Monday, December 31, 2012

Northern Ireland : 3 rd Arrest over car bomb

N Ireland: 3rd arrest over car bomb

2013-01-02 13:01
Loyalists protest outside an Alliance Party office in east Belfast, Northern Ireland. (File, AFP)
Loyalists protest outside an Alliance Party office in east Belfast, Northern Ireland. (File, AFP)

Belfast - A third man was arrested in Northern Ireland on Tuesday over the attempted murder of a police officer who found a bomb underneath his car.

A 41-year-old man was detained in west Belfast, police said, after two men aged 34 and 25 were arrested on Monday in the Belfast area.

The targeted officer found the viable device underneath his vehicle in Belfast on Sunday. Army bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion.

Senior officers have said the attack could have killed the off-duty policeman and his family.

A dissident republican group calling itself the "New IRA" (Irish Republican Army) claimed responsibility for the attack.

Sporadic unrest

Dissident republicans want Northern Ireland to leave the United Kingdom and join the Republic of Ireland to the south, but have not given up violence as a means of achieving their aims.

The IRA declared a formal end to its armed campaign in 2005, saying that it would pursue its aims through peaceful means.

Its political wing Sinn Fein is now part of the power-sharing government in Belfast, formed of Catholic and Protestant parties.

Around 3 500 people died in Northern Ireland's three decades of violence between Protestants, favouring continued union with Britain, and Catholics seeking a unified Ireland.

A 1998 peace agreement largely ended the conflict, but sporadic unrest and bomb threats continue as dissident offshoots remain violently opposed to those accords.

Read more on: northern ireland | security

Belfast Car Bomb: Two Men Arrested

Two men are arrested in Belfast in connection with the discovery of a car bomb found underneath a police officer's car.


Attempts are made to examine the booby trap in Belfast

Two men have been arrested in connection with a car bomb found underneath a Belfast police officer's car on Sunday.
The men, aged 25 and 34, were detained in Belfast after the constable discovered a bomb under his car at his home in the city on Sunday.

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton revealed the officer was with his wife and two young children when he checked the car as a matter of routine.

The property is close to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) headquarters at Knock and the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.
Mr Hamilton said: "If that officer had not checked his car, we would have been looking at a murder or multiple murders.

"We believe the consequences of this would have been absolutely devastating for the officer, his family, for the police family and for the communities across Northern Ireland."
He added there was a severe threat level across Northern Ireland and appealed to officers to be vigilant and to check under their cars.

It is hoped that the bomb will be useful as evidence because it was discovered and did not engage.
A second device was found close to a police station in County Armagh on Monday, prompting residents to be evacuated.
And a pipe bomb was found close to the gates of a police station in the town of Tandragee, mid-Ulster, near the homes of elderly residents.

The booby-trapped device in Belfast was defused in a controlled explosion by the army.
During the last year, police have arrested 115 people suspected of dissident republican activity. Sixty four officers have also been forced to leave their homes because they were thought to be targets of potential attacks.

2013 Happy New Year !

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Nigerian militants 'kill 15 and slit throats'

Nigerian militants 'kill 15 and slit throats'

Map of Nigeria showing Maiduguri and Maiha
Suspected Islamist militants killed at least 15 Christians in northern Nigeria, slitting the throats of their victims, witnesses said.
The attack happened on Friday near Maiduguri, a stronghold of Islamist militants Boko Haram, but details were slow to emerge.
In a second attack, gunmen killed two people, including a policeman, and burnt down government buildings in Maiha, on the border with Cameroon.
No group has claimed responsibility.
In Musari, near Maiduguri, a school teacher told the Associated Press news agency that gunmen had gathered people into a group before massacring them.
The teacher said 15 people had died in the attack; many had had their throats slit.
Prisoners escape
An unnamed relief worker told Agence France-Presse: "From the information we gathered, the attackers broke into selected homes and slaughtered 15 people in their sleep."
"The victims were selected because they were all Christians, some of whom had moved into the neighbourhood from other parts of the city hit by Boko Haram attacks," the relief worker added.
The Nigerian military said it had arrested three people and seized weapons following the attack outside Maiduguri.
A military spokesman said just five people had been killed. Security officials routinely understate casualty figures in Nigeria.
In the attack in Maiha, also on Friday, suspected militants released 35 prisoners from a local prison before setting it on fire, prison and police officials said.
Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency - a group seeking to impose Islamic law on the country - has claimed hundreds of lives in 2012.
Six people died in an attack on a church on Christmas Day, while seven people were killed on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the city where Boko Haram launched its campaign in 2009.
Nigeria is divided between a mainly Muslim north and a Christian south.

More on This Story

Nigeria under attack

Foiled Car Bomb Attempt In Belfast Condemned

Foiled Car Bomb Attempt In Belfast Condemned

Dissident republicans are blamed after a device was placed under a police officer's car in Northern Ireland.

Army bomb disposal experts and their equipment at the scene

An apparent attempt to kill a policeman in Northern Ireland with a car bomb was an attack on the entire community, Stormont's Justice Minister has insisted.
Police have blamed dissident republicans for placing the booby trap device under the officer's car in east Belfast.
They said the unexploded viable bomb, which was discovered by the off duty policeman on Sunday afternoon, was clearly intended to kill.
His car was parked at his home on the Upper Newtownards Road - a busy route into the city centre.
The scene, which was sealed off until late on Sunday night amid an extensive security and forensic operation, is close to Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) headquarters at Knock and the Northern Ireland Assembly at Stormont.

An rmy robot examines a suspect device in east Belfast
Army robot used to examine the device
Justice Minister David Ford condemned those responsible, saying: "This was an attack not only on a police officer and his family but on our whole community. The officer was serving the community - he was working for all of us."
People living in nearby homes were evacuated in the alert. A local church offered them shelter while army technical officers worked to make the scene safe.
PSNI Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said it was very fortunate no one was killed or injured.
"Initial investigations would indicate that this was a viable device placed below an officer's car some time in the last 48 hours," he said on Sunday night.
"It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. His family and neighbours in the vicinity were also put at risk of serious harm.
"Obviously there are people out there who are still intent on causing murder and mayhem."

Map of Belfast showing Upper Newtownards Road
Map showing the road where the bomb was placed
Dissidents have repeatedly targeted security force members in recent years.
In November, long-serving prison officer David Black, 52, was shot dead in a motorway ambush in Co Armagh as he drove to work.
A group styling itself the "new IRA" claimed responsibility for that attack. The faction was formed in the summer when a number of splinter groups joined forces.
In April 2011, newly-qualified police officer Ronan Kerr, 25, died when a dissident booby trap car bomb exploded under his vehicle at his home in Omagh.

CAR rebels one step from capital

As rebels move towards Bangui, regional efforts to mediate a peaceful solution in the landlocked equatorial country were at a standstill.
Clean Government 2013 - - - 30 DEC 2012 07:43 - AFP

Rebels in the Central African Republic have seized another town in their advance on the capital, forcing an army retreat. The rebels, who already have control of four other regional capitals in the centre and north of the country, faced no resistance as they entered the town of Sibut around 150km from Bangui, a military official told Agence France-Presse.

The streets of Bangui were deserted on Saturday night, according to an AFP journalist, after a curfew was imposed from 7pm to 5am (6pm GMT to 4am GMT). Many shops were being guarded by men armed with machetes. "The bosses fear looting so they are paying guards," said one guard. Officials on both sides said the rebels of the so-called Seleka coalition had also repelled army soldiers trying to recapture Bambari, a former military stronghold in the landlocked country, one of the world's poorest despite vast mineral wealth. A military official described "extremely violent" fighting over the town, with detonations and heavy weapons fire audible to witnesses some 60km away.
The rebel advance on Sibut, also a base for Chadian soldiers stationed in the country, forced government forces and their allies to retreat to Damara, 75km from Bangui and the last major town on the road to the south-western capital.
 "The rebels entered Sibut. There was no fighting, the Central African Armed Forces (FACA) stationed there and the Chadian troops left the town last night [Friday] for Damara," the military official told AFP. Djouma Narkoya, a Seleka leader, claimed that the army suffered "losses" in the fighting for Bambari, while the rebel side had "one killed and three injured" in the fighting. "We are continuing to progress," he added. Sibut residents arriving in Bangui said they saw around 60 Chadian and Central African army vehicles converging on Damara late on Friday. One of the towns under the control of the rebels, who launched their offensive in early December, is the garrison town and key diamond mining hub of Biraosince. Former colonial power France, meanwhile, boosted its military presence to 400 on Friday with the deployment of 150 paratroopers to Bangui airport, and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) announced reinforcements.

 French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault stressed again on Friday that French troops were there only to protect French and European nationals, not fight the rebels. Regional efforts to mediate a peaceful solution in the landlocked equatorial country were at a standstill. A day after announcing that the rebels and the government had agreed to hold unconditional peace talks and that more regional troops would head to the country, ECCAS said no dates had been set for either move. The bloc's foreign ministers will meet again next Thursday "and that is when they will announce a date for the meeting in [the Gabonese capital] Libreville," ECCAS's communications director Placide Ibouanga told AFP, referring to talks between rebels and the government.

 The coalition of three rebel movements known as Seleka—or the "alliance" in the Sango language—says the government has not fulfilled the terms of peace pacts signed in 2007 and 2001, providing for disarmament and social reintegration for insurgents, including pay. Central African President Francois Bozize, who took power in a 2003 coup, has twice been elected into office. Bozize's appeals for help from France and from the United States to fight the rebels have fallen on deaf ears.
 Neighbouring Chad, which has helped Bozize with rebellions in 2010, earlier sent a contingent to the country, however. In Bangui, food prices have soared, further spiking tensions and uncertainty. "I'm afraid of the rebels coming," said vegetable vendor Euphrasie Ngotanga in the city's huge Sambo market. "We're not going to sell our produce if there's no peace.
 And then how we will feed our children?" "We don't eat properly any more," said another vendor, Angele Bodero, with her baskets full of condiments before her. "Cassava has become more expensive, everything costs more," she said, referring to the country's staple food. A bag of cassava has risen nearly 50% from 13 000 CFA francs to 18 000 FCFA ($26 to $32). - AFP

AFP - - - Comments by Sonny - - Who is funding these rebels? Who is arming these rebels? It looks as if SA R-5 Assault Rifles were supplied to them? SA Arms Deal Surplus stocks? The Hawks should investigate!! CAR COULD BE THE BEGINNING OF THE AFRICAN SPRING!!


Central African Republic rebels say aim is not to join government

Related Topics

PARIS | Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:35am EST
(Reuters) - The Seleka rebel alliance in the Central African Republic will consider an offer by President Francois Bozize on Sunday to form a coalition government, but the group's aim is not to join the existing government, a spokesman said.
"I take note of his proposals. We need to meet to study them," Seleka spokesman Eric Massi told France 24 television. He said that the rebels also wanted to see what guarantees would be made to them.
"Know that Seleka's aim today is not to enter into a government but to allow the people of Central African Republic to be able to drive the country towards development and self-fulfillment," he said.
(Reporting by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Louise Ireland)


Who’s heard of the ‘African Spring’?

If the under or mis-reported uprisings, protests, revolts and changes of regime in many parts of Africa over the past few years have told us anything, it is that politics on the continent does not always, or mostly, take place at the point of a gun.
‘We’ve heard so much negativity, but can you tell us what you are actually doing about it?’ The question came from the back of the hall at the Africa Centre in London, where over 100 people had gathered to hear about the state of contemporary African protest movements from a panel of African activists including Ayanda Kota of the South African Unemployed Peoples’ Movement, Bayo Oyenuga of Occupy Nigeria, Osama Zumam of the Sudanese Communist Party and the respected commentator and political activist Yash Tandon.
It is true that Africa tends to be a continent viewed through a prism of starvation, disease, violence and most of all, corruption. And when the Arab Spring erupted at the end of 2010, it was largely viewed as a Middle Eastern phenomenon, rather than an African one, even though its main protagonists were all located on African soil. Whilst the media gaze therefore fixed on events to the North-East of Tunisia, events to the South were, and continue to be no less tumultuous.
However, these events have rarely been articulated into an African narrative, with the result that western audiences end up being drip-fed stories reinforcing the impression of stereotypical African instability and ‘Afro-pessimism’. Yet if the under or mis-reported uprisings, protests, revolts and changes of regime in many parts of Africa over the past few years (including, amongst others Cote D'Ivoire, Malawi, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ethiopia, Swaziland, Uganda, Nigeria, Sudan and Mozambique) have told us anything, it is that politics on the continent does not always, or mostly, take place at the point of a gun.
By the same token however, it is important to point out that the protest movements we have seen emerge or consolidate over the past few years cannot be reduced to a simple victory for the development industry’s efforts to mainstream western policies of good governance, transparency and liberal democracy in African states. Shrinking the state in Africa (an outcome of these policies as enforced by international donors) has produced the very conditions which protestors have revolted against: corruption, rising utility prices, and growing inequality. African protestors have demanded African solutions to their predicaments, and we should listen carefully if we want to be on the right side of history on the continent.
Of course, African protest movements do not face an easy route. Confronted with the deregulatory pressures of global development frameworks these movements must contend with mushrooming food and utility prices, and the violence meted out by states when faced with meaningful opposition to neo-liberal economic programmes. Indeed, the negativity questioned by the audience member in London referred to the state-sponsored violence visited upon African protestors which the different protestors repeatedly referred to.
However, whilst it is easy to become disheartened at stories of violence, land appropriation and joblessness, we can interpret such events differently. Indeed, if we are to learn anything from the rapidity with which revolution occurred in Egypt and was then rolled back, it is that social change takes time, and requires a broader social base than just the urban middle class elite which characterised the Tahrir Square phenomenon. What we hear from protest movements across Africa therefore is not negativity, but struggle. And struggle for sustainable indigenous solutions to Africa’s problems requires the kind of mass mobilisation which takes time and effort to build.
What then are these African solutions? For sure, protestors in any number of the countries which have experienced protests over the past few years have made it clear that they are fed up with the corruption of ruling elites. From Nigeria’s Enough is Enough movement to the protests which rocked Malawi in summer 2011, it has been obvious that the actions of ruling elites, and in the case of Malawi, the increasingly authoritarian tendencies of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, provided sources of public anger. However, to interpret these protests as an outpouring of anger against singularly corrupt African regimes would be a mistake. Calls for greater democracy in Africa are not framed purely within the actions of specific corrupt ruling elites. Rather it is the relationships between these ruling elites and the agents of global free-market capitalism which are the source of much public anger. It is these relationships which have amongst other things shrunk public services and robbed the continent of the bulk of the profits from its most valuable natural resources. And these relationships have been enabled by international donor policies which have shrunk the state in Africa in the belief that it is the state which has been the source of African’s problems.
So when international donors and western commentators respond to protests in Africa by calling for better governance and accountability amongst ruling elites, they are missing the most vital aspect of these protests; that they are directed just as much against institutions such as the Word Bank and IMF as they are against the corrupt practices of their rulers. This is because it has long been the case that the policies of the former in widening the space between the state and citizens in Africa (through enforced privatisation and subsequent public service disintegration) has enabled the corruption of the latter by contributing to the breakdown of the social contract that had been established in many African states in the immediate post-independence years.
And so, if we search for images of recent African protests what we will find is not an overwhelming number of crowds with placards calling for greater openness in government, but a set of explicitly socio-economic demands relating to price rises and unemployment, or the withdrawal of affordable public services and utilities, all brought on by the skewed position of Africa in the global economy, and the enforced privatisation of land, energy and other resources which have largely fallen into the hands of foreign profit-extractive companies and their collaborators in the ruling elites of African countries.
Those then who see in these protests a simple continuum of public revolt against African elite corruption dating back to the post-independence regimes are simply missing the point. These protests are much more about the relationships between African elites and international political and economic elites. This is a fundamental point which is often missed by both sides of the critical divide on Africa.
African elites are not uniquely corrupt, nor do they exist in a vacuum of African corruption, but neither is Africa a pure victim of contemporary economic imperialism.  African elites are as complicit in processes of resource and profit extraction as the multinational corporations such as Shell Oil who so often come in for the vitriol of social justice and anti-corporate activists. What Africans have been railing against over the past few years then is what Thandike Mkandawire called at the turn of the century Africa’s ‘choiceless democracies’. In other words, Africans want a true choice. It is not enough for international donors to call for ‘free and fair’ elections, only for them to enforce, by dint of the implicit threat of aid withdrawal, a complicity amongst all the candidates with neoliberal economic orthodoxy. This is what we find repeatedly in African elections, and in this respect at least it would be fair to say that African elections differ very little from elections in many other parts of the world, including the UK.
This points towards a second issue worthy of consideration. Anti-austerity activists in the west need to understand the close relationship between what they are protesting against in countries like the UK and what people are protesting against in parts of the world where they have been at the blunt end of austerity for decades rather than years. African activists have much to teach the rest of the world in resisting austerity, and the many obstacles that lie in the path of such resistance, and it is about time more of us started to listen.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Zuma comments cause canine chaos

28-DEC-2012 | SAPA | 128 COMMENTS It was a dog-eat-dog world on Twitter as people argued over President Jacob Zuma’s comments that caring for a pet dog was part of “white” culture. inShare 'CAPABLE HANDS': President Jacob Zuma has regional support from eThekwini for the leadership battle at Mangaung later this year. PHOTO: KEVIN SUTHERLANd There are many ways of being African. Of being black even those who love animals are not less African than those who don’t RELATED ARTICLES 'Even if you straighten your hair, you will never be white' - Zuma Ramaphosa's plan as ANC Deputy President Triumphant Zuma calls for party unity, but... Zuma supporters mock Kgalema While a flurry of users seemed indignant that Zuma didn’t name Jock of the Bushveld his favourite four-legged South African or ask Lassie to come home, many others agreed with the president’s sentiments. One user, YanelaJ, said Zuma’s comments were accurate: “How many blacks vs whites do u c walking/running dogs..don’t count domestic worker?” Young Communist League spokesman Khaya Xaba tweeted that a ”rich man’s dog gets more in the way of vaccination, medicine and medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man’s wealth is built.” The Star reported on Thursday that Zuma, in a speech given at Impendle in KwaZulu-Natal, had said that spending money to buy a dog and taking it to the vet and for walks, belonged to “white” culture. He was also reported to have said that those who loved dogs more than people had “a lack of humanity”. The presidency later sent out a statement in which it explained that Zuma was only trying to “decolonise the African mind” with his statements. Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said that Zuma wanted “to enable the previously oppressed African majority to appreciate and love who they are”. Meanwhile on Twitter, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi tweeted a picture of himself with his Boerboel “Superhero” and his Jack Russell “Maradona”. Some tweeters gently suggested that “Superhero” was a bit on the chubby side, but Vavi reassured his followers that he has managed to get the Boerboel’s weight down since the photograph was taken. Vavi also mentioned that he had given ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe a puppy years ago. “He keeps dogs too,” tweeted Vavi. Nevertheless, Vavi said that he was not offended by Zuma’s comments. “As an animal lover & proudly black I don’t feel insulted by that comment — I do have compassion for humans too!!” However, internationally renowned author Zakes Mda refuted the essentialism behind Zuma’s statement. “There are many ways of being African. Of being black even those who love animals are not less African than those who don’t.” Journalist Reuben Goldberg suggested that South Africans buy Zuma a dog “and name it #Nkandla”. Even “Bazil the Bulldog” gave his opinion into the matter, tweeting: “Zuma needs a history check, as the Africanis breed of dogs have been the companions of Southern Africa’s San Bushmen since 800 AD...” Ayanda Mlotshwa questioned Zuma’s linking of race and dog ownership, stating: “I’m black & I love my dog. He’s part of my family. We’ve always had dogs in my family. Can’t imagine life without them.” A number of people also tweeted an old photograph of former president Nelson Mandela beaming alongside a jubilant canine companion. The Christian Democratic party sent out a statement in which they said it appeared from his remarks that Zuma’s second term would be “even more sectarian and divisive” than his first. “This playing up of one culture against another, describing them, not as different, but rather that one has superior moral values to the other, is totally unacceptable and counterproductive,” said party leader Theunis Botha. Meanwhile President Jacob Zuma has asked for a national cleansing ceremony to restore, what he has branded as the moral values of the nation, SABC radio news reports. Zuma said the ritual would be of great importance in the light of incidents such as the Marikana tragedy, the rape of elderly women, and political assassinations. He said people who were not cleansed, harboured grudges. According to the report, Zuma said he would call on Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to help lead the national cleansing ceremony. - - Sowetan News - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY - - This should not be seen as a "Dog eat Dog" scenario. Zuma was a famous Bull Fighter in the village of Nkandla. He would rather slaughter a defenceless Bull as part of his culture of nation cleansing!


The 10 Most High-Maintenance Dog Breeds

Dogs That Need A Lot of Attention

When most of us think of caring for the family dog, we have in mind a sedate walk around the block once a day, maybe an obedience class when he’s … View more »
In alphabetical order, we present the 10 most high-maintenance dog breeds.
Dogs That Need A Lot of Attention
Mary Bloom

Taxpayers may cover councillors’ homes

December 18 2012 at 04:22pm Comment on this story Thabiso Thakali Taxpayers will now fork out millions of rands a month to pay a special risk insurance cover for the country’s more than 10 000 councillors and their own properties against violent service delivery protests. This comes after the Minister of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi published a notice in a government gazette last week compelling all municipalities to take the special risk insurance for councillors. The directive forms part of the newly published wage increases, allowances and benefits of municipal mayors, speakers, members of the executive, chief whips, committee members and councillors. An elected full time municipal councillor can earn up to R747 000 a year, depending on the grading of a municipality, in a package that includes travelling, housing, cellphone allowances, pension and medical aid contributions. The gazette orders municipalities to take out cover similar to risk insurance to provide for loss or damage to a councillor’s property or assets arising from any riot, civil unrest, strike or public disorder or ensure that councillors have such cover for their properties. The gazette places responsibility on the councillors to provide all necessary details to a municipality regarding property or assets to be covered by the special risks insurance. If a councillor takes out a risk policy to cover the loss of or damage to a property or assets arising from riots, on submission of the statements paid on the insurance, the municipality must refund the insurance amount, it says. In September, the SA Local Government Association chairman Thabo Manyoni told a special national conference that councillors needed risk cover against the real risk exposure they face in their capacity as local public representatives. Salga made representations to the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers. “Overwhelming evidence of councillors being killed in the line of duty, their properties being damaged… or their persons being injured, paints a very bad picture of how government appreciates the dangers inherent in being a local public representative,” Manyoni said at the time. “It is a sad state”. Manyoni added that the lives and property of councillors were often placed at risk due to issues outside their sphere of governance – over Eskom’s prepaid meters, or poor hospital or police services. According to Municipal IQ, a local government data and intelligence service, this year has had the largest number of service delivery protests since 2004. The service’s findings showed that 2012 accounted for 22 percent of protests recorded between January 2004 and July 2012, with January 1 to July 31 recording more protests than any other year since 2004. In July, a Soweto councillor’s house was set alight when about 300 residents protested over prepaid electricity meters in Chiawelo. Municipal IQs findings included that: l Protest activity rose dramatically in the first eight months of this year, with 226 protests; l If trends continue, this year will have more than twice as many protests as last, and more than in 2010 and 2011 together; l The Western Cape surpassed Gauteng as the province with the highest number of violent protests this year; l Before 2012, the Western Cape recorded the most protests in an election year; l The Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Gauteng accounted for 56.98 percent of protests; l Land and housing were the most cited issues, 303 in the six-year period. Poor service delivery was second, with 218 protests. Grievances related to broken promises and government officials ignoring protesters’ complaints have risen exponentially since 2010 but account for less than 10 percent of complaints. Saturday Star - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY - - - So we must pay more for dysfunctional service delivery? CHRISTMAS, NO 'PIKITUP' REFUSE SERVICES? NEW YEARS DAY, NO 'PIKITUP' DYSFUNCTIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY? IT'S AS IF THEY ARE ON STRIKE ALL YEAR ROUND. THESE 'COUNCILLORS' are being assassinated by their own political party as a matter of opposition to legal voting? THE ANC SHOULD FOOT THIS BILL!! When 'Councillors' perform their services as is expected of them, then they can be considered for further 'wage grafts!' They cannot even resolve complaints 5 years and older!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

WTF: The internet's secretive hangouts

Under the 'surface web' is a vast, diverse and secretive network. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G) 21 DEC 2012 04:00 - NIREN TOLSI Niren Tolsi goes deep into the web to find the underground world that lives on the Hidden Wiki. SPECIAL FOCUS 2012: It's a wrap OUR COVERAGE Wikipedia stages blackout to fight anti-piracy Bill MORE COVERAGE Calls for Wikipedia to keep up with the times Wikipedia blackout results in increased mobile visits Wikipedia falling victim to a war of words Worried about another seven years of President Jacob Zuma drenching the republic with even more of his self-serving, spook-protected, socially regressive JZ-isms? Is your name Helen Zille and do you want to storm the Nkandla fortress and stage a coup d'état? Or perhaps merely free the president's wives from apparent extreme-feeder bondage? Then try the Hidden Wiki. Situated deep in the internet's underbelly, it is where you can apparently find everything you would need to take over a country, or break away from an existing one to form your own: contract killers, mercenaries, guns to arm them with and "how to" manuals that advise exactly the strategy required. The Hidden Wiki looks and feels like Wikipedia, even down to its design. But, whereas Wikipedia is the sterile blonde catering for Generation Idiocracy's search for quick information packaged in McDonald's chicken bite sizes, the Hidden Wiki is her much nastier, much more interesting, darker cousin. You can apparently access pretty much anything, including paedophile sex holidays in Cambodia where, for $600, you get airport-to-hotel transfers, a translator, a personal driver who knows where to find those clubs and "an unlimited supply of Viagra". Or download a "tutorial on making a pedo site of your own and reducing the attendant anonymity/security risks". Or, if you are obsessed with a certain paraphilia, you can check out the "Animal Mating Zone", "Delphi's Dolphin Page" (for those aroused by cetaceans, including whales and orcas) and – a must for those fed up with the country and packing for Perth – the "Roophilia" page, which has a gallery of Tasmanian tigers, kangaroos and wallabies in various stages of arousal or coitus. Although you can also buy the passwords to various XXX sites at discounted prices or access "Adolf Hitler's PreTeen Collection", the Hidden Wiki isn't all pornography and sexual deviance, mind you. 'Underground Market Board' This is the internet's black market, after all, or Hillbrow circa 1995, if you will. On the "Underground Market Board" one can apparently buy hacked-into credit cards, PayPal accounts with loads of credit, Glock22s, the services of hackers, someone who will change your grades, United States ID books, pay to get a fake Twitter account verified and, yes, contract killers. Some will kill anyone at a price, others won't take out politicians or religious leaders – which is a rather warped morality. Emailed questions to said killers about their military background, favoured methods of murder, et cetera, unfortunately did not elicit any responses. You can also, apparently, link up to an alphabet soup of drugs – hard and soft – on sites such as Silk Road and Eris. The Mail & Guardian was unable to authenticate these sites by ordering anything from a list including MDMA moonrock crystals with 84% purity ($85/g, $160/2g and $220/3g) or the Sour Diesel hybrid, mainly Indica marijuana ($340/oz) that promises a "very strong head and upper body buzz" because, well, it is illegal, you know. Bugger the relentless search for the truth in journalism and all that, shall we. If you hadn't noticed, the profession is in crisis. The Hidden Wiki is part of the "deep web": the hard-to-find sites and secretive networks that don't come up on Google or Yahoo searches that constitute the "surface web". According to Mike Bergman – who coined the term "deep web" in 2001 in a seminal white paper, The Deep Web: Surfacing Hidden Value, which appeared in the Journal of Electronic Publishing – the deep web accounted for most of the internet, about 90%, 11 years ago. The M&G was unable to locate more up-to-date information. But it is in the deep web where criminal networks communicate, child predators stalk, right- and left-wing groups organise and political dissidents in countries such as Iran and China connect with the outside world and convey the repression they face or the lived realities outside propaganda cycles. It is also where "hacktivist" collectives operate, breaking through ­government and corporation firewalls to access secret information that could be used on information dumping sites like WikiLeaks. In October 2011, the Hacktivist collective Anonymous launched Operation Darknet, in which its members posted the personal details of 1589 members of child-porn site Lolita City on a pastebin (an application that stores text for a certain amount of time). Murky address space Sites such as the Hidden Wiki can only be accessed through anonymity networks like the Tor web browser. Tor, or the Onion Router, is an open-source network that directs internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers to conceal users' locations and identities. Tech activist Karen Reilly, who works on Tor, told the M&G that "one of the reasons to set up a dark net is to avoid detection. Measuring murky address space is a challenge. Some of the best examples of Hidden Services are not published, because they serve as a secret meeting place for people who need a safe space for political activities and support groups." The use of Tor by dissidents in Ethiopia was disrupted in May this year. In a posting, Tor noted that the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation had been using a "deep packet inspection [a sort of finger-printing of encrypted information]of all internet traffic … We have previously analysed the same kind of censorship in China, Iran and Khazakstan." On the topic of child-porn rings and human trafficking, Reilly said Tor worked with groups like Anonymous "to protect their communications. "We have met with victims, law enforcement, government officials and activists who work to protect vulnerable people. This is not solely a technology issue. We are more interested in addressing crimes against children and trafficked people in the physical world than we are in hiding these issues from view," said Reilly. The deep web, it seems, is much more than a playground for the perverse. It is – much like the real world – a battleground where fundamentalism and radicalism clash. Niren Tolsi is a senior reporter for the Mail & Guardian Mail & Guardian - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY - - - The WTF - Spook Domain. THE PLACE FOR THEM TO BE.........?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

AP source: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led 1991 Operation Desert Storm, dead at 78

AP source: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who led 1991 Operation Desert Storm, dead at 78

AP source: Retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf dies

Retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, who topped an illustrious military career by commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait in 1991 but kept a low public profile in controversies over the second Gulf War against Iraq, died Thursday. He was 78.

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 1991 file photo, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands at ease with his tank troops during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78.  (AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 12, 1991 file photo, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf stands at ease with his tank troops during Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa,...   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 1991 file photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. troops in the Gulf, gazes from the window of his small jet on his way out to visit U.S. troops in the desert in Saudi Arabia.  Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012...
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 1991 file photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. troops in the Gulf, gazes from the window of his small jet on his way out to visit U.S. troops in the desert in...   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this April 22, 1991 file photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf waves to the crowd after a military band played a song in his honor at welcome home ceremonies at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was...
FILE - In this April 22, 1991 file photo, General H. Norman Schwarzkopf waves to the crowd after a military band played a song in his honor at welcome home ceremonies at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa,...   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 1991 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf points to row of photos of Kuwait's Ahmadi Sea Island Terminal on fire after a U.S. attack on the facility. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo/Laurent...
FILE - In this Jan. 27, 1991 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf points to row of photos of Kuwait's Ahmadi Sea Island Terminal on fire after a U.S. attack on the facility. Schwarzkopf died...   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this July 4, 1991 file photo, President George Bush congratulates Desert Storm commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf after presenting him with the medal of freedom at the White House in Washington. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo/Doug Mills, File)
FILE - In this July 4, 1991 file photo, President George Bush congratulates Desert Storm commander Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf after presenting him with the medal of freedom at the White House in Washington....   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 1990 file photo, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in the Gulf, left, confers with Saudi Arabian Lt. Gen. Khalid Bin Sultan, commander of multinational forces in the area, in Riyadh. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was...
FILE - In this Dec. 19, 1990 file photo, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in the Gulf, left, confers with Saudi Arabian Lt. Gen. Khalid Bin Sultan, commander of multinational forces in...   (Associated Press)
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1990 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, answers questions during an interview in Riyadh.  Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 in Tampa, Fla. He was 78. (AP Photo/David Longstreath, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 14, 1990 file photo, U.S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, answers questions during an interview in Riyadh. Schwarzkopf died Thursday, Dec....   (Associated Press)

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A much-decorated combat soldier in Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was known popularly as "Stormin' Norman" for a notoriously explosive temper.
He served in his last military assignment in Tampa as commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, the headquarters responsible for U.S. military and security concerns in nearly 20 countries from the eastern Mediterranean and Africa to Pakistan.
Schwarzkopf became "CINC-Centcom" in 1988 and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait three years later to punish it for allegedly stealing Iraqi oil reserves, he commanded Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of some 30 countries organized by President George H.W. Bush that succeeded in driving the Iraqis out.
"Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the `duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises," Bush said in a statement. "More than that, he was a good and decent man _ and a dear friend."
At the peak of his postwar national celebrity, Schwarzkopf _ a self-proclaimed political independent _ rejected suggestions that he run for office, and remained far more private than other generals, although he did serve briefly as a military commentator for NBC.
While focused primarily in his later years on charitable enterprises, he campaigned for President George W. Bush in 2000 but was ambivalent about the 2003 invasion of Iraq, saying he doubted victory would be as easy as the White House and Pentagon predicted. In early 2003 he told the Washington Post the outcome was an unknown:
"What is postwar Iraq going to look like, with the Kurds and the Sunnis and the Shiites? That's a huge question, to my mind. It really should be part of the overall campaign plan," he said.
Initially Schwarzkopf had endorsed the invasion, saying he was convinced that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had given the United Nations powerful evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. After that proved false, he said decisions to go to war should depend on what U.N. weapons inspectors found.
He seldom spoke up during the conflict, but in late 2004, he sharply criticized then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the Pentagon for mistakes that included inadequate training for Army reservists sent to Iraq and for erroneous judgments about Iraq.
"In the final analysis I think we are behind schedule. ... I don't think we counted on it turning into jihad (holy war)," he said in an NBC interview.
Schwarzkopf was born Aug. 24, 1934, in Trenton, N.J., where his father, Col. H. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr., founder and commander of the New Jersey State Police, was then leading the investigation of the Lindbergh kidnap case, which ended with the arrest and 1936 execution of German-born carpenter Richard Hauptmann for stealing and murdering the famed aviator's infant son.
The elder Schwarzkopf was named Herbert, but when the son was asked what his "H" stood for, he would reply, "H." Although reputed to be short-tempered with aides and subordinates, he was a friendly, talkative and even jovial figure who didn't like "Stormin' Norman" and preferred to be known as "the Bear," a sobriquet given him by troops.
He also was outspoken at times, including when he described Gen. William Westmoreland, the U.S. commander in Vietnam, as "a horse's ass" in an Associated Press interview.
As a teenager Norman accompanied his father to Iran, where the elder Schwarzkopf trained the country's national police force and was an adviser to Reza Pahlavi, the young Shah of Iran.
Young Norman studied there and in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, then followed in his father's footsteps to West Point, graduating in 1956 with an engineering degree. After stints in the U.S. and abroad, he earned a master's degree in engineering at the University of Southern California and later taught missile engineering at West Point.
In 1966 he volunteered for Vietnam and served two tours, first as a U.S. adviser to South Vietnamese paratroops and later as a battalion commander in the U.S. Army's Americal Division. He earned three Silver Stars for valor _ including one for saving troops from a minefield _ plus a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and three Distinguished Service Medals.
While many career officers left military service embittered by Vietnam, Schwarzkopf was among those who opted to stay and help rebuild the tattered Army into a potent, modernized all-volunteer force.
After Saddam invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Schwarzkopf played a key diplomatic role by helping to persuade Saudi Arabia's King Fahd to allow U.S. and other foreign troops to deploy on Saudi territory as a staging area for the war to come.
On Jan. 17, 1991, a five-month buildup called Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as allied aircraft attacked Iraqi bases and Baghdad government facilities. The six-week aerial campaign climaxed with a massive ground offensive on Feb. 24-28, routing the Iraqis from Kuwait in 100 hours before U.S. officials called a halt.
Schwarzkopf said afterward he agreed with Bush's decision to stop the war rather than drive to Baghdad to capture Saddam, as his mission had been only to oust the Iraqis from Kuwait.
But in a desert tent meeting with vanquished Iraqi generals, he allowed a key concession on Iraq's use of helicopters, which later backfired by enabling Saddam to crack down more easily on rebellious Shiites and Kurds.
While he later avoided the public second-guessing by academics and think tank experts over the ambiguous outcome of Gulf War I and its impact on Gulf War II, he told the Washington Post in 2003, "You can't help but... with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, `Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn't be facing what we are facing today.'"
After retiring from the Army in 1992, Schwarzkopf wrote a best-selling autobiography, "It Doesn't Take A Hero." Of his Gulf war role, he said, "I like to say I'm not a hero. I was lucky enough to lead a very successful war." He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and honored with decorations from France, Britain, Belgium, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.
Schwarzkopf was a national spokesman for prostate cancer awareness and for Recovery of the Grizzly Bear, served on the Nature Conservancy board of governors and was active in various charities for chronically ill children.
"I may have made my reputation as a general in the Army and I'm very proud of that," he once told the AP. "But I've always felt that I was more than one-dimensional. I'd like to think I'm a caring human being. ... It's nice to feel that you have a purpose."
Schwarzkopf and his wife, Brenda, had three children: Cynthia, Jessica and Christian.