A Terror Leader Emerges, Then Vanishes, in the Sahara


By DREW HINSHAW in Timbuktu, Mali, SIOBHAN GORMAN and DEVLIN BARRETT in Washington

Western forces armed with drones, jets, laser-guided bombs and state-of-the-art wiretapping technology are engaged in a cat-and-mouse hunt for fundamentalist insurgents who have disappeared into the Sahara, holed up in ancient desert hide-outs.

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Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Terror leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar
Elusive Target

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, age 40

Tracked by the CIA since the early 1990s after he left training camps in Afghanistan to fight Algeria’s government.

Estimated by U.S. State Department to have raised $50 million from kidnapping tourists, aid workers, miners.

Used his fortune to buy stolen arms after the fall of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.

Mastermind of the seizure of the Algerian gas plant in January that left at least 37 dead.

The U.S. is working with France to find the fugitives, including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, whose followers commandeered an Algerian gas plant last month in a kidnap plot that left at least 37 people dead—three Americans among them. For the past decade, the 40-year-old insurgent leader has raised tens of millions of dollars from kidnapping and other criminal enterprises to buy weapons and wage a holy war, U.S. officials said.

French warplanes, before reclaiming Timbuktu last month, fired U.S.-made bombs at hide-outs and the command center of the terrorist group, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which for months had occupied the northern half of Mali. When French soldiers arrived in tanks a week later, they found the blitz to finish off the AQIM’s leadership had instead bombed decoy cars and empty buildings, according to French officials.

One drone has emerged as the go-to model for the U.S. Air Force and CIA. How does it work? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has the “Short Answer.” Image: Getty

Among the insurgents who escaped the French onslaught, Western authorities say, none is as elusive as Mr. Belmokhtar, a breakaway AQIM commander, whose brigade is named Those Who Sign With Blood.

The U.S. is employing the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Joint Special Operations Command in a manhunt that underscores how quickly Washington is eyeing an expansion of its counterterrorism actions in northwestern Africa following the gas-plant attack. Senior U.S. officials are pressing to add Mr. Belmokhtar to a list of U.S. targets for capture or killing.

Since arriving in the country on Jan. 11, French and African soldiers have liberated much of AQIM’s seized empire, a Texas-size stretch of northern Mali. Mr. Belmokhtar and the others have since gone deep into the Adrar des Ifoghas: a mountainous gash of petrified lava slogs and cave-pocked stone outcrops the size of the U.K. that has sheltered bandits for centuries.

“We know for sure that these terrorists have hidden themselves here,” said French President François Hollande during a visit to Mali last week.

In recent days, France has dispatched attack helicopters and fighter jets on bombing runs, so far without result. The U.S. has sent surveillance planes and is considering a drone base in neighboring Niger.



“At one of his trials – maybe it was the first, the second, the third, I forget which – Lars quoted John Milton: Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.

Milton wrote that in 1644. Three hundred and seventy years later, it falls to our generation to fight that battle all over again. Lars Hedegaard has led that fight, a fight that so many of his fellow Danes, his fellow Scandinavians, his fellow Europeans have either ducked or joined the wrong side of. In some of the oldest free societies on the planet, far too few are doing the heavy lifting for all of us, and paying a very high price. So I am honored to salute today a champion of liberty, a defender of civilization, and a European hero whether Europe’s rulers know it or not – Lars Hedegaard.”

A few days ago, a man tried to assassinate Lars Hedegaard in Copenhagen – an event Mark wrote about here and here, but about which the broader western media has been shamefully silent. Last summer, Mark had the honour of presenting Lars with a Defender of Freedom award at the European Parliament. Here is some of what Mark had to say:

Thank you. I don’t spend a lot of time in the European Parliament or in Brussels, and one of the few things that could persuade me to set foot here is the opportunity to say a word for the man we honour today, Lars Hedegaard.

After I accepted the invitation to come here, I received a couple of emails from prominent persons saying wasn’t I a bit worried that some of the people here are a bit controversial and it might not be a good idea to be seen in the same room as them. And that’s a fair point. Obviously, it would be far safer for one’s reputation to appear in the same room as less controversial figures such as the chaps appearing last weekend at the Muslim Council of Calgary’s big event in Alberta. Their keynote speaker was the Saudi-educated imam Dr Bilal Phillips, who’s on record as saying that every male homosexual should be executed. He later clarified his position: He only wants all male homosexuals in Muslim countries executed. “The media tends to take my words out of context,” he said.

Also on the bill was the moderate Muslim Shaykh Hatem Alhaj, who supports the introduction of female genital mutilation to North America. But he’s a “moderate” Muslim because he only believes in nicking the clitoris rather than slicing the thing right off. So the head of the Calgary Police Diversity Unit and multiple representatives of the Canadian state had no problem whatsoever being in the same room as Messrs Alhaj and Phillips.

There is literally nothing a prominent Muslim can say – about gays, about Jews, about women – that would render him persona non grata. That’s the world we live in: sharing a stage with a man calling for compulsory execution for homosexuals isn’t controversial; sharing a stage with Lars Hedegaard is.

I’m bored by this double standard; I’m tired of one-way multiculturalism; and I thank God that here in Europe, where you need it most of all, there are a few brave souls like Lars willing to stand up against it. Like Lars, I am guilty of crimes against humanity – I always think that looks good on a chap’s resume. And you’d be surprised how much work it brings in. As with Lars, it was a thought-crime prosecution, in which truth is no defence. Unlike Lars, I beat the rap without having to go all the way to the Supreme Court. Maclean’s magazine and I were acquitted of quote “flagrant Islamophobia” for essentially political reasons – because neither the British Columbia court nor its travesty of a “human rights” code could withstand the heat of a guilty verdict. (I never did find out quite what the difference is between “flagrant Islamophobia” and common-or-garden Islamophobia, but I think flagrant Islamophobia is a lot camper.) Unlike Denmark, where the law under which Lars was prosecuted remains on the books, in Canada just a few days ago, and as a result of my case and the publicity it generated, the House of Commons finally voted to repeal the relevant provision of Canada’s Human Rights Code. At some point, it will go to the Senate and then receive Royal Assent, and a disgraceful law at odds with eight centuries of Canada’s legal inheritance going back to Magna Carta will finally be consigned to the garbage can of history. So, for those of you fighting these battles in Denmark, in Austria, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, victories are possible. But they’re hard fought, and far too few people in the multicultural west have the stomach for them. Lars Hedegaard does.

As most of you know, Lars was charged, acquitted, re-charged, convicted, fined 5,000 kroner and forced to appeal to the Supreme Court – for the crime of expressing his opinion about Islam. He won, but he lost. He lost three years of his life. The point of these new heresy trials is that the verdict is ultimately irrelevant – the process is the punishment. After I saw off the Islamic enforcers in my own country, their frontman crowed to The Canadian Arab News that, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress had struck out in three separate jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing, the lawsuits had cost my magazine (he boasted) two million dollars, and thereby “attained our strategic objective—to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.” In Denmark, as in Austria, as in Germany, as in France, the Islamic imperialists are also achieving their strategic objective. For every Lars Hedegaard, for every Kurt Westergaard, there are a thousand cartoons that are never drawn, a thousand newspaper columns that are never written, a thousand novels that are never published, films that are never made, plays that are never produced …because thousands of people look at what Lars had to go through, and conclude that the price of raising the subject of Islam is too high. For every contrarian spirit such as Lars, there are a thousand other public figures who get the message — best just to steer clear, keep your head down, write about something else, anything else.

The legality of Israel’s use of force By LOUIS RENE BERES

http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=302807 Israel has not only the right, but also the distinct obligation, to protect its citizens. At the end of January, 2013, although never officially confirmed, Israel launched rare airstrikes inside Syria. The core target was a truck convoy carrying anti-aircraft weapons to Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. More than likely, these advanced weapons included SA-17 […]


The Whitewashing of Hate PMW responds to the recent report on Palestinian and Israeli schoolbooks http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=8539 by Itamar Marcus It is hard to imagine a more flawed analysis of Palestinian Authority schoolbooks than the recent report of the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land, led by Sami Adwan, Bethlehem University and Daniel Bar-Tal, […]

Peter Martino: France, the Sick Man of Europe

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3584/france-survey Hollande’s plans to bash the rich have failed to make him popular with the traditional Socialist electorate. After barely nine months in office, Hollande has lost popularity at an even faster rate then his predecessor, Sarkozy. France is the sick man of Europe — at least, that is how the French themselves apparently see […]

The Mysterious Collapse of the Hittite Empire – The Last Days of Hattusa Trevor Bryce…..long and very interesting

http://www.jidaily.com/a5930?utm_source=Jewish+Ideas+Daily+Insider&utm_campaign=79f6ac1b49-Insider&utm_medium=email **This article by Trevor Bryce appears as it was printed in Archaeology Odyssey. Full citation below. The BAS Library includes the complete version of every article published in Archaeology Odyssey.** From his capital, Hattusa, in central Anatolia, the last-known Hittite king, Suppiluliuma II (1207 B.C.-?), ruled over a people who had once built a […]


http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/the-clock-is-ticking I was like many other teenagers in my youth — a little bit rebellious and very immature with that feeling of superiority that said that I was somehow smarter than my elders, who seemed to have antiquated thought processes about life and politics. I remember listening to my father talk to family and friends […]

Hedegaard TV Interview : Andrew G. Bostom


Once again illustrating how Canada’s Sun TV is far bolder than any US television network in dealing with Islam’s threat to Western free speech, Michael Coren, uniquely, interviewed Lars Hedegaard, who survived an assassination attempt earlier this week. Coren underscored my own sentiment that the failure to cover this assassination attempt against a major Western journalist by television media-including conservative television outlets Fox News and The Blaze — is a lingering disgrace.

I am very grateful to Michael Coren for doing the interview, but have a minor quibble with his introduction, which in fact does not (watch for yourselves) comport with these expressed sentiments on Islam by my colleague and friend Lars Hedegaard (during September, 2010):

We [the International Free Press Society] have made no bones about the fact that we consider Islam – as it is presently being preached by all influential clerics and ideologues – a deadly threat to all our freedoms among which are freedom of expression. For this consistent stance we have been vilified and called every name in the book, but we will not budge. I’m aware that some of my friends think that Islam can be reformed, domesticated, and civilized. I welcome that day, but must relate to the fact that it hasn’t happened yet – though Muslims have had 1,400 years to complete the project.

At any rate, we are all indebted to Michael Coren for interviewing Lars Hedegaard and airing his important story, which the legacy media, Fox News and The Blaze, and even the major US conservative talk radio figures have all ignored, imperiling Western free speech.




The movie begins in 1987, where Dr. Ben Carson (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) goes to Germany to visit a couple named Peter and Augusta Rausch, who have twins conjoined at the head. Ben knows that chances of saving them both will be a risk, because one baby always dies in situations like that. Ben agrees to do the operation, but he will wait four months so he can come up with a plan to save them both. While looking into some of his books, the movie flashes back to the year 1961, where 11 year old Ben Carson (Jaishon Fisher) starts out life as an African American child from a one-parent home with failing grades at school. Ben has an older brother named Curtis. His mother, who dropped out in the third grade, starts making decisions for him. When her boys need to learn multiplication tables, she has them swear to learn them while she is gone to check herself into a mental institution. When she sees her two sons’ success hindered by TV, she schedules timings to watch TV, boys show great interest in watching only a quiz show later on and commands them to read two books per week from the library and give her a book report, she also moves them to better schools.

Meanwhile as time passes, Ben learns how to multiply and to spell. He starts to explore the world of books, and he grows in it. He begins to show a temper; Ben almost kills his friend who tells him to go to hell. He used his new knife to stab him and it broke when it hit the buckle of his belt. Having almost killed someone because of his temper, he realizes that he can’t do anything about it. He runs to his room and cries out to God, praying that He delivers him from his temper. He becomes the top student in his eighth grade class, third in his high school class and with hard work and strong determination, he got a scholarship to college, passed the MCAT and went on to medical school. He meets his girlfriend Candy, whom he falls in love with. One day, when he struggles with a test study, she helps him out and Ben eventually passes and gets an A.

In the year 1976, Carson faced adversity from fellow doctors and students while working at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. It is here where he performed an operation as a resident without supervision, risking his medical career to save a man’s life. Then in the year of 1985, he saves the life of a girl who has seizures 100 times a day, by removing only the half of her brain that was responsible for seizures in a procedure called ‘hemispherectomy”. After two children, Candy becomes pregnant with twins, but loses the babies from a bloody miscarriage. Ben’s mother later moves in with the family.

Then the movie goes back to where it began: the year of 1987. Ben is eventually convinced to operate on the two twins, and he manages to make the operation successful, and both twins are saved.


FIRST WATCH THIS VIDEO OF HIS SPEECH: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/02/07/dr_benjamin_carson_addresses_national_prayer_breakfast_criticizes_obamacare.html




Seated in view to his right are Senator Jeff Sessions and President Obama. One doesn’t look happy. You know something’s coming when Dr. Carson says, “It’s not my intention to offend anyone. But it’s hard not to. The PC police are out in force everywhere.”

Dr. Carson tossed over the PC police years ago. Raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, he was as he tells it “a horrible student with a horrible temper.” Today he’s director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

Late in his talk he dropped two very un-PC ideas. The first is an unusual case for a flat tax: “What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe.