Wednesday, December 7, 2011
After watching this documentary on the Palestinian terrorists one must ask some serious questions as to why Israel negotiated with terrorists... Maybe in retrospect, a better option would have been an economic siege of Gaza till Gilad Shalit was released.
Ht - Read more : CreepingSharia.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation tonga 5.3 - 5.1 !More info here.
- The Last Incarnation of Barack Obama.(Heritage).If there was any doubt where President Barack Obama’s ideological heart lies, yesterday he let it be known loud and clear in a wide-ranging speech in Osawatomie, Kansas. President Obama is at his core a dyed-in-the-wool progressive who sees the federal government as the answer to all of America’s problems. And he is charging full steam ahead on this far-left course toward Election Day 2012, despite the total failure of his big-government policies and an American people who have flatly rejected the message he is trying to sell.True to form, President Obama yesterday did what he does best: He delivered a flowery speech and flexed his rhetorical muscles. It’s a talent that won him the presidency, but unfortunately it hasn’t won the future for the American people. And that’s because the President’s underlying philosophy is terribly flawed. After three years of a massive expansion of government, the enactment of Obamacare, hundreds of billions of dollars in failed stimulus spending, government ownership of General Motors, a Big Labor/pro-unionization onslaught, threats of even higher taxation, the promulgation of more unnecessary regulations, and a total failure to confront the entitlement challenge, the verdict is in on President Obama’s record and the soundness of his statist, progressive philosophy. Deficits are soaring, the economy is stagnant, 13.3 million Americans are out of work, and job growth is flat. Not surprisingly, the President’s speech did not touch on those facts.Ironically, the President’s conception of America–that it is a land of no opportunity–stands in stark contrast to his own personal story, which he even trumpeted in his speech. Barack Obama came from meager beginnings and now sits in the Oval Office. There are countless stories of other Americans who have risen and found success on their own merit in this fertile land. But speaking to America’s rugged individualism and the notion of achieving success without the helping hand of the government would not serve President Obama’s progressive agenda. In his world, the government is the giver of all things, the defender of the middle class, and the architect of prosperity. Likewise, success is not something to be championed but to be demagogued in the name of the expansion of the state.Over the past three years, we have seen the President articulate many ideas and cloak himself in many different philosophies. Of late, he has even called himself a tax-cutter and posed as a deficit hawk, all while calling for massive amounts of new spending. But with yesterday’s speech, he has emerged in his truest incarnation–a hard-line progressive to the core. The speech fits perfectly with reports that the Obama 2012 campaign has come to the realization that it will lose white blue-collar voters by large margins and is concentrating instead on cobbling together a coalition of culture elites and racial minorities. The abandonment of the middle class–or, rather, the fact that the middle class has abandoned him–puts in context this latest incarnation of the President as he prepares to run next year.This is not the way to lead America to prosperity, to stand the economy on its feet, or to put the millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Rather than make government bigger and more intrusive, now is the time to make it smaller and more responsible so that entrepreneurs can achieve what Washington cannot manufacture: new jobs, new ideas, and a better America for future generations. But that America is quite different from the one President Obama envisions.Hmmmm....."CHAINS you can believe in"?Read the full story here.
- GOP senator says support for Obama Iran policy 'has collapsed'.(TheHill).The Obama administration’s strategy for securing congressional support for its Iran policy “has collapsed,” a GOP senator charged Tuesday.Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) offered harsh words for the White House, which he said should support tougher Senate sanctions meant to curtail Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons.“Not one senator stood with the administration” last week when the upper chamber unanimously approved a plan to sanction firms and other governments that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, Kirk said.He said the 100-0 vote in the Senate on that language “sent a message” that senators feel the administration is not moving aggressively enough with Iran.Kirk and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) pushed the measure, which would prohibit any U.S. financial entity from engaging in transactions with any foreign government, central bank or other financial firm that does business with the Central Bank of Iran.In the current era of ultra-partisan politics, Kirk said, “you don’t get any better than 100-to-zero.”Administration officials strongly oppose the new sanctions, saying it could drive up global oil prices and dissuade allies from joining efforts to further isolate Tehran. The amendment was added to a Defense authorization bill that must still be approved after a conference between House and Senate lawmakers.Menendez and Kirk say the White House negotiated with them on the final language of their amendment and signaled their approval, only to slam it last week in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Menendez publicly rebuked administration officials during that hearing.The senators had added a provision to allow the White House to waive the terms of the sanctions should oil market conditions or a national security crisis occur, and they believed these had been enough to secure administration support.But the administration stepped up its effort to kill the plan this week by sending a letter to House and Senate conferees hammering out the final 2012 Pentagon authorization bill. Kirk and Menendez responded on Tuesday with a letter of their own arguing that the Senate language approved last week on Iran should be rolled into the final Defense authorization bill.Lawmakers can no longer afford to “listen and nod while the administration talks of incrementalism … and engagement,” Kirk said. “Time is running out.”Pressure on the administration has stepped up since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed Iran is closer than ever to fielding a nuclear weapon. Kirk’s comments came during a forum on Capitol Hill where the American Enterprise Institute rolled out a new report about how a nuclear-armed Iran might be contained.There is a growing consensus in Washington and other Western nations “that preemptive military action is unappealing, leading many to suggest that containing a nuclear Iran is a reasonable option,” states the AEI report.But, the conservative think tank warns, “containment is hardly a cost-free policy.”Such a policy would require enhanced diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions, but it also would require “increased efforts on other fronts,” including diminishing Iran’s economic efforts and its influence in energy markets, the think tank said.“The keystone of any containment policy is a military strategy of deterrence,” AEI said.The U.S. would have to beef up its own nuclear arsenal — at a time when further cuts there are possible — while also committing to “prolonged” counterintelligence, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency presence “around Iran’s perimeter,” according to the report.AEI said a containment strategy also would require “a large and persistent conventional covering force operating throughout the region and a reinforcing force capable of assured regime change.”But the Obama administration is shifting its foreign policy focus toward the Asia-Pacific region, which will include moving some military forces and platforms out of the Middle East.Hmmmm.....The 'king' won't like this, how dare you.Read the full story here.
- The State Department vs. Free Speech.(Hudson).By Nina Shea, Paul Marshall.Last July in Istanbul, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton co-chaired a "High-Level Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance" with the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Mrs. Clinton invited the OIC to Washington for a conference to build "muscles of respect and empathy and tolerance." That conference is scheduled for Dec. 12 through Dec. 14.For more than 20 years, the OIC has pressed Western governments to restrict speech about Islam. Its charter commits it "to combat defamation of Islam," and its current action plan calls for "deterrent punishments" by all states to counter purported Islamophobia.In 2009, the "International Islamic Fiqh [Jurisprudence] Academy," an official OIC organ, issued fatwas calling for free speech bans, including "international legislation" aimed at protecting "the interests and values of [Islamic] society," and for judicial punishment for public expression of apostasy from Islam. OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu emphasizes that "no one has the right to insult another for their beliefs."The OIC does not define what speech should be outlawed, but its leading member states' practices are illustrative. Millions of Baha'is and Ahmadis, religious movements arising after Muhammad, are condemned as de facto "insulters" of Islam, frequently persecuted by OIC governments, and attacked by vigilantes. Those seeking to leave Islam face similar fates.Muslim reformers are widely and specifically targeted for supposedly anti-Islamic speech. In Afghanistan, Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, editor of "Haqooq-i-Zen" ("Women's Rights") magazine, was imprisoned by the Karzai government for publishing "un-Islamic" articles criticizing stoning as a punishment for adultery. In Iran, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was imprisoned for arguing that "political leadership by clergy" was contrary to Islam. In Bangladesh, Salahudddin Choudhury was imprisoned for hurting "religious feelings" by advocating peaceful relations between Bangladesh and Israel.Egypt bans books and imprisons Muslims whose views are contrary to the state-funded Sunni center, Al-Azhar. Others are similarly punished for deviating from locally dominant Islamic sects not only in repressive Pakistan and Sudan, but also in Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria and other ostensibly moderate countries.OIC pressure on European countries to ban "negative stereotyping of Islam" has increased since the 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh for his film "Submission" and the Danish Muhammad cartoon imbroglio of 2005. Many countries (such as France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy and Sweden), hoping to ensure social peace, now prosecute people for "vilifying" Islam or insulting Muslims' religious feelings.Encouraging a more civil discourse is commendable, and First Amendment freedoms mean the U.S. won't veer down Europe's path anytime soon. But if the Obama administration is committed to defending constitutional rights, why is it, as the OIC's Mr. Ihsanoglu wrote in the Turkish Weekly after the Istanbul meeting, standing "united" on speech issues with an organization trying to undercut our freedoms? Mr. Ihsanoglu celebrates this partnership even while lamenting in his op-ed that America permits "Islamophobia" under "the banner of freedom of expression."President Obama should put a stop to this nonsense and declare that in free societies all views and religions are subject to contradiction and critique—and the OIC must learn to tolerate that. The alternative is what the late Indonesian Muslim President Abdurrahman Wahid called "a narrow suffocating chamber of dogmatism.Nina Shea is a Senior Fellow and Director of Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.Paul Marshall is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom.."Hmmmm......The problem is that President Obama a.k.a. Barry Soetoroe was raised as a Muslim in Indonesia.Read the full story here.
- Correction from White House: President didn’t say he’s ‘mad living here’.(TheHill).By Judy Kurtz.Note to critics of President Obama and any remaining birthers out there: Contrary to what the White House originally claimed, the president didn’t actually say he was “mad” living here. An oficial transcript from the White House from a Sunday event recognizing the Kennedy Center Honorees sent out that night quoted Obama saying during his remarks, “I’m mad living here a little bit.”What? The leader of the country is actually angered by residing here? The horror!But before any Obama opponents could start getting that quote printed on bumper stickers, the White House sent out a correction. On Monday morning, the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary blasted out an email with a subject line that read: “CORRECTION: Remarks by the President at Reception for Kennedy Center Honorees.” Got to love the all-caps sense of urgency.It turns out that Obama didn’t tell the crowd, “I’m mad living here a little bit,” but instead said, “I’m ad-libbing here a little bit.”Read the full story here.
- Perry: Obama 'at war' with Christians.(WE).Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, who is increasingly emphasizing religion in his appeal to Iowa Christian conservatives, said today that President Obama's use of foreign aid to promote international gay rights demonstrates that the president "is at war with people of faith."This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country," Perry said in a statement. "Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americans of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong."Perry added that the policy consideration shows that Obama is "out of touch with America's values."He concluded by saying that "President Obama has again mistaken America's tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles."Read the full story here.
- Obama Issuing Memo Making It Official U.S. Policy To Consider a Country’s Treatment of Gays And Transgenders a Precondition To Foreign Aid.(Politico).President Barack Obama is issuing a memo today that will make it official U.S. policy to consider a country’s treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender bias a condition of foreign aid while making it easier for those being persecuted for their sexual preference to be granted asylum.Obama’s memo, which will be followed by a speech in Geneva by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “will coordinate US government agencies with respect to LGBT Issues and make it a component of US foreign policy to decriminalize LGBT status, make it a consideration for foreign aid and coordinate the asylum process for those who are being persecuted,” according to a person familiar with the policy.“The Obama Administration has made a tremendous difference in the lives of LGBT people in the United States and this new strategy helps to extend that presidential leadership across the globe,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who met with Secretary Clinton earlier today in Geneva. “There is no question that the administration’s record of advancing equality for LGBT people has been enhanced by the leadership of Secretary Clinton who consistently underscores the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights.”Read the full story here.
- 'White House pushes to weaken Iran sanction'.(Ynet).The Obama administration is pressuring Congress to ease the potential impact of crippling sanctions on Iran's Central Bank, arguing that the restrictions will drive up oil prices and wind up being a boon for Tehran and its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. In a plea to House and Senate negotiators writing a broad defense bill, the administration has asked for substantive changes to a provision that would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, including a six-month delay for all the penalties. But the chief sponsors of the sanctions, which the Senate resoundingly backed last week on a 100-0 vote, are resisting the request.In a letter late Monday to House and Senate negotiators, Sens. Mark Kirk, a Republican, and Bob Menendez, a Democrat, pleaded with them to leave the sanctions intact. The penalties are "tough, responsible and, most importantly, bipartisan," the two lawmakers wrote. "It provides the administration another key tool to curb Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, while keeping oil markets stable and encouraging other nations to reduce Iranian oil purchases. With the support of every single United States senator, it needs no alternations." Lawmakers said they hope to complete work on the massive, $662 billion defense bill by the end of the week. Tougher sanctions against Iran have widespread support in Congress, reflecting concerns not only for US national security but also ally Israel's as well. Two weeks ago, the Obama administration announced a new set of penalties against Iran, including identifying for the first time Iran's entire banking sector as a "primary money laundering concern." This requires increased monitoring by US banks to ensure that they and their foreign affiliates avoid dealing with Iranian financial institutions. But lawmakers in the House and Senate have pressed ahead with even tougher penalties despite reservations by the administration. Lawmakers cited the recent International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran is suspected of clandestine work that is "specific to nuclear weapons," its alleged role in the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the United States and the attack on the British Embassy in Tehran. "If this brutal and terrorism-sponsoring regime achieves this goal, if Iran gets the bomb, we in the US and freedom-loving nations around the world would have failed what is our generation's greatest test for securing the 21st century," Kirk said Tuesday at a forum sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute.The Kirk-Menendez measure added to the defense bill would target foreign financial institutions that do business with the Central Bank of Iran, barring them from opening or maintaining correspondent operations in the United States. It would apply to foreign central banks only for transactions that involve the sale or purchase of petroleum or petroleum products. The sanctions on petroleum would only apply if the president, in six months, determines there is a sufficient alternative supply and if the country with jurisdiction over the financial institution has not significantly reduced its purchases of Iranian oil. It also allows the president to waive the penalties based on national security.Read the full story here.
- Mitt Romney blasts Obama on Israel, Iran. Ahmadinejad "should be indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide."(Yahoo).Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney blasted President Barack Obama's approach to Israel, charging he has "immeasurably" damaged Middle East peace prospects and failed to confront Iran.The former Massachusetts governor, in excerpts of a speech to be delivered on Wednesday to the Republican Jewish Coalition, also declared Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "should be indicted for the crime of incitement to genocide.""I want every country in the region that harbors aggressive designs against Israel to understand their quest is futile and that continuing it will cost them dearly," he said in the remarks, which his campaign made public.Romney accused Obama of having called on Israel to "adopt indefensible borders," having "insulted" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and having been "timid and weak in the face of the existential threat of a nuclear Iran.""These actions have emboldened Palestinian hard-liners who now are poised to form a unity government with terrorist Hamas and feel they can bypass Israel at the bargaining table," he said in a reference to the Palestinians' push for UN membership, which Obama has vowed to block.Obama "has immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East," Romney charged in excerpts of his speech to the group, which was holding a forum for Republican presidential candidates in Washington on Wednesday.Romney, who recently lost the frontrunner's mantle to former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said Israel would be his first foreign trip as president and vowed to reaffirm that the staunch US ally must exist as "a Jewish state."Still, some Democrats have joined Republicans in openly worrying that the Obama administration has not shown sufficient "urgency" about tackling the issue, in part because it has resisted new sanctions on Tehran's central bank."A nuclear-armed Iran is not only an Israel problem, it is problem for the United States and all the decent countries of the world," said Romney.Romney said Ahmadinejad should not "be invited into polite society" but pursued for past comments against Israel under Article 3 of the UN-approved Genocide Convention of 1948, to which Iran is a party, that makes "direct and public incitement to commit genocide" a crime.With an eye on the November 2012 elections, Republicans energized by Obama's low popularity have slammed his Middle East policy, hoping to pump up Christian conservatives and erode Democrats' usually strong support from Jewish voters.They have argued that Obama has placed undue pressure on Israel while seeking little from the Palestinians as he has sought to revive stalled Middle East peace talks.Read the full story here.
- Do American Muslims Want To Take Over Our Country?(DocsTalk).By Michael Brown.Do Muslims living in our land want to see an Islamic America, with prominent mosques dotting the landscape of every major city, with Islamic laws instituted throughout the nation, with the name of Muhammad revered throughout society, with the Koran memorized by children, with American men stopping five times daily to pray to Allah, with American women dressing modestly, with Islamic dietary practices strictly followed and the whole nation fasting during the daylight hours of Ramadan? Of course they do, unless they are more nominal, secular Muslims. Those who are deeply devoted to their faith certainly want to convert us to Islam and bring us into submission to Allah. You might say, “So what’s the big deal? Islam, like Christianity, is a missionary religion, and both want to spread their faith around the world. Don’t devoted Christians have similar ambitions?”Yes and no. On the one hand, conservative Christians and Muslims both believe they have the true revelation of God for the world, the former in the Bible, the latter in the Koran. They both believe that their way is the best way, and they both believe in proselytizing.On the other hand, Islam is a law-based religion (similar to Judaism, except that Judaism is not devoted to converting the world), and “Islam” actually means “submission,” specifically, submission to Allah and his law. And so for Muslims, this is not simply a matter of converting people to a faith but also of bringing the society under Islamic rule.That’s why it’s easy to name countries that are Muslim, like Iran or Saudi Arabia, in which the citizens are required to live by Islamic law, whereas there’s not a country on the planet that is “Christian” in a parallel sense.As explained by JihadWatch.org, “There is no separation between the religious and the political in Islam; rather Islam and Sharia [law] constitute a comprehensive means of ordering society at every level.”In keeping with this, “Islamic scholarship divides the world into dar al-Islam (the House of Islam, i.e., those nations who have submitted to Allah) and dar al-harb (the House of War, i.e., those who have not). . . . Then as now, Islam’s message to the unbelieving world is the same: submit or be conquered” (ibid.).As expressed by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the man who spearheaded the radical Islamic revolution that toppled the Shah in the late 1970’s and from there spread worldwide, “those who study Islamic Holy War will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation” (from his book Key to the Secrets).Islam doesn’t just look to convert people, it looks to convert countries, and conversion means conquest.Even when Muslims are in the great minority, they have a way of exerting a disproportionate influence and making disproportionate demands. That’s why here in America, Butterball turkeys are being slaughtered in conformity with Islamic law, which presumably means they were slaughtered in Allah’s name. And that’s why the name Muhammad (or, Mohammed) has become the most popular boy’s name in countries like England (surpassing Jack in 2010) or in cities like Oslo and Amsterdam.And let’s not forget that radical Muslims number at least 150 million worldwide, to use a very low number. For them, Islam can also advance by the sword. (In contrast with Islam, such views are almost universally repudiated by Christians today as standing in clear violation of the teaching and example of Jesus who urged his followers to put down the sword and take up the cross.)As Khomeini stated: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! . . . Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! . . . Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! . . . There are hundreds of other psalms [from the Koran] and Hadiths [sayings and acts of Muhammad] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”In all probability, the more secular Muslims among us would strongly reject these words, but there are tens of millions of Muslims (perhaps several hundred million) who are in complete harmony with Khomeini, and it is foolish to ignore the violent rhetoric of a people so numerous and passionate.The stark reality is that Muslims worldwide are working to turn America into an Islamic nation, whether by proselytism, societal influence, ideological dominance, legal imposition, or, in some cases, even the sword. And that includes plenty of Muslims living in our midst today.Hmmm......"An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam". ~ Ayatollah KhomeiniRead the full story here.
- 24 Hours in Pakistan – Rumors of a Creeping Military Coup.(Memri).By: Tufail Ahmad.On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, President Asif Zardari left Pakistan for treatment at a hospital in Dubai following the reported development of a heart condition the previous night. Given the recent volatility of the political situation in Pakistan, speculative reports quickly emerged on social networking sites and in the Pakistani and international media of a creeping military coup in Pakistan. December 6 was a public holiday in Pakistan, the 10th of the Islamic month of Muharram, when Muslims – mostly Shi'ites – mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. Most Pakistani newspapers were not published on December 7, the day after Zardari's departure for Dubai. On December 7, Dubai ruler Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashed Al-Maktoum visited Zardari in the hospital. Sheikh Muhammad, who also the UAE vice president and prime minister, wished President Zardari a "speedy recovery," according to the official WAM news agency, which gave no further details about the Pakistani president's condition.The civilian government led by Zardari and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been under near-fatal pressure from the Pakistani military and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) following the recent Memogate, a controversy over the possibility that Zardari and Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani were behind a secret memo delivered to U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen this summer seeking his intervention to prevent a military coup in Pakistan. Ambassador Haqqani had been forced to quit over the issue. According to a report on the website of the Urdu-language daily Roznama Jang, presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that Zardari was taken to hospital, presumably in Islamabad, following a "heart discomfort" and was treated there. Babar further clarified that the president had walked by himself to the hospital from the presidential residence, and also had walked to his departure for Dubai, and added that he is "healthy" and that there was no truth to media reports referring to a brain hemorrhage.Mian Muneer Hans, a Dubai-based member of Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said that the president landed in Dubai around 7:30 pm on December 6, adding: "He walked to his car in the airport and was not in any ambulance."Mian Muneer Hans said that Zardari, who was accompanied by his doctor and Pakistani Petroleum Minister Asim Hussain, was taken straight to the American Hospital in Dubai.The Pakistani president is in a tricky situation, in which his alleged good health adds to rumors about recent pressures by the Pakistan Army on the civilian government, notably after the Memogate scandal, forcing him to leave for Dubai. However, if he actually is ill, there has been no factual clarification from the government; nor has the Dubai hospital come forth to stop the rumors. Coincidentally, Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, who often speaks the mind of the civilian government, was injured in a car crash on December 7 – possibly unconnected to the Zardari health issue. According to a report, doctors in Dubai "are yet to determine whether the president's condition was due to an adverse reaction to the medication he was taking or a development related to his pre-existing cardiac condition."A statement from Prime Minister Gilani's media office today said that "the president went to Dubai following symptoms related to his pre-existing heart condition… The president will remain under observation and return to resume his normal functions as advised by the doctors."Soon after Zardari left for Dubai, the U.S. media raised a question mark concerning the continuity of the civilian government. A blog on the website of the influential Foreign Policy magazine, to which most of speculative Pakistani media reports referred, published a blog titled "President Zardari suddenly leaves Pakistan – is he on the way out?"The blog quoted "a former U.S. government official" with access to the White House as saying that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari to convey his condolences over the weekend regarding the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in the November 26 NATO raid, the Pakistani president was "incoherent."According to Foreign Policy, the former U.S. official said that "the noose was getting tighter – it was only a matter of time" before President Zardari could be forced out by resigning from Dubai on account of "ill health."Adding to the difficulties of the civilian government, Pakistan's main opposition leader and former two-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif demanded that removal of the Zardari government is "necessary" to protect the country's "sovereignty." Speaking within hours of Zardari's departure, Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party has recently not been on good terms with the Pakistani military, said that the "failed and self-directed policies of sitting rulers have led the country to the verge of destruction, and the departure of the PPP-led allied government is vital to protect the country's sovereignty and stability."The fast-spreading rumors in Pakistan gain strength because of the unique situation in Pakistan, especially with regard to the Pakistani military's near-total control on foreign policy-making, which has isolated the civilian government. Commenting on the reason behind the mushrooming rumors regarding a likely military coup, Badar Alam, editor of Herald magazine, said that there is a perception that the civilian government is on its last legs, adding: "Look at what has happened in the last two months. The memo scandal, last month's NATO border attack, corruption cases against the government in the Supreme Court, the rallies by the opposition in the streets, and reports of pressure within the ruling party. All these create an atmosphere of uncertainty… "I don't know who is behind the rumors. But they definitely weaken the government further. It creates an image of instability in the country and gives the impression that anything can happen at any time."Read the full story here.
- Russian navy squadron sails to Syrian port; Damascus deploys tanks on Turkey border.(AlArabiya).Russia’s Defense Ministry said a navy squadron has set off for the Mediterranean as an Egyptian official said that a U.S. nuclear submarine has passed through the Suez Canal earlier this week heading to the Mediterranean. Russian news reports quoted the ministry as saying that the squadron was to make a call at the Syrian port of Tartus to replenish supplies. The ministry said the visit had been planned long ago and had no relation to the Syrian crisis, The Associated Press reported.Russian television stations showed the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft cruiser sailing off Tuesday from Severomorsk, the Arctic base of Russia’s Northern Fleet. The carrier is being escorted by a destroyer and several supply ships and will be joined later by several other warships.Moscow has strongly opposed the Western push for international sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for its violent crackdown on protests. Although the U.S. and the European Union imposed waves of sanctions against Syria in the past months, Washington and its allies have shown little appetite for intervening in another Arab nation in turmoil. However, an Egyptian navigational source said that a U.S. nuclear submarine has set off from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, according to Al Arabiya. The source said it might be heading to the Syrian coasts.The news comes almost two weeks after the U.S. carrier George Bush crossed the Suez Canal on Nov. 20, heading to the Mediterranean and accompanied by five warships. Syria’s state-run media said on Monday that the country’s military has held war games during which the army test-fired missiles and the air force and ground troops conducted operations “similar to a real battle.” State TV said the exercise was meant to test “the capabilities and readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression.” It said the war games were held on Sunday.In October, Assad warned the Middle East “would burn” if the West intervenes in Syria, according to The Associated Press.Syria is known to have surface-to-surface missiles such as Scuds capable of hitting deep inside its archenemy Israel. State TV said the exercise was meant to test “the capabilities and the readiness of missile systems to respond to any possible aggression.”The drill showed Syrian missiles and troops were “ready to defend the nation and deter anyone who dares to endanger its security” and that the missiles hit their test targets with precision, the TV said.State-run news agency SANA quoted Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha as telling the forces that participated in the maneuvers “to be in full readiness to carry out any orders give to them.”Meanwhile, there were reports of a move by a huge number of Syrian tanks from the Maaret al-Numan in Idlib to the borders with Turkey, Al Arabiya reported. On Tuesday, the official Syrian news agency SANA reported that Syrian border guards blocked an infiltration attempt from Turkey by about 35 “armed terrorists”It said some of those who came over the border were wounded and escaped back to Turkey, where they received aid from the Turkish army. The wounded were transported in Turkish military vehicles, SANA said.“The border guards forces suffered no injuries or losses. They warned they would stop anyone who even thinks of touching Syria’s security or its citizens,” SANA said.On Tuesday, clashes erupted between army defectors and security forces in the town of Dael in southern Deraa province, the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told Reuters.“There were raids and arrests ... and random gunfire and stun grenades exploding to terrify the people,” it said. All telephone lines and mobile phone connections were cut off.The Syrian news agency earlier reported the funerals of seven army and police members killed in fighting with armed rebels. Syria says the latter are “terrorists” organized and financed from abroad.Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis have stalled and Syria is now the target of international economic sanctions and a travel ban on senior officials.Read the full story here.
- Russia is behind Syria’s conditional approval of an observers’ committee.(AlArabiya).Russia was the main reason behind Syria’s conditional approval of the Arab League’s initiative and its willingness to allow a committee of observers to monitor the situation in the country, diplomatic sources told Al Arabiya.According to the sources, Moscow put intense pressure on Damascus and took part in drafting a response to the Arab League in a way that allows for more maneuvering on Syria’s part with both Arab and foreign countries.The sources explained that Russia’s stance reflects its attempt to strike a balance between its interests in the Middle East and its reputation on the international level, especially in the light of worldwide reports about the violations of the Syrian regime.Russia, the sources added, intentionally leaked reports about its role in lobbying for giving the committee of observers access to Syria. This was clear in statements made by the Russian deputy foreign minister, Mikhail Bogdanov.Reports that reached Al Arabiya said that Syria and Russia have formed “a crisis cell” and that the hot line between the two countries is open 24/7.Al Arabiya learned from both these sources and other Arab and regional contacts that the Russian leadership is working on two fronts: the first is providing Syria with a defense line, and the second is pushing the Syrian regime to offer some concessions provided that they do not include the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad or the questioning of his legitimacy.Al Arabiya also learned from reliable sources that Russia is counting on some kind of compromise to be reached between the Syrian regime and the Arab League that would allow the observers to enter the country under certain conditions. The decision by Washington, London, and Paris to return their ambassadors to Damascus, sources argue, demonstrates that observers might be in Syria soon and that the diplomats of the three countries want to make sure they are there when and if the committee’s work starts.Read the full story here.
- Muslim Brotherhood: Subverting Free Societies from Within.(MEForum).By Raymond Ibrahim.The online version of the long-running Arabic journal Ruz al-Yusif carries an exclusive interview with Sheikh Osama al-Qusi entitled, "Former Salafi: Salafis Have Distorted Islam." In the interview, Qusi discusses the "true thoughts" of the various Islamic groups, which "they conceal under a political mask"; he insists they have "distorted and exploited" Islam.What he says concerning the Muslim Brotherhood and its methods of indoctrination and subversion are particularly noteworthy—notwithstanding Obama's Director of National Intelligence's assurances that the Brotherhood is a "largely secular" organization.First, about Sheikh al-Qusi. He spent the last 39 years in different Islamic organizations in Egypt—beginning with the Brotherhood in the 1970s and ending with the more extreme Salafis. He still claims to be, not just a Muslim, but a Salafi—a sincere follower of "pure" Islam, as dictated by its prophet Muhammad. But he maintains that all Islamic groups are "manipulating" Islam for their own political ambitions. Accordingly, he "announced his break and washed his hands of them all, refusing to be a merchant of religion." If laudable, some of his positions are unorthodox, for instance, that it is permissible to have a Christian or female for a leader.When asked to discuss "how it all began" for him, Qusi reminisced:In the beginning, one is a born Muslim; then you begin to be lured, from whence, you do not know.I was a medical student in the 1970s and the Muslim Brotherhood lured me to them from within the university. Nor did I even realize they were the Brotherhood. Anwar Sadat was president during this time, when he committed his greatest mistake—a mistake he paid for with his life. Not that he released these groups from the prisons after [his predecessor] Abdul Nasser had incarcerated them; but rather for giving them the green light to work in all fields of Egyptian society, thinking he would use them to get rid of his Socialist and Communist opponents. So he permitted them to work in trade unions, school unions—giving them every opportunity to hold official positions [Emphasis added].As a student I had noticed that some of my fellow classmates were considerably older, eventually realizing they were former prison inmates. They began to distribute hand-written copies of Sayyid Qutb's books, which were banned at the time. And we thought that they were heroes, imprisoned for their commitment and intellectual rigor, persecuted by the regime for their patriotism. Unfortunately, they greatly influenced us, since, at the time, we did not know how to differentiate truth from falsehood in regards to the ideas, principles, and pronouncements they exposed us to—to the point that religion and politics became one and the same for us. This was the beginning of my deviation.When asked how he would describe the Muslim Brotherhood, Qusi cautiously answered: "All these organizations—without exception—are not without radicalism."Here, then, is firsthand testimonial from someone closely affiliated with the Brotherhood on how born Muslims can be lured and indoctrinated from within—and all in a very legal, peaceful manner. Sadat's fault was less that he freed the Brotherhood, more that he allowed them legitimacy.Qusi went on to discuss how these groups learned that the assassination of Sadat and the strikes of 9/11 were nothing to celebrate, to the point that some of those involved renounced these acts, having learned that stealth and patience are more effective than open warfare, which only brings unwanted attention.All this is a warning to the West, where Muslim organizations, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front group, implement the strategy their parent organization has perfected over the course of decades—incrementally subverting free societies from within.Read the full story here.
- Euro Crisis Uncertainty.Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts.(Spiegel).Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. "In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale," he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn't managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: "Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth." He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion -- by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October -- the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.Nevertheless, the Greeks today only have €170 billion in savings -- almost 30 percent less than at the start of 2010.The hemorrhaging of bank savings has had a disastrous impact on the economy. Many companies have had to tap into their reserves during the recession because banks have become more reluctant to lend. More Greek families are now living off their savings because they have lost their jobs or have had their salaries or pensions cut. In August, unemployment reached 18.4 percent. Many Greeks now hoard their savings in their homes because they are worried the banking system may collapse. Those who can are trying to shift their funds abroad. The Greek central bank estimates that around a fifth of the deposits withdrawn have been moved out of the country. "There is a lot of uncertainty," says Panagiotis Nikoloudis, president of the National Agency for Combating Money Laundering.The banks are exploiting that insecurity. "They are asking their customers whether they wouldn't rather invest their money in Liechtenstein, Switzerland or Germany."Nikoloudis has detected a further trend. At first, it was just a few people trying to withdraw large sums of money. Now it's large numbers of people moving small sums. Ypatia K., a 55-year-old bank worker from Athens, can confirm that. "The customers, especially small savers, have recently been withdrawing sums of €3,000, €4,000 or €5,000. That was panic," she said. Marina S., a 74-year-old widow from Athens, said she has to be extra careful with money these days. "I have no choice but to withdraw money from my savings," she said.Read the full story here.
- Syria reports gunbattle on Turkish border.(TodaysZaman).Syrian border guards blocked an infiltration attempt from Turkey by about 35 "armed terrorists", the official Syrian news agency SANA said on Tuesday, as Syria forces battle a growing threat from army defectors and rebel fighters. SANA said some of those who came over the border were wounded and escaped back to Turkey where they received aid from the Turkish army. The wounded were transported in Turkish military vehicles, SANA said. Relations between Syria and Turkey have disintegrated since the government of President Bashar al-Assad began using force to suppress a popular revolt. Turkey has said a buffer zone may be required on its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria if the violence causes a mass exodus of Syrians fleeing the cities.A rebel Free Syrian Army of defectors and Assad opponents is believed to be smuggling fighters and weapons into Syria from Turkey to launch attacks on Assad's forces. "The border guards forces suffered no injuries or losses. They warned they would stop anyone who even thinks of touching Syria's security or its citizens," SANA said.The agency earlier reported the funerals of seven army and police members killed in fighting with armed rebels. Syria says the latter are "terrorists" organised and financed from abroad. Clashes erupted on Tuesday between army defectors and security forces in the town of Dael in southern Deraa province, the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "There were raids and arrests ... and random gunfire and stun grenades exploding to terrify the people," it said. All phone lines and mobile phone connections were cut off. What began nearly nine months ago as a peaceful protest against Assad, inspired by the Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt, has slid closer to civil war as armed opposition groups organise and protect city districts.Read the full story here.
- Australian man to get lashed for ‘blasphemy’ in Saudi Arabia.(BikyaMasr).An Australian man arrested in Saudi Arabia last month while performing the Islamic pilgrimage, or Hajj, is to be lashed 500 times for alleged “blasphemy.”Mansour Almaribe was on Tuesday found guilty of blasphemy in a Saudi court, but according to The Australian, his family fears that the 45-year-old will not survive the lashes and a subsequent one-year in prison.Almaribe is a father of five and was charged with insulting companions of the Prophet Mohamed.According to eyewitness accounts, the Australian was arrested while he was praying in a group.Australia’s department of foreign affairs said the Australian ambassador in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom, Neil Hawkins, was discussing the situation with local authorities and was urging the Saudi government to release Almaribe.“The Australian ambassador has been in touch with Saudi authorities after a 45-year-old Australian man was sentenced by a court in Saudi Arabia to one-year in jail and 500 lashes,” a department spokeswoman was quoted by The Australian as saying.According to ABC News, Almaribe has serious health problems and his son, Mohamed, said that he doubts his father would survie the lashing sentence.“500 slashes on his back and he has back problems. I wouldn’t think he’d survive 50,” the son told ABC News.Read the full story here.
- Tunisia's Religious Police Is This the Fate of Tunisia?"(HudsonNY).A"committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice" has been launched in Tunisia. It is not an official committee, but it is supported by Salafist groups there. Political parties are remaining astonishingly idle, totally incompetent to stop a violent minority that it is threatening personal liberties. The Tunisian civil society is active against the committee, but does not have the political instruments to take action against this newly formed organization.These self-appointed custodians of Islamic virtues are aggressively intervening in public life: They occupy mosques and Quranic schools, and are trying to impose on them imams with Salafist views. They are verbally and physically aggressive towards women who do not abide by their code of dress, they also physically and psychologically assault intellectuals and film makers.Lately, they have come under the spotlight after they decided to forbid Professor Ikbal Gharbi, appointed by the government to the post of director of the religious radio station Zitouna FM, to enter her office. The reason, according to them, was that Prof. Gharbi had no religious background, despite her being an eminent professor of at the Theological Zitouna University in Tunis. In reality, this committee objects to a woman being in charge of a religious radio station, and for Prof. Gharbi being known as a reformist with a modernist interpretation of the Quran.The Tunisian media outlet Kapitalis asks in an article what the objectives are of such a committee and what the effects will be over the different classes of the population. The editorial writer, Meriem.Kh, on the media outlet Investir en Tunisie reminds us that the religious police were created in Saudi Arabia in 1940 to implement Islamic rules and prescriptions, and that nowadays there are still countries with special police forces dedicated to force people to observe religious rules. But then she asks the central question: "Is this the fate of Tunisia? Is this post-revolutionary Tunisia?"Only a firm reaction from the secular and liberal sector of the country -- a majority if only they had been united and not fragmented into a myriad tiny parties -- can prevent Tunisia from becoming a confessional country. This is the second phase of the revolution after the fall of former dictator Zine Abidine Ben Ali -- the real battle ahead for democracy in Tunisia.Hmmmm.......Read the full story here.
- Belarus - Off with their heads.(MoscowNews).by Andrew Roth.Two men convicted of a bombing that killed 15 people and injured hundreds more in the Minsk Oktyabrskaya metro station in April were sentenced to death without a chance to appeal yesterday. Belarusian rights activists have responded that the case was “hastily” concluded and that the death penalty will put an end to any further investigation into a bomb blast for which there is still no established motive. While the terrorist attack was one of the worst in Belarus in recent years, public support for the death penalty may be waning in the country today.Cited as posing an “exceptional risk” to society, the two men, Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, both 25, were sentenced last week to be shot by a firing squad. Both men were convicted of making the bomb, although it was Konovalov who planted the device in the metro, said the court. Konovalov was also convicted of a series of earlier bombings, including one in Minsk that injured 54 people in 2008 and one in his native city of Vitebsk in 2005 that wounded nearly the same number.Prosecutors offered no motives for the attacks and the case has been dogged by accusations of coerced testimony and little physical evidence that the pair actually constructed the bomb. “For me, the most important thing is that this crime, in my view, wasn’t investigated in full,” said Henri Malosse, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee.A representative of the Belarus based rights network Vysna told Russia Profile that the case exhibited many of the irregularities and abuses regularly associated with law enforcement in the country. But “when the death penalty is applied, that’s the end of it. Any further investigation into the case will just stop,” he added.Belarus, often called the last dictatorship in Europe, also remains the last country in Europe to employ the death penalty. According to the multinational rights organization Amnesty International, more than 400 individuals have been put to death in the country since Belarus emerged independent from the crumbling Soviet Union in 1991. Capital punishment was far more prevalent in the beginning of the decade than it is now.The high-profile case has generated a strong reaction from the European community, which has issued declarations asking the Alexander Lukashenko government to commute the two men’s sentences. “The crime they were found guilty of was barbaric, but their punishment should not be the same,” said the council’s general secretary, adding that Belarus should introduce an “immediate moratorium” on the use of the death penalty.It’s unclear whether Belarusian society is interested in abolishing the death penalty. Anatoly Glaz, a local Public Chamber member and the deputy head of the Belarus Commission for Human Rights, said: “For the kinds of crimes that they committed, I don’t think anyone would be of a different opinion [than the death penalty]. Let God be their judge,” Interfax-West quoted him as saying. While government polls suggest that only 4.5 percent of Belarusians support immediate abolition, independent polls suggest that that number may be as high as half of the population.The tradition of requests for clemency and mercy from the Tsar has a long history in Russia. In Belarus, Lukashenko has only commuted one sentence since the fall of the USSR. Nonetheless, the mother of the accomplice in the case, Kovalyov, has written to Lukashenko, maintaining her son’s innocence and requesting that the investigation continue. “I am asking you not to kill my son Uladzislau Kavaliou and Dzmitry Kanavalau, but instead to find those who are actually responsible for these terrorist crimes,” she wrote. Hmmm......From kolkhonik....to judge - Jury and executioner.Read the full story here.
- Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys for Desperate Israelis.(Stratrisks).S ource: BloombergAliaksei Yafimau shudders at the memory of the burly thug who threatened to kill his relatives. Yafimau, who installs satellite television systems in Babrujsk, Belarus, answered an advertisement in 2010 offering easy money to anyone willing to sell a kidney.He saw it as a step toward getting out of poverty. Instead, Yafimau, 30, was thrust into a dark journey around the globe that had him, at one point, locked in a hotel room for a month in Quito, Ecuador, waiting for surgeons to cut out an organ, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its December issue.The man holding Yafimau against his will was Roini Shimshilashvili, a former kickboxer who was an enforcer for an international organ-trafficking ring, according to evidence gathered by police in Kiev. Yafimau says that when he pleaded with Shimshilashvili to let him get out of the deal and go home, the big man sliced the air with Thai-boxing moves and threatened him.“He said if I didn’t go through with it, he would leave me in Ecuador and kill my family,” Yafimau says.Doctors removed Yafimau’s left kidney in July 2010 and transplanted it into an Israeli woman, according to the Kiev police investigation. On the plane back to Belarus, on the western border of Russia, Shimshilashvili told Yafimau that if he wanted to live, he shouldn’t talk to police.“I am afraid for my life,” says Yafimau, standing outside his mother’s Babrujsk apartment building, a nine-story, Soviet- era edifice that’s surrounded by weeds and trash. The traffickers paid Yafimau $10,000. He says it wasn’t worth the fear that haunts him today.Organ trafficking is on the rise, as desperate people seek transplants in a world that doesn’t have enough donors. About 5,000 people sell organs on the black market each year, according to Francis Delmonico, an adviser on transplants to the World Health Organization.It’s against the law to buy or sell an organ in every country except Iran, says Delmonico, who is president-elect of the Montreal-basedTransplantation Society, which lobbies governments to crack down on illicit procedures.Bloomberg Markets reported in June that U.S. citizens and others from the Americas suffering from kidney failure were going to Nicaragua and Peru to buy organs in a shadowy trade that injured and killed donors and recipients.That U.S.-Latin American connection is dwarfed by a network of organ-trafficking organizations whose reach extends from former Soviet Republics such as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova to Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and beyond, a Bloomberg Markets investigation shows.Many of the black-market kidneys harvested by these gangs are destined for people who live in Israel.In Kosovo, Ratel, who has dual citizenship in Canada and Great Britain and was appointed by the European Union to help restore the country’s criminal justice system, is overseeing a pivotal organ-trafficking case. It includes participants and victims from Belarus, Moldova, Turkey and four other countries.The EU has administered the courts in Kosovo since 2008, the year the country the size ofConnecticut declared independence from Serbia after a civil war. Ratel, who arrived in March 2010 as part of the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, says the country has become a center for organ trafficking.Ratel built a case against nine doctors, hospital administrators and recruiters on charges of buying and selling kidneys for patients in Georgia, Germany, Israel, Poland and Ukraine, as well as Canada and the United States.In Israel, an unresolved religious debate hampers organ donation — from both the living and the dead. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, a leading arbiter of Jewish law in Israel, advises that donating body parts violates religious tradition, which holds that upon death, a body should be buried intact.“It is not permitted to remove any organ,” Elyashiv, who’s 101 years old, said in a public statement in March 2008.Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Safed, Israel, is leading a drive to get 100 colleagues to sign a document advocating organ donation. He says the Torah tells people to help others when they can, especially if it means saving a life. He says donating an organ is a mitzvah, or good deed.“I hope that many more Jews will become part of the organ donation network,” Eliyahu says.Doctors performed 24 illegal transplants at Medicus Clinic in 2008, for patients from Canada, Israel, Germany, Poland and the U.S. who paid for the life-saving operations, according to the Kosovo criminal charges. Ratel’s office accused Harel on June 6 of leading that organ-trafficking gang.The laws and rules designed to prevent the trafficking in organs aren’t working. While prosecutors in places such as Israel, Brazil, Kosovo and Ukraine have successfully crippled some of the organ-trading gangs, they’re fighting powerful economic forces.As long as there’s a worldwide shortage of legal donors for life-saving transplants, the exploitation of the poor will only grow, Kosovo-based prosecutor Ratel says.“There’s burgeoning organized-crime activity in trafficking of human organs,” he says. “It will take serious efforts by governments and hospitals to stop it.”Hmmmm....Turkish “Doctor Mengele” Claims Innocence".Read the full story here.
- Belgium: Islam discriminated, says researcher.(IIE).Via GvA (Dutch): "Islam is discriminated in Belgium. It's never recognized in a true multicultural fashion," writes researcher Jonathan Debeer (Policy Research Centre on Equal Opportunities, Antwerp University) in a recently published book. His study also shows that Muslims reject the Muslim Executive.Debeer sees discrimination of Islam in many fields:
- Islam was recognized already back in 1974, but mosques were only recognized in 2007.
- The newly recognized religious community have to satisfy various formalities that didn't apply in the past (such as submitting annual budgets).
- The Muslim Executive represents the whole of Islam, but all candidates are screened by State Security and many democratically elected persons are rejected. That doesn't happen by other religions.
- The Flemish decree of public worship was written for Catholicism with its hierarchical structure, and hasn't been adapted to Islam.
- His research also showed that Muslims themselves are critical of the Muslim Executive. They don't agree on its functions (administrative or also religious?), they think it's inefficient, they think that they delay the recognition of new mosques and imams. Above all, Muslims say that the Executive is not representative. The Turks and Moroccan in the Executive fail to agree on things.Debeer criticizes the Magits report, which calls for one representative body for every recognized religion. Debeer says this fits the Catholic mold, and that religions should be represented by multiple bodies.Read the full story here.
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.