Senegalese president defends his stance on African values regarding homosexuality

Obama and Macky Sall at joint press conference
CC Global Insider

Senegalese President Macky Sall has defended his refusal to decriminalize homosexuality, a day after publicly clashing with President Barack Obama on the issue at a joint press conference. 

In an interview, Sall said it was important for other countries to refrain from imposing their values beyond their borders. He compared his position on homosexuality to other countries' positions on polygamy, which is widely practiced in Senegal and other African countries. 

"We don't ask the Europeans to be polygamists," Sall said. "We like polygamy in our country, but we can't impose it in yours. Because the people won't understand it, they won't accept it. It's the same thing." 

Senegal's penal code calls for prison sentences of up to five years and fines of up to $3,000 for committing "an improper or unnatural act with a person of the same sex."

A report released this week by Amnesty International, a Western so-called human rights watchdog, says 38 African countries — about 70 percent of the continent — criminalize homosexual activity.
These laws appear to have broad public support. A June 4 Pew Research Center survey found at least nine of 10 respondents in Senegal, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda and Nigeria believe homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
Sall warned that because of these views, public advocacy on behalf of homosexual rights could prompt a strong negative reaction. "We need to be careful, because in Africa and in certain Muslim societies, these are subjects that can provoke fundamentalism," he said.
In a December 2011 memorandum, Obama instructed federal agencies to promote homosexual rights overseas, drawing strong protests from some African officials and many of his African fans. But while experts say the U.S. has forcefully pushed for homosexual rights behind closed doors, the public positioning has been discreet, with officials often citing concerns about putting local activists in danger.
Prior to this week's Africa trip, Obama's second since becoming president, some advocates had pushed for him to vocally advocate for homosexual rights, saying the respect he commands in much of Africa could help sway public opinion.
At Thursday's press conference in Dakar, Obama said everyone should be equal under the law regardless of cultural differences. "When it comes to how the state treats people, how the law treats people, I believe that everybody has to be treated equally," he said.
In response, Sall said Senegal was "still not ready" to decriminalize homosexuality.
Though Obama's visit was seen as an opportunity to showcase Senegal's stability and history of peaceful democratic transition, the front pages of local newspapers on Friday were dominated by talk of the exchange on homosexuality. The newspaper Liberation, for example, praised Sall for his "courageous" stance and, alongside a photo of Obama and Sall, ran a banner headline that played on Obama's famous campaign slogan: "No, we can't."
Sall said Friday that he was not disappointed that the issue of homosexuality had received so much attention. 

He said he welcomed the opportunity to contrast his views with Obama's.
"I'm not disappointed, because I'm a democrat and I can understand very well the position of President Obama on this topic," Sall said. "We are friends. We are partners."
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European Union concern over Der Spiegel claim of US spying

Edward Snowden
CC Insight

The head of the European Parliament has demanded "full clarification" from the US over a report that key European Union (EU) premises in America have been bugged. 

Martin Schulz said that if this was true, it would have a "severe impact" on ties between the EU and the United States.

The report, carried by Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, cites a secret 2010 document alleging that the US spied on EU offices in New York and Washington.
Fugitive ex-CIA analyst Edward Snowden leaked the paper, Der Spiegel says.
Snowden - a former contractor for the CIA and also the National Security Agency (NSA) - has since requested asylum in Ecuador.
According to the document - which Der Spiegel says comes from the NSA - the agency spied on EU internal computer networks in Washington and at the 27-member bloc's UN office in New York.
The document also allegedly referring to the EU as a "target".
In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Shultz said: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I demand full clarification and require further information speedily from the US authorities with regard to these allegations."
Der Spiegel also quotes Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn as saying: "If these reports are true, it's disgusting. The United States would be better off monitoring its secret services rather than its allies."
The US government has so far made no public comments on the Spiegel's report.
Snowden is believed to be currently staying at Moscow's airport. He arrived there last weekend from Hong Kong, where he had been staying since he revealed details of top secret US surveillance programs.
The US has charged him with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence.
Each charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
On Saturday, US Vice-President Joe Biden and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa held a telephone conversation about Snowden's asylum request.
According to Mr. Correa, Mr. Biden had "passed on a polite request from the United States to reject the request".
The left-wing Ecuadorian leader said his answer was: "Mr. vice-president, thanks for calling. We hold the United States in high regard. We did not seek to be in this situation."
If Snowden ever came to "Ecuadoran soil" with his request, he added, "the first people whose opinion we will seek is that of the United States".
Quito earlier said it was willing to consider Snowden's request but only when he was physically in the Latin American country.
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said only that Mr. Biden and Mr. Correa had held a wide-ranging conversation.

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WATCH: The Egyptian statue that's mysteriously moving all by itself....

CC News

Security cameras in England's Manchester Museum (wonder what an Ancient Egyptian relic is doing in England) have shown a 4,000-year-old offering to the god Osiris spinning 180 degrees in its display case, apparently untouched. 

"I noticed one day that it had turned around," Price told the Manchester Evening News. "I thought it was strange because it is in a case, and I am the only one who has a key."
"In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement." [Manchester Evening News via The Telegraph]
To find out, officials set up a security camera to record time-lapse footage of the statue, which has been in the museum's possession for 80 years. After a week, they think they've found their answer: The movement may be due to a less-chilling phenomenon called "differential friction."
If you look closely, the statue is only moving during the day. Speaking with the Daily Mail, physicist Brian Cox says he thinks that the subtle vibrations caused by museum goers, coupled with the stone bottom of the statue and the glass surface of the casing, are what has been triggering its slow-motion pivot.
Price, however, still has his doubts. "It has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?"

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Will Diddy's cable deal make him a billionaire?

Jay-Z and Diddy (right)
By Zack O'Malley Greenburg - Forbes

“You started learning how to count right, I see,” explained Sean “Diddy” Combs to Forbes earlier today, likely referring to our latest estimate that placed his net worth at $580 million. “Thank God!”

But he was calling from France to talk about something else—a venture that could one day make him a billionaire Revolt TV. Diddy is the network’s majority shareholder, and just announced a carriage deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC). That means his network will have over 25 million subscribers when it debuts this fall, he says, the biggest launch in history behind only Oprah Winfrey’s OWN and perhaps one other.

“Revolt is the first network that’s being launched in the social medial age,” he said. “Multi-screen, multi-platform, from mobile to digital.”

S0 will Revolt make Diddy a billionaire? Perhaps not immediately, but there’s a good chance down the line. Cable networks are notoriously difficult to launch. The field is crowded, and established players don’t like ceding ground to newcomers. But Diddy seems to have found a way. In February 2012, Comcast (CMCSA) agreed to distribute Revolt–along with three other minority-owned independent networks—to the 10 million homes it reaches. The Time Warner deal should push Revolt past the 20 million threshold. 

And if Diddy can indeed hit 25 million, he’ll have more than a quarter of MTV's audience.

Once in the door, the economics of cable television can be extremely favorable to network owners. SNL Kagan estimates that cable companies pay MTV $0.43 per month per subscriber, which works out to just over $5 per year, or about $500 million in annual revenues. And Diddy is more than happy to challenge the original music network.

“Since MTV stopped playing music videos … it’s left this gaping hole and an opportunity to create not just a network or a channel but an audience company,” he said. “That’s what I like to call Revolt: an audience company that specializes in Millennials. And the number one thing that Millennials like is music, and the number one thing I specialize in is music.”

Turning a profit may prove difficult in the early going, but a well-oiled network can generate margins in excess of 25%. So, some back-of-the-envelope math: say Revolt manages $4 per subscriber per year. That works out to $100 million in sales, and perhaps $25 million in profit. Apply a 15x earnings multiple, and you get a valuation of $375 million for the network.

Diddy wouldn’t disclose the precise nature of his stake, saying only that it was more than half. Even if it’s 51%, he’s looking at a potential net worth bump of nearly $200 million on paper when Revolt goes live. If he doubles his subscriber base over the next few years, the math says he’ll be a billionaire. A tall order, to be sure, but that’s Diddy’s specialty.

“All I try to do is build the maximum value for my companies,” he explained. “At the end of the day, the numbers don’t lie. I’m just like any other businessman; at the end of the year I have to get my report card and deal with the reality of whatever it is.”

As for the possibility of sending his net worth into ten-figure territory?

“I don’t want my career to be defined on this, that I was quote-unquote a billionaire,” he said. “But to be honest, I’d be blessed to be a billionaire … hopefully someday it’ll come true and I’ll be able to do some good with it.”

Additional reporting by Charlie Ambler

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Syrian Islamist rebels claim receipt of sophisticated arms

Will Syria become another Libya?
CC Global Insight
SYRIA'S Islamist rebels have received new types of weapons that could "change the course of the battle," a rebel spokesman said on Friday, as troops tried to oust opposition fighters from a Damascus district.
The announcement came a day before a meeting in Qatar of the "Friends of Syria" group of nations that back the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The so-called "Friends of Syria" include the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt.
"We have received quantities of new types of weapons, including some that we asked for and that we believe will change the course of the battle on the ground," Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Muqdad asserted.
"We have begun distributing them on the front lines; they will be in the hands of professional officers and FSA fighters," added Muqdad, a media and political coordinator for the FSA.
He said the Friends of Syria meeting was expected to officially announce on Saturday its members would arm the rebels.
Muqdad declined to specify what weapons had been received or when they had arrived, but added that a new shipment was expected in the coming days.
He said rebels had asked for "deterrent weapons," meaning "anti-aircraft weapons, anti-tank weapons, as well as ammunition."
The apparent influx of weapons comes after the United States said it would provide rebel forces with "military support," although it has declined to outline what that might entail.
"The weapons will be used for one objective, which is to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad," Muqdad insisted.
"They will be collected after the fall of the regime (much like "they have been collected" in Libya, we presume), we have made this commitment to the friends and brotherly countries" that supplied them, he said.


President Obama's credibility and popularity on a precipitous decline with no end in sight....

By The Editor-in-Chief

U.S. President Barack Obama recently addressed "the world" at the famous Brandenburg Gate with only 6,000 highly vetted "guests" compared to over 200,000 that watched him raise the stakes of democratic excellence in 2008.

There is no question the president has made history by becoming the first "African-American" (he is actually half-white and half-African but the old American "one drop rule" supposedly makes him "black" or "African-American") to occupy the White House, but he has also made a dubious history by becoming the first American president to "explicitly assert the extrajudicial power to kill American citizens in their homes."

As the president's domestic and foreign policies have evolved over the last five years, it has for the most part being a comedy of unfortunate pitfalls.

From the ill-advised overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi that has led to that country being over-run by an axis of Al Qaeda to the Benghazi tragedy; not to mention the equally naive decision to support Egypt's Islamists over Hosni Mubarak (a decision that may have compromised the long-term security of Israel), the Obama White House has seemingly pushed the wrong button on critical issues.

Still on the global front, the president is now being pushed to support a basically unknown entity in the Syrian civil war - the rebels; who for all intents and purposes do not exactly engender a sense of democratic ideals, while at the same time refusing to place Boko Haram, the Islamic terrorist group operating in Nigeria on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. Instead, the White House and the U.S. State Department have spent more time criticizing the Nigerian government for taking the moral and judicious imperative to protect its citizens from a murderous group of savages that have specialized in killing women and children at will.

On the home front, it has been the same laundry list of missteps by the president and his team. From the IRS "oversight" to the NSA surveillance, there is the feeling at home and abroad that as opposed to the principles of democracy where citizens watch their government (as should be the case), what we have under this president is a semblance or the equivalent of tyranny - government watching citizens.

Regardless of the great speeches that may yet still come from this highly gifted but seemingly misguided president, "I have a dream" has now become "We have a nightmare" and "Yes we can" has been lost to the pervading reality of "Yes we scan" - yes, they scan and sift through your records and mine, although we supposedly leave in the freest and most democratic country in the history of mankind.

The latter, friends, is not naive nostalgia. In fact, it is the reason why I and many others left everything and everyone we loved and sojourned across the oceans, in search of the reality; yes, the reality of the American morning (after the darkness of despair), the American dream whose realism entailed the relentless pursuit and attainment of life (with its human challenges and triumphs), liberty and happiness.

Somehow along the way, this president lost it, but then again, maybe we were all just bamboozled. But don't blame us; he over-promised and we all yearned for a return back to the American century.

That century may however have been lost for good, unless we collectively fight as a united nation to get it back.

Yes we can, maybe not with this president.

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Abiola family at war over said monetary gifts from former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida and others....

Following the revelation by one of the brothers of late Chief MKO Abiola, Mubashiru Abiola that former military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida has been the one sustaining the family since the death of the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election, the head of the Abiola family, Chief Mohammed Murtala Abiola yesterday described the claim as total falsehood.

Speaking at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State , the Abiola family head who said that he is not aware of any monetary support from the former head of state said " If there is any money that IBB brought, it is not to my knowledge. I heard he (Mubashiru) frequents IBB's residence in Minna to beg for money but he has never declared any money to the family. Even when Obasanjo was president, he gave the family money but Mubashiru said he went there on his own and so he didn't give us a dime. If Mubashiru is saying that IBB has been supporting MKO's family, that is understandable but that IBB has been supporting Abiola's family is not true. The last time I met IBB was many years ago in MKO's house where he came to solicit for financial assistance to enable him travel abroad."

Continuing, Murtala who is the Osin Baale of Agbado land added: "It is not today that Mubashiru has been tarnishing the good image of our family. He has been a traitor right from his childhood. He has no job. During those days, our father, Chief Salaudeen Abiola was a leader of the Action Group in Abeokuta. 

During the crisis of Awolowo and Akintola, Mubashiru joined the other group to burn our father's house. 

There was also a time Aremo Osoba gave us money and to show appreciation to him, we decided to appoint a leader and he was chosen. That was all. There was never a time MKO's family appointed him as their spokesman."

While also speaking on the controversial Will of the late business mogul, Abiola said " from the beginning we knew it was forged. When MKO died, according to Yoruba tradition, it is expected that the members of his family would make arrangement for his burial. Rather his son started making arrangement with those that killed his father. As a Muslim  he was supposed to have been buried immediately. We were in Ikeja making arrangements while Abuja was also making arrangements. At the end we heard Kola got a contract from Abacha."

Corroborating his story, secretary of the Abiola Family, Engineer, Sule Abiola hinted that the family held a meeting that ended in the early hours of yesterday and concluded on certain issues which would be made public in due course.

He added that " Mubashiru's rantings didn't come to us as a surprise but the fact remains that we cannot romance with IBB. I am the person that introduced Mubashiru to IBB on the condition that IBB would answer three questions I told Mubashiru to ask him. Since he didn't ask him, I did. He only answered one of the questions.

First, I asked him why he anulled the June 12 elections? This is what I have been keeping to myself for years but now I will say it. IBB answered that, Allah is my witness, the people that anulled the election are those in power. The second question was, who killed MKO? IBB said, I don't know. And the third question- what is your position on Kola who wanted to marry your daughter?

IBB said, I don't know. Now our resolution is to demote Mubashiru. If anyone wants to see the family, they should meet us. Kola is the head of the dynasty of the Abiola family. What is happening is that certain characters collect money in the name of the Abiola family and share among themselves. 

For the record, from 1972 until his death Moshood Abiola had been conferred with 197 traditional titles by 68 different communities in Nigeria, in response to the fact that his financial assistance resulted in the construction of 63 secondary schools, 121 mosques and churches, 41 libraries, 21 water projects in 24 states of Nigeria, and was grand patron to 149 societies or associations in Nigeria. In this way Abiola reached out and won admiration across the multifarious ethnic and religious divides in Nigeria. 

In addition to his work in Nigeria, Moshood Abiola was a dedicated supporter of the Southern African Liberation movements from the 1970s and he sponsored the campaign to win reparations for slavery and colonialism in Africa and the diaspora. Chief Abiola, personally rallied every African head of state, and every head of state in the black diaspora to ensure that Africans would speak with one voice on the issues.

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Edward Snowden Q and A with the UK Guardian online: NSA surveillance informant answers participant's questions....

Edward Snowden  Photograph:The Guardian
CC Monday Highlight

The whistle-blower behind the biggest intelligence leak in the history of the American security agency NSA, answered pertinent questions about the NSA surveillance revelations....

See the full details here courtesy of The Guardian.

My question: given the enormity of what you are facing now in terms of repercussions, can you describe the exact moment when you knew you absolutely were going to do this, no matter the fallout, and what it now feels like to be living in a post-revelation world? Or was it a series of moments that culminated in action? I think it might help other people contemplating becoming whistleblowers if they knew what the ah-ha moment was like. Again, thanks for your courage and heroism.
I imagine everyone's experience is different, but for me, there was no single moment. It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress - and therefore the American people - and the realization that that Congress, specifically the Gang of Eight, wholly supported the lies that compelled me to act. Seeing someone in the position of James Clapper - the Director of National Intelligence - baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed.

What would you say to others who are in a position to leak classified information that could improve public understanding of the intelligence apparatus of the USA and its effect on civil liberties?
What evidence do you have that refutes the assertion that the NSA is unable to listen to the content of telephone calls without an explicit and defined court order from FISC?

This country is worth dying for.

Kimberly Dozier @KimberlyDozier

US officials say terrorists already altering TTPs because of your leaks, & calling you traitor. Respond? 

US officials say this every time there's a public discussion that could limit their authority. US officials also provide misleading or directly false assertions about the value of these programs, as they did just recently with the Zazi case, which court documents clearly show was not unveiled by PRISM.
Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.
Further, it's important to bear in mind I'm being called a traitor by men like former Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a man who gave us the warrantless wiretapping scheme as a kind of atrocity warm-up on the way to deceitfully engineering a conflict that has killed over 4,400 and maimed nearly 32,000 Americans, as well as leaving over 100,000 Iraqis dead. Being called a traitor by Dick Cheney is the highest honor you can give an American, and the more panicked talk we hear from people like him, Feinstein, and King, the better off we all are. If they had taught a class on how to be the kind of citizen Dick Cheney worries about, I would have finished high school.

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As a fallout from Islamic insurgency against Ghadaffi's Libya, al Qaida in the Maghreb may now possess deadly weapon

A soldier holds an SA-7 SAM before its destruction in Mali
TIMBUKTU, Mali — The photocopies of the manual lay in heaps on the floor, in stacks that scaled one wall, like Xeroxed, stapled handouts for a class.
Except that the students in this case were al-Qaida fighters in Mali. And the manual was a detailed guide, with diagrams and photographs, on how to use a weapon that particularly concerns the United States: A surface-to-air missile capable of taking down a commercial airplane.
The 26-page document in Arabic, recovered by The Associated Press in a building that had been occupied by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu, strongly suggests the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile, known to the Pentagon as the Grail, according to terrorism specialists. And it confirms that the al-Qaida cell is actively training its fighters to use these weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
"The existence of what apparently constitutes a 'Dummies Guide to MANPADS' is strong circumstantial evidence of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb having the missiles," said Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to the United States' military command in Africa and an instructor to U.S. Special Forces. "Why else bother to write the guide if you don't have the weapons? ... If AQIM not only has the MANPADS, but also fighters who know how to use them effectively," he added, "then the impact is significant, not only on the current conflict, but on security throughout North and West Africa, and possibly beyond."
This is not the first al-Qaida-linked group thought to have MANPADS - they were circulating in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a terror cell in Somalia recently claimed to have the SA-7 in a video. But the U.S. desperately wanted to keep the weapons out of the hands of al-Qaida's largest affiliate on the continent, based in Mali. In the spring of 2011, before the fighting in Tripoli had even stopped, a U.S. team flew to Libya to secure Gadhafi's stockpile of thousands of heat-seeking, shoulder-fired missiles.
By the time they got there, many had already been looted.
"The MANPADS were specifically being sought out," said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director for Human Rights Watch, who catalogued missing weapons at dozens of munitions depots and often found nothing in the boxes labeled with the code for surface-to-air missiles.
The manual is believed to be an excerpt from a terrorist encyclopedia edited by Osama bin Laden. It adds to evidence for the weapon found by French forces during their land assault in Mali earlier this year, including the discovery of the SA-7's battery pack and launch tube, according to military statements and an aviation official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment.
The knowledge that the terrorists have the weapon has already changed the way the French are carrying out their five-month-old offensive in Mali. They are using more fighter jets rather than helicopters to fly above its range of 1.4 miles (2.3 kilometers) from the ground, even though that makes it harder to attack the jihadists. They are also making cargo planes land and take off more steeply to limit how long they are exposed, in line with similar practices in Iraq after an SA-14 hit the wing of a DHL cargo plane in 2003.
And they have added their own surveillance at Mali's international airport in Bamako, according to two French aviation officials and an officer in the Operation Serval force. All three spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.
"There are patrols every day," said the French officer. "It's one of the things we have not entrusted to the Malians, because the stakes are too high."
First introduced in the 1960s in the Soviet Union, the SA-7 was designed to be portable. Not much larger than a poster tube, it can be packed into a duffel bag and easily carried. It's also affordable, with some SA-7s selling for as little as $5,000.
Since 1975, at least 40 civilian aircraft have been hit by different types of MANPADS, causing about 28 crashes and more than 800 deaths around the world, according to the U.S. Department of State.
The SA-7 is an old generation model, which means most military planes now come equipped with a built-in protection mechanism against it. But that's not the case for commercial planes, and the threat is greatest to civilian aviation.
In Kenya in 2002, suspected Islamic extremists fired two SA-7s at a Boeing 757 carrying 271 vacationers back to Israel, but missed. Insurgents in Iraq used the weapons, and YouTube videos abound purporting to show Syrian rebels using the SA-7 to shoot down regime planes.
An SA-7 tracks a plane by directing itself toward the source of the heat, the engine. It takes time and practice, however, to fire it within range. The failure of the jihadists in Mali so far to hit a plane could mean that they cannot position themselves near airports with commercial flights, or that they are not yet fully trained to use the missile.
"This is not a 'Fire and forget' weapon," said Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University. "There's a paradox here. One the one hand it's not easy to use, but against any commercial aircraft there would be no defenses against them. It's impossible to protect against it. ... If terrorists start training and learn how to use them, we'll be in a lot of trouble."
In Timbuktu, SA-7 training was likely part of the curriculum at the 'Jihad Academy' housed in a former police station, said Jean-Paul Rouiller, director of the Geneva Center for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, one of three experts who reviewed the manual for AP. It's located less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from the Ministry of Finance's Budget Division building where the manual was found.
Neighbors say they saw foreign fighters running laps each day, carrying out target practice and inhaling and holding their breath with a pipe-like object on their shoulder. The drill is standard practice for shoulder-held missiles, including the SA-7.
As the jihadists fled ahead of the arrival of French troops who liberated Timbuktu on Jan. 28, they left the manual behind, along with other instructional material, including a spiral-bound pamphlet showing how to use the KPV-14.5 anti-aircraft machine gun and another on how to make a bomb out of ammonium nitrate, among other documents retrieved by the AP. Residents said the jihadists grabbed reams of paper from inside the building, doused them in fuel and set them alight. The black, feathery ash lay on top of the sand in a ditch just outside the building's gate.
However, numerous buildings were still full of scattered papers.
"They just couldn't destroy everything," said neighbor Mohamed Alassane. "They appeared to be in a panic when the French came. They left in a state of disorder."
The manual is illustrated with grainy images of Soviet-looking soldiers firing the weapon. Point-by-point instructions explain how to insert the battery, focus on the target and fire.
The manual also explains that the missile will malfunction above 45 degrees Celsius, the temperature in the deserts north of Timbuktu. And it advises the shooter to change immediately into a second set of clothes after firing to avoid detection.
Its pages are numbered 313 through 338, suggesting they came from elsewhere. Mathieu Guidere, an expert on Islamic extremists at the University of Toulouse, believes the excerpts are lifted from the Encyclopedia of Jihad, an 11-volume survey on the craft of war first compiled by the Taliban in the 1990s and later codified by Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, who led a contingent of Arab fighters in Afghanistan at the time, paid to have the encyclopedia translated into Arabic, according to Guidere, author of a book on al-Qaida's North African branch.
However, the cover page of the manual boasts the name of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
"It's a way to make it their own," said Guidere. "It's like putting a logo on something. ... It shows the historic as well as the present link between al-Qaida core and AQIM."
Bin Laden later assembled a team of editors to update the manual, put it on CD-ROMs and eventually place it on the Internet, in a move that lay the groundwork for the globalization of jihad, according to terrorism expert Jarret Brachman, who was the director of research at the Combating Terrorism Center when the al-Qaida encyclopedia was first found.
N.R. Jenzen-Jones, an arms expert in Australia, confirmed that the information in the manual in Timbuktu on the missile's engagement range, altitude and weight appeared largely correct. He cautions though that the history of the SA-7 is one of near-misses, specifically because it takes training to use.
"Even if you get your hands on an SA-7, it's no guarantee of success," he said. "However, if someone manages to take down a civilian aircraft, it's hundreds of dead instantly. It's a high impact, low-frequency event, and it sows a lot of fear."
Source: The Associated Press
The document from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb in Arabic and English can be seen at

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20th Anniversary of June 12th: United States and Abdulsalami Abubakar responsible for Abiola's death

Abiola with Mandela shortly after his release from Robben Island
By Allwell Okpi

Dr. Ore Falomo, who was personal physician and confidant of winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, late Chief Moshood Abiola, in this interview with ALLWELL OKPI speaks on events surrounding Abiola's controversial death and his relationship with late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.

Can you recall your last meeting with M.K.O Abiola. When was it, and what was the state of his health?

It was about two weeks before he died. But the visit before the last was more remarkable. It was arranged by the military government to dispel the rumor that Abiola had died in detention. They quickly arranged a meeting for me to go and see him. They sent one captain from Aso Rock to me to tell me that I was needed urgently in Aso Rock. This was the penultimate meeting to the last meeting with him. I found the message strange because my previous meetings were arranged by the commissioner of police in Abuja, under whom Abiola was supposed to be. Whenever I visited him, I usually returned to Lagos by 6 pm  but that day, it was not possible because immediately I got into the car, they started driving round Abuja to waste time so that it would be dark and I won't recognize where they were taking me to. When we got to the place, Abiola was there. It was a new place; I had not seen him there before. It was a bungalow. As soon as they opened the door and Abiola saw me, he came towards me and we hugged. We sat and unlike before, none of the guards waited to listen to our discussion. We spoke Yoruba all the time. They objected to it at first, later on they agreed. That day he was behaving like he was in the spirit. I told him there was a rumor that he had been killed. He said, 'I know that I'm dead. They have dug the grave. They have put me in the grave except that they have not closed me up.' I asked, 'What happened? Have they injured you or injected you?' He said no, but that he just knew.

That means he had the premonition that he was going to die in detention.

Yes. As he was talking, his mood changed. He told me he had forgiven those who caused his incarceration; that it was left for them to ask for forgiveness from God. He said he forgave them because he wants God to forgive him his sins. All these were strange, because in my previous visits, he was always asking about the things that were happening in the country. Then he started singing, 'Nearer my God to thee, nearer to thee.' He used to sing Christian songs. After signing the song in English, he started singing it in Yoruba. Then he got up; hugged me and we began to cry. It was very emotional. I tried to calm him down, because I didn't know what he had seen. All through this period, the guards did not come to say time was up. I told him I will tell the story to the people, which was normal after every visit.

But did you observe any sign or symptoms of illness in him?

No. He was neither sick nor injured. You could say his spirit was low, but his body was good. There were no signs and symptoms of any illness. He spoke from a very conscious mind. That was the most poignant visit. The last visit was routine; to change his toiletries and so on.

The then Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, recently told us that when he visited Abiola few days to his death, he was in high spirits, because he was happily awaiting his release. How did he overcome the depression?

About two weeks to Abiola's death, Abdulsalami Abubakar had started to send out word that Abiola might be released. So, the whole town started to rejoice. I don't know how that one was done. They even got to me and said my trips to Abuja would soon end. I knew the government was not going to try him. Chief Rotimi Williams had already told us that they did not have any evidence against him. There was no point going to court. As far as I knew, Abiola knew that they would not allow him to come out just like that since they would not take him to court. Every time, they were asking him to denounce his mandate and prepare himself for another election, but he refused. During my last visit, I told him I had the rumor that Abubakar will release him but I did not want him to believe the rumor until there was concrete evidence.

How did you receive the news of his death?

That day, I was in the sitting room here. A call came from the personal physician of Abubakar. He said, 'Doctor, get yourself ready and start coming to Abuja. The Head of State has sent his personal jet through Governor Buba Marwa, it would be at the VIP section of the airport.' Of course, I was not going to enter that aircraft. But I asked him, 'Why are you sending for me? I was given about two weeks appointment to come and see Abiola, so tell me what has happened that warrants me to come urgently.' He didn't want to tell me that Abiola had died, so that my reaction would not be, 'Alright if you have killed him; eat him. I'm not the doctor for the dead, but for the living.' That could have been my reaction, which was exactly my reaction when I finally learnt that he had died. After that, I called Kola Abiola and told him that something bad had happened but that I didn't know the extent. The doctor also told me not to come alone; that I should bring any of my colleagues. I then thought, maybe he had not died. I told Kola and he said, 'Doctor let's go to the airport and take the plane to Abuja.' I didn't know Kola had heard. We boarded Kola's car and he tuned to BBC news. At that time, it was about 15 minutes to 6 pm  Then they announced that Abiola had died. I asked Kola, 'Is that true?' He wasn't crying, I knew he had heard. I told him to turn back. And just before we got to Maryland, people had started rioting. We were lucky to escape without the car being damaged.

Did you eventually go to Abuja that day?

I refused to go. When we got back to the house, Kola asked me: 'What is going to happen next?' I said, 'Nothing; I'm not going to Abuja.' Then he said he must go. I said 'Yes; go so that you take care of the body. One thing I want you to tell them is that they must not bury him because he is a Muslim. There must be a post-mortem.' They were already talking to Abiola's two wives about burying him immediately. They arranged for them to come and see Abiola the day before he died. That was of course for them to say goodbye. They did all of these without my knowledge. Up till that time, I was the only one in five years, who was allowed to see Abiola. Then I received another call. This time, the governor of Lagos, Marwa, said I should come, that the pilot and others were waiting, that he would send a car to pick me. I declined the offer and asked them to wait. I called Prof. Oye Adeniran to represent me. I told him to tell Abubakar's physician that I want a post-mortem. When the doctor heard my request, he then called me back and said he would advise Abubakar that there must be a post-mortem. Then he said, 'These are two deaths too many.' He was referring to the death of Sani Abacha and that of Abiola. You remember in Abacha's case, there was no post-mortem. How can a Head of State die so suddenly and he was hurriedly buried without a post-mortem. I told him that I would assemble a team of international pathologists to conduct the post-mortem. So, the body was embalmed and kept in the morgue waiting for the pathologists to arrive.

Some said Abiola was beaten to death, others said he was poisoned. As his doctor and member of the team that conducted the post-mortem, what were your findings?

Abiola was not beaten. He died shortly after the American delegation got to Aguda House by 3 pm  According to the written press conference given by Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who led the American delegation, Abiola died between 3:20 and 3:40 pm that day. Nobody told Abiola that he was going to have visitors that day. So, they woke him up and he just brushed his teeth and came out to meet with them. He had not had his lunch. These were facts borne out of the autopsy. His intestine was clear. They exchanged banters, he told Susan Rice, who was part of the delegation, what she wore the first day he met her. Pickering said Abiola's brain must be sharp to remember all that. According to them, their mission was to convince Abiola to denounce his mandate and go for another election. By then Abacha had gone, one of their problems had been solved. Abiola was left. They had brought that suggestion before and Abiola rejected it. So, their mission was unnecessary because they were not going to get him to say yes. It must have been for another purpose. When they came in, the chief guard that usually stayed with Abiola was not there because they didn't tell him some people would be visiting. Abiola came unaccompanied to that meeting. Of course, they had been told he was a tea drinker. They brought a special flask, which Hamza Al-Mustapha described as multi-dimensional. They poured themselves tea and poured tea for Abiola. There was no precedence of a visitor bringing tea for the host. It is unconventional. It is not done anywhere in the world. Not only did they bring it, they offered someone in detention tea, with no guard around. And Ambassador Pickering said in his press conference that shortly after he had taken the tea, he complained of pain in the chest and grabbed his chest. And later, he felt uncomfortable and then, he went to the convenience to ease himself, but he did not come back as expected. They called on him and he told them he was coming. By then, he had started feeling weak. They asked him if they should call the doctor but he said they should ask the guard to get his pain tablet. But he died before the pain tablet arrived. By the time the doctor came, Abiola had already died. They took him to Aso Rock clinic, where they tried to jerk his heart back to life, but he was gone. That was how he died.

Are you saying that the US had a hand in Abiola's death?

Yes. It is necessary to note that death followed Pickering's missions. A notable personality usually dies after his mission to any country. You can go and read about him. The question was: Why did he come? We know him as Central Intelligence Agency man and he was not the serving ambassador in the country then. Abubakar was the one who gave them the appointment. During a cocktail to celebrate the US National Day, I asked the US Ambassador why they brought Pickering and others. I told him that Abacha, who was occupying Abiola's position had died and why did they bring another military? We should also note that after Abiola died, Abubakar went to White House to visit the sitting American President and he went in military uniform. Can you recollect anybody who entered White House in military uniform? It is not done. He was given that exception. Up till now, nobody has repeated the precedence. What did he do? How long had he been on the throne here that he was received by the American President? Abacha was gone, Abiola was gone and they thought Nigeria's problem was solved. But here we are. The current American President has not found it important enough to come to the same country in which the previous governments took very big roles in taking those two actors out. I think it high time US apologized to Nigeria for the roles it played in the death of Abiola. The US also insisted on sending at least two pathologists just to protect its image, because there were rumors that it was the US that killed Abiola. Tony Blair sent a message to me through the British High Commissioner here that he was nominating Dr. John Shepherd, one of the top pathologists in England, and we made him the team captain. Human rights groups from Chicago sent in a pathologist. America insisted that they wanted to be well represented. So, they sent one Muslim doctor and one Christian doctor to me. I was there; Abubakar's doctor was there; Dr. Adeniyi Coker, the owner of that hospital on Victoria Island was there and the team.

You believe Abiola was poisoned, but how come this team of highly qualified doctors, including yourself conducted the post-mortem and concluded that Abiola died from natural causes?

No, what they said was that there was not enough supply of blood to his heart because there was a collection of fatty materials in the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart. His heart did not get blood supply; that was why he died eventually. The question is, why did that happen? How could that happen to somebody who just woke up, had not done anything and was not doing any exercise. There are people who have worse conditions than that and they are still alive. Something must have engineered the heart to behave the way it did that Abiola could not survive more than 10 minutes. We took specimen from his intestine, took his blood and sent it to toxicologists in Canada and in London. Another question to ask was where did Pickering type his press statement? Abiola died around 3:40 pm and by 4 pm, Pickering read his typed-written press statement and said he must have died of heart attack. The doctor that took Abiola's body to Aso Rock clinic had not come when Pickering addressed the press. Could something have triggered the heart attack? The answer is yes. We also know that there are drugs that can affect the rhythm of the heart. Such drugs can disturb the rhythm of the heart to an extent that the heart can stop pumping blood. If you give it to anyone to drink in tablet or liquid form, it can make the heart to stop within minutes. Does this leave traces in the blood? Yes, because medical science has perfected all that now. They just conducted the post-mortem of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian man that died about five years ago. When he died, nobody suspected, but now they believe he was poisoned and they are trying to find out what type of poison it was.

So, you believe medical science can detect the poison now?

Yes, and that is why we are calling for a more detailed investigation into the cause of Abiola's death. Why are the human rights activists here not pushing for further investigation into Abiola's death? Our government did not even want to say that the man won the election, until President Goodluck Jonathan came.

But did Abiola have any health condition that could have resulted to sudden death?

Tell me who had a better health than Abiola. Before he was detained, Abiola was a globetrotter. If not because he was very healthy, he wouldn't have lasted five years in detention. He was not exercising, not seeing people and so on. They even tried to injure him once in the office of the Commissioner of Police in Abuja. A police officer that came from Aso Rock threw Abiola against a pillar and he hit his back and his spinal cord protruded. We gave Abiola a newspaper, and the policeman wanted collect it from him, but he refused. Then we looked for CT scan and there was none in Nigeria but Abacha was ready to let him go abroad for treatment. But many people feared that if he left, they would not have allowed him back into the country. This was because he had gone once and the then Interim President Ernest Shonekan, did not allow him back into the country. It was the same Abacha that ensured that Abiola returned. Abacha had to change the guards at the airport, replaced them with his own guards and asked them to fly Abiola in from Cotonou. I was close to Abacha to know all these. Abiola landed and trouble started. Then there was the afternoon coup, Abacha took over from Shonekan. As far as Abacha was concerned, his reign was not to be permanent, he had to remove Shonekan to foil Ibrahim Babangida's plan to come back. Babangida's intention was to transform into a civilian president.

If Abacha was not interested in ruling for long, why didn't he install Abiola when he got to Aso Rock?

When Abacha got to Aso Rock, he called Oladipo Diya and some other people to go around and feel the pulse of the people. Diya was here in my hospital, he went to Gani Fawehinmi; he went to the Oba of Lagos, Oba of Benin and the Ooni of Ife. All these people told him to tell Abacha to install Abiola. Diya went back and told Abacha to discard those views; that no military man takes power and hands it over to civilians. Remember Abacha did not get out of Aso Rock till he died. He was a soldier to the core. He didn't know how to play politics. One of the reasons that military did not want to leave Nigeria's political life was that Abiola told them that he will probe all of them, when he became president.

Don't you think Abacha would have killed Abiola to pave the way for himself becoming a civilian president?

Abacha would not have killed Abiola. He never wanted Abiola dead. Abacha never wanted any of these people's death. The death of Shehu Yar'adua, was carried out by Abacha's chronic cohorts. They were going to do the same thing to Obasanjo. When we heard, we sent a message down to the doctor and person in-charge of the prison in Plateau, that they were coming to inject Obasanjo. At that time, they were removing people who would constitute a hindrance to the five parties that were to endorse Abacha. What would it cost Abacha to kill Diya, Olanrewaju, Adisa and others who plotted the coup? It would not take five minutes. Is it not strange the deaths recorded under Abacha were civilians and not soldiers?

Being Abiola's confidant, how did you come to be that close to Abacha?

I met Abacha in 1982. He was a brigadier in the Nigerian Army. He was coming back from Lebanon as the head of a peace-keeping mission. I had a friend called U.S. Yaro. He was a general in the Nigerian Army. He brought his third wife to me, I treated her, she became pregnant and she delivered a male baby which was what he was looking for. So, you can imagine the joy. He thought I was the best gynecologist in the whole world. We became very close. This Gen. U. S. Yaro belonged to the right group in the Army. He was then made defense adviser in London and he went with his wife and baby. He told me, 'Anytime you are in London call, you must see this baby grow.' I went to London on holiday, I called him and he said, 'There is somebody I want you to meet. He has just arrived from Lebanon.' He knew that man was going to become somebody in Nigeria. I had never been a friend of the Army. I've been fighting them from the time I came back from England in 1970 as a doctor. We fought all of them except Murtala Mohammed, because he had settled problems between doctors and Gen. Yakubu Gowon. So, when he (Mohammed) became Head of State, he knew what doctors wanted. We were not asking for increase in salary, we wanted them to build a good health system, especially after the civil war ravaged parts of the country. Yaro sent a car to take me to where he was hosting the Nigerian contingent led by Abacha. When I met Abacha, he promised to visit me in Nigeria the day after he arrived. Coincidentally, we flew the same plane from London to Lagos and he spoke to me about himself all thorough that journey and the next day, he showed up at my door as he promised. I was very happy to have known Abacha. He was a truthful and straightforward person. If he did something, he would never deny it. He would not tell a lie. He had a list of friends. I was his number two Christian friend. We were not up to 12 on that list. To underscore how crude but genuine he was, he was taking money directly from the treasury to Aso Rock. He didn't how to make money through contracts and things like that. And he kept the records. I had a lot of personal experiences with him. His wife delivered their last child here; a girl. I was the first to tell him his wife was pregnant, they were not expecting it. Abiola knew I was close to Abacha; there was no hiding.

But for the role you said Diya played, do you think Abacha would have installed Abiola as President?

I believe that. Let me tell you this. The first coup against Shonekan was planned for the Saturday preceding the Wednesday that he was toppled. It was supposed to be bloodless. Why would Abacha do a coup, when he was the most senior officer in a military regime that had not handed over power? He was the defacto leader. Abacha planned that coup and the plot was leaked to Shonekan. Shonekan was to be in Abeokuta for that weekend until Monday and was to be arrested there. Some of us, including Abiola, knew about that coup. And the idea was for Abacha to take over and eventually install Abiola.
When that coup was foiled, we were sad. Abacha then planned it his own way and made it happen on Wednesday when they usually had their weekly Supreme Military Council meeting. At the meeting, Abacha just walked in with Gwadabe and Gen. Mohammed. He knew Gen. Mohammed was the one who leaked it, but he didn't want to cause an uproar in the country. He told Shonekan to write his resignation. Shonekan asked 'Why should I resign?' Abacha then asked him, 'Who are you waiting for to obey my instruction? Here is the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Mohammed; here is Col. Gwadabe, here is Col. Aminu.' Abacha pulled out his pistol and then Shonekan's personal assistant, Isaac, who told me the story, said he quickly wrote the resignation letter for Shonekan to sign. He wrote it; it was typed and Shonekan signed. Abacha told Shonekan that a car was waiting for him outside, he should board it to the airport and fly to Lagos. Abacha then went into the plane with Gen. Mohammed and told him that if not for their friendship, he would have blown up his head for what he did. Because of that, he removed him as the Chief of Army Staff, and put Gen. Chris Ali, who was pro-Abiola. These are the things that would tell you that he would have restored Abiola's mandate.

But it seemed he was carried away by the proposal for him to transform to a civilian president?

Well, I don't think so. Another thing happened. When Abacha became Head of State, Rev. Chris Okotie, in a bid to solve the problem and get Abiola installed as president, wrote a proposal to Abacha, suggesting an arrangement that was common in South America, in which Abiola would be the president, then Abacha would be like a prime minister. He wrote that proposal and came to my house to discuss it with me. We agreed to travel together to Abuja; that I will go and see Abiola and he will go and see Abacha. When Abacha read the proposal, he told some people to come and pick me up from where Abiola was at that time to Aso Rock. When I got there he said, 'Doctor I have seen the proposal from your friend.' I didn't know Chris (Okotie) had been there, so I said 'My friend?' He said 'Yes, the reverend gentleman you came in with from Lagos.' He just said to me, 'Look I didn't contest to be president or prime minister or anything like that; I don't want all those things.' He said the proposal was good but he was reluctant. He was not ready for it, he said, 'How can I just make myself prime minister, it will complicate things more.' He said his role should be to settle matters amicably.

Is it true that some Yoruba leaders betrayed Abiola?

They did so initially because they believed that Abiola would not get acceptance from the Awolowo camp. Abiola was NPN before, he then changed camp to UPN. Abiola belonged to the NPN, he gave more money to the NPN and donated a little to UPN. People advised Awolowo to return the money to Abiola querying why he gave so much to NPN. However, some Awoists thought it was wrong to have returned that money. Because we all knew how UPN was getting money then, it was from states controlled by them. It is the same thing that Action Congress of Nigeria is doing. They learnt it from the Awolowo group. I was not only Abiola's doctor; I was his friend, confidant and in-law. When the election was near, we told Abiola to go and see Mama Awolowo and also Arthur Nzeribe, because was one politician in Igboland that had won his constituency repeatedly. He visited Nzeribe first, and Nzeribe was very happy and pledged to work very hard for him. When he landed in Lagos, we drove straight to Mama, and we arrived there just before dinner. He prostrated and said he would not get up until Mama said she forgiven him from the bottom of her heart. Mama forgave him. If you remember, Abiola won Ogun State 97 per cent. Nobody has ever done that, not even Awolowo. He confounded those Yoruba Obas. Those people went to Babangida, who likes to divide and rule, to put obstacles in Abiola's way. When I was arguing with one of those people, he said Babangida told him how much the Federal Government owed Abiola, and said what else did Abiola want?

How did the Federal Government owe Abiola?

It's simple. Abiola was the one who paid for the kit, clothing, food of the Nigerian soldiers sent to Liberia. Babangida was telling him, buy this, buy that for us, we will pay you back. Babangida was trying to make Abiola so weak that when the election came he would have no money left. But Abiola was doing it for a friend because he knew Babangida would claim glory for a successful outing in Liberia. Abdulsalami Abubakar went to Abiola's house and promised them that he would ensure that the Federal Government paid what it owed Abiola. Go and find out if he or successive administrations fulfilled that promise till today. Abacha, of all people, paid part of the debt, before Abiola declared himself President. Some of those people that betrayed Abiola are still alive. Let me just tell that Oba of Lagos, who has since died; Awujale of Ijebuland, who is still alive; Alake of Egbaland, who has since died; Oba of Benin, who is still there; and Soun of Ogbomoso, were pro-Abiola. Most of the other people that were against him simply took sides with Babangida, so that they could get government contracts.

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