Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Overnight Music video - 12-Year-Old Music Prodigy Jay Greenberg , Meet Blue Jay....probably the greatest talent to come along in 200 years !!!
He came to the American media's attention through the sponsorship of Juilliard instructor Samuel Zyman, who lauded Greenberg's talent during a CBS News 60 Minutes broadcast on November 28, 2004, and again on November 26, 2006. "We are talking about a prodigy of the level of the greatest prodigies in history, when it comes to composition. I am talking about the likes of Mozart, and Mendelssohn, and Saint-Saëns." His primary composition instructor was Samuel Adler. Greenberg composes primarily on his computer, using a music notation program. His most well known work is the Overture to 9-11, about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which was featured on PRI's From the Top. At the time of the attacks, he was living in Macedonia but has since returned to the United States. His father, Robert Greenberg, is a professor of Slavic languages at Yale University. His Israeli-born mother also has no musical background, but Jay found himself attracted to music from an early age, having begun playing the cello at the age of two.
Like many composers, Greenberg says he hears the music performed inside his head and often several musical pieces simultaneously, and he is then able to simply notate what he has listened to. He says he rarely needs to make corrections to what he has notated. A lot of other material comes to him in this manner.
The Sony BMG Masterworks label released his first CD on August 15, 2006; it includes his Symphony no. 5 and String Quintet as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of José Serebrier and by the Juilliard String Quartet with cellist Darrett Adkins respectively.
On October 28, 2007, Joshua Bell gave the premiere of Greenberg's Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall, performing with the Orchestra of St. Luke's.
Greenberg's works are published by G. Schirmer.
Greenberg is currently reading music at Peterhouse, Cambridge.Source.
By age 8, he’d already composed 5 pieces of symphonic works — what other composers achieve in a lifetime.
The music comes into Blue Jay’s head, involuntarily, at the speed of lightning as a finished tune. Sometimes, several tunes come into his head at once.Talent such as his must come from God. HT:BarracudaBrigade.
Lets Compare to Islam :
Music is Haraam
References within the context of the Holy Qur`aan along with the Hadith of the Prophet confirm that music is haraam. (Forbidden).
Interpreters of the Qur`aan have defined the term `lahwal hadith` which is mentioned in the Qur`aan as:
1) Singing and listening to songs.
2) Purchasing of male and female singers.
3) Purchase of instruments of fun and amusement.
One sect of Coptic Christians who literally live amongst garbage, a disturbing documentary of perpetual persecution and poverty.
Click for the rest of the documentary here: Shoebat.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation tonga 5.1 !More info here.
- Gingrich Says He’d Move American Embassy to Jerusalem if Elected.(Matzav).Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has pledged to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Yerushalayim in the event that he becomes President of the United States. If elected President, Gingrich committed that he would issue an executive order on his first day in office directing that the U.S. embassy in Israel be relocated from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Gingrich has stated his commitment to move the embassy to Jerusalem on a number of occasions, most recently during an appearance last week on “Hannity,” a nationally-syndicated television show on Fox News Channel that is hosted by renowned commentator Sean Hannity. In a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition this past June, Gingrich forcefully declared that moving the embassy to Jerusalem is long overdue.“The United States should move the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,” Gingrich said to the Republican Jewish Coalition in June. “Israel has every right as a sovereign free nation to choose its own capital and we should respect that choice. As President, on my first day in office, I would issue an executive order directing the U.S. embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem as provided for in the legislation I introduced in Congress in 1995.”“The National Council of Young Israel wholeheartedly supports Mr. Gingrich’s repeated calls for the American Embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem,” said NCYI President Shlomo Z. Mostofsky. “By taking a strong and unequivocal position on the subject and ensuring that this critical issue remains at the forefront, Mr. Gingrich offers a stark reminder about the importance of Jerusalem and the critical need to take definitive steps to give Jerusalem the legitimacy it deserves as the sovereign capital of the State of Israel.”“The United States’ repeated failure to relocate its embassy in Israel sends a disturbing message to the world about its stance on the future of Jerusalem,” continued Mostofsky. “As the international community continues to find ways to skirt the issue of Jerusalem’s future, Mr. Gingrich’s willingness to tackle this issue head-on by committing to move the embassy to its rightful place in Jerusalem is admirable and demonstrates his keen understanding of the historical significance of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel.”Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman who served as Speaker of the House of Representatives, was the prime sponsor of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, which called for Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel, and which mandated that the U.S. embassy in Israel should be constructed in Jerusalem.Although the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Law required that the embassy be moved to Jerusalem, there was a presidential waiver included in the legislation, which enabled U.S. Presidents to avoid having to move the embassy to the Israeli capital based on national security reasons. That waiver has been used by United States Presidents for the past 16 years to prevent the American embassy from being relocated to Jerusalem.This past March, even before he declared his candidacy for president, Newt Gingrich made a speech to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, in which he called on the next president to issue an executive order on the very first day in office which requires the U.S. State Department to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and to relocate the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Read the full story here.
- "Divider In Chief" - Business Insider: ‘Obama Is About to Give a Huge Class Warfare Speech’.(Business Insider).President Barack Obama will travel to Osawatomie, Kansas on Tuesday to emphasize the need for Americans to pay their "fair share." It's an argument that many in the Republican party reject as class warfare, but Obama will draw on a Republican president — Theodore Roosevelt — to justify his message.Roosevelt's 'New Nationalism' speech on August 31, 1910 called for new government reforms to level the playing field for average Americans against a class of industrial barons."The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows," Roosevelt said. "That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now."Roosevelt called out special interests who pulled the strings of government — a message we'll likely hear Obama adopt. More from Roosevelt:"Here in Kansas there is one paper which habitually denounces me as the tool of Wall Street, and at the same time frantically repudiates the statement that I am a Socialist on the ground that is an unwarranted slander of the Socialists." "I do not ask for over-centralization; but I do ask that we work in a spirit of broad and far-reaching nationalism when we work for what concerns our people as a whole.""I believe in shaping the ends of government to protect property as well as human welfare. Normally, and in the long run, the ends are the same; but whenever the alternative must be faced, I am for men and not for property."Roosevelt used his 'New Nationalism' speech to launch his failed bid for the presidency in 1912, and it's safe to say that Obama's speech on Tuesday will draw from Roosevelt to lay much of the intellectual framework for his reelection bid.Here's the press release from the White House: WASHINGTON, DC - On Tuesday, December 6, President Obama will travel to Osawatomie, Kansas where he will deliver remarks on the economy. The President will talk about how he sees this as a make-or-break moment for the middle class and all those working to join it. He’ll lay out the choice we face between a country in which too few do well while too many struggle to get by, and one where we’re all in it together – where everyone engages in fair play, everyone does their fair share, and everyone gets a fair shot. Just over one hundred years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt came to Osawatomie, Kansas and called for a New Nationalism, where everyone gets a fair chance, a square deal, and an equal opportunity to succeed.Hmmm....Lenin went to Germany after lighting the 'Fuse', he go's to Hawai?Read the full story here.
- Report: Obama, UN to tax US for Green Climate Fund.(BC).By Joel Gehrke.President Obama's team of negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference may agree to a tax on foreign currency transactions, designed to pay for a "Green Climate Fund," that would fall disproportionately on American travellers and businesses, according to a group attending the conference that is skeptical of the UN position on global warming.Negotiators at the conference are considering "a new tax on every foreign currency transaction in the world," according to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). "Every time you travel abroad, you'll have to pay a climate tax," explains CFACT, the group that released the "Climategate" emails. "More importantly, every time we import goods, every time we export our fine products (think jobs) we will do so with a climate tax skimming off the top."European countries would evade much of the tax burden, however, because "transactions within the Eurozone won't have to pay this new tax."CFACT suggests that Obama is open to implementing this tax and similar policies in the absence of a full climate treaty, which would require congressional approval. "We have learned that while many have discounted this conference, knowing that a full climate treaty is difficult to achieve especially with a U.S. Senate that will not vote to ratify," CFACT says. "Obama and his fellow climate travelers are working around the Senate and planning to stick America with the bill."Hmmm....it's great to be King?Read the full story here.
- Obama’s Friend Erdogan To Give Hamas $300 Million.(BigPeace).Humanity Voice is reporting that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has recently promised Hamas a donation of $300 million.Turkish sources reported that Turkish Prime Minister, Receb Tayyip Erdogan, sent a confidential letter to Ismail Haniyya, Prime Minister of the Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip, inviting him to visit Turkey, and informing him that he decided to grant the government $300 Million.This development should come as no great surprise to any sentient being watching the actions of the Erdogan’s AKP and Turky’s very real bent toward Islamism. Tie this story to two data points to get a more consequential picture of where Obama has taken American foreign policy: The United States and Turkey are on a honeymoon, with President Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan having formed what is probably the best relationship between a U.S. president and a Turkish prime minister in decades…. Obama and Erdogan seem to have really hit it off: Turkish media outlets reported that after Erdogan’s mother died last month, Obama was among the world leaders who called him and that the two “spoke for 45 minutes about their feelings.” This personal rapport is the foundation of the new U.S.-Turkish relationship. (Washington Post)This September, Obama and Hillary Clinton selected Erdogan’s Turkey to co-chair the new Global Counterterrorism Forum. As Barry Rubin pointed out, there’s a slight problem with that– specifically, Erdogan’s support of actual terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.Unfortunately, too, the Turkish regime now is a major supporter of such terrorist groups as Hamas and Hizballah. In addition, the Turkish government is closely aligned with the IHH, an Islamist terrorist group which the Turkish government backed in the Gaza Flotilla in order to create an international crisis.At the very moment when the U.S. government is making the Turkish government its partner in fighting terrorism, that same government is turning Turkey into a dictatorship. Every day, military officers are being arrested on ridiculous charges. Freedom is steadily contracting.Hmmm......Both share the same 'Love' towards Israel.Read the full story here.
- Hillary Clinton to speak at UN today as UN rights chief Navi Pillay headlines event with "Gaddafi Human Rights Prize" group.UN Watch urges Clinton, EU's Ashton, France and UK to speak out.(UNWatch).GENEVA, Dec. 6 – Right before US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks today at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, the UN's top human rights official will be headlining an event, in a room next door, with the front group for the “Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights,” a vestige of the old Libyan regime that has celebrated Holocaust deniers and anti-Western figures from around the globe.According to her website, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr, will headline an international conference this afternoon on the right to development—co-sponsored by Nord-Sud XXI, a group that, according a March 25 exposé by Swiss TV, received $10 million from Col. Gaddafi’s regime to organize the annual prize.UN Watch, an independent Geneva monitoring group, is calling on Secretary Clinton, EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton and the UK and French governments to urge Pillay to distance herself from the event.The Gaddafi Human Rights Prize has been given to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, famous for his anti-Semitic speeches, convicted French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohamed and “the children of Iraq and victims of hegemony and embargoes.”The founding spokesman of the prize, and vice-president of a related foundation that recently compared Gaddafi to philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, is Jean Ziegler, a senior member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.“We trust that Secretary Clinton will make clear to High Commissioner Pillay that her office should not be making common cause with organizations that openly celebrate Holocaust deniers, brutal dictators and promoters of anti-American and anti-Western hatred,” said UN Watch director Hillel Neuer."Particularly troubling is that Ms. Pillay's office was well aware of North South 21's true identity from UN Watch's previous submissions on the subject, as well as from the recent outcry in the international media, and from members of US Congress, after the Gaddafi group was admitted to the UN's Durban III process in September."For more details: Click Here .Read the full story here.
- Obama's America An ally no more.(DocsTalk).By Caroline Glick.With vote tallies in for Egypt's first round of parliamentary elections in it is abundantly clear that Egypt is on the fast track to becoming a totalitarian Islamic state. The first round of voting took place in Egypt's most liberal, cosmopolitan cities. And still the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists received more than 60 percent of the vote. Run-off elections for 52 seats will by all estimates increase their representation. And then in the months to come, Egyptian voters in the far more Islamist Nile Delta and Sinai will undoubtedly provide the forces of jihadist Islam with an even greater margin of victory.Until the US-supported overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt served as the anchor of the US alliance system in the Arab world. The Egyptian military is US-armed, US-trained and US-financed. The Suez Canal is among the most vital waterways in the world for the US Navy and the global economy. Due to Mubarak's commitment to stemming the tide of jihadist forces that threatened his regime, under his rule Egypt served as a major counter-terror hub in the US-led war against international jihad.GIVEN EGYPT'S singular importance to US strategic interests in the Arab world, the Obama administration's response to the calamitous election results has been shocking. Rather than sound the alarm bells, US President Barack Obama has celebrated the results as a victory for "democracy."Rather than warn Egypt that it will face severe consequences if it completes its Islamist transformation, the Obama administration has turned its guns on the first country that will pay a price for Egypt's Islamic revolution: Israel.Speaking at the annual policy conclave in Washington sponsored by the leftist Brookings Institute's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hammered Israel, the only real ally the US has left in the Middle East after Mubarak's fall. Clinton felt it necessary - in the name of democracy - to embrace the positions of Israel's radical Left against the majority of Israelis.The same Secretary of State that has heralded negotiations with the violent, fanatical misogynists of the Taliban; who has extolled Saudi Arabia where women are given ten lashes for driving, and whose State Department trained female-hating Muslim Brotherhood operatives in the lead-up to the current elections in Egypt accused Israel of repressing women's rights. The only state in the region where women are given full rights and legal protections became the focus of Clinton's righteous feminist wrath.In the IDF, as in the rest of the country, religious coercion is forbidden. Jewish law prohibits men from listening to women's voices in song. And recently, when a group of religious soldiers were presented with an IDF band that featured female vocalists, keeping faith with their Orthodox observance, they walked out of the auditorium. The vocalists were not barred from singing. They were not mistreated. They were simply not listened to.And as far as Clinton is concerned, this is proof that women in Israel are under attack. Barred by law from forcing their soldiers to spurn their religious obligations, IDF commanders were guilty of crimes against democracy for allowing the troops to exit the hall.Clinton didn't end her diatribe with the IDF's supposed war against women. She continued her onslaught by proclaiming that Israel is taking a knife to democracy by permitting its legislators to legislate laws that she doesn't like. The legislative initiatives that provoked the ire of the US Secretary of State are the bills now under discussion which seek to curtail the ability of foreign governments to subvert Israel's elected government by funding non-representative, anti-Israel political NGOs like B'Tselem and Peace Now.In attacking Israel in the way she did, Clinton showed that she holds Israel to a unique standard of behavior. Whereas fellow Western democracies are within their rights when they undertake initiatives like banning Islamic headdresses from the public square, Israel is a criminal state for affording Jewish soldiers freedom of religion. Whereas the Taliban, who enslave women and girls in the most unspeakable fashion are worthy interlocutors, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, which supports universal female genital mutilation is moderate, Israel is an enemy of democracy for seeking to preserve the government's ability to adopt policies that advance the country's interests.The unique standard to which Clinton holds the Jewish state is the standard of human perfection.And as far as she is concerned, if Israel is not perfect, then it is unworthy of support. And since Israel, as a nation of mere mortals can never be perfect, it is necessarily always guilty.CLINTON'S ASSAULT on Israeli democracy and society came a day after Panetta attacked Israel's handling of its strategic challenges. Whereas Clinton attacked Israel's moral fiber, Panetta judged Israel responsible for every negative development in the regional landscape.Panetta excoriated Israel for not being involved in negotiations with the Palestinians. Israel, he said must make new concessions to the Palestinians in order to convince them of its good faith. If Israel makes such gestures, and the Palestinians and the larger Islamic world spurn them, then Panetta and his friends will side with Israel, he said.Panetta failed to notice that Israel has already made repeated, unprecedented concessions to the Palestinians and that the Palestinians have pocketed those concessions and refused to negotiate. And he failed to notice that in response to the repeated spurning of its concessions by the Palestinians and the Arab world writ large, rather than stand with Israel, the US and Europe expanded their demands for further Israeli concessions.Panetta demanded that Israel make renewed gestures as well to appease the Egyptians, Turks and Jordanians. He failed to notice that it was Turkey's Islamist government, not Israel, that took a knife to the Turkish-Israeli strategic alliance.As for Egypt, rather than recognize the strategic implications for the US and Israel alike of Egypt's transformation into an Islamic state, the US Defense Secretary demanded that Israel ingratiate itself with Egypt's military junta. Thanks in large part to the Obama administration, that junta is now completely beholden to the Muslim Brotherhood.As for Jordan, again thanks to the US's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its aligned groups in Libya and Tunisia, the Hashemite regime is seeking to cut a deal with the Jordanian branch of the movement in a bid to save itself from Mubarak's fate. Under these circumstances, there is no gesture that Israel can make to its neighbor to the east that would empower King Abdullah to extol the virtues of peace with the Jewish state.Then there is Iran, and its nuclear weapons program.Panetta argued that an Israeli military strike against Iran would lead to regional war. But he failed to mention that a nuclear armed Iran will lead to nuclear proliferation in the Arab world and exponentially increase the prospect of a global nuclear war.Rather than face the dangers head on, Panetta's message was that the Obama administration would rather accept a nuclear-armed Iran than support an Israeli military strike on Iran to prevent the mullocracy from becoming a nuclear-armed state.Clinton's and Panetta's virulently anti-Israeli messages resonated in an address about European anti-Semitism given last week by the US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman. Speaking to a Jewish audience, Gutman effectively denied the existence of anti-Semitism in Europe. While attacks against European Jews and Jewish institutions have become a daily occurrence continent-wide, Gutman claimed that non-Muslim anti- Semites are essentially just all-purpose bigots who hate everyone, not just Jews.As for the Muslims who carry out the vast majority of anti-Jewish attacks in Europe, Gutman claimed they don't have a problem with good Jews like him. They are simply angry because Israel isn't handing over land to the Palestinians quickly enough. If the Jewish state would simply get with Obama's program, according to the US ambassador, Muslim attacks on Jews in Europe would simply disappear.Gutman of course is not a policymaker. His job is simply to implement Obama's policies and voice the president's beliefs.But when taken together with Clinton's and Panetta's speeches, Gutman's remarks expose a distressing intellectual and moral trend that clearly dominates the Obama administration's foreign policy discourse. All three speeches share a common rejection of objective reality in favor of a fantasy.In the administration's fantasy universe, Israel is the only actor on the world stage. Its detractors, whether in the Islamic world or Europe, are mere objects. They are bereft of judgment or responsibility for their actions.There are two possible explanations for this state of affairs - and they are not mutually exclusive. It is possible that the Obama administration is an ideological echo chamber in which only certain positions are permitted. This prospect is likely given the White House's repeated directives prohibiting government officials from using terms like "jihad," "Islamic terrorism," "Islamist," and "jihadist," to describe jihad, Islamic terrorism, Islamists and jihadists.Restrained by ideological thought police that outlaw critical thought about the dominant forces in the Islamic world today, US officials have little choice but to place all the blame for everything that goes wrong on the one society they are free to criticize - Israel.The second possible explanation for the administration's treatment of Israel is that it is permeated by anti-Semitism. The outsized responsibility and culpability placed on Israel by the likes of Obama, Clinton, Panetta and Gutman is certainly of a piece with classical anti-Semitic behavior.There is little qualitative difference between accusing Israeli society of destroying democracy for seeking to defend itself against foreign political subversion, and accusing Jews of destroying morality for failing to embrace foreign religious faiths.So too, there is little qualitative difference between blaming Israel for its isolation in the face of the Islamist takeover of the Arab world, and blaming the Jews for the rise of anti-Semites to power in places like Russia, Germany and Norway.In truth, from Israel's perspective, it really doesn't make a difference whether these statements and the intellectual climate they represent stem from ideological myopia or from hatred of Jews.The end result is the same in either case: Under President Obama, the US government has become hostile to Israel's national rights and strategic imperatives. Under Obama, the US is no longer Israel's ally.Hmmmm.....Hear, hear....Truer Words Were Never Spoken.Read the full story here.
- Donald Trump: Media Protecting Obama's Unconstitutional Tenure in the White House, How Come There's No Hospital Records For Obama's Mother?(BR).The mainstream media are "protecting" Barack Obama's "unconstitutional" tenure in the White House, refusing to investigate allegations that he fails to meet the Constitution's requirement that a president be a "natural born citizen," according to flamboyant billionaire Donald Trump.In a conference call today with reporters, WND asked Trump why, if he believes defeating Obama is so significant in 2012, doesn't he use his influence to mount a formal investigation into Obama's eligibility.There have been allegations since long before Obama's election in 2008 that he is not a "natural-born citizen," a requirement imposed on no other official.Obama's critics believe that at the time the Constitution was written, the Founders understood "natural-born citizen" to mean the offspring of two citizens.Obama has claimed he was born in Hawaii, but birth documentation he's released has been judged by a number of document, imaging and graphics experts to be fake.Others believe he would fail to qualify no matter his place of birth, because his father, Barack Obama Sr., was a Kenyan subject to the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom at the time of Obama Jr.'s birth. They allege the Founders precluded dual citizens by specifically demanding a "natural-born citizen."The conference call was set up to coincide with the release of Trump's new book, "Time to Get Tough," in which he launches a critique of Obama and his administration. He says Obama has failed to address the economic crisis because he's spending his time running around the world and "apologizing" for the U.S.Trump also warns that he could launch an independent bid for the presidency should the GOP pick someone he thinks will not win."A lot of people agree with me and find it amazing," Trump said of the eligibility controversy. "It's miraculous how this birth certificate just appeared."He said many people have questioned the birth certificate's authenticity."It's strange that after years all of a sudden it appears," Trump mused. "How come there are no records his mother ever was in the hospital?"He noted there are records of other births in the Hawaii hospital at the time."There's no record of Obama or his mother," he said.Trump added that members of Obama's own family have pointed to different hospitals in Hawaii as being his birth location, and his grandmother reportedly made statements linking his birth to Kenya."I have real questions [about Obama's eligibility]," he said.Read and see the full story here.
- Russia - Interior Troops Move Into Moscow After Protest Rally.(Moscowtimes).Columns of trucks carrying fresh Interior Troops rolled into Moscow on Tuesday, the day after a record protest rally ended in clashes with police.Several bloggers reported seeing the trucks driving into central Moscow via major thoroughfares, including Yaroslavskoye Shosse, Leningradskoye Shosse and Shosse Entuziastov, Gazeta.ru reported.Among the divisions spotted was the Dzerzhinsky division of the Interior Troops, which specializes in suppressing mass protests, Vesti.ru said.An Interior Ministry spokesman said police had requested the soldiers, Interfax reported. A police spokesman said security is being stepped up Dec. 1 to 6 in connection with the State Duma vote last Sunday.The troops' sole task is to ensure public safety, the Interior Ministry spokesman said.A crowd of between 5,000 and 15,000 gathered on Chistoprudny Bulvar on Monday to protest the Duma elections results, which were fraught with numerous reports of violations.The rally was authorized, but some protesters tried to stage an unsanctioned march afterwards, provoking a police crackdown in which some 300 were detained.Among the arrested were whistleblower Alexei Navalny and rally organizer Ilya Yashin, both of whom remain in detention and face up to 15 days in jail. Both were due to appear in court Tuesday.The victorious United Russia party said 10,000 of its supporters would stage a demonstration on Tuesday evening, but did not elaborate.Opposition leaders said a nationwide protest is scheduled for Saturday. Scores of supporters of Navalny and Yashin gathered around the police precincts and courts where they were rumored to be Tuesday.Read the full story here.
- Rep. King’s fourth Muslim-American radicalization hearing to focus on military.(TheHill).By Jordy Yager.The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is hoping his panel’s hearing on the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. military will reveal how the armed services can better protect itself against homegrown attacks. Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) is holding a joint hearing on Wednesday, along with Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), as the next stage in his series of efforts to address the radicalization of American Muslims.Pointing to the 2009 shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas and at a military recruiting station in Arkansas, which killed a total of 14 people and wounded more than two dozen, King said the issue of radicalization within military communities is one that is grossly under the radar. “There is an attempt by Islamists to join the military and infiltrate the military, and it’s more of a threat than the average American is aware of right now,” said King in an interview with The Hill on Monday. Lieberman said his committee has held 13 hearings over the past five years on the issue of violent Islamic extremism and, based on what he has learned, the military is an increasingly large target for attacks.“Clearly, the threat of homegrown terrorism has increased dramatically, and clearly, members of the armed services are a high-value target,” Lieberman said in a statement.The issue was brought to the front burner for King after it was raised by Paul Stockton, the assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs. King said he feels the Obama administration is just as concerned with the issue as he is, and hopes to develop a working partnership to address some of the inadequacies that will come up at Wednesday’s hearing. “I think more can be done,” he said. “But this is not going to be any attempt to bash the administration, necessarily. From my perspective it’s going to be a productive hearing and it’s not going to turn into a partisan fight.”King gave several examples of issues that need more attention, such as whether the military needs to provide more security for recruiting centers and bases in the U.S. or whether local and state law enforcement should play a larger role in coordinating security with the military.He said he also hopes to address the minutiae of radicalization on military bases. He used an example of how he has heard of at least one instance in which a copy of the radical Islamic magazine Inspire — which has been used as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups — was found in a barracks and allowed to remain. But Confederate flags are rightfully banned, he said.“I’m using that as an example about whether or not we need to be more aggressive in facing up to the reality. It’s Islamic terrorism. It’s not just a nondescript, anonymous type of terrorism.”King has held three hearings so far this year on the issue of radicalization of Muslim-Americans within the U.S. The first one drew the most scrutiny, as nearly 100 members of Congress asked him to cancel it or widen the breadth of the radicalized groups he was probing. King lauded the hearing as a success, saying that it brought attention to a taboo subject that is a serious and growing security concern. The other two hearings focused on the terrorist group al-Shabbab’s influence within the U.S., and the radicalization of Muslim-Americans within U.S. prisons. Also expected to testify are Jim Stuteville, an Army senior adviser for counterintelligence operations and liaison to the FBI, and Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, the director of Combating Terrorism Center at the West Point military academy. King is planning to unveil a committee report on the issue at Wednesday’s hearing and another joint report with the Senate panel afterward. He said his next hearing will likely be next year and focus on the use of certain mosques by al Qaeda and Iran in their efforts to radicalize people within the U.S.Read the full story here.
- Did you say "Policestate"? - The Pentagon Is Offering Free Military Hardware To Every Police Department In The US.(Stratrisks).The US military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will.We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.Benjamin Carlson at The Daily reports on a little known endeavor called the “1033 Program” that gave more than $500 million of military gear to US police in 2011 alone.1033 was passed by Congress in 1997 to help law-enforcement fight terrorism and drugs, but despite a 40 year low in violent crime, police are snapping up hardware like never before. While this years staggering take topped the charts, next years orders are up 400 percent over the same period.This upswing coincides with an increasingly military-like style of law-enforcement most recently seen in the Occupy Wall Street crackdowns.Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute’s project on criminal justice told The Daily, “The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it’s the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire.”Read the full story here.
- Hillary Clinton Rips Netanyahu For Not Apologizing To Turkey Over Flotilla Raid.(INN).U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not only criticize what she claimed are Israel’s “anti-democratic” proposals in her address to the Saban Forum in Washington, but also criticized Israel’s foreign relations, Channel 10 reported on Sunday.According to the report, Clinton said in her remarks on Saturday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had been wrong when he refused to apologize to Turkey following the Gaza flotilla in May of 2010.According to the Channel 10 report, Clinton criticized Netanyahu’s decision, saying that by choosing not to apologize he had lost the profits which could have been gained from continuing the strategic alliance with Turkey. The report said that Clinton made her remarks in a closed forum because she was sure that her comments would not leak out.Earlier on Sunday it was reported that in her remarks, Clinton had also alleged that Israel is showing signs of becoming anti-democratic because of a recent bill proposing limits on foreign funding of local NGOs and for allegedly trying to exclude women from public life in Israel.Clinton picked on several Jerusalem buses, used mainly by hareidi-religious passengers who prefer separate seating for men and women as a matter of modesty. She claimed the issue is “reminiscent of Rosa Parks,” referring to a black woman who refused to give up her seat to white passengers in the United States in the 1950s.She also jumped on the issue of requests from hareidi-religious soldiers to be excused from IDF events in which a woman is singing, which is considered by many to be a violation of the laws of modesty when performed in mixed company. She claimed the request reminds her of Iran.Hmmmm.....First Arafat's admirer now Erdogan?Read the full story here.
- Gingrich says Obama should 'renounce anti-Israel remarks'.(TheHill).Newt Gingrich is calling on President Obama to clarify whether he agrees with statements by Howard Gutman, the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium, who suggested last week that some modern anti-Semitism resulted from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, rather than traditional bigotry.Both Gingrich and Mitt Romney have called for Gutman's resignation, saying his comments feed into an anti-Israeli narrative that threatens the Jewish state.Gingrich also criticized Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for arguing at a forum in Washington last week that Israel needs to get back "to the damn table" to negotiate a peace settlement with the Palestinians.“Barack Obama must tell the American people today whether he condemns or condones the deeply wrong statements by his Secretary of Defense and Ambassador to Belgium," Gingrich said Tuesday in a statement. "We have the right to know whether Secretary Panetta’s harsh criticism of Israel is merely his own personal opinion, or a reflection of the policy of his Commander in Chief."Republicans believe that the incidents are the latest opportunity to exploit a shaky relationship between President Obama and Jewish voters. In his statement, Gingrich mocked Obama's argument at a fundraiser earlier this month that "this administration has done more in terms of the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration."“The American people deserve to know today: Is it now permissible for American officials to flout official US policy publicly, or do Panetta and Gutman speak for the entire Administration?" Gingrich said.A State Department spokesman said Monday that the administration had "full confidence" in Gutman, while White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the president "has consistently stood up against anti-Semitism and efforts to delegitimize Israel, and we will continue to do so."The Obama administration pushed back on questions about whether Obama had a problem with Jewish voters, a theme that has emerged since the president in May called for a return to Israel's 1967 borders as part of a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected that call."This campaign takes the Jewish vote very, very seriously," said Ira Forman, the Obama campaign Jewish outreach director, to the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. "I'm confident this will be the most comprehensive effort in presidential campaign history."Republican presidential candidates will meet Wednesday in Washington at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Candidate Forum.Hmmmm.......'This campaign takes the Jewish vote very, very seriously,'..... the vote ..yes but how about the Israeli people?Read the full story here.
- Islamic Center, Abortion Clinics Get DHS Terrorism Grants.(JW).The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has distributed $19 million to nonprofit establishments in urban areas that are considered at high risk of a terrorist attack, including abortion clinics and an Islamic center.The idea is to give the groups the necessary resources to improve security and make them less susceptible to an attack. The DHS calls it “target hardening activities” and the official program is known as Urban Areas Security Initiative, specifically the Nonprofit Security Grant Program.A total of 269 nonprofits across the U.S., all considered high-threat, high-density urban areas, will split the cash and the money will be used for security-related training and to install physical security equipment. The goal is to help them prevent, respond and recover from acts of terrorism.But a look at the long list of recipients raises questions about how the money is allocated for this particular cause. While the majority of the grants went to Jewish centers and groups that could feasibly be targeted by radical Islamic terrorists, some are private medical facilities, catholic groups and a profitable Baptist hospital. In California and New York Planned Parenthood abortion clinics got the target hardening grants.In Maryland, the Islamic Society of Baltimore got a target hardening grant as well as an interfaith center that includes a Roman Catholic church and a Methodist/Presbyterian church. All 30 of the grants distributed in Illinois went to Chicago-area nonprofits, including a politically-connected college foundation with more than $5 million in assets and several Catholic hospitals. Funds are allocated based on risk analysis, effectiveness and integration with broader state and local preparedness efforts, according to the DHS. To be considered, nonprofits must demonstrate that they are at high risk of a terrorist attack and located within one of the specific eligible urban areas. How exactly does a group do this?The government has a formula that includes the following: Identification and substantiation (e.g., police reports or insurance claims) of prior threats or attacks against the nonprofit or closely related group by a terrorist organization, network, or cell ; symbolic value of the site as a highly recognized national or historical institution that renders it as a possible target of terrorism; role of the applicant nonprofit organization in responding to or recovering from terrorist attacks; findings from previously conducted risk assessments including threat or vulnerability.Read the full story here.
- Egypt - "Change" Islamic cleric bans women from touching bananas, cucumbers for sexual resemblance.(Bikyamasr).CAIRO: An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”He also added carrots and zucchini to the list of forbidden foods for women.The sheikh was asked how to “control” women when they are out shopping for groceries and if holding these items at the market would be bad for them. The cleric answered saying this matter is between them and God.Answering another question about what to do if women in the family like these foods, the sheikh advised the interviewer to take the food and cut it for them in a hidden place so they cannot see it.The opinion has stirred a storm of irony and denouncement among Muslims online, with hundreds of comments mocking the cleric.One reader said that these religious “leaders” give Islam “a bad name” and another commented said that he is a “retarded” person and he must quite his post immediately.Others called him a seeker of fame, but no official responses from renowned Islamic scholars have been published on the statements.Hmmm....My guess he has assets in corn?Read the full story here.
- German officials have raided the homes of six former SS soldiers suspected of taking part in the massacre of 642 French civilians in 1944 at Oradour-sur-Glane.(Spiegel).It was one of the worst war crimes committed by the Germans in France during the Second World War. Some 67 years after a brutal massacre by SS troops in the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane, German officials have raided the homes of six elderly men suspected of taking part. On June 10, 1944, just four days after the D-Day landings in Normandy, German troops killed 642 people, mainly women and children, in the central French village. That afternoon, the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the "Der Führer" Regiment of the SS "Das Reich" Division rounded up some 450 women and children, forced them into a church and then burnt it to the ground. The remaining men in the village were shot to death in barns and garages. None of the villagers were meant to survive, but a handful managed to escape. The town itself, largely destroyed that day, was never rebuilt. The burnt-out ruins were left standing as a ghostly memorial to the victims.One of the two remaining survivors said he welcomed the efforts by officials to prosecute the war crimes. He was "pleasantly surprised" that Germany was still searching for those responsible, 86-year old Robert Hébras told news agency AFP on Monday. If the men in question are suspected of committing war crimes in Oradour-sur-Glane or anywhere else, they must be tried in court, Hébras added.The suspects, all between 85 and 86 years old, are known to have been members of the unit in question, and have received unannounced visits from law enforcement officials over the last two months, the state prosecutor's office in Dortmund announced Monday. Facing possible charges of murder or accessory to murder, their homes were searched for wartime diaries, photographs and documents that could provide new evidence against them. At the time of the massacre, the men would have been 18 or 19, and low-ranking, the head of the central Nazi war crimes investigation unit in Dortmund, Andreas Brendel, told news agency AP. "Some of the suspects have denied taking part in the murders, others were no longer fit for interrogation," he told daily Bild in a seperate interview. Health officials must now determine whether the men are capable of handling questioning by officials.This, combined with the failure to find much evidence during the searches, could mean limited success for prosecution of the unidentified suspects, though. Officials are still trying to determine what role the men played on the day of the massacre, Brendel said. "We know that all the members of the 3rd Company were in Oradour," he told AP. "Naturally they had different functions -- some of them secured the area, for example. Our problem at the moment is finding out how much they knew and what they might have done to facilitate the crime."With no eyewitnesses, prosecutors hope that French documents containing statements from previous trials may help, AP reported.Clues to the suspects' identities were discovered in documents formerly held by the East German secret police, the Stasi. These files held information previously unknown to investigators in West Germany before reunification. Read the full story here, more on the massacre here.
- More Victims Eligible.Rules Revised for Holocaust Survivor Compensation.(Spiegel).Holocaust survivors around the world are eligible for tens of thousands of euros in compensation from Germany following an agreement negotiated by the Jewish Claims Conference. More than 16,000 people are eligible for pensions after Germany agreed to revise payment conditions, the organization said.Some 66 years after the end of the Second World War, more than 16,000 Holocaust survivors who have been denied German compensation pensions will now be eligible to receive them, the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) said late on Monday. The payment of €485 million ($649 million) by the German government means that on average each of the survivors concerned will receive some €30,000, according to the JCC.The payments became possible because the German government had agreed to revise the conditions for eligibility. Until now, victims had to prove they had been in a ghetto, in hiding, or living under false identity for at least 18 months during the Nazi era. Now that time period has been shortened to 12 months -- a change that will enable more than 8,000 survivors to qualify for compensation, the JCC said.Thousands of other victims will benefit from further changes in the terms of payment, bringing the total up to more than 16,000.Read the full story here.
- United Arab Emirates' PM: If Iran attacks Israel it will be gone the next day.(YNet).Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) discounted on Tuesday the West's concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. In a CNN interview, Sheikh al-Maktoum said that he does not believe Iran will pursue nuclear weapons."What can Iran do with a nuclear weapon? For example, will they hit Israel? How many Palestinians will die? And you think if Iran hits Israel, their cities will be safe? They will be gone the next day," he told the American news network. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is of civilian purposes, but the West believes it is of a military nature. A recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran remains defiant about suspending its nuclear work and suggested that the Islamic Republic has already build models of rockets carrying nuclear warheads. A report compiled by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) suggested that "there is a real chance that Western efforts to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon will fail," and that Iran is likely to become a full fledged nuclear power by 2013.When asked if the UAE considers Iran a threat, Sheikh al-Maktoum said: "Iran is our neighbor. They are Muslim, and we lived next to each other for thousands and thousands of years. I don't believe that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon."Hmmmm.....Oooh look a herd of unicorns.Read the full story here.
- Salafi group reaffirms call to set Egypt’s Pharaonic relics in wax.(Bikyamasr).CAIRO: The spokesperson for the Salifist Call, Abdel-Men’em Shahat, has reaffirmed and defended a call for covering Egypt’s treasured Pharaonic relics with wax, claiming that they resemble false idols.In comments to al-Rai al-Aam newspaper, he reaffirmed his call for the “covering the faces of the Egyptian Pharaonic statues with wax because they resembled the idols that were present in Mecca.”The Salafi group came under attack when they first expressed this intention, especially in light of the fact that Pharaonic relics attract scores of tourists to Egypt every year, accounting for 15 percent of the nations income.“This was erroneously interpreted in some media outlets that the Salafists want to infuse terror and fear in the hearts of the Egyptians in order to scare them off from the spreading of the Islamic call,” he asserted.“We do not want to scare the Egyptians. We want to implement Islamic Sharia as ordered by God Almighty,” he went on to explain.Rumors spread recently that that a group of Salafists had destroyed an archeological statue in Giza.However, Egypt’s Antiquities Minister, Moustafa Amin, said that the rumors were false.Hmmm.....Perhaps the taliban can 'donate' them some explosives, do some 'renovations'?Read the full story here.
- 58 people killed in Afghan shrine blasts; Taliban condemns attacks as work of ‘enemies’.(Alarabiya).Twin blasts at Afghan shrines on the Shiite holy day of Ashura killed at least 58 people on Tuesday with one massive suicide attack in Kabul ripping through a crowd of worshippers including children.The blast in Kabul and another in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif came a day after an international meeting in Germany meant to further efforts to end the Afghan war, 10 years after U.S.-led forces drove the Taliban from power.At least 54 people including children were killed in the huge explosion at the entrance to a riverside shrine in central Kabul, where hundreds of singing Shiite Muslims had gathered to mark Ashura, an official said.The Taliban condemned the attacks as the brutal work of “enemies,” a spokesman for the insurgent group said.“Very sadly we heard that there were explosions in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif, where people were killed by the enemy's un-Islamic and inhuman activity,” Zabihullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement“The Islamic Emirate strongly condemns such a cruel, indiscriminate and un-Islamic attack,” the statement added, using the name by which insurgent group refers to itself.“Fifty-four are dead and 150 others are injured,” health ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar Noorughli said, according to AFP.A young girl, dressed in a green shalwar kameez that was smeared in blood, stood shrieking as she was surrounded by the crumpled, piled-up bodies of children.“I was there watching people mourning (for Ashura) when there was suddenly a huge explosion,” witness Ahmed Fawad said. “Some people around me fell down injured. I wasn’t hurt, so I got up and started running. It was horrible,” he said. Men and women at the scene sobbed as they surveyed the carnage, and screamed slogans denouncing al-Qaeda and the Taliban.Sectarian violence has been rare in Afghanistan but when the Sunni Taliban ruled in the 1990s, minority Shiites from the Hazara group suffered brutal persecution.Shiites beat and whip themselves in religious fervor during the 10-day Ashura ceremonies, which began on November 27 but peak Tuesday. They mark the seventh-century killing of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.Shiites were banned from marking Ashura in public under the Taliban. Sunnis oppose the public display of grief, but sectarian violence has not been common in Afghanistan since the Taliban were ousted in late 2001.“A suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the Abu-Ul Fazil shrine,” Kabul police said in a statement.A security official speaking on condition of anonymity said it was believed the bomber had arrived with a group of Shiite pilgrims from Logar province, south of Kabul.Separately, four people were killed in Mazar-i-Sharif when another blast struck a shrine in the northern city as crowds gathered for Ashura. It was not immediately clear whether Shiites were the target.Lal Mohammed Ahmadzai, a police spokesman for northern Afghanistan, said that the blast was caused by a bicycle bomb, adding that four other people had also been injured.And police said that five people were wounded by a motorcycle bomb in the southern city of Kandahar, the Taliban’s heartland. But the police said the attack was unconnected to Ashura.The blasts came the day after delegates at a key international conference in Bonn agreed to extend international support for Afghanistan to 2024 following the scheduled withdrawal of all foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.Pakistan and the Taliban -- both seen as pivotal to any end to the bloody strife in Afghanistan -- boycotted the talks, undermining already modest hopes for real progress.There are around 140,000 international forces in Afghanistan, mostly from the United States, fighting the 10-year Taliban-led insurgency.Ashura marks the slaughter of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, near Karbala by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated. His death was a formative event in Shiite Islam.On Monday, at least 28 people were killed and 78 wounded in a wave of bomb attacks in central Iraq against Shiite pilgrims making their way to Karbala.According to the U.N., the number of civilians killed in violence in Afghanistan rose by 15 percent in the first six months of this year to 1,462, with insurgents blamed for 80 percent of the killings.Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday that twin blasts were the first “terrorist” acts on an important holy day.It was “the first time that, on such an important religious day in Afghanistan, terrorism of that horrible nature is taking place,” Karzai told reporters, a day after an international conference in Bonn on the country’s future.“We all wish the best for those who are injured and a quick recovery and patience to the families of those who have lost their dear ones,” he said at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel also expressed her condolences over the attacks, adding that they showed “we must continue to work hard in order to be able to ensure security in Afghanistan.”On Monday a major conference on Afghanistan’s future after NATO combat troops leave in 2014 pledged sustained support for another decade, in exchange for clear progress on good governance.Hmmmm....When not waging War on the 'Infidels' killing each other?Read the full story here.
- Op-Ed: Belgium's New Pime Minister and the Jews.(INN).By Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld.Interview series: Israel's former ambassador to Belgium, Jehudi Kinar: "Di Rupo once said that he had not known there were poor Jews."“Belgium is a country with a complex political system that is difficult to analyze. It is a federal state and there are tensions between its two major populations, the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons.Now, 540 days after the last parliamentary elections, the Wallonian Socialist leader Elio di Rupo has been appointed prime minister of a broad six-partcoalition. An analysis of his and his party’s hostile attitude toward Israel for many years already, makes it easier to understand how he might conduct himself in future.”Jehudi Kinar was the Israeli Ambassador to Belgium and Luxemburg from 2003 until the end of 2007. Before that, he had foreign postings in the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, and Canada.“The Socialist Party (PS) is currently the dominant party in Wallonia. Di Rupo was a big disappointment for me, yet I should have known better. After he returned from Israel in 1999 when he was Prime Minister of the Walloon Region Di Rupo said that he ‘had not known that there are poor Jews’.During our first meeting I complained that while the Flemish Parliament maintained commercial and cultural treaties with Israel, similar agreements had been rejected by the Walloon and Brussels Parliaments.Wallonia had however, such agreements with Libya and Cuba. Di Rupo answered that he would correct this after the elections; yet he did nothing.“We had several other bad experiences with the Socialists. In 2001, a politically motivated court case was brought against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Israeli Generals Rafael Eitan and Amos Yaron, regarding their alleged involvement in the murders of Palestinians by Christian militia in the Lebanese refugee camps Sabra and Shatilla. We won in the District Court.Then in 2003, the Wallonian and Flemish Socialists, the Greens and the CDH – a Wallonian former Christian party — passed a rare retroactive change of law in the Senate which enabled prosecution of non-Belgian citizens for crimes committed elsewhere.“After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit in 2006, Di Rupo came out with a press release claiming Israel used this as a pretext to start a war against Lebanon. The Israeli Embassy responded by pointing out that the PS had never condemned rocket attacks from Gaza at the citizens of Sderot.Di Rupo later declared that he would continue his political line toward Israel ‘despite the arrogant letter from the Israeli Ambassador.’ That letters from the Israeli Ambassador did not deserve a response, was a trademark of the PS.“Another powerful figure in the party is Laurette Onkelinckx, then-Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister. We met a number of times. She promised me she would speak with Di Rupo, as she could not believe that my letter had not been answered. Onkelinckx assumed there had been a technical glitch. When we did not receive an answer from Di Rupo, I sent her a letter. She did not acknowledge it. In the new government she will be Minister for Social Affairs and Health, and again Deputy Prime Minister.“Andre Flahaut, then-Defense Minister, was particularly problematic. He will continue as Chairman of the Chamber. Flahaut was always available for meetings, yet came out with very strong anti-Israeli statements. In later years, he also took part in anti-Israeli demonstrations. Meetings with him were important because Belgium had soldiers in the UNIFIL force in Lebanon. Like many politicians from various parties, Flahaut was surrounded by anti-Israeli advisers. Several had close advisers with Muslim backgrounds.“A case apart is Philippe Moureaux, a former Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and now Mayor of St.-Jans-Molenbeek. For years he asked the Israeli Embassy to provide Palestinian children from Bethlehem and Ramallah with exit visas so they could spend their vacations in Belgium. When I asked Moreaux why he did not organize a common visit for those children together with Jewish children from Sderot, he did not answer. A year later when he repeated his request, we asked the same question and got no reply. In June 2010, this not-so-young Mayor (seventy-two) married (ThirtyFive) year old Latifa Benaicha, who is of Moroccan Muslim background, she works at the cabinet of the Brussels PM Charles Picqué.“The most extreme anti-Israeli in the PS is Senator Pierre Galand. He has initiated many anti-Israeli motions in the Senate. He also heads various anti-Israel organizations such as the Belgian-Palestinian Association and the Lay Action Center. Galand was also Secretary General of OXFAM Belgium during the period 1967-1996. Veronique De Keyser, a European PS Parliamentarian, once declared that she wanted to strangle the Israeli Ambassador. Many people thought she meant me. As she is a member of the European Parliament, I can clarify that she referred to my colleague who was the Israeli Ambassador to the EU.”Kinar concludes: "Perhaps miracles do happen and the attitudes and manners of the Wallonian Socialists will improve now they head the government.Fortunately enough some ministers from other coalition parties have a positive attitude toward Israel."Read the full story here.
- Iran's Revolutionary Guards prepare for war.(TheTelegraph).An order from Gen Mohammed Ali Jaafari, the commander of the guards, raised the operational readiness status of the country’s forces, initiating preparations for potential external strikes and covert attacks.Western intelligence officials said the Islamic Republic had initiated plans to disperse long-range missiles, high explosives, artillery and guards units to key defensive positions.The order was given in response to the mounting international pressure over Iran’s nuclear programme. Preparation for a confrontation has gathered pace following last month’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that produced evidence that Iran was actively working to produce nuclear weapons.The Iranian leadership fears the country is being subjected to a carefully co-ordinated attack by Western intelligence and security agencies to destroy key elements of its nuclear infrastructure.Recent explosions have added to the growing sense of paranoia within Iran, with the regime fearing it will be the target of a surprise military strike by Israel or the US.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s spiritual leader, issued a directive to the heads of all the country’s military, intelligence and security organisations to take all necessary measures to protect the regime.Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s spiritual leader, issued a directive to the heads of all the country’s military, intelligence and security organisations to take all necessary measures to protect the regime. Gen Jaafari responded to this directive by ordering Revolutionary Guards units to redistribute Iran’s arsenal of long-range Shahab missiles to secret sites around the country where they would be safe from enemy attack and could be used to launch retaliatory attacks.In addition, the Iranian air force has formed a number of “rapid reaction units”, which have been carrying out extensive exercises to practice a response to an enemy air attack.A senior Western intelligence official said: "There is deep concern within the senior leadership of the Iranian regime that they will be the target of a surprise military strike by either Israel or the US."For that reason they are taking all necessary precautions to ensure they can defend themselves properly if an attack happens."Read the full story here.
- "Stalin's way" - Kremlin's 'new' Approach to Dealing with North Caucasus.(TJF).On November 23, Moscow’s envoy to the North Caucasus, Aleksandr Khloponin, officially confirmed earlier information that the planned large-scale program for economic development of the North Caucasus would not be approved by the end of 2011. Khloponin told a press conference in Makhachkala, Dagestan, that the program for the region’s economic development should be adopted in May 2012 (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, November 24). The news that the North Caucasus economic development program would not be approved stands in contrast to spending on the military in the North Caucasus. On November 21, President Dmitry Medvedev paid a surprise visit to Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia. The commander of the southern Russian military district, Lieutenant-General Aleksandr Galkin, reported to the head of state that latest generation arms comprised up to 70 percent of the total armaments in the military district. In comparison, only 10-20 percent of the Russian armed forces’ weapons are modernized or new. Special attention was paid to the rearmament of the 58th Army stationed in the North Caucasus and fighting the guerrillas in the region. Moscow plans to spend roughly $170 billion on the military in the North Caucasus by 2020. This is almost $40 billion more than what Moscow was planning to spend on the overhaul of the infrastructure and economic projects in the North Caucasus under the special federal program by 2025 (http://www.ng.ru/regions/2011-11-25/1_kavkaz.html, November 25).It is ironic that spending on the military in the North Caucasus rivals spending on the economic development of the region. This clearly indicates where Moscow’s priorities lie, indicating that the North Caucasus is seen as a hostile territory that needs to be controlled through a heavy military presence.Lieutenant General Galkin reported to President Medvedev that the 58th Army had been equipped with a digital communications system with video-conferencing capabilities. By the end of November 2011, the army would reportedly receive BTR-82A armored personnel carriers, upgraded T-72B tanks and the T-90A, Russia’s latest tank, as well as artillery and anti-aircraft systems. In the next few years, more attack helicopters and aircraft will be delivered to the Russian army detachments in the North Caucasus. Galkin stated that all Russian military units in the south of the country would be equipped with a unified system of control and the 58th Army would be the first to adopt this new system of armed forces management (http://www.ng.ru/regions/2011-11-25/1_kavkaz.html, November 25). Such an eyebrow-raising Russian military build-up in the North Caucasus may have several explanations. Moscow might still have plans for further adventurism in the South Caucasus, including Georgia. The Russian government probably does not expect the situation in the North Caucasus to improve any time soon or to have enough money and political skill to develop the region, and therefore they are substituting the flexing of military muscles for development. The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014 may be another reason for the additional military build-up. Earlier in October, it transpired that a new 49th Russian Army was being set up in the northwestern part of the Caucasus (EDM, November 9). Russia seems to be relying on the “tried-and-true” mechanism of controlling the North Caucasus by military means, in a manner increasingly reminiscent of Moscow’s colonial past. On December 2, the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot) website reported that its open source data analysis indicated 683 people were killed and 522 were injured in the North Caucasus in the period of January-November 2011. It is noteworthy that the number of killed is greater than the number of injured, which may circumstantially point to a preference on the part of government forces to kill rebel suspects instead of arresting and trying them in courts. While Dagestan continued to register the greatest number of violent incidents, it is still surprising to see such relatively quiet regions as North Ossetia and Karachaevo-Cherkessia in the same list, with 16 and 15 people killed, respectively, and nine wounded in each republic (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, December 2). The new-old Russian approach to the North Caucasus promises a bleak future for the region, with increasing levels of violence and a further decline of local economies.Read the full story here.
- Netherlands: MPs against 'pedophile imam'.(IIE).Via Volkskrant, Elsevier (Dutch): MPs Ahmed Marcouch and Kadija Arib (PvdA/Labour) are asking the government to deny imam Mohammed al-Maghraoui of Morocco a visa to the Netherlands. Al-Maghraoui was invited to a conference in the Hague by the As Soennah mosque. In honor of its new construction the mosque is organizing a 5-day Arabic conference on "the Muslim between steadfastness and temptation".In 2008 Al-Maghraoui published a fatwa authorizing marriages with 9-year old girls. The fatwa caused an uproar in Morocco, where such marriages are illegal.Moroccan-Dutch women in the Hague are unhappy about the imam's arrival and do not understand why the municipality is allowing an imam who encourages pedophilia to come and preach ideas which conflict with Dutch law.The PVV joined the Labour request to ban the imam, and said that if he does indeed come, the mosque should be shut down.MP Tofik Dibi (Greens) came out in support of the imam's freedom of speech and said that 'causing repulsiveness and disgust' are not reason to deny a visa.Read the full story here.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Hmmm......"The 'good old days'.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Japan 5.3 - 5.2 ; Papua New Guinea 5.2 ; greece 4.9 !More info here.
- "YES WE CAN AND WE WILL !" Minister Danny Ayalon- “We will never ask the Americans to go in to harm’s way for us. We can fight for ourselves.”(IsraelSurvivalUpd).“Today’s challenges demand that we defend our land from slander and battle the lies that are being thrown at us. As Israel endures constant delegitimization we must remember that we are powerful when we are united as one.”“The world tells us that our national mission in misguided and immoral and that we are illegal colonizers but nothing could be further from the truth. At the time of our redemption, the Third Jewish Commonwealth will not be destroyed. We must never give up on our ability to defend ourselves by ourselves. We will never ask the Americans to go in to harm’s way for us. We can fight for ourselves.”Hmmm.....Reminds me of these immortal words :"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" ~ Winston Churchill.Read the full story here.
- Tehran residents fear imminent strike.(Ynet).Growing panic in Iran? International schools in Iran have shut their doors after hardline students stormed the British embassy last week, stoking ordinary Iranians' fears that foreigners are about to pull out of the Islamic Republic ahead of a US or Israeli-led attack. Protesters stormed and ransacked Britain's two diplomatic compounds in Tehran on Tuesday, prompting Britain to evacuate its staff from the country and expel Iranian diplomats from London.The French school in Tehran is located on British embassy grounds and children were in class when the mob swarmed through the compound gates. Windows at the German school nearby were shattered in the attack, but the British school escaped the worst of the chaos after teachers sent pupils home early.The schools have remained shut since, forcing hundreds of children to stay home. Foreign teachers and their families have left Iran, parents were told, though the French school hopes to resume lessons on Sunday, and Britain's in the New Year.Iran's isolation over its nuclear ambitions, its claim to have shot down a US spy drone in its airspace on Sunday and the British embassy attack are feeding ordinary Iranians' fears."Many foreigners are leaving Iran ... I suspect that there will be military action ... we will become another Iraq," said architect Mahsa Sedri, 35. "Obviously something is going on ... otherwise the foreigners would not leave Iran." "We are going to be attacked ... I sense it ... I am pulling out my money from the bank to have cash in hand in case of an attack," said government employee Hassan Vosughi. "I and all my friends have stockpiled goods at home."Washington and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iranian nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, a position that has only hardened since the critical report by the International Atomic Energy Agency last month.Read the full story here.
- Racking up Obama's 'green vision', Navy’s Big Biofuel Bet: 450,000 Gallons at 8 Times the Price of Oil.(Wired).The Navy just signed deals to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels — arguably the biggest purchase of its kind in U.S. government history. The purchase is a significant step for Navy Secretary Ray Mabus’ plans to transform the service into an energy efficient fleet. But at nearly $1,100 per barrel — eight times the price of traditional fuel — the new fuels won’t come cheap. The $12 million purchase, expected for months, will all be used this summer, off the the coast of Hawaii. There, supersonic F/A-18 jets will launch from the deck of an aircraft carrier, powered by fuels fermented from algae. A 9,000-ton destroyer and a cruiser will join it on a voyage across the Pacific, using fuel made from fats and greases. (The carrier itself runs on nuclear power.) It’ll be the first demonstration of the so-called “Great Green Fleet” — an entire aircraft carrier strike group, relying on alternative energy sources.If it works, the Green Fleet will not only be poised for a full alt-fuel deployment in 2016. Mabus will be much closer to his promise of obtaining half of the Navy’s fuel from alternative sources by 2020. And the often-struggling biofuels industry will be a lot closer to proving its viability.“It’s a way to show that this is not a fad, this is not a flavor of the day,” Mabus tells Danger Room. “This is serious. This is real. This is actually going to happen.”This is hardly the Navy — or the military’s — lone effort to find new fuel sources. A Marine company in Afghanistan cut its fuel consumption by up to 90 percent, thanks to portable solar panels and other alt-energy gear. The Navy recently commissioned its first hybrid ship, the amphibious assault ship U.S.S Makin Island. The service is now working to retrofit its destroyers with hybrid drives and mission planning software that should allow the ships to sail more efficiently.But biofuels in general — and the Green Fleet demo in particular — are considered tent poles in Mabus’ broader energy strategy. That’s why the Obama administration recently announced that the Navy, along the Departments of Agriculature and Energy, will spend as much as $510 million to develop the country’s biofuel production infrastructure, and to buy up more gas.Two companies will split the Navy order. Dynamic Fuels, half-owned by agribusiness giant Tyson Foods, converts fats and waste greases into biofuels. Solazyme uses algae as a means of fermenting everything from plant matter to municipal waste into fuel. Both are considered leaders in the next-gen biofuel industry – Dynamic is one of the first companies in the field to have a commercial-scale refinery up-and-running. Solazyme has already delivered 150,000 gallons of its fuels to the Navy.Substantial hurdles remain, however. The Navy paid about a thousand dollars for each barrel of biofuel it bought to test out in it jets. This new purchase will cost just as much: $26 per gallon, or $1092 per barrel. (In contrast, old school jet fuel is currently trading at $126 per barrel.)Mabus notes that this 450,000 gallon buy — while comparatively large for military biofuels — is still tiny compared to the amount of fuel the Navy and the commercial airline industries consume. He’s promised that, as the Navy buys more fuel, economies of scale will kick in, and prices will drop. But an MIT study of alternative jet fuels, conducted in association with the Navy, found that even under optimal conditions — with dozens of refineries up and running, and every drop of the nation’s vegetable oil stock converted to energy — the price of bio jet fuel would still be twice as high as the cost of the traditionally-made stuff.Clearly, the Navy wants to go green. Whether it can afford to do so — well, that’s still an unanswered question.Hmmmm....Automatic cuts in defence spending?....Yeah whatevah.If he really wanted to destroy America as a superpower would he do anything different?Read the full story here.
- Obama Seeks Recovery Through China’s Now-Collapsing Economic Model.(BigPeace).The American left has long admired the European welfare state as a model for the “democratic socialism” it would like to introduce in the United States–despite high unemployment, ethnic segregation, growing bureaucratization, military dependence, and looming fiscal crisis.In the 2008 elections, and throughout his presidency, Barack Obama added a new model: that of communist China, whose “state capitalism” has led to staggering economic growth, rapid industrialization, and new financial power as lender to the developed world.But the emergence of Chinese “ghost cities,” plus rising inflation and unemployment, suggest that the virtue of the Chinese model–celebrated last week by former SEIU head Andy Stern as “superior” to the American free market ideal–have been vastly exaggerated.As the Wall Street Journal noted this weekend: China is a poster child for the Austrian school of economics’ theory of the business cycle. After undertaking the biggest stimulus program the world has ever seen in response to the global financial crisis, the country is drowning in unproductive investments financed with credit.The government spent 15% of GDP largely on public works projects in inland regions, financed with loans from the state-owned banks. Investment as a share of GDP soared to 48.5% in 2010, and the M2 measure of money supply ballooned to 140% that of the U.S.Now comes the hangover. The public works projects are winding down, unleashing a wave of unemployment and an uptick in social unrest. The banks’ nonperforming loans are rising, and local governments are insolvent. The country is littered with luxurious county government offices, ghost cities of empty apartment blocks, unsafe high-speed rail lines and crumbling highways to nowhere.Though admired by the left, the Chinese model, like the European welfare state–and Stalinism before both–is a false idol, because human nature remains unchanged. The real question is why the left continues, in each generation, to search for alternatives to freedom.Hmmm......you can spot a communist regime by it's wastefull spending?Read the full story here.
- The Ethics of Eric Holder.(AT).BY RonaldKolb.Looking back in history at the list of former attorneys general, two from the recent past seem to stand out. Robert F. Kennedy chose -- at some personal risk -- to take on not only organized crime, but the corrupt Teamsters union. John Mitchell became entangled in Richard Nixon's Watergate scandal and was convicted of multiple felonies.It's quite obvious which category Mr. Holder belongs in. Scandal seems to follow him wherever he goes, and now, either through incompetence or malfeasance, the road has led to Fast and Furious.Every day that Mr. Holder now remains attorney general further diminishes the office, and the Justice Department's reputation as well.Hmmmm...A must read.Read the full story here.
- ‘Fast and Furious’ Not Holder’s First Controversy Involving the Murder of an American Citizen.(Biggovernment).While some in the news media say Eric Holder’s involvement in the controversial ATF gun-running program known as Operation Fast and Furious is “only the tip of the iceberg,” Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue says he “was way ahead of the curve” in pointing out the attorney general’s involvement in shady activities. He points to a scathing 4-page letter (PDF) he sent to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Dec. 19, 2008, as proof.In the letter, Trentadue told the chair of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee the following: You need to know that Eric Holder, now nominated to become Attorney General, played a key role in covering up the torture-murder of my brother, Kenneth Michael Trentadue. You also need to know that Mr. Holder did this while serving as Deputy Attorney General and Acting Attorney General from 1997-2001. This is not just my shocking opinion. It is also the opinion of many Americans. More importantly, it is supported by the Justice Department’s records and actions that came to light as a result of my family’s efforts to obtain a certain measure of justice for my brother’s murder.Kenneth was killed in Oklahoma City in August of 1995. My family has spent over 13 years investigating my brother’s gruesome murder, including bringing a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court in 1997. In that case, the Justice Department hid and destroyed evidence that would have exposed my brother’s murders, and we believe that Mr. Holder was directly involved in those acts of obstruction of justice.In a footnote appearing on page one of that letter, Trentadue noted the following: Despite the destruction of evidence, the court awarded my family a $1 million judgment. We have used that money to offer a $250,000 reward for the people who killed Kenney. That offer is posted at: www.kmtreward.com. This site also contains the irrefutable evidence that my brother was murdered, which evidence was kept from us by the Justice Department.Trentadue’s letter continues: To this day, however, despite the efforts of my family, numerous journalists, and Congress, the Justice Department has been able to hide this terrible story — and its culpability in the death of my brother Kenneth. More importantly, then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder was assigned to be the point man in blocking my family’s efforts to bring my brother Kenneth Trentadue’s murderers to justice. Now, President-elect Barack Obama has nominated Eric Holder to be the new Attorney General.The paper trail on Mr. Holder’s actions is scant. However, e-mails and handwritten notes by those working under Mr. Holder in the Justice Department have surfaced. These documents paint a clear picture of a wide-ranging and cynical scheme, run directly by Mr. Holder, to quash my family’s efforts to have my brother’s murder investigated, and to deflect congressional oversight and media attention from the shocking circumstances of his death.According to these documents, a significant part of this plan involved Mr. Holder convincing Congress not to inquire into my brother’s murder. The plan called for Mr. Holder to meet with Senator Hatch on October 9, 1997, just prior to the Justice Department’s issuance of a Press Release announcing that the federal grand jury supposedly “investigating” my brother’s murder had failed to charge anyone with this crime.The stated purpose of this meeting between Mr. Holder and Senator Hatch was to defuse Judiciary Committee oversight and media inquiry into the circumstances of my brother’s death. In fact, one e-mail states that “we ain’t looking for press on this. Hill takes priority.”But that meeting apparently did not go as planned by Mr. Holder, because the next day, October 10, 1997, Senator Hatch gave an exclusive interview to Fox News in which he spoke out against the results of the grand jury and the Justice Department’s handling of the case.Rather than share Trentadue’s summary of what Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), told Fox News during the interview Oct. 10, 1997, I offer video of the interview itself.Hmmmm......"There she blows"?Read and see the full story here.
- Department of Energy was willing to grant $150 Million taxpayer money to Electric car maker that just closed the books.(Wired).Southern California electric vehicle startup Aptera Motors is out of time, out of money and out of luck. It announced today that it is shutting its doors, liquidating its assets and laying off its staff.The company, which first showed off its three-wheeler in 2007 and was working on a more conventional sedan, has long been struggling. Even as it unveiled the production model of the super-aerodynamic 2e electric car in April 2010, CEO Paul Wilbur all but pinned his company’s future on receiving a federal loan. Wilbur said in a statement today that Aptera came within spitting distance of turning things around but simply ran out of time and money.“After years of focused effort to bring our products to the market, Aptera Motors is closing its doors, effective today,” he said in the statement. “This is a difficult time for everyone connected with our company because we have never been closer to realizing our vision. Unfortunately, though, we are out of resources.”Wilbur said the company had been engaged in “exhaustive due diligence” with the Department of Energy and, having had its business plan “examined from top to bottom,” recently received a conditional commitment letter for $150 million under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program. That money would have underwritten development of a five-passenger, mid-sized electric sedan.“The last remaining hurdle was finding new funds to match the DOE loan,” Wilbur said. But the company, which had secured $40 million from private investors since 2007, was unable to even begin raising the $80 million needed to secure the loan, said Marques McCammon, Aptera’s chief marketing officer. However, the Energy Department told The New York Times that it was not conditionally committed to granting the loan.“I can confirm that Aptera did not receive a conditional commitment for a loan from the department,” Damien LaVera, an Energy Department spokesman, wrote in an e-mail to Times.Autopia Planes, Trains, Automobiles and the Future of Transportation Eventually, though, Wilbur realized the 2e would never be anything but a niche vehicle and switched gears, something potential investors made clear must happen. They wondered about the market demand for such a funky vehicle and the long-term viability of the company if it didn’t expand its product lineup. “Those were legitimate questions,” McCammon said. “And we heard them from the DOE as well.”So the company made the sedan — which McCammon said had always been part of the plan — its top priority and essentially mothballed the 2e after building a dozen prototypes. McCammon said Aptera had developed a composite manufacturing system that led to vehicles 30 percent lighter but three times stronger than conventional automobiles. The system also allowed for body panels to be manufactured with their finish already applied, eliminating the need for a paint shop. Aptera believed the process could save $750 million in manufacturing start-up costs.The company had built a styling model of the sedan and an engineering mule to test its drivetrain, and had in recent months begun looking into setting up shop in a mothballed auto factory in Ohio.In the end, though, it was too little, too late. Even with the DOE loan, Aptera simply couldn’t raise the money needed to go forward. So it is shutting its doors, liquidating its assets and laying off more than two dozen employees effective immediately.Read the full story here.
- Another Elderly Woman, 88-Year-Old Bubby Sherman, Says She Was Exposed At Kennedy Airport.(Matzav).Lenore Zimmerman, 85, was angry and embarrassed after what she claims was a strip search at Kennedy Airport Tuesday. Now another woman in her 80′s at the very same terminal says she was exposed one day before.From her home in Sunrise, Florida, 88-year-old Ruth Sherman says she knows for a fact senior citizens are being violated at a screening checkpoint at JFK.“I felt like I was invaded,” she told CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.Sherman says week-long Thanksgiving holiday with family in New York ended with an ordeal that started when the screeners wanted to check the bulge from Sherman’s colostomy bag.“This is private for me. It’s bad enough that I have it,” she said.“You don’t do that anybody,” she added. “I felt like I was invaded.”She says she initially complained to JetBlue and told her family, but is now going public after watching Zimmerman on television, recounting a frighteningly similar tale of what she says was her strip search, at the same JetBlue terminal at JFK, one day later.“They decide this 85-year-old lady needs to be strip searched,” Zimmerman said. “After they patted me down, they took me into a private room and they strip searched me. I said ‘why are you strip searching me? Do I like look a terrorist’?” she said.Zimmerman, who lives most of the year in Long Beach, Nassau County and spends the winters in South Florida, says she will sue the Transportation Security Agency. She said she wanted a patdown, that her defibrillator is why she cannot go through the machine, but that she never expected a strip search.The TSA released a statement Sunday, apologizing to Zimmerman but disputing her story.“TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case,” the statement read.State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens wonders how the TSA can be so sure. He says with no cameras in the private screening rooms, it is a screener’s word against the passenger’s.“It’s outrageous,” he said. “What they need to find out is exactly what happened and if someone crossed the line they need to be penalized.”“I missed my flight and I had to wait two and a half hours for the next one,” Zimmerman said.When she finally made it to her winter home in Coconut Creek, Florida, she called her son Bruce in Long Beach, Nassau County, who told CBS 2 the family plans to sue the TSA.“I do want them to have some sort of consequence. I think the two agents that escorted or initiated the strip search should be terminated,” Bruce Zimmerman said.Zimmerman will return to New York in early April, but admits that she is nervous after her experience.Both Sherman and Zimmerman say many times seniors are too cooperative and afraid to speak up when humiliated. Sherman wants that to change.CBS 2 contacted a TSA spokesman about Ruth Sherman’s alleged strip search and were told only that the TSA will research this new case.Hmmm...."Profiling Elderly Jewish women?"sounds so 1936 NAZI style.Read the full story here.
- Hypocrite? When Looking for Votes, Hillary Clinton Was Comfortable with Chareidi Traditions.(Matzav).Hillary Clinton is widely reported to have “expressed shock over growing discrimination against Israeli women. She mentioned cases of IDF soldiers leaving during performances of female singers and the fact that females sit in the back of buses in certain places in Israel.Clinton said that some of these phenomena reminded her of Iran.”Funny, that when looking for votes in her successful senate bid she was comfortable to visit the most gender separated and most secluded Hasidic Shtetl in the US (and very likely on earth), and during her primary campaign her surrogates marched in Williamsburg, with Satmar leaders, in a gender separated group.Haredi Jews have the rights to live their tradition in their neighborhoods. When campaigning for President Clinton understood it, as evident in the Jerusalem Post article “Clinton campaign marches to haredi Brooklyn beat .” According to the reporter, “female campaign staffers had to be sent to the back of the line of marchers so that there would not be any untoward mixing of the sexes. And then volunteers wearing Hebrew Hillary pins worked fast to remove the blue Stars of David stuck on their signs, lest they be confused with Israeli flags, a definite no-no in the anti-Zionist Satmar enclave.” This group included very hi-level Clinton supporters, like disgraced US Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York), who “shouted through a bullhorn.”BTW, it’s interesting to read in that piece that “Orthodox Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a longtime friend of Clinton’s, said that he supported her work in the Senate, he added he would not be taking time to return from Albany to cast a vote in the primary on her behalf. “I’m not that enthusiastic to rush back to vote for one or the other,” said Hikind. “With Clinton, it’s the old story. What does she really believe in? She is measuring how the wind is blowing.”He also said that many in the Orthodox community had not forgotten Clinton’s kissing Suha Arafat while she was first lady.“They can’t get over the kiss, which is ridiculous in my view.” Now, with the benefit of the hindsight and his outspokenness against Obama, should he have backed Clinton more strongly?It is also interesting that Simcha Felder said that he would be voting for Obama in “protest” of the racially-tinged tactics employed by the Clinton campaign in South Carolina last month.When vying for State and National office, Clinton understood that Haredim are entitled to live their life according to their traditions. Why are Jews in Israel any different? Why should they be forced to hear Kol B’Isha, or why shouldn’t they be entitled to voluntarily have separating seating arrangements on busses.The Secretary of State Clinton owes us an explanation, rather an apology.Read the full story here.
- Freedom Group Buying Large U.S. Firearms Companies.(NYT).LINED up in a gun rack beneath mounted deer heads is a Bushmaster Carbon 15, a matte-black semiautomatic rifle that looks as if it belongs to a SWAT team. On another rack rests a Teflon-coated Prairie Panther from DPMS Firearms, a supplier to the United States Border Patrol and security agencies in Iraq. On a third is a Remington 750 Woodsmaster, a popular hunting rifle.The variety of rifles and shotguns on sale here at Cabela’s, the national sporting goods chain, is a testament to America’s enduring gun culture. But, to a surprising degree, it is also a testament to something else: Wall Street deal-making.In recent years, many top-selling brands — including the 195-year-old Remington Arms, as well as Bushmaster Firearms and DPMS, leading makers of military-style semiautomatics — have quietly passed into the hands of a single private company. It is called the Freedom Group — and it is the most powerful and mysterious force in the American commercial gun industry today.Never heard of it?You’re not alone. Even within gun circles, the Freedom Group is something of an enigma. Its rise has been so swift that it has become the subject of wild speculation and grassy-knoll conspiracy theories. In the realm of consumer rifles and shotguns — long guns, in the trade — it is unrivaled in its size and reach. By its own count, the Freedom Group sold 1.2 million long guns and 2.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the 12 months ended March 2010, the most recent year for which figures are publicly available.Behind this giant is Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that first came to widespread attention when it acquired Chrysler in 2007. (Chrysler later had to be rescued by taxpayers). With far less fanfare, Cerberus, through the Freedom Group, has been buying big names in guns and ammo.After Bushmaster, the Freedom Group moved in on Remington, which traces its history to the days of flintlocks and today is supplying M24 sniper rifles to the government of Afghanistan and making handguns for the first time in decades. The group has also acquired Marlin Firearms, which turned out a special model for Annie Oakley, as well as Dakota Arms, a maker of high-end big-game rifles. It has bought DPMS Firearms, another maker of semiautomatic, military-style rifles, as well as manufacturers of ammunition and tactical clothing. “We believe our scale and product breadth are unmatched within the industry,” the Freedom Group said in a filing last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Here at Cabela’s, Mark Eliason, the vice president for sales and marketing at Windham Weaponry, a new competitor of Bushmaster that was established by Bushmaster’s founder, surveys the racks. He estimates that roughly 20 percent of the long guns for sale here are made by Freedom Group companies. In the aisles, he examines shelf upon shelf of ammunition. About a third of it comes from the Freedom Group, he says.“That’s a very large presence,” Mr. Eliason says. So large, in fact, that rumors about the Freedom Group — what it is, and who is behind it — have been circulating in the blogosphere. Some gun enthusiasts have claimed that the power behind the company is actually George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire and liberal activist. Mr. Soros, these people have warned, is buying American gun companies so he can dismantle the industry, Second Amendment be damned. The chatter grew so loud that the National Rifle Association issued a statement in October denying the rumors. “N.R.A. has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time,” the N.R.A. assured its members. “The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters.” Mr. Soros isn’t behind the Freedom Group, but, ultimately, another financier is: Stephen A. Feinberg, the chief executive of Cerberus. Cerberus brings some connections to the table. The longtime chairman of its global investments group is Dan Quayle, the former vice president. The Freedom Group, meantime, has added two retired generals to its board. One is George A. Joulwan, who retired from the Army after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. The other is Michael W. Hagee, formerly commandant of the Marine Corps.Meantime, the Freedom Group, despite its place atop the industry, appears to be operating without an official chief executive of its own. Its most recent C.E.O., Theodore H. Torbeck, resigned in September 2010 and no replacement has been named. For the moment, a temporary office of the chief executive, led by Robert L. Nardelli, the Cerberus executive who oversaw Chrysler, is helping to lead the company “It’s a sensible strategy to roll up things,” says Gautam Khanna, an aerospace and military industry analyst at Cowen and Company. The issue is whether the Freedom Group, and Cerberus, can persuade more Americans to buy more guns. “That,” Mr. Khanna says, “is an open question.” Read the full story here.
- 'Israel could lose American Jewry'.(YNet).WASHINGTON – Before saying anything else about Jeffrey Goldberg you should know that he enlisted in the IDF during the first Intifada and served in the Military Police. He lived on Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek for two years and spent another three years in Jerusalem. He speaks Hebrew like a native and understands life in Israel as only a local could. Which is why it is interesting to understand why Goldberg, one of the most respected columnists in the US on all things Middle East, decided to do battle against a campaign led by the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.The campaign, encouraging Israelis who have left Israel to come back home so that their children will not lose contact with the Jewish State was one that American Jews found to be extremely offensive.A column he wrote for his blog on The Atlantic's website caused the wheels of Israeli diplomacy to turn swiftly until finally, Israel announced that it would be terminating the controversial campaign. Three videos produced by the Ministry depict "normal" scenarios from the daily lives of Israelis abroad, and urge them to "return home" before becoming "fully assimilated." One video suggests that Israelis should not marry non-Israeli partners, because they will never understand Israeli holidays such as the Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day. A different ad shows a child trying to wake up his napping father by repeatedly calling out "daddy." However, the father only responds when the child finally calls him "aba" (Hebrew for "father")."The idea, communicated in these ads, that America is no place for a proper Jew," said Goldberg, who made aliyah and then left Israel five years later, so one might say that he knows both sides of the story.Goldberg noted that there are many Zionists in Israel and outside of it who think that Israel is the only place where Jews can prosper and flourish, no news there, but he adds that when he saw the ministry's ad campaign he found himself thinking Jews are afraid of Christmas – and laughed. He also noted the connection between the Israeli right and the Evangelist Christians in the US. Goldberg said that while understands the impulse behind the ads: "Israel wants as many of its citizens as possible to live in Israel. This is not an abnormal desire. But the way it is expressed, in wholly negative terms, is somewhat appalling. How about, 'Hey, come back to Israel, because our unemployment rate is half that of the US''? Or, 'It's always sunny in Israel?' Or, 'Hey, Shmulik, your mother misses you?'" Goldberg believes that American Jews are trying to understand Israeli far more than Israelis try to understand them. He states that the average American Jew reads that women in Jerusalem sit on the back of the bus and thinks to himself that he has no connection whatsoever with this country.He adds that young Israelis from Tel Aviv probably feel the same when they read that the right wing is making alliances with Evangelical Christians. Goldberg notes that it is obvious that there is a rift, when 80% of American Jews are culturally politically and religion-wise like 25% of Israelis, Jews in Washington can identify with what's happening in Tel Aviv but not Jerusalem or the settlements. He adds that there is a large gap between most Jews in the US and most Jews in Israel; Jews in the US are becoming more universal in their outlook while Israeli Jews are becoming more and more tribal in theirs. If the trend continues, he says, American Jews will see Israel as a far off foreign country. Goldberg also warned of the growing gulf between American Jews and their Israeli counterparts over issues related to democratic values. He said that the things happening in Israel today are like a mystery to the American Jews who scratch their heads and ask themselves what in the world is going on in Israel.Goldberg also spoke of the recent right-wing legislation, the exclusion of women from the public domain and the harm to freedom of expression. He noted that as American Jews, they were taught that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and that sadly, the recent legislation causes concerns – should Israel lose its democratic values, it will lose American Jewry. Read and see the full story here.
- Everything You Need to Know about Muslim Brotherhood.(DocsTalk).By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu.A former Muslim Brotherhood leader spells out its ideology: Muslims “are masters of the world” and Jihad should be waged against the “thieving gangs of Zion,” according to a Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) translation of the book by Mustafa Mashur, “Jihad is the Way."He was the official leader of the Muslim Brotherhood from 1996 until he died in 2002. The ideology in the book stands behind the “Freedom and Justice” party, the euphemism chosen by the Brotherhood as the name of its political party that won 40 percent of the votes in Egypt’s first-round legislative elections last week.Another Islamist party, representing the Salafists, won 20 percent, giving the Muslim fundamentalists a solid majority.Other choice quotes in the book: "The Islamic Ummah [nation]... [is] the most exalted nation among men;…you are the masters of the world, even if your enemies desire your degradation..." "Jihad and preparation towards Jihad are not only for the purpose of fending off assaults and attacks of Allah's enemies against Muslims, but are also for the purpose of realizing the great task of establishing an Islamic state and strengthening the religion and spreading it around the world..."...Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, …and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established..."Then comes the power of arms and weapons,... and this is the role of Jihad…, a religious public duty... incumbent upon the Islamic nation, and is a personal duty to fend off the infidels' attack on the nation…“The problems of the Islamic world, such as Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, or the Philippines,,…are problems of Islam and the Muslims, and they can be resolved neither by negotiation nor by recognizing the enemy's right to the Islamic land he stole. Rather, the only option is Jihad for Allah, and this is why Jihad is the way.”In light of the Obama administration’s recent overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood, such as opening dialogue with previously-shunned terrorist party, perhaps the most important comment in the book is an open statement of its strategy.“The Brotherhood is not rushed by youth's enthusiasm into immature and unplanned action which will not alter the bad reality and may even harm the Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood,” Mashur wrote in his book.He also advised every Muslim, “Prepare yourself and train in the art of warfare, and embrace the causes of power. You must learn the ways and manners and laws of war. You must learn them and embrace them and adhere to them, so that your Jihad will be the one accepted by Allah."Mashur not surprisingly preaches war against Israel. "Honorable brothers have achieved Shahada (Martyrdom) on the soil of beloved Palestine, during the years 47' and 48', in their Jihad against the criminal, thieving, gangs of Zion.”Hmmmm......Obama replaced Mubarak for these 'guys'.Read the full story here.
- Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood Favoritism Will Lead to War in the Middle East.(BigGovernment).By KeithDavies.Over the last year we have seen our government sell out Hosni Mubarak, the key leader who has brought relative peace and stability in the region. Instead, we have jumped on board with the “Arab Spring” which has led to Islamists taking power. My colleagues and I are not privy to CIA intelligence, but if we were able to predict such things based on common sense and our expertise in Middle East affairs, why could not our government see? Or maybe they can. It seems our government is infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and, along with political correctness from politicians who choose reelection over common sense, has allowed the Middle East to become a powder keg ready to explode.President Obama chose military intervention to remove Qaddafi from power yet ignores Syria, and when the Iranian people were protesting, he ignored them as well. Why? It appears that the Muslim Brotherhood pulls the strings at the State Department. Many of Obama’s key advisers are Muslim Brotherhood operatives. The Muslim Brotherhood could not allow a secular free country to arise in Iran, which would be likely if the Mullahs were overthrown. Obama did their bidding, stood silent, and provided no aid.The situation in Syria is a little more complex, as military intervention could provoke Iran to war (being an Assad ally) as well as a major proxy war against Israel, but Turkey is ramping up pressure so the Muslim Brotherhood has already a key ally in the AKA party headed by Prime Minister Erdogan, who is part of the Muslim Brotherhood apparatus leveraging its power to undermine the Assad regime. Therefore, the Muslim Brotherhood does not need the USA to do its heavy lifting in Syria. It is only a matter of time before Assad is forced out. The mainstream media are so stupid with regards to the Middle East that they do not even know what they don’t know. “The Arab Spring is about freedom” is ridiculous. While the spark may have been about freedom, the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamists have used this spark to achieve their goals, which is the sixth Caliphate, and have almost succeeded with the finishing line in sight.Leon Panetta, adding to the complete folly of US policy in the Middle East, has criticized the United States’ so-called ally Israel for not reaching out to Turkey and Egypt. However, Israel is the only one that does the reaching out, and it appears the more reaching out it does, the bigger the black eye it gets. Ironically, when it was forced to use military force to defend itself in the past, the aftermath of those conflicts brought more stability and peace than when they “reached out.” Over sixty years of reaching out to the world, and still people like Leon Panetta seem to think that just one more time will make a difference and will sway world opinion. How many times have I heard that story over the last thirty years? One example for the doubters was the withdrawal from Gaza, which did not improve relations with the Arabs but instead caused thousands of rockets to rain down on Israel’s southern border.The policy of the USA from 1979 to the present has now made the whole of the Middle East an unstable war zone with Shia Mullahs in Iran and now from Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, and soon, Syria and others will come under the influence of the Nazi-style Muslim Brotherhood. We contend that Obama has deliberately brought on this because of his radical agenda and has been allowed to succeed with a combination of infiltration, naivety and political correctness.Turkey is the key, and it will take over influence of the whole of the Sunni Middle East, using calls for peace to deceive, and when it achieves its goals of power it will then wage war against Israel. Iran will flex its muscles and will achieve its goal in gaining a nuclear weapon and will use that weapon against Saudi Arabia. After Saudi Arabia is destroyed, then all focus will be on Jerusalem.Hmmmm.....And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it…. ~ Zech. 12:3.Read the full story here.
- Jewish teenagers in Belgium leave their schools because of anti-Semitism, Belgium autorities covering up.(Docstalk).Like every Friday, as part of the day school activities, 13-year-old Oceane Sluijzer goes to the sport training center in Neder-Over-Hembeek, a Brussels suburb, where she plays football. There she meets other girls from the same nearby secondary public school. Many of them are from Moroccan origin and Oceane feels sometimes difficult to be integrated and to be treated well. She was in fact excluded from the group because of her look, she is blond, and because she is not of Arab descent, she says.Two weeks ago, the shy Jewish girl came as usual at the center and found again the same situation. But this time she started a discussion. “Why don’t you respect me?,” she asked a group of four girls. “Is it because I am not Arab?”. Then, after the discussion heated up, one of the Muslim girl, the group leader, shouted at her: “Dirty Jew, shut up and return to your country,” words that she repeated.Oceane didn’t know how to react to the anti-Semitic insult but responded: "I will not shut up and I am already in my country."She then received two slaps in the face before being badly beaten by one of the girl for several minutes. It was only thanks to her Indian girlfriend that she could get out of the situation. "If she would not have been present, my daughther would maybe have been killed," explained her father, 44-year-old Dan Sluijzer.Suffering a head concussion and face injuries, she went to hospital. She talked on the phone to her father who told her to go straight to the police station to fill a complaint.Since then she didn’t return to her school and was so scared that she even didn’t went out of her home. But she decided to change of school. The Jewish school was one option, but she felt Hebrew and religion were “too much” for her in the middle of the year.In an joint interview with Israel’s daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot and European Jewish Press, last Thursday, along with her father, the girl said policemen told her that the four girls would be questioned, would be told that this was not permitted and that if they do it again the complaint would go further.Police reportedly asked the girl and her father not to say that this was an anti-Semitic act."I feel better today than when it happened but it is still difficult for me psychologically because I cannot understand this violence, that such things can happen. I would never imagine that things can go to that point.""The problem is that the other youths, who are not Muslims, are scared and don’t want to react or intervene," Dan Sluijzer, a professional actor, said.She even didn’t heard from her school after the aggression, not from the headmaster nor from teachers or classmates. "I only received support phone calls facebook messages from fellow comrades of the Hashomer Hatsair youth movement."Already before the event took place, the father went to see the school principal to make him understand that there was a problem of anti-Semitism in his school."He told me: Mr Sluijzer, they are kids. Don’t generalize what happens." Oceane and her 16-year-old sister Salome are the sole Jewish students of the “Athenee Les Pagodes”, a school in a quiet neighborhood of mixed social population.Oceane’s father believes that the new school, located in a different area of the city, will be able to protect her this time . "Jewish religion is teached. This didn’t exist in the other school." Oceane doesn’t feel that her attackers are the "winners" because she left. One of the girl was expelled definitively from the school and two others for three days. They were told to prepare a research work on the Holocaust and the deportation of Jews.The school principal declined any comment to Yediot Aharonot and EJP "because there is an appeal from the sanctioned girls still pending," said Faouzia Hariche, who is in charge of public instruction in the city of Brussels.Dan Sluijzer deplored the indifference of the Belgian authorities "like it was in 1940." . "They prefer to let people fight each other." Only Brussels Jewish parliamentarian Viviane Teitelbaum reacted and was to first to inform about the aggression. In the beginning Sluijzer felt "hatred towards the Muslims but also towards the authorities because nobody say or do something.""I would have expected from political parties to tell my daughter: we understand what happened and we will act so that this could not happen again." "Unfortunately nothing happened," deplored Dan Sluizer, whose father’s family members in Holland were deported to Auschwitz. Only two of them survived.Sluijzer thinks that Israel "doesn’t protect Jews in the world enough." and "that’s why Arabs attack Jews.""Jews in the world are fighting for Israel. When people attack Israel, it’s like they attack me. So when somebody attacks me I want also Israel to be next to me."” But he thinks that the responsibility to protect the Jews lies more in hands of the local authorities.Besides the aggression against Oceane Sluijzer, Jewish groups also reported the case of a 16-year-old Jewish student at the upscale European Brussels School where boys of the same age repeatedly called her “Dirty Jew” and harassed her because they disagree with Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians.Her mother complained to the school but the reaction was rather unsatisfactory. Camille left for the Ganenou Jewish secondary school."It is unfair, the victim must leave," commented the mother."Why are Jews in Belgium scared?," titled a Belgian magazine.Hmmm......How about Antisemitism?Read the full story here.
- Afghanistan could become Obama's "Stalingrad Kessel".(StratRisks).With the Russian threat to cut land routes for supply to Nato troops in Afghanistan, the Afghan battleground may turn into a cold deathtrap for Nato, defence analysts believe. They say that Pakistan should utilise the opportunity for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan by pulling it out of the American war.Russia has threatened to cut off Nato supply routes to Afghanistan if the alliance doesn’t compromise on its missile defence plans. “If Nato doesn’t give a serious response, we have to address matters in relations in other areas,” Russian news services reported. Russia’s cooperation on Afghanistan may be an area for review, the news services reported.Pakistan has already cut the Nato supply route after the Mohmand Agency attack by Nato troops that killed twenty-six Pakistani soldiers.Lieutenant General (r) Hameed Gul while talking to The News said that Russia would utilise every option to take revenge from the Americans and time has come for the Russians to do this. He said that Russia wants to join hands with Pakistan and Pakistan should reconsider its policy towards Russia. “Americans and Nato troops have been strangled in Afghanistan and time has come for Pakistan to avail the opportunity that it missed on 9/11 to regain the respect and sovereignty”, Gul said.He mentioned that Americans will have to leave Afghanistan and will ask for concessions and Pakistan should negotiate with them for their exit. If Russia cuts the supply then the route will be from Georgia to Baku and then to Azerbaijan, which means NATO will never get the supply, said Gul. “Now Nato troops will have to exit Vietnam style, and that too by using Pakistan’s airspace because Iran will never let USA use its airspace”, the retired general said. He mentioned that the war against terror that was started with our own people will come to an end at once and there will be peace in no time once the Americans leave Afghanistan. He said that Indian interests in Afghanistan were growing but India will get nothing from Afghanistan.Maria Sultan, defence analyst, while talking to this correspondent said that if the Russians also cut the supply line of Nato then it will turn out to be cold death for Nato troops. “They will literally be strangled in Afghanistan with 90,000 troops and as they admit that they have reserves for three months which actually means they have reserves for two months and then Nato will have to airlift the troops and during the airlift only 15 to 20 percent can be alive out of the 90,000 troops”, Maria said.She mentioned that in Afghanistan, everything comes from outside and the insurgency this year has been very high as 700 causalities have been reported. Therefore after the Russian decision, Afghanistan will turn into a reverse Kargil for Nato. “They will have weapons but no bullets to fire; and if Pakistan shuts the air corridors on Nato then it would be a cold death for them and America will have to renegotiate with Pakistan”, she said.Hmmmm.....A community agitator as 'Commander - in - Chief?The Germans at Stalingrad had a Corporal.Read the full story here.
- Israel, Egyptian Copts worry over majority Islamist win in Egypt’s election.(AlArabiya).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on Egypt’s future rulers to maintain a peace treaty with Israel after Islamists took a surging lead in the Arab country’s first round of elections.“We hope any future government in Egypt will recognize the importance of keeping the peace treaty with Israel in its own right and as a basis for regional security and economic stability,” Netanyahu said in his first public comments on the issue since the Egyptian vote.Earlier, the Israeli finance minister had also voiced concerns. “We are worried, I hope that democracy will prevail in Egypt and that the country won’t become an extremist Islamist state because that would put the whole region in danger,” Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel public radio.The reaction in the Israeli press was clear: “It’s even worse than expected,” one security agency official told the top-selling Yediot Aharonot.“What was once a danger has become a threat,” the newspaper itself commented.Meanwhile, Egyptian Copts, the Middle East’s biggest Christian community, voiced their concern about Egypt’s political future.“All Coptics are very worried. We didn’t expect this,” Girgis Szaki, a 42-year-old engineer with two children told AFP. “We wanted some liberals to be elected. In the other stages, maybe there’ll be a change.”“A lot of Christians are now saying that the Mubarak era was better than now, but I don’t agree,” Eman Seif, a 53-year-old doctor, told AFP as she left.“We were surprised but we are still optimistic. This is democracy now and this is the real opinion of Egyptians. The secular section is still fighting.”She expressed dismay, however, that relations between Christians and Muslims were tense, which she blamed on the increasing import of the ultra-conservative Salafi strain of Islam from the Gulf.A pharmacist in her 40s, who asked not to be named because it was “dangerous” to speak on the subject, repeated the widely expressed fear that the Islamists wanted to turn Egypt into Afghanistan.“All women will be veiled. They will wreck our tourism industry,” she said.George Wiza, a 44-year-old electrical engineer, called it a “black day.”The Muslim Brotherhood won 36.62 percent of the vote, followed by the hard-line Salafist al-Nur party with 24.36 and the moderate Al-Wasat with 4.27, according to a chart provided by elections committee secretary general Yusri Abdel Karim.Abdel Karim said that the committee would not provide percentages until the end of voting on January 10, but according to an official chart he provided the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party list won 3.56 million out of 9.73 million valid ballots.The al-Nur party won 2.37 million, and the Wasat party 415,590 votes.The liberal coalition the Egyptian Bloc received 13.35 percent, with 1.29 million votes. The percentages cannot be calculated into the number of seats each party list will receive until the final results for the whole country are in.Amr Moussa, a front-runner for Egypt’s presidency, said on Sunday the strong Islamist showing in the first parliamentary election since army generals replaced Hosni Mubarak in February had to be swallowed as democracy in action.The Muslim Brotherhood has also urged its rivals to “accept the will of the people” after a first-round vote set its party on course to take the most seats in parliament, with a hardline Salafi Islamist party thrusting liberals into third place.Overall election results suggest Islamist parties, while not united, may wield a two-thirds majority in parliament.“I believe the constitutional debate will be a very serious and tough one. I don’t think any party can impose its own language or principles,” Moussa said. “The constitution will have to be the outcome of consensus and general debate among the people. The liberal camp is also strong.”The Salafis are expected to demand that purist Islamist codes be reflected in the constitution and other legislation, forcing the Brotherhood to defend its own Islamist image.“The Salafis are certainly going to insert religion and identity into the political discourse like never before,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center.“The Brotherhood is going to come under pressure from the right. It runs the risk of losing supporters to the Salafis if it is not seen to be authentically Islamist enough.”The constitution, to be written by a constituent assembly chosen by parliament, may go to a referendum before a presidential election in June, under an accelerated timetable for a handover to civilian rule.The generals, who had envisaged keeping power until end-2012 or beyond, agreed to a speedier transfer after last month’s bloody street protests against army rule killed 42 people.The man they appointed to lead a new interim cabinet was quoted on Saturday as saying he would not name his ministerial line-up until Wednesday, in the latest of several delays.Hmmmm....In the long run a 'separate' Coptic Egyptian state would be the best solution.Might be a great 'bufferstate' for Israel.Read the full story here.
- Iranian newspaper banned over ‘provocative’ content, journalists’ behavior.(AlArabiya).The Public Relations Division at Iran’s Ministry of Guidance and Islamic Culture announced it has banned a weekly newspaper for the “provocative” topics it discusses and the “indecent” behavior of its female journalists. A ban will was imposed on the weekly newspaper Sokhn Tazah, which is published in the central province of Kerman and specializes in culture, society, and the arts, for violating public morality, said the head of the ministry’s Public Relations Division, Ahmed Saeidi. “Throughout the past years, we have noticed that the paper is publishing provocative topics and we have warned them several times,” he said.According to Saeidi, the paper tackles issues that are not stated in its official papers and constantly criticizes government polices. This led the Revolutionary Court to issue an order to shut it down.“According to the complaint filed at the court, the paper’s editor-in-chief, Batoul Hashemi, is charged with spreading lies and inciting public opinion through publishing topics that promote the practice of corruption. She also published stories that threaten national security,” said Saeidi Hashemi, he added, also allows the publishing of stories and photographs that violate public decency.Another reason for banning the paper, Saeidi explained, was the behavior of the journalists working there.“The journalists in the paper are known for not abiding by the veil and for wearing too much makeup that exceed that permitted limit.” The conference was attended by the imam of the province’s capital, Kerman, who is the representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in the province. His presence was seen as a clear sign of the supreme leader’s consent to the procedure of banning the paper.Hmmm....I can't help wondering what's the 'permitted limit"?Read the full story here.
- For Egypt’s gays, sexual harassment is an untold problem.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: Though an ongoing societal problem, more and more women in Egypt have come forward in recent years to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence in their daily lives. Taboos have been tackled through grassroots activism, and women have worked to engage a constructive public discourse on the issue.However, another group– largely ignored and demonized in much of Egyptian society– suffers from untold instances of sexual abuse as well.For Egypt’s gay population, sexual harassment is a daily struggle that has gone largely unreported.“He started using really flirty language and started to touch my legs a lot. Then he asked me to take my shoes off,” says Karim, a 20-year-old university student at Misr University for Science and Technology, recounting the sexual assault he suffered at the hands of a taxi driver.“I cried a lot. I didn’t even know I was gay at the time,” he said. He was just 14 years old.Just as many women fail to report sexual assaults and rape in Egypt for fear or shame and embarrassment, the gay community in Egypt stands in the same predicament.However, Mostafa, an outgoing, lively, 20-year-old university student told Bikyamasr.com that he is not shy to talk about his experiences with sexual harassment.“It hasn’t happened just once. I’ve been stalked and grabbed. I’ve had guys on the Metro try and rub their crotches in my butt. When I would move, they would follow me.”“Taxis have driven by me, catcalling and asking me how much for the night. One even tried to show me his penis. Once, I broke the window of a taxi after the driver wouldn’t stop harassing me. I wear jeans and a t-shirt, just like everyone else,” he said.Both Mostafa and Karim share similar stories of cars driving by them with passengers inside trying to offer them money for sex, relentlessly harassing them.Sarah, a 24-year-old lesbian from Alexandria tell of similar abuses.“Many times as I walk alone, people harass me for simply being a woman. However, having short hair and being dressed in pants and shirts all the time adds something else to the daily problems,” she recounted.“I once was stalked for over 4 blocks by a group of young men, all talking about was which gender I was. One said I was a gay man and threw stones at me from the back before running away.”“Another time a man grabbed my ass in the street, telling his friend that he would prove that I am a woman if I have a ‘tender ass.’ Every time these things happen, I go home and I cry myself to sleep, wishing I lived in a different country, thinking about other girls who go through the same,” Sarah continued.“I am unlucky as I get double the harassment. Never mind of course are the urges from everyone to look more feminine and let my hair grow and dress more appropriately. I am even told that I will go to hell if I continue to look like a boy,” she said.Though Egypt is in a state of societal overhaul since the January 25 Revolution that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, not much has changed for the nation’s gay community.A Facebook group was recently created to hold a National Day of Egyptian Gays march in Tahrir Square on January 1, 2012. However, the page was flooded with angry comments, promising protestors violence and death if the march went through. Even liberal activists failed to support the movement, questioning whether now is the right time or place for “such a thing.”Meanwhile, abuses against gays in Egypt continue under the barrier of fear and silence.Hassan, a gay 24-year-old recent university graduate recounts his shaking sexual assault in a Cairo hotel. After meeting an acquaintance for a drink at the hotel bar, he was invited up to the man’s room.The man gave him a mixed drink from what was seemingly a closed bottle. However, Hassan soon began to feel tired and dizzy. He expressed his discomfort and sat down to avoid fainting. Two other men came out from another part of the hotel room and started to try and undress Hassan.He fought and screamed, and with the little bit of consciousness and strength he had left, he was able to escape.The incident was an attempted rape– an attempted rape that will never be prosecuted nor reported because Hassan is gay.“They wouldn’t care,” Hassan said simply when he was asked if he called the police. “If I tell them what happened they will say it’s because I’m gay, and it’s my fault.”Gays in Egypt have no protection from the law in situations like Hassan’s. If they were to report a rape or a sexual assault, they themselves could even face imprisonment.In 2001, 52 allegedly gay men dubbed the “Cairo 52” were arrested on the Queen’s Boat, a floating nightclub in Cairo. The event became a highly publicized news story. The men were charged with “habitual debauchery” and “obscene behavior,” along with “contempt of religion.”While in detention, officials performed anal examinations on the men to “test” whether they were homosexual– but more so to further humiliate them.21 of the men were sentenced to three years in prison.The arrest of the Cairo 52 further stigmatized an already discriminated population in Egypt. It made many men who were beginning to feel as though they could live some sort of normal life lose all hope.Homosexual acts and acts of harassment and sodomy have been used as a deliberate act of torture practiced by Egyptian security officials.In 2006, a graphic video surfaced on the Internet of Imad Kabir, a mini-bus driver, being sodomized with a stick by police officers in an Egyptian police station as he pleaded for them to stop. The police officers took the video with the intention of showing it to Kabir’s co-workers to further his embarrassment.Kabir was later sentenced to jail time for resisting arrest.The latest case of such torture is that of Essam Atta, who died from internal bleeding after being repeatedly sodomized by prison guards who used water hoses to pump soap and water into his mouth and anus.Sexual harassment in Egypt is ostensibly aimed toward anyone who appears as if they cannot fight back– young teenage boys, foreign and Egyptian women alike, and even those in a cell.The longer society oppresses sexuality, the more hostile the society becomes.When a young man is told he cannot date, touch, or even see a woman because of the evils that will ferment, the more frustrated that young man is to become. With frustration comes aggression, and with aggression comes the surety that others will suffer.Under constant fear of persecution, arrest, and abandonment, Egypt’s gay community remains silent. There is no one to turn to, because when you have something to hide, you have that much more to fear.“It’s not about the government giving us our rights,” says Hassan. “It’s about the people themselves starting to accept us as normal people. I’ll deal with the harassment that will come from being out as long as I can live as I wish.”Read the full story here.