Saturday, March 03, 2007


"In August 2005, the Independent published a story with the headline: 'Intelligence Chiefs Warn Blair of Home-Grown Insurgency.' Raymond Whitaker and Frances Elliott wrote in this report that 'there were more than 100,000 people in Britain from "completely militarized" regions, including Somalia. and Afghanistan. Every one of them knows how to use an AK-47. About 10 per cent can strip and reassemble such a weapon blindfolded, and probably a similar proportion have some knowledge of how to use military explosives.'

"The Sunday Times wrote on June 4, 2006 that between 120 and 150 radical Islamists had traveled to Iraq to join the 'British Jihad Brigade,' in answer to Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi's appeal. The paper cited a senior security source as saying that the 'foreign legion,' which is comprised entirely of Westerners, was set up to fight alongside the Iraqi insurgency.

"The British journalist Melanie Phillips. cited British government appraisals from one year before the London attacks, to the effect that 16,000 British Muslims were either directly involved in or supported terrorist activities. Three thousand had attended Al-Qaeda training camps abroad, and a few hundred of them were prepared to carry out attacks in the U.K. itself. There were also other British Muslims who traveled abroad to take part in terrorist attacks.

"On December 22, 2001, the British-born Muslim Richard Reid was arrested after raising a din on a flight from Paris to Miami. "Reid, who is known as 'the shoe-bomber,' attempted to blow up the plane with explosives hidden in his shoe. In his confession at his trial he said: 'I admit to what I did. I will not apologize for it. I am at war with your country.' In January 2003 he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

"On January 23, 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl disappeared in Pakistan while preparing a report on extremist groups. On February 21, 2002, the U.S. State Department officially announced his death. A videotape showed masked terrorists slaughtering him; it later became known that these were the British-born Ahmed Said Sheikh and three of his assistants.

"In 2002, the Egyptian authorities arrested 26 members of Hizb Al-Tahrir Al-Islami. Among them were three British citizens who had resolved to carry out terrorist attacks. The group was convicted in March, 2004, and the British citizens were condemned to five years' imprisonment.

"In the recent fighting in Somalia, in which the government forces, with military support from Ethiopia, defeated the forces of the extremist Union of Islamic Courts, there were British Islamists who fought alongside the Islamic Courts. Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi revealed, in a January 9 press conference, that his country's forces had arrested seven British fighters as they tried to escape Mogadishu together with the Islamist militias. They were arrested together with a number of Canadians and other Westerners, whom he described as 'the international faction'. The news reported that many of them had been killed in battle.

"The British Islamists had joined the forces of the Union of Islamic Courts in answer to the call issued by Al-Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, in early January. He had called on Al-Qaeda's supporters in the West to join in the suicide-bombing campaign and guerilla war in Somalia. "The aid coming from Britain to the Islamic Courts was not limited just to fighters, but also included funding. A report issued by a U.N. supervision agency last November stated that 'in recent months Somalis in the U.K. had raised more than $1 million in donations. These funds were sent to the Islamic Courts.' The report added that London had become the primary channel through which monetary aid was passed on to the Islamic Courts.

"Last but not least, Britain's Channel 4 broadcast, on Monday, January 13, 2007, a documentary film that was surreptitiously shot in a number of British mosques, the most important of which was the Birmingham Mosque. The results were alarming. The sermons were hostile to 'infidels,' Jews, and Christians, and called for the killing of homosexuals, among others. In addition, they offered Islamic legal justifications for marrying off girls who were still minors to elderly men. "Some of the British mosques offered a live satellite videoconference with the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, who answered the questions and inquiries of those present at the mosque. Some of the mosques carried live Friday sermons and prayers from mosques in Saudi Arabia.

More here

Star British chef backs the Big Mac

Marco Pierre White, the chef turned restaurateur, came out as an unexpected champion of McDonald's yesterday claiming that it offered better food than many restaurants. White, the first and youngest chef in Britain to be awarded three Michelin stars, said he especially admired the consistency of the food served by the hamburger chain and its excellent value for money.

Speaking after Prince Charles's call to ban the fast food chain, he said the prince was "wrong and foolish" and that he, like many chefs, regularly enjoyed a Big Mac. "McDonald's offers better food than most restaurants and the general criticism of the company is very unfair," he said. "Their eggs are free range and the beef is from Ireland, but you never hear about that. You have to look at whether restaurants offer value for money, and they offer excellent value. "It is wrong and foolish for the prince to call for a ban especially as I suspect he has never tried a Big Mac."

White, 44, who quit the kitchen and now runs several restaurants including L'Escargot and Mirabelle, said: "With McDonald's you know exactly what you are getting. "I have been to restaurants where I have paid 15 pounds for a main course and thought I would have preferred to have gone to McDonald's." "I am not saying that you should live off them but there is a time and a place for McDonald's. "I don't eat there every day, but if I feel like one, I just stop off and you know what you get. I'm quite happy to go in there."

However his views were not shared by other chefs who sided with Prince Charles. The Prince made his remarks on a trip to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Antony Worrall Thompson, the television chef, said he agreed that fast food outlets were a problem. "What he's basically saying is correct. We need to get back to cooking from scratch. "But why didn't he mention Burger King and the other fast food outlets? It's the whole industry producing ready meals and fast food that is the problem. The Michelin-starred chef Georgio Locatelli said: "I'm fully behind Prince Charles. He is spot on. McDonald's should be banned."

A spokesman for McDonald's welcomed White's support. He said: "It is good that he is so well informed. He has expressed an opinion based on fact." He said the ingredients for their food were almost entirely sourced from British farmers and producers. In all more than 17,000 farmers supplied the chain.


Guardian of misrepresentation : "There is a real country called Iraq, where a real war is going on, with real progress but very real challenges. We are not going to "win the war" in six months -- nor would anyone expect to. But the Guardian seems to be describing some completely different, (possibly mythical) country, and some imaginary group of harried and depressed advisers bearing no resemblance to reality. As counterinsurgency professionals, we take a fact-based approach and we are well aware of the extremely demanding task we face. That makes us cautious realists -- but we are far from pessimists, as the Guardian's anonymous source seems to imply."

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