Saturday, November 26, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Fiji 5.0 ; Peru 5.0 !More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Canary Islands - El Hierro earthquake and volcano eruption – Update 21. here , Live webcams here and here.
- Egypt LiveBlog: Déjà Vu All Over Again . Here.
- Full Transcript: Neurosurgeon Briefed by HHS Reveals Obamacare's Death Panels (Hint: Patients Are Called 'Units').(DougRoss).A caller -- "Jeff" from Chicago, Illinois -- spoke with Mark Levin on November 22nd regarding advanced neurological care under the auspices of the new health care law.Junior Cub Reporter Biff Spackle transcribed the entire conversation (only excerpts had been published before).Every American concerned with health care needs to read this conversation.Read the full story here.
- Pakistan Tells U.S. to 'Vacate' Air Base as Border Strike Inflames Tensions.(Fox).Pakistan's government has ordered the U.S. to "vacate" an air base used for suspected drone attacks, in retaliation for a NATO strike that allegedly killed two-dozen Pakistani soldiers, Fox News has confirmed. The demand marked the latest reprisal out of Pakistan, as the U.S. and NATO allies scramble to investigate the incident. Islamabad had already ordered the country's border crossings into Afghanistan closed, blocking off NATO supply lines, after the strike. The government issued the air base demand, and pledged a "complete review" of its relationship with the U.S. and NATO, following an emergency military meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.Pakistan's Defense Committee condemned the attack in a written statement, saying the strike was "violative of international law and had gravely dented the fundamental basis of Pakistan's cooperation" with NATO against terrorists. "The attack on Pakistan Army border posts is totally unacceptable and warrants an effective national response," the statement said. The government urged the U.S. to leave the Shamsi Air Base within 15 days. The U.S. is suspected of using the facility in the past to launch armed drones and observation aircraft. Pakistan made a similar demand over the summer, though officials reportedly claimed the CIA had already suspended its use of the base as a staging ground for armed drones months earlier. Still, the tone of the Pakistani government's statement Saturday underscored the depth of the potential fallout after Pakistan accused NATO aircraft of firing on two army checkpoints and killing 24 soldiers. The incident early Saturday quickly exacerbated tensions between the two countries and threatened to escalate into a standoff more severe than one last year after a similar but less deadly strike. Last year, Pakistan closed the Torkham border crossing to NATO supplies for 10 days after U.S. helicopters accidentally killed two Pakistanis. On Saturday, Pakistan went further, closing both of the country's border crossings into landlocked Afghanistan. A short stoppage may have little effect on the war effort, but could have deadly consequences. During last year's dispute, militants took advantage of the impasse to launch attacks against stranded or rerouted trucks carrying NATO supplies. With 24 dead in the pre-dawn incident Saturday, U.S. officials expressed regret and vowed to launch an investigation. If confirmed, it would be the deadliest friendly fire incident by NATO against Pakistani troops since the Afghan war began a decade ago."This incident has my highest personal attention and my commitment to thoroughly investigate it to determine the facts," said Gen. John Allen, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. "My most sincere and personal heartfelt condolences go out to the families and loved ones of any members of Pakistan Security Forces who may have been killed or injured." A statement said NATO leadership remains "committed" to improving security ties with Pakistan.A Pakistani customs official told The Associated Press that he received verbal orders Saturday to stop all NATO supplies from crossing the border through Torkham in either direction. The operator of a terminal at the border where NATO trucks park before they cross confirmed the closure.Saeed Ahmad, a spokesman for security forces at the other crossing in Chaman in southwest Pakistan, said that his crossing was also blocked following orders "from higher-ups." Read the full story here.
- Iran threatens to hit Turkey if US, Israel attack.(HurriyetDaily).Iran will target NATO's missile defense installations in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic, a senior commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Saturday.Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards' aerospace division, said the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what he described as an increase in threats from the U.S. and Israel.Tensions have been rising between Iran and the West since the release of a report earlier this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency that said for the first time that Tehran was suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose was the development of nuclear arms.The U.S. and its Western allies suspect Iran of trying to produce atomic weapons, and Israel, which views Tehran as an existential threat, has warned of a possible strike on Iran's nuclear program. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes."Should we be threatened, we will target NATO's missile defense shield in Turkey and then hit the next targets," the semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Hajizadeh as saying.Tehran says NATO's early warning radar station in Turkey is meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks if a war breaks out with the Jewish state. Ankara agreed to host the radar in September as part of NATO's missile defense system aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from neighboring Iran.A military installation in the Turkish town of Kurecik, some 435 miles (700 kilometers) west of the Iranian border, has been designated as the radar site, according to Turkish government officials.Hajizadeh said the United States also plans to install similar stations in Arab states south of Iran. He said increasing threats has made Iran alter it military defense strategy."Based on orders from the exalted commander in chief, we will respond to threats with threats," he was quoted as saying.Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, is also commander in chief of Iran's armed forces.Also Saturday, the chief of Iran's elite Quds Force said he doesn't fear assassination and is ready for "martyrdom." He warned Washington of serious consequences if it does not stop threatening the Islamic Republic.The comments by Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Ghassem Soleimani were published in several Iranian newspapers. The Quds Force is the special foreign operations unit of the country's powerful Revolutionary Guard, and Soleimani is a key figure in Iran's military establishment but rarely speaks in public."Oh, God, bestow upon me martyrdom in Your path by the hands of enemies ... The U.S. must know that when a glass is broken, it becomes sharper," he told a gathering of militiamen in the southeastern Iranian town of Kerman.Hmmm.....Who's has been releasing the most 'wind' lately Turkey or Iran?Read the full story here.
- Republicans see opportunity to beat Obama with Pentagon cuts.(TheHill).The potential for $1 trillion in cuts to the defense budget is thrusting the issue of national security back into the spotlight of the 2012 presidential race.The cuts, set for January 2013, could also turn a strength into a vulnerability for President Obama, who has more to brag about when it comes to security and foreign affairs than the economy.Obama’s supporters argue that the president is way ahead of his GOP rivals when it comes to national security, an issue that’s typically perceived as a Republican strength.Obama already has given campaign stump speeches touting his national security accomplishments, which include the killing of terrorists Osama bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki, and the eventual ouster of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.Yet Republicans see an opening with the $500 billion in automatic cuts that would hit the defense budget beginning in January 2013, and several candidates seized on the issue in the last GOP debate. Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) went as far as to suggest Defense Secretary Leon Panetta — who has warned the cuts would harm national security — should resign in protest. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) tied the cuts to health-care reform, pointing out the defense cuts equaled the cost of “Obamacare.”“We need to protect America and protect our troops and our military and stop the idea of ‘Obamacare,’” Romney said. “They’re cutting programs, cutting the capacity of America to defend itself.”Since the cuts don't take effect until January 2013, Congress will have plenty of time to change them, and the GOP will have plenty of opportunities to beat up Obama over the issue. Nearly all of the Republican presidential candidates have argued that the military needs to grow to protect U.S. national security. Romney called for an increase in naval shipbuilding and the use of Naval aircraft carriers as a deterrent to Iran, for instance, in a foreign policy speech last month.Defense hawks in Congress have vowed to reverse the cuts to defense, but they were met with a firm veto threat from Obama on Monday after the supercommittee officially closed shop. Obama said “there will be no easy off-ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up on a compromise.”While Obama attempted to stay out of the supercommittee fray, Republicans are blaming him for its failure, a theme that will likely continue into 2012.If the sequestration cuts are not altered, the Pentagon’s budget would be reduced to about 2007 levels, according to budget analysts.Though Panetta continued to ratchet up his rhetoric about the dangers of the automatic cuts in the final weeks of the supercommittee, he stood by the president’s veto threat after the deficit-reduction panel failed Monday.“Congress cannot simply turn off the sequester mechanism,” he said in a statement, “but instead must pass deficit reduction at least equal to the $1.2 trillion it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.”Read the full story here.
- U.S. Health officials on alert for outbreak of new swine flu strain.(DailyMail).U.S. health officials are on the alert for more cases of a new swine flu strain that was found in three children in Iowa this month. Ten people in the U.S. have been infected since July by S-OtrH3N2 viruses that picked up a gene from the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.The new flu strain combines a rare influenza virus (H3N2) circulating in North American pigs and the H1N1 virus from the 2009 outbreak.New flu strains begin when flu viruses combine in new ways. They can pose considerable health risks because people have not yet developed immunity to them, ABC News reports.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the new cases in Wednesday's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. It also reported that of the other seven cases of the new swine flu, three were in Pennsylvania, two were in Maine and two in Indiana.In the seven cases all the patients or close contacts had been recently been with pigs.CDC experts believe the fact that the three new cases did not go near pigs shows that there may be limited person-to-person contact with the new virus.The CDC said it has developed a 'candidate vaccine virus' that could be used to make a human vaccine against S-OtrH3N2 viruses .It has already sent it off to vaccine manufacturers.One of the three Iowa children, a healthy girl referred to as Patient A, became sick during the second week of November. Her doctor tested her and sent a respiratory sample to the Iowa state laboratory for further analysis.Patient B, a boy, developed a flu-like illness two days after Patient A became ill. One day after Patient B became sick, his brother, Patient C, also became ill.All three children had been at the same gathering on the first day Patient A became sick.Iowa epidemiologists launched an investigation and decided that the gathering was the only common link among the three children’s illnesses. None of their families had travelled recently or attended community events.Eight days after Patient A became ill, Iowa state laboratory testing said that the three might have S-OtrH3N2 influenza. The CDC went on to confirmed it was that strain, which included the matrix (M) gene from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.The new flu strain is resistant to rimantidine and amantadine, both commonly used antiviral drugs.Health experts said it would most likely respond to osteltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza).CDC scientists said they believe this year’s seasonal flu vaccine to provide adults with limited protection from the new flu virus, but that it wouldn’t protect children. Doctors who suspect swine flu infections in their patients should treat them with Tamiflu where appropriate, CDC recommentds.Doctors should get nose and throat specimens and send them to state public health labs, which should report them to CDC. CDC also encourages anyone who has contact with pigs and develops a flu-like illness to be tested.Read the full story here.
- Hmmm....Bird Flu Research Rattles Bioterrorism Field.(NPR).If the virus evolves to spread as easily between people as seasonal flu, however, it could cause a devastating global pandemic. So in an attempt to stay ahead of H5N1, scientists have been tweaking its genes in the lab to learn more about how this virus works, and what it is capable of.In September, one scientist made a stunning announcement. At a flu conference held in Malta, he said he’d done a lab experiment that resulted in bird flu virus becoming highly contagious between ferrets — the animal model used to study human flu infection. It seemed that just five mutations did the trick.News of the results raised red flags for Dr. Thomas Inglesby, a bioterrorism expert and director of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.“It’s just a bad idea for scientists to turn a lethal virus into a lethal and highly contagious virus. And it’s a second bad idea for them to publish how they did it so others can copy it,” says Inglesby.No science journal has published the information yet. And Inglesby hopes none of them do.Biology research usually has a culture of openness. Scientists report their methods and results so others can repeat their work and learn from it.
Inglesby agrees that’s the way to go the vast majority of the time. But not this time. “There are some cases that I think are worth an exception to that otherwise very important scientific principle,” he says. “I can only imagine that the process of deliberating about the publication of these findings is quite serious.”The researcher who presented these findings at the science meeting is virologist Ron Fouchier, of the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. NPR has learned that his work is now under scrutiny by a committee called the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity.Read the full story here.
- Senator Joe Lieberman Asks Google for a Terrorist Flagging Button on Blogger.(TPM).When he wasn’t smoking pot with the New York Police Department’s confidential informant or trying to manually cut off the tip of his penis, “lone wolf” terror suspect Jose Pimentel was running a jihadist website on Google’s Blogger platform.Now Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) wants Google to implement a policy explicitly banning terrorist material on their Blogger servers and set up a YouTube-style “flag” system to bring such material to Google’s attention.TPM obtained a letter sent by Lieberman, chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, to Google CEO Larry Page on Tuesday calling for him to make some changes to their policy.“Pimentel’s Internet activity — both his spreading of bomb-making instructions links and his hate-filled writings — were hosted by Google,” Lieberman wrote.“On his site www.trueislam1.com, Pimentel stated, “People have to understand that America and its allies are legitimate targets in warfare. This includes facilities such as army bases, police stations, political facilities, embassies, CIA and FBI buildings, private and public airports, and all kinds of buildings where money is being made to help fund the war.’ As demonstrated by this recent case, Google’s webhosting site, Blogger is being used by violent Islamist extremists to broadcast terrorist content,” Lieberman continued.Unlike YouTube’s Community Standards, Lieberman writes, “Blogger’s Content Policy does not expressly ban terrorist content nor does it provide a ‘flag’ feature for such content.”Read the full story here.
- Is Syria Planning to Attack Jordan?(DocsTalk).By Khaled Abu Toameh.Millions of Palestinians living in Jordan are, for now, sitting on the fence. But when and if they break their silence and join the enemies of King Abdullah II, it would be hard to see how the monarchy would be able to survive. That is unless the US and other Western powers decided to intervene to prevent the establishment of an Iranian and Syrian backed dictatorship in Jordan.Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has every reason to be furious with Jordan. Since the beginning of the revolt against Assad earlier this year, the Jordanians have come out in public in support of the anti-regime protesters in Syria.The Jordanian authorities have permitted anti-Assad demonstrators to stage demonstrations outside the Syrian embassy in Amman. Moreover, the Jordanians have opened their borders to facilitate the escape of thousands of Syrian civilians from the massacres carried out by Assad's army.The Jordanians are now in the process of setting up refugee camps along their border with Syria to absorb Syrians fleeing from Assad's murderous war machine. Signs of a looming crisis between Amman and Damascus first surfaced a few months ago when the Syrians claimed that weapons were being smuggled from Jordan to help Assad's political foes. Since then the Syrian authorities have beefed up security measures along the border with Jordan, carrying out thorough searches of passengers wishing to enter Syria.The Syrian authorities say they have also discovered that anti-Assad demonstrators have been using Jordanian SIM cards on their mobile phones to avoid by detected by the Syrian security forces.More recently, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mualem accused Jordan of harboring Syrian army defectors in the kingdom. The Jordanian government has dismissed the allegation as "baseless and inaccurate.A Jordanian government official, however, pointed out that some Syrian army soldiers and officers may have fled to Jordan as civilians.In another sign of mounting tensions between the two Arab countries, a Jordanian newspaper reported last week that the Syrian army has planted land mines along the border with Jordan to stop refugees from entering the kingdom.According to media reports in Jordan, at least 5,000 Syrians have fled to the kingdom since the beginning of the violence in Syria. The reports revealed that prominent Syrian human rights activist Suhair Atassi managed last week to cross the border into Jordan.Earlier this year, Atassi was arrested by Assad's security forces and accused of "sowing division" among the Syrian people. "I was dragged for what felt like the length of two streets," she later said in an interview with Reuters. "The apparatchiks looked at me as if I was not their compatriot. They kept shouting at me that I was an Israeli spy."The crisis between Jordan and Syria reached its peak last week when, in an unprecedented step, King Abdullah II called on the Syrian tyrant to step down."If Bashar (Assad) has the interest of his country, he would step down, but he would also create an ability to reach out and start a new phase of Syrian political life," the Jordanian monarch told the BBC in an interview. "If I were in his position, I would, step down and make sure whoever comes behind me has the ability to change the status quo that we're seeing."Not surprisingly, the king's comments triggered a wave of anti-Jordan protests by Assad loyalists, who attacked the Jordanian embassy in Damascus, chanting slogans accusing the Jordanians of being "traitors" and "Israeli spies."Eyewitnesses reported that the thugs who attacked the embassy removed the Jordanian flag and replaced it with the flag of the terrorist Hizbollah organization. This has raised speculation in Syria that the assailants were in fact Hizbollah militiamen who have been sent to Syria to help Assad crush the anti-regime demonstrations.Since King Abdullah II called on Assad to step down, he has become the subject of daily attacks by the Hizbollah, Syria and Iran media.Some Jordanians are now expressing fear that Assad may be planning to use Hizbollah and some armed Palestinian groups that are based in Damascus to undermine stability in the kingdom.Saleh Kallab, a renowned Jordanian columnist, said that while he didn't foresee an all-out military confrontation between Jordan and Syria, he did not rule out the possibility that Assad would instruct Palestinian and Lebanese terrorists to launch attacks inside the kingdom to create panic and confusion. He noted, however, that some "hot-headed" officials in Assad's entourage would still like to see Syria go to war against Jordan.Kallab disclosed that the Jordanian authorities had received information about attempts by Palestinians and Hizbollah to smuggle weapons into Jordan to carry out terror attacks against the monarchy and government institutions.Obviously, Jordan would not be able to deal with the new threats alone. The king is already facing huge problems at home from the Islamists and other groups that are demanding reforms and democracy.Read the full story here.
- Arab League and Turkey to meet Sunday to harmonize measures against Syria.(AlArabiya).Foreign ministers from the Arab League and Turkey will meet in Cairo Sunday to discuss how to react to Syria’s failure to respond to an ultimatum for an observer mission, Turkey said Friday. Anatolia news agency Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu quoted him as saying at Ankara airport that he would be attending, adding that Turkey already had some measures in hand against Damascus.“We are going to harmonize them with those prepared by the Arab League,” he added.A deadline set by the Arab League for Syria to sign a deal allowing monitors into the country expired on Friday without any Syrian response but Arab governments will give Damascus until the end of the day to answer, an Arab source earlier said.Arab foreign ministers had said in Cairo on Thursday that unless Syria agreed to let the monitors in to assess progress of an Arab League plan to end eight months of internal bloodshed, officials would consider imposing sanctions on Saturday. “The deadline has already ended, but the Arab League leaves the door open for Syria to reply by the end of the day and if a positive Syrian response comes on Friday, then the Arab League has no objection to agreeing to it,“ the source said, according to AFP.Turkish foreign minister earlier said the deadline was a last chance the Syrian regime had to solve the crisis. “It is a last chance, a new chance for Syria,” Davutoglu told reporters in Istanbul in the final hours before the midday (1100 GMT) deadline.A U.N. spokesman said on Friday the United Nations was ready to support a proposed Arab League peace monitoring mission to Syria.The pan-Arab body said in a statement on Thursday it was urging the United Nations to take “necessary measures according to the U.N. charter to support the Arab League's effort to settle the complicated situation in Syria. ”U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed what he called the league’s “proposal to send an observer mission to protect civilians in Syria" and strongly urged Damascus to give its "consent and full cooperation. ”“As invited by the Arab League ... the secretary-general is ready to provide the support needed, ” Nesirky told reporters.Russia, a traditional ally to Syria, had said on Friday that it opposed pressure and sanctions and wanted to see a renewal of political dialogue.“At this stage, what we need is not resolutions, sanctions or pressure, but inter-Syrian dialogue,” foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a televised press briefing.Lukashevich also spoke cautiously about the French proposal for “humanitarian corridors” to alleviate suffering. “I think we will return to this question when more clarity emerges about what specifically is being discussed,” he said.France became the first major power to seek international intervention when it called this week for “humanitarian corridors” to alleviate civilian suffering.Read the full story here.
- Assad: Turkey seeking to recapture imperial days.(YNet).Syrian President Bashar Assad lashed out at his Turkish critics on Saturday, remarking that "some in Turkey are still clinging to the dream of reinstating the Ottoman Empire." The Turkish leaders, he added, "Know that this dream is impossible, so they are trying to exploit parties with a religious agenda to expand their influence on the Arab world."Speaking to the Arabic-language website Arab Press, Assad called on his supporters not to vandalize any Turkish symbols: "I ask you – don't burn Turkish flags. The Turkish people are a proud nation."Earlier this week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the diplomatic crisis between Damascus and Ankara was of Assad's own making. Turkey, he said, is "considering its options" vis-à-vis Syria, including imposing a no-fly zone and border buffer-zones. Assad further lashed out at other Arab nations: "Those among our brothers who are showing us animosity will seek our forgiveness when the crisis is over," he said, referring to the Arab League's decision to suspend Syria following its failure to implement the League's plan to end the unrest sweeping through the county."Syria will not abide conspiracies," Assad hinted. "Once we emerge victorious from the current campaign, do not expect us to just sit idle by." Assad has ignored an Arab League deadline to accept international observers to oversee an initiative. The pan-Arab organization's foreign ministers are set to meet later on Saturday to discuss imposing additional sanctions on the rogue leader's regime.Hmmmm.....'Empty barrels make the most noise'?Read the full story here.
- Iraq leader worried about ‘radical’ threat in Syria.(AlArabiya).Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said on Friday he worries that “radicals” might take power in neighboring Syria and opposes any Western or Turkish military intervention.Talabani also said Iraqi military commanders favored a continued U.S. troop presence in Iraq due to weaknesses in air and naval defenses. In an interview with Iraqiya state television, Talabani said he supported peaceful political action and the democratic reforms Syrians are seeking.“Frankly speaking, we are worried that radicals may replace the old (current) regime. We are afraid that radicals will reach power and antagonize democracy in Iraq,” Talabani said. “This would be contrary to the main goal of the Arabic Spring.”“But we are against Western or Turkish military interference,” he added. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last month urged Syria to open up its political system to end one-party Baath rule as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faces increasing international condemnation over a crackdown on protests.The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have been killed since March.Iraq's Shiite leaders are concerned that turmoil in Syria could bring a hardline Sunni leader to power should Assad fall.On the issue of U.S troops in Iraq, Talabani said numerous reports from Iraq's military leaders detailed serious deficiencies in the air force, navy and infantry.“All these reports show that Iraq needs a U.S presence after 2011, at least as trainers, because they will be able to protect our air space and shores, and help Iraqis on how to use the new weapons that we got from the Americans,” he said.Talabani said Maliki would try to make a deal for trainers from private companies rather than the U.S. military when he visits Washington in December.He said another possibility was to arrange for European trainers to train Iraqis on U.S. weapons systems.The remaining American troops, about 18,000, are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of next month, nearly nine years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.Read the full story here.
- Warning graphic content - Nanny horrifically scalded by Gaddafi's family fights back to health as she start new life in Malta.(Dailymail).Shweyga Mullah became an iconic image of the brutality of Moammar Gadaffi's Libyan regime when she was deliberately scalded by a member of his family.Now the nanny has emerged from intensive treatment in a hospital in Malta, to begin a new life.Four months ago CNN correspondent Dan Rivers found Shweyga abandoned in a Gaddafi compound in western Tripoli with major burns.Hannibal Gadaffi's wife Aline threw boiling water over her when she refused to discipline a child.Today after operations on her body and scalp, the brave 30-year-old Ethiopian is living with friends near the Mater Dei Hospital in the town of Msida where she is being treated as an outpatient.Nurses have to trim follicles on her head almost daily to stop infection while she is facing months of dressing changes, physio and psychological counselling.Her plight touched the world with offers of money and medical treatment flooding in after the CNN broadcast.In a new CNN interview, she says a 'profound thank-you to the world' for the support as she recovers from her ordeal.She is staying with other Ethiopians who have been amazed by her courage as she copes with her injuries. But Shweyga is not yet ready to return to Libya and tell friends what happened to her allegedly at the hands of model Aline Gadaffi when she worked for the couple's young daughter and son a year ago.She explained how Aline lost her temper when her daughter wouldn't stop crying and Shweyga refused to beat the child.Recalling the incident she said: 'She took me to a bathroom. She tied my hands behind my back, and tied my feet. She taped my mouth, and she started pouring the boiling water on my head.'There were maggots coming out of my head, because she had hidden me, and no one had seen me.'Rivers said that when he walked in the room, he thought she was wearing a hat because her injuries were so bad.'Then the awful realisation dawned that her entire scalp and face were covered in red wounds and scabs, a mosaic of injuries that rendered her face into a grotesque patchwork.'Her chest, torso and legs are all mottled with scars -- some old, some still red, raw and weeping. As she spoke, clear liquid oozed from one nasty open wound on her head'.A guard eventually took her to a hospital, where she received some treatment but when Aline found out, he was threatened with imprisonment if he dared to help her again.'When she did all this to me, for three days, she wouldn't let me sleep,' said Shweyga.'I stood outside in the cold, with no food. She would say to staff, 'If anyone gives her food, I'll do the same to you.' I had no water - nothing.'She said she was forced to watch as the dogs ate and she was left to go hungry, he said.The nanny was burned twice, the latest incident three months ago.A colleague, who did not want to give his name, also said he had been regularly beaten and slashed with knives. He verified the horrific story on the nanny. who received no payment for the year she spent working for the Gadaffis.Meanwhile in Libya, 200 men rallied in Tripoli's main square last night to demand justice for about 15 soldiers killed two days earlier in an ambush by Gadaffi loyalists.Some rallying in Martyrs' Square held up photos of those killed and one banner said 'Where is the army?'Read the full story here.
- Video - Pakistani girl, 13, praised for blog under Taliban.(BBC).When the Taliban became the de-facto rulers of Pakistan's Swat region between 2003 and 2009, they ordered schools to close as part of an edict banning girls' education.At the time, Malala Yousafzai was just 11, but she spoke out through an anonymous diary on BBC Urdu's website, and later featured in two New York Times documentaries.In recognition of her courage, she was recently short-listed for the International Children Peace Prize, awarded by the Dutch organisation KidsRights.Now aged 13, she spoke to the BBC about her activism.Read and see the full story here.
- Pakistan and China hold joint military exercises.(NDTV).Islamabad: Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani said on Thursday that Pakistan has done its utmost to eliminate the threat to China posed by militants operating in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan."Those elements of ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) who are operating in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, even there we had a very close cooperation, and we do exchange intelligence and we have done our utmost to eliminate this threat of ETIM and other extremists for China," said General Kayani in Jhelum, Punjab province, where the Pakistan and Chinese armies have been taking part in joint military exercises.In the past, China has blamed unrest in the west of the country on militants groups such as the separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)."To hold the joint training or exercises on the subject of counter-terrorism between China's and Pakistan's armed forces will help us to fight against the regional terrorist forces and deepen the cooperation between us and promote peace and security in the region," said General Hou Shusen, Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Chinese Army.The two-week war games started on November 14 amid speculation over whether China will step in to fill the economic, military and diplomatic void if Pakistan's relationship with the US further deteriorated."I think Pakistan realised that it was getting isolated as a result of this so it was better to get somewhat more close to China to offset that disadvantage," said defence analyst, Talat Masood, a retired general."But this does not mean that China is by any means a total substitute to its relationship with the US or the Western world, or even it means that it can do without its having a normalised relationship with India, so I think it's not a zero-sum game," he added.Read the full story here.
- Netanyahu is not all bluff.(SMH).By David Landau. But Obama and Sarkozy, and indeed the entire international community, would be profoundly wrong if they applied the same dismissive scepticism to Netanyahu's repeated, consistent and recently ratcheted-up admonitions that, in the last resort, he would bomb Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent that nation getting the bomb. He means what he says.He does not want to go down in Jewish history as the leader on whose watch a fanatical enemy achieved the means to cow, terrorise and threaten to destroy the Jewish state while the rest of the world stood by and Israel itself did nothing.Many Israelis, by no means all of them groupies of Netanyahu, know exactly where he's coming from in this fraught and frightening saga. And they feel the same way he does: they still hope that the world collectively will act to neutralise this threat; but they believe that if it doesn't, Israel must use its own considerable military power to try to do so.A recent poll, asking an obviously still-hypothetical question, showed the nation split down the middle over whether Israel should act against Iran unilaterally.It did not show the even wider angst, never far below the surface, that keeps ordinary Israelis awake at night as they churn over Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's chilling threats and the ominous significance of the International Atomic Energy Agency's reports on Iran's nuclear program. The Iranian President, spewing forth Holocaust denial while threatening another Holocaust, has pressed all the wrong buttons on Israel's sensitive national psyche.The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem is not just the place that visiting statesmen are required to visit and make appropriately sad and contrite comments. It is still, nearly 70 years on, the raw nerve of the nation, the unhealed scar.Israel was created out of the ashes of Auschwitz. Its primary mission is ''Never Again''. That, at any rate, is how millions of Israelis see themselves and their country. A mass subjective perspective can become objective political reality. The international community needs to recognise that Netanyahu authentically articulates that perspective and that reality.Granted, there are many opponents to Netanyahu's perspective, particularly within the Israeli defence establishment. Top generals and intelligence officials stress the inevitable limits of any Israeli air strike or series of strikes on Iran. The nuclear facilities are spread around the country. Some are buried deep underground. The most that Israel could achieve might be to damage Tehran's nuclear program and delay it for some years. But the cost could well be heavy and sustained missile attacks on Israel, not only from Iran itself but from its much more proximate clients: Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon, and Hamas, the radical Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip. Syria, too, long Iran's ally, might seek respite from its domestic strife by joining the fray against Israel.Iran, moreover, would doubtless lash out at American forces stationed in the Gulf region and at shipping through the Gulf, which would immediately precipitate an oil crisis. Israel would be blamed, especially if the Iranian nuclear threat were merely deferred and not permanently allayed.Against all that is the calculation (carefully unspoken but present nevertheless) that a unilateral Israeli strike would trigger massive US intervention against Iran's nuclear program. This could come either in response to Iranian retaliation against US targets, or because Washington would have an overwhelming interest in ''finishing the job'' that Israel began. In the post-Libya climate, moreover, France and Britain might well be moved to come in alongside the US against a defiant Tehran.Against the naysayers, too, is the calculation that goes beyond strategy and firepower; the calculation that says to an Israeli prime minister, with 3000 years of Jewish history on his shoulders, that inaction is not an option. Netanyahu has at his side, as Defence Minister, his one-time army commander in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit, Ehud Barak.Barak's military prowess and authority can counter the naysayers if the fateful decision on Iran needs to be made.Of course, Netanyahu's drum-beating is intended to help ensure that that moment never comes. The fear of Israel ''going it alone'' is intended to instil anxiety and urgency into international sanctions against Tehran. Sanctions, rigorously applied, can still work. Washington is urging its allies, Australia among them, to join in a new round of tougher and more targeted sanctions against Iran's banking and petrochemical industries, as well as against its nuclear ambitions. The ayatollah regime in Tehran is deeply unpopular.Netanyahu's drum-beating is tactically impeccable. But it's not just tactics. The bluffer isn't bluffing. Let's hope Obama, Sarkozy and the rest are hearing him loud and clear.David Landau, a former editor-in-chief of Haaretz.Hmmm......"Pour les vaincre, messieurs, il nous faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace." ~ Danton.Read the full story here.
- Christians in imminent danger across the world are refused refugee status while Muslim refugee immigration goes unimpeded.(Jihadwatch).Over at Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller provides inside information on an all-too predictable and patently unjust Obama Administration practice: US policy regarding the refugee resettlement program would shock most Americans if they only knew. The UN picks who becomes US refugees. Christians are being refused refugee status and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under the sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the US by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution. It is horrifying that Afghan Christians are being refused refugee status by the UN and many Western nations, including Britain. The UN claims that Afghan Christians do not meet the criteria for refugees under Statute 6B of the UN High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR), which requires refugees to have "a well founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion."Since 1976, millions of new citizens have entered America as legal humanitarian refugees, according to reports of the US State Department. The Somalis are certified as "humanitarian refugees" under our State Department rules. Whole Muslim communities are imported into the United States, and they are supported by social services provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The cities who receive these huge numbers are determined by Refugee Councils. And yet back in October 2008, Muslim UN employees were "discouraging" applications for resettlement from the desperate Christian Iraqis. The Christian Iraqi population has since been decimated. By buying into the argument that Islam is a religion of peace and ignoring the penalties for apostasy, we are sentencing thousands of Christians to martyrdom and forcing others to live in the shadows in dire poverty. We need to demand that our government provide protection and asylum for Christian apostates.Read the full story here.
- ‘They Stole Our Land’ vs. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.(FrontpageMagazine).The cornerstone argument in the Arab narrative against Israel is that the Zionists in the 19th and early 20th centuries came to the Land of Israel and stole Arab land. This is a very simple assertion, easy to visualize, seemingly logical and amenable to a brief presentation: after all, Zionists did come from Europe to what was then Palestine, and the Arabs were already living there. So obviously when the Jews came they took Arab land.Although there exists voluminous evidence to the contrary in Arab and Turkish and British sources indicating the exact opposite, it is difficult to present this contrary evidence and explain its importance in as brief and simple a manner as is done with the Arab assertion. There are too many variables: Arab demographics, Jewish demographics, Zionist agrarian reclamation technology, land purchases, crown land vs. privately owned land, absentee landlords, etc. This imbalance puts the advocate on behalf of Zionism and Israel at a disadvantage, even though the evidence supporting the Israeli narrative and contradicting the Arab narrative is vast and thoroughly vetted. For an excellent compilation and analysis of this evidence, see Kenneth Stein, The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (University of North Carolina Press, 1984, reviewed here and here).However, there is one testimony from an unimpeachable source stating that the Jews stole no land, but rather bought land in vast quantities from willing sellers who were the legal owners of the land that was sold. This unimpeachable source is so unarguably innocent of any pro-Israel or pro-Jewish or pro-Zionist sentiment that there can be no rational question regarding the veracity of his testimony. That source is the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the Hajj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini (1895 to 1974).El-Husseini was a key figure in the creation of the concept of Palestinian nationalism and the most high-profile leader of violent and incendiary opposition to Zionism from the 1920’s onward, until the creation of the State of Israel rendered his leadership irrelevant. He used his powerful political and religious position as the Grand Mufti (supreme religious leader) of Jerusalem to promote Arab nationalism, incite violence against the British, and preach Jew-hatred and the annihilation of the Jews of British Mandatory Palestine. He was an ally of Hitler before and during , recruited Muslim legions in Bosnia to serve on the eastern front in Hitler’s Weirmacht, and developed full-blown plans for concentration camps in Palestine in imitation of the German “final solution.” During the 1948 Israel-Arab war, he represented the Arab Higher Committee and rejected the UN partition plan of November 29, 1947 (for a brief biography of el-Husseini and a list of book-length biographies see here).As the highest official representative of the Arabs of British Mandatory Palestine, el-Husseini was interviewed by the Palestine Royal Commission led by Earl William Robert Wellesley Peel, hence known as the Peel Commission.The Peel Commission was a Royal Commission of inquiry sent to British Mandatory Palestine in November of 1936 for the purpose of examining and reporting on the causes of the Arab-Jewish violence in Palestine and suggesting possible resolutions. After months of research and interviews of major Zionist and Arab leaders, the Commission published its report in July of 1937. The report recommended a partition plan for separate Arab and Jewish states; but this plan was never implemented, although the Zionists accepted it, due to vociferous Arab opposition.The Peel Commission report had some very salutary things to say about the Zionists and their impact on the land and on Arab society and economy. One of the most important for debunking Arab anti-Israel accusations is:
“The Arab population shows a remarkable increase since 1920, and it has had some share in the increased prosperity of Palestine. Many Arab landowners have benefited from the sale of land and the profitable investment of the purchase money. The fellaheen (Arab peasants) are better off on the whole than they were in 1920. This Arab progress has been partly due to the import of Jewish capital into Palestine and other factors associated with the growth of the (Jewish) National Home. In particular, the Arabs have benefited from social services which could not have been provided on the existing scale without the revenue obtained from the Jews…Much of the land (being farmed by the Jews) now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp and uncultivated when it was purchased…There was at the time of the earlier sales little evidence that the owners possessed either the resources or training needed to develop the land.” The land shortage decried by the Arabs “…was due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population.” (Chapter V in the report).El-Husseini’s interview on January 12, 1937 was preserved in the Commission’s notes and referenced, although not published, in the full report. It has been summarized by a number of scholars, including Kenneth Stein, The Land Question in Palestine 1917-1939 (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2009) and Howard M. Sachar, A History of Israel from the Rise of Zionism to our Time (Alfred A. Knopf, 1976); and a detailed analysis with quotations from the interview can be found in Aaron Kleiman’s The Palestine Royal Commission, 1937 (Garland Publications, 1987, pp. 298ff.).The selections from the interview presented below can be found on line here and here. Sir Laurie Hammond, a member of the Peel Commission, interviewed the Mufti about his insistence to the Commission that Zionists were stealing Arab land and driving peasants into homelessness. He spoke through an interpreter.Read the full story here.
- Update on 'Pakistani woman kills husband then starts to cook him'.Wife 'killed, cut up and cooked her husband into a korma to stop him from abusing his stepdaughter'.(DailyMail).Police have arrested a woman in Pakistan on suspicion of murdering her husband, chopping his body to pieces and boiling it in a bid to get rid of the evidence. Zainab Bibi, 42, allegedly told authorities she killed her husband Ahmad Abbas because he tried to sexually assault her 17-year-old daughter from another marriage. She told police she sedated her husband by mixing sleeping pills in his tea and strangled him with rope before dismembering him. Police say they discovered her plot after neighbours complained about a bad smell coming from her home.Bibi's 22-year-old nephew, Zaheer Ahmed, has also been arrested in connection with dismembering Abbas's body.Pakistan's ARY News spoke to Bibi from her cell at the Shah Faisal police station, where she said: 'I killed my husband before he dared to touch my daughter.'The alarm was raised by Bibi's landlord, Behzad, who lives on the ground floor of the two-storey Green Town house.He was so upset by the bad cooking smells coming from upstairs that he went up to complain.Police claim that he found Bibi at the stove, cooking a korma with flesh from her husband’s arm and leg - because she believed it was the only way to practically dispose of his body.Pakistani paper The Express Tribune said Bibi had been living at the house with her 17-year-old daughter Sonia and Mr Abbas, who she married five years ago and who used to be Sonia's teacher when she was at school.Bibi was quoted in the paper as saying: 'When he finally died, I felt shudders of fear for the first time. 'I didn’t have the courage to approach his body for the next half an hour.“It occurred to me that if I cooked the body in parts with spices and aromatic ingredients that would curb the stench.'But she insisted she had no plans to eat the resulting dish, or to feed it to others, adding: 'I had a plan to do away with the cooked stuff by throwing it in a gutter. I would say to people that it had spoiled.'Bibi claims she had stopped Mr Abbas from molesting her daughter on several occasions, admitting that he had never actually laid a hand on her but had said suggestive things about her when he was drunk.The rest of Mr Abbas's body was found in an aluminium trunk on the premise.Read the full story here.
- A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice as been sentenced to 158 lashes and 50 days in jail for harassing a Saudi woman.(SaudiGazette).MADINA – A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Hai’a) has been sentenced to 158 lashes and 50 days in jail for harassing a Saudi woman.The Madina court issued the verdict after hearing that the man subjected the woman to an intense harassment campaign over the phone. A Hai’a official said: “The Saudi woman lodged a complaint against the Hai’a member. The Hai’a will take the necessary measures according to the regulations and uphold what is right even if it is against one of its employees.”Hmmmm....."What go's around...come's around?"Read the full story here.
Friday, November 25, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Mexico 4.3!More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Canary Islands - El Hierro earthquake and volcano eruption – Update 21. here , Live webcams here and here.
- Egypt LiveBlog: Déjà Vu All Over Again . Here.
- Miami-protest spokesman led 'Nuke Israel' rally, Mohammad Malik was director of CAIR's South Florida chapter.(WND).By Aaron Klein.The recent executive director of the controversial Council on American-Islamic Relations' South Florida chapter is a founder and spokesman of Occupy Miami, WND has learned. Mohammad Malik currently is as an activist with several other Islamic groups. He has led hate-filled anti-Israel protests in which participants were filmed wearing Hamas paraphernalia while chanting "Nuke Israel" and "Go back to the oven" – a reference to Jews being killed in the Holocaust. Malik has been widely quoted in the Florida news media in recent weeks speaking for Occupy Miami. The Miami Herald identified Malik as one of the organizers of Occupy's Miami's downtown campsite headquarters."We've established that we can be here," Malik told the Herald, speaking as one of the first Occupy Miami organizers. "People said we were stupid amateurs who don't know what we're doing. ... But we did it. We've survived and we're growing." Last week, the Florida Independent reported Miami police had asked Occupy activists to temporarily leave their camp digs. The Independent quoted Malik, identified as protesting with the group since the beginning, as stating there were "a lot of cops" in the area, but protesters were "trying to figure out the situation so that it doesn't escalate." The Independent previously quoted Malik as an "unemployed Miami native who has worked with the ACLU and is the current spokesperson for Occupy Miami." In September 2010, Malik was appointed as the director of CAIR's South Florida chapter, covering the region of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties.In March 2010, Malik organized a CAIR dinner in Miami. The keynote speaker was Siraj Wahhaj, who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Wahhaj has also defended the convicted WTC bomb plotters and has urged the Islamic takeover of America. Malik departed CAIR several months ago. He previously worked for ACLU Florida, coordinating its Racial Justice and Voting Rights Projects. He did not return email and phone requests for comment. Nezar Hamze, the current director of CAIR-South Florida, told WND yesterday that Malik departed his Islamic group under friendly terms. "He left several months ago, maybe almost a year ago," said Hamze. "He got a better position, I think, at the ACLU," he said. Malik has served as coordinator of several other Islamic groups, such as the South Florida Palestine Solidarity Network, through which he has organized hate-filled protests; the American Muslims for Emergency Relief; and Students for Justice in Palestine. Malik himself was the principal organizer of numerous anti-Israel rallies. A rally in March was titled "Miami's Third Intifada Rally for Palestine." During the demonstration, protesters reportedly chanted a slogan often used by Hamas and other Palestinian radicals calling for the destruction of Israel: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." A Malik-led rally in December 2008 reportedly drew 200 to 300 rowdy supporters, with some screaming for Jews to "go back to the ovens." The Florida Sun-Sentinel featured a picture with the caption "Malik incites the crowd." YouTube video and Internet pictures from the protest depict rally-goers wearing Hamas logos on hats and scarves. The Florida Jewish Voice newspaper reported Malik's rally began as the Islamic crowd squared off against Israel supporters outside the First Baptist Church in downtown Ft. Lauderdale. One protester reportedly shouted, "Your mother is a wh*re," then broke into, "Nuke, nuke Israel. Nuke, nuke Israel," followed by, "Go to hell; go to hell; go to hell!" Another woman, wearing a headscarf, shouted: "Go steal other lands. Go! Murderers! Go back to the oven! You need a big oven." Malik himself was quoted calling Israel's actions ''collective punishment," accusing the Jewish state of "fuel[ing] terrorism." Wahhaj, brought in to keynote Malik's CAIR dinner last year, repeatedly has urged the U.S. to accept Islamic law. Discover the Networks notes Wahhaj in 1991 predicted America will fall unless it "accepts the Islamic agenda." The next year, he stated, "Hear what I'm telling you well. The Americans are not your friends. ... The Canadians are not your friends. ... The Europeans are not your friends. Your friend is Allah, the Messenger and those who believe." Also, in a 1992 address to an audience of Muslims in New Jersey, Wahhaj expressed his desire to replace the U.S. government with an Islamic caliphate. "If we were united and strong," Wahhaj said, "we'd elect our own emir (leader) and give allegiance to him. ... [T]ake my word, if 6-8 million Muslims unite in America, the country will come to us." In 1995, Wahhaj was named by U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White as an unindicted co-conspirator to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. He objected to that designation, noting in his defense that he had eaten "dinner with Secretary of State [Madeleine] Albright – after the list" of co-conspirators had been released. Discover the Networks notes that in the summer of 1999, Wahhaj testified as a character witness for convicted terror mastermind Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman. Wahhaj stated, on the record, that he considered it an honor to have had an opportunity to host Abdel-Rahman at his mosque, describing him as a "respected scholar ... bold ... [and] a strong preacher of Islam." Read the full story here.
- Cairo rally: Muslim Brotherhood One day we'll kill all Jews.(YNet).Arab hate: Muslim Brotherhood rally in Cairo's most prominent mosque Friday turned into a venomous anti-Israel protest, with attendants vowing to "one day kill all Jews." Some 5,000 people joined the rally, called to promote the "battle against Jerusalem's Judaization." The event coincided with the anniversary of the United Nation's partition plan in 1947, which called for the establishment of a Jewish state.However, most worshippers who prayed at the mosque Friday quickly left it before the Muslim Brotherhood's rally got underway. A group spokesman urged attendants to remain for the protest, asking them not to create a bad impression for the media by leaving. Speakers at the event delivered impassioned, hateful speeches against Israel, slamming the "Zionist occupiers" and the "treacherous Jews." Upon leaving the rally, attended were given small flags, with Egypt's flag on one side and the Palestinian flag on the other, as well as maps of Jerusalem's Old City detailing where "Zionists are aiming to change Jerusalem's Muslim character." Propaganda material ahead of Egypt's parliamentary elections was also handed out at the site.Spiritual leader Dr. Ahmed al-Tayeb charged in his speech that to this day Jews everywhere in the world are seeking to prevent Islamic and Egyptian unity. "In order to build Egypt, we must be one. Politics is insufficient. Faith in Allah is the basis for everything," he said. "The al-Aqsa Mosque is currently under an offensive by the Jews…we shall not allow the Zionists to Judaize al-Quds (Jerusalem.) We are telling Israel and Europe that we shall not allow even one stone to be moved there."Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen, as well as Palestinian guest speakers, made explicit calls for Jihad and for liberating the whole of Palestine. Time and again, a Koran quote vowing that "one day we shall kill all the Jews" was uttered at the site. Meanwhile, businessmen in the crowd were urged to invest funds in Jerusalem in order to prevent the acquisition of land and homes by Jews. Throughout the event, Muslim Brotherhood activists chanted: "Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, judgment day has come." Speaking to Ynet outside the mosque following the prayer, elementary school teacher Ala al-Din said that "all Egyptian Muslims are willing to embark on Jihad for the sake of Palestine." "Why is the US losing in Afghanistan? Because the other side is willing and wants to die. We have a different mentality than that of the Americans and Jews," he said.Hmmmm.....The 'People' the Obama regime donates $ 2.57 Billion.Read the full story here.
- Congressmen ask for probe into Palestinian use of US funds.(JPost).Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutsch and New York Democratic Congressman Steve Israel have asked US Comptroller-General Gene Dodaro to investigate the Palestinian Authority’s use of American funding.The request this week came three weeks after MK Moshe Matalon (Israel Beiteinu) had sent a letter to the budget committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives, informing them of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s policy of paying freed Palestinian prisoners who had been convicted of murder $5,000 and building them new homes.Matalon received a copy of the congressmen’s letter on Thursday.“Many of the released prisoners were convicted of orchestrating and carrying out Hamas-sponsored terrorist attacks in Israel, including the bombing of a Tel Aviv nightclub that killed 21 people, the attack on a Netanya hotel that killed 29 people, and the bombing of a Sbarro Pizzeria that killed 15 people,” Deutsch and Israel wrote.The two congressmen explained to Dodaro that they “are troubled by reports of President Abbas’ use of Palestinian Investment Fund (PIF) funds to provide housing for these convicted terrorists.”According to the letter, the US contributed to the PIF after PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad founded it in 2002 “under a framework of transparency and accountability.” However, recently there has been “ambiguity surrounding the amount of US taxpayer dollars contributed to the PIF,” Deutsch and Israel wrote.Aside from the issue of Abbas building houses for convicted terrorists, Deutsch and Israel “are concerned about the increasing lack of transparency for the PIF as well as reports that Prime Minister Fayyad is no longer overseeing the fund and that Hamas has taken control of PIF assets in Gaza.”The letter also requested that the US Government Accountability Office, which Dodaro heads, investigate whether US Economic Support Funds (ESF) given to the PA were used to fund Abbas’s trips around the world “on his misguided attempt to unilaterally declare statehood at the United Nations... efforts that are in direct contravention of US policy.”The congressmen said US ESF should not be used “to fund Mr. Abbas’ extensive lobbying to achieve a Palestinian state by any means other than direct negotiations with Israel.”They added that “the US must be unequivocally committed to ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to serve the interests of the US and our allies around the world.”In his letter three weeks ago, Matalon had written that Abbas was rewarding “unrepentant terrorists.”“At the ceremony Abbas held [in honor of released prisoners] in Ramallah, he is reported as having praised these individuals for their ‘courage and sacrifice,’” the Israel Beiteinu MK wrote. “The atrocities referred to by Abbas as acts of ‘courage’... include the murders of scores of innocents, including women and children.He continued: “I feel it incumbent upon myself to present these facts to you, as a fellow parliamentarian, not as interference in your parliamentary activities, but rather in order to ensure that the full facts are before you, as you deliberate on whether to continue extending financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority.”Hmmmm......"Obama Administration Defends US Aid to Palestinian Territories "?Read the full story here.
- Medvedev takes aim at US missile shield, targeting also Israel's missile defenses.(Debka).After deploying three warships in Syrian waters, Moscow continues to beat war drums against the United States followed closely by Tehran. Wednesday, Nov. 23, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told state television: "I have ordered the armed forces to develop measures to ensure if necessary that we can destroy the command and control systems" of the planned US missile-defense system in Europe. These measures are appropriate, effective and low-cost."Iranian Supreme Leader's top advisor for military affairs Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi came next. He said: "The Iranian Revolutionary Guards controls the identity and destination of every US warship which intends to pass through the Strait of Hormuz."debkafile's military sources report that the US missile shield's command and control systems which the Russian president spoke of destroying are linked directly to Israel's missile defense network against Iranian, Syria and Hizballah missiles and the X-Band radar station located in the southern Israeli Negev.Medvedev's threat to American "command and control systems" was therefore comprehensive. It referred not just to the US anti-missile shield facilities planned for Europe, but also to preparing measures for use ("if necessary") - in the course of a possible American or Israeli attack on Iran or Syria - for striking the US missile defense systems in Europe before they can intercept Iranian missiles.Knocking out the European shield would leave Israel completely exposed to Iranian missile attack.In a very few terse words, the Russian president has made it clear that the Kremlin will not allow Iran and its Middle East allies be prevented from missile retaliation in the event of war. That threat also explains why at least two of the three Russian naval vessels moved into Syrian territorial waters last week were equipped for surveillance and electronic warfare, exactly what is needed for a Russian operation to destroy US missile shield command and control centers near the Syrian border, such as the one stationed in Turkey.In another part of his announcement, President Medvedev also threatened to opt out of the new START arms control deal with the United States and halt other arms control talks if the US proceeds with the missile shield without meeting Russia's demand for it to be managed jointly, which NATO has rejected.The Iranian General Savavi's assertion of the IRGC's exclusive control of the Strait of Hormuz was in direct response to the crossing of two US carriers, the USS Stennis and USS Bush, through the strait to take up position opposite the Iranian coast.This was reported exclusively by debkafile Monday, Nov. 21.Read the full story here.
- American woman and partner attending family wedding in Pakistan murdered in suspected honour killing.(DailyMail).A Scottish businessman and his American wife were gunned down in the street in a suspected honour killing while on holiday in Pakistan.Glasgow-based Saif Rehman, 31, and Uzma Naurin from New York, 30, were shot dead when their car was ambushed in the north-eastern city of Gujrat following a shopping trip.The couple had been about to start a new life together in the U.S. after their trip to Pakistan for Mr Rehman’s brother’s wedding.It is understood the couple were accompanied by a driver, Mr Rehman’s sister and her two-year-old daughter, but the other passengers were unharmed.The group of four gunmen stopped the car, opened fire and killed Mr Rehman before bundling his wife into their vehicle and killing her at a spot nearby – then dumping her body by the roadside.Pakistani police are probing claims that there had been tension between the couple’s in-laws over their marriage three years ago.They were married in Manchester but another, fuller ceremony involving both sides of the family took place in Glasgow in June, when it appeared that the differences might have been resolved.Sources close to the dispute last night suggested Mr Rehman’s relatives had been happy with the marriage, but it had caused upset among some of his bride’s relatives.Saif Ali, 30, of Cumbernauld, Dunbartonshire, who runs a mobile phone repair company, met Mr Rehman – who ran a similar firm called GSM Communications in Glasgow – three years ago.He said: ‘It was a long-distance relationship between Saif and Uzma but they made it work really well. Saif had just got a visa to go to the U.S., so they were on the brink of a new life together when this happened.I found out from Saif’s brother when the killings happened on November 1 and couldn’t believe it – I was shocked, angry and devastated because we were very close. Saif had been in Glasgow for six years and met Uzma at a friend’s wedding four or five years ago.’Describing their murder, Mr Ali added: ‘They were going back home and basically, all of a sudden, their driver just stopped the car. ‘Four people were in a different car which stopped in front of them. They pulled Saif, his sister, her daughter and his wife out of the car and, as soon as he was pulled out of the car, they shot him without saying anything.’Mr Ali said that ‘no words were exchanged’ between Mr Rehman and any of the people who shot him. He added: ‘Five minutes up the road they basically killed her (Uzma Naurin) as well. She wasn’t found until quite a bit of time later.‘Probably about three or four hours later, she was found, as they had basically put her in the shrubs somewhere, just on the side of the road.’Mr Ali said Uzma Naurin worked in sales for Costa Coffee and was based in New Jersey.Her father, a taxi driver in New York, had relatives in Gujrat and the driver of the car the couple were in when they were shot is said to have been employed by his Pakistani relatives. The Foreign Office cannot become involved as Mr Rehman was a Pakistani national and his wife was a U.S. citizen.Read and see the full story here.
- Natural gas pipeline bombed in Sinai for the eighth time.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Saboteurs from an Al-Qaeda affiliated group have bombed a gas pipeline just outside of the Egyptian town of Arish on Friday, according to reports from Egypt’s Al-Ahram newspaper.The bombing is reported to have done little damage to the pipeline because gas was not flowing through it at the time of the bombing. Its use had been shutdown for repairs on damages sustained from a previous attack.Today’s attack mark’s the eighth pipeline attack since the ousting of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.Several pipelines are being targeted because they transport natural gas to Israel.Israel receives nearly 40 percent of its natural gas from Egypt since signing the 1979 Camp David Peace Accord, which included a natural gas package.Read the full story here.
- Sinai forces on high alert over Jihad threat.(YNet).While tens of thousands of protesters are amassing in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the Sinai Peninsula is heating up. Egyptian security forces on Friday raised the alert level to an unprecedented level in the al-Arish area in northern Sinai after they received information that Jihad members are planning on carrying out an attack on the local security headquarters, the Ma'an news agency reported Friday.According to the information they received, some 2,500 Jihad and additional radical faction members were equipped with "unconventional weapons" and had gathered large quantities of ammunition. The operatives prepared a plan to attack the al-Arish security directorate, the central prison and other official buildings. The purpose of the attack, according to the report, was vengeance on Egyptian authorities for thwarting a previous plan to attack Sinai and drive away security forces. The reports come after saboteurs blew up a gas pipeline 60 km (37 miles) west of the Egyptian town of al-Arish in northern Sinai earlier on Friday, the latest in series of attacks, state news agency MENA reported.The blast caused little damage and did not start a fire because little gas was flowing through the pipeline at the time due to repair work from a previous attack, MENA said. The pipeline, which supplies gas to Egypt and Jordan, was last attacked on Nov. 10. The latest was the seventh since the revolt that ousted President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, although the pipeline was first attacked a few days earlier. No group has claimed responsibility for the sabotage.Egypt has a 20-year deal to export natural gas deal to Israel. It is unpopular with the Egyptian public and critics say Jewish state was not paying enough for the gas.Read the full story here.
- Acid attack victim sues judges in Iran after she was denied compensation for showing mercy to her attacker.(DailyMail).She was offered the chance to exact retribution on the man who blinded her with acid in the same horrific manner.But, at the last minute, Ameneh Bahrami, 34, refused, preferring her attacker, a former university classmate, to be spared. What happened next, though, has enraged her.For Iranian authorities have declared Ms Bahrami no longer has a right to the compensation Majid Movahedi was ordered to pay by the courts. She needs the money to pay for more plastic surgery to her disfigured face and body.She now says she was cheated, and is now suing Iran's judiciary, the Independent reports.Ms Bahrami, suffered severe injuries to her eyes, face and hands when Movahedi threw acid in her face in 2004 after she spurned his hand in marriage. In November 2008, a criminal court in Tehran ordered Movahedi to be blinded in both eyes under the country's application of the sharia code of 'qisas', which allows retribution for violent crimes.But in July, he was given an eleventh hour reprieve when Ms Bahrami exercised her right to pardon him.Prison officials had been preparing to drop acid into his eyes when the pardon was delivered.Miss Bahrami said the international interest in the case was one reason for deciding to drop her demand for the sentence to be carried out: 'It seemed like the entire world was waiting to see what we did.'The case attracted international media attention, and the human rights group Amnesty International urged Iran not to inflict the retributive form of punishment.After being pardoned, Movahedi's sentence was reduced to 10 years in prison. It is as a result of this new sentence that judiciary figures now say he no longer has to pay compensation.'Even though I agreed to pardon Mr Movahedi, I didn't think I was surrendering my right to compensation,' Ms Bahrami told the Independent.She said her request for compensation was recognised at the time as legal by judiciary officials.'But then the deputy prosecutor said he had made a mistake and that my request for compensation had no legal grounds,' she added.Ms Bahrami says she needs the money to pay for further surgery. She has already spent more than £150,000 – partly funded by the Iranian state – on treatment but more is needed.After being told she was no longer entitled to compensation, Ms Bahrami says she was persuaded by Tehran's deputy prosecutor to sign a document limiting her claim to injuries to her hands and face.Now she has been told by a lawyer that the prosecutor's ruling is in fact unlawful.She has responded by opening legal proceedings against the deputy prosecutor for abuse of trust and depriving her of her legal rights.'If Majid Movahedi walks out of prison without paying the compensation money for my eyes, it means I have been subjected to injustice,' she said.Read the full story here.
- Iran's Khamenei presents war scenarios.(YNet).In an unusual step that comes on the heels of Iran's threats and warnings to the US and Israel over the consequences of a possible strike on its nuclear facilities, the official website of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published an analysis written by Dr. Amir Mohebian, a senior political commentator.The article details three possible war scenarios Iran could be faced with if Israel or the US proceed with a strike:
- An all out war of attrition that would combine aerial and ground forces attack.
- Limited war as a preparatory action for political proceedings. This would include hitting Iran’s control centers for the purpose of disrupting the stability of the Islamic regime. The best case scenario here would be that war leads to the regime's fall; the worst case would see Iran surrendering at the negotiating table.
- A war on specific targets with the aim of destroying the regime's assault capabilities, especially against the "Zionist regime."The Iranian commentator goes on to assess the possibility of likelihood of each scenario. He believes the feasibility of the first option is due, among other things to the fact that "the western countries' capabilities to carry out such a complex operation are very limited and nearly nonexistent."
Mohebian also mentioned the upcoming US presidential elections and the fact that the west doesn't have sufficient intelligence on Iran. In light of these problems Mohebian believes that the chances of an all out war against Iran are close to nothing. He goes on to point out the main problems of the second and third scenarios: The Iranian regime is prepared for an attack on its centers of power, the Iranian response to such an attack could be unexpected, the attack could turn the regime to an even more extreme path and encourage it to set the Middle East on fire, which would endanger the western world. Mohebian claims that even the third and most likely scenario has a relatively small likelihood of happening. He notes that the scenario's execution would be complicated. It would be impossible to attack all of the country's nuclear facilities due to its size; a limited war could develop into a regional war. For example, an attack on Bushehr could lead to harsh ecological consequences for the region. Attacking only certain nuclear sites would not lead to a complete shutdown of Iran's technological nuclear capabilities. Meanwhile, it would seem that Israel is also preparing for every possible scenario. Yedioth Ahronoth on Friday revealed that "a friendly country" has in the past few weeks secretly sent Israel anti-aircraft Patriot missile batteries that also serve as a missile defense system.The new battery arrived at the Ashdod Port, the first Patriot missile battery to arrive in Israel in eight years. Nevertheless, the IDF claims there is no connection between the current shipment and recent talk of the possibility of a strike against Iran's nuclear sites. Read the full story here.
- Thousands of Egyptians demands immediate end to military rule.(AlArabiya).Massive crowds demanding an end to military rule in Egypt converged on Cairo’s Tahrir square on Friday in what activists say will be the biggest day yet of protests in a week of violence that has seen at least 41 people killed.The generals who have governed Egypt since people power-toppled President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11 are facing a major challenge to their authority.The grand imam of al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s highest authority, on Friday expressed support for protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and wished them success, a senior aide said.“The grand imam (Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb) backs you and is praying for your victory,” Hassan Shafie told the protesters during a visit to the square.The cleric’s words of sympathy were unprecedented for the head of the prestigious al-Azhar who is appointed by Egyptian presidents and who rarely issues remarks that contradict the government’s position.Earlier, the imam leading tens of thousands of worshippers in prayer at the square called on the ruling military to hand power to a national salvation government.Sheikh Mazhar Shahin said protesters would remain in the square -- the symbolic heart of rallies that toppled Mubarak -- until their demands were met. He called for the creation of a national salvation government to take over from the military council in charge of the country since Mubarak was toppled in February.“There is no option but a national salvation government with the powers of a president.”The charismatic Shahin, nicknamed the “preacher of the revolution” after leading prayers throughout the January-February revolt that ousted Mubarak, said the revolution should drive Egypt’s political future.“The revolution is the one that thinks, the revolution is the one that decides, it is the one that judges,” Shahin said. “Our revolution was a body without a head. Today, the revolution will have a head.”Activists who accuse the army of trying to cling to power have once again turned Tahrir into center of mass demonstrations, producing scenes similar to the uprising that toppled Mubarak.Since last Saturday, streets near Tahrir have become battle zones with stone-throwing protesters fought police firing tear gas, pellets and rubber bullets, although a truce on Thursday calmed the violence in the past 24 hours.Activists sought to bring a million people into the streets of the capital on what they have dubbed “the Friday of the last chance”. The weekly Muslim prayer day has traditionally produced the biggest demonstrations of the Arab Spring revolts sweeping across the Middle East.The ruling military council had appointed Kamal Ganzouri, who served as prime minister under Mubarak from 1996-99, to head an interim cabinet. Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s government resigned this week.The military rulers say they will transfer power to civilians, but the process should not be rushed to avoid chaos.Read the full story here.
- Netanyahu worried over peace treaty; Iran commander says Egypt turning into ‘new Iran'.(Alarabiya).Israel’s peace with Egypt is a regional bulwark that both countries are working to protect, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday as protesters in Cairo kept up demands for a swift transfer from military to civilian rule, as an Iranian commander said the revolutionary fervor sweeping Egypt and other Arab countries has given birth to “new Irans.”The remarks underscored concern in an increasingly isolated Israel that Egypt’s interim military rulers could be succeeded by a popular, Islamist-dominated opposition that resents Cairo’s three-decade-old relations with the Jewish state.“This peace ensures the stability of the heart of the Middle East. It ensures orderly movement on what might be the world's most important shipping lane,” Netanyahu told reporters, referring to the Suez Canal, over which Israeli and Egyptian forces frequently battled before their 1979 peace treaty.“It ensures economic stability and the potential for economic prosperity -- both of Egypt and of Israel, as well as of other countries in the region. It guarantees quiet,” Netanyahu said, according to Reuters.“We are acting together with Egypt to maintain the peace. We know that there are a great many elements which are trying to violate the peace, even as we speak.”Israel has been alarmed by the “Arab Spring” of revolts that swept the long-serving leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya from power this year.Meanwhile, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force said Thursday the revolutionary fervor sweeping Egypt and other Arab countries has given birth to “new Irans” that share anti-US sentiment. “A number of major (new) Irans have been born in the region today. Egypt is a (new) Iran, whether you accept it or not,” Major General Qasem Soleimani told a gathering of 50,000 Basij militia members in the southern city of Kerman in a rare appearance, the Fars news agency reported.The Quds force is the shadowy special operations unit of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards which operates abroad. The United States has accused Soleimani and other Quds members of being involved in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington.Soleimani’s remarks came after deadly clashes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where protesters were holding renewed pro-democracy demonstrations.He drew parallels between the upheaval in several Arab countries and Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution, telling arch-foe the United States: “Know that today Libya, Yemen and Bahrain are also (new) Irans.”These “great nations will stand together against the threat” of Western powers, he was quoted as saying, according to AFP.Tehran has portrayed the Arab spring as being inspired by its own Islamic revolution.U.S. officials, however, have said they see it as a new movement that could yet spread into Iran and topple the regime there.Soleimani has long been under scrutiny by U.S. officials, who accuse him of supporting Iraqi militias hostile to the U.S. presence in Iraq.The Quds chief also responded to comments by two neo-conservative military experts in Congress suggesting, in a hearing in late October, that the United States should assassinate senior Revolutionary Guards commanders, including Soleimani.“To those who think threats will spread fear amongst us, I will say this: that I ask God to grant me martyrdom (death) at the hands of the enemy,” he said.“I do not see (an assassination) as a threat but rather giving, helping along an old desire,” he was quoted as saying. Read the full story here.
- Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon: Israel will defend Greek oil drilling in Cyprus.(JTA).ATHENS, Greece -- Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in Greece that Israel will defend Greek oil drilling in Cyprus.Asked at a news briefing Tuesday what Israel's reaction is to a threat by Turkey regarding drilling in Cyprus, Ayalon said, “If anyone tries to challenge these drillings, we will meet those challenges.”Ayalon, the first foreign official to visit Greece since the formation of its new government, added that he did not think that Turkey would challenge any drilling in the southeast Mediterranean. Turkey said last month it would send naval forces to protect its drilling rights.The briefing was held at the residence of Israeli Ambassador to Greece Arie Mekel. Ayalon is on an official visit to Greece.Greece's deputy foreign minister, Dimitris Dollis, stressed in his meeting with Ayalon that Israel-Greece relations upgraded in the past year would continue and be strengthened in the near future. Dollis said the ties would not be affected by the change of government in Greece.“These are not meetings that are held just so we can get together," he said. "They are meetings that will help us to jointly promote the issues we are dealing with and, naturally, provide an institutional framework -- and thus continuity -- for this conference.”The two officials agreed to convene in Greece members of the Jewish and Greek diasporas from countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, France and Britain. The meeting is planned to take place in the spring in Salonika.Ayalon and Dollis discussed cooperation among Israel, Greece and Cyprus concerning the subject of natural gas. A trilateral memorandum of understanding on the issue, as well as the management of water resources, has been drafted and is due to be signed soon. The deputy foreign ministers noted that Greece and Israel have common strategic interests in energy and energy security, and immense prospects for collaboration in that area.On Wednesday, Ayalon met with the new Greek foreign minister, Stavros Dimas, and defense minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, to discuss strengthening relations between the two countries.Next week, the Greek minister for the environment, energy and climate change, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, will visit Israel.Hmmmm.....Speak softly...carry a big stick?Read the full story here.
- Antisemitic French Comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala To Release Iran-Produced Film, 'The Anti-Semite'.(Memri).On April 7, 2010, antisemitic French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala discussed his new children's song "Shoananas," or "Holocaust Pineapple," in an interview with Iran's Press TV. In the interview he also claimed that "most slave traders were Jews" and that there is more freedom of speech in Iran than in France.Since then, Dieudonné has been working on two new films: The Black Code, on black slavery, which aims to show that most slave traders were Jews, and The Anti-Semite. Dieudonné found no sponsors for his films in France, but did obtain funding in Iran.Below are excerpts of Dieudonné's Press TV interview, followed by a summary of Dieudonné's recent antisemitic film and stage activity.Dieudonné Tells Iranian TV About His New Children's Song "Holocaust Pineapple," Claims Most Slave Traders Were Jews "[The Jewish Lobby] Has Taken France Hostage, and We Are In the Hands Of Ignorant People Who Know How To Structure Themselves Into a Mafia-Like Organization" Dieudonné: "What I am trying to say is that in France, for example, we commemorate only one of the events that have caused suffering for people – the Holocaust. Other events where mankind has suffered injustice are completely overlooked. For example, slavery in French colonies, the Algerian war, and many other events are never mentioned. The Zionist lobby imposes an unequal competition, a hierarchy in the sufferings of different communities, which is completely obscene. "But it is no surprise, coming from a type of individual with an immoral or unfair character, who...Read the full story here.
- Tehran Times Article Refuting Holocaust Relies On 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' Well-Known Holocaust Deniers.(Memri).A lengthy article titled "Refutation of the Holocaust Myth," published by the Iranian daily Tehran Times and authored by one Saleha Khan, makes familiar Holocaust-denial claims: Anne Frank's diary is a fake, the actual number of Jews in Europe before and after World War II make it impossible for six million of them to have been killed, Hitler encouraged Jews to emigrate but did not put them in concentration camps – which "were used for the detention of political opponents and subversives, mainly liberals, Social Democrats and Communists of all kinds, of whom a proportion were Jews " and so on. According to the bibliography, in writing the article the author relied on "The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion," works by well-known Holocaust deniers Robert Faurisson and David Irving, and a book published by the Historical Review Press."(1.a) The world Jewish population"In order to question the truth regarding the Holocaust, one must first take into account the Jewish population in Europe during the 1940s. It should be noted that statistics relating to the Jewish populations are not known in precise detail. Approximations for various countries differ widely. Furthermore, it is unknown exactly how many Jews were deported and interned at any particular time between the period of 1939—1945. The reliable statistics available, especially those relating to emigration, are sufficient to show that it is not possible for six million Jews to have...Read the full story here.