Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Gurkhas are coming - again?

By Alec.

British Army to consider creation of Sikh regiment
 23 February 2015

A Sikh platoon at the Monument Aux héros de l’armée d’Orient des terres lointaines, Marseille during world war commemorations

The head of the British Army is examining proposals to create a Sikh regiment, the Armed Forces minister has said.

Mark Francois said the idea "may well have merit" as he told the Commons a reserve company is also under consideration.

The Tory front-bencher added the reserve company would inherit many of the "proud traditions of Sikh regiments" from the Army's past....

More here.

In reversing a decision made to counter claims of racial segregation within the British Army, although ignored with Ghurka regiments, the British lost a number of fine regiments with a proud history of dying bravely and equally on the field of battle.

I do feel this is a cynical move by a Government in response to counter the homegrown terrorist threat by recruiting from the same communities targeted by Islamic Fundamentalists.

However, provided they can recruit the right calibre of man, if they can at all, it's carried out with the full backing of the communities they wish to recruit from and can balance the proud traditions of past regiments with modern mans expectations and beliefs along with patriotism, this has the chance of being a fine moment for the British Army.

[Related:  Gurkha History

UPDATE: Gurkha Warrior the lastest to feel the government budget knife

Video: Happy HAPPY Birthday SJP

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin',
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin',
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance.

I hope you dance....I hope you dance...

To infinity and beyond......that much and more...

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rest In Peace Lt. Col. Ernest Côté WWII Hero

From the CBC:

Ernest Côté, WW II veteran and home invasion survivor, dead at 101

Ian Bush faces attempted murder charge after senior was left bound, with plastic bag over his head

CBC News  Feb 26, 2015

Second World War veteran Ernest Côté, who survived a violent home invasion at his Ottawa condo in December, died Wednesday night at the age of 101.

Côté's family said in a French-language statement he died of natural causes at Ottawa's Montfort Hospital.

His family said the retired lieutenant colonel helped plan the Normandy landing and helped put together the World Health Organization charter. He received France's Legion of Honour award in 2004 for his service during the Second World War.

(Ernest Cote received his Legion of Honour Award from the Ambassador of France, Phillippe Guelluy at the French Embassy to Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, May 27, 2004. (Tobin Grimshaw/Canadian Press)

His funeral will be held at Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 7. His family is asking donations in his name be made to Montfort Hospital.

Members of Parliament gave Côté a standing ovation in the House of Commons after his death was announced by Ottawa-Orleans MP Royal Galipeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole...
Côté made headlines after he was tied up and robbed inside his Ottawa apartment. He was left with a plastic bag over his head, but freed himself and called police.

"I was madder than a wasp, and I couldn't do a damn thing, and that's all I could do until he left," Côté said in January. "I was never afraid. I was madder than a wasp. Wasps ain't afraid; they're mad.

"Life is such that when you see these things happen to you, you try to get out. The important thing is to concentrate on how to get out of the position in which you happen to be. If you're afraid and paralyzed, you don't move. I was never afraid. I was not afraid of the landing, the D-Day landing. I was not afraid."...

ISIS Cell Arrested in Brooklyn – Planned Attacks on Obama, US

From Clarion Project:

The FBI arrest of the three Islamic State members in New York is, in large part, due to a confidential informant at a mosque.

 RYAN MAURO Thu, February 26, 2015

From an Islamic State video depicting the beheading of Coptic Egyptians

FBI has arrested three Islamic State (ISIS) members in Brooklyn, New York, in large part due to a confidential informant at an unidentified mosque. The conspirators discussed carrying out an attack in America if they are unable to join the Islamic State in Syria.

 The three suspected terrorists are Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, Akhror Saidakhmetov and Abror Habibov. Those involved made it clear that their violent intentions are not motivated by political grievances. They are motivated by the Islamist teachings that require Muslims to engage in violent jihad for the sake of a “global caliphate” and apocalyptic prophecies.

Juraboev is a permanent resident of the U.S. and citizen of Uzbekistan. It is unclear when he was radicalized but he told Islamic State members online that his family in Uzbekistan is not devoutly religious. He frequented an Uzbek website that implored Uzbeks to join the Islamic State and fight for its “global caliphate.”

On August 8, Juraboev wrote a post on the website under a pseudonym talking about his desire to “strike fear in heart of the infidels,” referencing the Quran (3:151). He asked if he could join the Islamic State while remaining in America and if it would be acceptable to become a “martyr” by trying to shoot President Obama.

The FBI saw the message traced the IP address to his Brooklyn address. He admitted to the authorities that he is a supporter of the Islamic State, would like to join the terrorist group in Syria. He said he’d kill President Obama or bomb Coney Island if the Islamic State asked him to and the “order had a basis in the Koran and the ‘Sunna’ (the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad).”

The indictment summarizes his explanation as follows:....

There is more here.

The evidence continues to mount that we DO have a major problem within our borders.

Pay attention.

World Trade Center Bombing 1993: Have we forgotten?

(photo source)

From the FBI:
First Strike: Global Terror in America

[On this day]at about 17 minutes past noon, a thunderous explosion rocked lower Manhattan.

 The epicenter was the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center, where a massive eruption carved out a nearly 100-foot crater several stories deep and several more high. Six people were killed almost instantly. Smoke and flames began filling the wound and streaming upward into the building. Those who weren’t trapped were soon pouring out of the building—many panic-stricken and covered in soot. More than a thousand people were hurt in some way, some badly, with crushed limbs. It was Friday, February 26, 1993, and Middle Eastern terrorism had arrived on American soil—with a bang.

As a small band of terrorists scurried away from the scene unnoticed, the FBI and its partners on the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force began staffing up a command center and preparing to send in a team to investigate. Their instincts told them that this was terrorism—they’d been tracking Islamic fundamentalists in the city for months and, they’d later learn, were tantalizingly close to encountering the planners of this attack. But hunches weren’t enough; what was needed was definitive proof.

They’d have it soon enough. 

The massive investigation that followed—led by the task force, with some 700 FBI agents worldwide ultimately joining in—quickly uncovered a key bit of evidence. In the rubble investigators uncovered a vehicle identification number on a piece of wreckage that seemed suspiciously obliterated. A search of our crime records returned a match: the number belonged to a rented van reported stolen the day before the attack. 

An Islamic fundamentalist named Mohammad Salameh had rented the vehicle, we learned, and on March 4, an FBI SWAT team arrested him as he tried in vain to get his $400 deposit back.

One clue led to another and we soon had in custody three more suspects—Nidal Ayyad, Mahmoud Abouhalima, and Ahmed Ajaj. We’d also found the apartment where the bomb was built and a storage locker containing dangerous chemicals, including enough cyanide gas to wipe out a town. All four men were tried, convicted, and sentenced to life.

The shockwave from the attack continued to reverberate....

[...] The FBI later called it the “largest by weight and by damage of any improvised explosive device that we’ve seen since the inception of forensic explosive identification.”

Six people died, including a pregnant woman. More than 1,000 others were injured, mostly from smoke that snaked its way up the stairwells and elevator shafts. As rescue workers dug for victims, survivors began making their way out by any means possible.

A woman in a wheelchair was carried down 66 flights of stairs by two friends. A class of singing kindergartners descended from the 107th floor. A group of engineers stuck in an elevator pried open the doors and then used car keys to cut a hole in the sheetrock walls leading out to a 58th-floor women’s bathroom. Nearly 30 people with medical conditions were taken to the roof and whisked away by police helicopter.

By late that night, the buildings had been completely cleared. They would not reopen for nearly a month....

For more:  Remembering the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing

12:20 P.M. Emergency vehicles on West Street Emergency vehicles responding to the explosion jam West Street, which runs alongside the North Tower and the Vista International Hotel. Meanwhile, evacuees stream out of the World Trade Center complex. Photograph © by Allan Tannenbaum. All rights reserved.

At the National 9/11 Memorial, which opened on the tenth anniversary of the 2001 attacks, the six adult victims of the 1993 bombing are memorialized at the North Pool, on Panel N-73. The recovered fragment of the memorial fountain is on display inside the museum.

Remembering the Six Victims of the WTC 1993 Bombing
Names of the six victims of the Feb. 26, 1993 bombing are forever inscribed in bronze on the 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center site. (Amy Dreher photo)

From CNN in 2003:

John DiGiovanni
Bob Kirkpatrick
Steven Knapp
Bill Macko
Wilfred Mercado
Monica Rodriguez Smith

New York remembers 1993 WTC victims

From Phil Hirschkorn
CNN New York Bureau
Wednesday, February 26, 2003


Four of the six people killed in the attack worked for the World Trade Center's owner, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Most of the victims were having lunch in their basement office, adjacent to the parking garage where terrorists parked their explosives-laden van.

Bob Kirkpatrick, 61, Steven Knapp, 47, and Bill Macko, 57, were mechanical supervisors for the transportation agency. Monica Rodriguez Smith was Macko's secretary. All were killed in the bombing.

The fifth and sixth victims were Wilfred Mercado, 37, who worked for the Windows on the World restaurant atop the North Tower and was checking in food deliveries in the basement, and John DiGiovanni, 45, a dental salesman who was in the parking garage when the bomb exploded.

Another thousand people suffered injuries. It took 11 hours to evacuate some 50,000 people from the complex....

Port Authority employees received this pin after the bombing on February 26, 1993. (Photo: Jin Lee)

During the course of my research for this column, I read many, many articles of conspiracy theories,  - with accompanying videos -  political mudslinging, etc etc nauseum.

Lost in all the fog is the indisputable facts that we lost SIX  American innocent lives as they went about their daily business.

Also, and most egregious to me, is the lessons either not learned from this outrageous terrorist attack on American soil, or a deliberate forgetting of those lessons; a deliberate sweeping under the rug, if you will. 

As I read the constant  daily headlines from around the world on the scourge of today's terrorist threats, I am reminded that those who forget the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat them.

We must NOT forget, and we MUST learn.  To forget is to seal our future at the hands of terrorist thugs who work tirelessly for our destruction. 

The memory of the victims of 1993 demand we REMEMBER.

John DiGiovanni
Bob Kirkpatrick
Steven Knapp
Bill Macko
Wilfred Mercado
Monica Rodriguez Smith

Related: 1993 World Trade Bombing Center

(I am sure my regular readers know my response to this 2013 article that swears:  His lawyer says he's no longer a threat )

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Canadian Troops ordered to stand down in Diffa

(map source)

Who knew we had Canadian Troops there?  Apparently we do, and other coalition Troops as part of  training mission Flintlock.  What is Flintlock?   From USAFRICOM:

Exercise Flintlock is an annual regional exercise among African, Western, and U.S. counterterrorism forces, which has taken place since 2006. It is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed, U.S. Africa Command-sponsored, Joint-Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara -conducted Special Operations Forces exercise. Occurring in nations across the Sahel region of Africa, the exercises are planned by Special Operations Command-Africa to develop the capacity and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations. Flintlock participation has included ground and air forces from over 16 countries across a broad spectrum of operations....

It appears that Boko Haram didn't get the memo that this is a training exercise, and from Globe and Mail comes this:

Canadian soldiers ordered to leave region threatened by Boko Haram

Steven Chase February 24, 2015

Canadian special-forces soldiers providing counterterrorism training in Niger have been forced to pack up from a border region and relocate to another part of the African country in order to stay out of the way of fighting between Boko Haram extremists and government troops.

At the same time, the Canadian military says it stands ready to step up its role in Niger if Ottawa decides to send aid. The government of Niger, a poor desert country, recently declared a state of emergency in the border region of Diffa after a number of attacks by Boko Haram, an Islamist terror group.

Troops from Canada are training African counterparts in shooting, communications and mission planning – skills they could use in order to combat groups such as Boko Haram, which controls more than 50,000 square kilometres of territory in western Africa and is destabilizing the region.

The operations are being conducted as part of an annual U.S.-sponsored military exercise called Flintlock, which this year began in February and runs until March 9...

Many more details on this interesting situation here.    All is good though, as "The military is emphatic that Canada’s special-forces troops did not come under fire from Boko Haram and did not engage the militants.... none were injured."