Entries in Sting (3)


Rock Stars Take on the Kremlin to Defend Jailed Punk Group

ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Rock artists including Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Franz Ferdinand, and Faith No More have decided to challenge the Kremlin over its detention of an all-female Russian punk rock band.

Five members of the band called Pussy Riot were detained in February after they performed an anti-Putin song, jumping up and down at the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Church. The group, clad in their trademark colored baklavas and spandex outfits, sang about a divine intervention that would remove President Vladimir Putin from power.

Three members of the group have been held in jail without a trial ever since. Officials recently announced their pre-trial detention has been extended until 2013. They face charges of “hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred,” which could result in up to seven years in prison.

In a statement on his website today, the singer Sting waded into the controversy, joining with Amnesty International in calling for release of the punk rockers.

“Dissent is a legitimate and essential right in any democracy and modern politicians must accept this fact with tolerance. A sense of proportion – and a sense of humor – is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. Surely the Russian authorities will completely drop these spurious charges and allow the women, these artists, to get back to their lives and to their children,” Sting said in a statement ahead of his concert later in the day in Moscow.

Amnesty International has called the detained rockers “prisoners of conscience.”

During a concert in Moscow last weekend, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand took up the group’s cause from the stage. Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer for Red Hot Chili Peppers, wore one of the band’s shirts on stage and Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand dedicated a song to the group and to “all of those musicians that end up in jail for just saying what they think.”

Kapranos doubled down on Twitter, responding to a Russian who said the group mocked Russian traditions. “Russia’s traditions are strong and you should be proud of them. When you’re strong it means nothing if someone mocks you,” he tweeted.

Earlier this month, members of the American rock group Faith No More sported colored baklavas in solidarity with the group during a concert in Moscow.

Supporters of the Russian rockers have also appealed to pop diva Madonna, who will play a concert in Moscow next week, to take up their cause. Madonna has already caused some controversy over her plans to denounce St. Petersburg’s harsh new anti-gay law when she performs there on Aug. 9.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Taliban, Hezbollah Agents Nabbed in Drugs, Arms Stings: Feds

Siavosh Henareh has been named as a defendant in a case that investigators say concretely links the Taliban and Hezbollah in a weapons for drugs scheme. (U.S. Department of Justice)(NEW YORK) -- Four men involved in two drugs-for-weapons rings that allegedly intended to supply Stinger missiles, AK-47 automatic rifles, and U.S. carbines to the Taliban and material support to Hezbollah were arrested following a pair of Drug Enforcement Administration sting operations, officials in New York said Tuesday.

At least two of those men, Lebanese national Bachar Wehbe and Afghani national Tazar Gul Alizai, are in the U.S. and slated to appear before a federal court in Manhattan, according to federal law enforcement sources.

Investigators said that Gul Aliza, an alleged Taliban member, was busted selling assault rifles and large amounts of heroin to an undercover DEA agent in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Bachar Wehbe, a Lebanese alleged member of Hezbollah, and two other suspected Hezbollah associates were also busted by federal DEA agents posing as high-grade weapons dealers. These three were planning to use money from the heroin sales to buy Stinger surface-to-air missiles, AK-47 rifles and M-4 rifles, investigators said. Wehbe's alleged confederates, Siavosh Henareh and Cetin Aksu, are in custody in Romania and awaiting extradition to the U.S.

The cases are the third and fourth such weapons stings recently by the DEA, including the highly publicized case of international arms broker Victor Bout.

The operations are part of an aggressive expansion of their drug enforcement mission that has enabled federal prosecutors to successful make arms cases that otherwise may not have been brought into the U.S.

"Today's indictments provide fresh evidence of what many of us have been seeing for some time: the growing nexus between drug trafficking and terrorism, a nexus that threatens to become a clear and present danger to our national security," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Twelve Arrested in British Anti-Terror Sting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- British police arrested 12 men early Monday morning who were allegedly in the final stages of a major bomb plot.

The plot was allegedly directed at targets inside the U.K. The men were arrested after weeks of surveillance by law enforcement and MI5 in raids in London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent. The men are between 17 and 28 years old and are mostly British citizens from Bangladeshi backgrounds.

"The arrests were absolutely necessary to keep the public safe," said John Yates, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Britain's senior counterterrorism police officer. He also reminded people to remain vigilant due to a large number of terror threats that officials are currently monitoring.

Authorities did not say the attacks were deliberately planned for the holidays, though the U.K. is at its second-highest level of terror alert, and last week U.S. authorities warned of possible attacks during the Christmas season because of their "psychological impact."

Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe because of a heightened concern about terror. A captured German jihadi had reportedly provided details of an alleged Mumbai-style small arms attack on civilians. Terrorists killed almost 200 people in a multi-day assault on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.

Authorities said Monday's arrests were not linked to a Mumbai-style plot, and that there were no links to the Swedish backpack bombing earlier this month, in which a British resident killed himself and wounded bystanders in central Stockholm. There was also no link to alleged reports from captured Iraqis that attacks were coming during the holiday season.

The arrests were the biggest anti-terror action in Britain since April 2009, when another dozen men were detained in Manchester in connection with an alleged Al Qaeda bomb plot. Islamists terrorists killed almost 200 people with multiple train bombings in Madrid in 2004, and killed 52 in London in 2005.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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