Thursday, October 20, 2011
I counted 31 vehicles — note the near complete absence of cheering.Fast forward to the 2:40 mark.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity Iran 4.5 ; Tonga 4.8 !More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Breaking News » Muammar Qaddafi KILLED!Al Arabiya filmed his body and released images Video here. AlArabiya.Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi died of wounds suffered on Thursday as fighters battling to complete an eight-month-old uprising against his rule overran his hometown Sirte, Libya’s interim rulers said.His killing, which came swiftly after his capture near Sirte, is the most dramatic single development in the Arab Spring revolts that have unseated rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and threatened the grip on power of the leaders of Syria and Yemen.“He [Qaddafi] was also hit in his head,” National Transitional Council official Abdel Majid Mlegta told Reuters. “There was a lot of firing against his group and he died.."Mlegta told Reuters earlier that Qaddafi, who was in his late 60s, was captured and wounded in both legs at dawn on Thursday as he tried to flee in a convoy which NATO warplanes attacked. He said he had been taken away by an ambulance.There was no independent confirmation of his remarks.An anti-Qaddafi fighter said Qaddafi had been found hiding in a hole in the ground and had said “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot” to the men who grabbed him.His capture followed within minutes of the fall of Sirte, a development that extinguished the last significant resistance by forces loyal to the deposed leader.The capture of Sirte and the death of Qaddafi means Libya’s ruling NTC should now begin the task of forging a new democratic system which it had said it would get under way after the city, built as a showpiece for Qaddafi’s rule, had fallen.Qaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on August 23 after 42 years of one-man rule over the oil-producing North African state.NTC fighters hoisted the red, black and green national flag above a large utilities building in the center of a newly-captured Sirte neighborhood and celebratory gunfire broke out among their ecstatic and relieved comrades.Hundreds of NTC troops had surrounded the Mediterranean coastal town for weeks in a chaotic struggle that killed and wounded scores of the besieging forces and an unknown number of defenders.NTC fighters said there were a large number of corpses inside the last redoubts of the Qaddafi troops. It was not immediately possible to verify that information.Read and SEE the full story here.
- Forget about Ebenezer Scrooge!Obama Solicits Designers to Work - Unpaid - on ... Jobs Poster!(Rollingstone).The Obama campaign has more than $60 million cash on hand. In an economy this bad, you'd think a presidential campaign that flush would be happy to pay good money for a talented designer to create a campaign poster. But the folks at Obama campaign have taken a page from the Arianna Huffington book of economic exploitation and called on "artists across the country" to create a poster ... for free.And here's the kicker. It's a jobs poster.Yes, the Obama campaign is soliciting unpaid labor to create a poster "illustrating why we support President Obama's plan to create jobs now, and why we'll re-elect him to continue fighting for jobs for the next four years."If you win? You get: A framed copy of your own poster, signed by the president ("approximate retail value $195").And if you don't win? Well, that's too bad. You've not only lost the contest, you've also surrendered your intellectual property. "All submissions will become the property of Obama for America," according to the fine print.The campaign presents a "creative brief" that offers potential slogans for the poster, including: "Fighting for jobs," "Get America back to work," "Made in the USA," and "Support small business." To this list, let us helpfully suggest adding the tagline of San Francisco designer Mike Montiero: "Fuck You. Pay Me."Monteiro — better known to his Twitter followers as @Mike_FTW — is the design director at Mule Design. "I find it ironic that the campaign is kicking off this big jobs program by asking designers to do free work for them," he tells Rolling Stone. Monteiro says he's a supporter of the campaign as well as a donor ("some of that cash on hand is mine"), but he adds: "I get furious when people ask for free design work, and even more furious when designers do work for free.""The design industry has been hit as hard as a lot of other groups," Monteiro says. "We need jobs too."The Obama campaign did not return a call seeking comment. Beyond the not-so-delicious irony of a rich campaign asking starving artists for free work in the middle of the Great Recession, there's also a potential campaign-finance issue at play here. If the Obama campaign asked a printing shop to produce the winning poster for free, for example, it would run afoul of the Federal Elections Commission for accepting an illicit in-kind donation. Providing valuable design work may present the same trouble. While the Federal Election Commission would not comment on the specific poster campaign, spokeswoman Mary Brandenberger tells Rolling Stone that "services offered free or at less than the usual charge result in an in-kind contribution."
Monteiro estimates that the campaign would have to spend anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 to contract with a professional designer to create a poster for a national campaign. That sum is far in excess of the individual contribution limit of $2,500.
UPDATE: A lawyer in D.C. familiar with elections law writes in to make the case that such a donation of valuable design work could be kosher.Read the full story here.
- Who was behind (literally) Gilad Shalit's Egyptian interview?(MelaniePhilips).It appears that before Egypt passed Gilad Shalit over to the Israelis today, it subjected him to ten minutes of cruel and inhuman treatment of its own. Further details have emerged of the interview with Shalit carried out by Egyptian TV interviewer Shahira Amin. Many have commented on how ill at ease Shalit appeared during that interview. Now it turns out that standing behind Shalit’s chair as he answered the questions was a man in fatigues and wearing a black face mask and the green headband of the Qassam brigades – Hamas’s military wing – and with a video camera in his hand.As for the interview itself, it was clearly designed as a propaganda exercise for the Arab masses. To ask such exploitative questions of someone who had just been released from five years’ captivity, who was clearly in a fragile state (he said so, and he subsequently fainted in the helicopter on the way to the Israeli air force base) and thus to delay his transfer to the Israelis and the reunion with his family, was itself a kind of torture. But as this report in the Jerusalem Post reveals, some of Amin’s questions amounted in addition to bullying which in the circumstances was as cruel and inhuman as it was, quite simply, totally detached from the reality of Shalit’s hermetically sealed captivity.Read the full story here.
- Female terrorist Would-be bomber tells Gaza kids to be like her.(YNet).A would-be Palestinian suicide bomber freed by Israel in the prisoner swap for soldier Gilad Shalit told cheering schoolchildren in the Gaza Strip the day after her release on Wednesday she hoped they would follow her example. "I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs," Wafa al-Biss told dozens of children who came to her home in the northern Gaza Strip.Biss was travelling to Beersheba's Soroka hospital for medical treatment in 2005 when Israeli soldiers at the Erez border crossing noticed she was walking strangely. They found 10 kgs (22 lbs) of explosives had been sewn into her underwear. A member of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an offshoot of President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, Biss was sentenced to a 12-year term for planning to blow herself up. After she spoke, the children cheered and waved Palestinian flags and chanted: "We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine."Biss said she had planned to blow herself up at the checkpoint but her detonator malfunctioned. "Unfortunately, the button did not work at the last minute before I was to be martyred," Biss told Reuters. She said she had not yet adjusted to her freedom and arose early on Wednesday for prison roll call."This morning I woke up in my room, wore my scarf and stood up awaiting the line-up time before I realized I was home and not in jail," she said.Once she settles back to her routine, Biss said she plans to complete university psychology studies but added that she remained defiant in the face of Israeli warnings to act against those who return to militancy. "We will pursue our struggle and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu) knows that. Arrests will not deter us from our strong battles and confrontation in the face of Zionist arrogance in the land of Palestine," she said. Biss was one of 477 Palestinians freed by Israel on Tuesday in the first stage of an exchange with Gaza's Hamas Islamist rulers that ended Shalit's five years of captivity. Another 550 Palestinians will be freed in the second stage later this year.Read the full story here.
- Obama's Department of Sharia.(DocsTalk).In "Obama's Department of Shariah" in World Net Daily this morning, Pamela Geller discusses the remarkable Islamization of the Obama Department of Justice. For more on this phenomenon, see her essential book, Stop the Islamization of America: A Practical Guide to the Resistance. In the continuing Islamization of the Department of Justice, Barack Obama's DOJ filed a lawsuit against a Chicago-area school district for not allowing Safoorah Khan, a Muslim teacher at MacArthur Middle School, to take time off to make the hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, thereby abandoning her students for a month. The DOJ sued the school district and last week forced it to give Khan $75,000 in lost back pay, compensatory damages and attorneys' fees. The Berkeley School District didn't deny Khan's request because they hated Muslims. The school needed her. That's why they said no. She was the only math lab teacher and was a new hire on probation – she had only been on the job for nine months. Why take a job you can't do? Why take a job that you plan on leaving for a month? Islamic supremacism.Khan herself made that clear when she said: "I'm glad that we settled, and I hope this does set a precedent. I hope they realize that hajj means a lot to Muslims and there will be more and more people taking the trip. I hope this helps people and their employers to accommodate Muslims and their requests."In other words, employers better get used to changing the way they operate their businesses in order to accommodate Muslim demands, or else.Your taxpayer dollars at work: to sue on behalf of an Islamic supremacist and to force the school district to pay 75K in jizya, the tribute money Islamic law requires non-Muslims to pay to Muslims.Obama's Department of Shariah filed this outrageous lawsuit against the school district in December 2010, not to ensure the kids get a good education, mind you, but more importantly, to ensure that the Muslims get special rights and extraordinary accommodation. Obama's Department of Shariah sued to ensure the kids got the shaft but the teacher got the hajj.
This is the same DOJ's Eric Holder who spoke at the Muslim Advocates dinner a few months back and reassured Muslims of "DOJ's anti-bias focus."
This is the same DOJ that scuttled the prosecutions against Muslim Brotherhood-tied groups, i.e. CAIR et al.
This is the same DOJ that is creating Muslim majority legislative districts by converting a religious class into a racial one.
This is the same Eric Holder who sued a New Jersey county demanding that a correction facility change its rules to allow a Muslim prison guard to wear a khimar, an Islamic head covering, even though it's a choke hazard and she will be among prisoners.
The Department of Justice sponsored a booth at the Muslim Brotherhood front ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) convention underwritten by, among others, the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas-linked CAIR.Further, Obama's Department of Justice dropped the "charges" against the Muslims who blew up the USS Cole.We don't need the Justice Department on cases like those. We need the Justice Department investigating how taxpayer dollars are being used to fund Islamic finance (thereby funding jihad and prohibition on whole American business sectors). We need the Justice Department on the violation of the separation of mosque and state in the public schools, in the workplace, in the courtroom and in foreign policy. We need the Justice Department on the violation of the Constitution in regards to Muslims – no longer are equal rights sufficient; now it's special rights for a very extra special class, Muslims, as the Safoorah Khan case demonstrates.We need the Justice Department presenting a parade of reliable witnesses like the ex-Muslim human-rights activists Nonie Darwish; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Ibn Warraq; the former Sudanese jihad slave and Christian activist Simon Deng; witnesses to the Fort Hood jihad murders; witnesses to the Christmas underwear bomber jihad attack on a plane in Detroit; witnesses to the failed jihad bombing in Times Square; compatriots of jihad plotter Najibullah Zazi; and hundreds of victims of jihad attacks in the U.S. and elsewhere.These would finally educate the American people about Islamic jihad. But instead, we see the Obama administration aiding and abetting Islam's ongoing war against the principle of the equality of rights of all people, and against the few brave people who speak candidly about Islamic jihad and the hundreds of thousands who have been slaughtered in jihadist wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilations and enslavements.Obama and Holder want to use your tax dollars to make sure that Safoorah Khan, Nihad Awad, Ibrahim Hooper, Sheik Qaradawi and the hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood individuals and groups achieve their goal unmolested, and that nothing stands in the way of that stated goal: "eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house."The Safoorah Khan case is just the beginning of Islamic supremacist attempts to gain special privileges for Muslims. It is incumbent upon all free Americans to fight all the harder for equality and justice for all people.Read the full story here.
- Obama administration 'bailed out' GM salmon firm.(Guardian).The Obama administration awarded a coveted research grant to a financially strapped company working to put genetically modified (GM) salmon on American dinner tables, overlooking disclosures that the firm could run out of cash in early 2012, it has emerged.Campaigners say the $500,000 grant to AquaBounty amounts to a bail-out for the firm's main investor, the business tycoon and former economics minister of Georgia, Kakha Bendukidze. They are also comparing it to the Solyndra controversy, which saw a solar company go bankrupt after receiving government loan guarantees."Certainly this does have shades of Solyndra. We have seen this company's stock plummeting for months and months – years actually – and what does the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) do but give this company money?", said Colin O'Neil, a policy analyst at the Centre for Food Safety, which opposes GM salmon."This is research that any public university or independent institution could be doing, so why is the USDA funding this interested company to do it?" he said.The grant, awarded last month, comes at a critical juncture for AquaBounty.After $67m and 16 years' waiting, the Food and Drug Administration could pronounce GM salmon fit for human consumption within weeks, the company's chief executive, Ronald Stotish, said.Hmmmmm......"There She Blows!"?Read the full story here.
- Are The Conspiracy Theorists Right? Study shows that one 'super-corporation' pulls the strings of the global economy.(DailyMail).A University of Zurich study 'proves' that a small group of companies - mainly banks - wields huge power over the global economy.The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them - and created a 'map' of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy.The study found that 147 companies formed a 'super entity' within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks - the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. But the close connections mean that the network could be vulnerable to collapse.The 1318 transnational corporations that form the core of the globalised economy - connections show partial ownership of one another, and the size of the circles corresponds to revenue. The companies 'own' through shares the majority of the 'real' economy. 'In effect, less than one per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,' says James Glattfelder, a complex systems theorist at the Swiss Federal Institute in Zurich, who co-wrote the research, to be published in the journal PLoS One.Some of the assumptions underlying the study have come in for criticism - such as the idea that ownership equates to control. But the Swiss researchers have no axe to grind: they simply applied mathematical models usually used to model natural systems to the world economy, using data from Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors. Economists such as John Driffil of the University of London, a macroeconomics expert, told New Scientist that the value of its study wasn't to see WHO controlled the global economy, but the tight connections between the world's largest companies.The collapse of 2008 showed that such tightly-knit networks can be unstable.'If one company suffers distress,' Glattfelder says, 'This propagates.'Protest against global capitalism outside St Paul's cathedral, London: But it seems unlikely that the 147 corporations at the heart of the world economy could wield real political power - they represent too many interestsThe research requires more analysis, but it could be used to look for the weaknesses in the network of global wealth, and prevent future financial disaster.Looking at 'connectedness' also puts paid to conspiracy theories about the world's wealth - companies connect to highly connected companies for business reasons, rather than world domination.The 'core' of 147 companies also represents too many interests to wield real political power - but it could act 'as one' to defend common interests. Sadly for market reformers, resisting change may be one such common interest.Read the full story here.
- Major Security Firms Detect New Trojan Capable Of Disrupting Power Plants, Oil Refineries and Other Critical Infrastructure Networks.(SHTF).In our October 7, 2011 report There Have Been Intrusions, we noted that DHS Undersecretary Greg Shaffer warned that hackers and foreign governments are “knocking on the backdoor” of the networked systems which connect everything from infrastructure grid control systems to financial networks.It now appears that our interconnected smart grid is actively under attack, as evidenced by a new Stuxnet-style trojan that has been detected by major cyber security leaders Symantec and McAfee. Much like its predecessor, the trojan dubbed “Duqu” is designed to infilitrate the networks that control everything from power production facilities to oil refineries. It is not yet clear exactly how the trojan operates, what its intended purpose is, or who designed it (though it is believed that the code for Duqu and Stuxnet likely originated with U.S. intelligence agencies). Both Symantec and McAfee continue to investigate the threat:
Security researchers have detected a new Trojan, scarily similar to the infamous Stuxnet worm, which could disrupt computers controlling power plants, oil refineries and other critical infrastructure networks.The Trojan, dubbed “Duqu” by the security firm Symantec, appears, based on its code, to have been written by the same authors as the Stuxnet worm, which last July was used to cripple an Iranian nuclear-fuel processing plant.“Duqu shares a great deal of code with Stuxnet; however, the payload is completely different,” researchers for the security firm Symantec wrote on its Security Response blog.Instead of directly targeting the SCADA system, Duqu gathers “intelligence data and assets from entities, such as industrial control system manufacturers, in order to more easily conduct a future attack against another third party. The attackers are looking for information such as design documents that could help them mount a future attack on an industrial control facility.”“Duqu is essentially the precursor to a future Stuxnet-like attack,” the researchers added.You may recall that Stuxnet was so advanced that it crashed the physical centrifuges used to enrich uranium in Iran’s nuclear facilities. Stuxnet did this by exploiting software and hardware vulnerabilities, essentially reporting to Iranian research facility engineers that everything was functioning properly by controlling the software interface, while in the background it sent centrifuges spinning out of control to the point of hardware failure.Duqu, which is apparently a similar piece of advanced code with a slightly different modus operandi, is not yet completely understood, but like Stuxnet in Iran, it is now actively functioning inside of critical infrastructure systems gathering information. To what end? The answer to that question may remain elusive until it’s too late.In reportedly unrelated news, the Department of Homeland Security, in an unclassified National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center Bulletin (pdf), has issued warnings about the hacking group Anonymous and the possibility that they are becoming increasingly capable of targeting advanced Industrial Control Systems (ICS).Curiously, the Duqu trojan doesn’t seem to have originated from individual hackers or hacking groups, or foreign intelligence services. Rather, like Stuxnet, the virus was likely written under control and/or guidance of U.S. intelligence, possibly in collaboration with Israeli intelligence.While DHS has issued warnings about Anonymous and other hacking groups potentially attacking the grid, someone – and it’s likely not a lone hacker or the Anonymous hacking group – is actively involved in probing for vulnerabilities in our infrastructure control systems. These are the systems that monitor and control our electricity, water supplies, gas pipelines, oil refineries, financial exchanges, and even certain military operations.There seems to be no immediate danger at this time, as the Duqu trojan is reportedly gathering intelligence, as opposed to actively attempting to bring down the systems via a hardware style attack like Stuxnet.But once it acquires all of the necessary information, such as personnel access codes, security certificates and a mapped layout of a particular grid infrastructure, it wouldn’t take much to take things to the next level.Imagine for a moment the effect of an attack on major refining operations, cascading electrical outages, urban water purification systems that added excessive chemicals to water supplies, or the massive flooding that might result if a dam were compromised.Or, consider that the U.S. drone fleet was recently attacked by an unknown trojan or malware, which was logging access commands and passwords for high security military systems. What would happen if an enemy of the people of the United States gained access to our entire drone fleet, weapons systems and all?The possibilities for damage via compromised infrastructure systems would be nothing short of a digital apocalypse, with the potential to adversely affect the lives of tens of millions of unsuspecting Americans virtually overnight.Read the full story here.
- US Senate thwarts Barack Obama by backing the 'French Fry'.(TheTelegraph).The US Senate has thrown its support behind the humble potato, voting to block a proposal by President Barack Obama to limit consumption of the starchy vegetable in schools. Aimed chiefly at chips – or French Fries – the plans angered the potato industry and members of Congress from potato-growing states, who made the case that it and other root crops are a good source of fibre and potassium. Senator Susan Collins from Maine said the vegetables were cheap and nutritious source of food. She declared the vote across party lines a "victory for common sense" and hoped it would send a message to the US Agriculture Department, which drew up the plans for meals subsidised by the federal government. "This proposed rule would have imposed significant and needless costs on our nation's school districts at a time when they can least afford it," she said. The debate fitted into an ongoing argument between Republicans and Democrats about the size and role of government. The former had singled out the potato proposal as unnecessary interference. Healthy eating advocates and government officials said children more diversity in their diets."USDA's proposal was about helping kids to eat a very wide variety of vegetables and I think that point has been lost in all this," said Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest. "Other vegetables have a hard time competing with potatoes." Other critics said the proposal ignored the fact that many schools have prepared chips or French fries with much less grease. Tackling child obesity has been a key goal for the Obama administration and First Lady Michelle Obama, who has heavily promoted her Let's Move exercise campaign. Last year's £3 billion Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act expanded children's access to more nutritional school lunches.Read the full story here.
- Facebook Is Building Shadow Profiles of Non-Users.(Slashdot). "As noted previously, Max Schrems of Europe Versus Facebook has filed numerous complaints about Facebook's data collection practices. One complaint that has failed to draw much scrutiny regards Facebook's creation of Shadow Profiles. 'This is done by different functions that encourage users to hand personal data of other users and non-users to Facebook... (e.g. synchronizing mobile phones, importing personal data from e-mail providers, importing personal information from instant messaging services, sending invitations to friends or saving search queries when users search for other people on facebook.com). This means that even if you don't use it, you may already have a profile on Facebook.Hmmmmmm........Read the full story here.
- Doing Business with Terrorists.(DanielPipes).That Gilad Schalit has been released after five years of captivity by Hamas brings joy to anyone who watches the Israeli soldier's reunion with his parents and the ecstatic welcome he received by his countrymen. It also reminds one of the Israel Defense Forces' noble purpose in doing all it can to stand by its men.But joy is tempered by the bitter realities of statecraft. First, the trade of one Israeli soldier for 1,027 Arabs, 477 of them convicted terrorists, offers huge incentives for the capture of more Israeli soldiers. Second, the trade releases hundreds of terrorists to their freedom, where they can resume their evil ways, targeting not just Israelis but civilized peoples everywhere. This exchange points to the sentimentalization of strategy. Leaders who place the concerns of one individual over the interests of the country betray their mandate and poison its future. Israeli politicians have been making these lopsided swaps since 1982; over ten thousand Palestinians serving prison sentences for terrorist or other hostile actions. Each time they do, they forsake principle and common sense for short-term benefits. Shame on them.
Comment: As I wrote yesterday there are some unintended consequences to this release of prisoners. The message I delivered has already begun. What did I suggest? The International community and local political groups will use this trade and communication process to establish a new baseline for negotiation. The message will be something like this: "Now that you have crossed your own red lines never to negotiate with such a terrorist group and now that you have demonstrated the minimal price you are willing to pay, there is no longer any reason for you not to ..." Please note the wonderful "Quartet" of smart ones who yesterday gave us in Israel 3 months to come up with final border decisions. What Bibi needed to do , an hour after greeting Gilad, welcoming him home ,he should have gone back to Jerusalem and spoken to the international community. He should have said: This will not happen again. The terrorist group has extorted a high price from us and our duty to return our soldier drove my decision. The international community was complicit in this extortion and we shall not enable you to do this again to us. Where were the peace groups, the NGO's , human rights groups, where was the UN, Red Cross? In the 5 years of Gilad's captivity he was never allowed a visit to confirm his vialbility or quality of life-you raised not even one shout, a whimper only once or twice. This makes you complicit. Do not talk to us about humanity and human rights given your lack of human behavior. Hamas, Fatah, Hizzbollah and all other groups who have stated their goal is to send us away from our home land, you are hereby on notice. I could have but did not use other measures to bring our soldier home. Do not use the oft repeated "but you can not collectively punish...", this is but a ploy and tactic. You are not the victim so stop acting like one. Your actions are childish, start acting like grown ups. We have multiple possibilities if there is a next time, something within minutes of the exchange your leaders and freed terrorist shouted to the world you would begin again. Dont behave inhumanely, it will not bode well for you.This is what he should have said!! Read the full story here.
- Why Does Europe Receive so Many Asylum Claims from Turkey?(ST).The UNHCR published its Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries document yesterday. It makes interesting reading vis-a-vis our Turkish friends. As the table above demonstrates, on average Europe receives more than 1500 requests for asylum from Turkish citizens each quarter. Why is a country being seriously considered for EU membership when it generates so many requests for political asylum?Read and see the full story here.
- Hizballah Setting Up 90 Miles From U.S..(IPTNews).More than two dozen Hizballah operatives are setting up an operations base in Cuba, an Italian newspaper reports, with the objective of plotting revenge attacks for the 2008 assassination of former terrorist operations chief Imad Mughniyeh.The operatives will start with a $1.5 million budget, working to make "new contacts, obtain and produce travel documents for various South American countries, recruit informants, and develop relationships with smugglers that move merchandise and are involved in human trafficking," according to a translation of the Corriere della Serra article.Most of the operatives were handpicked by Talal Hamia, who reportedly runs Hizballah's clandestine operations.The Lebanese-based terrorist group already has established a vast network of operatives throughout Latin America, particularly along the Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, engaging in drug trafficking and other criminal operations. In addition, Cuban ally Hugo Chavez of Venezuela reportedly held a secret summit last year in Caracas, hosting leaders of Hizballah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.Dozens of people have been arrested in the United States for providing support to the group. Law enforcement officials fear some of those supporters could be used to launch attacks against American interests ordered to do so by Hizballah leaders or the group's Iranian patrons.Now Hizballah appears to be planting seeds in this hemisphere for precisely that reason.Read the full story here.
- Opposition leaders liken Turkish PM Erdogan to Marie Antoinette.(HurriyetDaily).Turkey’s opposition leaders have slammed the government over a series of tax increases, comparing the prime minister’s defense of the hikes to the famous phrase attributed to French Queen Marie Antoinette: “If they have no bread, let them eat cake.”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turks could adjust to price hikes in tobacco, alcohol and automobiles if they quit smoking, drink less and avoid buying luxurious cars like Porsches.“Then let our people stop using also natural gas and electricity. Let them not drive cars and let them eat cake if they have no bread. Let the prime minister and his partisans stroll around the world, eat and drink while our people spend less, sit down and shut up,” Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday.Government ineptitude is responsible for the gaping current account deficit, he said, adding that it was an omen of a looming “economic disaster.”The chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, also lashed out at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).“Our people are paying the price for the government’s mismanagement. The prime minister and the ministers are mocking the people as they increase taxes,” Kılıçdaroğlu told his party’s group meeting in Parliament yesterday.“How are the citizens going to pay the bills? Will the prime minister tell them to eat cake if they have no bread?” he said, noting that natural gas and electricity prices had also increased.Kılıçdaroğlu said Erdoğan’s talk about Porsches showed that the AKP had lost touch with ordinary people’s realities.In further comments, he lauded worldwide anti-capitalist demonstrations, inspired by protests on Wall Street, as a harbinger of the revival of social democracy.“The masses in developed countries are demanding social justice and resisting exploitation. We are at a very important stage. The doors to social democracy are opening universally. And the CHP will bring social democracy to Turkey,” he said.Kılıçdaroğlu maintained his onslaught on the AKP over the embezzlement probe into the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) charity, charging that factual inaccuracies in explanations offered by an AKP mayor implicated in the affair “exposed their lies.”The CHP has called on Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay to step down on the grounds that he allegedly leaked information of an impending police search to Lighthouse suspects back in 2009 when he was interior minister with the help of his bodyguard and Kırıkkale Mayor Veli Korkmaz.The CHP leader also urged Erdoğan to clarify his claims that CHP municipalities had funneled money to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by way of loan agreements with German foundations.“You have one week to speak. If Erdoğan fails to do that, we will submit a censure motion against him,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.Read the full story here.
- Chinese toddler on 'edge of death'.(TheTelegraph).The Chinese toddler who was ignored by 18 passers-by after she was the victim of a hit and run is now on the edge of death, her doctors said on Thursday.On Thursday, Su Lei, the director of the Guangzhou Military Hospital's Intensive Care Unit said the toddler could die "at any moment". He said: "I cannot tell how long she has left. We are still trying to save her, but the scenario is getting worse and worse."In a statement to the media, the hospital said there was "no sign of her brain functions recovering after 48 hours of continuous monitoring." It added that after consulting with specialists in Beijing, Yue's medical team had concluded that she is now nearly brain-dead."Other key organs are now deteriorating. Her heart is failing and on Thursday she suffered a swelling in her lungs and, at 11.43am, her heart stopped beating. We managed to save her after 40 minutes of resuscitation," the statement said.The girl's parents, Wang Chichang and Qu Feifei, have been standing vigil at a hotel next to the hospital. Mr Wang said they refused to give up hope and would continue to believe in Yue's medical team."We have the best experts here at this hospital caring for her. Neither the hospital or the parents will give up," said Dr Su.Meanwhile, newspapers in Guangdong reported that another young child had been hit by a car in a market in the same area. The accident happened in Shunde, a district of Foshan, at noon on Wednesday.The 20-month-old boy, named as Xiao Jie, was running with an empty basket near his grandfather's store and was hit by a reversing car near the entrance to the market. Xiao Jie suffered a broken leg but one of the market workers managed to stop the driver before the car rolled over him. Read the full story here.
- Turkey hosts 11 Palestinian exiles at MİT headquarter, next steps vague.(TodaysZaman).Eleven Palestinian exiles have arrived in Ankara as Israel freed hundreds of Palestinian prisoners as part of a historic swap deal it made with its deadly rival Hamas, following years of negotiations to see a single Israeli sergeant return safely back home.Turkey received 11 Palestinian ex-prisoners shortly after midnight on Tuesday, diplomatic sources told Today's Zaman, in line with an agreement the opposing sides managed to reach through the reconciliation efforts of Egypt, Turkey and Germany. Meanwhile, Turkish senior sources approached by Today's Zaman acknowledged that the 11 Palestinians had been taken to the headquarters of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) following their arrival at Ankara Esenboğa Airport, and had a medical examination at the MİT building.It has also emerged that MİT officials will remain in constant touch with the Palestinian exiles in the following days and will receive counseling on their experiences of being held in Israeli prisons. The sources separately noted that there were no violations of the law regarding the deportation, since the Palestinians were given their Palestinian passports back in Egypt to enter Turkey, but although they are now inside the country, it would not be feasible for the exiles to travel freely due to concerns over their safety. Whether the deported Palestinians would like to remain in Turkey is another question the officials raised, as they noted that “it will not be possible to keep them using force if they want to leave,” in which case officials of the concerned parties will be contacted to review the conditions.In line with the condition, Turkey agreed to host a share of Palestinian ex-prisoners upon talks with both the Palestinian authority and the ruling Hamas administration in Gaza and received 10 Palestinian men and one woman, who came by plane from Cairo Airport. On the Turkish end, the Palestinian exiles were welcomed by Palestine’s Ambassador in Ankara Nabel Marouf and officials from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, but the identities of the exiled Palestinians were not disclosed to the public.The Palestinian ambassador expressed his gratitude to the Turkish government for its role in the historic swap, and welcomed the 11 Palestinians who he said would undergo a health check up and be transferred to their designated homes, which were arranged by Turkish officials after a long process of sorting out the technical details of the prisoner arrangement. Marouf also hoped that Turkey would continue to assist Palestine until it becomes totally independent.Despite the mystery surrounding the 11 Palestinian ex-prisoners, the Vatan daily also reported on Wednesday that the group Turkey received from Egypt included Walid Zakariya Abd al-Hadi Aqel, a Gaza born Hamas militant, also, reportedly, one of the founders and first commander of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigade -- the hard-line military wing of Hamas. Aqel was sentenced to 16 life sentences in Israeli prison after his capture in 1992, and was considered a deadly threat to the country. It is planned that Aqel will be transferred to İstanbul, where he will live with his family, Vatan noted.Read the full story here.
- Somalia: Al-Shabaab Islamists Behead 17-Year-Old Christian, receive humanitarian aid from Turkish IHH.(CDN) — Militants from the Islamic extremist al Shabaab beheaded a 17-year-old Somali Christian near Mogadishu last month, a journalist in the Somali capital told Compass.The militants, who have vowed to rid Somalia of Christianity, killed Guled Jama Muktar on Sept. 25 in his home near Deynile, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Mogadishu. The Islamic extremist group had been monitoring his family since the Christians arrived in Somalia from Kenya in 2008, said the source in Mogadishu, who requested anonymity.The Islamic militants, who are fighting the transitional government for control of the country, knew from their observations of the family that they were Christians, the source said.“I personally know this family as Christians who used to have secret Bible meetings in their house,” he said.Based on talks with the boy’s parents and their neighbors, the source said al Shabaab members arrived at Muktar’s home at 6 a.m., when his parents, whose names are withheld for security reasons, were already at work at their retail space at the Hamarweyne market on the outskirts of Mogadishu.The extremists found Muktar as he was preparing to go to school, he said.Hmmmmmm......The 'people' the Turkish IHH was giving aid.Read the full story here.
- Related - Turkish IHH Aid Officials Meet with Al-Shabaab.(SomaliaReport).Somali officials welcomed a delegation from Turkey as a Turkish ship carrying 250 tons of food aid for drought affected Somalis arrived in Mogadishu’s sea port and Turkish relief officials met with al-Shabaab in Lower Shabelle.The head of the Turkish Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), Sardash Jam, his deputy, Mr. Murad, and the head of the Turkish Airways, Dr. Jampl Kutiki, along with 210 other Turkish delegates arrived at Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport.“We have decided to help our brothers and sisters who have been crippled by prolonged drought and war in the recent years. We know that many internally displaced families were coming here to Mogadishu from the neighboring regions of Bay, Bakol and Lower Shabelle where famine has been reported,” said IHH Chairman Sardash Jam.Somalia’s Prime Minister Dr. Abdiwali Mohamed Ali welcomed the Turkish delegates at the airport and then traveled with some of them to witness the arrival of supplies, including food aid, medical equipment, tents, blankets at the sea port.“On behalf of Somali government, I would like to thank the Turkish government leaders, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has already visited Mogadishu while accompanied by a large delegation from his country,” said the prime minister at the sea port.He added that the Somalis are grateful to their 'unforgettable Turkish brothers and sister' for their committed support.Dr. Jampl Kutiki promised that Turkish planes, like Turkish Airways, will continue to travel into Mogadishu.Meanwhile reliable information obtained by Somalia Report confirmed late on Monday that the IHH Deputy Chairman, Mr. Murad, along with 2 other Turkish officials have reached al-Shabaab controlled N50 IDPs camp Aala-Yasir in the Lower Shabelle region.Source confirmed that the Turks met with al-Shabaab official, Sheekh Hassan Abu- Ayman, who is responsible for the Bay and Bakol regions. The Turkish members moved from government controlled areas of Mogadishu through Sarkuusta Checkpoint near the Ex-control Checkpoint in the southwest area of the capital. Somali government troops reportedly escorted the Turkish delegates until they reached Sarkuusta. From there the Turkish delegates managed to travel into the rebel held areas. According to the same source, the Turkish aid workers were escorted by a large, armed convoy believed to be carrying some al-Shabaab fighters.The IHH members are reportedly in the al-Shabaab camps to observe, but sources told Somalia Report that the members addressed hundreds of IDPs at the Aala-Yasir camp."Three Muslim Turkish brothers visited our controlled territories in Lower Shabelle region to help the internally displaced people at the Aala-Yasir Camp,” said senior al-Shabaab official Sheikh Hassan Abu Ayman. “They brought us aid and pledged more and we will be grateful for their assistance."Turkish aid workers who visited Aala-Yasir camp said a local NGO called Zam-zam, which often operates in the districts controlled by the Islamist militia, has also been collaborating with IHH. Hmmmm.....Aiding fellow Muslims who kill Christians!Read the full story here.
- Taliban lace bombs with deadly chemicals.(AsiaOnline).PESHAWAR – The majority of those wounded in Pakistani bombings and suicide attacks are doomed to suffer complications and physical deformities caused by chemicals terrorists add to the bombs, Prof. Muhammad Tahir, head of the Plastic Surgery Department at the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC), told Central Asia Online.“The wounds inflicted on the bomb victims are not of a normal nature – they are septic to the extent that the affected persons develop severe deformities even if they recover,” he said. Terrorists receive training in adding potassium, nitrogen, sugar, urea and glycerine to their bombs, causing internal injuries that remain impervious to antibiotics and other drugs, Associate Professor Hakim Khan Afridi at the Forensic Science Department of the Khyber Medical College said. “The phosphorus-based explosives used by miscreants destroy human cells,” he said. “We have examined several burn victims from the blasts, who have received injuries caused by pale white or yellowish-coloured explosives.” “Normal burns ... are responsive to sulphur cream and antibiotics, but the injuries caused by home-based nitrogen- and potassium-riddled preparations are incurable and the victims often die even if they have only 10% injuries on their bodies,” Afridi said. In the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), ”militants have been using manuals of bomb-making printed in Pashtu, Urdu, Persian and Arabic that explain how to find ingredients from everyday sources and how to mix explosives,” said Shafqat Malik, head of the Bomb Disposal Squad in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.Other easily available materials such as magnesium, potassium and sodium have become part of the militants’ effort to cause more casualties, he said. “Lately, they have started attacking mosques in their bid to kill as many people as possible,” he said. About 90% of burn victims from explosions die, while the 10% who survive suffer facial and other deformities that haunt them for the rest of their lives, a plastic surgeon, Tahir, said. Dr. Shiraz Afridi, head of the Accident and Emergency Department at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, is upset by the use of toxins in terrorist bombs. “The bombs produce carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide ... that damage the oxygen-binding capacity of the victims’ bodies,” he said. “The smoke created by these explosives penetrates the bodies and halt the oxygen-carrying process in the body, due to which the patients go into a coma and die.” “Since 2005, we have received 1,319 wounded from terrorist attacks and 50% of them died from the use of highly inflammable explosives and foreign bodies,” he said. “Even deep wounds caused by gunpowder and shrapnel are curable, but the ones caused by the Taliban’s attacks are not so easy to treat.” Miscreants have obtained bomb-making manuals written by al-Qaeda strategists who encourage adherents to launch their own attacks without training, Malik said. One such manual lists the equipment needed to build a bomb factory and how to obtain the components. Read the full story here.
- World Muslim Leader Sends Warning to Dutch Politician Geert Wilders.(IslamVersusEurope).Note that these are the so-called "good Muslims", the Ahmadiyya Muslims. Condemned as heretics, they are persecuted throughout the world by other Muslims. But scratch a good Muslim and what do you find? A Muslim.During a recent visit to Holland, the world Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, issued a stark warning to Geert Wilders, the far-right Dutch politician. He warned Wilders that if he continued to defame Islam and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) then he and other like-minded individuals would be humiliated by God Almighty.Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said that Wilders had exceeded all limits of falsehood and hatred in his opposition towards Islam. He said Wilders was motivated solely by a desire to further his own political ambitions and so the time had come to warn him about the consequences of his actions. He said that irrespective of whether Wilders gained further political capital in the short term, ultimately his antics would lead only towards abject failure and humiliation.Addressing Wilders directly, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“Listen carefully – You, your party and every other person like you will ultimately be destroyed. But the religion of Islam and the message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will remain forever. No worldly power, no matter how powerful and no matter how much hatred they bear towards Islam, will ever succeed in erasing our religion.”
His Holiness explained that the destruction of such individuals would be achieved through prayer alone and not by any worldly means. He said:
“Always remember, that we can achieve nothing without prayer. We have no worldly power, nor will we ever use any worldly force. But the prayers of people whose hearts have been grieved are enough to shake the Heavens.”
Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad also spoke of the many decent people who continued to live in Holland and who rejected wholeheartedly the extremist views perpetuated by Wilders. His Holiness said that all such people who care for the feelings of one another and who believe in religious freedom should come together and launch a campaign for peace in the world. This is something that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has long advocated and has been involved with throughout the world.During his visit, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, also took the opportunity to praise the efforts of Queen Beatrix towards promoting inclusiveness and equality.Speaking about her efforts, His Holiness said:“All Ahmadi Muslims should pray for Queen Beatrix because certain sections of the local society have turned against her, due to the fact that she has openly condemned the anti-Islam movement in this country. They are also angry because she advocates the right of Muslims to be treated as full and equal citizens, whose rights and feelings should be respected. Thus we must pray that all plans and schemes against the Queen completely fail.”Read the full story here.
- Muslims Demand Suppression of Traditional Spanish Reconquista Festivals.(IslamversusEuropa).The leaders of Islamic associations in Spain have demanded that the festivals traditionally held there to celebrate the reconquest of the country from the Muslim invaders be suppressed because they are offensive to Muslims. These celebrations are known as the Fiestas de Moros y Cristianos (Festivals of Moors and Christians). More than a hundred are held in Spain in different localities. Some last for days and feature elaborate and colourful re-enactments of battles.The president of the Federación Española de Entidades Religiosas Islámicas (FEERI) [Spanish Federation of Islamic Religious Assocations] and the imam of Malaga mosque said the festivals should be discontinued because of the image they give of Muslims, saying the celebrations "have no place in a democratic Spain".The imam asked what the reaction would be in some towns if celebrations of the arrival of Franco's troops were held and "the resulting punishment inflicted on the population". In the interests of "good convivencia, they need to disappear", he said.The president of FEERI said:“In a democratic Spain, where all religious faiths are represented, these celebrations of conquest must disappear. Like any other representation of islamophobia or racism, it must be eliminated." He claimed that some of the festivals included offensive acts against Mohammed. This refers to Valencia where some festivals dramatise the recapture of a castle by a band of Christians followed by the destruction of a 3-metre effigy of Mohammed using firecrackers. Some elements of these festivals have already been suppressed.The director of the Islamic Commission of Spain said: "We will never justify violent acts but there is a need to show restraint and take into account what the prophet Mohammed means to us. This cannot be taken lightly because it could result in elements of discord."Read the full story here.
- From the "You know you're in Deep $h*t when series"........Belarus central bank sells off its office furniture.(BlacklistedNews).As an exercise in monetary policy, it's probably not the sort of thing that would be advocated by John Maynard Keynes or Milton Friedman. Amid a disastrous economic crisis, the Belarus central bank has attempted to raise capital by selling off used office equipment and furniture.Five hundred items, including 30 paper bags, 10 safes, two suitcases, a sugar bowl and a used Japanese Dictaphone, were put up for sale in an auction that it was hoped would raise around £10,000.Prices were eminently reasonable – as might be expected in a country where the average wage is around $200 (£125) per month.The cheapest article was a single cardboard box, priced at 480 rubles (less than 1p), while a used television was offered for 417,958 rubles (£46). The most expensive item was a tapestry decorated with the medieval city of Pinsk, which was priced at a whopping 37.2m rubles (£4,100).Amid a crippling financial crisis, Belarus is seeking a $7bn (£4.4bn) emergency bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The value of its currency has fallen sharply in recent months, while inflation has skyrocketed to over 40%, fuelling discontent with the regime of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.Europe and the US have imposed sanctions on the country's leadership, renewed after the state violently put down protests following elections late last year. The country has turned to loans from Russia and China instead.Bank officials insisted that the sale had nothing to do with dwindling funds."This has no relation to the economic situation in Belarus," said Aleksander Timoshenko, the bank's spokesman. "These are not sums that can affect anything. This is about the effective use of property. If property isn't used, we're not going to throw it in a rubbish dump," he said.Read the full 'story' here.