'I'm willing to die for Islam': Boston Marathon bomber's chilling texts



A disturbing flurry of text messages has revealed that Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was willing to lay down his life for his Muslim faith.


It's the latest in a series of new revelations about the elder Tsarnaev brother, who was killed in a shootout with police in the early morning hours of Friday.

Little is known about Tamerlan in the months before the attacks, but his brother has confessed that they were self-radicalized and angry over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fox News reported that in 2011, he sent text messages to his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, indicating that he was willing to die for Islam.


Around the same time he sent those texts, suspicions were brewing about the 26-year-old former boxer.


On Wednesday, U.S. officials described to the AP what the government knew about Tsarnaev since he was first placed on the intelligence community's radar 18 months ago.


The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the ongoing investigation.

Russia's internal security service, the FSB, sent information to the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev on March 4, 2011.

The Russians told the FBI that Tsarnaev, an ethnically Chechen Russian immigrant living in the Boston area, was a follower of radical Islam and had changed drastically since 2010.




Because of the subsequent FBI inquiry, Tsarnaev's name was added to a Homeland Security Department database used by U.S. officials at the border to help screen people coming in and out of the U.S.



Killed: Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with authorities in the early morning hours of Friday. Circled is a pressure cooker bomb similar to the ones detonated at the Boston Marathon




Mommy dearest: In 2011, Tsarnaev sent text messages to his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, explaining his willingness to die for Islam

That database is called the Treasury Enforcement Communications System, or TECS.

The FBI's Boston office opened a preliminary review of Tsarnaev and searched government databases for potentially terror-related communications.

Investigators looked into whether Tsarnaev used online sites that promoted radical activity.


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They interviewed Tsarnaev and his family members but found nothing connecting him to any extremist groups.


The FBI shared that information with Russia and also asked for more information on Tsarnaev, but never heard back. The FBI's review into Tsarnaev was closed in June 2011.

Then, in late September 2011, Russia separately contacted the CIA with nearly identical concerns about Tsarnaev.




Boston bombers: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, left, and Tamerlan, right, are pictured near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where authorities say they planted bombs that killed three people

The Russians provided two possible birthdates for him and a variation of how his name might be spelled, as well as the spelling in the Russian-style Cyrillic alphabet.

The CIA determined that Tsarnaev should be included in TIDE, and the National Counterterrorism Center added it into the database.


The spelling of Tsarnaev's name in TIDE was not the same as the spelling the FBI used in its investigation. The CIA also shared this information with other federal agencies in October.

A disturbing picture of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has emerged in the days since he was killed in a police shootout - a proud but angry young man who never quite achieved his own idea of the American dream, but found solace instead in a radical form of Islam adopted by fighters in his homeland.

What now seems clear is that he was deeply influenced by a few months' sojourn in Makhachkala, Muslim Dagestan's capital on the Caspian Sea, where children in the street play 'cops and guerrillas' and bombings and shootings are everyday news.




On the list: Tsarnaev's name was added to a Homeland Security Department database used by U.S. officials at the border to help screen people coming in and out of the U.S.

Tamerlan returned to Dagestan in 2012, where his mother and father had relocated after splitting up. Family members there who had not seen him for years were surprised by his new interest in religion.


His mother now speaks proudly of his apparent religious awakening, and says she does not believe he would have been capable of the Boston attacks.


'He changed when he started practicing Islam. He would read all the time,' she said. 'He had started going to nightclubs, but ever since I said to him that 'You are a Muslim, you should not do such things, they are haram', he became more religious," she told Reuters in English in Makhachkala.


During his stay in Dagestan, relatives say, he clearly stood out as an American, speaking Russian with a foreign accent and slipping into English when he could not remember a word.


'I don't think he was interested in friendships,' his mother said, adding that he followed lessons online in the Koran to try and understand it in its original Arabic.

'He was reading, always in front of the computer - he was taking classes on the Koran,' she said. 'He was very interested. He didn't want to read it in translation.


'He said, "Mama it's very difficult, but I want to do this." He really wanted to get into the true reading of the Koran. I was happy about that.'

From maverick genius to exactly the kind of old bore he used to despise:



Anyone who switched their telly to BBC1 at 10.35pm on Tuesday night could be forgiven for some momentary confusion and a queasy feeling of deja vu.

As the opening scene unfolded in Ben Elton’s new sitcom The Wright Way, it suddenly felt like a Sunday evening, just after Songs Of Praise. In 1984.

Council health and safety official Gerald Wright, played by David Haig, was in his kitchen, moaning: ‘Victoria won’t get out of the bathroom. She’s female, she’s in a bathroom, she’s never going to be finished... I thought at least when my wife left me, I’d be able to get into the bathroom occasionally.’

Lazy gender stereotypes, middle-aged self-pity and mild misogyny — this couldn’t be a new series, surely? It had to be some unseen pilot from the vaults . . . an early version of The Brittas Empire, or George And Mildred.

Or maybe this was post-modern irony and the camera was going to pull back and reveal the set, showing us that these characters were actors in a sitcom-within-a-sitcom. But it didn’t — it just slogged on, filming one hackneyed scene after the next.

We had routines about how women couldn’t load a dishwasher, how they expected presents on their birthdays at work, how women shop assistants were always more eager to talk on the phone than to serve a male customer.

It all built up to a gag where Gerald outwitted the woman at the till by phoning her on his mobile. He phoned her, you see, because it was the only way to get a bit of service. Women, eh?

The Wright Way was so old-fashioned, I said in my TV review the next morning, it should have been made in black-and-white. But that’s not going back far enough: The Wright Way should have been a pre-war, silent comedy. It still wouldn’t have been funny, but at least we would have been spared those tired old lines.

What made it worse was that these laboured situations were written by the man who led the charge against old jokes and sexist stand-up routines: all those gags about mothers-in-law, big cleavages, dim secretaries, maiden aunts, barmaids, fat ladies and nagging wives.

Ben Elton was once the motormouth of alternative comedy, the loudest, gobbiest ranter of the Eighties humour revolution. The 21-year-old wonderkid who talked at 500 words a minute and invented the most anarchic sitcom ever seen on TV — The Young Ones — a violent, expletive-spattered series about four students living in bedsit squalor.

Scroll down to watch a clip




Picture shows The Wright Way characters Clive Beeches (played by Luke Gell), Gerald Wright (David Haig), Malika Maha (Mina Anwar), Bernard Stanning (Toby Longworth)

The show made stars of Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer and Ade Edmondson, and is still riotously funny today. The dozy hippy, the head-banging punk and the radical poet prat were cartoon versions of characters in Student Union bars in colleges and polytechnics across Eighties Britain.

Elton also had a stage act that left people slack-jawed. For the first two minutes of one of his routines, no one laughed because no one was quite sure what was happening.

He hit audiences like a sandblaster, raging at prejudices, bad jokes and comics older than 23 — and when the crowd was still rocking back on its heels, he’d punch the air and shout: ‘My name’s Ben Elton, thank you and good night.’




The WRONG way? You decide.


During the miners’ strike of 1984, he earned a reputation as a political comic with his rants against ‘Mrs Thatch’ and the Tories. ‘I can’t say the word I wanna say,’ he would bark at audiences. ‘All I can say is, they come in pairs, and Mrs Thatch has got the country by them.’

H e fed the firebrand image with appearances on Channel 4’s stand-up showcase, Saturday Live, letting off tirades about nuclear power, the Cold War, vivisection and poverty.

‘You could be Left-wing, you could be Right-wing,’ he would rage, ‘or you could be a Liberal — you’d be a bit of a prat, but you could be. Get the Liberals building the Channel Tunnel: you’d have a bridge from one side, a tunnel from the other, and when they met in the middle everyone would drown . . . but at least it would be a compromise, right?’

And to rapturous applause, he’d go off on another one: ‘If there’s a meltdown at Sellafield, we’ll all have a nuclear half-life of 10,000 years but the Press will tell us that’s all right, because at least it’s a British half-life.’

Yet for all the anarchist posturing, Elton was deeply Establishment. His father was a leading physicist, Professor Lewis Elton, and his uncle a renowned Tudor historian, Sir Geoffrey Elton. He went to Godalming Grammar School, in Surrey, before a degree in drama at Manchester University. And he admits no one else in his family has a London accent, let alone his East End Dickensian ‘mockney’.

When he and Richard Curtis wrote the cleverest sitcom of the Eighties, Blackadder, he became the most praised comedy writer of his generation. The jokes became part of the national fabric — like Baldrick’s catchphrase: ‘I have a cunning plan.’



The programme contained 'lazy gender stereotypes, middle-aged self-pity and mild misogyny', according to Christopher Stevens

Tony Robinson will always be thought of as the stoic servant, just as Rowan Atkinson will never be better than he was as his sardonic master. The great scenes are unforgettable: a deliriously squiffy Queen Elizabeth raising a tankard with Blackadder’s puritanical uncle and aunt; the posturing, superstitious actors who teach Hugh Laurie’s Prince Regent how to ‘roar’; the heart-stopping moment at the end of Blackadder Goes Forth when the soldiers finally leave the dugout and go ‘over the top’.

After the success of Blackadder, the BBC invited Elton to take over the Wogan chat show while Terry Wogan was on holiday in 1989. Elton breezed in early as Wogan’s guest, ordered ‘Tezza’ out of his seat and announced he was going to do all the interviews without a teleprompter.

‘It’s great to be a national institution for a week,’ he said. ‘I’ll be taking over from the Queen Mother when she goes on holiday.’

Insiders even talked of how he would one day be director-general of the BBC. That year, he published his first novel, Stark, an instant bestseller, and within months his debut play, Gasping, opened in the West End, starring Hugh Laurie.

The BBC gave him his own show in 1990, The Man From Auntie, but ordered him not to concentrate all his attacks on the government. He switched to a scattergun technique, blasting his targets with acid pellets. Bruce Forsyth, for instance, was ‘a giant stick insect in a wig’.Elton was still barely 30, the golden boy of the era. Fast-forward 23 years, and he’s an embarrassing old flop, churning out books and TV material to universal derision.


Ben Elton invented the most anarchic sitcom ever seen on TV - The Young Ones - a violent, expletive-spattered series about four students living in bedsit squalor

One after another his sitcoms have withered and died, even when they starred top comics such as Rowan Atkinson in 1995’s The Thin Blue Line — which ran out of steam in its second year — and Ardal O’Hanlon in Blessed, which ran for a single series in 2005.

His novels barely get reviewed, his Hollywood scriptwriting career was short-lived, and a final indignity came when his Australian sketch show Live From Planet Earth was cancelled after just three episodes in 2009, as viewing figures plummeted.

Ben Elton is the most spectacular case of middle-aged droop in British TV history, and we rightly feel a sense of terrible disappointment.





How could the manic comic genius who turned Edmund Blackadder and the turnip-chewing Baldrick into national heroes end up working with Andrew Lloyd Webber, writing a sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera — the ghastly Love Never Dies?


He turned Edmund Blackadder and the turnip-chewing Baldrick into national heroes

We’ve seen worse happen to bigger talents, of course. It’s a typical showbiz trajectory: from skyrocket to falling star. Charlie Chaplin was the king of early Hollywood, the most famous man on the planet who wrote, directed and starred in his movies. But his gifts switched off in the Forties, as if he’d been hit by an internal power cut.

O rson Welles’s first film was Citizen Kane, often acclaimed as the best movie ever made. Yet in middle age, Welles was a fat, feckless hack, wasting his talents on travel shows and voiceovers for adverts.

Like Chaplin and Welles, Ben Elton burned out young. There’s nothing left of his early brilliance. For some still fighting the political battles of the Eighties, he is a turncoat who ditched his Leftist principles and took the money.

Fellow comedians, perhaps motivated by envy, were especially scathing when he scripted the storyline for the Queen musical We Will Rock You. It has run for 11 years at the Dominion and earned Elton a considerable fortune.

But fans of Blackadder and The Young Ones wouldn’t begrudge him that. What makes millions of us sad is to see him squeezing out fourth-rate pap, along the lines of the sort of formulaic, turgid sitcom that used to make him incandescent with anger.

It’s like seeing a forgotten rock star plodding through the old hits at a seaside pavilion, or a paunchy 50-something ex-footballer puffing around the pitch in a charity match.

Nobody wants to watch Ben Elton turn into the comedy equivalent of a covers band, recycling other people’s sitcoms — but that’s exactly what The Wright Way is.

If only his younger self could be revived for just one more rant . . . and yell at himself to retire gracefully.

Pimp my chimp: Bizarre fashion craze sweeps U.S. with owners dressing monkeys



A new fashion craze is sweeping the country as monkey owners dress their pets as pirates, cowboys and disco dancers.


The adorable garments are all handmade by internationally-renowned designer Julie Staup, who has sold thousands of outfits around the world.

Her online business Sew Simply Monkey is the one-stop shop for unique designs and requests for costumes have gotten more and more outrageous.




Laughing: Mattie especially loves dressing up in her pirate costume and posing in front of the camera





Biker: Mattie's owner Pam Welch has purchased an array of costumes for her

Long-term customer and friend Pam Welch has been one of her biggest advocates since day one - purchasing an array of cute costumes for her monkeys Mattie and Tito.


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After wowing onlookers with her passion for fashion, 15-year-old white face Capuchin Mattie is now a full time model and entertainer who is regularly booked for birthdays and parties.

Mum-of-three owner Pam said: 'Mattie is the star attraction and absolutely loves to entertain people and the attention she gets.



Fashion craze: Designer Julie Staup has sold thousands of monkey outfits around the world








Pirate: Model Mattie is now a full time model and children's entertainer but is still one of Julie's best customers


'It started by her joining me at a market and the public just couldn't take her eyes off her and kept asking to have their picture taken with Mattie.

'She loves kids and is great at sitting on their laps for a picture. She will give you a high five, a kiss, shake your hand and play ball.

'She can't wait to get dressed up, her favourite outfit is definitely the pirate.'

Mattie spent the first 13 years of her life living with an elderly couple before joining the Welch family.



Adorable: Mattie's owner has had a positive response from people hiring Mattie as a children's entertainer





Friends: Mattie's owner admits that the monkey now relishes being at the centre of attention

She has grown accustomed to the positive response she gets and relishes being the centre of attention.

Eight-month-old Tito is joining the brigade and melting hearts as he straddles a toy horse in his finest Western wear.

Julie, who has been creating bespoke monkey clothing for more than a decade, insists that all the outfits are made for fun-loving owners.






Entertainers: Mattie (left) playing with some balloons, and her brother Tito (right) dressed as a cowboy


Julie said: 'I would never recommend people dress their monkeys in costumes, but they are all individually made to their sizes from safe materials and are comfortable.

'They don't harm the animals, quite often they need nappies when being kept in domestic environments so it's for practical reasons, they also help to keep them warm in the winter.

'But a lot of owners want to treat their pets and make them look glamorous so whatever they request I can make for them.'

Striking gold! Photographer captures spectacular moment lightning bolt clashes



This is the spectacular moment a photographer struck gold by capturing a bolt of lightning cracking through a rainbow during a freak weather display.

The extraordinary one-of-a-kind sighting was captured by keen photographer Nolan Nitschke, 27, while on a trip to Yosemite National Park in California, U.S.

Mr Nitschke knew a storm was approaching the area and that the incredible rocky peaks throughout the park act as lightning rods. However, he had no idea he would capture such a breathtaking moment.



Magical: This is the dramatic moment a photographer captured a bolt of lightning cracking through a rainbow in a freak weather display





Extraordinary: The one-of-a-kind sighting was captured by keen photographer Nolan Nitschke, 27, while on a trip to Yosemite National Park in California, U.S





Beautiful: To get his impressive picture, Nolan knew a storm was approaching the area and that the rocky peaks act as lightning rods. This is another of his impressive images of the national park

After spending hours painstakingly trying for the perfect shot he finally hit the jackpot as the bright lightning crashed through the colourful rainbow lighting up the dark sky.

Mr Nitschke, from Bishop in California, said: 'I was determined to capture a lightning bolt with Half Dome in the background and knowing a storm was getting close I set out to capture it.




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'I was there trying to accomplish this goal which wasn't a given but little did I know I would get it on my first real visit for this purpose - albeit after a few hours missing out.

'The thunderstorm rolled into Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. Yosemite and its granite cliffs, domes, and spires are famous for becoming lightning rods during these types of storms.



Wild: This wide shot of the rocky surroundings of the national park show how attractive the area is



Keen: The photographer spent hours painstakingly trying for the perfect shot of the lightning bolt through the rainbow. This is another of his impressive photographs





Glorious: Mr Nitschke also managed to capture this stunning rainbow during his time at Yosemite National Park

'I had seen lightning, rainbows and storms before but never all together at once and especially not in one of the most beautiful places in the world.'

Mr Nitschke tried unsuccessfully for hours to capture a lightning bolt, missing numerous ones that would flash after the shutter would close or before it would open.

'A split second after I opened the shutter I saw the flash and my heart nearly stopped', he added.







Impressive: The Californian photographer also captured this stunning rainbow at a waterfall in Yosemite, right, as well as this image of an icy lake at the foot of some mountains






Spectacular: With its granite cliffs, domes, and spires, Yosemite is famous for becoming lightning rods during storms





Detailed: This impressive picture taken by the 27-year-old shows a fast-flowing river in Yosemite

'I knew instantly that it was dead centre in the composition and that a partial rainbow had begun forming.

'At first I couldn't breathe, talk, or move. A second later, after the reality of what I had captured settled in I yelled with excitement and lot of expletives.

'It was an incredible moment and I'm just glad I decided that day to pick up my camera and give it a go because I don't know if I will ever get the chance again.'




Buy-to-let landlords will be main beneficiaries of £80bn Bank of England



The Bank of England will expand an £80billion scheme to increase the flow of cheap loans to households and businesses - and buy-to-let landlords are set to benefit.


Funding for Lending was launched in August to offer cheaper credit to cash-strapped small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggling to get funding in the wake of the financial crash.

Under Funding for Lending, every pound of additional net lending to SMEs for the rest of this year will entitle banks to £10 of super-cheap Bank of England loans.







Pay it forward: The Bank of England will allow business that borrow money under the Funding for Lending Scheme to pass it on to property investors. The scheme has been criticised as a desperate attempt to prop up the economy by Chancellor George Osbourne


Now these SMEs will be allowed to lend the money on to property investors.

Rob Wood, chief UK economist at Berenberg Bank, told the Financial Times that although the BoE's extension of the scheme was intended to boost lending to SMEs, it would also bolster the struggling housing market.


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HOW MUCH LENDERS HAVE RECEIVED THROUGH FLS COMPARED WITH NET LENDING



(These are the only lenders to receive FLS so far)
Source: Bank of EnglandLENDER
CUMULATIVE NET LENDING SINCE 30/06/12 (£m)
FLS DRAWING AS AT 31/12/12 (£m)

Aldermore
479
205

Barclays
5,701
6,000

Coventry BS
978
100

Cumberland BS
43
5

Julian Hodge Bank
25
18

Leeds BS
379
200

Lloyds Banking Group
-5,636
3,000

Metro Bank
93
29

Monmouthshire BS
37
5

Nationwide BS
3,600
2,010

RBS Group
-2,358
750

Santander
-6,308
1,000

Virgin Money
1,089
510


'It could be a no-brainer,' he said. 'Lend to a landlord ... and get 10 times that lending back as essentially free funding, then recycle some of that back out again on mortgages or BTL (buy-to-let).'

However, the scheme has been criticised for pumping money primarily into cheaper mortgages for those who already have large equity stakes, rather than into better rates for business loans or for first-time buyers that are struggling to meet tougher lending criteria from banks.

On Tuesday Chancellor George Osbourne was forced to deny he was panicking over the economy as the threat of a triple-dip recession loomed after rumours about the scheme's expansion emerged.

However, it was today revealed that the UK economy has avoided a triple-dip recession, growing by 0.3 per cent between January and March this year.


The economy was left on the brink of a triple dip recession, after output shrank by 0.3 per cent in the final quarter of 2012.


The better-than-expected figure means that the economy returned to growth this year, following a contraction in the final quarter of 2012, meaning the UK narrowly avoided its third recession since 2008.

Chancellor George Osborne said: ‘Today's figures are an encouraging sign the economy is healing. Despite a tough economic backdrop, we are making progress.’


He added: ‘We all know there are no easy answers to problems built up over many years, and I can't promise the road ahead will always be smooth, but by continuing to confront our problems head on Britain is recovering and we are building an economy fit for the future.’


Hair's breadth: Today's figures reveal the UK has avoided a third recession since 2008

D-Day veterans' anger at Normandy landings tourist campaign



D-Day veterans have protested after a new French Second World War tourism campaign ignored one of the Normandy beaches where British troops went ashore.

Six tourist boards along the Normandy coast launched the new D-Day initiative to promote what it calls the 'Secteur mythique' - or mythical sector where action took place.

It stretches from Utah and Omaha in the west to Gold and Juno beaches where Allied troops from the U.S., UK and Canada went ashore.



Mark of respect: WWII veteran Bill Stoneman (centre), from Newquay in Cornwall, plants a Union Jack flag in the sand on Sword Beach in Hermanville, Normandy, in 2004


Never forget: Normandy Veteran Eric Buckley, then 85, from Leicester places a wooden remembrance plaque on what was the British Sword beach at Colleville Montgomery on June 5, 2009 near Caen, France

But the campaign stops short of Sword Beach in the east, where 700 British soldiers were killed or wounded on June 6, 1944.

Sword Beach was the code name given by Second World War Allied commanders to one of the five main landing areas along the Normandy coast during the D-Day landings, or Operation Overlord as it is sometimes known.

It stretches roughly five miles from Ouistreham to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. It was the eastern-most beach of the Normandy landings.




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The Allied forces most heavily involved in the assault on Sword Beach were the British 3rd Infantry Division. Various brigades were attached to the main assault group.

Significant, and emblematic from a French standpoint, was the inclusion of the 1st Special Service Brigade within which was comprised the Free French Commandos.

From the Allies' point of view, it was important and highly symbolic that French forces should be included as part of the D-Day invasion, contributing to the liberation of their own country.




After the initial landings on Sword Beach, British troops moved off the beach and pushed inland towards Caen. Sword was the most easterly of the landing beaches. British troops also landed at beaches codenamed Juno and Gold near Arromanches and Courseulles



A massive flotilla of boats was organised to carry troops across the Channel to Normandy on June 6, 1944



Omaha Beach secured after D-Day, 1944. The beach where U.S. troops landed is part of the so-called 'Secteur mythique'



Juno Beach in Normandy where Allied Forces landed in the Normandy invasion



The website Dday-overlord.com is running a campaign for the French tourist boards to include Sword Beach in their promotion

One of those veterans who went ashore, Royal Artillery signaller Albert Owens, now 88, told of his dismay at the decision.

He said: 'A lot lost their lives in that area. It seems to be an insult to their memory to leave them out. If you are going to promote some of the beaches, you should promote them all.'


The tourist board decision has also been criticised by the local regional council of Basse-Normandie as well as the French Normandie-Mémoire and D-Day Committee associations.

MONTY'S ROUSING BATTLE CRY FOR D-DAY HEROES




It was a rousing battle cry for British troops about to risk their lives on D-Day.

Written by their commander in chief General Sir Bernard Montgomery, the stirring words were delivered to tens of thousands of men on the eve of the Normandy landings in 1944.

'Good luck to each one of you,' he declared. 'And good hunting on the main land of Europe.'

General Montgomery instructed unit commanders to read the words 'to all troops' to inspire them as they prepared to take on Hitler's military might.

On June 6 some 135,000 Allied soldiers landed on five beaches – codenamed Juno, Sword, Gold, Omaha and Utah.


By the end of the ferocious fighting on what was immortalised in film as the Longest Day, around 4,000 Allied troops had been killed – but the invaders had secured a foothold in Nazi Europe.

The rousing speech ends with the poignant line 'Good luck to each one of you. And good hunting on the main land of Europe'.

Montgomery also quotes the famous lines of Scottish nobleman and Civil War soldier James Graham:

He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
That dares not put it to the touch,
To gain or lose it all.

The latter two D-Day organisations already support tourism and commemorations for all municipalities right along all sectors of the D-Day Normandy beaches, recognising the contribution and sacrifice of troops of all nationalities.

They have been remembering D-Day for almost 70 years, 2014 marking the 70th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.


Towns associated with Sword Beach have also expressed their strong dissatisfaction with the tourist boards' decision which they say has everything to do with tourism and nothing to do with history.

A spokesman for The Battle of Normandy website, DDay-Overlord.com, Marc Laurenceau, slammed the decision, saying: 'With such an initiative, six tourist offices ... develop history tourism without worrying about history.

'What they consider is money. The American sector and the town of Arromanches (included in this so-called 'mythical sector') attract more than 85 per cent of the Battle of Normandy tourists.

'Instead of making an effort on Sword Beach and the Commonwealth drop zones, these six tourist offices just care about the most popular areas.

'What will British and French veterans who landed at La Brèche-d'Hermanville on D-Day think? What will be the thoughts of those who were parachuted northeast of Ranville?

'What about their fallen comrades, killed to free a piece of land that is not considered "mythical" enough according to these six tourist offices?'

Mr Laurenceau has demanded an urgent re-think by the six Normandy tourist boards involved, calling upon them to cancel the 'Mythical Sector' project as it's presently configured.

A petition has also been launched by DDay-Overlord.com calling for the abandonment of what they see as a tourist project disrespectful to the fallen heroes of Sword Beach.

This year's general assembly of the landings organising committee - the Comité du Débarquement - confirmed the 69th annual D-Day commemoration events will centre on Vierville-sur-Mer, honouring U.S troops who took part in the D-Day landings on the adjacent Omaha beach.

Inside Bin Laden’s Florida mansion: Terror chief's brother owned 13-acre



Just a stone's throw from Disney's Magic Kingdom, with five bedrooms, 13 acres of land and its own swimming pool, this 1920s waterside stucco mansion would be the ideal holiday home for anyone with a family.

But the property has gained a degree of notoriety among its Florida neighbours - it once belonged to the family with the world's most infamous surname - the Bin Ladens.

Khalil Bin Laden, brother of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama and one of 50 plus siblings of the terror chief, bought the palatial mansion for his wife back in 1980.

And it is even thought that Osama himself may have stayed at the property while visiting his brother.




Needs some work: The Florida mansion once owned by Khalil Bin Laden, brother of terror chief Osama Bin Laden, pictured looking dilapidated and with overgrown grass



Run down: Khalil Bin Laden's home is pictured in the years following 9/11 when the family fled the US through fears of reprisals





Impressive: The spacious dining room of the mansion looks more like an ancient chapel than part of a family home









Dirty: The pool and a jacuzzi at the property, in Oakland, Florida, are shown covered in algae and dirt as the property fell into disrepair


The Mediterranean-style mansion, complete with a red tiled roof, in the quiet town of Oakland, some 20 miles away from Orlando, was bought by Khalil for $1.6million.

Sitting on the shores of idyllic Johns Lake, the Bin Laden children are once said to have played in the home's vast grounds.




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With sweeping tiled floors, beautiful arched doorways and an ostentatious marble bath tub, the Bin Laden's would have enjoyed a peaceful life of luxury.

One of the home's most impressive rooms is a giant dining room with a fireplace at one end which resembles something more akin to a European chapel than a family home.



Picturesque: An aerial shot of the home which sits next to Johns Lake in 17-acres of sprawling land





Holiday home: Khalil Bin Laden's old home is situated just a few miles north of Disney's Magic Kingdom





Family kitchen: Much of the home, including the kitchen area (pictured), is decked out in beautiful stone, marble or wooden flooring








Ostentatious: The home boasts a beautiful marble bath tub and features stunning curved archways between rooms


Its location even leads you to wonder if its one time owners had a season ticket to nearby Disneyland.

But the family fled the US after the 9/11 attacks fearing reprisals because of their immediate link to the mastermind behind the deadly atrocity.

The property, which also boasts stables and four detached garages, was boarded up and fell into disrepair after the family left.

Haunting pictures of the dilapidated property, taken when estate agents were struggling to sell it because of it's links to the infamous family, have been posted on Florida's Forgotten Past website.


It was once described by Forbes magazine as one of the 'creepiest abandoned mansions' in the US but is now partially occupied by a paralegal and part rented out as a wedding venue.




Expensive: The house, built in 1928, was originally bought by Khalil Bin Laden for $1.6million





For hire: Part of the building is now said to be available for rent as a wedding venue










Infamous relative: The house struggled to sell in the years after Khalil, left, fled the US because of his family ties to Al Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden, right