Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Video - ISIS 'hammering' Kurdish positions N Syria .


South African Gay-Friendly Mosque Closed Down After Only 3 Days in Service.

South African Gay-Friendly Mosque Closed Down After Only 3 Days in Service. (RN).

The first gay-friendly mosque in South Africa has been closed down indefinitely after only three days in service, the BBC reports.

According to a Cape Town official, the mosque violated municipal by-laws by failing to have parking spaces.

Despite criticism from members of the local Muslim community, the mosque, which intended to include all Muslims regardless of their gender, sexual orientation and sect, was opened on September 19, the Washington Post said.

“We are opening the mosque for open-minded people, not closed-minded people”, said Taj Hargey, South African-born director of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and founder of the mosque, as quoted by BBC.

Some Muslim leaders condemned Hargley as a “heretic”, while protesters yelled “You will go to hell” during the last week’s opening of the mosque. Yet, Hargley believes he is well qualified to represent his version of Islam. I have a PhD in Islamic Studies from Oxford University, unlike my opponents who went to some donkey college in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia”, Hargley told reporters, as quoted by AFP.

There are estimated 800, 000 worshippers of Islam living in South Africa.

Video - Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem: We Welcome Air Strikes on ISIS, Ground Operation Needed

 Related: Syrian Foreign Ministry: We received letter from US counterpart informing us that the US will target ISIS positions in Syria.

"Run Silent - Run Deep" Israel’s Newest, Most Expensive Weapon: The INS Tanin Submarine.

"Run Silent - Run Deep" Israel’s Newest, Most Expensive Weapon: The INS Tanin Submarine.(Algemeiner).
In a commemoration aboard Israel’s 4th and newest submarine, the INS Tanin (”crocodile,” or “alligator”), the IDF on Sunday held a wreath-laying ceremony at the site where 69 soldiers of INS Dakar went down with the ship, in the Mediterranean Sea some 270 miles off the Israeli coast in 1968, the Israeli army said.
We will guard, protect, and act in any enemy coast, and fight bravely for the navy and the state of Israel,” Adm. Ram Rothberg, said at the event, The Jerusalem Post noted.

Referring to the prowess of the new Dolphin-class craft, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that, “Without a doubt, this power, operationally and strategically, is very important for Israel, the IDF and the navy.”

The INS Tanin is the most expensive weapon currently in IDF service, at a cost of over $513 million dollars, and is considered one of the most sophisticated submarines in the world.

More than four decades passed since INS Dakar’s last voyage… Although the threats have changed, and today you have the most modern equipment, the most advanced technologies, and the most quality means, the mission remains the same mission that the INS Dakar personnel were sent on, and the responsibility is the same. To protect the Israeli coast, sea waters, and working with all of the IDF’s branches to achieve the relevant goals,” Gantz said.

In addition to the IDF’s top brass, three survivors of the Dakar were aboard: Abraham Szabo, Israel Rosen and Abraham Carmel.

The three, who were supposed to have boarded the submarine, at the last minute received orders to remain dockside and wait a few days before another ship was scheduled to arrive in Israel, according to Israel’s NRG News.

According to the Defense Industry Daily, the diesel-electric attack submarine will be outfitted with its Israeli systems after arrival at a specially-made, secretive dock in Haifa.

The sub is reportedly designed for a crew of 35 and can support 10 passengers. It is said to have a maximum speed of 20 knots, and a maximum range of 2,700 miles (4,500 km).

The craft can fire torpedoes and missiles, perform underwater surveillance, and launch combat swimmers out of wet and dry compartments.

According to Janes, the Dolphin-class subs are reportedly nuclear-armed, possibly with Israel’s Popeye Tubo cruise missile.

The official festive welcoming ceremony is set for Tuesday in Haifa.

The next craft in the fleet, the INS Rahav is scheduled to arrive in Israel during 2015, with a sixth projected to arrive in 2019.

Watch the ceremony HERE.

Take an inside look at the most formidable, and expensive weapon, in Israel’s arsenal HERE.

Hmmm.....Erdogan's BFF and 'Israel's staunchest Ally' Pres Obama is delivering State of the art Torpedoes to Turkey.

 The Mk-48 is a huge 533mm torpedo (19 feet long, 3,500+ pounds) with advanced homing, wire guidance capabilities, and devastating consequences when its 300kg warhead hits a target. It is designed to kill both fast, deep-diving nuclear submarines and high performance surface ships.

Video - Dutch ISIS Jihadi showing Aftermath of US Strike In Syria, Calls for 'Action' against Dutch Government.

Dutch Jihadi showing Aftermath of US Strike In Syria, Aknowledges that many ISIS fighters got killed and wounded.Asks for Dutch and Belgian Jihadis to 'Do Something' attack the Dutch Government , commit a 'Massive' action against them, Because the Dutch Gov supports the US.


Ebola and exponential growth - 500,000 + cases by some time in January

SourceDr. Jody Lanard, who along with her husband Peter Sandman are considered among the most authoritative in the world on the subject of risk communications, posted a very helpful brief look at the power of exponential growth on her Facebook page

Coston on Lanard on Ebola and exponential growth - 500,000 cases by some time in January. HT: Crof.

On his blog Avian Flu Diary, Mike Coston has posted Lanard: In Anticipation Of Scoffing & Debate About CDC Ebola Numbers. Excerpt:
Later today the CDC will officially unveil their estimates on the potential growth of the Ebola epidemic over the next four months if effective actions aren’t taken - and if it matches the leaked numbers published over the weekend in the Washington Post - it will run somewhere around 500,0000 cases.   
For some, seeing that it took 6 months to reach the first 6,000 cases, jumping to a half million over the next four months may seem unrealistic.   
Overnight Dr. Jody Lanard, who along with her husband Peter Sandman are considered among the most authoritative in the world on the subject of risk communications, posted a very helpful brief look at the power of exponential growth  on her Facebook page that I’ve lifted (with her permission).
Click through to see her comments and Mike's very useful discussion.

Related: Fresh graves point to undercount of Ebola toll.

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan: "Be ready for a big war"

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan: "Be ready for a big war" HT: TurkaFile.

Taraf’s reports today on the reaction of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan to the AKP government’s negotations with ISIS, for the recent release of the 49 Mosul hostages after 101 days, in comparison to its ongoing 2-year-old negotations of the Kurdish peace process.

According to Taraf, Öcalan made his statement through his lawyer, Mazlum Dinç, after a meeting between the two, and unlike his previous positive comments on the peace process, this time the PKK leader signalled a change of tone in light of the release of the hostages, and also the ISIS onslaught in the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria .

The opposition daily quotes Dinç as saying Öcalan is ready to take every necessary step for the democratic solution of the Kurdish issue, but that the government has not yet started the negotiation stage of the peace process, nor is it willing to start it.

Comparing the lack of negotations for the peace process with the recent apparent negotiations between ISIS and the government for the hostages, Öcalan said:

The state announced openly to the public that they carried out negotiations for the release of the hostages, but they have not been willing to start the negotiation process for the solution of the Kurdish issue.

Dinç also conveyed Öcalan’s statement on ISIS attacks in the north and northeast of Syria, much of which has become an autonomous Kurdish region during the 3-year-old Syrian civil war. With the Islamic militants encroaching on Kobani, forcing thousands of Syrian Kurds to flee to the Turkish border, and with many Turkish Kurds trying to cross into Syria to take the fight to ISIS and prevent the region from falling under their control, Öcalan signalled a subtle but notable shift with his choice of words.

According to the report, the PKK leader said that the Kurdish people needed "to shape their lives according to a highly intensive war".
He said "not only people in Rojava" in Syria, but also "Kurdish people in the North", an oblique reference to southeastern Turkey, seen by the Kurdish movement as ‘northern Kurdistan’. He continued that Kurds "in all parts must shape their lives accordingly", and made a call to "all Kurdish people to resist against this highly intensive war".

Noting the shift in emphasis from the influential Kurdish leader, the interpretive headline on the front page from the liberal, Gülen-aligned daily reads as "Öcalan: Be ready for a big war", and online as "Call for mobilisation to all sides from Öcalan". Hmmm....Using ISIS to displace the Kurdish population will come back with a vengeance.

"Advanced Democracy Turkey" - five journalists are being fired daily.

"Advanced Democracy Turkey" - five journalists are being fired daily. (AINA).

For US, Turkish Leaders Are Not Reliable Friends
By Mahir Zeynalov

In 1998, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was sent to prison for reciting a poem deemed as a crime by a Turkish court, which was then under big influence of once-powerful military. He was blamed for "inciting animosity among public."

Fifteen years later, Erdogan pressed charges against me for tweeting a news report about a corruption scandal that implicated his government, with the same Turkish Penal Code article that landed him in jail before.

His attempt to imprison me was blocked by chief Istanbul prosecutor, according to sources, and he eventually kicked me out of the country -- a measure even most authoritarian states rarely resort to. This particular incident, part of a troubling trend that set in motion a chain of anti-democratic policies in Turkey, is a bleak picture of a dramatic change Erdogan has gone through in more than a dozen years.

One needs to acknowledge Erdogan's unparalleled contribution to Turkish economy, democracy and friendly relations with the West during his years as a prime minister, but most of these leaps have been reversed for worse. Only in the past year, his rubber-stamp parliament granted wide powers to the spy agency -- infamous for its mass profiling of citizens -- overhauled the top judicial body responsible in appointing judges and prosecutors and endorsed a law that made it possible to shut down any web site without a court order. Twitter and YouTube were shut down and Erdogan lashed out at the Constitutional Court after it lifted the ban. Only now, his former supporters realize that his positive moves in the past were aimed at only strengthening his hand.

Following last year's heavy-handed response to summer protests linked to Gezi Park, many of Erdogan's former supporters were disappointed in the way he ruled the nation. His unceasing actions to bury Turkey's hard-won democracy was ramped up after the recent corruption scandal.

To cover up the bribery investigation that involved his son, several ministers, pro-government businessmen and chief of the state bank, the government of Erdogan removed prosecutors supervising the probe and purged thousands of police officers across Turkey. On July 22, prosecutors launched raids to round up policemen who carried out the corruption investigation. Wife and baby of one of these policemen lost their lives in the process, the tragic epitome of ongoing despotism.

Although Turkey is an electoral democracy, the mechanism of accountability failed to work and instead awarded the government with increased votes. Even Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, blamed for many of Turkey's foreign policy woes, was promoted to become a prime minister.

The crux of the problem is the government's old plan to create a loyalist media. 
A recent report by a Turkish labor union called DISK said 981 outspoken journalists were fired in the first half of 2014 due to the government's pressure, which means at least five journalists are being fired daily
Even independent TV channels are afraid of covering sensitive matters. Many critical journalists were charged and more than a dozen of them ended up in jail.

It is more than obvious that Erdogan has never been a liberal democrat. He viewed democracy as a means to enhance his power. His bid to join the European Union seems to be nothing but aimed at limiting the role of military and hostile judiciary -- welcoming developments in fact -- so that he can increase his share in power. Endowed with an absolute strength today, there is no reason to think that he will get back on a democracy track again.

Washington will likely view Turkey under Erdogan's leadership a partner that it needs to unwillingly work with, particularly at a time of turmoil in Syria and Iraq, as well as in the face of the growing menace of Russia towards Ukraine. But the U.S. cannot repeat its mistake as it did in Egypt by embracing the Muslim Brotherhood too early. Despite securing vast support from the people in two consecutive elections this year, internal political bickering within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), will undoubtedly take a toll on the invincible throne Erdogan has preserved so far.

The primary reason why the AKP was too stable until today is due to Erdogan's charismatic character that made it impossible to challenge him. He also delicately maintained balance of power and was successful in deciding who gets what and why. His leadership was absolutely unquestionable. With his ascent to the presidency, AKP is now a boiling pot. President Abdullah Gul is alienated as well as many of his supporters in the government and parliament.

Erdogan: "Democracy is like a train. We shall get out when we arrive at the station we want."