Monday, September 26, 2011
You can know someone by the friends they keep - and who they admire as role models. Failure to lead.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Canada 5.3 , The Solomon Islands 5.2 and Tonga 5.1 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Geithner Plan for Europe is last chance to avoid global catastrophe.(Telegraph).By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.The threat of cascading default, bank runs, and catastrophic risk must be taken off the table," said US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner over the weekend."Sovereign and banking stresses in Europe are the most serious risk now confronting the world economy. Decisions cannot wait until the crisis gets more severe."Euroland's dysfunctional arrangements are no longer a local affair. As the European Central Bank's Jean-Claude Trichet said in Washington, EMU is at the epicentre of a global sovereign debt crisis that risks engulfing all, and is more intractable than 2008 because governments themselves are now crippled.China, India, Brazil and the world's rising powers will not escape lightly this time if leaders let events spiral out of control. European banks have lent $3.4 trillion to emerging markets (BIS data), or three quarters of external loans to these countries.The International Monetary Fund warned last week that emerging markets face the risk of "sharp reversals" or even a "sudden stop" if there is further spill-over from Europe. This comes at a time when Asia and parts of Latin America are already in the topping phase of a credit boom, one of epic proportions in China where loans have doubled to almost 200pc of GDP over the last five years.Warning signs have been flashing red for the last three weeks. Shares of China's top property developer Greentown have crashed by a third this month. The currencies of Indonesia, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, and Hungary have all buckled, and central banks have begun intervening to stop the slide. "A continued flight from risk raises the growing possibility of investor capitulation in emerging markets," said Neil Mellor from BNY Mellon.The reserve powers would be well advised to pull out all the stops to save Europe and its banking system. Together they hold $10 trillion in foreign bonds. If they agreed to rotate just 4pc of these holdings ($400bn) into Spanish, Italian, and Belgian debt over the next two years, they could offer a soothing balm. None has yet risen to the challenge. It is `sauve qui peut', with no evidence of G20 leadership in sight.Once again, the US has had to take charge. The multi-trillion package now taking shape for Euroland was largely concocted in Washington, in cahoots with the European Commission, and is being imposed on Germany by the full force of American diplomacy.It is an ugly and twisted set of proposals, devised to accommodate Berlin's refusal to accept fiscal union, Eurobonds, and an EU treasury. But at least it is big.The EU's €440bn bail-out fund (EFSF) will be "leveraged" from €440bn to €2 trillion to cope with Italy and Spain. The fund will assume an "equity" stake of 20pc or so in holdings of EMU debt, supported by loans of 80pc from the European Central Bank.Commercial banks that cannot raise money from Mid-East wealth funds will be seized by the state, partly or fully, or be recapitalized by the EFSF. This should leave them strong enough to absorb a 50pc default imposed on Greece, and potential knock-on defaults in Portugal and Ireland.Or at least, that is the idea. We will see how the Bundestag reacts this week. It has not even voted on the July deal to boost the powers of the EFSF, itself a furiously contested plan that may provoke a 30-strong rebellion within Chancellor Angela Merkel's own coalition. German lawmakers now learn that implicit liabilities may be five times as big."We should not think of leveraging a public pot of funds as a free lunch," said Ireland's central bank governor Patrick Honohan. Indeed not. The details of this financial engineering have a familiar ring to those who remember the `CDOs' and other instruments of structured disguise before the subprime debacle. The bill comes due.We will see too whether France is willing to swallow national pride and confront its own financial elite. Christian Noyer, the Bank of France's governor, denied on Sunday that French officials were mulling a capital injection of up to €15bn to beef up banks.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s Unpresidential Contempt for the GOP.(WHD).The president is president of all of us. Not just the Democratic Party. Even during a campaign.It’s one thing to lambaste your opponents and their ideas. But the president of the United States should not be describing the other Party as un-American. It’s worse than sordid, divisive politics. It’s an ignominious, even somewhat frightening thing for a president to do, and it demonstrates a real ignorance on the part of Obama about the Constitutional role of his position.Let’s look at what he said last night at a fundraiser in San Jose, California.Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party, are puzzled by what’s happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately?You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change,” he said, to applause. “It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay. That’s not reflective of who we are . . .This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country — 2008 was an important election; 2012 is a more important election.The key phrase above is “That’s not reflective of who we are.” As he has before – most notably in describing the budget by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) that was adopted by the House – Obama is suggesting that his opposition is un-American.He’s vilifying an entire Party with a couple of extreme examples.How dangerous for a president to think his values are America’s.Hmmmmm......"Come to the Dark side?"Read the full story here.
- Obama Is Dangerous for Peace.(AT).By James Lewis.The president of the United States has just destroyed the longest-lasting peace treaty in the Middle East. That Nobel Prize-winning treaty between Egypt and Israel was destroyed by Obama in broad daylight, right in front of God and everybody, with stunning audacity.The White House kept repeating the message that Mubarak must resign, and "now means now." This is simply unprecedented, even during the height of the Cold War. American presidents don't demand in public that their crucial allies resign. It is a diplomatic insult of unprecedented proportions.
And yet -- Obama said nothing when Iran's genocide-threatening regime killed and tortured thousands of demonstrators at the start of Obama's administration. He has said nothing about Syria's Assad sending tanks to fire on rebels in the city of Homs. He said nothing when the Saudis sent troops into Bahrain to violently suppress protests. Indeed, the White House has actively aided repression by regimes much worse than Mubarak was -- regimes in Yemen, Somalia, and Iran.
So what's going on? Was it just another opportunistic chance for Obama to parade his overweening ego? Or was it more sinister?Mubarak was the thirty-year strongman who preserved the single biggest pillar of Middle East peace, the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. USA Today predicted that the peace treaty was in danger when Mubarak fell. Everybody knew. The Israelis kept telling Obama, and the Egyptians and Saudis must have done that as well. The Saudis, who are now facing a nuclear Iran fifty miles away, are walking away from their decades-long alliance with the United States. Nobody trusts American guarantees anymore.
Obama did it, knowing that the Arab world would break down into near-universal civil war. The so-called "Arab Spring" is a fraud. What we are seeing is an "Pan-Arab Civil War," from Tunisia to Yemen. Every country is in deep trouble, and Prof. Niall Ferguson, who has been warning about this catastrophe all along, now believes that famine and social warfare will come to Egypt and the others. They can no longer pay for the massive food imports they need to survive. Local capital has fled to safer places.
The Middle East has been "community disorganized." This is straight out of Saul Alinsky: community agitators destabilize communities so that they can push the remnants into whatever shape they want. The people who die are just too bad.This is so shocking, and so contrary to Obama's "peace" rhetoric, that few Americans can believe their own eyes, seeing that the biggest pillar of Middle East peace has been smashed right before them. This can only be a knowing move on the part of the Obama administration. Everybody who remembered the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty had to know.
Obama has now demanded that Israel retreat to its 1949 ceasefire lines --- which he lied about as the "1967 borders." Those 1949 lines would set Israel back to three large wars ago. It would turn Israel into one of those famous gerrymandered districts that look like a wriggling salamander.Those borders are indefensible, and they therefore would drive Israel into its ultimate defensive weapon: nuclear war. The radical leftist fantasy of threatening Israel with destruction runs into that brute fact: with its back to the wall, Israel would use nukes in self-defense. You cannot drive a nuclear power into a corner without it resorting to war.
The overthrow of Mubarak has destabilized the entire Middle East. Indeed, this Pan-Arab Civil War has already taken more lives than the Japanese tsunami...and it threatens to get worse. After half a century of warm and friendly relations, Turkey is now threatening naval war against Israel in the eastern Mediterranean.This is exactly how Iran fell back into its medieval tyranny in Jimmy Carter's time -- and don't doubt that that calamity was triggered by Carter and his NSC henchman Zbigniew Brzezinski. A million people died in the Iran-Iraq war that followed the radicalization of Iran. Thousands of innocent Green Revolution demonstrators are still dying today in the regime's horrific prisons and torture chambers.
The U.S. Sixth Fleet has kept the peace in the Mediterranean for sixty years. When the Sixth Fleet was doing its job, no American ally like Turkey would ever have threatened naval war against another ally like Greece or Israel. Turkey has warships, but nothing compared to the Sixth Fleet. It therefore follows that Obama is not allowing the USN to interfere with the Turkish naval threat.For thirty years the Egypt-Israeli Peace Treaty sustained the fragile peace in the Middle East. Everything positive in Arab-Israeli relations was based on it. Stable relations between Israel and Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, and even Syria were all based on that solid-looking Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.
Then Mr. Obama tore it all down, right in front of our eyes.Israel is now surrounded by countries that used to be at peace, but which are now talking war. They are armed with high-tech missiles: tens of thousands of scud missiles in Syria; forty thousand missiles of various types in Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah, and therefore by Iran; thousands of Grad and more primitive missiles in Gaza. If the PA declares a state, it will try to import even more offensive missiles, just like Hamas did in Gaza.Finally, Iran now has IRBMs and the first ICBMs with nuclear weapons coming soon, which can easily strike Israel -- but Iran can also strike U.S. military bases and naval vessels within a radius of 1,000 miles and more, not to mention the nations of southern and eastern Europe. Once developed, Iranian ICBMs can reach the United States, China, and Russia.The President of the United States has therefore destabilized the Middle East in the most dangerous way, and he has done so in broad daylight. And yes, people are already dying in the tens of thousands -- so far, 90 percent Muslims. But others may start dying soon.Even now, American armed forces are in secret combat in Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, and elsewhere, to keep things from completely falling apart. U.S. soldiers are facing daily death to keep Obama's China shop from shattering.Obama knows that he's pulled the rug out, and U.S. forces are now engaged in unknown numbers of Muslim countries to try to shape the outcome.And yet America's political pundits have watched it happen, and they mostly have kept silent as the grave. Nobody wants to say out loud what's obvious. That is the power of audacity. Obama's overthrow of Middle East peace is so shocking that no pundit even wants to call it what it is. American Jews has been silent. The left and Europe are pretending it didn't happen. The "neocons" are silent so far. (But Michael Ledeen is writing a Broadsides book about it.)This is the biggest news not fit to print in the New York Times. It's the biggest public secret in the world. But open your eyes, and you'll see it.Any sane observer has to wonder why the president did that. The pillar of Middle East peace, what there was of it, is now weakened, maybe fatally. It has to come from the combatants. It took three major wars to bring about that treaty.After Sadat was assassinated, his vice president, Hosni Mubarak, took over instead, and kept the peace with Israel intact for thirty years. Israel ceded the entire Sinai Desert to Egypt in return for that peace -- the biggest piece of land ever at stake in Arab-Israeli struggles. The Sinai is a huge land buffer, and when you're at war with a neighbor, you want to have plenty of land between you and your enemies. So Israel traded land for peace.Obama has "community disorganized" the Middle East, and he did it knowing what would happen. If you think our other at-risk allies aren't watching -- Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Saudi Arabia, Poland -- well, think again. If the United States stabs Egypt and Israel in the back, all the others are looking for safety. The Saudis are getting their own nukes. So will Japan and South Korea. Poland has signed a local self-defense treaty with former Soviet colonies.
So much for Obama, the Prince of Peace and Compassion, not the mention the Messiah of Hope and Progress. V.I. Lenin famously said that things have to get worse before they can get better. The only trouble is that Lenin only made things worse. That is why the Soviet Union gave up seventy miserable years after Lenin.This is the biggest foreign policy gamble by any American president, ever.Obama is dangerous for peace.Source here.
- "Lord Forgive them?"Obama asks CBC for Biblical faith in his agenda.(WE).President Obama made an appeal to the religious faith of black voters at a Congressional Black Caucus rally, likening Biblical prophets who had faith in God -- and so refused to worship an idol -- to the black voters who "keep the faith" by supporting him and his policies - and, he hopes, his reelection campaign.Obama opened the speech by mentioning the Biblical story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, three captive Jews who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they would not worship a golden idol. Obama quoted a pastor who referred to the three men as "good crazy" for having that faith. He added that the pastor had attributed the same "good crazy" to him when he decided to run for president.Obama continued that analogy, equating the Jews' "faith in the things not seen" to the more mundane "belief that if you persevere a better day lies ahead."Obama added, "you and me, we're all a little bit crazy, but hopefully a good kind of crazy...We’re a good kind of crazy because no matter how hard things get, we keep the faith; we keep fighting; we keep moving forward."Obama then explained how he had "kept the faith" through various acts as president -- by responding to the economic crisis with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulations bill, through certain tax credits he had passed and through Obamacare. He finished with a plug for the American Jobs Act.The only "kind of crazy" on display in this speech is the one that says faith in Obama's policies is kind of like faith in God.Hmmmmm....."Beware of false prophets".A Pastor......Might that be Jeremiah Wright?Read the full story here.
- Sen. Mike Lee Is Right to Ask: Is Google a Problem?(BigGovernment).To many conservatives, it may seem surprising that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) would echo antitrust concerns in his aggressive questioning of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt during this week’s hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. Isn’t that more of a lefty thing? Well, yes and no. The left indeed tends to be altogether too, er, liberal in its use of anti-trust laws to control big business. But conservatives also need to guard America against bad policies and domineering, unfair businesses practices that distort markets and ultimately punish consumers. I believe this is where Sen. Lee was coming from in his line of argument against Schmidt.Antitrust aside, Google has danced very close to the line in terms of profiting from other companies’ property rights, for example. In the eyes of many experts, Google also has violated consumer privacy. It has heavily influenced public policy to protect and enhance its bottom line at the expense of other companies. Surely it’s worth asking if Google’s business, lobbying and legal strategies pose threats free enterprise.As Lee put it, “Whether or not Google formally qualifies as a monopoly under our antitrust laws, one thing is clear. Given its significant ability to steer e-commerce and the flow of online information, Google is in a position to help determine who will succeed and who will fail on the Internet.” American’s have a right to be concerned about the implications of Lee’s observation.I do not begrudge Google its success. It is an amazing company with a superior search offering and a clever business model. At the same time, Google has built its market dominance and cash position, at least in part, by appropriating, some might say misappropriating, the copyrighted content of others. For instance, Google “scrapes” content from other websites and sells advertising based on that scraped content. Google has also become dominant on mobile phones with its Android operating system, which arguably uses patented technology owned by other companies. Google has also played fast and loose with trademark protection—selling ads around other companies’ trademarks.Most notoriously, Google generated significant revenue from illegal pharmaceutical advertising—a practice to which it admitted and forfeited $500 million to avoid prosecution.Finally, Google is altogether too close to liberal politicians and political causes for my personal tastes. There is no crime in that, to be sure. But we need look no further than the front page headlines regarding the Solyndra scandal to know that when politicians and crony capitalists become too familiar, we the people are the victims.There is no doubt that we should be skeptical of antitrust enforcement and other marketplace regulation, for that matter. But faulting Lee for speaking out against Google is misguided. We should not fault the messenger, but instead examine the clear message. No entity—government or corporation—should be in a position to threaten free enterprise or property rights. It is altogether appropriate for elected leaders to ask questions.Read the full story here.
- Do Liberals Care About Palestinian Racism and Anti-Semitism?(Challah Hu Akbar).The Palestinian cause is increasingly supported by western "progressives" who also claim to be champions for tolerance, pluralism, and minority rights. In order to advocate for the Palestinians, progressives have been too willing to ignore the basic and unfortunate fact that racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism are widespread and accepted in Palestinian society. Below are some images that you won't see -- or even hear about -- in left-wing advocacy for the Palestinians. The restrictions of my blog format do not permit me to share the multiple of visuals found in this original article. Therefore, I ask that you click here in order to view what so many of us have written about, visually presented and told you all about over the last many years. I do challenge those of you who described yourselves as liberals, progressives, independents to examine the images and honestly ask yourself am I willing to let the possibility enter my head, my mind, that those of us who describe ourselves differently might not be incorrect, evil or full of sh.. as I have been told so often. I challenge your sense of fairness, propriety and intelligence to begin to understand the nastiness that we live near every day here in Israel-thank you. For those who are in our camp so to speak, please share this with those who should finally see.Read and see the full story here.
- Related - Major Anti-Semitic Motifs in Arab Cartoons.Interview with Joël Kotek.Read and see the full story here.
- ‘Massive Jobs Shortfall’ Predicted for Global Economy, risk of the number doubling by the end of next year.(TheGuardian).The world's major economies are heading for a "massive jobs shortfall" by the end of next year if governments do not change their tack on policy, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) said in a study published on Monday.In the report, prepared with the OECD for G20 labour ministers meeting in Paris on Monday, the ILO said the group of developing and developed nations had seen 20m jobs disappear since the financial crisis in 2008.At current rates it would be impossible to recover them in the near term and there was a risk of the number doubling by the end of next year, it said."We must act now to reverse the slowdown in employment growth and make up for the jobs lost," ILO director general Juan Somavia said in a statement."Employment creation has to become a top macroeconomic priority."The number of people in work in the G20 has risen by 1% since 2010, but 1.3% annual growth is needed to return to pre-crisis employment levels by 2015, the ILO said."However, employment growth of less than 1% cannot be excluded given the slowdown of the world economy and the anaemic growth foreseen in several G20 countries," the report said. "Should employment grow at a rate of 0.8% until end 2012, now a distinct possibility, then the shortfall in employment would increase by some 20m to a total of 40m in G20 countries."Read the full story here.
- The Federal Reserve Plans to Identify “Key Bloggers” and Monitor Billions of Conversations About the Fed on Facebook, Twitter, Forums and Blogs.(Cryptogon).Is there are Federal Reserve link for this document?Here’s the document that ZeroHedge has produced:
Request for Proposal (Event-6994)Event Information
Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“FRBNY”) is extending to suppliers an invitation to participate in an Sentiment Analysis And Social Media Monitoring Solution RFP bid process. The intent is to establish a fair andequitable partnership with a market leader who will who gather data from various social media outlets and newssources and provide applicable reporting to FRBNY. This Request for Proposal (“RFP”) was created in an effort tosupport FRBNY’s Social Media Listening Platforms initiative.The Federal Reserve Bank of New York intends to listen in on “billions of conversations” and to actually determine the “sentiment” of those that are participating in those conversations.
Of course it will be those conversations that are “negative” about the Federal Reserve that will be setting off the alarm bells.“Identify and reach out to key bloggers and influencers”Uh oh. So they plan to “identify” key bloggers and influencers?What exactly do they plan to do once they “identify” them?“The solution must be able to gather data from the primary social media platforms –Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Forums and YouTube.”Hmmmm......"FinanceWatch"?Read the full story here.
- US net neutrality rules finalized, in effect November 20.(ArsTechnica). Get ready, America—net neutrality finally comes to the Internet on November 20, 2011.That's the plan, at least. The FCC has just filed its final "open Internet" rules (PDF) with the Federal Register, which will publish them tomorrow and make them official. The rules go into effect on November 20, nearly a year after they were passed over Republican opposition on a 3-2 vote. (One of the FCC Commissioners who voted against the rules now works for Comcast.)But the plan will likely be derailed by lawsuits. Two, by Verizon and MetroPCS, were filed earlier this year but tossed because the rules had yet to be finalized. With tomorrow's printing in the Federal Register, the litigation floodgates will be thrown open and and complaints about the government overstepping its authority can start pouring in.Those complaints might well meet with success, given how the FCC went about the whole process. Rather than reclassifying broadband services in such a way that the FCC has clear jurisdiction over them, the agency relied instead on its much weaker "ancillary jurisdiction." (The legal rationale for this begins on p. 77 of the final rules, and the FCC gamely makes a case that it has the proper authority.) As law professor James Grimmelmann noted today in our subscriber-only webchat, "The FCC is in a real tangle here. I think if they reclassified broadband service (long story), they'd have a better shot at getting their rules to stick."Read the full story here.
- 'King' Obama sidesteps Congress again.US-Turkey agree on delivery schedule for Predators.(TodaysZaman).Turkey is expecting the delivery of Predators in June 2012, the Turkish defense minister said a day after the country's prime minister announced that Turkey has agreed with the US on a deal involving the transfer of US-engineered unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that could prove crucial in combating terrorism.“We have agreed in principle [on the delivery of Predators]. Negotiations will continue,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was quoted as saying by the Cihan news agency on Saturday in New York, where the Turkish leader was visiting on the occasion of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. Erdoğan also noted that Turkey had offered to either purchase or lease the drones and that the two countries were still settling the details regarding the delivery of the Predators.Following up on the agreement, Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz told reporters on Saturday that the drones to be received from the US would be delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in June of next year, reported the Anatolia news agency.“These [Predators] are UAVs with better qualities and features than the Herons,” Yılmaz said, and added that the Turkish-made Anka would also be ready for the TSK around the same time, as an alternative to Israeli-made Herons.Turkey was disappointed by Israel's failure to return six Herons it had sent to the country for maintenance, as it relies heavily on spy aircraft for surveillance missions that gather data on the activities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) across the country's borders in the Southeast.Yılmaz did not give any details on the number of Predators the US would deliver to Turkey but acknowledged that Ankara had presented a request for the UAVs in line with the TSK's needs. The minister added that the US and Turkey have been strategic partners and are cooperating in combating terrorism, which necessitated that both “support each other with no conditions or prejudice.”Meanwhile, the domestically made Anka, named after the legendary flying creature of Persian mythology, was brought out of the hangar for the first time in July 2010 and is expected to provide Turkey with a crucial advantage in its fight against PKK terrorism. The Anka is capable of disrupting the electronic ware of enemy aircraft and has made Turkey the third country in the world, after the US and Israel, to engineer UAVs.Hmmmm.....I must have missed when the US Congress approved this?Or else 'King' Obama just 'overruled' Congress again?Read the full story here.
- Story that Facebook’s Charging Users in the future is a Myth.(ALLFaceBook).We can only speculate why there’s been a resurgence of the myth that Facebook will start charging users for the site.This falsehood resurfaced this week, so perhaps people believe that they can pay Facebook to restore their accounts to what they looked like before the news feed got revamped.Some folks may also think that the enhanced functionality of timeline will cost them money.Neither of these are correct, yet panicky posts that Facebook will charge users money continue to proliferate.Hmmm......Mea culpa,mea maxima culpa.Read the full story here.
- US linking Israel's missile shield to Turkey and Saudi Arabia.(IsraelMatzav).It should be interesting to hear what Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to say about this story.You will recall that on Friday I reported on Eli Lake's Newsweek story that says that the Obama administration sold bunker busters to Israel in 2009.The full story is now out and it includes this little tidbit: The United States is linking the missile defense shields of its Middle East allies - including Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia - via the use of x-band radar which the US insists on controlling.Read the full story here.
- Report: Turkey operated agents in Israel to track soldiers.(YNet).Turkish intelligence officials have submitted to the state prosecution a list of 174 Israelis, mostly soldiers, who were involved in the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, the Turkish newspaper Sabah reported Monday. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tops the list as the "primary responsible party."Turkish newspaper Zaman went a step further and reported on its website that Ankara had also operated intelligence agents inside Israel to confirm the soldiers' identities. The Turkish government denies ever asking its National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to confirm the identities of Israeli commandos involved in the raid. Istanbul's deputy prosecutor said that a lawyer for the IHH submitted a list of soldiers' names to his office and said it will be examined. The Turkel Commission investigating the events of the 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara has asked the Military Advocate General for materials regarding criminal records opened following the flotilla. It has also requested to view files concerning possible violations of laws of war involving the deaths or injuries of citizens. The materials will be examined by Sukkot. Last month, the Military Advocate General released a report concerning six flotilla events. The Turkel Commission could not rule on the cases. According to the report in the Sabah newspaper, the Israelis were identified from photographs and various media sources."Almost all of the Israeli soldiers who killed nine Turkish citizens and injured 30 others have been identified," the report claimed. It was stated that Israel's government has not responded to the Turkish Justice Ministry's demand to release a list of the individuals who took part in the operation, prompting the intelligence officials to pour over records of the raid. Facebook and Twitter were used later in the hunt for information.The fact-finding team examined the names of the commandos of Shayetet 13 – the Navy unit that took over the Gaza-bound vessel – and matched them up with the numerous photos used in the media. Furthermore, the officials reviewed correspondence written by soldiers whom they believed took part in the raid in order to confirm their participation. Names submitted by the IHH movement, which organized the flotilla, were used in the search as well. According to the report, the Turkish prosecution intends to request the Israeli authorities to verify whether the people on the list, which includes 140 photos of 174 Israelis who directly or indirectly participated in the raid, were indeed ivolved.Officials who allegedly contributed to the decision and issued the order to stop the Mavi Marmara, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, made it to the top of the list as well."All of the Israeli Cabinet ministers were responsible for the order," the report read. The list also includes former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Israel Navy Commander Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and a variety of other high- and low-ranking officers. Moreover, it includes 10 photographs of soldiers who are yet to be identified.Hmmmmm......What's next?Predator drones to take them out?Read the full story here.
- Abbas Launches 'Palestinian Spring' in Ramallah.(ArutzSheva).Cheered by thousands, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was given a hero's welcome Sunday when he returned from his trip to the United Nations.“This is the popular Palestinian Spring,” he declared, calling for the official start of a non-violent intifada against Israel. “Raise your heads with pride; you are Palestinians!” he told the crowd that greeted him in Ramallah. The speech followed his application to the U.N. Security Council on Friday for recognition of the PA as a sovereign state, and its “full membership” in the international body.“The entire free world has accepted your history, your aspirations and your hopes with the utmost respect,” he told the gathering. “We told the world that today there is an Arab Spring – but also a Palestinian Spring. A non-violent Fighting Spring that will reach its goal."“Facing this determination – which I conveyed from you to the world – everyone stood up and appreciated your expectations and aspirations,” he told the cheering crowd. “Our diplomatic move, which has already begun, still has a long way to go,” he warned. “We must know that there will be those who will place obstacles in our path. They will block us and our existence here.”But, he added, “We have emphasized that we wish to obtain our rights via negotiations. The entire world was witness to the civility of this nation, which only demands its rights. We will remain on this land.”The U.N. speech, carefully geared to excite the PA street without inflaming it, was nevertheless seen by many in Israel as an exercise in official, institutional incitement “from the top.” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said over the weekend that the PA leader's speech from the podium at the U.N. General Assembly was the “worst example of anti-israel incitement and vitriol” he had ever heard.Throughout his address, Abbas referred to Israel as a “colonial occupying power” and accused the Jewish State of deliberately targeting civilians, arbitrarily destroying crops, and demolishing schools, mosques and hospitals. He demanded that the U.N. recognize Judea, Samaria and major portions of Israel's capital city, Jerusalem, as the PA's hoped-for state and that Israel end all construction in Jewish communities in those areas as a precondition for any talks.Abbas also accused Israel of destroying Islamic holy sites and claimed the IDF sent “attack dogs” against Palestinian Authority Arabs. In addition, he also called for the release of all jailed PA terrorists, including murderers with blood on their hands, whom he referred to as “political prisoners.”During his trip back to Ramallah, Abbas told the London-based Arab daily newspaper a-Sharq al-Awsat that Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the “last” leader with whom he could reach a final status agreement, “since he holds tough and almost ideological positions.”Read the full story here.
- Qaddafi relatives have reportedly left Algeria and are now in Egypt.(AlArabiya).Relatives of Muammar Qaddafi who had crossed into Algeria after Tripoli fell into rebel hands last month are now in Egypt, a day after the Algerian government criticized the release of an audio recording by Qaddafi’s daughter Aisha, an Algerian newspaper reported on Monday.The el-Khabar daily reported that eight of Qaddafi's relatives, possibly including his daughter Aisha, who had crossed into the country on August 29 boarded an Egypt Air plane t Algiers’ Houari Boumediene Airport on Saturday evening.Algeria’s foreign minister, Mourad Medelci, had denounced as "unacceptable" an audio recording by Qaddafi’s daughter criticizing Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC). Medelci, who was attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York, pledged to “take measures” against Qaddafi’s relatives. Neither Algerian nor Egyptian officials have confirmed the reports. In her first public remarks since the fall of Tripoli a month ago, Aisha Qaddafi accused Libya’s new leaders of being traitors, noting that some of them were members of Qaddafi’s regime before defecting in the civil war.“Those who have betrayed the pledge they offered [to Qaddafi], how come they won’t betray you?” she said in a warning to Libyans.“I assure you, he is fine, a believer in God, in good spirits, is carrying his gun and is fighting side by side with the warriors,” she said.The prerecorded four-minute message was broadcast Friday on the Syrian-based al-Rai TV, which has become Qaddafi’s main mouthpiece. The elder Qaddafi, his chief spokesman, and his son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, have also released statements through the channel since the takeover of Tripoli.Read the full story here.
- Syrian tanks pound town near Homs amid increasing numbers of army defectors.(AlArabiya).Syrian tanks pounded a town on a strategic highway overnight, injuring at least three people during a military crackdown on dissent in the central region of Homs, activists and residents said on Monday.Homs has become a major flashpoint between troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and army defectors, backing pro-democracy protesters demanding the president's overthrow.Three inhabitants of al-Rastan were injured when pro-Assad forces opened fire with heavy machine guns mounted on the tanks surrounding the town, on the main northern highway leading to Turkey, said residents.“There are around 60 tanks and armored vehicles on the eastern edge of Rastan alone. All communications are cut and the firing is being directed at the street and buildings,” Abu Qassem, a resident of al-Rastan, told Reuters by satellite phone.Activists have reported a military push into towns and villages north of the city of Homs, 165 km (100 miles) north of Damascus, where increasing numbers of defectors have been organizing and mounting guerrilla raids on loyalist posts.Faced with expanding street protests demanding an end to 41 years of Assad family rule, the president has sent troops and tanks into cities and towns across the country.The military crackdown has killed at least 2,700 people, including 100 children, according to the United Nations.Syrian authorities say 700 police and army have been killed during the unrest which they blame on “terrorists” and “mutineers.”Assad has said foreign powers are using the unrest to divide Syria, and added any state would use similar techniques to end a revolt.Homs, together with the northwestern province of Idlib on the border with Turkey, has traditionally provided the bulk of majority Sunni foot soldiers in the military, which is effectively commanded by Assad’s brother Maher and led by officers from Assad’s minority Alawite sect.The two regions have seen some of the biggest street protests against Assad in the last few weeks.Troops earlier stormed the villages of Za’faraneh and Deir al-Jin, between Rastan and the town of Talbiseh to the south, local activists said, adding that there was no immediate information on casualties.Syria’s crackdown protests have sparked international outrage and rebukes from Syria’s powerful northern neighbor Turkey, once among Assad's keenest backers.Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told CNN in an interview broadcast on Sunday that Bashar will be ousted “sooner or later” by his own people.“You can never remain in power through cruelty. You can never stand before the will of the people,” Erdogan said.Hmmmm......Stronger words are for Israel?"Empty barrels make the most noise"?Read the full story here.
- Pakistani teenage girl expelled from school for blasphemy.(AlArabiya).A Pakistani school expelled a 13-year-old Christian girl for alleged blasphemy and her mother was transferred from her job as a nurse near the town where Osama bin Laden was killed, officials said Monday.The conservative Muslim country has been increasingly criticized in the West for tough anti-blasphemy laws that make defaming Islam punishable by death and over the persecution of the tiny non-Muslim minority.Faryal Tauseef, an eighth grade student at Sir Syed High School in the northwest garrison town of Havelian, was asked with her class to define “naat”, a style of poem written in praise of the Prophet Mohammed.The town is just south of Abbottabad, the garrison city where U.S. special forces killed the al-Qaeda leader in a covert raid on May 2, which exposed the Pakistan military to accusations of incompetence or complicity.“In her explanation Faryal wrote a word which was blasphemous,” school administrator Junaid Sarfraz told AFP.“The girl confessed, saying that she did it by mistake and the school administration, after consulting local clerics, decided to rusticate (expel) her.”According to her teacher, the girl made the mistake “intentionally” and the matter was referred to clerics because she had aroused similar suspicions of blasphemy in the past, Sarfraz added.Faryal’s mother, a staff nurse, had also been transferred out of town, he said.“The girl has been expelled for using derogatory words and her mother has been moved to another place,” district commissioner Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah told AFP.Police said no case had been registered and that the matter was considered over following a pardon from Muslim clerics.The government says it has no intention of reforming Pakistan’s tough anti-blasphemy law, introduced in 1986, despite the assassinations of a leading politician in January and a Christian cabinet minister in March.Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) member Salman Taseer was killed by his bodyguard and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti assassinated en route to a cabinet meeting for their opposition to the law.Taseer had supported a Christian mother of five sentenced to death in November 2010 for alleged blasphemy in the central province of Punjab.Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Most of those given the death penalty have their sentences overturned or commuted on appeal.Religious parties strongly defend the law.Hmmmmmmm......"Interfaith dialog in it's natural Habitat?"Read the full story here.
- China could open up to Arctic with Iceland deal.(HurriyetDaily).A Chinese businessman’s plans to buy a swathe of Iceland for a resort have sparked local scepticism, amid speculation it is a bid by Beijing to get its hands on Arctic riches.The melting Arctic ice cap means lucrative oil and gas deposits under the seabed could soon become accessible, and shorter shipping routes between Asia and Europe will open up.Observers suggest those prospects may be the real reason behind property tycoon Huang Nubo’s plans to buy 300 square-kilometres (200 square-miles) of Icelandic wildnerness. Huang says he wants to build a luxury resort with a hotel, golf course and sports facilities, and Europe’s biggest nature reserve.The purchase could give China a foothold in the region - enabling it to establish contacts and gather information - before the Arctic treasure chest opens up.“It is likely that the Chinese government will find every way to enhance cooperation at multiple levels ... to lay the groundwork for future involvement in the construction and operation of infrastructural hubs” in the Arctic, Embla Eir Oddsdottir, project manager at The Stefansson Arctic Institute in Iceland, told Agence France-Presse. “The possibility of shipping and transport across the Arctic is very important for China.”With the icecap melting in summertime, the route between the Atlantic and the Pacific will shorten the sailing distance between Shanghai and Europe by about 6,400 kilometers (4,000 miles).“In talks with Icelandic authorities, (the Chinese) have made a point of saying it was very plausible” that China would use Iceland as a trans-Arctic shipping port, the chairman of the Icelandic parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Arni Thor Sigurdsson, told AFP.Marc Lanteigne, a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and an expert on China’s rise as a strategic and economic power, said there were “very strong and very opaque links between large Chinese businesses and the country’s government.”China could especially be eying the up to 160 billion barrels of oil believed to be in the Arctic. “China is now importing more than 50 percent of its crude oil consumed, and like other large economies is worried about the safety of petroleum imports from the Middle East and is seeking alternative sources,” Lanteigne said.He noted that Beijing had been active in the oil trade in Central Asia, the Caspian region and sub-Saharan Africa in recent years.“It is therefore very likely that China would want to increase its presence in the Arctic out of concern for being left out of oil exploration there.”Sigurdsson said China had “no direct claim to natural resources” in the region, but could “become a participant ... by cooperating with states or companies searching for resources.”Observers said there was no concrete indication Beijing would use Huang’s land purchase to hunt for Arctic riches. Yet his plans have raised eyebrows in Reykjavik, where Interior Minister Oegmundur Jonasson has said he would scrutinize the application carefully.Huang has offered to buy the partially state-held land, known as Grimsstadir a Fjoellum, for $10 million and wants to invest a total of $100 million (70 million euros). The businessman has said he is attracted by Iceland’s wilderness and pledged to respect the local environment.Hmmmmmm...........And we all know how China 'respects and protects' nature.Read the full story here.