Thursday, August 11, 2005

Holy Scriptures

EZEKIEL 381-3) God’s Word came to me: Mortal, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief leader of Meshekh and Tubal, and prophesy concerning him. Say:“Thus says God: I am on to you, Gog, chief leader of Meshekh and Tubal. 4) I will entice you, and put hooks in your cheeks. I will bring you with your entire army, horses and horsemen, all of them fully outfitted, in huge numbers of troops, all of them with shields, holding swords. 5-6) Among them will be Persia, Ethiopia and Put, all of them with shields and helmets; Gomer with all its divisions; Beit Togarmah from the most distant parts of the north, with all its divisions; and the many nations with you.7) Get ready and prepare yourself, you and all your troops gathered around you, and you will lead the way. 8) You will pay now for ages of guilt. In the distant future, you will march against a people who survived the massacre, who have been gathered from many nations. [You will march] against the mountains of Israel which have been long desolate, now liberated from the nations. Now resting securely. 9) You will come up, approaching like a roaring storm, like a cloud covering the earth - you, all your divisions, and many peoples with you.10-12) God says: You will have made an evil plan on that day... to pass your hand over rebuilt ruins and a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and possessions, [a people] inhabiting the navel of the earth. 14-16) Therefore, Mortal, prophesy and say to Gog, The Lord God says: On that day when My people Israel lives in security, you will understand [My Word].

You will come from your place, from the most distant parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all riding horses, with many troops and a great army. In the distant future you will march against My people, Israel, like a cloud covering God's land. Gog, I will bring you to My land so the nations will know Me, when I become sanctified through you as they watch.17) God says: It is about you that I spoke long ago through My servants, the prophets of Israel, who prophesied for years in those days that I would bring you against [Israel]. 18-20) On that day when Gog enters the land of Israel, says the Lord God, My anger will blaze.

I have declared in My zeal and in My fiery anger that there will be a great earthquake throughout the land of Israel on that day. The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the ground and all the men on the face of the earth will tremble before Me. The mountains will be destroyed, cliffs will collapse, and every wall will fall to the ground. 21-23) I will summon the sword against [Gog] on all My mountains, says the Lord God. Men will turn their swords against one another, and I will punish them with plague and blood, torrents of rain and hailstones, and with fire and brimstone, which I will rain down on them, on their divisions, and on the many peoples that are with them.

I will be exalted and sanctified, and I will make Myself known to many nations, so they will know that I am God.

JOEL 3, 4Chapter 31) {In the days of the Messiah} I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions...2) I will set signs in the heavens and on earth: blood, fire, and pillars of smoke. Before the great and awesome Day of God arrives, the sun will turn into darkness and the moon into blood. 3)

Yet everyone who calls out in the Name of God will escape. As God has said: There will be a remnant on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem. The survivors will be those who call out to God. Chapter 41-3) Now, in those days and at that time when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

I will dispute with them there over My people and My inheritance ─ for scattering Israel among the nations, for dividing My land, and for casting lots over My people. They exchanged a boy for a prostitute. They sold a girl for wine, which they drank.4-6) And what have you to do with Me, O Tyre, Sidon, and all the districts of Philistia? Are you avenging yourselves against Me?Or if you are initiating aggression against Me, I will very swiftly punish you for what you've done.

You took My silver and gold, and carried off My precious treasures to your temples. You sold the children of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks in order to distance them from their homeland.But I will rouse them out of the place to which you sold them, and I will punish you in kind...9-11) Proclaim this among the nations: Declare war! Rouse the mighty! Let all the warriors come up and draw near! Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears.

Let the weak say, “I am mighty!” Gather yourselves! Come from all directions, all you nations, and join together. God will bring down your mighty men there. 12-13) Let the nations awake and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There, 1 will sit in judgment over all the surrounding nations. Wield the sickle, because the crop is ripe. Come tread, because the winepress is full, the vats overflow ─ for their wickedness is great.14-17) Many multitudes [will perish] in the Valley of Verdict. The Day of God is close in the Valley of Verdict.

The sun and the moon will turn dark, and the stars will conceal their brightness. God will roar from Zion and shout out from Jerusalem, causing heaven and earth to tremble. But God will be a shield for His people and a stronghold for the people of Israel. Then you will know that I, God your Lord, dwells in Zion, My holy mountain. Jerusalem will then be sacred, and strangers will never again pass through her...20-21)

Egypt will become a devastation, and Edom a devastated wasteland, because they afflicted the Judeans, whose innocent blood they shed in their land. But Judah will endure forever, and Jerusalem for all generations. “Will I forgive them? No! I will not forgive them!” when God dwells in Zion!

OBADIAH1) The vision of Obadiah. This is what God the Lord said concerning Edom. We heard a report from God. A messenger was sent to the nations. “Get up! Let us wage war against her!”2-5) See how I've made you small among the nations. You are thoroughly despised. Your heart's conceit seduced you. You who makes the mountain caves your lofty abode, you say to yourself, “Who can bring me down to earth?” Even if you raise your nest as high as the eagle's, even if you establish it among the stars, I will bring you down from there! ─ declares God.5) How is it that you've been so destroyed?

If thieves and robbers in the night came to you, wouldn't they have stolen only their fill? If grape gatherers came to you, wouldn't they have left behind gleanings?6-7) How is it, then, that they ransacked Esau and uncovered his hidden treasures? All your allies accompanied you only to the border. Your comrades duped you.

They got the better of you. Your friends set a trap under you. You lacked understanding [to realize it].8-9) On that day ─ God declares ─ I will surely make the wise men disappear from Edom, and understanding from Mount Esau. Your warriors will be broken, Teman, so that the slaughter will wipe out every last man from Mount Esau.10-11) Because you robbed your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame and cut off for all eternity.

When you stood aside on the day foreigners seized his possessions and strangers invaded his cities and cast lots for Jerusalem ─ you, too, were like one of them.12-14) You should not have looked on during your brother's day, on the day he was taken captive. You should not have gloated over the people of Judah on the day they were destroyed, or jeered on the day of affliction. You should not have come to My people's gate on the day of their adversity. On their day of adversity, you should not have been among those who came to see their distress or seize their possessions. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, or turned in their survivors on the day of affliction.15-16) For God's Day against the nations is near.

What you did will be done to you. You will be punished in kind for your deeds. Just as you drank on My Holy Mount, so will all the nations drink always. They will drink and go mad. They will be as if they never were.17) But on Mount Zion there will be deliverance. It will become holy. And the House of Jacob will possess their inheritance. 18) Then, the House of Jacob will be fire, the House of Joseph a flame, and the House of Esau will be straw. They will set them alight and consume them. There will be no survivors from the House of Esau, for God has spoken. 19-20) The Negev will possess Mount Esau, the Shephela will possess the Philistines.

They will possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria, and Benjamin will possess the Gilead. The exiled community of Israelites that are [with the exiled] Canaanites until France, and the exiled Jerusalemites in Spain, will inherit the towns of the Negev.21) The saviors will ascend Mount Zion to rule Mount Esau. Then, the kingdom will be God's!

ZECHARIAH 12 -14Chapter 121-2) A prophecy: the Word of God concerning Israel. Thus declares God, Who extends the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, and Who creates the spirit of man within him: Behold, I will make Jerusalem into a cup of poison for all the surrounding nations. And Judah will also attack Jerusalem. 3-4) On that day, I will make Jerusalem into a burdensome stone for all the nations. All those who lift it will be severely injured.

Yet all the nations on earth will gather against her. On that day ─ declares God ─ I will afflict every horse with confusion and its rider with madness. But I will watch over the House of Judah, while I smite all the nations' horses with blindness. 5) The chiefs of Judah will say to themselves, “The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strengthened me through the God of Hosts their Lord.”6) On that day, I will make the chiefs of Judah like a bonfire among trees, like a flaming torch among sheaves.

They will consume all the surrounding nations, to the right and left; and Jerusalem will remain on its site - in Jerusalem...Chapter 138-9) Throughout the world ─ declares God ─ two-thirds will be cut off and die, but the third will remain. I will bring that third into fire and refine them as one refines metal, examine them as one examines gold.

He will call in My Name, and I will answer him. I will say, “You are My people.” And he will say, “God is my Lord”...Chapter 142-3) I will gather all the peoples to Jerusalem for war. The city will be captured, the houses pillaged, the women raped, and half the city will go into exile. But the rest of the population will not be uprooted from the city.

God will then come forth and fight against those peoples as when He fought on the day of battle {when He split the Red Sea after the Exodus from Egypt} ...And God will be King of all the earth. On that day, God will be one and His Name one...12) This will be the plague with which God will smite all the nations that warred against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot away even as they stand on their feet. Their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths.13) On that day, there will be a great confusion from God in their midst.

They will grab hold of each other's hand, with each one's hand raised against the other’s. 14) Judah, too, will battle against Jerusalem...16-17) Whoever survives of all those peoples that come against Jerusalem will make a yearly pilgrimage to bow down to the King, the God of Hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Sukkot. And when any of the nations of the world fail to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to bow down to the King, the God of Hosts, rain will not fall for them.

PSALMSPsalm 2Why do nations convene, and peoples utter absurdities? Kings of the earth take their stand and ministers conspire together against God and against His anointed: “Let us tear off the cords of their yoke and throw off their ropes from us!”He Who sits in heaven laughs; God scoffs at them. Then He speaks to them in His anger and terrifies them with His wrath: “It is I Who appointed My king over Zion, My holy mountain!”I will recount what has been ordained: God said to me, “You are My son; today I have begotten you.

Ask of Me and I will give it; nations as your inheritance, your domain [reaching to] the ends of the earth. Break them with an iron rod. Shatter them like a potter's vessel.”So now, O kings, consider; accept discipline, O judges of the earth. Worship God with fear, that you may rejoice when trembling [besets the wicked]. Crave a pure [heart] lest He vent His wrath, and your way be doomed when His anger momentarily flares. Happy are all who take refuge in Him!Psalm 20A psalm of David. May God answer you in time of trouble, may the Name of Jacob's God fortify you.

May He send your help from the Sanctuary, and support you from Zion. May He remember all your meal-offerings and turn your burnt-offerings into ash. May He grant you your desires, and fulfill your every plan.We will sing joyously at Your salvation, and raise a banner in the Name of our God! May God fulfill your every request. Now I know that God saves His anointed one; He answers him from the heavens [of] His holiness, through the mighty salvation of His right hand. These [trust] in their chariots, and these in their steeds, but we call on the Name of God our Lord.

They slump and stay fallen, but we rise and gather strength. Save, O God! May the King answer us on the day we call. Psalm 46God is our refuge and strength, a most ready help in distress. Therefore we will not be afraid when the earth is transformed and the mountains collapse into the depths of the seas; when its waters rage and become muddled, and the mountains quake at His majesty.There is a river whose streams bring joy to the city of God, the sacred dwelling place of the Most High. God is in her midst, she will not collapse. God will come to her aid at the approach of dawn. Peoples clamor, kingdoms topple, when He raises His voice the earth['s inhabitants] melt away. The God of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our bastion.Come and see the works of God, Who has wrought desolation in the land.

To the end of the earth He puts a stop to wars. He breaks the bow, snaps the spear, and sets fire to the wagons. Desist! Know that I am God! I will be exalted among peoples, exalted upon the earth. The God of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our bastion.Psalm 48A song, a psalm of the sons of Korach. God is great and much acclaimed in the city of our God, His holy mountain. Fairest district, joy of all the earth, is Mount Zion, to the northern side of the city of the great king.

In her citadels God is known as The Bastion. See how the kings assembled, [how] they advanced together. They looked and were indeed astounded, they were terrified, they were in a panic. Trembling seized them there; pangs, like a woman giving birth; [blows, like one caught] in the east wind that wrecks the ships of Tarshish.Just as we heard, we saw in the city of the God of Hosts, in the city of our Lord.

May God preserve it forever – O God, inside Your Sanctuary we meditate upon Your loving-kindness. Your praise, like Your Name, O God, is to the ends of the earth. Righteousness fills Your right hand. Mount Zion rejoices; the Judean towns delight over Your judgments. Walk around Zion and circle her. Count her towers, take note of her ramparts and her mountainous citadels ─ that you may recount it to a future generation. For this is God, our Lord, forever.

He guides us as when we were children. Psalm 83God, do not be silent! Do not be still; do not be quiet, 0 God! For, see, Your enemies are all in an uproar, and those who hate You have lifted up their head. They plot deviously against Your people and take counsel against those You shelter. They say, “Come, let us eliminate them as a nation, so that the name ‘Israel’ will never again be mentioned.”For they are unanimous in their counsel. They have made a pact against You ─ [those who dwell in] the tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites, Moab and the Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia with the inhabitants of Tyre. Assyria, too, has joined with them.

They have become the strength of the sons of Lot.Do to them as [You did to] the Midianites, to Sisera, to Yavin, at the brook of Kishon ─ Who were destroyed at En Dor, who were as dung for the soil. Treat their nobles like Orev and Zeev, all their princes like Zevach and Zalmunna, who said, “Let us possess the abodes of God for ourselves.”My God, make them like thistledown, like stubble before the wind. As a fire consumes the forest, and a flame sets the mountains ablaze, so pursue them with Your tempest and terrify them with Your storm. Cover their faces with disgrace, so that they seek Your Name, O God. Let them be shamed and terrified forever.

Let them be so mortified that they perish. Then they will know that You alone, Whose Name is God, are the Most High over all the earth.For His lovingkindness toward us has intensified, and God's truth is eternal. Halleluyah!Psalm 118 Give thanks to God for He is good. His lovingkindness endures forever. Let Israel say: “His lovingkindness endures forever.” Let the house of Aaron say: “His lovingkindness endures forever.” Let those who fear God say: "His lovingkindness endures forever."In distress I called upon God; God answered me with relief. God is with me, I am unafraid. What can a human being do to me? With God as my ally, I will see [the downfall] of my foes. It is better to seek refuge in God than to trust in human beings.

It is better to seek refuge in God than to trust in men of importance. All the nations have surrounded me; in the Name of God I will cut them down. They have indeed beset and surrounded me; in the Name of God I will cut them down. [Though] they have beset me like bees, they will be extinguished like a fire of thorns; in the Name of God I will cut them down.You pushed me hard to make me fall, but God helped me. God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.

The sound of joyous song and salvation is in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of God performs valiantly! The right hand of God is exalted! The right hand of God performs valiantly!”I will not die, but will live and relate the deeds of God. God has afflicted me severely, but He has not handed me over to death. Open the Gates of Righteousness for me, that I might enter them to give thanks to God. This is the gateway to God, the righteous will enter through it.

I will thank You for answering me, and for becoming my salvation. That stone which the builders rejected has become the main cornerstone. This is God's doing. It is astonishing in our eyes. This is the day that God has made. Let us be glad and rejoice on it.O God, please save us! O God, please make us prosper!Blessed is he who comes in the Name of God. We will bless you from the House of God. The Lord is God. He has given us light.

Bind the festival offering with thick cords [and bring it] to the corners of the altar.You are my Lord and I will thank You. You are my Lord and I will exalt You. Give thanks to God for He is good, for His lovingkindness endures forever.

DANIEL 11,12Chapter 1140-43) At the time of the end, the king of the south will engage [the forces of the north]. But the king of the north will storm him with chariots and cavalry and many ships. He will invade lands, sweeping through them and moving on. He will also invade the desirable land, and many will fall. Yet these will escape his grasp: Edom, Moab, and the prominent Ammonites.

He will stretch out his hand against the lands; not [even] the land of Egypt will be spared. He will gain control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt. The Libyans and Ethiopians, too, [will follow] at his heel.44-45) But tidings out of the east and the north will alarm him. He will sally forth with great fury to destroy and decimate multitudes, pitching his royal tents between the sea and the desirable holy mountain.

Then he will meet his end with no one to assist him.Chapter 121) At that time, the great prince Michael, who stands over your people, will arise. It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since they became a nation. At that time, your people will be spared - all who are found written in the book. 2-3) Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, and some to disgrace, to eternal degradation.

The knowledgeable will shine like the radiance of the sky, and those who turn the many to righteousness will be like stars forever and ever.4) But you, Daniel, must conceal these matters and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will speculate, and the [pursuit of this] knowledge will increase.5-6) Then I, Daniel, saw two others standing [there], one on this bank of the river, and the other on that bank of the river. One of them said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river: “How long until the end of these mysteries?”7-8)

Then I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he raised his right hand and his left hand to heaven and swore by the Life of the Universe, “It will be after a time, times, and a half. When the shattering of the holy people's strength is complete, then all these things will cease. I heard but did not understand, so I said, “My master, what will be the outcome of these things?”10-11) “Go, Daniel,” he answered, “for these matters are to be hidden and sealed until the time of the end.

They will be clarified and elucidated, and many will be refined. The wicked will be vicious, and none of the wicked will understand; but the knowledgeable will understand.13-14) From the time the daily offering is abolished until a lifeless abomination is installed, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Happy is the one who waits and reaches one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. Now you must go on to the end. You will rest, and then you will arise to your fate at the end of days.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Osama Bin Laden

By Paul L. Williams© 2005

Osama bin LadenWhere in the world is Osama bin Laden?

Let's face it. He shouldn't be hard to find, especially from a Predator, an aerial reconnaissance vehicle that can read the minute hand of a wristwatch from an altitude of 26,000 feet.

Bin Laden is very tall – slightly over 6'6" – and incredibly thin, less than 150 pounds. He wears shalwart kameez – the loose-fitting tunics and baggy pants of al-Qaida and Taliban soldiers – and, when the weather is cold, he dons a camouflage jacket.

Although he was born in 1957 and far from retirement age, the al-Qaida chieftain appears to be very old. His long scraggly beard is pure white; his face is lined with countless wrinkles; and his shoulders are hunched and rounded. He is bent forward to such a degree that he seems to suffer from a form of osteoporosis. He is left-handed and walks with a cane.

Osama is almost always surrounded by fawning attendants who hail him not as Sultan bin Laden or Emir bin Laden but rather as "awaited enlightened one," the title reserved for the Mahdi."

The Mahdi is the rightly guided caliph who will appear during the last days of human history. His coming is foretold by the Haddith, the sacred teachings that supplement the Quran. In such writings, the Mahdi is depicted as the figure who will bring forth the "Day of Islam," when all people throughout the world – believers and unbelievers alike – will fall in submission before the throne of Allah.

Bin Laden possesses the distinguishing marks of the Mahdi – the high forehead, the prominent nose, the gap between his teeth, and the black mole on his face. He is pleased to point out these features to photographers and reporters from al-Jazeera and other Arabic news outlets.
Mercenaries locate Osama bin Laden in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (area circled)

Despite his pre-eminence among Muslims, the $25 million price tag on his head and the fact that his image is omnipresent in marketplaces, stores, shops, murals on the sides of buildings throughout the Middle East, no one has been able to find him.

This initially gave rise to speculation that he had been killed by the bombings of al-Qaida cells and safe homes at the launching of Operation Enduring Freedom on Oct. 7, 2001.

Such speculation was put to rest by the appearance of Osama with his sidekick Ayman al-Zawahiri on Kabul television in late October 2001. In the broadcast, the twosome sat before a campfire with sticks and appeared like Muslim Boy Scouts about to roast some marshmallows.

In November 2001, after coalition forces seized control of Kandahar, Afghanistan, U. S. officials received word that bin Laden and company were safely sequestered within an impregnable mountain fortress that had been created 350 yards beneath solid rock at the highest peak of the Spin Ghar or "White Mountains," a peak known as Tora Bora.

Elaborate drawings of this fortress were published in major newspapers throughout the world, including The New York Times. The drawings depicted a vast underground complex that contained a bakery, a hospital with ultrasound equipment, a hotel for 2,000 occupants, a mosque, a library, an arsenal for weapons of mass destruction and a hydro-electric plant.

And so the massive bombing of Tora Bora began. For nearly two weeks, the mountain peak was pounded with "bunker blasters" in an attempt to collapse the troglodyte lair of the terrorists. At one point, a "daisy cutter" – a 6,800 kiloton bomb, the largest in the U.S. arsenal – was dropped on the target.

At the end of the siege, coalition forces combed the mountainside in search of hundreds of bodies. But few bodies were found and only 19 emaciated and toothless captives could be rounded up for the victory parade before the international press in Kandahar.

The vast underground complex did not exist. It had been a figment of overactive imaginations of members of the Northern Alliance that had been accepted without question by U.S. intelligence officials.

Next came word that the elusive bin Laden had regrouped his forces and was hiding in the mountainous region of Shah-i-Kot. Two tall, thin and bearded men in shalwart kameez were spotted by an aerial reconnaissance vehicle standing before a tarpaulin at the entrance to a cave. U.S. military heads assumed that the tarpaulin was covering a machine-gun post and that the men, because of their height, dress and posture, were Arabs and, therefore, al-Qaida operatives.

Operation Anaconda, the plan to encircle Shah-i-Kot and squeeze the al-Qaida and Taliban operatives out of their hiding places, got underway on March 2, 2003. Fierce resistance was reported by the coalition forces. Megaton bombs were dropped at the rate of 260 a day to ferret out the terrorists. The reported enemy death toll rose and fell like the fluctuations of a troubled currency: 100, 500, 200, 800, 300. When the fighting came to an end on March 12, only 10 enemy soldiers were taken prisoner and less than 20 bodies were found within the battle zone. The full military offensive, replete with the dropping of 3,250 bombs, had been conducted on largely uninhabited territory.

In the wake of the first phase of Operation Enduring Freedom, U.S. intelligence sources were able to confirm over 500 al-Qaida and Taliban soldiers had fled Afghanistan by scaling the mountains in the south along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and cutting through Afghanistan's southernmost provinces toward the border with Iran, where they found safe haven.

The enemy operatives within Iran included Saad bin Laden, Osama's eldest son; Yaaz bin Sifat, a top-ranking al-Qaida planner; Mohammed Islam Haani, the major of Kabul under the Taliban; and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who had been in charge of al-Qaida's attacks on Europe. By spring of 2002, al Zawahiri, bin Laden's top lieutenant, was spotted in Iran, where he reportedly donned the disguise of an Iranian cleric with a black turban and a dyed beard.

Within Iran, the al-Qaida guests were placed in safe houses by SAVAMA, the Iranian intelligence service. These villas, located in southern Iran, with saunas and swimming pools, are lavish even by American standards. The operatives remain in this villa at this writing.

But where was Osama?

In 2003, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, ISI, informed CIA officials that the al-Qaida head was sequestered in the wilds of Waziristan, a region between Balochistan and the North West Frontier in Pakistan.

In July 2003, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf shelled out millions in cold cash (thanks to the largesse of the CIA) to tribal chieftains within Northern Waziristan in order to obtain permission for Pakistani troops to enter their semi-autonomous tribal territories. It was the first time that such troops were allowed to set foot within the province since the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
It was small surprise to many observers that the payments were for nothing. The Pakistani troops combed the Tirah and Shawai valleys and discovered not a trace of Osama or any al-Qaida officials.

Attention now turned to South Waziristan. In March 2004, President Musharraf, upon receiving the consent of the chieftains, sent an army of 70,000 into the province. A welter of excitement followed the invasion when Musharraf announced that a high value target had been pinned down. The speculation, fueled by U.S. military sources, was that it was bin Laden or al-Zawahiri. But neither one showed up. There were foreign militants in the area, but less than 600, far fewer than the Pakistani authorities claimed, and most were Uzbeks.

The hunt for Osama bin Laden had grown cold. There were no confirmed sightings; no intercepts of satellite phone calls; no evidence of e-mails. The only assurance of his existence came from his periodic appearances on al-Jazeera. He had performed the most remarkable disappearing act in human history.
Still and all, stories surfaced that he had made his way to Chechnya and that he was safely sequestered among the Uighurs in China.

Where is Osama bin Laden?

His whereabouts cannot be pinpointed by official military and intelligence sources, despite the drones that fly day and night over the Afghan-Pakistani border. Nor can his hiding place be determined by members of the media, who continue to provide c-notes to Pashtuns and Tajiks for useless information.
To discover the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man, it is best to turn to unofficial yet reliable sources, such as the professional soldiers for paramilitary corporations that attend the annual Soldier of Fortune convention in Las Vegas. The mercenaries – "mercs" for short – know where he is since they are anxious albeit not willing to collect the $25 million bounty.

Osama bin Laden is alive and well and living in the valley of Dir within the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. He has been there since he escaped from Tora Bora in December 2001.

To substantiate this claim, the mercs produce shabnamas or "night letters" that are circulated among the various tribes within the frontier. The night letters contain updates of Osama at work and play and photos of the al-Qaida leader with Maulvi Sufi Mohamed, an old and revered Muslim scholar, who maintains a Taliban-style rule over the valley of Dir with public executions of adulterers, homosexuals, apostates and Christian infidels.

Mercs point out that news of Osama's whereabouts was even published on the front page of the Daily Ummat, the leading Urdu language paper of Karachi, on Aug. 10, 2003. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. defense department – let alone the U. S. intelligence community – took heed of the article with the smiling face of the great emir before the invasions of Waziristan.

Dir remains within the Malakand Pass, the site of some of the fiercest skirmishes under the British Raj. A Pakistani army fort still stands where the young Winston Churchill shot down rebels and received a citation for heroism. Ironically, it now serves as the headquarters of the leader of the Mujahadeen who has unleashed a wave of terrorist attacks against Great Britain.

Despite the bounty, bin Laden remains not only safe and secure in Dir but also free to travel to other parts of the country, including regular trips to Peshawar and the smuggler-infested bazaar town of Rebat at the center of "the Devil's Triangle," the conjunction of the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran.
No Muslim will dare to capture or kill him – not even a squadron of elite military personnel from the Musharraf government, let alone a group of professional bounty hunters. It is the duty of all Muslims to honor the revered leader of the Mujahadeen, who has been ordained to bring forth the Day of Islam.

What's more, bin Laden is protected by milmastia – the Islamic code of hospitality that demands protection for fellow Muslims who seek shelter in their country – even if such protection means risking their lives. Believing Muslims know that the $25 million reward comes with the price tag of apostasy and eternal damnation. Mercs point out that Pakistani soldiers and ISI officials are even unwilling to collar Osama and his cohorts when they appear in Peshawar. They don't want to go to hell for money or Musharraf.

Bin Laden remains protected by yet another factor. Any concerted attempt by the United States to invade any part of the North West Frontier Province by crossing the 680-mile border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in an effort to capture the world's most wanted man will be met by the resistance of the vast majority of 20 million Muslims who inhabit the formidable area.

Such resistance could lead to the toppling of the Musharraf regime with the result that Pakistan, with its arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons, would fall under the control of the radical mullahs, who wait in the wings.

At present, the way to Dir, according to the mercs, remains strewn with the bodies of would-be bounty hunters. They have been cast in the pines beside the dirt road. All have been tortured, stripped naked and castrated. Their eyeballs have been plucked from their sockets; their ears have been hacked off; and their tongues have been ripped from their mouths. Notes have been strapped to the groin of every victim. "Do not be angry or shocked," the notes say in Pashtu. "These are the bodies of agents of the USA."


Monday, August 01, 2005

Freedom of Information Act

Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Office
The Privacy Office is responsible for administering policies, programs, and procedures to ensure Department of Homeland Security compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOlA) and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552 and 5 U.S.C. 552a, respectively.
Accessing Department of Homeland Security Records
How to Submit a FOIA Request
FOIA Contacts
FOIA Statutes & Resources
Privacy Office FOIA Electronic Reading Room
1996 FOIA Highlights
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute. FOIA generally provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. There are several points to keep in mind regarding the FOIA.
Agencies have 20 working days to provide an initial response.
Agencies and requesters are encouraged to work together to define the scope of the request and the timing of the response.
Agencies may establish "multi-track" response systems to facilitate the processing of simpler requests, rather than putting all requests in a single queue.
Privacy Office and the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) - Responsibility for FOIA compliance was delegated to the Privacy Office in recognition of the close connection between privacy and disclosure laws. Privacy Act and FOIA specialists across the Department now work on Privacy Act and FOIA compliance matters under policy guidance from the Chief Privacy Officer.
For more information please contact
the DHS Privacy Office’s FOIA Program:
Telephone: 571-227-3813 Facsimile: 571-227-4171 Email:,

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