Home' Greymouth Star : November 5th 2014 Contents F
or Saudi Arabia, the war
against Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad is a vital
struggle for the future of the
Middle East that must be
fought — but not by its own
Alarmed by how jihadi veterans back
home from Afghanistan and Iraq joined
an al Qaeda uprising a decade ago,
Riyadh is now trying to halt recruitment
of Saudis to the militant cause, even as it
funds and arms rebels in Syria.
The government and clerics are pushing
their message in both the media and the
mosque: Saudis who join radical groups
such as Islamic State (IS) will get sucked
into a jihadist experience that is ugly and
Local media have highlighted the case
of Fahd al-Zaidi, a Saudi who said he was
duped into joining a war against fellow
Sunni Muslims instead of fighting for
“Anyone who dared to question the
Islamic State would be put in isolation
and prevented from contacting others,”
he said in comments reported in the local
Arab News and carried widely by other
Saudi media. “ We spent days and nights
wondering how we allowed ourselves to
be fooled by a bunch of conmen.”
With the largely Sunni rebel groups
often fighting each other rather than
Assad’s forces, Riyadh believes the Syrian
war should be left to Syrians. Those
Saudis who shift their allegiance from the
ruling Al Saud family to IS’s caliphate,
which it is fighting to establish across
Syria and Iraq, represent a threat to the
government of the US ally.
Informed by its previous experience, the
kingdom is using an array of tools against
jihadi recruitment apart from the media.
A royal decree in February ordered
long jail terms for people who went to
fight overseas or helped others do so, or
for those giving moral or material aid to
groups including IS and al Qaeda’s official
offshoot in Syria, the Nusra Front. Several
people have already been convicted.
Top clerics including the Grand Mufti
and members of the Senior Council of
Scholars, the highest religious bodies in
the kingdom, have repeatedly denounced
militant groups in sermons and fatwas.
While some senior government-
appointed clerics have described the
Syrian war as a jihad, they have made
clear it is one that should be fought by
Syrians, not by Saudis.
Nevertheless, thousands of young men
appear to have slipped through the net
and joined IS and other groups. The
authorities say they are aware of 2500
Saudis fighting overseas, but admit there
may be more.
Unlike in previous conflicts before
militants learned to use social media
networks as recruitment tools, would-be
jihadis no longer need extensive contact
with facilitators inside Saudi Arabia.
Some have simply flown to Turkey and
headed for the Syrian or Iraqi border.
Others used on-line contacts to get a
mobile phone number for somebody who
would help them once they arrived.
Salman, whose brother followed the
route via Turkey to fight alongside IS
and Nusra Front in Syria, said his sibling
had been recruited on-line. But the
brother, who is now on a government
deradicalisation programme, found the
promises of a pure jihad did not match a
far messier reality.
“His situation was very bad. He saw
a lot of blood ... there was a very big
change in him when he came back. He
blamed himself very much,” Salman
said in a phone inter view arranged
by a psychologist working with the
programme and conducted on condition
Based in a secure facility in Riyadh, the
programme uses clerics to argue against
militancy, and provides art and sports
classes where psychologists monitor
It encourages family visits and has
helped inmates — or “beneficiaries” as the
authorities call them — to find jobs and
even marriage partners to help reintegrate
them into society. It has a recidivism rate
of about one in 10, officials say.
Saudis went to previous jihadist wars
mostly out of a sense of international
Muslim solidarity which the authorities
had fostered for decades as a
counterweight to secular anti-monarchist
ideology, analysts say.
In the 1980s it was the government and
ruling family which encouraged Saudis
to join the fight against Soviet forces
occupying Afghanistan. But many clergy,
particularly at a local level, were involved
The kingdom’s strict Wahhabi school
of Islam, with its message of intolerance
of Shi’ites and non-Muslims, may also
have made Saudis more open to militant
The US-led invasion of Iraq, which
deposed the Sunni leadership of Saddam
Hussein in 2003 and brought a Shi’ite-led
government to power, deepened a belief
among many young Sunnis, including
Saudis, that their branch of Islam faced
“I saw on the television news that
my brother Muslims needed help, so
I thought I’d go and join them,” Ayad
al-Onazi, who spent four years fighting
alongside Iraqi insurgents before his
group fell apart after a battle with al
When he told his family he had arrived
in Iraq in 2005, they begged him to return
but, sure he was doing the right thing, he
stayed until 2009.
Today, IS is countering pressure on its
fighters to come home. In a recent video,
it showed a young man identified as Abu
Hajr al-Jazrawi who was about to become
a suicide bomber. Jazrawi tried to tell his
parents that they were wrong to want him
“My mother and father, as long as you
say to return, to leave this path and not
be deceived by Islamic State, and not to
be deluded by the Caliphate, I will only
repeat the words of he who said: ‘ Would
that my people knew!’” he said in the
video, translated by SITE Monitoring.
Not all Saudi families have been upset to
see loved ones risk death. Some publicly
celebrated their sons’ “martyrdom” a
decade ago Thomas Hegghammer, author
of the book Jihad in Saudi Arabia and a
research fellow at the Nor wegian Defence
Research Establishment, said. “ Their
friends would post phone numbers for
people to call and congratulate,” he said.
Such displays no longer occur, but
it is unclear whether this is because
public attitudes have changed or Saudis
are simply frightened of the security
services. Nevertheless, the government
campaign has clearly driven much of the
recruitment effort further underground,
making it harder to assess who is going to
Syria and Iraq and why.
“There’s so much less visibility now into
the jihadi community. They don’t write
as much about themselves as they used
to. Activists in Saudi Arabia are more
restrained now on-line than they used to
be,” Hegghammer said.
In August people in the small desert
town of Tumair, about 160km north of
Riyadh, tipped off the authorities that two
mosque imams were recruiting jihadis.
The clerics, identified in local media as
Ali al-Salloum and Hamad al-Rais, were
detained with six others in Tumair on
suspicion of working to send people to IS,
the Interior Ministry later said without
confirming their names.
This showed both how local religious
networks can still pose a threat, and how
Saudi society is growing less tolerant of
such efforts. But in a sign of how sensitive
such subjects are, no Tumair residents
contacted would discuss the case.
A fully operational Apple computer
that company co-founder Steve Jobs
sold out of his parents’ garage in 1976
for $US600 will hit the auction block
in December, where it is expected to
fetch more than half a million dollars,
Christie’s said yesterday.
The so-called Ricketts Apple-1
Personal Computer, named after its
original owner Charles Ricketts and
being sold on December 11, is the only
known sur viving Apple-1 documented
as having been sold directly by Jobs, then
just 21, to an individual from the Los
Altos, California family home, Christie’s
“It all started with the Apple-1 and
with this particular machine,” Andrew
McVinish, Christie’s director of
decorative arts, said.
“ When you see a child playing with
an iPad or iPhone, not too many
people know that it all started with the
Apple-1,” he added. “So to be able to
own a machine that started the digital
revolution is a very powerful attraction.”
The computer is being sold by Robert
Luther, a Virginia collector who bought
it in 2004 at a police auction of storage
locker goods without knowing all the
details of its history.
“I knew it had been sold from the
garage of Steve Jobs in July of 1976,
because I had the buyer’s cancelled
check,” Luther wrote on a kickstarter
page soliciting funding for a book on the
“My computer had been purchased
directly from Jobs, and based on the
buyers address on the check, he lived
four miles from Jobs.”
In 1999, the Ricketts Apple-1
was acquired by Bruce Waldack, an
entrepreneur who had just sold his
company, Digital Nation. Waldack
eventually lost his fortune, left the
country and died in 2007. The Ricketts
Apple-1 was auctioned at a self-storage
facility in Virginia, where Luther
An Apple-1 expert ser viced and started
the computer, running the standard
original software program, Microsoft
BASIC, and an original Apple-1 Star
Trek game to test it out, Christie’s said.
The computer will be sold with the
cancelled cheque from the original
garage purchase on July 27, 1976 made
out to Apple Computer by Charles
Ricketts for $US600, which Ricketts
later labeled as “Purchased July 1976
from Steve Jobs in his parents’ garage in
A second cancelled cheque for $US193
from August 5, 1976 is labeled “Software
NA Programmed by Steve Jobs August
1976”. The checks were used as evidence
for the city of Los Altos to designate
the Jobs family home on Crist Drive
for eligibility for listing on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Last month, the Henry Ford
organisation paid $905,000 at auction
for one of the few remaining Apple-1
computers, which was more than twice
the pre-sale estimate. — Reuters
4 - Wednesday, November 5, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and - except for e-mails - your signature. Noms de
plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
email to email@example.com
uLetters to the editor
1605 - Gunpowder Plot by Guy Fawkes
to blow up British houses of Parliament is
1914 - France and Britain declare war on
Turkey. Britain annexes Cyprus.
1928 - Mount Etna in Sicily erupts,
destroying a large area. Village of Mascali is
1940 - President Franklin D
Roosevelt is re-elected president of
the United States for the third time.
1955 - Maurice Utrillo, French
1962 - UN General Assembly
demands all nuclear tests cease by
January 1, 1963.
1968 - Richard Nixon wins the US
1987 - South Africa releases African National
Congress leader Govan Mbeki, prisoner for 23
years and colleague of Nelson Mandela.
1991 - Nearly 7000 people die in floods in
1999 - China announces the first criminal
charges against the leaders of the Falun Gong
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Philippe de Plessis-Mornay, French author
(1549-1623); Will Durant, US historian-
philosopher (1885-1981); Roy Rogers, US
cowboy actor (1912-1998); Vivien
Leigh, British actress (1913-1967);
Elke Sommer, German-born
actress (1940-); Art Garfunkel, US
musician (1941-); Sam Shepard,
US actor-playwright (1943-); Peter
Noone, British singer (1947-); Bryan
Adams, Canadian singer (1959-);
Tilda Swinton, English actress (1960-); Famke
Janssen, D utch actress (1965-); Kevin Jonas,
American guitarist ( Jonas Brothers) (1987-).
“The most exhausting thing in life ... is being
insincere.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
American writer (1906-2001).
“So when you give to the needy, do not
announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites
do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be
honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have
received their reward in full.” — Matthew 6:2
have been assisting
in the unsuccessful
search for the missing
schoolteacher Mr W Ryan, absent without trace
in the Heaphy Track district. Yesterday a party
hunted over the banks of the Heaphy River
north of Karamea, but found no signs.
Three police officers and four civilians started
searching five miles upstream on the banks of
the river near where a Karamea farmer Mr Jock
Lowe found the missing tramper’s horse. The
terrain they expected to cover to reach the coast
is reported to be “very difficult to negotiate”.
This is not the first time search parties have
followed the banks of the river in the search for
Mr Ryan.The coastline near the mouth of the
river, and further afield has also been covered.
An 80-foot wooden poppet-shaft which
straddled the disused Waiuta goldmine, last
night crashed to the ground in a blaze of flames.
The structure caught fire in the afternoon after
fires had been started in neighbouring bush in
an attempt to burn it off.
The destruction of the poppet-head was
described by one of Waiuta’s two residents as
a “terrific shame”. It was the destruction of a
landmark which could never be replaced, he
added. The poppet-head has straddled the mine
for about 50 years.
Had the fire spread, there would have been
nothing the residents could have done as they
have no fire fighting equipment and, apparently,
no fire brigade is responsible for the area.
Waiuta, which is becoming an increasingly
popular tourist attraction, could have been
burned to the ground.
uFood for thought
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Original Apple computer to go under hammer
An Apple-1 computer.
Leo Power, the elder statesmen of
the St Patrick’s Catholic parish in
Greymouth and a silent achiever in the
community, died last week.
Educated at the Marist Brothers
School he later joined the Public Works
Leo transferred to Kaikoura for a
clerical promotion and was enlisted into
the army at the beginning of World War
Two, joining the Nelson-Marlborough
Mounted Rifles Division (tanks).
position as the assistant county clerk
back in his hometown, working for the
county for eight years before joining the
Westland Catchment Board.
He had the distinction of being New
Zealand ’s longest ser ving catchment
board executive officer, with 32 years’
Leo was also involved in charitable
organisations and gave many hours
working within the community
including Handiscope, St John, Meals
on Wheels and the Foundation for the
He was a strong advocate for the
Hibernian Society, the Marist Old Boys’
Association and was a loyal member of
the Marist Rugby League Club.
Monsignor Gerry O’Connor says Leo
was a pillar of the local Catholic faith
and a very community-minded person.
“Leo was well respected and did a lot
of work in our community, a pillar of
our parish. He was utterly dependable,
faithful and responded to any call made
on him” Monsignor O’Connor said.
Leo Power is sur vived by his elder
sister Eileen and younger brother Kevin.
Beyonce is the highest paid woman in
music in 2014, with estimated earnings
of $US115 million ($NZ150m), more
than double what she pulled in last year,
Forbes magazine says.
The huge sum, most of which was from
her world tour, propelled Beyonce, 33,
from fourth place last year and put her
firmly ahead of pop star Taylor Swift, 24,
with $US64m, who jumped up one spot
from last year to No 2.
Pop singer Pink, 35, climbed up from
No 8 in 2013 to third with $US52m.
“Beyonce played 95 shows during
our scoring period, bringing in an
average of $2.4m per city,” Forbes said,
citing data from the Pollstar trade
The R and B singer’s self-titled album
released last December and endorsement
deals pushed her earnings up further
assuring her the top spot.
Barbados-born Rihanna, 26, with
$US48m and Katy Perry, 30, who earned
an estimated $40m, rounded out the top
five on the annual list.
Madonna, 56, ranked No 1 last year,
failed to make the top 10 in 2014. Lady
Gaga, 28, slumped from No 2 in 2013
to ninth place this year with estimated
earnings of $US33m.
Forbes compiled the list after
estimating pre-tax income calculated for
the 12 months from June 2013 to 2014
based on record sales, concert tickets,
touring information merchandise sales
and inter views with concert promoters,
lawyers and managers.
It also looked at data from the
Pollstar, the RIAA (Recording Industry
Association of America) and tracking
firm Nielsen Sound Scan.
Beyonce tops list of highest paid female singers
A member of Islamic State urges people to join them in Aleppo, Syria.
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