Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called on Arab and other world powers on Monday to intervene in Syria after 108 people were killed in the town of Houla in an attack it blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Images of the bloodied bodies of children and others slain in Houla have shocked the world and highlighted the failure of a 6-week-old UN-backed cease-fire to stop the violence in the 14-month uprising against Assad's rule. "The Muslim Brotherhood calls on Arab, Islamic and international governments ... and the people of the free world to intervene to stop these massacres, especially after the failure of international forces and international monitoring to stop them," spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in a statement. He did not say exactly what the world should do about Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt's presidential election topped last week's first-round poll, unofficial results show. The Islamist group already dominates both houses of Parliament after earlier elections. The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned Assad's government for firing heavy weapons at Houla. Ghozlan also called on Syrians to put aside their differences and unite to "bring down the regime, make the revolution succeed and free the heroic Syrian people." He said the Syrian government's crimes were worse than those of Genghis Khan, a warrior who founded the Mongol empire in the 13th century. Syria's Muslim Brotherhood is part of the opposition to Assad, whose father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, bloodily crushed an armed Islamist uprising in the 1980s. The Syrian and Egyptian branches of the Brotherhood share the same ideology but have no direct organizational links.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Sunday, 13 May 2012
THE man believed by police to be the central figure in a bikie feud has declared he is not at fault for Sydney's spate of drive-by shootings and says they are the "act of a coward". Wissam Amer, 28, broke his silence to The Sunday Telegraph to say he was not at the heart of the current shootings between the Hells Angels and Nomads outlaw motorcycle gangs. Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed police believe Amer was the source of the conflict after he defected from the Hells Angels to the rival Nomads. Speaking through his lawyer Maggie Sten, the former bikie said unequivocally that he was no longer part of any gang and disputed police claims he's responsible for the feud. "The conflict between the Hells Angels and the Nomads is dead and buried - it has been for a while," Mr Amer said through his lawyer. "It has got nothing to do with me." Mr Amer was previously a member of the Bandidos, but left the group during a large scale "patch-over" of its members to the Hells Angels more than a year ago. Police believe he then tried to leave the Hells Angels to join the Nomads and burned bridges along the way - however he disputes this. Ms Sten said Mr Amer now wants to clear the record and confirm he is not part of any gang and is attempting to get on with a "normal life". What is not in dispute, however, is that Mr Amer was the target of two drive-by shootings over the past seven months. One was a drive-by at a Merrylands Oporto, two days after he was released on bail; the other happened three days later at his previous address at Canley Vale. Police believe both attacks were committed by Hells Angels, however Mr Amer said he could not prove this and neither could police. Mr Amer is unsure who the perpetrators were. "It could have been anybody - it's a dirty game, it could have been someone that I'd had a run-in with years ago," Ms Sten said on Mr Amer's behalf. "I live my life with no fear - I live now as a normal person." What Mr Amer was sure about was that drive-by shootings on himself or anyone else was a despicable act. "It's as weak as scratching somebody's car - anybody who drives a car and attacks you at 1am is a coward," he said through Ms Sten. "Especially when you know the people you're looking for are not there," referring to cases where the alleged targets were in jail. He could not explain the forces behind the current wave of shootings, but agreed with a police theory - revealed by The Sunday Telegraph - that a third party is trying to reignite animosities between the groups. Authorities brokered a peace agreement between the two gangs in January, but that faltered on April 16 when shots were fired at a home and car in Pemulwuy. "We believe it's other people trying to stir the pot," Ms Sten said for Mr Amer. "This is the perfect time for people to attack because they know the Hells Angels and Nomads were in a previous conflict which no longer exists." Police Strike Force Kinnarra has locked up 13 people in relation to the nine shootings that happened last month. Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said the conflict was firmly between the two gangs.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Eduardo Ravelo, born on October 13, 1968 was added as the 493rd fugitive to the FBI 10 most wanted list on October 20, 2009. He is originally from Mexico, however he holds permanent residency status in the United States which gives him free movement across the border. An FBI informant and former lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca, a prison gang active in the U.S. and Mexico, testified that Ravelo told him to help find fellow gang members who had stolen from the cartel. In March 2008, he became the leader of the gang shortly after betraying his predecessor, stabbing him several times and shooting him in the neck. (Eduardo Ravelo: Wikipedia) Eduardo Ravelo was indicted in Texas in 2008 for his involvement in racketeering activities, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. His alleged criminal activities began in 2003. He is believed to be living in an area of Cuidad Juarez controlled by the Barrio Ravelo, with his wife and children just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He is also said to have bodyguards and armored vehicles to protect him from rival gangs as well as rival cartels.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.