.4 times earnings, compared with 8.2 times earnings for MSCI EM energy stocks.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC), the world’s largest petrochemicals maker, has declined 5.7 percent this year after posting profit decreases in the past three quarters. Oil prices averaged 18 percent higher this year compared with 2010 and little changed from last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Advanced Petrochemicals Co. (APPC), a manufacturer of polypropylene products, National Industrialization Co. (NIC), a holding company for industrial and manufacturing firms, and Islamic lender Alinma Bank (ALINMA) are among VTB Capital’s top five stock picks in the Middle East and North Africa. Telecom Egypt (ETEL) and Commercial Bank of Qatar, which have both lagged their benchmark stock indexes, also find a place on the list.

Saudi Arabia’s stock market is closed today for the weekend.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zahra Hankir in Dubai at zhankir@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaa Shahine at asalha@bloomberg.net

ATF: Most guns at Mexican crime scenes traced to US

ATF: Most guns at Mexican crime scenes traced to US

el paso times

Reporter: Diana
Washington Valdez

More than 68 percent of the weapons recovered at Mexican crime scenes over a five-year period were traced to U.S. manufacturers or U.S. dealers who import firearms, according to statistics of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Between 2007 and 2011, Mexican law enforcement submitted 99,691requests to the ATF for tracing, and 68,161 of those firearms were determined to come from U.S. makers or were legally imported into the United States by federally licensed firearms dealers.

The ATF said it was unable to determine the source of the rest of the firearms because of missing information about the guns themselves, where they came from and how they got into Mexico.

Mexican drug cartels have waged brutal

battles over turf in several areas of Mexico, including in Juárez, where firearms were used in most of estimated 11,000 homicides that police reported between 2007 and the end of November. 

This is a breakdown of total firearms recovered in Mexico and traced by ATF, and the number of weapons of unknown origin:

  • 2011: 20,335, U.S.; 14,504, unknown.
  • 2010: 8,338, U.S.; 6,404, unknown.
  • 2009: 21,555, U.S.; 14,376, unknown.
  • 2008: 32,111, U.S.; 21,035, unknown.
  • 2007: 17,352, U.S.; 11,842, unknown.

The “ATF Mexico” report does not include information on which, or if any, of the reported firearm recoveries were traced to the agency’s Operation Fast and Furious, in which federal agentsallowed guns purchased by straw buyers in the U.S. to be smuggled into Mexico in an attempt to identify and arrest high-level arms traffickers.

More than 1,000 of the 2,000 weapons connected to the Phoenix-based operation are unaccounted for, according to U.S. lawmakers, who investigated the botched ATF operation that began in late 2009.

The ATF shut down Fast and Furious after Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was fatally shot Dec. 14, 2010, in Arizona near the Mexican border. A rifle connected to the ATF operation was found in the vicinity of Terry’s body.

Some of the weapons attributed to Operation Fast and Furious were smuggled across the border through El Paso, and they were found by Mexican law enforcement officers at crime scenes in Juárez and other places in the state of Chihuahua.

Recently, new allegations threaten the ATF with another scandal, prompting a U.S. senator to request an investigation.

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, who had initiated an investigation into Fast and Furious, said in a Dec. 19 letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz that a former ATF official assigned to Phoenix might have purchased a gun that Mexican officials allegedly found at the scene of a November shootout between drug cartel operatives and Mexican soldiers in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Grassley’s letter said the area of the shootout reported by Mexican officials appears to coincide with a firefight that killed several people in the same area.

“The gunfight claimed five lives, including a member of the Mexican military and a Sinaloa beauty queen, Maria Susana Flores Gamez,” Grassley’s letter said. His letter also said that the weapon allegedly obtained by the ATF official was purchased Jan. 7, 2010, but Grassley had no information on how it ended up in Mexico.

“This information’s implications and its ability to undermine public confidence in the integrity of ATF operations cannot be overstated,” Grassley’s letter said. “Your (Horowitz’s) office needs to work swiftly. There must be a thorough, independent, and public explanation of these circumstances as quickly as possible.”

No one was available for comment late Wednesday at the ATF offices in Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

The ATF also reported statistics for firearm recoveries and tracings in the United States, including Texas.

Between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2011, the ATF traced 15,058 firearm recoveries to Texas. The ATF said most of the tracings are for weapons found by U.S. law enforcement officers at crime scenes in Texas and in other states, but traced back to Texas sources.

The top three recovery cities in Texas were Houston, with 3,034 firearm recoveries; Dallas, with 2,463; and Corpus Christi, with 502. ATF figures for El Paso recoveries were not available.

“We use the ATF’s tracing resources to investigate gun ownership, periodically, on a case-by-case basis,” said Mike Baranyay, a detective with the El Paso Police Department. “Our investigators can also check whether a weapon is stolen through the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) system.”

The ATF’s National Tracing Center conducted 319,000 firearms tracings in 2011.

Tracing figures for 2012 will not be available until mid-2013 or later.

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

“Legitimate” Western Media Whitewashes War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity In Drone Murders

Don’t Believe Initial Accounts of Drone Strikes Killing ‘Al Qaeda Militants’


"The bodies were charred like coal." 

Foreign Policy has aperfectly awful accountof a U.S. drone strike in Yemen this September that killed a dozen civilians. Begins like this:

SANAA, Yemen — The villagers who rushed to the road, cutting through rocky fields in central Yemen, found the dead strewn around a burning sport utility vehicle. The bodies were dusted with white powder — flour and sugar, the witnesses said — that the victims were bringing home from market when the aircraft attacked. A torched woman clutched her daughter in a lifeless embrace. Four severed heads littered the pavement.

“The bodies were charred like coal. I could not recognize the faces,” said Ahmed al-Sabooli, 22, a farmer whose parents and 10-year-old sister were among the dead. “Then I recognized my mother because she was still holding my sister in her lap. That is when I cried.”

What enables such state-sanctioned murder? One crucial ingredient is highlighted in the next paragraph:

Quoting unnamed Yemeni officials, local and international mediainitially described the victims of the Sept. 2 airstrike in al-Bayda governorate as al Qaeda militants.

Follow that link to the Sept. 2 Reuters article, and you’ll see this loaded lead paragraph:

Five suspected militants linked to al Qaeda were killed by a U.S. drone attack on Sunday in central Yemen, in what appears to be stepped up strikes by unmanned aircraft on Islamists.

Note that “suspected” only modifies “militants”; Reuters treated as fact that the charred bodies were “linked to al Qaeda,” and part of a broader campaign against “Islamists” who don’t qualify as being “suspected.”

This isn’t just linguistic nitpicking of journalismese; this is how you midwife propaganda–straight from anonymous government sources who have a huge incentive to legitimize targeted death-dealing against undesirables, and unadorned with the kind of protective skepticism that such ultimate power (let alone fog of war) so richly deserves.

The TTP Terrorists Now Want To Pretend That They Are Statesmen

TTP ready to hold talks, says spokesman


Photo shows spokesman for banned militant outfit, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanullah Ehsan.—File Photo

PESHAWAR: Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told Dawn.com’s correspondent on Wednesday that the proscribed outfit was ready for ‘meaningful’ dialogue with the Government of Pakistan.

Ehsan said the TTP had always been ready for negotiations, adding that, the Pakistani government was following foreign dictates and talks would only be possible if the government would have the authority to hold them freely.

Responding to a query on a statement by chief of the Awami National Party (ANP), Asfanyar Wali Khan, that talks with the Pakistani Taliban were possible if they renounced violence, the TTP spokesman said “terms and conditions” were unacceptable for any peace talks to be initiated.

In a letter addressed to the Government of Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban offering to hold talks said that the ANP could be granted amnesty if the party apologised for its ‘wrong’ policies  and altered these, adding that, the same would apply to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).

The letter further said that the TTP had no fight with the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) whereas the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) should live up to their statements.

The TTP also claimed that the organisation was not involved in attacks on JUI and JI.

The fight with the militant organisation was initiated by the government and the armed forces of Pakistan, the letter said, adding that, the war could end provided that the government formulated its policies and its constitution in accordance with the Islamic Shariah.

Earlier on Sunday, the ANP chief had said that the use of military means was no more an effective way of resolving political issues.

He had also stated that his party had always supported dialogue with ‘saner elements’ among the Taliban for the sake of regional stability.

Khan had said the ANP believed that talks were the only way to end terrorism and resolve militancy-related issues because sections of elements among the extremists were challenging Pakistan’s sovereignty and writ of the state.

Ukrainian “Neo-Nazis” Call Mila Kunis A “Jewess” and Now Commies Are Coming Out of the Woodwork

Photo: Official website of association "Borotba"
Photo: Official website of association “Borotba”

Ukrainian Marxists staged under the slogan “I’m a Jew!”


December 27 Ukrainian Marxist movement “Borotba” will hold a picket in front of the Ministry of Justice in Kiev, said “New Region”.

The action will be carried out under the slogan “I am a Jew”. Thus representatives “Borotba” intend to protest against the recent comments of the Ministry, concerning the lawfulness of the use of the word “Jew” in the Ukraine.

Debates on the subject, we recall, sparked after a newly elected MP from the nationalist party “Svoboda” Igor Miroshnichenko called the “Jewess” Mila Kunis Hollywood actress, who was born in the Ukraine. “It is not a Ukrainian, a Jewess by birth. Proud of that, and the star of David in her arms. Only here about a country that was born – a sound, or a positive. Therefore regard it as their own – is not possible. Likes Let Me Gameriku and Israel and it should not be to mold to Ukraine, “- he wrote in a social network.