Wednesday, October 12, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity Indonesia 4.9 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- It's Official: Eric Holder Subpoenaed.(BarackNow).WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today announced the issuance of a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr. for Justice Department documents related to the "Operation Fast and Furious" gun walking scandal."Top Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Holder, know more about Operation Fast and Furious than they have publicly acknowledged," said Chairman Issa. "The documents this subpoena demands will provide answers to questions that Justice officials have tried to avoid since this investigation began eight months ago. It's time we know the whole truth."
The subpoena seeks the following:
In accordance with the attached schedule instructions, you, Eric H. Holder Jr., are required to produce all records in unredacted form described below:
All communications referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious, the Jacob Chambers case, or any Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) firearms trafficking case based in Phoenix, Arizona, to or from the following individuals:
a. Eric Holder Jr., Attorney General;
b. David Ogden, Former Deputy Attorney General;
c. Gary Grindler, Office of the Attorney General and former Acting Deputy Attorney General;
d. James Cole, Deputy Attorney General;
e. Lanny Breuer, Assistant Attorney General;
f. Ronald Weich, Assistant Attorney General;
g. Kenneth Blanco, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
h. Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
i. John Keeney, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
j. Bruce Swartz, Deputy Assistant Attorney General;
k. Matt Axelrod, Associate Deputy Attorney General;
l. Ed Siskel, former Associate Deputy Attorney General;
m. Brad Smith, Office of the Deputy Attorney General;
n. Kevin Carwile, Section Chief, Capital Case Unit, Criminal Division;
o. Joseph Cooley, Criminal Fraud Section, Criminal Division; and,
p. James Trusty, Acting Chief, Organized Crime and Gang Section.
2. All communications between and among Department of Justice (DOJ) employees and Executive Office of the President employees, including but not limited to Associate Communications Director Eric Schultz, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any other firearms trafficking cases.
3. All communications between DOJ employees and Executive Office of the President employees referring or relating to the President's March 22, 2011 interview with Jorge Ramos of Univision.
4. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) failed to interdict weapons that had been illegally purchased or transferred.
5. All documents and communications referring or relating to any instances prior to February 4, 2011 where ATF broke off surveillance of weapons and subsequently became aware that those weapons entered Mexico.
6. All documents and communications referring or relating to the murder of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaime Zapata, including but not limited to documents and communications regarding Zapata's mission when he was murdered, Form for Reporting Information That May Become Testimony (FD-302), photographs of the crime scene, and investigative reports prepared by the FBI.
7. All communications to or from William Newell, former Special Agent-in-Charge for ATF's Phoenix Field Division, between:
a. December 14, 2010 to January 25, 2011; and,
b. March 16, 2009 to March 19, 2009.
8. All Reports of Investigation (ROIs) related to Operation Fast and Furious or ATF Case Number 785115-10-0004.
9. All communications between and among Matt Axelrod, Kenneth Melson, and William Hoover referring or relating to ROIs identified pursuant to Paragraph 7.
10. All documents and communications between and among former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr., former Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler, Deputy Attorney General James Cole, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious or any OCDETF case originating in Arizona.
11. All communications sent or received between:
a. December 16, 2009 and December 18, 2009, and;
b. March 9, 2011 and March 14, 2011, to or from the following individuals:
Emory Hurley, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
Michael Morrissey, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
Patrick Cunningham, Chief, Criminal Division, Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona;
David Voth, Group Supervisor, ATF; and,Hope MacAllister, Special Agent, ATF.
12. All communications sent or received between December 15, 2010 and December 17, 2010 to or from the following individuals in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona:
a. Dennis Burke, former United States Attorney;
b. Emory Hurley, Assistant United States Attorney;
c. Michael Morrissey, Assistant United States Attorney; and,
d. Patrick Cunningham, Chief of the Criminal Division.
13. All communications sent or received between August 7, 2009 and March 19, 2011 between and among former Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual; Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer; and, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Bruce Swartz.
14. All communications sent or received between August 7, 2009 and March 19, 2011 between and among former Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual and any Department of Justice employee based in Mexico City referring or relating to firearms trafficking initiatives, Operation Fast and Furious or any firearms trafficking case based in Arizona, or any visits by Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer to Mexico.
15. Any FD-302 relating to targets, suspects, defendants, or their associates, bosses, or financiers in the Fast and Furious investigation, including but not limited to any FD-302s ATF Special Agent Hope MacAllister provided to ATF leadership during the calendar year 2011.
16. Any investigative reports prepared by the FBI or Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) referring or relating to targets, suspects, or defendants in the Fast and Furious case.
17. Any investigative reports prepared by the FBI or DEA relating to the individuals described to Committee staff at the October 5, 2011 briefing at Justice Department headquarters as Target Number 1 and Target Number 2.
18. All documents and communications in the possession, custody or control of the DEA referring or relating to Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta.
19. All documents and communications between and among FBI employees in Arizona and the FBI Laboratory, including but not limited to employees in the Firearms/Toolmark Unit, referring or relating to the firearms recovered during the course of the investigation of Brian Terry's death.
20. All agendas, meeting notes, meeting minutes, and follow-up reports for the Attorney General's Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys between March 1, 2009 and July 31, 2011, referring or relating to Operation Fast and Furious.
21. All weekly reports and memoranda for the Attorney General, either directly or through the Deputy Attorney General, from any employee in the Criminal Division, ATF, DEA, FBI, or the National Drug Intelligence Center created between November 1, 2009 and September 30, 2011.
22. All surveillance tapes recorded by pole cameras inside the Lone Wolf Trading Co. store between 12:00 a.m. on October 3, 2010 and 12:00 a.m. on October 7, 2010.
Hmmmm.......It looks like Holder's Justice Department has quite a bit of homework to do. Read the full story here.
- SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra, Twice As Bad For Obama.(HumanEvents).How did a failing California solar company, buffeted by short sellers and shareholder lawsuits, receive a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project—three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico, to build the panels for the project.The company, SunPower (SPWR-NASDAQ), now carries $820 million in debt, an amount $20 million greater than its market capitalization. If SunPower was a bank, the feds would shut it down. Instead, it received a lifeline twice the size of the money sent down the Solyndra drain.Two men with insight into the process are SunPower rooter Rep. George R. Miller III, (D.-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV.Miller the Elder is a strong advocate for SunPower, which converted an old Richmond, Calif., Ford plant in his district to a panel-manufacturing facility.The congressman hosted an Oct. 14, 2010, tour of the plant with company CEO Thomas H. Werner and Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar to promote the company’s fortunes.“The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower’s research and development facility,” said Salazar during the tour.“The work that comes from these facilities transforms renewable energy ideas into a reality. When renewable energy companies continue to invest in places like California, the realization of a new energy future is within our reach,” he said.Miller the Elder said he was grateful for Salazar's interest.In addition to all its other challenges, the company and its officers are defendants in a federal shareholder lawsuit, whose plaintiffs include, the Austin (Texas) Police Retirement System, the Arkansas Teachers Retirement System and a number of institutional investors for an alleged scheme to deceive the investing public by making false statements contrary to nonpublic information known to the insiders.The allegations cover the period between April 17, 2008, to Nov. 16, 2009, the day the company announced that it had discovered unsubstantiated accounting entries to its operations in the Philippines, which led to the significant restating of the company's financials.There are a number of lawsuits filed in California courts relating to the same period alleging gross mismanagement, breach of fiduciary responsibility, unjust enrichment and abuse of control.The first of the lawsuits was filed Nov. 18, 2009, and they have yet to be resolved.It is a fair question to ask how a company with such serious charges lodged against its management team could receive a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the taxpayers, so it could built a new manufacturing plant in Mexico to build the solar panels it will install at a photovoltaic ranch that will create a total of 15 permanent jobs.Certainly, the time is right for Miller and Miller to clarify their roles in this mess.Read the full story here.
- VeriSign Demands Website Takedown Powers, No Court Order Necessary.(TheRegister).VeriSign, which manages the database of all .com internet addresses, wants powers to shut down "non-legitimate" domain names when asked to by law enforcement.The company said today it wants to be able to enforce the "denial, cancellation or transfer of any registration" in any of a laundry list of scenarios where a domain is deemed to be "abusive".VeriSign should be able to shut down a .com or .net domain, and therefore its associated website and email, "to comply with any applicable court orders, laws, government rules or requirements, requests of law enforcement or other governmental or quasi-governmental agency, or any dispute resolution process", according to a document it filed today with domain name industry overseer ICANN.The company has already helped law enforcement agencies in the US, such as the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, seize domains that were allegedly being used to sell counterfeit goods or facilitate online piracy, when the agency first obtained a court order.That seizure process has come under fire because, in at least one fringe case, a seized .com domain's website had already been ruled legal by a court in its native Spain.Senior ICE agents are on record saying that they believe all .com addresses fall under US jurisdiction.But the new powers would be international and, according to VeriSign's filing, could enable it to shut down a domain also when it receives "requests from law enforcement", without a court order.The company said it has already cooperated with US law enforcement, including the FBI, to craft the suspension policies, and that it intends to also work with police in Europe and elsewhere.It's not yet clear how VeriSign would handle a request to suspend a .com domain that was hosting content legal in the US and Europe but illegal in, for example, Saudi Arabia or Uganda.Read the full story here.
- More 'details' on Shalit deal that includes 1,027 security prisoners.(YNet).1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released in the framework of the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas that would bring IDF soldier Gilad Shalit home.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday night, Shin Bet chief Yoram Cohen said that in the first phase of the swap, Israel will release 450 prisoners. Two months later, Israel will choose an additional 577 prisoners it wants to release.All Palestinian female prisoners held in Israeli prisons are included in the list of 450 including Amina Mona, a young woman who lured a lovestruck Israeli teenage boy by the name of Ophir Nahum to a Palestinian city over the Internet, only to have him killed by waiting terrorists. Israel will release 110 prisoners to the West Bank (14 to east Jerusalem) while 131 will return to their homes in the Gaza Strip.Of the 450 prisoners to be released in the first phase, 280 are serving at least one life sentence. However, Israel scored a major victory as nearly all top Palestinian terrorists will not be freed in the exchange, including:
Marwan Barghouti who was sentenced to five life sentences for his role in the murders of Israelis during the al-Aksa intifada
Abdullah Barghouti who is serving out 67 consecutive life terms for building the bombs that murdered 66 people
Ahmed Saadat who headed the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and was responsible for the assassination of Israeli minister Rehavam Ze'evi
Hassan Salama, a Hamas leader who was convicted of murdering 67 Israeli citizens
Abbas a-Sayed, mastermind of the Park Hotel suicide bombing in which 30 Israelis were killed on the eve of Passover 2002
Ibrahim Hamed, who was found guilty of involvement in terrorist attacks that led to the death of 82 Israelis
"450 is a large number but 300 are leaving the area to Gaza or overseas," Cohen said. According to Cohen, "It is a hard deal to digest for the families who lost their loved ones, but we cannot wait. If we do wait, we may not be able to bring Gilad home."Cohen said that over the years, Hamas presented a very tough stance during negotiations, preventing a deal from being reached. However, the Shin Bet chief added, Hamas began to change its tone in June "in two central parameters: first, it agreed for the first time that the arch terrorists would not be released and that the number of prisoners to be released to the West Bank would be reduced to a number that we could digest. We finalized the lists on Tuesday morning. Israeli groups representing terror victims' families have voiced their objections to a prisoner exchange, saying it would be too painful to allow their children's murderers to go free.Meanwhile, the Land of Israel lobby in the Knesset urged the cabinet to reject the proposed prisoner exchange deal. The National Union Party said the deal represents "Israel's capitulation of terror groups.Read the full story here.
- Deal Reached for Kidnapped Israeli Soldier's Freedom.(TIP).Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that a deal has been reached with the Hamas terrorist organization to bring home kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. The two-stage arrangement would exchange a total of 1,027 Palestinian militants for the soldier that had been kidnapped in June 2006."There was great tension between bringing Schalit home...and maintaining the security of Israeli citizens," Netanyahu said on Israeli television. He was also quoted saying "the window has been opened for a historic deal," following a show of flexibility in negotiations by both sides.Schalit's freedom is a matter of days, Netanyahu said."We are waiting here like everyone else," Schalit's father Noam Schalit said Tuesday. "We are receiving updates, but we don't really know anything new other than what has been published."As part of the deal, Israel agreed to first release roughly 450 terrorists, with another 550 to follow at a later date. Netanyahu convened a cabinet meeting to approve of the plan, with various reports attributing the breakthrough to German or Egyptian intervention.Hamas reacted jubilantly to the plan, with a celebratory graphic posted on the home page of the Izz al-Deen Qassam Brigade, Hamas's military wing."This is a national achievement for the Palestinian people, we tried to include all Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails, and we promise the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them," said Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas Political Bureau. "My Appreciations to Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades and the Palestinian factions which managed to capture the Israeli soldier Shalit, My thanks to the Palestinian people in Gaza Strip and the West Bank for their steadfastness against the Israeli siege, also my thanks to the Egyptian role in accomplishing this deal."Read the full story here.More here.
- PA Official: "Auschwitzes" Better Than Israeli Prisons.(Tip).A senior Palestinian Authority (PA) official claims Jewish prisoners got better treatment from the Nazis than Palestinian prisoners currently receive in Israel.Israeli prisons are worse than "the Auschwitzes (sic) of the Nazis," PA Deputy Minister of Prison Affairs Ziad Abu Ein declared in an interview last week with Fatah Television, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported. Israel forgets "that we are now in the 21st century and that the conditions of our Palestinian prisoners are worse than the Auschwitzes of the Nazis, where Jewish detainees were held."Comparing Israelis to Nazis is a recurring theme in PA media under PA President Mahmoud Abbas, according to PMW.The PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida ran a July 5 story on the treatment of Palestinian Shahids (martyrs)declaring that "even more serious are acts which even the Nazis and the fascists did not commit at the height of their arrogance and hatred for humanity, such as the imprisonment of pregnant women together with their children" and other actions "which are considered crimes against humanity."In June, the same newspaper reported that a PA official in Bethlehem told visiting British members of Parliament that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians was even more disturbing than Nazi persecution of Jews. "While the Jews experienced a holocaust over a limited period in history, the Palestinians have experienced a continuous and ongoing holocaust for 63 years, and yet this nation has not found a supporter who will halt this holocaust," he said.The assertion that Israelis are behaving in a Hitlerian fashion is belied by actual Palestinian inmate accounts of prison life. PMW reported last year that a growing number of prisoners were receiving doctorates and other degrees while behind bars in Israel. Many prisoners had registered for courses at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.Al-Hayat Al-Jadida even reported last October that since 2000, "more than 10,000 Palestinian prisoners have attained matriculation certificates while still in the occupation prisons."Last June, Fatah TV interviewed a former prisoner on the day of his release. Despite the interviewer's best efforts to get him to say prisoners were brutalized by Israel, the man refused to depict Palestinian inmates as victims of the Zionists. "By Allah, the guys in the prison are fine. They lack nothing. They are doing fine," he said.Read the full story here.
- Iran complains to U.N., says U.S. allegations of Saudi diplomat killing ‘evil plot’.(AlArabiya).Iran called U.S. allegations of a plan to kill the Saudi ambassador to Washington an “evil plot” by the United States, in a complaint sent late Tuesday to the United Nations, as Washington said it would use the case as leverage with other countries that have been reluctant to apply harsh sanctions or penalties against Iran.Iran’s U.S. ambassador accused Israel of carrying out the murders of Iranian nuclear scientists with U.S. support, in a letter sent to U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council.“Iran categorically and in the strongest terms condemns this shameful allegation by the United States authorities and deplores it as a well-thought evil plot in line with their anti-Iranian policy,” Mohammed Khazaee said in the letter, according to AFP.U.S. authorities said earlier they had uncovered a plot by the Iranian government to assassinate the Saudi envoy to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir. The U.S. administration has vowed to hold Iran to account. Two men have been charged with conspiring with Iranian government factions to stage the attack and one is in U.S. custody.A criminal complaint, unsealed in federal court in New York City, identified two alleged plotters, Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.Both were originally from Iran and Arbabsiar is a naturalized U.S. citizen, it said.Shakuri remains at large while Arbabsiar was arrested on Sept. 29 at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and was to make his initial appearance Tuesday in federal court in Manhattan.U.S. President Barack Obama called Ambassador Jubeir late Tuesday to express the solidarity of the United States and Saudi Arabia in the face of the disrupted plot to assassinate him in the United States, according to an Al Arabiya correspondent in Washington. President Obama underscored that the United States believes this plot to be a flagrant violation of U.S. and international law, and reiterated the U.S. commitment to meet its responsibilities to ensure the security of diplomats. In an interview with The Associated Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: “The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican drug cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?” Clinton was blunt in saying the United States would use the case as leverage with other countries that have been reluctant to apply harsh sanctions or penalties against Iran. Clinton said she and President Obama called world leaders to tell them of the developments.“This really, in the minds of many diplomats and government officials, crosses a line that Iran needs to be held to account for,” Clinton said. She said she and Obama want to “enlist more countries in working together against what is becoming a clearer and clearer threat” from Iran.The Saudi Embassy said in a statement that it appreciated the U.S. efforts to prevent the crime. “The attempted plot is a despicable violation of international norms, standards and conventions and is not in accord with the principles of humanity,” the statement read, according to AP.“There were always problems with Iran and Saudi Arabia, what is new now is that America is involved... The fact that the Saudi ambassador was the target in the United States, I believe this will mean the kingdom and the United States will take a joint decision together,” said Abdullah al-Shammari, a government official in Riyadh.“An ambassador of the level of Adel al-Jubeir, who was an adviser to the royal court, that is a great provocation for Saudi Arabia and therefore we expect that the kingdom will take steps in this matter,” Shammari said.Suzanne Maloney, a former State Department expert on Iran who is now an analyst with the Brookings Institution think tank, expected the administration to carefully calibrate its push for new sanctions.It will be inclined to “try to hit Iran as dramatically as possible with sanctions without fracturing the coalition and creating more opportunities for sanctions busting by countries like China or Russia,” Maloney told AFP.Hmmmmm........Barack Hussein Obama will go around Congress to bomb Libya in service to the Muslim Brotherhood but bows to Iran when they attempt to bomb America?Read the full story here.
- Evidence of Iranian plot to kill envoy is overwhelming, Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal says.(AlArabiya).Evidence that Iran was behind a plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington is ‘overwhelming’, a former chief of Saudi intelligence services said on Wednesday. ‘The burden of proof and the amount of evidence in the case is overwhelming and clearly shows official Iranian responsibility for it,’ Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal told an industry conference in London.‘This is unacceptable. Somebody in Iran will have to pay the price, and that price will have to be on the terms acceptable to the norms and practices in Iran and other countries,’ Prince Turki said.U.S. authorities said on Tuesday they had broken up a plot by two men linked to Iran's security agencies to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir. One was arrested last month while the other was believed to be in Iran.Iran has denied the charges and expressed outrage at the accusations.Prince Turki called for the Iranian authorities to help bring those responsible for the assassination plot to justice. ‘Whoever is responsible for this (in) the Iranian government will hopefully be brought to justice by the Iranian authorities, no matter how high the level of that person is.’‘Clearly this is an act ˗˗ how should I put it? ˗˗ so criminal in its intent, to devise a plot to assassinate a representative of one country in another country and to use drug barons and other such characters in order to achieve that. It is beyond description.’The motive for the alleged plot was not clear. Iran has in the past assassinated its own dissidents abroad, but an attempt to kill an ambassador would be a highly unusual departure.Iran and Saudi Arabia are bitter regional rivals, but they maintain diplomatic ties and even signed a security agreement in 2001. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Riyadh in 2007.Ali Larijani, Iran's parliament speaker, said the ‘fabricated allegations’ aimed to divert attention from Arab uprisings Iran says were inspired by its own Islamic revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed Shah.‘America wants to divert attention from problems it faces in the Middle East, but the Americans cannot stop the wave of Islamic awakening by using such excuses,’ Larijani said.U.S. President Barack Obama called the alleged conspiracy a ‘flagrant violation of U.S. and international law’.Meanwhile the European Union voiced “grave concern” over the alleged Iranian plot, warning it could have serious international implications.“Should the facts be confirmed, this would constitute a major breach of international law with serious international implications,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU chief diplomat Catherine Ashton.“We call on the government of Iran to fully cooperate with the U.S. justice system,” she told a news briefing.The EU is following developments “very closely” and officials are in touch with their U.S. counterparts, Kocijancic said.“We have taken note with grave concern the information that was provided by the U.S. Justice Department regarding this alleged participation of two Iranian individuals in a plot to murder the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., and alleged involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” she said.“We trust the U.S. justice system will rapidly bring full clarity to this alleged criminal act,” she added.The EU has slapped a raft of sanctions against Iranian officials over human rights violations and the Islamic republic's refusal to halt controversial nuclear activities.Read the full story here.
- European Union released progress report on Turkey,Further progress needed for Turkey to join EU.(Firat).The Progress Report on Turkey has just been released. The Commission concluded that the country has made progress in meeting EU membership criteria; however, further results are needed as regards fundamental rights, in particular to assure freedom of expression in practice. The report further stresses that the June elections presented the government with a window of opportunity to address reforms with fresh vigour. Turkey continued improving its ability to take on the obligations of membership. The pace of accession negotiations would gain new momentum if Turkey proceeded to the full implementation of its Customs Union obligations with the EU, and made progress towards normalisation of relations with Cyprus.
Turkey continues to sufficiently fulfil the political criteria, says Europe. Work on implementing the 2010 Constitutional reform package was launched by the government. Free and fair parliamentary elections took place on 12 June 2011, and opened the way for further constitutional reform. The creation of a specific Ministry for EU affairs is an encouraging signal for Turkey's reform efforts to meet the EU accession criteria.
However according to the Commission, "significant further efforts are required to guarantee fundamental rights in most areas. This relates, in particular, to freedom of expression, where the number of court cases against writers and journalists, and the restrictions on access to the Internet, raised serious concerns".
This is how the Commission assesses the Kurdish question: "As regards the East and Southeast, the 2009 democratic opening was not followed through. The detention of elected politicians and human rights defenders raised concerns. The truth about extra-judicial killings and torture carried out in the Southeast in the 1980s and 1990s has yet to be established following the due process of law. Landmines and the village guard system are still causes for concern. Terrorist attacks intensified. The PKK is on the EU list of terrorist organisations". While the Commission admits that no progress has followed the so called Turkish government "democratic opening" and expresses "worries for the arrests of elected politicians and human rights defenders" it continues with the three monkeys game. Concerning human rights and the protection of minorities, the Commission says that "limited progress has been made. Significant efforts are needed in most areas, in particular freedom of expression and freedom of religion.As regards the observance of international human rights law some progress was made, notably through the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT). A number of reforms have been outstanding for several years. Legislation on human rights' institutions needs to be brought fully into line with UN principles.
The positive trend on the prevention of torture and ill-treatment, as regards both the incidence and severity of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, continued. Disproportionate force has still been used by these officials, in particular outside official places of detention. Credible allegations of physical ill-treatment were received, which concerned mainly excessive use of force during arrest. There is no progress on tackling impunity, including the processing of cases of alleged ill-treatment brought to the judiciary.As regards prisons, the increase in the prison population is leading to serious overcrowding, which hampers attempts to improve the conditions of detention. An overhaul of the complaints system in prisons is overdue. Implementation of the OPCAT is expected to contribute to tackling some of these matters. Medical services for inmates, as well as the conditions for the detention of juveniles, are matters requiring special efforts.
With regard to freedom of expression, an open debate continued on topics perceived as sensitive, such as the Kurdish and Armenian issues, minority and cultural rights and the role of the military. However, the right to freedom of expression is undermined by the large number of legal cases and investigations against journalists, writers, academics and human rights defenders. This leads to self-censorship and, together with undue pressures on the media, raises serious concerns. Present legislation does not sufficiently guarantee freedom of expression in line with the ECHR and the case law of the ECtHR, and it permits restrictive interpretation by the judiciary. Frequent website bans are also a cause for serious concern. Overall, Turkey's legislation and judicial practice are obstacles to the free exchange of information and ideas".
As regards freedom of assembly, there has been progress on the ground: various demonstrations, including Newroz (the Kurdish New Year) and 1 May, took place peacefully. Demonstrations in the Southeast of the country and in other provinces related to the Kurdish issue, students' rights, the activities of the higher education supervisory board YÖK and trade union rights were marked by a disproportionate use of force.
Legislation on freedom of association is broadly in line with EU standards. Excessive controls and restrictive interpretation of the law still remain. There were no developments as regards the amendment of legal provisions on the closure of political parties. There has been limited progress on freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Freedom of worship is generally respected. The dialogue with the Alevis and with the non-Muslim religious communities continued. Members of minority religions continued to be subject to threats by extremists. A legal framework in line with the ECHR has yet to be established, so that all non-Muslim religious communities and the Alevi community can function without undue constraints.
Turkey is a functioning market economy. It should be able to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union in the medium term, provided that it accelerates the implementation of its comprehensive structural reform programme.In 2010, Turkish economy grew by 8.9% vis-à-vis 2009, driven mainly by strong domestic demand. The rapid economic expansion continued in the first half of 2011. The private sector, in particular the industrial sector, remains the main driving force behind Turkey's rapid expansion. Robust economic development allowed strong employment growth and a sizeable drop in unemployment. Budget performance was better than expected, and the consolidation of public finances is on track. Privatisation has gained momentum. Trade and economic integration with the EU remained high and Turkey strengthened its presence in new markets. The current account and trade deficits reached record levels in 2010, leading to significant external imbalances in the Turkish economy, which in turn pose a threat to macroeconomic stability.
Turkey continued improving its ability to take on the obligations of membership. Progress was made in most areas, in particular company law, statistics and trans-European networks. Efforts need to continue towards alignment in areas such as environment, public procurement, freedom to provide services, social policy and employment, and taxation. As regards the Customs Union, a number of longstanding trade irritants remain unresolved. For most areas it is crucial that Turkey improves its administrative capacity to implement and enforce the EU-related legislation.Turkey remains an important partner in the area of EU energy security. Preparations have continued on the Nabucco project. Negotiations have been finalised on an EU-Turkey readmission agreement, which now needs to be initialled and signed.
State of play on accession negotiations
EU accession negotiations with Turkey began on 3 October 2005. In total, 13 out of 33 negotiation chapters have been opened and one chapter has been provisionally closed. As a result of Turkey not having fully implemented the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement, the EU decided in December 2006 that eight negotiating chapters could not be opened and that no chapter could be provisionally closed until Turkey meets its obligations.Read the full story here.
- Palestinians Seek World Heritage Status For Church Of Nativity, Other Sites.(Memri).A Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Archeology official said that the Palestinians will work for the inclusion of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem as a UNESCO World Heritage site, as soon as Palestine is accepted as a full member of the organization. The Palestinians currently have observer status in UNESCO; the vote is expected to take place in the coming weeks. Following acceptance as members, they will seek the inclusion of other sites, including Hebron, and the Dead Sea.Read the full story here.
Reporter (translating from the Farsi announcer): This is a special unit of the Basij forces. Its members wear shrouds as a declaration of their willingness to defend the religion, the revolution, and the country.
This unit, the members of which are wearing shrouds, belongs to the Basij forces of Khuzestan Province, south-west Iran.
This truck carries a Zilzal missile, which operates on solid fuel. This is one of the missiles that has been recently developed, and it represents the height of progress attained by Iranian technology.
Right now, the Fateh 110 missiles are passing in front of the stage. These surface-to-air missiles, belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, are called "Al-Khalij Al-Farisi."
Shehab 3, Shehab 4, and Shehab 2 missiles are held by the IRGC. These are various types various types of the Shehab 2, which is a medium-range missile, and this is a Qiam missile, which is also medium-range, and is manufactured by the IRGC.
The long-range Qadr-F missile has just passed in front of the stage. This is another type of the same missile – Qadr-F. Approximately three of these missiles – the long-range Qadr-F – have passed by.
Anybody who sees these sights should say "Allah Akbar," and should glorify Allah and His might, from whom the IRGC draws its strength. Now, these missile carriers highlight the ability of Iran to withstand any attack.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Bolton Rips Obama After He Calls For Restraint From Egyptian Christians As They’re Being Killed By Muslims
“This will come as news to the Coptic Christians that they’re supposed to exercise restraint. They’re being attacked, they’re the ones being victimized both by mobs of fellow Egyptian citizens who are Muslims and by the government.”
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity Japan 5.1 ! More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- BREAKING NEWS: U.S. foils Iranian government terror plot to kill Saudi ambassador in D.C. and bomb Saudi and Israeli embassies.(DailyMail)HT:(InfidelBloggers).The United States has stopped a 'significant terrorist act' linked to Iran which wanted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington DC by blowing up a restaurant.The assassination of Adel Al-Jubeir would have been followed by bomb attacks on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington.The plot has support from the Iranian government and two men allegedly working for 'factions of the Iranian government' have been charged with the plot, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday.The 21-page criminal complaint, unsealed on Tuesday, identifies the two alleged plotters as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri.Both are originally from Iran but Arbabsiar, 56, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.Arbabsiar was arrested on September 29 in New York at JFK airport, according to Holder, was working for the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard and had confessed to a plot.After his arrest Arbabsiar made phone calls to Shakuri in Iran that were monitored. During the calls, Shakuri allegedly confirmed that Arbabsiar should move forward with the plot to murder the Ambassador and that he should accomplish the task as quickly as possible, stating on October 5, 2011, '[j]ust do it quickly, it’s late...' Shakuri, who is based in Iran, remains at large.Shakuri is an Iran-based member of Iran’s Qods Force, a special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) that sponsors and promotes terrorist activities abroad. The case, called Operation Red Coalition, started in May when Iranian-American Arbabsiar from Corpus Christi, Texas, sought help for the assassination from a Mexican drug cartel and inadvertently approached a US informant.Arbabsiar allegedly wired $100,000 to the informant as a down payment for the $1.5million assassination fee.According to the complaint, Arbabsiar told agents he was recruited, funded and directed by men he understood to be senior officials in Iran’s Qods Force.He allegedly said these Iranian officials were aware of and approved of the plot.It is unclear if Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was aware of the plot. His spokesman laughed off the accusation.Both defendants are charged with conspiracy to murder a foreign official; conspiracy to engage in foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire; conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives); and conspiracy to commit an act of international terrorism transcending national boundaries. Arbabsiar is further charged with an additional count of foreign travel and use of interstate and foreign commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.Developing.... Read full story here.
- Hmmmm......After 'the Fast and Furious' ....the 'Slow and Sneaky" to save Holder?US Thwarts Major Iran-Linked Terror Plot in D.C.(BigPeace).
-Conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction. Plot to bomb D.C.
-Holder says Iran will be held accountable. Promises action against the Iranian government as early as this afternoon.
-The suspects are identified as Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri. According to a criminal complaint, Arbabsiar is a naturalized U.S. citizen who holds both a U.S. and an Iranian passport. One suspect has confessed.
-Holder leaves after presser shifts to “fast and furious.”
-Obama first briefed on alleged Iran plot in June.
The case, called Operation Red Coalition, began in May when an Iranian-American from Corpus Christi, Texas, approached a US informant seeking the help of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, according to counter-terrorism officials.The Iranian-American thought he was dealing with a member of the feared Zetas Mexican drug organization, according to agents quoted by ABC.The report said bombings of the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Argentina were also discussed.Hmmmm....If they knew in June why wait to 'release' the news till now....If not to get Holder out of the spotlight?Read the full story here.
NOShocker. Obama’s Top Political Advisor Directly Linked to Occupy Wall Street Protests.(TheGatewayPundit).Obama political advisor Patrick Gaspard holds the same White House position his Bush-era predecessor, Karl Rove, did. But before he was the White House political czar he worked in several far left organizations as activist and agitator.
One of the more disturbing aspects of the Obama-ACORN connection is that the White House political affairs director is one Patrick Gaspard.
Gaspard doesn’t register on the media radar screen in the way that his immediate Bush-era predecessor, Karl Rove, did. But as the New Orleans-based ACORN has been implicated in a host of illegal schemes ranging from voter registration fraud to embezzlement to tax evasion, he may get there. That’s because prior to assuming his current job, Gaspard, at least according to ACORN founder Wade Rathke, had been political director for the New York City chapter of ACORN under Bertha Lewis, who last year replaced Rathke as the group’s chief organizer and CEO. What’s more, he’s worked closely with the ACORN-controlled Working Families Party and the largest local within the Service Employees International Union.
This weekend the Working Families Party of New York, Gaspard’s organization, placed an ad on Craig’s list for paid activists to fight Wall Street.What a coincidence!The organization run by current White House political director Patrick Gaspard is paying far left activists to continue the protests against Wall Street. No wonder Barack Obama supports the far left protest movement!Hmmmm........"To protect and uphold The Constitution"?Read the full story here.
- Head of DOE Loans Program Resigns Following Solyndra Scandal.(Environmental-Finance).By Gloria Gonzalez.The head of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office has resigned in the midst of the controversy surrounding the bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.Jonathan Silver was the executive director of the DOE’s unit responsible for making the $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, although he was not with the department when the guarantee was issued in September 2009.Silver informed Energy Secretary Steven Chu of his plans to resign after the Section 1705 loan guarantee programme expired on 30 September back in July when it became clear that no significant new funds would be awarded to the programme, according to a statement by Chu.But Silver’s resignation will not satisfy Republicans in the House of Representatives who want answers about why the loan guarantee was made despite questions being raised about the company’s financial health by rank and file government staffers.“Mr. Silver’s resignation does not solve the problem,” said Congressman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), chairman of the House energy and commerce committee, and Cliff Stearns (R-Florida), chair of the oversight and investigations subcommittee. “We are in the midst of the Solyndra investigation and just days removed from Mr. Silver’s mad rush to finalise $4.7 billion in loans before the statutory deadline.”The Section 1705 programme is supporting 28 projects with total loan amounts of about $16 billion, with 90% of the loan volume related to power generation projects that are backed by long-term power purchase agreements, according to the DOE.President Barack Obama, whose administration has been under fire for the Solyndra loan guarantee, defended the programme on Thursday.“We knew from the start that the loan guarantee programme was going to entail some risk,” he said. “If it was a risk-free proposition, then we wouldn’t have to worry about it. But the overall portfolio has been successful. There were going to be some companies that did not work out; Solyndra was one of them. But the process by which the decision was made was on the merits. And of course there were going to be debates internally when you’re dealing with something as complicated as this.”The president also hit back at Stearns’ comments that the US can’t compete with China in the production of solar panels and wind turbines.“I don’t buy that,” Obama said. “I’m not going to surrender to other countries technological leads that could end up determining whether or not we’re building a strong middle class in this country. And so we’re going to have to keep on pushing hard to make sure that manufacturing is located here, new businesses are located here and new technologies are developed here. And there are going to be times where it doesn’t work out, but I’m not going to cave to the competition when they are heavily subsidising all these industries.”Silver will join centrist think-tank Third Way as a visiting distinguished senior fellow.“There is a clear need for the US to engage in the emerging $2.3 trillion global clean energy market,” said Third Way President Jonathan Cowan. “I can think of few people better to help us think through how to do this than Jonathan.”Silver will work on expanding the clean energy team’s innovation project. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with the team on energy policy and energy finance issues,” he said.Prior to joining the DOE’s Loan Programs Office, Silver was co-founder and a managing director of Core Capital Partners, a successful early-stage investor in alternative energy technology, advanced manufacturing, telecommunications and software.Read the full story here.
- Hypocritical Obama attacks banks while raking in Wall Street dough.(Dailycaller).Despite his rhetorical attacks on Wall Street, a study by the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Project shows that President Barack Obama has received more money from Wall Street than any other politician over the past 20 years, including former President George W. Bush.In 2008, Wall Street’s largesse accounted for 20 percent of Obama’s total take, according to Reuters.When asked by The Daily Caller to comment about President Obama’s credibility when it comes to criticizing Wall Street, the White House declined to reply.Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer says the distance between the president’s rhetoric and actions makes him look hypocritical.“It’s almost as if President Obama won’t cross across a Wall Street picket line except to get inside with [his] hand out, so he can raise money,” Fleischer told TheDC, referring to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators who the president has been encouraging over the past week. “That sort of support causes him to look hypocritical.”“They can’t say we hate Wall Street, but we love their money,” Fleischer said.Being Wall Street’s campaign cash king is hardly the image President Obama has been trying to project in public, where he has been setting himself up as the champion of the progressive Occupy Wall Street movement and as the avenger of jilted Bank of America customers.“Banks can make money,” Obama said last week, responding to questions during an interview with ABC News about Bank of America’s decision to levy a $5 monthly fee on debit card users. “They can succeed, the old-fashioned way, by earning it.”In fact, the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties, found that President Obama has received more money from Bank of America than any other candidate dating back to 1991.An examination of the numbers shows that Obama took in $421,242 in campaign contributions in 2008 from Bank of America’s executives, PACs and employees, which exceeded its prior record contribution of $329,761 to President George W. Bush in 2004.According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Wall Street firms also contributed more to Obama’s 2008 campaign than they gave to Republican nominee John McCain.“The securities and investment industry is Obama’s second largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign,” Massie Ritsch wrote in a Sept. 18, 2008 entry on the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets blog.By the end of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, executives and others connected with Wall Street firms, such as Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS AG, JPMorgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley, poured nearly $15.8 million into his coffers.Hmmmm........Read the full story here.
- Donald Trump: "Unemployment is really probably at 21 percent if you go by the real numbers".(Newsmax).The nation’s unemployment rate is significantly higher than stated in the government’s monthly tallies and the number of jobless citizens is now approaching levels not seen since the Great Depression, Donald Trump and author Robert Kiyosaki tell Newsmax.TV.The two discussed the dire state of the economy during a lengthy sit-down interview in Trump’s New York office to promote their new book, “Midas Touch: Why Some Entrepreneurs Get Rich - And Why Most Don’t.”The official unemployment rate released by the Department of Labor for September was 9.1 percent. At the height of the Great Depression of the 1930s the number stood at about 25 percent.“The sad thing is unemployment is really probably at 21 percent if you go by the real numbers,” Trump said. “When you say 9.1 … that number is not a real number, the real number is 21 percent and it could even be higher than that.”“So it’s a bad time and we wrote the ‘Midas Touch,’” Trump continued. “We had great success in our first book - it went to the number one book on just about every list, and it was really a terrific book, but we think this is better. And we wrote this for these times. We feel there are better opportunities today than there were five years ago.”Trump was referring to the first book he co-authored with Kiyosaki entitled, “Why We Want You to Be Rich: Two Men, One Message.” Kiyosaki, best known for his “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series of books, said the unemployment rate in the country was one reason for writing the new book.“Unemployment is a major, major, major problem and governments don’t really create jobs entrepreneurs do,” Kiyosaki confirmed. “And so we got together and said let’s make this as simple as possible for anybody to understand if they have what it takes to be an entrepreneur because many people have good ideas, but they’re not entrepreneurs.”Trump, the star of “Celebrity Apprentice,” attributed his success to one thing. “Well I think I had a lot of good ideas, but also I don’t quit,” he said. “I see so many people and we discuss this in the Midas Touch, in the book. I see so many people that have ideas, and they’re good ideas in many cases, and they give up — they don’t push forward. And one of the things we discuss very strongly is the fact you have to come up with the right ideas, the right product, whatever it might be, but never, ever quit.”Kiyosaki boiled down the key to success as an entrepreneur to five things: strength of character, focus, knowing what you stand for, relationships, and knowing what you do best.“We’ve both had our ups and downs,” Kiyosaki said of himself and Trump. “I say he’s lost lots of money, I’ve lost lots of money, and it’s easy to quit at that time. But can we make the money back is when the strength of character kicks in. I would say that’s the most important thing.”Some people are born to be a Babe Ruth or musical prodigy, Trump noted, and others can be taught. However, entrepreneurship is not for everyone.“One of the things I always discuss — whenever I’m speaking or whenever I’m talking about success, and I think it’s very important to understand — some people are better off having a job, they’re better off not being entrepreneurs,” he said.“They can’t handle pressure, they can’t handle certain things in life, and they’re better off. And there’s nothing wrong with being a great employee and taking home a check and having a wonderful family, nothing wrong with it.”The two experts at making money and creating jobs also offered their thoughts on when and how the economy might recover.Trump asserted that what is needed is new leadership and that President Barack Obama is not getting the job done.“He’s got the Midas touch for himself and getting elected but he certainly doesn’t have the Midas touch for the country,” he added.Read the full story here.
- Are You Ready? Demonstrators Plan Global Protest for Oct. 15.(TheBlaze).After scattered popular demonstrations around the world, protesters are planning the next step: This time, it’s a global movement for change, set to kick off Saturday, Oct. 15.But what exactly is “United for Global Change”? Its exact goals are a little vague, though uprising seems to be the key:
“Intolerable situation — corrupt system — global outrage. Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Chile, Israel, India, USA. It’s time for us to unite. It’s time for them to listen. People of the world, rise up!” a video for the movement says.
As of Friday morning, there were 432 “reports” of different events in the works, heavily concentrated in Europe, the U.S. and parts of South America. There’s also a “global virtual assembly” planned for Oct. 8 and 9 to plan. As for who is behind the movement, that’s difficult to ascertain. A “who are you” section on the site doesn’t answer that question, instead asking visitors who they are and directing them to take charge of the event as if they themselves were the organizer.
October 15th the world will be under our influence. It will become whatever we want. So, who are you?According to the group’s Facebook event page, there are 6,471 “attending” so far — kind of a long way to go before next Saturday.Read and see the full story here.
- Japan stopped Obama’s Plan To Apologize For America Dropping Atomic Bomb On Hiroshima And Nagasaki.(PowerlineBlog).I recall seeing some online grandee—I thought it was Rich Karlgaard of Forbes, but I can’t find it—explain that in the fullness of time Wikileaks would turn around and bite liberals in the rear end, and sure enough there’s been a steady stream of Wikileaks that confirm what we already know about Obama. But still.Over the last couple of weeks several Japanese newspapers have been all over a new Wikileak that so far has not made much of an impression anywhere in American media. (I know: This is a surprise?) It seems that Obama wanted to include stops at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as part of his 2009 World Apology Tour, so that he could apologize for Harry Truman dropping the Big One to end World War II.One problem for The One: Japan was not amused by this idea. The U.S. embassy in Tokyo cabled Hillary Clinton to suggest with typically gentle diplomatic language that what Obama was proposing would be deeply offensive to Japanese. From the Japan Times story:
The cable, dated Sept. 3, 2009, and sent to U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton, reported Japan’s then Vice Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka telling Ambassador John Roos on Aug. 28 that antinuclear groups would speculate over whether the president would visit Hiroshima in light of his Prague speech on nuclear nonproliferation.“He underscored, however, that both governments must temper the public’s expectations on such issues, as the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a ‘non-starter’,” said the cable.It also quoted Yabunaka as saying, “While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such program in the November visit.”“Yabunaka recommended that the visit in November center mostly in Tokyo,” it said.Perhaps the next president will want to make his or her own world apology tour to make amends for Obama.Read the full story here.
- UK and U.S. special forces swoop on hijacked ship, arresting pirates and freeing crew.(DailyMail).British and U.S. special forces staged a daring raid to free an Italian cargo ship that had been hijacked by pirates off the coast of Somalia, it emerged today.The pirates surrendered and were arrested after two Navy ships, one British and one American, swooped on the Montecristo, which was seized yesterday.The vessel's crew of 23 - seven Italians, six Ukrainians and 10 Indians - have been freed and are safe, according to a statement by the Italian foreign ministry.The vessel was freed in a joint operation carried out by Royal Marines from the RFA Fort Victoria and the USS De Wert.The two ships are part of Nato's operation Ocean Shield, set up to fight piracy in the seas off the Horn of Africa. Lieutenant Gwenn Laine, a spokesman for Ocean Shield, told the NewsCore agency that the De Wert 'was the first ship to close in and assess the situation while the boarding team on Fort Victoria got ready.'The crew of the [Montecristo] confined themselves in the engine room of the ship and they managed to send the information to NATO forces that they were safe and well.''Nato forces got on board and the pirates surrendered immediately,' Lieutenant Laine said, adding that there were no injuries.The Montecristo, a 56,000-ton bulk carrier, was hijacked 620 miles off the coast on Somalia yesterday by five pirates in a small boat. The crew took refuge inside an armoured shelter on the ship when it was hijacked and had continued to control its movements, bringing it closer to an area where anti-piracy forces were patrolling.The move into an armoured shelter appeared part of new measures agreed by seafaring nations to combat Somali piracy, which costs the world economy billions of dollars each year.U.S. and British forces had boarded the ship under the orders of Italian Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi, commander of the Ocean Shield anti-piracy task force.Britain's Ministry of Defense confirmed that the Royal Navy 'was involved in a compliant boarding' - in which the pirates indicated they would surrender and sailors boarded the vessel to take them into custody.Eleven pirates were apprehended in the raid, the Italian foreign ministry's statement added. Read the full story here.
- Female executive at Centers for Disease Control arrested on child molestation and bestiality charges.(DailyMail).A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official was arrested Sunday and charged with two counts of child molestation and bestiality for sexual acts involving a 6-year-old boy.According to a DeKalb County criminal warrant obtained Sunday, Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey’s boyfriend, Thomas Westerman, was also arrested on two counts of child molestation. Westerman works for the CDC as a night watchman, his LinkedIn profile states. The pair, who live together in Decatur, surrendered to authorities Sunday afternoon, said DeKalb police spokeswoman Pamela Kunz.Lindsey, 44, serves as the deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office at the CDC, according to her biography on the agency’s website. The Emory University graduate, who’s been with the CDC since 1999, was formerly a senior health scientist responsible for overseeing a $1.5 billion fiscal allocation process for terrorism preparedness.A medical professional alerted police about the child molestation allegation on Aug. 24, Kunz said. The warrant cites two incidents — the first in Jan. 2010 and the latest on Aug. 22.“During the investigation evidence was recovered that led to the bestiality charge,” Kunz said.Lindsey earned her Ph.D. in Immunology Molecular Pathogenesis from Emory in 1998 following nine years as a research scientist. She rose quickly through the ranks of the CDC, beginning as a senior scientist in the bioterrorism program before joining the HIV/AIDS prevention division in 2000. She has received 12 awards for outstanding performance on projects and programs, according to an academic bio. Westerman, 42, started working for the CDC in January.Read the full story here.
- Egypt - Witness says Egypt military threw bodies in Nile.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Rumors about bodies being thrown into the Nile the night of the state TV violence by the military are being confirmed after witnesses are stepping up and confirming the stories.A young Egyptian filmmaker said he witnessed three Army soldiers, accompanied by an officer, threw a dead body into the river Nile from above the 6 of October bridge in Cairo on Sunday night.Raggi al-Kashif said he tried to take pictures, but was chased by the soldiers back to downtown.Rumors had surfaced that the army had thrown several bodies into the river to hide their crimes, but no confirmation was publicized until witnesses came forward.Al-Kashif gave his testimony on a Facebook page, putting forward his ID number as verification he was not making the story up.On Sunday night, clashes erupted between the armed forces and Coptic Christian protesters, where soldiers opened fire and ran over several protesters, killing at least 25 and injuring hundreds.The army police, aided by riot police, then chased protesters through the streets of downtown throwing tear gas and firing into the air.Later 25 people were arrested and now they face military trial for “attacking the army and vandalizing.”Al-Kashif added that he saw soldiers assault and beat a family of three, both parents and a young child who were taking refuge at one of the garages close to the state TV building after they were seen carrying a cross.Al-Kashif added that the family was beaten, kicked and hammered with army batons, who were ignoring the screams of pain and pleas from the mother and child.Similar witnesses reports have emerged in the past two days about army brutality towards the protesters who were accused of starting the violence, a notion that both protesters and witnesses reject, and Bikyamasr.com staff present at the scene can confirm.Read the full story here.
- Yemeni women attacked, while Celebrating peace prize.(BikyaMasr).Dozens of women were reportedly injured in Yemen’s second-largest city on Sunday after government supporters attacked an anti-government rally celebrating Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman.According to reports, pro-government “thugs” threw stones at women who were taking part in a peaceful women’s march in the south-western city of Ta’izz.“Yemeni authorities must protect the right to freedom of expression, which includes not tolerating violent attacks on peaceful marches,” said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.“A full, independent and impartial investigation must be carried out to identify and bring to justice all those responsible for wounding dozens of women at the Ta’izz march.”Yesterday’s march in Ta’izz was called after last Friday’s announcement that Karman, a young Yemeni rights activist, would be among three women to receive the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.As a journalist and President of the NGO Women without Chains, Karman has long campaigned against human rights violations in Yemen. She has called on the authorities to protect freedom of expression and women’s rights as well as to release political prisoners.The activist was involved in this year’s pro-reform protests in Yemen from a very early stage and was briefly detained for her activism in the capital Sana’a in January.She shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with two Liberian women, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and rights activist Leymah Gbowee. She is the first Arab woman to win the prize.“These attacks on a peaceful gathering in Ta’izz come just days after the Nobel Peace Prize highlighted the struggle for rights in Yemen,” said Smart.“The whole world continues to watch as Yemeni authorities fail to act on demands for reform while peaceful protest is being violently suppressed.”A larger march, involving both men and women, condemning yesterday’s attack and celebrating Karman’s Nobel peace prize on top of its usual anti-government calls also took place in Ta’izz today. A pro-government group reportedly attacked a group of women who were near the Republican Hospital during the march.Since February 2011, scores of people have been killed and more than a thousand have been injured in protests across Yemen as security forces have repeatedly used excessive force, including by firing live ammunition at peaceful protesters.Read the full story here.
- Where is NATO, where is Turkey in NATO?(HurriyetDaily).By Kadri Gürsel.If those governing Turkey do not want to share with Israel the data to be obtained by the AN/TPY-2 X-band radar to be located near Kürecik in the Central Anatolian province of Malatya within the framework of NATO’s missile defense system, they should be negotiating this with the United States, not with NATO.The system is entirely American, including its missile-detecting and early warning satellites, monitoring and target-detecting ground radars, command-control infrastructure and finally its missile-killing missiles. What the Obama administration did was to enable this already existing capability to integrate with NATO for the safety of European allies. Nevertheless, the radar at Kürecik, like its match in Israel, will be operated by American staff but dedicated to NATO. Consequently, Turkey has the right to demand that non-NATO Israel be excluded from the data to be provided by this radar.Israel is the United States’ strategic ally. And the integration of the missile defense system into NATO does not constitute a total obstacle for other U.S. allies, like Israel, to make use of this system. The system contains a structure with two brains, one American, the other being NATO command-control centers.Data coming from satellites and radars first reach the American command control center, and then they are passed on to the NATO center. Data to be provided by Kürecik radar will also go to the American command control center first.Now, Turkey, at this stage, is in a position to negotiate with the U.S. for measures and assurances to prevent the data provided by the radar stationed in its own soil to be passed to Israel along with NATO.In short, the situation is this: There is no ground for Turkey to prevent a warning such as “A missile has been launched from Iran” that is coming from the satellites to the American command-control system to be passed onto the X-band radar stationed in Israel while it is being transmitted to the NATO command-control center.But Turkey has the right to demand that the data Kürecik will provide after a missile has been launched and NATO command demands that the radar in Kürecik starts tracking it will not be passed onto Israel. Now let’s take a look at the timetable.The decision in principle to form the ballistic missile defense system was made at NATO’s Lisbon summit last November. Turkey announced Sept. 1 its decision to host the radar. Then, on Sept. 13, an agreement was signed with Romania that missile-killing missiles would be stationed there. Two days later, an agreement of the same content with Poland came into effect.Now, NATO’s target is to launch the system on a temporary status before the summit in Chicago on May 20-21. Logic says, without activating the X-band radar in Kürecik, this target cannot be met. And again, logic demands that in order for the radar to become operational, an agreement between the U.S. and Turkey has to be reached that records Ankara’s reservation about Israel.It is only legitimate to ask this question at this point and time: Why would Turkey want, with such persistence, to protect that information from Israel, the one that would enable an earlier extinction while in air of a nuclear head that would cause immense civilian losses underneath it wherever it explodes?The Justice and Development Party (AKP) diplomacy was not able to give a satisfactory answer to this question to this day. I assume this attitude stems from the efforts of the AKP government’s trying to establish an internal consistency in its Middle East policy: On the one hand it is trying to create political power and legitimacy in the Middle East by forming a relationship of contention with Israel, even daring a military conflict, at least in statements, while on the other hand it wishes not to have the image of supporting Israel’s strategic defense.Prime Minister Erdoğan’s indirect announcement that he perceives Israel’s nuclear weapons as a threat against Turkey is also consistent with this position.The new Turkey, while acting together with NATO against Iran, is trying to balance this togetherness by being anti-Israel. But looking at the negative statements issued by Iran about the missile shield, it is not a very successful move.It is impossible for Turkey to convince the other 27 NATO countries of the Israeli (nuclear) threat, as it is equally impossible to receive any understanding on the matter.Even though Turkey is the front-running country to be subject to new threats against NATO members, it has a lonely position at other fronts it has selected for itself.Read the full story here.
- Latest Update: Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani.(Vinienco).The case of imprisoned Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani now has been referred to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, Agence France-Presse, a French news service, reported Oct. 10.The ayatollah has ultimate authority in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and AFP said the move to involve him in the case could mean a delay in the final verdict, which had been expected Monday.“The step to involve the most powerful leader in Iran demonstrates that Iran is feeling the pressure,” Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, said. “Involving the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in a case before a regional court is unusual. We can be certain if the lies spread by Iran were true — that Youcef was instead convicted of rape, extortion and Zionism — the court would not seek the advice of the Supreme Ayatollah.“Now that Iran’s Supreme Leader will be considering the case, it is imperative that our top diplomat, Secretary of State Clinton, call for Pastor Youcef’s unconditional release,” Sekulow wrote in a post on the group’s website Oct. 10.More than 125,000 people had signed the petition asking Clinton to pressure Iran on behalf of the pastor, Sekulow said. Also, bipartisan support was growing in Congress with Reps. Joe Pitts, R.-Pa., and Heath Schuler, D.-N.C., writing a letter to Clinton urging her to intervene.“We implore you to raise your voice at this critical juncture on behalf of Pastor Nadarkhani. We must not stand by while the Iranian Regime executes a man who has committed no crime,” the letter, released to the ACLJ, said.By Oct. 7 the letter had been signed by at least 39 members of Congress, including 13 Democrats. Notably, Rep. Keith Ellison, D.-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, was among them.Sekulow asked Americans to sign the Clinton petition and to contact their members of Congress and request that they sign the Pitts-Shuler letter with urgency, given the possibility that Nadarkhani could be executed at any time without any prior announcement.Meanwhile, the European Centre for Law and Justice, the ACLJ’s international affiliate which holds special consultative status with the United Nations, submitted a letter on Nadarkhani’s behalf, calling on the United Nations to secure the pastor’s immediate and unconditional release.The letter explained that Nadarkhani’s conviction and death sentence are inconsistent with the Iranian constitution and the nation’s obligations under international law. The ECLJ reminded the United Nations that the pastor’s case “has tremendous implications for all Christians and religious minorities in Iran and is yet another indicator of the regime’s disregard for basic human rights and freedoms.”Nadarkhani, 32, was arrested in 2009 and charged with apostasy, an offense punishable by hanging. A lower court found that while he had never been Muslim, he was guilty of apostasy because he came from a Muslim family. The Iranian Supreme Court upheld his death sentence.Nadarkhani’s refusal to recant his faith has inspired Christians worldwide. The ACLJ reported one of his court exchanges.“Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” he asked.“To the religion of your ancestors, Islam,” the judge reportedly replied.“I cannot,” Nadarkhani responded.Read the full story here.
- Palestinians Declare America Public Enemy #1.(JPost).The US is the number one enemy of the Palestinians because it supports Israeli “oppression” against the Palestinians, Tawfik Tirawi, a senior member of the Fatah Central Committee, said on Sunday.Tirawi, former commander of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Force in the West Bank, also said that Fatah has not abandoned the armed struggle option against Israel.“Fatah hasn’t thrown the rifle aside,” Tirawi told thousands of university students during a rally in Hebron.Tirawi’s anti-US remarks came only days after a Palestinian protester tossed a shoe at US diplomats who arrived in Ramallah to attend a cultural event.The Palestinians were protesting against US President Barack Obama’s refusal to back the PA’s statehood bid at the UN and US threats to cut off financial aid to the PA.Tirawi also criticized the PA leadership for refusing to allow Palestine TV to use the term “Israeli enemy” in its broadcasts.“Those who prevent the use of the term ‘Israeli enemy’ are acting in violation of national awareness and the principles of people under occupation,” he argued. “They must go away.”Read the full story here.
- That Belgian
BlackHolebank Called Dexia.(KleinVerzet). Over on ZeroHedge somebody is seriously flabbergasted about the financial sink-hole Dexia and Belgium have got themselves into. For starters, Dexia had 566 billion euros in debt and 19 billion euros in equity as of the end of 2010. Right off the bat, that’s a leverage ratio of 29 to 1. Lehman Brothers was leveraged at 30 to 1 when it collapsed. Now consider that Belgium’s entire GDP is just 348 billion euros. Dexia has 566 billion euros in assets. Of this 352 billion are loans. Put another way, Dexia’s loan portfolio alone is larger than its home country’s entire economy.
AND THIS BANK PASSED THE STRESS TESTS.
Suffice to say, Europe’s banking system is in far FAR worse shape than anyone over there is admitting. The stress tests were complete and total fiction. And the market is starting to figure this out.The markets are figuring this out only now? Have they not been paying attention? When things get serious YOU HAVE TO LIE. That is what one of the foremost EUnion top banana said himself. That is the EUnion way.
Makes you wonder, though, what else is hiding in the 'Darkroom' where the stress test was taken, doesn't it?Read the full story here.
- EGYPT - The Last Choice.(AlexanderMunch).So, now what? Well, as far as I see it, there is only one solution out of this: Our political and social leaders need to sit down with SCAF and deliver the following message to them: “If you keep this up you are walking the path of your own destruction. The old tactics won’t work. The people refused to turn sectarian, and your soldiers are no way near enough to take control of the country. So why not cut the crap and finish this? Tell us what you want, and get out of power immediately, because if you continue doing this you will break the country and your institution. Neither one of us wants to live in a broken country, and you can’t sustain this, so this needs to stop, now. What we want is a country with a future, and the only way to get there is together. This is the only choice you have, because the Price of the other choice is one that you cannot afford to pay, but we are starting to be willing to pay it. This is not a negotiation; this is the only road out, and you no longer have space to maneuver. We are stopping you from signing your own death warrant, so let’s end this now.” And we take it from there. An exit deal, made right now, ending this fiasco, because the alternative is death to all. And make no mistake: they will have to answer to the death toll of yesterday, because the army cannot kill its people and be allowed to get away with it. Someone will be held into account as part of that deal. No one will win, but especially not the SCAF, because it’s no longer an option for them. Read the full story here.
- Netherlands: Turks to claim back integration course costs.(DutchNews).Thousands of Turkish nationals are set to claim back the cost of integration courses from the Dutch state, now that the compulsory classes have been ruled illegal, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Tuesday.Lawyer Bilal Coskun told the paper some 30,000 Turks have been forced to take the courses, many of them in Turkey itself. He has now set up a foundation to represent them in claiming back an average €5,000 per person.In 2006, the government introduced new rules requiring Turkish nationals who want to come to the Netherlands to pass an integration exam before arrival. But this has now been ruled illegal under treaties between Turkey and the EU.The government has already said people who took the course after August 16 would be refunded, but not the rest.Read the full story here.
- Children to be banned from blowing up balloons, under EU safety rules.(Telegraph).The EU toy safety directive, agreed and implemented by Government, states that balloons must not be blown up by unsupervised children under the age of eight, in case they accidentally swallow them and choke.Despite having been popular favourites for generations of children, party games including whistles and magnetic fishing games are to be banned because their small parts or chemicals used in making them are decreed to be too risky.Apparently harmless toys that children have enjoyed for decades are now regarded by EU regulators as posing an unacceptable safety risk.Whistle blowers, that scroll out into a a long coloured paper tongue when sounded – a party favourite at family Christmas meals – are now classed as unsafe for all children under 14.The new rules are designed to protect children from the chance that a piece of the whistle could be swallowed and cause choking.The EU directive will also force manufacturers and retailers to attach safety warnings to toys hitherto regarded as harmless.Official guidance notes: "For latex balloons there must be a warning that children under eight years must be supervised and broken balloons should be discarded." Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, warned that toy safety bans were part of a trend to micro-manage children's lives at the expense of allowing them to explore, learn and have fun through play. "Toys and activities, such as blowing up balloons, are part and parcel of the type of children's play that helps them become independent and self-reliant," he said.As well as new rules for balloons and party whistles, the EU legislation will impose restrictions on how noisy toys, including rattles or musical instruments, are allowed to be.All teddie bears meant for children under the age of three will now have to be fully washable because EU regulators are concerned that dirty cuddly toys could spread disease and infection.Paul Nuttall, a member of the European Parliament's consumer safety committee, said the "kill joy" world of EU officialdom was being ill-equipped to understand the concept of children having fun."I would say that this is crackers but I sure children are banned from using them too. EU party poopers should not be telling families how to blow up balloons," said the Ukip MEP.Hmmmmmmm.........A lot of 'hot air'?Read the full story here.
- New Climate Scare: Europe May be Facing Return Of ‘Little Ice Age’.(WUWT).Newsbytes from Dr. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Britain should brace itself for another freezing winter with the return of La Niña, a climate phenomenon known to disrupt global weather, ministers have warned. The warning coincides with research from the Met Office suggesting Europe could be facing a return of the “little ice age” that gripped Britain 300 years ago, causing decades of bitter winters. The prediction, to be published in Nature, is based on observations showing a slight fall in the sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation, which over a long period may trigger mini ice ages in Europe. –Jonathan Leake, The Sunday Times, 9 October 2011.
BRITAIN is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it could all begin within weeks as experts said last night that the mercury may soon plunge below the record -20C endured last year. Latest evidence shows La Nina, linked to extreme winter weather in America and with a knock-on effect on Britain, is in force and will gradually strengthen as the year ends. It coincides with research from the Met Office indicating the nation could be facing a repeat of the “little ice age” that gripped the country 300 years ago, causing decades of harsh winters. –Laura Caroe, Daily Express, 10 October 2011
Some scientists predict that the Sun is heading for a long slump in solar activity known as a Grand Solar Minimum. If this happens, it is possible that Britain could return to conditions similar to those 350 years ago when sunspots vanished during “the Little Ice Age”, when ice fairs were often held on the frozen Thames in London. –Paul Simons, The Times, 10 October 2011
The fact is that nobody knows if the forthcoming winter will be severe or mild. The only wise advice that can be given is to plan as if 2011 is going to be like the previous three winters, and one doesn’t need multi-million pound computers to make it. –-David Whitehouse, The Observatory, 10 October 2011
Green thinking represents a challenge to the status quo? That’s a laughable idea. From schools and universities to every corner of the Western political sphere, the climate-change outlook is the status quo. In fact, it’s the new conservatism. –Brendan O’Neil, The Australian, 8 October 2011.Read the full 'story' here.
- Senior Salafi Cleric: It Is Permissible to Report to Infidel Police a Muslim Conspiring against another Muslim, But Not against an Infidel.(Memri).On October 6, 2011, the Salafi-jihadi website Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad published a fatwa by Sheikh Abu Mudhir Al-Shinqiti, a member of the website's shari'a council, on the issue of reporting the crimes of Muslims to infidel police forces. According to the fatwa, if the victim of the crime is a Muslim, it is permissible to report it, but not if the victim is an infidel, since in any case a Muslim is allowed to kill him, steal his possessions, and defile his honor.Read the full story here.
- The Chinese Paper Dragon is Tumbling down.(AstuteBloggers).Central Huijin, the domestic arm of China’s sovereign wealth fund, will purchase shares in Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China , the official Xinhua news agency announced on Monday. Xinhua added that the purchases by Huijin – its first such public intervention since a similar decision at the onset of the financial crisis three years ago – would “support the healthy operations and development of key state-owned financial institutions and stabilise the share prices of state-owned commercial banks”.The announcement came too late for the Chinese stock market, which had closed at a 30-month low...IT'S GONNA GET REAL UGLY REAL SOON. LIKE 3-6 WEEKS.Read the full story here.
- And now for something completely different.And the trophy goes to... China's silliest supertower built in a village of 2,000 farmers.(DailyMail).It has been recognised as the richest village in China with each resident having at least $250,000 in the bank, but now it is showing off its economic might with the opening of a huge skyscraper.What is perhaps most startling about the building - dubbed the Hanging Village of Huaxi - is that it is in a village with just 2,000 officially registered inhabitants.Reaching 328 metres (1,076ft) into the sky in Huaxi, Jiangsu province, East China, its closest rival is 600 miles away in Beijing and it is 18 metres taller than the Shard will be when it opens in Central London next year.It ranks as the 15th-highest skyscraper in the world, standing taller than Paris's Eiffel Tower (324m) and the Chrysler Building (319m) in New York.It has taken four years for the work to be finished on the 74-storey hotel and residential block at a cost of 3billion yuan (£301m).Some have compared the building as looking like a trophy because at the top there is a huge sphere made out of glass while others wonder if it is sustainable in such a place as Huaxi.Money for the project partly came from people in the village - which celebrated its 50th anniversary the day the building was opened - who gave shares of 10million Yuan each, the China News Service said.Zhou Li, deputy party chief of the village, said: 'The building is a symbol of collectivism.'Read and see the full story here.