Sunday, November 27, 2011
Auguste Lumière and Louis Lumière were photographic inventors who began to experiment with motion pictures in the early 1890s. The Frenchmen's first footage was recorded in March 1895. In 1896, they produced the first motion picture made in the Holy Land, a 51-second film of a train leaving Jerusalem station.
Despite brainwashing, there was always a Jewish majority in Jerusalem.
HT: Picture a day.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 5.4 ; New Zealand 5.0 !More info here.
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Obama to Erdogan: 'We'll defend Turkey before we defend Israel'? (IsraelMatzav).Syrian reformist Farid Ghadry calls this story 'hard to believe,' but I would call it 'too
goodbad to check' because it confirms so many of the things that we have suspected about Barack Hussein Obama all along, and makes his defeat in 2012 all the more urgent. Two days ago, I heard from a very well connected Turkish friend who told me something worth writing about.He said “There is an exuberant atmosphere of narcissism rampant amongst the close advisors of Erdogan. They all believe if Turkey attacked Israel, the United States will stand by Turkey”.Is it possible the knowledge these close Erdogan advisors have is the result of President Obama, our US Commander-in-Chief, giving them that impression?If what was told to me is true, and there is no reason to doubt the sincerity and access of my friend, never did the United States favor any other Middle Eastern country over Israel. This explains fully the support the Obama Administration is giving the Islamists. It’s an indirect way for Obama to look the other way while Syria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and the traditional close allies of the US sweat bullets having to deal with the Muslim Brotherhood.We have a say in Arabic that goes “A cooking pan found its cover” or Tanjarah La’et Qataha, which is another way of saying “They are a perfect fit”.Is it possible the Islamist Erdogan is the cooking pan frying the region and Obama is covering for him. I don't find it hard to believe. Look how Obama has kissed up to radical Islam: The speech in Cairo, the bow to Saudi King Abdullah, his poor treatment of Israel in general and of Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular. Do I need to go on? Unfortunately, this is completely plausible.Hmmm....The one thing that binds them together is their 'love' for israel.Read the full story here.
- Arab League imposes sanctions on Syria; freezes assets, bans trade, travel.(AlArabiya).Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo on Sunday to vote on a list of sanctions against Syria, designed to contain President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and quash the bloody crackdown on anti-government protest.The organization has imposed a set of “unprecedented sanctions” against the regime which go into effect immediately.The sanctions include freezing of assets, a halt on dealing with Syria’s central bank and stopping investments and a travel ban on high ranking officials, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jaber Al Thani told reporters today in Cairo.Thani told a news conference that the measures had been accepted, but that Iraq had abstained and would refuse to implement them, while Lebanon “disassociated itself.”Despite the Arab ministers saying that sanctions are not intended to hurt ordinary people, fears are mounting that a vote on these measures could plunge Syria deeper into economic crisis.“If that is to happen [the sanctions], it will be very unfortunate because the damage will be to all sides,” Syrian Economy Minister Mohammed Nidal al-Shaar told AFP.But he said that he did not expect all Arab countries to back the recommendation.Among those who are expected to oppose the sanctions are Syria’s immediate neighbors Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq who may be wary of damage to trade and commercial interests, or have political reservations.The vote comes after Damascus defied an ultimatum to accept observers under an Arab League peace plan and put an end to the eight-month crackdown.“Today’s meeting will focus on two issues. First approving the decisions taken by the economic council yesterday and finding a way to force them on the Syrian regime that does not let the regime find a way to skirt them,” a senior League source told Reuters.“The most important thing we are seeking is that sanctions make a difference and get implemented,” he said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.The League for decades avoided action against its 22 members but the pan-Arab body has been galvanized by pressure from Gulf Arabs already angry at Syria’s alliance with their regional rival Iran and changes brought about by Arab uprisings.Bahrain and Qatar on Sunday called on their citizens residing in Syria to leave the unrest-swept country, following a similar move by the United Arab Emirates which advised its citizens to stay away. The Gulf states issued the call on the day the Arab League was deciding on sanctions.Read the full story here.
- Muslim medical students boycotting lectures on evolution... because it 'clashes with the Koran'.(DailyMail).Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain's leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion. Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.Steve Jones emeritus professor of human genetics at university college London has questioned why such students would want to study biology at all when it obviously conflicts with their beliefs.He told the Sunday Times: 'I had one or two slightly frisky discussions years ago with kids who belonged to fundamentalist Christian churches, now it is Islamic overwhelmingly.'They don't come [to lectures] or they complain about it or they send notes or emails saying they shouldn't have to learn this stuff.'What they object to - and I don't really understand it, I am not religious - they object to the idea that there is a random process out there which is not directed by God.'Earlier this year Usama Hasan, iman of the Masjid al-Tawhid mosque in Leyton, received death threats for suggesting that Darwinism and Islam might be compatible.Sources within the group Muslims4UK partly blame the growing popularity of creationist beliefs within Islam on Turkish author Harun Yahya who, influenced by the success of Christian creationists in America, has written several books denouncing Darwinist theory.Yahya associates Dawinism with Nazism and his books are and videos are available at many Islamic bookshops in the UK and regularly feature on Islamic television channels.Speakers regularly tour Britain lecturing on Yahya's beliefs.One such lecture was given at UCL in 2008 and this year's talks have been given in London, Manchester, Leeds, Dundee and Glasgow.Evolutionary Biologist and former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins has expressed his concern at the number of students, consisting almost entirely of Muslims, who do not attend or walk out of lectures.Hmmm....."The origins of
Bigotspecies"?Read the full story here.
- Iran: We'll fire 150,000 missiles at Israel if attacked.(YNet).Iranian Defense Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said Israel would be attacked with 150,000 missiles if it launches any military action against the Islamic Republic, the Iran Independent News Service reported Sunday.Speaking before 50,000 army volunteers in Bushehr, the minister said "Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan, if the Americans make the mistake and attack Iran, we will show them how to fight,” adding “Israel has to be punished for what it has done to the Muslims in Palestine and Lebanon." However, according to Iranian news outlets Vahidi did not specify if the missiles would be fired from Iran or other locations.On Saturday a senior commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said the country would target NATO's missile defense shield in Turkey if the US or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards' aerospace division, was quoted by the semi-official Mehr news agency as saying the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what it sees as an increase in threats from the US and Israel. Read the full story here.
- GOP leader: Stop radical Islam in Egypt.(HTW).A top House Republican said Tuesday the primary goal of U.S. policy in Egypt should be to “stop the spread of radical Islam,” an objective that has been little mentioned by Obama administration officials in recent weeks.Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., also said at a news conference he hopes the street protests taking place in Cairo and elsewhere will lead to a democratic society that “stands for human rights, progress and equal opportunity.”In his remarks, Cantor did not criticize President Barack Obama over his handling of the two-week crisis.GOP leaders have privately urged members of the rank and file not to second-guess Obama’s approach to the crisis, in which hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have staged demonstrations demanding that President Hosni Mubarak surrender power.Asked about criticism leveled recently by another Republican lawmaker, Cantor said, it would not be “helpful for this President, who is having a tough enough time as it is, to have 535 members of Congress to opine on his conduct of foreign policy.”Yet with his remarks, which aides said were planned in advance, Cantor appeared to be articulating a different policy objective than the one Obama has spoken of most frequently.“I think the primary goal should be to stop the spread of radical Islam. That is where our focus should be,” he said.Since the protests first arose, Obama has called for a transition to a government — regardless of its leader — that grants greater freedoms than Mubarak allows in a nation of 80 million.“The future of Egypt will be determined by its people. It’s also clear that there needs to be a transition process that begins now. That transition must initiate a process that respects the universal rights of the Egyptian people and that leads to free and fair elections,” the president said late last week.Asked whether Cantor’s remarks stemmed at least in part from his position on Israel, Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said the majority leader “has consistently made clear that the expansion of radical Islam is a global danger and is bad for America and our allies.”Other traditional congressional supporters of Israel have also remained on the sidelines while Obama grapples with the protests in Egypt.Simultaneously, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, has been largely silent on the fast-moving developments. AIPAC holds considerable sway with lawmakers and many take their lead from the group.Hmm.....Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. ~ Martin Luther King, jr. Read the full story here.
- U.K. Foreign Office warns, Prepare for riots in euro collapse.(LondonTelegraph).British embassies in the eurozone have been told to draw up plans to help British expats through the collapse of the single currency, amid new fears for Italy and Spain.A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.“It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.Fuelling the fears of financial markets for the euro, reports in Madrid yesterday suggested that the new Popular Party government could seek a bail-out from either the European Union rescue fund or the International Monetary Fund.There are also growing fears for Italy, whose new government was forced to pay record interest rates on new bonds issued yesterday.The yield on new six-month loans was 6.5 per cent, nearly double last month’s rate. And the yield on outstanding two-year loans was 7.8 per cent, well above the level considered unsustainable.Italy’s new government will have to sell more than EURO 30 billion of new bonds by the end of January to refinance its debts. Analysts say there is no guarantee that investors will buy all of those bonds, which could force Italy to default.The Italian government yesterday said that in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Mario Monti had agreed that an Italian collapse “would inevitably be the end of the euro.”The EU treaties that created the euro and set its membership rules contain no provision for members to leave, meaning any break-up would be disorderly and potentially chaotic.If eurozone governments defaulted on their debts, the European banks that hold many of their bonds would risk collapse.Some analysts say the shock waves of such an event would risk the collapse of the entire financial system, leaving banks unable to return money to retail depositors and destroying companies dependent on bank credit.The Financial Services Authority this week issued a public warning to British banks to bolster their contingency plans for the break-up of the single currency.Some economists believe that at worst, the outright collapse of the euro could reduce GDP in its member-states by up to half and trigger mass unemployment.Read the full story here.
- PayPal’s Links to Palantir, a Metasearch Technology Used by Intelligence, Law Enforcement and Military Organizations.(Cryptogon).And guess where they’re located? That’s right: Facebook’s former building.I couldn’t make it up if I tried.Via: Bloomberg: An organization like the CIA or FBI can have thousands of different databases, each with its own quirks: financial records, DNA samples, sound samples, video clips, maps, floor plans, human intelligence reports from all over the world. Gluing all that into a coherent whole can take years. Even if that system comes together, it will struggle to handle different types of data—sales records on a spreadsheet, say, plus video surveillance images. What Palantir (pronounced Pal-an-TEER) does, says Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner (IT), is “make it really easy to mine these big data sets.” The company’s software pulls off one of the great computer science feats of the era: It combs through all available databases, identifying related pieces of information, and puts everything together in one place.Depending where you fall on the spectrum between civil liberties absolutism and homeland security lockdown, Palantir’s technology is either creepy or heroic. Judging by the company’s growth, opinion in Washington and elsewhere has veered toward the latter. Palantir has built a customer list that includes the U.S. Defense Dept., CIA, FBI, Army, Marines, Air Force, the police departments of New York and Los Angeles, and a growing number of financial institutions trying to detect bank fraud. These deals have turned the company into one of the quietest success stories in Silicon Valley—it’s on track to hit $250 million in sales this year—and a candidate for an initial public offering. Palantir has been used to find suspects in a case involving the murder of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, and to uncover bombing networks in Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. “It’s like plugging into the Matrix,” says a Special Forces member stationed in Afghanistan who requested anonymity out of security concerns.Palantir’s engineers fill the former headquarters of Facebook along University Avenue in the heart of Palo Alto’s main commercial district. Over the past few years, Palantir has expanded to four other nearby buildings as well. Its security people—who wear black gloves and Secret Service-style earpieces—often pop out of the office to grab their lunch, making downtown Palo Alto feel, at times, a bit like Langley.The origins of Palantir go back to PayPal, the online payments pioneer founded in 1998. A hit with consumers and businesses, PayPal also attracted criminals who used the service for money laundering and fraud. By 2000, PayPal looked like “it was just going to go out of business” because of the cost of keeping up with the bad guys, says Peter Thiel, a PayPal co-founder.Read the full story here.
- Obama Policies Endanger World, Could Propel Mideast War.(DocsTalk).Three years of President Barack Obama’s policies have made the world a more perilous place, aggravating a Mideast situation that could result in an all-out war with a nuclear-armed Iran, Frank Gaffney tells Newsmax.TV.“The world will become substantially more dangerous” if the evisceration of the U.S. military, the undermining of American allies — notably Israel — and the emboldening of its enemies continues under the Obama administration, said Gaffney, the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy“All of these things really are adding inexorably to the dynamic that . . . war can be taken safely with the United States standing on the sidelines rather than being the reliable ally of Israel that has helped deter such conflicts in the past,” Gaffney said in the exclusive Newsmax interview.“There’s been a further, if you will, gathering of the storm clouds . . . that only further reinforces my concern that, probably before the next election, you may see this break out in way that results in a regional cataclysm,” Gaffney said. “The next year may prove even more problematic. Were the president to be completely unrestrained by the necessity of being re-elected, I feel that far more damage might be done in several different areas.”Among his concerns are the establishment of Shariah in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria; the rise of Hezbollah in Lebanon; and the strengthening of Hamas in Gaza.“Whether we’re likely to see a caliphate emerge any time soon, I don’t know,” Gaffney said. “We’re certainly seeing people who aspire to that goal, believing more and more and more that they will accomplish it.”His primary concern remains the Iranian nuclear weapons program.“I don’t think anything will dissuade the Iranians from fulfilling their longstanding objective of obtaining nuclear weapons,” he said. “They’ll have to be stopped.”There is a strong likelihood that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon before the next election, he said.“My guess is that, if it’s not matter of weeks off, it may be months at most, and the trouble is, we don’t know, and we may not know until either there’s a nuclear test or there’s a nuclear explosion,” he said.Gaffney offered two strategies to thwart nuclear Iran:
- The United States could help the Iranian people succeed in overthrowing “a regime that they detest and that has ruinously misruled them for so long.”
- Another country could use military force to disrupt or destroy the nuclear program.
“Sanctions, I don’t think, are going to help in either of those respects,” he said. “They certainly haven’t to date.”When asked whether Israel would be the first to strike Iran, Gaffney replied: “Whether Israel will do it remains to be seen. There’s talk, and my experience tells me that when there’s talk, that usually means there’s not going to be action. But I think there’s no doubt that the Israelis increasingly recognize that what is happening with ineffective sanctions, with an America that is not taking the lead or, worse, is actually trying to engage the mullahs of Iran is that an existential threat to the Jewish state is becoming ever more of an imminent peril.”When asked whether the United States would support Israel if the country struck first, Gaffney answered, “Under the Obama administration, it seems exceedingly unlikely that there will be any kind of support for the Israelis should they decide, actually, to go for it with Iran. My guess is the Israelis are going to be very leery of sharing with us information about what we’re doing out of a concern that the Obama administration would, at a minimum, feel constrained to discourage them from doing so and may actually take more direct steps to prevent them from being able to execute such a strike.”Read the full story here.
- Arab Winter.(DocsTalk).By Michael Youssef.After making numerous phone calls and speaking to many Christian leaders in Egypt this week, I have learned that what is really happening on the ground is far removed from the television reporters’ happy endorsement of democracy seekers. To describe what is really going on around the country as “barbaric” would be an understatement. While some of the protestors may be true democracy lovers, the widespread terrorism on display defies all human decency.The truth about recent events in Egypt reveals that the country has disintegrated into a total anarchy and barbarianism that would make the Vikings blush.Peaceful Christians are being beheaded in their own homes. Their possessions are being carried off as police either stand helplessly by or, for a portion of the booty, turn a blind eye. And surprise, surprise! Nearly all the victims of beheadings were Christians killed by Muslim fundamentalists. Not only are the Egyptian Islamists poised to take over the country next Monday if the election is held as scheduled, but these acts of terrorism are serving as propaganda tools to “prove” that they and they alone can bring order to the country with their Sharia law. So, for now at least, these terrorist acts reinforce their cause and agenda.So much for President Obama’s “Arab Spring.” When history books are written truthfully, they will reveal that the President’s speech in Cairo, one he insisted the Islamists attend, set this barbarism in motion. Another misstep by President Obama was his demand that his ambassador in Cairo negotiate with what, at the time, was an outlawed entity known as the “Muslim Brotherhood.” This gave the Islamist group a huge comfort level in their push to take over.While I cannot enter into the man’s heart or know his motive, I do wonder how Mr. Obama can sleep at night knowing that his misguided foreign policy emboldened pro-Islamists and caused the deaths of thousands of innocent people.It gives me no comfort to say, “I told you so.” But back in January of this year, I warned of such mayhem taking root in Egypt.Indecisive leadership kills innocent people and causes disasters. Take President Jimmy Carter’s vacillating support for the Shah of Iran. In one breath, Carter would support the beleaguered leader, and in the next, he would praise the Iranian Revolution. That indecisiveness led to 52 Americans being taken hostage for 444 days inside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.It is precisely the same kind of vacillation and accommodation on the part of Mr. Obama that has emboldened the Islamists around the world. As a result, we have seen jihadist-led bloodbaths from Yemen to Syria and from Libya to Egypt.On a positive note, it is not too late for Mr. Obama to admit he was wrong and change his policy. In fact, it would be very courageous for him to say, “I was wrong about the Islamists.” Then he could reverse his policy of accommodation, fire his Islamist advisers in the White House and the State Department and start anew — with a clean slate of truthfulness and honesty. Until then, we can only wait, hope and pray.Michael Youssef, PhD is an Egyptian-born American and founding rector of The Church of The Apostles. His messages are broadcast 3800 times a week into 200 countries through Leading The Way Ministries.Read the full story here.
- IDF commander estimates Lebanese army will join Hezbollah in next conflict against Israel.(YNet).A mysterious blast in a Hezbollah depot in South Lebanon rocked the relatively quiet northern sector this week prompting reports that Israel was behind the explosion. On the other side of the border, the IDF is ready for any development which may involve Hezbollah or even the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Commander of the Herev Battalion Lieutenant-Colonel Shadi Abu Fares oversaw a drill simulating border clashes earlier this week. Abu Fares says that Lebanese troops deployed on the border prevented pro-Palestinian protesters from approaching the border fence on Naksa Day last June, but are unlikely to flee to the north in the next conflict."It is our estimate that they will take part in the fighting. They are regarded as the enemy. We have no intention of opening fire at them and they are aware of their responsibilities on the border," Abu Fares told Ynet.Tensions between Israel and the LAF have grown in the past year and a half, as Lebanon moved from pro-Western rulers to a Hezbollah-affiliated regime. Last August, an IDF patrol driving along the border was attacked. Some Lebanese reports claimed that a Lebanese soldier was injured in the incidence which occurred exactly one year after Lieutenant-Colonel Dov Harari was killed in a fire exchange on the border.No other battalion is as familiar with the Lebanese border as the Druze Battalion. Its combatants have spent the last decade deployed in the area.But even they cann't predict what shape the next conflict will take. "The main scenario we are preparing for is one of infiltration which also entails an abduction threat," Lt. Col. Abu Fares says. "The war has greatly deterred Hezbollah and Nasrallah is still hiding in bunkers fearing a targeted killing. Since the war Hezbollah has not fired one shot but its men are still hidden on the line."Read the full story here.
- Iranian passenger planes dodging international sanctions by refuelling in U.K. Kent.(DailyMail).Iranian planes banned from refuelling in countries that have economic ties with the U.S. are dodging the sanctions by filling up at a privately owned airport in Kent.The Iran Air flights are allowed to land at Heathrow however they are not able to refuel for the journey home at any airport that has trade links with the U.S.Owners of the UK's smallest airport, in Manston, Kent - a former RAF base in the Second World war- have struck up a deal to supply the planes that carry up to 266 passengers with the fuel they need.Owned by New Zealand company Infratil, Manston airport have insisted that the arrangement does not breach the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S..A spokesman told the Sunday Express: 'We are complying with all the regulations laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority. There is no reason why we shouldn't do it.'As a small airport we have to do business where we can. We have flight from Iran Air refuelling on a regular basis.'Infratil which also earns an airport in Glasgow made a loss of £6million last year.The sanctions which affect Western Europe were imposed over safety after fears that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.Oil giants BP and Shell are refusing to service Iranian jets at Heathrow while the UK has announced that all credit and financial institutions to cease trading with Iran.A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority told the newspaper: 'We don't get involved in the politics of whether it is right for the planes to land there because of sanctions in place in the UK.'Read and see the full story here.
- Syrian dissidents say activist journalist's pregnant wife kidnapped in Egypt.(Bikyamasr).CAIRO: Mona El-Gharib, an Egyptian 25-year-old pregnant student at al-Azhar University and wife of a Syrian dissident was reported to be kidnapped in Cairo on Friday afternoon.Thaer El-Nashef, her Syrian husband, was informed of the kidnapping through an anonymous text message, Ammar Qurabi, head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, said.“We have your wife and we are going to sexually assault her so that you learn how not to insult your masters again,” El-Nashef cited the text message.According to El-Nashef, she left their home in Mohandessin to visit her parents nearly two miles away. But she never got there.El-Nashef is a journalist and serves as a TV anchor for several networks, including January 25 TV, which was launched after the revolution to topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.Until 2006, he had worked as a correspondent for Syria’s state-agency SANA. Since 2007, he has been living in Egypt, appearing often on Egyptian TV-shows, discussing the uprisings and being a vocal opponent of the regime.In recent weeks, several reports have cited kidnappings and the disappearance of Syrian citizens.In Lebanon, where thousands of Syrians have crossed in order to escape unrest in their country, Prime Minister Najib Mikati confirmed in an interview on November 4 that opposition figures from Syria had been kidnapped in Lebanon.According to CNN, the US State Department announced this summer that “it had received reports that Syrian mission personnel had been conducting video surveillance of people participating in peaceful demonstrations in the United States.”As he had been receiving other threats from Syrian agents for weeks, El-Nashef blames the Syrian intelligence operating in Egypt for the kidnapping.While protesters are gathering at the Syrian Embassy, the Egyptian police is currently trying to find out the origin of the text messages.Although Al-Nashef said he received further text messages, including one that threatened that his wife would be raped, and another saying his wife would be killed if he went to the media with the story, he has filed a complaint about the kidnapping.Syria is facing mounting international pressure to end a bloody crackdown on an uprising against the rule of President Bashar Assad. More than 3,500 people have been killed so far and the Arab League was meeting Saturday to consider the possibility of sweeping economic sanctions.The Syrian Embassy in Egypt issued a statement in which it strongly denied the claim, calling it “lies fabricated by Syrian dissidents in Egypt” seeking to harm Syrian-Egyptian relations.Read the full story here.
- Hugo Chavez Brings First Shipment of Gold to Venezuela From Foreign Vaults as Global Economy Slides.(BlacklistedNews).By Madison Ruppert – Editor of End the Lie.In August Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez announced that he would be repatriating the foreign-held gold reserves in American and European banks and they received the first shipment of gold from European countries on Friday.The Venezuelan central bank reports that about $300 million in gold was brought in to Caracas by plane and they plan to bring 160 tons held abroad back to Venezuela.The president of the central bank, Nelson Merentes said that the first shipment came from “various European countries” by way of France and called the arrival of the gold bullion a “historic” moment for his country, according to the Wall Street Journal.Hugo Chavez said, “Now [the gold] will go to a place from which it should have never left: the central bank vaults [in Caracas]; not those in London or in Europe, but our own land.”This is likely quite a good move as Western banks are becoming increasingly exposed to massive amounts of derivatives and sovereign debt crises that are wracking several economies.These crises very well might be engineered by central banks and their “too big to fail” cronies just as the crash in 2008 was, and Chavez might preempting a possible gold run by demanding physical delivery of his gold now before there is no gold to deliver.While Merentes would not give the specific number of tons of gold brought shipped to Venezuela on Friday, he said that the shipment was worth roughly $300 million.This comes as U.S. stocks see the worst Thanksgiving drop since 1932 and all indicators show the European sovereign debt crisis continuing to worsen.Chavez’s repatriation of gold reserves is part of his initiative to nationalize the Venezuelan gold sector, something which the Wall Street Journal says “puzzled economists.”The Wall Street Journal published speculation that it could have to do with internal arbitration cases involving nationalizations and Venezuela seeking to prevent having their assets seized abroad.They claim that it reduces transparency and would “raise more questions over the central bank’s declining reserves.”How exactly they know the status of the reserves is not said, and Venezuelan figures posit a much more logical explanation for the move.Venezuelan officials said that they were seeking to minimize exposure to the overly indebted Western economies of the United States and Europe, while leveraging the high price of gold that only seems to be rising.They also said that they were seeking to invest in developing allies like Russia and China which have also been investing in the Venezuelan economy and continue to grow at rates not seen in the West.There has also been a steady attack on Chavez coming from the United States and the West in general so his choice to demand his gold now prevents Western nations from seizing his assets held abroad as they did to Gaddafi.The Wall Street Journal does seem to be able to pin down a number of how much gold Venezuela actually has.First they say that before Friday, Venezuela held nearly $11 billion worth of gold, or 211 tons, out of 365 tons of reserves stored in banks in the United States, Canada and Europe.According to the World Gold Council, Venezuela holds the 15th-largest gold reserves and Chavez said, “It’s the economic reserve for our kids. It’s growing, and it’s going to keep growing, both gold and economic reserves.”The signs are not looking good and Chavez demanding physical delivery of his gold just reflects the global awareness that something is seriously wrong with the world economy and it is not getting better any time soon.Hmmm....Better to hold one bird in your hand, than ten birds in the sky.Read the full story here.
- Arab league plan to freeze assets, impose travel ban on senior officials and halt commercial flights to Syria.(Ynet).Arab states plan to cut commercial ties with Syria's government and freeze its assets as they step up pressure to end months of political violence in the country, a draft document to be discussed by Arab ministers on Sunday showed. The sanctions would also include a travel ban on senior Syrian officials and a halt to commercial flights to the country, according to the Arab League document seen by Reuters on Saturday.Dealings with Syria's central bank would be halted, it said, but basic commodities needed by the Syrian people would be exempted from the list of sanctions.The document, drawn up by the Arab League's Social and Economic Committee at a preparatory meeting in Cairo in Saturday, would need to be ratified by ministers before coming into force.Damascus missed a Friday deadline to agree an Arab League proposal to send monitors to Syria, where the United Nations says 3,500 people have been killed in the eight-month uprising against President Bashar Assad.The Arab League turned against Assad this month, suspending Syria's membership of the regional body in a surprise move that broke with months of low-key diplomacy.The draft document said Arab states would freeze the financing of projects on Syrian territory and Arab central banks would monitor bank transfers and letters of credit to make sure they comply with the sanctions. Remittances sent home by Syrians working abroad would not be blocked."It is important that the international community move to resolve this problem and deliver a powerful message to the Syrian government," said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who was invited to attend Saturday's committee meeting.He said the sanctions must not affect the daily life of Syria's people or threaten their most basic needs such as access to water."We know that the Arab League during its meetings today and tomorrow will take strong decisions to stop the violence in Syria," said Babacan.The Arab League suspended Syria's membership two weeks ago over Damascus' violent crackdown on dissent and its failure to implement the League's plan to end the unrest, Voice of America reported.Read the full story here.
- “Unity turns PA into terror-entity” Israeli deputy FM Ayalon said Saturday.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon Saturday slammed newly re-found Palestinian unity, saying that a Fatah-Hamas unity government would “turn the Palestinian Authority into a terror entity.”“Such a move will deal a debilitating blow to the changes of reaching a settlement,” he said, adding that the foreign ministry is looking into the possibility of “cutting off Gaza’s infrastructure from Israel completely.”After a meeting in Cairo on Thursday, Hamas and Fatah stated to have reached agreements to finally end the rivalry that split the West Bank and Gaza into separate administrations under each party in 2007.After the meeting, they communicated to have reached complete agreements on the way forward, and that elections for a unity government will be coming up shortly.Prior to the Cairo meeting, Ahmed Youssef, former political adviser of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, announced an agreement that the next Palestinian government will be based in Gaza. The next prime minister may also be a resident of Gaza, he added.Such statements have further angered Israeli leadership, who fiercely oppose Hamas and has consequently refused to negotiate with the Islamist group.However, this does not mean unity talks will be dismantled.“The threats (by the Israeli government) reassure us that we are taking the right track … the Palestinian people can’t be angered or frightened when they do anything that serves their interest,” Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told reporters.“Why would we be worried while the enemy practices tyranny against the Palestinian people indiscriminately on a daily basis?” he said.Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein added to the critic of the deal.As Meshaal and Abbas were discussing the reconciliation in Cairo, he said the unity plans prove that “Abbas is accepting Hamas’ aggressiveness and terrorist ways against Israel and supporting the murder of innocent civilians.”“From today the Authority is a terror group with all its implications. Abbas has chosen to escalate the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and the consequences of the partnership with Hamas will be disastrous to the entire region,” he added.The Israeli government is currently withholding Palestinian tax revenues, money that the Palestinian Authority is in urgent need of to function as a governing authority.The money has been frozen since the PA was accepted into UNESCO last month, as Israel also subsequently cut all funding to the UN body. Prime Minister to Abbas’ government, Salam Fayyad, vowed to step down from his post earlier this month to welcome Hamas’ demands for a new PM if unity was to materialize.Friday, Fayyad slammed Israeli withholding of Palestinian funds.“This is our money,” he said, repeating his proposal to step down.The former rival factions met in Cairo Wednesday to discuss further efforts to conclude a unity deal that has been waiting to be ratified since May when an interim leadership should have formed to prepare for elections.However, the process has been obstructed as the parties couldn’t agree on ministers to appoint for the interim government, and President Abbas appointed current Prime Minister Salam Fayyad who was rejected by Hamas.Since the recent Cairo meeting, the parties have scheduled to meet again in December in order to “activate the leadership framework” of Palestinian factions to take part in the way forward.Hmmm....The Obama regime paying terrorists their 'wages' with U.s. taxpayer money.Read the full story here.
- Editorials in Pakistani Dailies Voice Concern Over Persecution of Hindus in Pakistan.(Memri).On November 7, 2011, the first day of the Eid al-Adha celebrations in Pakistan, three doctors belonging to the minority Hindu community were shot dead in Pakistan's Shikarpur town following a dispute over a Muslim dancing girl. According to Ramesh Kumar, the chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, the dispute erupted after local Hindu boys brought a Muslim dancing girl to the area. Following complaints from local Muslims, policemen raided the house where the Muslim girl had been dancing and arrested four Hindu boys. Later, elders from the two communities agreed to resolve the dispute after the three-day Eid al-Adha celebrations, but before the matter could be resolved, armed men shot dead the three doctors. The Hindu community has held protests in the Sindh province.The Hindu doctors' killing has highlighted the growing persecution of Hindu minority in Pakistani society, especially by Islamic extremists. Hindus constitute only about two percent of the population in the predominantly Islamic nation of Pakistan. In September 2011, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), a non-governmental organization, warned against the continuing persecution of Hindus and expressed concern over kidnappings of Hindus for ransom and their forced conversion to Islam.Tahir Hussain and Zahoor Shahwani of the HRCP told journalists that the situation is serious in Baluchistan province, where dozens of Hindus were kidnapped in recent years for ransom. "Many Hindus have now stopped sending their children to school because of a lack of security. Traders, doctors and retailers are being kidnapped or threatened [in Baluchistan]," stated a Pakistani media report. In Pakistan's other provinces, especially Sindh and Punjab, similar reports have revealed a pattern in the persecution of Hindus, which show widescale prevalence of ransom and forced conversion into Islam. In December 2010, the Urdu daily Roznama Jasarat reported that 27 Hindu families from Pakistan had filed requests for political asylum before the High Commission of India in Islamabad. In October 2010, a committee of the Pakistani Senate expressed concern over reports that Hindu girls in the country's Sindh province were being abducted and converted to Islam by force.In editorials, excerpted below, several Pakistani newspapers expressed concern over the Hindu doctors' killing, which is being seen as part of a continuing pattern of violence against minorities in Pakistan. "A recent study by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom found that hatred for Hindus is instilled in official Pakistani textbooks. The study said that 'Hindus are repeatedly described as extremists and eternal enemies of Islam whose culture and society is based on injustice and cruelty.' From a young age, Pakistanis are taught that being Hindu equates to being Indian, while the cultural and economic role played by the community in Pakistan is ignored."Repression against the Hindu community is especially acute in Sindh. In recent years, young Hindu girls have been kidnapped and forced into marriage after being unwillingly converted to Islam. Local clerics claim that the girls willingly converted and so no crime was committed. In fact, they welcome the supposed 'conversions' for bringing more people to the Muslim fold. "In Baluchistan, too, where Hindus have been part of the community for centuries, they are now being forced to flee out of fear for their lives. All of this is taking place with officials turning a blind eye, even if they are not actually sanctioning it. The hope would be that the murders on Eid would be the last straw. Unfortunately, the history of violence against Hindus would make that diagnosis far too optimistic."Following the doctors' killings, the editors of the liberal newspaper Dawn observed in an editorial titled "Hate Crime:""The events that led to the murder... of three doctors belonging to the Hindu community in a town near Shikarpur remain shrouded in mystery as conflicting details have emerged in the press. It is irrelevant whether the Muslim girl at the center of the murders was an entertainer or simply someone in love with a Hindu man. The offence committed had all the trappings of a hate crime which was rightly denounced by the highest in the government, Sindh's opinion leaders, nationalist parties and civil society. "It appeared a case of the perpetrators making a horrible example of the members of the minority community in a bid to further push the Hindu community to the wall, with a view to keeping in place the social apartheid practiced against it. Unfortunately, as reported by Hindu leaders, there has emerged a pattern in the rising number of cases of kidnapping for ransom, forced conversions and violence against the community over the past few years."The perpetrators comprise Islamic extremists who see nothing wrong in forcibly converting or harassing the minority community, totally disregarding the deep-rooted culture of peaceful coexistence that has been the hallmark of Sindhi society for centuries."In January 2011, courageous Pakistani lawmaker Marvi Menon, who earlier this year resigned her membership of the parliament, wrote an article, criticizing the growing anti-Hindu violence in Pakistani society, stating: "It's not easy these days being a Hindu in Pakistan. The number of cases of members of the Hindu community being kidnapped for ransom is on the rise, both in Sindh and in Baluchistan. While recently attending a meeting of the National Assembly's Standing Committee for Law and Justice, I realized that a stringent law was already in place under which a person convicted of this offence could be sentenced to life in prison or even death. As usual, the discussion revolved around the fact that while we had good laws, they were not being implemented."Personally, I am against capital punishment – and the logic is quite straightforward: since we don't give life, we have no right to take it away. And hence life imprisonment is acceptable but not capital punishment. However, the rise in cases of kidnapping, often of children, has altered this view. Those who kidnap people for ransom need to be dealt with a heavy hand – more so because in Pakistan where we hardly ever see anyone punished for this crime. "In August, before the floods hit [the province of] Sindh, I visited a Hindu Sindhi family in [the town of] Kashmore whose six-year-old had been kidnapped. The mother's [mental] state was enough to convince me to press for severe punishment as a deterrent to stop this kind of crime."I was told that Hindus were being targeted because, by and large, they lacked political clout and made for easier targets. Furthermore, those involved in kidnapping for ransom often had connections to powerful people, and this explained why, in most instances, the kidnappers were never caught."The tragedy is that as a result of these kidnappings, many Hindu families have migrated to India. After all, it is better to live in another country than in perpetual fear. This is the biggest failure of the so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan – that its minorities don't feel safe on their own soil...."Hmmmm.......The religion of peace.Read the full story here.
- BPA being absorbed from canned food: study.(GlobeAndmail).Is it safe to eat canned foods?That’s a question worth asking after a new study found a huge spike in urinary levels of the chemical bisphenol A – commonly known as BPA – in a group of volunteers who ate canned vegetable soup for several days. BPA, which has been linked to a variety of health disorders, is used in the lining of many food and beverage cans.The results suggest BPA is being absorbed by the canned food and then ingested by consumers.“We were very surprised by the numbers,” said the senior author of the study, Karin Michels of Harvard Medical School in Boston. “It makes you feel a little uneasy about cans.”The experiment involved 75 participants. Half of them were asked to eat a 12-ounce bowl of canned vegetable soup at lunch for five consecutive days. After a two-day break, they consumed the same-sized serving of fresh vegetable soup for five lunches in a row. The other volunteers did the experiment in the reverse order – starting with five days of fresh soup, followed by five lunches of canned soup.Urine samples were collected on several occasions, usually a few hours after the noon-time meal.The analysis revealed that when participants ate the canned soup they experienced more than a 1,000 per cent increase in their urinary concentrations of BPA, compared to when they dined on fresh soup.The study, published this week in the Journal of American Medical Association, represents one of the first attempts to measure BPA urine levels soon after the consumption of canned foods.Even so, the study raises more questions than it answers. Because all urine samples were collected the same time of day, the researchers can’t say how high the BPA levels rose. Nor can they say how quickly the BPA was excreted from the body. Plus, a lot more research is needed to determine the long-term health effects from this type of exposure.Although the team investigated only canned vegetable soup, the researchers suspect they would find similar results with other canned food and possibly canned beverages as well.Hmmm.....In Canada BPA has been banned in Baby bottles on September 2010.In the European Union and Canada, BPA use is banned in baby bottles.Read the full story here.
1695. Arabs in Palestine were few and far between.(Israpundit).By Avi Goldreich.
(Translated from the Hebrew by Nurit Greenger.)2011.
The time machine is a sensation that nests in me when I am visiting Mr. Hobber old books store in Budapest, Hungary. Hobber learned to know my quirks and after the initial greeting and the glass of mineral water (Mr. Hobber is a vegan) he leads me down the stairs to the huge basement, to the Jewish “section.”
The Jewish section is a room full of antiquity books on subjects that Mr. Hobber sees to be Jewish. Among the books there are some that are not even worthy their leather binding. However, sometime, one can find there real culture treasure. Many of the books are Holy Books that may have been stolen from synagogues’ archives: Talmud, Bible, Mishnah, old Ashkenazi style Siddur, and others. Customarily, I open them to see who the proprietor is; who was the Bar Mitzvah boy who received the book two hundred years ago and to whom did he pass the book at the end of his days. It is simply curiosity. Many of the books are written in the German language. They are books of Jewish rumination written by Christians or assimilating Jews. Sometime one can find a hand written Talmud volume that is very expensive; thousands of Euros, set in the specially aired cabinet. Hobber knows their value. Sometime one can find a bargain such as the book Palestina by Hadriani Relandi — its original professional name Palaestina, ex monumentis veteribus illustrata, published by Trajecti Batavorum: Ex Libraria G. Brodelet, 1714. One can find such original books in only few places in the world, also in Haifa University. Go to
http://libri-antichi.posizionamento-web.it/ palaestina-ex-monumentis-veteribus-illustrata.html for places where the book could be found and details about the author, etc.
The author Relandi, a real scholar, geographer, cartographer and well known philologist, spoke perfect Hebrew, Arabic and ancient Greek, as well as the European languages. The book was written in Latin. In 1695 he was sent on a sightseeing tour to Israel, at that time known as Palestina. In his travels he surveyed approximately 2500 places where people lived that were mentioned in the bible or Mishnah. His research method was interesting.
He first mapped the Land of Israel.Secondly, Relandi identifies each of the places mentioned in the Mishnah or Talmud along with their original source. If the source was Jewish, he listed it together with the appropriate sentence in the Holy Scriptures. If the source was Roman or Greek he presented the connection in Greek or Latin.
Thirdly, he also arranged a population survey and census of each community.
His most prominent conclusions:
1. Not one settlement in the Land of Israel has a name that is of Arabic origin. Most of the settlement names originate in the Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Roman languages. In fact, till today, except to Ramlah, not one Arabic settlement has an original Arabic name. Till today, most of the settlements names are of Hebrew or Greek origin, the names distorted to senseless Arabic names. There is no meaning in Arabic to names such as Acco (Acre), Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Gaza, or Jenin and towns named Ramallah, El Halil and El-Kuds (Jerusalem) lack historical roots or Arabic philology. In 1696, the year Relandi toured the land, Ramallah, for instance, was called Bet’allah (From the Hebrew name Beit El) and Hebron was called Hebron (Hevron) and the Arabs called Mearat HaMachpelah El Chalil, their name for the Forefather Abraham.
2. Most of the land was empty, desolate, and the inhabitants few in number and mostly concentrate in the towns Jerusalem, Acco, Tzfat, Jaffa, Tiberius and Gaza. Most of the inhabitants were Jews and the rest Christians. There were few Muslims, mostly nomad Bedouins. Nablus, known as Shchem, was exceptional, where approximately 120 people, members of the Muslim Natsha family and approximately 70 Shomronites, lived.In the Galilee capital, Nazareth, lived approximately 700 Christians and in Jerusalem approximately 5000 people, mostly Jews and some Christians.
The interesting part was that Relandi mentioned the Muslims as nomad Bedouins who arrived in the area as construction and agriculture labor reinforcement, seasonal workers.
In Gaza for example, lived approximately 550 people, fifty percent Jews and the rest mostly Christians. The Jews grew and worked in their flourishing vineyards, olive tree orchards and wheat fields (remember Gush Katif?) and the Christians worked in commerce and transportation of produce and goods. Tiberius and Tzfat were mostly Jewish and except of mentioning fishermen fishing in Lake Kinneret — the Lake of Galilee — a traditional Tiberius occupation, there is no mention of their occupations. A town like Um el-Phahem was a village where ten families, approximately fifty people in total, all Christian, lived and there was also a small Maronite church in the village (The Shehadah family).
3. The book totally contradicts any post-modern theory claiming a “Palestinian heritage,” or Palestinian nation. The book strengthens the connection, relevance, pertinence, kinship of the Land of Israel to the Jews and the absolute lack of belonging to the Arabs, who robbed the Latin name Palestina and took it as their own.
In Granada, Spain, for example, one can see Arabic heritage and architecture. In large cities such as Granada and the land of Andalucía, mountains and rivers like Guadalajara, one can see genuine Arabic cultural heritage: literature, monumental creations, engineering, medicine, etc. Seven hundred years of Arabic reign left in Spain an Arabic heritage that one cannot ignore, hide or camouflage. But here, in Israel there is nothing like that! Nada, as the Spanish say! No names of towns, no culture, no art, no history, and no evidence of Arabic rule; only huge robbery, pillaging and looting; stealing the Jews’ holiest place, robbing the Jews of their Promised Land. Lately, under the auspices of all kind of post modern Israelis — also hijacking and robbing us of our Jewish history.
 From www.answers.com: “Adrian Reland (1676-1718), Dutch Orientalist, was born at Ryp, studied at Utrecht and Leiden, and was professor of Oriental languages successively at Harderwijk (1699) and Utrecht (1701). His most important works were Palaestina ex monumentis veteribus illustrata (Utrecht, 1714), and Antiquitates sacrae veterum Hebraeorum.” Source : Israpundit.
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.