Daily Archives: August 28, 2011

Libya: Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi found ‘close to death’ in Tripoli


CNN are reporting that their journalist Nic Robertson has found the man convicted of the 1988 PanAm 103 bombing, Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, in Libya Photo: CNN

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, was tracked down in Tripoli last night, scotching rumours that he had been spirited out of the Libyan capital.

Telegraph | Aug 28, 2011

By Jon Swaine

Reporters discovered Megrahi lying comatose and surviving on an intravenous drip in a room in his family’s palatial villa.

Relatives said that he was close to death, and that looters had “stolen all his medicine”. They insisted that they were being given no help from Gaddafi loyalists. Megrahi was pictured, clearly unconscious.

His son, Khaled al-Megrahi, told CNN: “We just give him oxygen. Nobody gives us any advice. There is no doctor. There is nobody to ask. We don’t have any phone line to call anybody. We just sit next to him … he has stopped eating and sometimes he goes into coma.”

Asked about the calls for his return to Britain, Megrahi’s son said: “If he is sent to Scotland, he will die, by the way. Here or there.”

The overthrow of Col Gaddafi, who paraded Megrahi as a victory over his western enemies, prompted calls by US senators for him to be sent back to Britain to complete his sentence.

But on Sunday night Mohammed al-Alagi, the National Transitional Council’s justice minister, dismissed suggestions that he may be extradited.

“We will not give any Libyan citizen to the West,” he said. “Al-Megrahi has already been judged once and he will not be judged again … We do not hand over Libyan citizens.”

Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, the senators for New York, home to many of the Lockerbie victims, last week called his release a “total miscarriage of justice” and demanded his extradition.

Megrahi was jailed for life in January 2001 for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 from London to New York in December 1988. It killed all 259 on board and another 11 below in the Scottish town of Lockerbie .

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish justice secretary, ruled in 2009 that Megrahi should be freed. His release came after Libyan leaders threatened to cancel lucrative oil and trade deals with Britain.

Gordon Brown and other British ministers insisted that they had not intervened and that the decision was one for the Scottish executive alone.

However documents released in February showed that ministers reversed their position on the transfer of Libyan prisoners in part due to commercial concerns, including after lobbying by the oil firm BP.

In an accompanying note, Sir Gus O’Donnell, the Cabinet Secretary, said that the British Government had come to the position that it “should do all it could” to ensure Megrahi’s release.

A secret US diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks and published by The Daily Telegraph in January disclosed that British ministers sent Libya detailed legal advice on how to use Megrahi’s cancer diagnosis to push for his release from Scotland. David Cameron described the decision to release Megrahi as “profoundly wrong”.

Norway killer’s isolation extended to prevent contact with accomplices


Confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik arrives at court in the back of a police car in Oslo Aug. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Scanpix)

Confessed Norway killer’s isolation extended

Anders Behring Breivik must be kept in complete isolation for fear he would tamper with evidence and contact possible accomplices.

AP | Aug 19, 2011

OSLO – A Norwegian court on Friday extended by four weeks the isolation detention of the man who confessed to killing 77 people after a shooting rampage at a youth camp and a bombing in the capital saying it still does not know if he acted alone.

Anders Behring Breivik must be kept in complete isolation for fear he would tamper with evidence and contact possible accomplices, the Oslo District Court ruled.

Judge Hugo Abelseth acknowledged Breivik had described his isolation as “boring and monotonous, and a sadistic torture method,” but said he must nonetheless spend at least four more weeks there. He said the next hearing would be held on Sept. 19.

Related

Breivik’s mother ‘in shock’ over violence

Survivors and victims were not allowed into Friday’s session, but were represented by lawyers.

The 32-year-old right-wing extremist has admitted killing eight people when he exploded a truck bomb outside government offices, then fatally shooting 69 people on Utoya island nearby.

Breivik arrived at the closed hearing in a dark car, dressed in a dark suit, under heavy police protection. It was his second court appearance since the July 22 attacks.

His earlier request to wear a long black tuxedo to the session had been rejected by the court, which described it as “unnecessarily disturbing and provocative.”

Breivik denies criminal guilt because he believes the massacre was necessary to save Norway and Europe. He said the attacks were an attempt at cultural revolution, aimed at purging Europe of Muslims and punishing politicians that have embraced multiculturalism.

The court ruling said “there is a considerable likelihood that he has a realistic opportunity” of tampering with evidence unless he is held in isolation.

The court also said that police “have not been able to verify whether the suspect could have had accomplices,” and for that reason he should also be kept in isolation.

Breivik has said he acted alone and after weeks of questioning and a reenactment of the shootings police said they believe he is telling the truth.

On Friday, police said they wanted to keep Breivik in isolation because they didn’t want him to talk to other inmates although they still believe he acted alone.

“We don’t want him to be able to communicate with people outside the prison,” prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told The Associated Press.

Breivik appeared calm at the hearing but showed no remorse, his lawyer Geir Lippestad said.

“In his explanations he says these acts were gruesome, but necessary, and he hasn’t changed his view on that,” Lippestad said after the 20-minute hearing.

In the first court hearing on July 25, officials decided Breivik could be detained for eight weeks, including four weeks in isolation, meaning he has not been given access to television, newspapers and the Internet.

Lawyers representing victims’ families and survivors pilled into the courtroom for the Friday session.

“It would have been good for my clients to see him in handcuffs and chains around his feet under police escort,” said Brynjar Meling, a lawyer for one of the survivors.

Another lawyer representing the victims, Sigurd Klomsaet, said Breivik appeared to lack any humility.

“His comprehension for the pain and the hurt he has caused others is completely absent. Instead, he is fully occupied with his own situation,” Klomsaet said.

If found guilty on terrorism charges, Breivik could be sentenced to 21 years in prison. An alternative custody arrangement — if he is still considered a danger to the public — could keep him behind bars indefinitely.

Friday’s hearing came as survivors, relatives and close friends of the victims were visiting Utoya to grieve at the massacre site. Some 1,500 people were expected on the island at the weekend, which was closely guarded by police.

Shielded from the press and braving cold, pouring rain, groups of families were shuttled to the island by boat where they were accompanied by guides and police officers to the scenes where the victims were killed.

Psychiatrist Trond Heir said there had been “displays of emotion,” but declined to give details.

“A drama has occurred out there,” Heir said. “You see bullet holes in the walls, smashed windows and out on the plain you can see traces in the terrain from where they’ve jumped out (into the water).”

Breivik fired at youths in the lake as they tried to escape from his deadly shots. Many were killed while trying to swim to safety.

Norway’s General Director of Health Bjoern Inge Larsen told reporters he hoped the visits to Utoya would help families come to grips with the deaths.

“Of course, that will be a very difficult day for the people coping out there, but in the long run we know that seeing the scene of where these murders were taking place is actually helpful.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said he would visit Utoya with survivors on Saturday.

“I will be there as a friend, as a prime minister,” told reporters in Oslo. “Just to take part in their mourning and be there for them.”

Breivik flagged as security risk months before mass killing


A man reads messages where people placed flowers to pay their respects to those killed in last month’s bomb and shooting attack at the Oslo Cathedral August 22, 2011. Anti-immigration zealot Anders Behring Breivik has admitted to last month’s bombing on July 22, 2011 in central Oslo and shootings at a Labour Party youth camp on nearby Utoeya island. Photograph by: Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters

Telegraph | Aug 26, 2011

By Fiona Govan

Anders Behring Breivik, the mass killer, was flagged up to Norway’s security police after he tried to buy bomb-making chemicals four months before the July 22 attacks that killed 77 people.

Geir Hoiseth, who heads the border control department of Norway’s customs agency, said Breivik’s name came up as a result of the Global Shield program, an American initiative, after he attempted to buy chemicals from a Polish firm.

Mr Hoiseth said the information was passed on to Norway’s security police, the PST, in March. The PST has said Breivik was on a list of people who had purchased chemicals from the Polish company, but the transaction was legal and the investigation was dropped.

The disclosure came after a British far-Right activist, believed to be the gunman’s “mentor”, said he thought Breivik was not a “lone wolf”. Paul Ray, a founding member of the English Defence League (EDL), made the comment after being interviewed by Norwegian police.

Police in Norway are said to be “very interested” in links the killer may have had with British far-Right cells.

Mr Ray has admitted he may have been the inspiration behind the anti-Muslim ideology developed by Breivik in a 1,600-page manifesto ahead of the massacre. The 35-year-old Briton, who now lives in Malta and writes a blog ranting against multiculturalism under the name “Richard the Lionheart”, travelled to Oslo to be interviewed voluntarily by police.

“I don’t believe Breivik is a lone wolf.?.?. he is part of a larger movement which has its own agenda,” Mr Ray said after a day of questioning by investigators in the Norwegian capital on Thursday.

“The police were very interested in the British cells,” he added. “They asked me if I was [head of] a cell.”

Mr Ray, who left the EDL and now leads a so-called “Knights Templar” movement, came forward after recognizing himself as the “mentor” in the rambling manifesto written by Breivik.

Breivik, 32, wrote in the document that an Englishman, whom he gave the pseudonym “Richard”, “became my mentor”.

Mr Ray, who has condemned the attacks, said he had never met Breivik and had travelled to Norway to help police and clear his own name.

“I have never spoken to Breivik or had contact with him in any other way,” he said. But he has previously admitted his writings could have influenced Breivik.

“It does worry me that he was possibly inspired from my blog,” he said.

Gore: Global warming skeptics are this generation’s racists


Gore: “We have to win the conversation on climate.”

dailycaller.com | Aug 28, 2011

By Caroline May

One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore.

In an interview with former advertising executive and Climate Reality Project collaborator Alex Bogusky broadcasted on UStream on Friday, Gore explained that in order for climate change alarmists to succeed, they must “win the conversation” against those who deny there is a crisis.

“I remember, again going back to my early years in the South, when the Civil Rights revolution was unfolding, there were two things that really made an impression on me,” Gore said. “My generation watched Bull Connor turning the hose on civil rights demonstrators and we went, ‘Whoa! How gross and evil is that?’ My generation asked old people, ‘Explain to me again why it is okay to discriminate against people because their skin color is different?’ And when they couldn’t really answer that question with integrity, the change really started.”

The former vice president recalled how society succeeded in marginalizing racists and said climate change skeptics must be defeated in the same manner.

“Secondly, back to this phrase ‘win the conversation,’” he continued. “There came a time when friends or people you work with or people you were in clubs with — you’re much younger than me so you didn’t have to go through this personally — but there came a time when racist comments would come up in the course of the conversation and in years past they were just natural. Then there came a time when people would say, ‘Hey, man why do you talk that way, I mean that is wrong. I don’t go for that so don’t talk that way around me. I just don’t believe that.’ That happened in millions of conversations and slowly the conversation was won.”

“We have to win the conversation on climate,” Gore added.

When Bogusky questioned the analogy, asking if the scientific reasoning behind climate change skeptics might throw a wrench into the good and evil comparison with racism, Gore did not back down.

“I think it’s the same where the moral component is concerned and where the facts are concerned I think it is important to get that out there, absolutely,” Gore said.

Gore also took shots at Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has lambasted climate change alarmists on the presidential campaign trail, and at other politicians who dare to question the veracity of global warming science.

“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said.

Ron Paul: 9/11 terrorists attacked because of US military presence in Middle East

Paul referred to a military base in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, as a key motivator in the Sept. 11th attacks.

Ron Paul says U.S. intervention motivated 9/11 attacks

desmoinesregister.com | Aug 28, 2011

WINTERSET, Ia. – Two weeks away from the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, presidential candidate and Texas Rep. Ron Paul says that U.S. intervention in the Middle East is a main motivation behind terrorist hostilities toward America, and that Islam is not a threat to the nation.

At a campaign stop on Saturday in Winterset, one man asked Paul how terrorist groups would react if the U.S. removed its military presence in Middle Eastern nations, a move the candidate advocates.

“Which enemy are you worried that will attack our national security?” Paul asked.

“If you’re looking for specifics, I’m talking about Islam. Radical Islam,” the man answered.

“I don’t see Islam as our enemy,” Paul said. “I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate.”

Regarding 9/11, Paul said that attacks against the U.S. from Middle Eastern groups at home and abroad can be traced to the foreign presence of U.S. troops, as well as America’s relationships with dictator regimes.

Paul referred to a military base in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, as a key motivator in the Sept. 11th attacks. Osama bin Laden viewed it as an American desecration of holy land.

“After 9/11, (people said) ‘Oh yeah, it’s those very bad people who hate us,’ but 15 of (the hijackers) came from Saudi Arabia,” said Paul. “One of the reasons they attacked us, is we propped up this Sharia government and the fundamentalists hated us for it.”

The congressman particularly decried U.S.-led bombings in foreign nations, saying that “almost always those individuals that they are trying to kill did not have any direct relationship” with threats to the U.S.

Accordingly, his expectations for the rebels in Libya, who were assisted by American-led bombing efforts, aren’t very bright.

“Remember ‘Mission Accomplished’? That’s probably about where we are right now,” Paul told The Des Moines Register, “and (the U.S.) better be very cautious about bragging about anything.”

The crumbling of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime wouldn’t amount to a significant victory because al-Qaeda forces would arise there soon, Paul said.

“As bad as Gadaffi was, he didn’t like the al-Qaeda,” Paul said. “He kicked those people out.”

Paul cited a University of Chicago professor, Robert Pape, whose research argues that most of the suicide terrorism in the past 30 years was caused by military occupation. Pape’s research, funded by the Defense Department, shows that suicide bombings in Afghanistan went up one third after the Obama administration surged 30,000 troops into the country.

“(9/11) was one of the main motivations for getting your attention on why they hate us and want to kill us,” he said. “You could send 20 million people over there and all it would do is make our problems worse.”