Saturday, December 10, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Philipines 5.0 !More info here.
- Live blogging russian protests - "What's Next?" At least 50,000 police and riot troops have been deployed in Moscow ahead of Saturday's protests.Read the full story here.More here.
- Video - The 12 Days Of Obama A Christmas inspired oversight of the Obama years so far : here at Always On Watch.
- House Republicans look to 'strip' TSA screeners of their 'officer' title.(TheHill).More than two dozen House Republicans introduced legislation on Thursday that would prevent the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) from calling airport screeners "officer" unless they have gone through federal law enforcement training or are otherwise eligible for federal law enforcement benefits.Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), the lead sponsor of the Stop TSA's Reach in Policy (STRIP) Act, said that TSA has essentially allowed its airport screeners to play dress-up by giving them metal badges and police-like uniforms in recent years. But she said many airport screeners have no "officer" qualifications, and should have this title removed.She also said giving airport screeners police-like uniforms has led to problems. She said in New Jersey, a screener was arrested for impersonating an officer, and a Virginia woman was raped by a screener after he approached her showing his TSA badge."It is outrageous that in a post-9/11 world ... the American people should have to live in fear of those whose job it is to keep us safe," Blackburn said. "Congress has sat idly by as the TSA strip-searches 85-year-old grandmothers in New York, pats down 3-year-olds in Chattanooga and checks colostomy bags for explosives in Orlando."Enough is enough!" she added. "The least we can do is end this impersonation, which is an insult to real cops."The bill, H.R. 3608, has 25 Republican co-sponsors, including House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.).Read the full story here.
- Hollywood Shooter Repeatedly Shouted "Allahu Akbar" During Rampage?(TT).2.40 mark a Chinese man says he heard the man yell allahu Akbar, then at the very end the journalist ponders the question of who the man was and why he did it. Most noticeably the LA Times article never even mentions the allah akbar at all. KGS.Hollywood shootout: Gunman calmly targeted drivers, pedestrians.A gunman pointed his weapon at more than a dozen people Friday as he randomly opened fire on drivers and pedestrians in Hollywood before being fatally shot by Los Angeles Police Department officers.Video shows the gunman calmly pointing his handgun and opening fire on passing cars near Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard near the ArcLight Cinema.A man driving a Mercedes was shot in the jaw and taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was in critical condition. He is expected to survive.Video: Witness captures dramatic footage of shooting.The scene resembled a fast-moving Hollywood production, said some witnesses, leaving them with the sensation that they’d witnessed something surreal.“When I heard it, I didn’t react to it being real,” said Greg Watkins, a student at the nearby Los Angeles Recording School who was walking on the street and had just taken off his headphones to take a call from his girlfriend when the shooting began.“This is Hollywood, and they do film stuff all the time,” he said, standing near the ArcLight Cinemas. “I honestly thought they were filming something.”Serge Durand, who said he was visiting from Atlanta, filmed the attacks from a friend’s apartment above the intersection. In the video, a gray car swerves to avoid the shooter as he points what appears to be a weapon at the car.“Is this the end?” Durand said he heard the shooter exclaim.Read and see the full story here.
- Canadian Court to decide if woman can testify wearing niqab in sexual assault case.(CreepingSharia).The Supreme Court of Canada will attempt to balance Islamic beliefs against the bedrock elements of a fair trial on Thursday in major clash of constitutional rights.At the centre of the case is a sexual assault complainant known as N.S., who does not want to testify against two men accused of raping her unless her face is obscured by a religious veil, or niqab.The defendants assert that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees them the right to confront their accuser and observe her facial nuances as she testifies.However, lawyers for N.S. say facial expressions are frequently misleading and that Islamic rape victims will be reluctant to go to police if they may later be ritually “stripped” in a courtroom.The court case will be decided by just seven of the court’s nine judges because Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver sat on an Ontario Court of Appeal panel that heard the N.S. case earlier this year. (To prevent a tie vote, the court has to drop a second judge from the panel.)“The niqab case is a perfect storm of issues,” said University of Ottawa law professor Carissima Mathen. “Demeanour has been used in destructive ways against sexual assault complainants. … The difficulty is compounded when a witness observes different cultural cues – avoiding eye contact for example.”Ms. Mathen said that the notion that an individual’s facial expressions can determine his or her credibility is deeply entrenched in popular belief and legal practice, and will not be easily uprooted.The Ontario Court of Appeal in a ruling earlier this year proposed a compromise in which a trial judge must inquire into the sincerity of the witness’s religious beliefs, the importance of her testimony and whether the witness has made exceptions in the past to her religious convictions.Ms. Mathen said that the Supreme Court must avoid determining the case based on interpretations of Islam.Her lawyers basically want separate rules for Muslims – but they probably don’t want the rape case tried under sharia – where she’d need four witnesses and could likely be the one convicted of a crime. Hmmmm.....The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, head of Al-Azhar, the highest seat of learning in the Sunni world.“The niqab is a tradition and has nothing to do with Islam,” said Sheikh Tantawi, vowing to ban it in Al-Azhar schools.After the girl complied he insisted she should not wear it any more.“I tell you again that the niqab has nothing to do with Islam and it is only a mere custom. I understand the religion better than you and your parents.” The Grand Imam of Al-Azhar imam vowed to issue a ban against the face-veil in all schools linked to Al-Azhar.“Source Read the full story here.
- Pakistani Taliban confirm peace talks with Islamabad.(AlArabiya).The deputy commander of the Pakistan Taliban, who have been waging a four-year war against the government in Islamabad, confirmed the two sides were in peace talks, a move that could further fray the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. “Our talks are going in the right direction,” Maulvi Faqir Mohammad, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban in the Bajaur tribal agency and the No. 2 commander overall, told Reuters.“If negotiations succeed and we are able to sign a peace agreement in Bajaur, then the government and the Taliban of other areas such as Swat, Mohmand, Orakzai and South Waziristan tribal region will sign an agreement. Bajaur will be a role model for other areas.”At the end of September, Pakistan’s government pledged to “give peace a chance” and talk with its homegrown militants.There was no immediate comment from the administration on whether talks were actually taking place with the militants.Mohammad said Pakistan had released 145 members of the group as a gesture of goodwill, and the militants had pledged a cease-fire. He heads the TTP faction based in Bajaur, at the northeast end of the Pashtun belt along the border. He is known to be close to al-Qaeda. His men focused on attacking into Afghanistan until U.S. drones, hunting for al-Qaeda deputy Ayman al Zawahiri, began strikes in his area in early 2006.Mohammad was believed to have been behind several attacks on Pakistani security forces. The army launched an offensive in Bajaur in August last year and largely cleared the region after months of at times heavy fighting.In late November, the Taliban denied it had declared a cease-fire or entered into peace talks with the government, as it claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a police station in the northwestern town of Dera Ismail Khan.Pakistan's army and interior minister also denied reports of any negotiations.The United States, the source of billions of dollars of aid vital for Pakistan’s military and feeble economy, is unlikely to look kindly on peace talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which it has labeled a terrorist group.Past peace pacts with the TTP have failed to bring stability, and merely gave the umbrella group time and space to consolidate, launch fresh attacks and impose their austere version of Islam on segments of the population.Read the full story here.
- Hamas joins Global Muslim Brotherhood.(YNet).Political move ahead of PA elections? A senior Hamas source told the London-based Arabic-language al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday that the Palestinian organization has joined the global movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the source, the move took place as early as two months ago. The expression "a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood – Palestine" has been added to Hamas' official name – "The Islamic Resistance Movement." The source added that the move had nothing to do with recent changes in the Middle East following the Arab Spring. "Following thorough discussions, which lasted more than a year and a half, we saw the need to take this step as the movement is growing and there was a need to lead it to independence instead of being dependent on the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Jordan. "Hamas no longer belongs to any organization, but has become completely independent," he said, adding that the group was now part of the global Muslim Brotherhood organization and was officially represented there. Despite its official admission into the global organization, the source noted that Hamas would continue carrying the flag of armed resistance. "We'll continue to be different due to the presence of the Israeli occupation in Palestine, and the problem will remain as long as there are occupation forces," he said. He explained that the movement's treaty says Hamas is the jihadi wing of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Palestine, and that joining the global organization won't solve this dilemma. The newspaper reported Friday that Arab and Western elements advised Hamas to rebuild the Muslim Brotherhood wing in Palestine in order to attain international recognition following the Muslim Brotherhood's growth in Arab countries as a result of the Arab Spring. Some of the movement's leaders objected, however, claiming that turning the movement from a resistance organization into a political group would weaken it. One of the proposals looked into was to establish a new political movement called "Freedom and Justice", similar to the Egyptian party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which won the majority of votes in the first round of the Egyptian elections, in preparation of the elections expected to take place in the West Bank and Gaza next year once the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas is completed. Hmmmm..... One 'happy family' of Obama 'negociating partners' funded by American taxpayers.Read the full story here.
- Iran Conducting Anti-U.S. Operations from Latin America.(Heritage).By Israel Ortega.Iran is conducting anti-U.S. operations from Latin America, including military training camps in Venezuela, and expanding its reach across the border from the U.S. in Mexico, according to footage unveiled late Thursday by the largest Spanish-language network in the United States, Univision.The documentary showed a former Iran senior official accepting a plan to launch from Mexico a cyber war on the United States, one that would cripple U.S. computer systems, including the White House, the FBI, the CIA and several nuclear plants. The official, former Iranian Ambassador to Mexico Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, was shown accepting the offer from undercover Mexican university students. The documentary also showed the undercover Mexican students presenting plans for the cyber attack to Venezuelan officials in Mexico. The Venezuelan official was very receptive to the plot, saying that she was close to Venezuela’s hard-leftist President Hugo Chavez and that she would love to share the information with him as soon as possible. The same happened with Cuban officials in Mexico, who were equally interested in a plot against the United States.The students in the documentary appeared to have conducted a sting operation similar to the reports carried out by the American journalist James O’Keefe in the U.S.The documentary, called “The Iranian Threat,” said that undercover journalists were also able to infiltrate Iranian military training camps working from mosques in Venezuela, though it showed no actual footage of the camps. Univision alleged there were links between the alleged camps and a radical Muslim implicated in the 1994 Buenos Aires bombing of a Synagogue that killed 85 and wounded hundreds. The Iranian lives in Argentina, a country which also has strong ties to Chavez.Ties between the hard line Islamist government in Tehran and the anti-American government of President Hugo Chavez have been growing for years, including a weekly secretive Cairo-Tehran flight that is of grave concerns to U.S. officials.Undercover journalists also confirmed Iranian-backed money-laundry and drug-trafficking cartels that are used to back Islamist networks and training camps in Venezuela and elsewhere, which exist to attack U.S. interests and undermine the U.S. in Latin America.Univision said in press release that it had “dozens of hours of secret recordings, conducted extensive interviews with people who participated in the meetings, including a former Iranian ambassador, and examined documents ranging from hand-written notes to internal federal reports and obtained unpublished video of a failed bomb attack against New York’s JFK airport. In Mexico, Univision, uncovered covert recordings of the alleged Iranian plan to cripple the computer systems of the White House, the FBI, the CIA and several nuclear power plants.”The severity of this threat cannot be ignored. The Obama’s Administration has shown its policies in the Middle East have failed. This documentary raises some serious issues that need to be further investigated. We also need a serious commitment to stem the growing presence of terrorist elements in this Hemisphere. Instead, this Administration has stood silently as civil liberties and democratic institutions deteriorate in Latin America inviting Iran and other rabid anti-American forces to fester.In 2009, President Obama said his Administration was willing to talk to Iran “without preconditions” and would work towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. As this documentary clearly reveals, the Obama Administration’s soft-diplomacy approach has failed.Read the full story here.
- Educational Website About Armenian Genocide Launched in Australia.(Aina).The Armenian Genocide Education website, designed to assist Australian history studies teachers and their students to respectively teach and learn about the Armenian Genocide, was launched at the ANC Australia Annual Banquet on November 25, reports armenia.com.au, website of Australian Armenians.The website provides more than 280,000 NSW students from years 9, 10 and HSC students with the resources to learn about this historic event, its relevance to Australia and its present day implications, within the extent of the history syllabus of the NSW Board of Studies Curriculum.Sourced primarily from Australian archives, background information regarding the Armenian Genocide and related topics such as the Greek Genocide, the Assyrian Genocide, Anzac Eyewitnesses, Australia's Response to the Armenian Genocide, Genocide Denial and Recognition and Just Resolution can be found on the website.The information is supplemented with video, images, maps, reading lists and student exercises to provide NSW history teachers and students with the necessary academic tools for teaching about and studying this tragic event in the history of the world.Hmmm......“Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe" ~ (Mishnah, Sanhedrin 4:5) Read the full story here.
- Cucumber sheikh “far from the truth,” says Egypt Islamic leader.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: The “cucumber” conterversy continues as the opinions of a sheikh residing in eroupe on how women should avoid certain foods due to their sexual resemblence has sparked massive outcries.An Islamic scholar and chairman at Egypt’s Religious Endowments Ministry said this sheikh could not be more “far from the truth.”Sheikh Gaber Taye’ Youssef knows a lot about preaching and the process in which scholars are selected to be assigned to a job aborad. He expressed serious doubts that the sheikh sourced is even qualified for his position.“Nonsense and wrong, such talk is empty of any logic or sense and has no roots or relations with Islam or its belief system,” said Youssef when Bikyamasr.com interviewd him over the phone early on Saturday.“I dont think any resonable scholar or sheikh who was educated at al-Azhar or any other grand and respected institution would think of such a thing and voice it as a fatwa for people,” he said.The issue at hand refers to a “fatwa” reported by al-Sawsana news website that said an unnamed sheikh based in Europe had called on women to avoid cucumbers and other vegetables that resemble the male organ. The statements have sparked massive anger across the world over the sentiments.“God says in the Holy Qur’an ‘eat and drink from what we have garnted you’ and these opinions have no source in Islam or in our way of thinking,” Youssef continued.“Everyone is responsable for his or her words in front of God first, then people, and this person is accountable for what he says,” he added.Across the region, when the news was first reported in Arabic, a number of commentators and activists called the “cucumber” sheikh out on his statements, branding him an “unintelligent” person who was “seeking fame.”“The sheikhs who travel to work at mosques abroad are selected very carefully in Egypt and al-Azhar and the ministry spares no effort in making sure that they are sending the right people to represent them and do an honorable job, but I have no idea how this person was chosen or even got a chance to talk to people,” Youssef argued.Sheikh Youssef himself lived in Canada and Spain previously for work, and he cites how the image is completely diffrent as the people working there “honor Islam and would never think of voicing such extreme and bizzare opnions.”The sheikh added that the “cucumber” sheikh might have been selected and chosen from the “street,” joking about the apparent lack of qualifications.About how such speech distracts people from real pressing women’s issues in the region, Youssef said that the Prophet Mohamed honored women and said about them “women are the counterparts of men,” and Islam “granted them rights and oblidged them with duties, so no one could belittle women, especially in Egypt,” he said, “where women are running for the parlimanet and even the presidency.”Read the full story here.
- Obama Gives a Preview of How He'll Campaign on Foreign Policy.(DocsTalk).By Barry Rubin.As his rare December 8 press conference, President Barack Obama took two questions on the Middle East. His answers give a sense of how he’s going to campaign on the issue. Both answers are deeply flawed but one wonders how many people will understand that.To paraphrase the song, Obama will say: I shot ben-Ladin, and I also wounded Iran.The way his election rivals should put it is: You--or more accurately courageous U.S. soldiers--may have shot the sheriff but you have been helping turn over several countries with tens of millions of people to the far more dangerous deputy. He and his men are terrorizing the townspeople who you keep criticizing them for trying to defend themselves. Or, let me put it boldly: Think about this: In the year 2012 the overwhelming majority of Muslims in the Middle East will be governed by radical Islamist regimes that believe in waging jihad on Israel and America, wiping Israel off the map, suppressing Christians, reducing the status of women even more than it is now, and their right as true interpreters of God’s will to govern as dictators. (Egypt, Gaza Strip, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia, and Turkey)Now compare that to a few thousand al-Qaida guys running around and staging occasional terror attacks.Back to the press conference. A reporter asked Obama: “Republican candidates have taken aim at your approach to foreign policy, particularly the Middle East and Israel, and accused you of appeasement. I wanted to get your reaction to that.”I think that the concept of “appeasement” is not so useful here and is easy for Obama and his supporters to dismiss. Appeasement is to try to make a strong force that you fear leave you alone and not hurt you by making concessions to them.What the Obama Administration has done goes far beyond that.
- First, it is based on believing that no real problem exists at all.
- Second, the administration believes that the United States should actively promote revolutionary Islamist movements because they are deemed not so dangerous in the first place and letting them have power is a way of moderating them. The administration talking point is that the United States is at war with al-Qaida, not with “Islam.” The response is that no one said the United States is at war with “Islam” but only with Islamists. Nope,nothing with the letters “I-S-L-A-M’ is acceptable. And by that token one cannot say Jihadists or Salafists. Perhaps the French “integralists” (fundamentalists) would do?But beyond words, how do you respond to this, President Obama:“Waging jihad against [the United States] is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Governments have no right to stop their people from fighting the United States….All Muslims are required by their religion to fight.”Who said that? Answer: Muhammad al-Badi, leader of the group that received the most votes in the Egyptian election. And the party that comes in second also agrees with that statement.
- Third, the administration does not support the intended victims of revolutionary Islamism. These include most obviously Israel but also Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the democratic opposition movements in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey. And soon it will include Christians, women, and political moderates in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia.To use an analogy, appeasement was the British and French giving Nazi Germany part of Czechoslovakia. Obama Administration policy is the equivalent of cheering Hitler’s taking power because the president’s main advisor on the issue, Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini (that is, Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Erdogan) told him that it was a great idea and everyone knows that getting into power (running schools, fixing roads, collecting garbage) moderates people.This isn’t appeasement, it is social engineering or what one might call Islamist nation-building.And note the entire answer of the president on this issue:“Ask Osama bin Laden and the 22-out-of-30 top al Qaeda leaders who’ve been taken off the field whether I engage in appeasement. Or whoever is left out there, ask them about that.”But that Obama thinks that way is not the solution, that’s a central part of the problem. No one thinks Obama has been appeasing al-Qaida! Obama does think al-Qaida is evil. The problem is that he doesn’t think that about the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, and (basically and certainly until a few weeks ago when the decision was unavoidable) the Syrian dictatorship. It isn’t even clear as to whether he thinks that about the Taliban.So the strategy of getting al-Qaida but viewing other revolutionary Islamists as allies in the war on al-Qaida is a big reason why the administration is pro-Islamist.It’s a two-track policy: kill al-Qaida; make friends with all of the other Islamists. And remember the Brotherhood is far more dangerous than al-Qaida because it takes over entire countries.Here’s the man who I think is just about the best political analyst in the Arab world, Abd al-Rahman al-Rashid on this topic:“The Islamist party leaders hastened to embellish their image for the Western countries….Of course, these speeches are public relations acts, and could only be believed by someone ignorant about the region or by the logic of the religious parties. [At most, these claims of moderation] expresses the opinion of few leaders only, because the majority of leaders and cadres of these groups consider cleansing the society as their first duty, and it would not be long before they topple the tolerant leaders.”Imagine the Islamist version of Patrick Henry: “I know not course what others might take, but as for me, give me Sharia law and give you death.”The other answer was about Iran: “I think it’s very important to remember, particularly given some of the political noise out there, that this administration has systematically imposed the toughest sanctions on Iraq — on Iran ever.“When we came into office, the world was divided, Iran was unified and moving aggressively on its own agenda. Today, Iran is isolated, and the world is unified in applying the toughest sanctions that Iran has ever experienced. And it’s having an impact inside of Iran. And that’s as a consequence of the extraordinary work that’s been done by our national security team.“Now, Iran understands that they have a choice: They can break that isolation by acting responsibly and foreswearing the development of nuclear weapons, which would still allow them to pursue peaceful nuclear power, like every other country that’s a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, or they can continue to operate in a fashion that isolates them from the entire world. And if they are pursuing nuclear weapons, then I have said very clearly, that is contrary to the national security interests of the United States; it’s contrary to the national security interests of our allies, including Israel; and we are going to work with the world community to prevent that.Again, though, we are offered a solution that is far less than it appears. First, of course, the administration wasted two years in a useless engagement policy with Iran.But was the world so divided and now is so united? Not really. The problem in 2009 was that China, Russia, and Turkey opposed stronger sanctions. What Obama achieved? He got through greater sanctions by giving these countries exemptions. At any rate the choice Iran is being offered is pretty much the same choice that prevailed in 2009.And of course the main problem with the policy is that it isn’t affecting Iran’s effort to get nuclear weapon. In other words, he’s saying: I have a great policy. Of course, it doesn’t work but isn’t it a great policy? Ironically, at the moment Obama makes brags about his sanctions record he is trying to stop Congress from making the sanctions more effective.Finally, and shockingly, he slips in something that everyone is likely to miss. He claims credit for political divisions in Iran! Before, Iran was “unified” but now sanctions are “having an impact inside of Iran.” And this is because of the “extraordinary work” of his administration.Such illusions are dangerous.In 2009 Iran was not unified. Indeed, it was far less unified than it is today. There was a mass opposition movement that Obama didn’t support! That was the best chance to have “an impact.” Obama stood by while the opposition was crushed, even praising the Iranian regime for the stolen election!And is Iran divided today? Well, there are always factional fights but neither of the present factions want to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. It’s a battle between the supreme guide and his faction, which wants to maintain current policy, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which wants an even more aggressive policy!Moreover, Obama has never had the slightest understanding of Iran’s non-nuclear strategy of expanding its influence. Tehran’s influence has grown in Iraq (though many exaggerate this) and Lebanon. By demoralizing America’s Gulf Arab allies, Obama has undercut their resistance to Iran.I think Obama genuinely believes what he’s saying on the issues of the Islamists and of Iran. I don’t believe there’s the slightest chance he will change his mind. It isn’t just incompetence and it isn’t just ignorance. It is this president’s stubbornly holding to a set of views that have little or nothing to do with reality.Read the full story here.
- Today 10 December is Human rights day - Let all Egyptians reject any limitation on their human rights under the pretext of religion.(OCN).TODAY, 10 December, is the Human Rights Day. The Coptic nationalists celebrate this day which marks a great event in the history of the progress of humanity towards freedom and justice for all men and women, regardless of nationality, ethnic origin, colour, religion, etc. On this day, back in 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which you can access here: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml (English) - http://www.un.org/ar/documents/udhr/ (Arabic)
The first article of the UDHR stipulates that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This is what we aspire to; this is what the Coptic nationalists, together with all human beings who love peace, freedom and justice, fight for.The Copts, estimated at possibly 17 million, are a tiny part of humanity, constituting 0.24% of its 7 billion. However, every single Copt, man or woman, is as important as any other human being, and their human rights must be protected and guaranteed. This is important particularly these days when, paradoxically, as a nascent democracy is believed to be establishing a foothold for itself in Egypt, Coptic human rights are witnessing remarkable regression. Two parties can be blamed for this – the Islamists of Egypt who are resurging and the coward military rulers of Egypt who prefer to appease the aggressive Islamists rather than side with freedom and justice.On this day let us remember our Egyptian co-patriots whose human rights are also abused. We particularly point to the women of Egypt and the Nubians, but almost all Egyptians suffer under a government that treats them as subjects rather than citizens. We remember all. But the specific abuse which Copts receive in addition must not be denied – an abuse which is compounded by the sheer fact that the Copts are different in religion.Let us remember also on this day that human rights are universal and inalienable – all nations and states must adhere to their high standards as stated in the UDHR and relevant documents. Human rights cannot be restricted by any religion. As there can be no democracy or secularism with an “Islamic reference مرجعية إسلامية”, so there can be no human rights with Islamic reference. All such talk is only meant to restrict the application of the UDHR and all other related documents. Let us on this day condemn what is called the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam,[i] which was adopted in 1990 by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. The UDHR is irreplaceable and cannot have a parallel defective standard to be applied to Muslim-dominated countries. There must be no exceptions. This is more relevant today than any time before in Egypt – the Muslim Brotherhood, who are expected to win in the current parliamentary elections, have stated very clearly their intentions[ii] to restrict men’s, women’s and children’s human rights and reject certain international conventions that had been ratified by Egypt in the past, such as the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the 1990 Convention on the Rights of the Child. They want to restrict women and children rights because their Islamic religion, as they interpret it, clashes with the rights included in these important UN documents.The Copts’ fight for their fundamental freedoms and human rights cannot be separated from the fight of all Egyptians, men and women, for the same. They fight for these against oppressive military regimes and a regressive Islamist ideology; and their ultimate goal is to establish a democratic, secular democracy which treats all with dignity and respect.It is for this that the Coptic nationalists consider today, the Human Rights Day, as a day for all Egyptians, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, colour, sex or religion, to join hands and reject any restriction on their human rights under any pretext, particularly the religious one.Hmmm.....Art 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights :"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance".Read the full story here.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Raymond Ibrahim (Middle East specialist and Associate fellow, Middle East Forum) testifies before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the House of Representatives. Reps. Frank Wolf and James McDermott presented "Under Threat: The Worsening Plight of Egypt's Coptic Christians." Other witnesses included Kathy Fitzpatrick (Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State); Nina Shea (Director, Center for Religious Freedom, Hudson Institute); Dina Guirguis (Member, Egyptian American Rule of Law Association); Adel Guindy (President, Coptic Solidarity International); and Cynthia Farahat (Egyptian political activist).
Preacher: Our banner is "There is no god but Allah," our slogan is "Allah Akbar," our mantle is "Death to the Jews and to America." Hmmm...The 'people' Obama's best friend Erdogan is supporting financially with $300 million , the so called 'partner' in the fight against terrorisme.
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Portugal 5.0 ; Japan 5.0 !More info here.
- Live Blogging Euro cricis Here (FinancialTimes).
- Holder Hearings Part Three: Impeachment Is Not Enough, Holder Needs to Be Handcuffed.(BigGovernment).As Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress yesterday, two things were reinforced. One: Holder has a problem telling the truth. Two: Congressmen Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Ted Poe (R-TX), have a problem with people who have a problem telling the truth. And they have a point. As a matter of fact, as I watched the hearings unfold I continually thought to myself: “If Bill Clinton had obstructed justice to this degree, even Senator Trent Lott would have manned up and removed him from office."Said Poe: To believe you weren’t aware of Fast and Furious requires, to coin a phrase, a willing suspension of disbelief. It is hard for me to believe you were unaware of this operation. [So] my question is very simple, who is the person in the U.S. government that made the decision in Operation Fast and Furious to send guns to Mexico?Although such a straightforward question seems simple enough, Holder’s answer was “we don’t know yet.”How can the A.G. not know who started an operation that resulted in the sale of 2,500 weapons to straw purchasers—some of which were paid for with U.S. taxpayer money, the passing of those weapons to criminals, the smuggling of those weapons across the border, the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry with at least two of those weapons, and the death of hundreds of Mexican citizens? (I bet Holder could tell you who authorized the raid on the Gibson Guitar factory with no problem.)Anyway, Issa was relentless all day long. And during the late afternoon, he pressed Holder to release all the documents which had subpoenaed but not released. Holder gave a sloppy answer to this question: a combination of “yes” and “we’ll see.” In response to such non-clarity, Issa compared Holder to John Mitchell, Nixon’s Watergate A.G. Holder replied by asking, “Have you no shame?” And Issa countered with, “Have YOU no shame?”This is a teachable moment folks: Holder has grown so accustomed to the success of his own hypocrisy that he took offense to being called out on the carpet. He took offense to being compared to Mitchell when the truth is, Mitchell’s family should be offended that one of their own was compared to Holder.At another point, when Holder defended his handling of the matter by saying the DOJ had provided an “unprecedented” amount of information to Congress already, Issa went into smackdown mode: “Unprecedented would be an attorney general who knew nothing about something where his own present chief of staff was intimately familiar.” (Issa’s comments were referencing Gary Grindler, Holder’s current chief of staff who, as an Acting Deputy Attorney General attended a briefing on Fast and Furious in March 2010.)As for Sensenbrenner, he came across as a Congressman determined to get to the bottom of this mess. It was he who warned that Holder could face impeachment if he didn’t come clean.With all respect to Sensenbrenner, I think we’re past impeachment. It’s jail time. Holder does not deserve to be in the society of free people.Hmmmm......Gunwalker....."These boots will keep on walking, one of these days these boots will walk all over you"?Read the full story here.
- Egypt’s Brotherhood says Israel treaty reviewable.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood has said that the peace treaty with Israel will be reviewed, but did not go as far as saying they would end the 1979 deal with Israel.The statement by a senior leader in comments published Friday come after the group’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) secured nearly 40 percent of the first round of voting for Egypt’s new parliament.“A long time has passed since the Camp David accord was signed, and like the other agreements it needs to be reviewed, and this is in the hands of the parliament,” said Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein.“The brotherhood believes the treaty is of great importance, but it is not on the top of our list. There are other priorities for the time being,” Hussein told the regional Asharq al-Awsat daily.“Generally, Israel does not honor the agreement,” he added.Hussein said that reports arguing the Brotherhood, the United States and Israel had come to a mutual understanding on “the importance of safeguarding the peace treaty with Israel” were false.Israeli government officials have shown increasing concern over the rise of the Islamists in Egypt and fear that their taking over of parliament could spell the end of nearly 35 years of peace between the two countries.Read the full story here.
- Coptic Liberal: The Obama Administration Is Supporting the Islamists in the Middle East at the Expense of the Secular Democrats.(Memri).In a recent article, Egyptian Coptic liberal 'Issam 'Abdallah attacked the Obama administration for supporting the Islamist forces in the Middle East "deliberately and in an organized manner," rather than giving its support to the secular democrats. He said that the administration had allowed the Islamist lobbies in the US, chiefly those of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Iran, to gain enough clout over the years to influence US Middle East policy. These same lobbies, he said, were waging all-out war against the Arab liberals and anyone else who stood up for democracy and freedom in the Middle East.Read the full story here.
- Obama Foreign Policy in a Brief: The President as Turkey.(DocsTalk).BY BarryRubin.On October 5, 1938, Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons, regarding the Munich agreement in which Britain and France forced Czechoslovakia to cede the strategic Sudetenland to Germany, leading a few months later to that country’s extinction and a year later to World War Two: “I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat….”Viscountess Astor shouted, “Nonsense!”People ask me: How can U.S. government officials believe such silly and wrong things about the Middle East? Let’s go behind the scenes for a case study of how this works.Here’s a November 28 transcript about Vice-President Joe Biden’s trip to Turkey and Greece. The main briefers are Biden’s national security advisor, Antony Blinken, and Special Envoy to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation Rashad Hussain. The briefing shows the U.S. government’s bizarre love affair for Turkey’s Islamist regime, cluelessness about the “Arab Spring,” and disinterest in supporting Israel, contradicting the president’s frequent statements that he has done more for Israel than any predecessor.For years the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been waging war seeking a Kurdish state in southeastern Turkey. Apparently, the United States is getting increasingly involved in that war defined as, “Our assistance in the fight against PKK terrorism.” The U.S. government gave Turkey three SuperCobra attack helicopters and four Predator UAVs. Since that regime works closely with terrorist groups and Iran, one wonders how secure this technology will be and how far U.S. involvement is going to go.Has there been a serious discussion in the United States about becoming a partner in the Turkey-PKK war and what might Turkey be doing in exchange for U.S. help? This concept of getting something for giving something is pretty absent in the Obama administration.True, the Turkish regime has agreed to host a NATO radar system but only after grumbling a lot and imposing stringent conditions, especially that no intelligence be shared with Israel. And that’s no favor to the United States since, as the briefers note, Turkey is supposed to be a zealous member of NATO.What else do you have, Blinken? Well, that Turkish government is visibly helping out a lot: in Afghanistan, Iraq, against the Syrian regime, in Libya, and Egypt. “So in many, many areas we’re working very, very closely with Turkey.”Yes, but the problem is that the Turkish regime is working hard in those places to make itself leader of the region and to promote radical Islamism in all of those countries. In Egypt, Libya, and Syria for sure that means helping the Muslim Brotherhood, not to mention its work on behalf of Hamas and Hizballah.Imagine if an American president in the 1970s had been besotted with Fidel Castro and explained how the Cubans were doing all that great work in Latin America.Then the briefer throws out a cliché that means the exact opposite of what he thinks:Turkey has a very important story to tell as a country that can…set an example for other countries that are making transitions in the Arab world, in the Islamic world, in North Africa.But what is that example? The Turkish example used to be secularism, democracy, a lack of ambition abroad, a free enterprise economy, and a strong pro-Western orientation. That was the previous regime. The current regime likes Iran, Hama, Hizballah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.Turkey “has set an example” all right. An example of how radical Islamist forces can pretend to be moderate as they not only gain state power but do so with America’s blessing. It is a very terrible example.There’s something naive and dopey about Obama administration briefers that reminds me of Occupy Wall Street spokesmen or a community organizer. Where’s the sharp-edged, worldly cynical, realist, the sense that threats and enemies are about, the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sneer that is a part of any good foreign policy?Remember that Turkey’s government voted against additional sanctions against Iran last year and tried to sabotage them diplomatically. Erdogan has denied Iran is seeking nuclear weapons; Turkey is systematically violating anti-Iran sanctions.“Turkey shares our goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran,” says the briefer. Perhaps that’s what Turkish leaders say but it has no relation to what they do.But, asks a reporter, aren’t there some disagreements? Yes, says Blanken, and he lists three: the United States wants more explicit human rights promises in the new constitution, the arrest of journalists, and the reopening of the Halki seminary.That’s it. No mention of Turkish backing for Hamas and Hizballah, or violation of sanctions on Iran, or threatening war against Israel, or hundreds of people arrested and thrown into prison on phony conspiracy charges.Blanken concludes: “We have the kind of relationship with Turkey where we work very closely together on so many different issues across the globe, but where when we have disagreements we make them known in a spirit of respect.”The word “respect” is important here. The Obama administration is at pains to respect others, even when they step on its feet. It just doesn’t demand they respect U.S. interests.When asked about Israel, Blinken says something else revealing, after the boiler plate on how everyone should get along:“It pains us to see the two of them at odds because they’re both such close partners of the United States,” continuing with a plaint about why can’t everyone just get along.Traditional briefers would say something like: The United States urges Turkey to act decisively to mend this relationship. Obama administration briefers sound like bystanders, fearful of taking leadership or pushing for what U.S. interests require. And since they already make clear that the United States will give Turkey whatever it wants and thinks the bilateral relationship is great, nobody in Ankara will pay attention.Biden is attending a conference in Istanbul on what Mr. Hussain terms, in Obama administration community organizer-speak, “economic and social entrepreneurship.” He opines:“We’ve seen certainly throughout the Arab Spring that entrepreneurs have been at the forefront of pushing the envelope when it comes to change within societies….” Really? Here’s a U.S. government wrecking entrepreneurship at home with high taxes and regulations. What does it have to teach the Third World? Moreover, I have not heard one word in any of the Arab rebellions about reducing strangling statism there.In this case, at least, the reporters didn’t just roll over and play dead. One asks:“The administration is clearly supporting Erdogan, even with military assets…although he’s an Islamist [and only] conditionally supportive of democracy….He supports the bigots in Hamas. So what are you asking in return for giving our support to this local leader? What do we get in return for all this?”On the points raised, Blanken has nothing to say.Another reporter asks, “Would you just address this narrative…that Erdogan’s government is Islamist and looking east rather than to its old friends and NATO to the west and sort of spinning out of our sphere of influence and towards Iran and some of the other regimes in the neighborhood?”No, Blanken just doesn’t get it and is incapable of addressing that “narrative” (also known as “reality”):I think it’s fair to say that Turkey has always looked to the east and the west, given its position in the world both geographically and geopolitically just as I might add the United States looks both to the Pacific and to the Atlantic. In that sense, it’s quite similar.Nope, that’s not what the reporter asked and also — no, before the current Islamist regime Turkey didn’t look east to Hamas, Hizballah, and Iran. The journalist is asking if Turkey has changed sides. Blanken can’t and won’t deal with a huge flaw in U.S. policy. This is Obama administration style: it is totally doctrinaire and is deaf to criticism, not even bothering to construct a cogent argument in respose. That’s the perfect formula for marching off the cliff, and taking all of us with them.Here’s the bottom line: “[Turkey's] example can be very powerful to countries now going through transition. So it’s very encouraging to see Turkey play a strong leadership role. “Yes, that’s it. Turkey’s Islamist regime, not the United States, is taking leadership and setting the example. It’s leading in an anti-American direction and setting a bad example. American interests are being trashed; American allies are in despair.Now multiply this example by a few hundred times and you have Obama foreign policy.Hmmmm......I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes. ~ Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776.Read the full story here.
- Criticism of Islam Could Soon be a Crime in America.(DocsTalk).By Clare M. Lopez, FAMILY SECURITY MATTERS.A MUST READ ! Read the full story here.
- Chevy Volt problems may have been deferred by NHTSA to protect “fragility of Volt sales” – FOIA demands launched.(WWW).Here’s an interesting BBC story about the safety hazards associated with the Chevy Volt — specifically, the risk that its battery pack could catch fire after even a minor impact.But the real problem may no longer be a technical one, but one of dented consumer confidence. Customers are handing back the keys in droves.At first, when the problem first came to light, chief executive Dan Akerson offered to buy back Volt models from any concerned customers.Then, when dozens of customers came forward wanting to hand back the keys to their cars, the company changed tack.Rather than automatically buying back the Volts, and thus losing its as yet tiny army of early adopters of electric motoring technology, GM started offering them some 6,000 free loan cars while awaiting the outcome of an investigation into the fires.And here’s why: It now appears the fire hazard was first discovered back in June, when GM first heard about a fire in a Volt that occurred some three weeks after the vehicle had been crash tested.Yet, almost five months went by before either GM or the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told dealers and customers about the potential risks and urged them to drain the battery pack as soon as possible after an accident.Part of the reason for delaying the disclosure was the “fragility of Volt sales” up until that point, according to Joan Claybrook, a former administrator at NHTSA.“NHTSA could have put out a consumer alert,” he said, according to industry website Autoguide.com.“Not to tell [customers] for six months makes no sense to me. They have a duty to inform people when they’ve rated a vehicle as ‘top rated’ and make it clear there’s a problem.”While it isn’t surprising that GM was reluctant to announce product safety bulletins that would dampen early sales of its much touted hybrid, according to the linked story the NHTSA was an accessory to this as well, and for the same reason:“Part of the reason for delaying the disclosure was the ‘fragility of Volt sales’ up until that point, according to Joan Claybrook, a former administrator at NHTSA.”At Autoguide.com, there’s a story saying that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood responded today saying the accusations were “absolutely not true.”Meanwhile, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) filed a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for any and all communications with General Motors (GM).Read and see (Video) the full story here.
- Obama delaying Keystone pipeline to appease envelope stuffers, suggests McConnell.(TheHill).By Josiah Ryan.Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said President Obama decided to delay a decision on whether or not to permit construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in order to maintain the support of environmentalists for his 2012 campaign.“Presidential politics got in the way," said McConnell, telling a version of how the White House decided to delay its decision on whether or not to allow the proposed pipeline that would bisect the country from North to South. "The President started getting heat from the environmental activists he’s counting on to stuff envelopes next year, so he put off a decision until after the election," said McConnell. "If this episode tells us anything, it’s that the President is clearly more concerned about getting himself reelected next year than getting somebody in Nebraska or Kansas or South Dakota or Missouri a job today."McConnell's comments were part of a larger effort among Senate Republicans to pressure Obama to use a visit from Canada's prime minister on Wednesday as an opportunity to reverse his decision on the pipeline, which they saw will create jobs. The proposed pipeline would carry oil from Canada to American refineries on the Gulf Coast.Hmmmmm.......Let them eat cake.Read the full story here.
- Sharia's Sinister Smiles.(DocsTalk).By Raymond Ibrahim.The totalitarian nature of Sharia law can only be grasped when one appreciates how thoroughly it permeates and dictates everything in a believer's life—including when and to whom a Muslim may smile.Popular Islamic TV preacher Sheikh Muhammad Hassan appears in this video clip asserting that, according to Sharia, it is "not at all permissible" for Muslims to smile at non-Muslims, "except in cases of da'wa."Often translated as "missionary work," the word da'wa means to "call" or "summon" non-Muslims to Islam. Because it shares the same goals of jihad—empowering and spreading Islam—da'wa is often seen as jihad's nonviolent counterpart.In fact, Sheikh Hassan himself asserts that "da'wa mode differs from jihad mode. Jihad mode requires power, zeal, manliness—basically, a stern face and such. But when in da'wa mode, you must smile, you must be gentle." As proof, he pointed out that when Allah ordered Musa and Harun (the biblical "Moses" and "Aaron") to go and persuade that great infidel, pharaoh, to submit, Allah commanded them "to speak to him gently" (Quran 20:44).Further demonstrating the stealth nature of da'wa, Hassan made abundantly clear that if a Muslim smiles to a non-Muslim "by way of heartfelt friendship, this is wala' which Islam has forbidden, and which contradicts faith according to Muslim consensus."As proof, he quoted Quran 60:1: "O you who believe! Do not take my enemy and your enemy [non-believers] for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth [i.e., while they deny Islam]?"All of this naturally leads to Islam's infamous doctrine of wala' wa bara', or "Loyalty and Enmity"; the verse quoted by Hassan is but one of many that portray non-believers as enemies to be shunned and subjugated (see also 4:89, 4:144, 5:51, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22).For instance, Quran 3:28 commands "believers not to take infidels for friends and allies instead of believers… unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions." According to mainstream exegete Tabari, "taking precautions" means: If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [but know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.After interpreting Quran 3:28 as meaning that Muslims may "protect" themselves "through outward show" when under non-Muslim authority, Ibn Kathir, perhaps Islam's most celebrated exegete, quotes a close companion of Muhammad saying: "Let us smile to the faces of some people while our hearts curse them."Such Islamic texts and teachings provide one with new appreciation for smiling, stealth jihadists operating under non-Muslim authority. Soon after watching the video clip of Sheikh Hassan, I came across the following picture of various CAIR characters, some of whom were convicted of terrorism, and wondered: Is that what a da'wa-smile looks like (minus, of course, Siraj Wahhaj, whose "stern face" suggests he is in "jihad mode")?Read the full story here.
- For Arab Christians, a wintry ‘spring’.(JWR).By Jeff Jacoby. In the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, the hardline Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6 percent of the vote -- a plurality -- and the even harder-line Salafist party, Al-Nour, won 24.4 percent. The Egyptian Bloc -- a coalition of liberal, social-democratic, and secular parties -- drew only 13.4 percent. So now we know what the "Spirit of Tahrir Square" looks like when it's put to a vote: In the world's largest Arab nation, the forces of sharia and jihad are winning in a landslide.The credo of the Muslim Brotherhood is explicitly illiberal and theocratic: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, a Salafist sheik and Nour Party candidate, demands a society in which "sharia is obligatory" -- an Egypt, as he explained in a public debate, with "citizenship restricted by Islamic sharia, freedom restricted by Islamic sharia, equality restricted by Islamic sharia."Sad to say, these are the fundamentalist blooms of the Arab Spring. The Islamist ascendancy - in Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt this year, as in Gaza and (non-Arab) Turkey previously -- bodes ill for the region's moderate and tolerant Muslims. Whistling past the graveyard, the editor of The Daily Star in Beirut exhorts the world to "Celebrate the Democratic Arab Moment," and declares that the commitment of Arab societies to democratic openness and pluralism "now seems firmly affirmed." Indeed, he says, it "was never in doubt, except perhaps in the minds of lingering colonialists and racists." The anti-Islamist liberals getting wiped out in Egypt's elections might beg to differ. Even more ominous are the prospects for the Arab world's Christians, who have been undergoing not a springtime of toleration but an increasingly frightful winter of suffering and persecution. Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's Coptic minority has been repeatedly victimized - churches have been destroyed, homes have been vandalized, and jihadist mobs have rampaged through Christian neighborhoods. In October, Egyptian troops in Cairo's Maspero district slaughtered Christians as they protested the burning of churches in Upper Egypt. Even before the Maspero pogrom, Christians by the tens of thousands had been fleeing post-Mubarak Egypt. You don't have to be a "lingering colonialist and racist" to fear there may be even worse to come.Egypt isn't the only Arab country whose Christian communities are being decimated by Islamist brutality.Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, The Wall Street Journal noted on Monday, "at least 54 Iraqi churches have been bombed and at least 905 Christians killed in various acts of violence. . . . Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled." The archbishop of the Chaldean Catholic Church in Kirkuk and Sulimaniya calls the emigration a "hemorrhage," warning that "Iraq could be emptied of Christians." In Syria, meanwhile, Catholic and Orthodox communities are terrified of what awaits them if the current regime is overthrown. According to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, the country's archbishops were summoned to the presidential palace soon after the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began, and bluntly warned: "Either support me, or your churches will burn."The harrying of non-Muslim minorities in the Middle East is hardly a new phenomenon - nearly all of the Arab world's Jews were driven out long ago - but the rise of radical Islam has lethally intensified the problem. Last month, Christian Solidarity International, a respected human-rights organization with deep experience in the region, warned that Christians there may be facing genocide. "The crisis of survival for non-Muslim communities is especially acute in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Iran, and Pakistan," the group's CEO, John Eibner, wrote in a letter to President Obama, imploring him to act urgently to prevent the kind of "religious cleansing" that eradicated Turkey's "once-thriving Christian communities" a century ago.It takes more than voting to sustain decent democratic values. Totalitarians from Hitler to Hamas, after all, have come to power via the ballot. Revolts and demonstrations may topple Arab dictators, and their replacements may be chosen in elections. But there will be no Arab Spring worthy of the name without pluralism, freedom, and tolerance."Such tolerance is particularly important when it comes to religion," Obama declared last May - so important that America would defend it with "all of the diplomatic, economic, and strategic tools at our disposal." Fine words. But with Islamists sweeping to power around them and human-rights activists warning of genocide, the beleaguered Christians of the Middle East need more than words.Read the full story here.
- Did German General Erich von Falkenhayn Prevent the Massacre of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael By the Turks during World War I?(PAD).The Ottoman war effort in Palestine in World War I was led by German officers, and their involvement was recorded by the American Colony photographers. German General Erich von Falkenhayn, an able Prussian officer who served as the Chief of Staff of the German Army, was the commander of the Turkish and German troops during the critical 1917-1918 period.A German photographic collection contains a picture of Falkenhayn leaving Palestine in 1918 and bears an amazing caption which claims that Falkenhayn prevented a Turkish massacre of the Jews of Palestine [Unfortunately, permission was not granted to use the photo, but it can be viewed here]:"Falkenhayn and the German Staff need to be credited with have [sic] prevented an Ottoman genocide towards Christians and Jews in Palestine similar to the Armenian suffering. Wikipedia: 'His positive legacy is his conduct during the war in Palestine in 1917. As his biographer Afflerbach claims, "An inhuman excess against the Jews in Palestine was only prevented by Falkenhayn's conduct, which against the background of the German history of the 20th century has a special meaning, and one that distinguishes Falkenhayn."'" (1994, 485).Is it true? Did a German general protect the Jewish population of Palestine from massacre? My first impulse was to find proof otherwise.A Falkenhayn family genealogy, posted on the Internet, elaborates further: "While he was in command in Palestine, he was able to prevent Turkish plans to evict all Jews from Palestine, especially Jerusalem. As this was meant to occur along the lines of the genocide of the Armenians, it is fair to say that Falkenhayn prevented the eradication of Jewish settlements in Palestine."Again, is this true, or is this self-serving German testimony to balance the stain of Nazism two decades later?The German general is pictured here in a car with the Turkish ruler of Syria and Palestine, Jamal (also written as Cemal) Pasha, a ruthless ruler and one of the "Young Turks" leadership accused of carrying out the expulsion and massacre of hundreds of thousands of Armenians across the Ottoman-controlled region during World War I.Eitan Belkind, who infiltrated the Turkish army and served on Jamal Pasha's staff, witnessed the killing of 5,000 Armenians. Later his brother was hung by the Turks as a NILI spy. Sarah Aaronsohn of Zichron Yaakov was traveling by train and wagon from Turkey to Palestine in November 1915. On the way she witnessed atrocities committed against Armenians.In 1916 she joined her brother Aharon Aaronsohn, a well-known agronomist, in forming the NILI ring. Caught by the Turks in October 1917 in Zichron Ya'akov and tortured, Sarah committed suicide before surrendering information.At the time, the British were moving north out of Sinai and pressing along the Gaza-Be'er Sheva front.Sarah's brother Aharon wrote in his memoirs, "The Turkish order to confiscate our weapons was a bad sign. Similar measures were taken before the massacre of the Armenians, and we feared that our people would meet the same kind of fate.""Jamal Pasha, the Turkish Commander who was responsible for the Armenian genocide... threatened the Jewish-Zionist settlers. In Jaffa, more than 8,000 Jews were forced to leave their homes, which were sacked by the Turks. Two Jews were hanged in front of the town gate, dozens were found dead on the beach. In March, Reuters news agency reported a 'massive expulsion of Jews who could face a similar fate as the Armenians.'"The Zionist Congress report credited foreign consular officials who "during the whole period of their stay in the country showed themselves always ready to help, and performed valuable services for the Jewish Yishuv [the Jewish community]. Especially deserving of mention are the German vice-consul Schabiner in Haifa... The Jewish population also benefited by the presence of the head of the German military mission, Colonel Kress van Kressenstein, who on several occasions exerted his influence on behalf of the Jews."Last month, Falkenhayn's biographer, Prof. Holger Afflerbach of Leeds University told me, "Falkenhayn had to supervise Turkish measures against Jewish settlers who were accused of high treason and collaboration with the English. He prevented harsh Turkish measures -- Jamal Pasha was speaking about evacuation of all Jewish settlers in Palestine."The professor continued, "The parallels to the beginning of the Armenian genocide are obvious and striking: It started with Turkish accusations of Armenian collaboration with the Russians, and the Ottomans decided to transport all Armenians away from the border to another part of the Empire. This ended in death and annihilation of the Armenians. Given the fact that Palestine was frontline in late 1917, something very similar could have happened there to the Jewish settlers.""Falkenhayn's role was crucial, " Afflerbach explained. "His judgment in November 1917 was as follows: He said that there were single cases of cooperation between the English and a few Jewish radicals, but that it would be unfair to punish entire Jewish communities who had nothing to do with that. Therefore nothing happened to the Jewish settlements. Only Jaffa had been evacuated -- by Jamal Pasha."Hesemann, the German historian, cites Dr. Jacob Thon, head of the Zionist Office in Jerusalem, who wrote in 1917, "It was special stroke of good fortune that in the last critical days General von Falkenhayn had the command. Jamal Pasha in this case -- as he announced often enough -- would have expelled the whole population and turned the country into ruins...."Hmmmm......Erdogan "Muslims don't commit genocide".Read and see the full story here.
- Belgium - "I don't care if we're called a Jewish lobby, Oceane won't be left alone. That's a promise."(YNet).BRUSSELS – Her blue eyes still look empty, her blond hair hides the heavy strokes she received. For 10 days, 13-year-old Oceane Sluijzer didn't leave her house, terrified, afraid to go out. The fear to walk on the street on her own still paralyzes her, ever since that Friday, about two weeks ago, when five girls of Muslim descent, her schoolmates, humiliated her in public and assaulted her."Dirty Jew – go to your country," they told her, grabbing her hair and slamming her head against their knees. Then they just left her there, at the sports center, not far from the school, while those who witnessed the incident quickly ran away. Oceane is not alone. Camilla, 16, studies in the European school, considered the most prestigious in Brussels, where children of European representatives are sent to. She recently decided to leave the educational institution and move to the Jewish school after being harassed over her opinions and support for Israel. But it seems that in Belgium of 2011, the law authorities, government and educational system have already given up. Complete disregard is apparently the way Belgians respond to anti-Semitic attacks these days. "The police suggested that I keep quiet about the incident. They asked me, 'Don't say that it's anti-Semitism,'" Oceane reveals. "They even suggested that I avoid going to the hospital."According to her father, Dan, "The police said they would collect the five girls' testimonies and settle for that. If they attack her again in the future, they promised to act differently. The police wanted to bury this affair as soon as possible."The educational system's response was similar. Oceane returned home that day and didn't leave her house for the next 10 days, but no one at the school even bothered to check on her. Her schoolmates disappeared too. "A week later, the principal called and asked me to visit his office with Oceane's mother," the father says. "He said he had decided to suspend the girls' leader. I informed him that my daughter would not be returning to a school which is incapable of protecting her. As far as he was concerned, it was enough. It was the ideal solution."The attack on Oceane was at the center of a Jewish legalists' conference held last week in Brussels, organized by the European Jewish Union (EJU), which discussed legal ways to combat anti-Semitism. These incidents are taking place in other European countries as well. In France, a young student was beaten for being Jewish, and in Switzerland three youngsters attacked one of the local rabbi's assistants. An unexpected attack came from US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman, who he suggested that the root cause of anti-Jewish hatred in Europe was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor, the guest of honor at the conference, addressed the incident. "There is anti-Semitism in the Arab world and among Muslims which is way beyond one policy or another of any Israeli government when it comes to the conflict with the Arab world," he said. "The international community tends to quickly forget the steps Israel has taken for peace." "The European Jewish Union is working nonstop to strengthen the European Jewry and deepen its affiliation with Israel," noted EJU CEO Tomer Orni. The organization, which recently began operating a television channel referred to as the "Jewish al-Jazeera", has no intention of giving into the wave of anti-Semitism in the continent. "The channel we established recently was a dream come true not just for the Diaspora Jewry," he explains, "but also for many Israelis who have been waiting for years for a global TV channel which does not necessarily present Israel as being responsible for every disease in the world."Oceane will soon be receiving legal aid too. The EJU's cooperation with an association of Jewish European lawyers fighting for Israel is already working to put the Moroccan girls on trial. "I don't care if we're called a Jewish lobby," says Aviel Attias, one of the organization's founders. "If we must demonstrate legal aggressiveness in order to insist on our rights, it will be done. Oceane won't be left alone. That's a promise."Read the full story here.
- Lebanon blast hurts 5 French U.N. troops, 1 civilian.(AlArabiya).A powerful roadside bomb struck a U.N. peacekeeping patrol in the Lebanese coastal town of Tyre on Friday, wounding five French soldiers and a civilian, a security official said.The official, who requested anonymity, said the bomb was hidden under dirt on the side of the road and was detonated as the soldiers were driving by in a Jeep at an intersection in the eastern part of the southern town.Two of the wounded soldiers were taken to hospital while the three others ─ a woman and two men ─ were seen by an AFP correspondent standing by their badly damaged vehicle with bandages on their heads.One of them had a bloodied face.It was unclear how badly injured the Lebanese civilian was.The blast left a one-meter (three-foot) deep crater.Security forces cordoned off the area as hundreds of onlookers gathered nearby.A spokesman for the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) could not be immediately reached for comment.Last July, five French UNIFIL troops soldiers were wounded, one of them seriously, in a similar attack in the southern coastal town of Sidon.No one claimed responsibility for the attack.Read the full story here.
- Jordan warns Israel over al-Aqsa ramp closure.(AlArabiya).Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, warned Israel on Friday against closing a wooden access ramp to the sensitive al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City.“Jordan rejects any Israeli attempt to affect Jerusalem’s holy sites, identity and heritage, including al-Mughrabi Gate” that leads to the compound’s al-Buraq Wall, known to Jews as the Western Wall, Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said.The kingdom, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, “is in daily contact with the Israeli side to make sure it does not change the status quo of the gate,” Judeh told the government-owned al-Rai Arabic daily.Jerusalem’s city council on Thursday ordered the closure of the access ramp, saying it poses both a fire hazard and is at risk of collapse.But Muslim leaders fear work on it could have a destabilizing effect, accusing Israel of failing to coordinate renovation plans with the Waqf, the Islamic organization that has jurisdiction over Muslim parts of the site.Jordan’s powerful Islamists have condemned the city council’s decision. “Israel is disregarding all Arab and international warnings,” said Hamzeh Mansur, head of the opposition Islamic Action Front party, accusing Israel of pursuing a “policy of Judaizing the Holy Land.”Last month, Amman warned that any Israeli “threats and aggressions” against the holy site would lead to “endless” violence in the Middle East.Read the full story here.
- Turkey - Internet filters block Darwin’s evolution website.(HurriyetDaily).A website explaining Darwin’s evolution theory is blocked for children based on new internet filters.The website is inaccessible for users applying a “Children Profile” to their connection, a filter designed for underaged users in accord with the new internet regulations activated by the Turkish government.The censor reportedly keeps children away from evolution theory, but allows access to websites on creation.The editor-in -chief of Bilim Teknik, a magazine published by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey’s (TÜBİTAK), stated that the ban was not against the theory of evolution specifically.“If that was the case, every website that used the word would have been banned. This one may have been banned for containing harmful material to children.”The controversial new internet regulations work under two sets of filters, “family” and “children”, that block access to all websites containing material related to drugs, obscenity, terrorism and prostitution.Hmmmm........Muslim scholars rejecting Darwin's theory of evolution as 'unproven'.Read the full story here.
- The Global Crisis Reaches China.Unrest Spreads as Growth Stalls.(Spiegel).By Wieland Wagner.China's leaders are currently contending with declining demand, rising debt and a real estate bubble. Some factories are laying off workers, suffering financial losses or even closing as orders from crisis-plagued Europe dry up. The economic strains are frustrating workers and consumers in the country, threatening the political establishment and Beijing's economic miracle. A police special forces unit appears suddenly. One moment, a worker named Liu* is marching back and forth in front of city hall in Dongguan, China, with about 300 colleagues from the bankrupt factory Bill Electronic. "Give us back the money from our blood and sweat!" they chant.The next moment, their shouts turn to screams as a few hundred uniformed police with helmets, shields and batons, along with numerous plainclothes security forces, leap out of olive green police vans. The demonstration leaders, including Liu, are rounded up on the side of the street by police dogs. Within just a few minutes' time, the communist authorities have successfully suffocated the protest.The men and women, most of them young adults, are packed into yellow buses and hauled back to their factory, where the government exerts massive pressure: By afternoon, they must consent to make do with 60 percent of the wages they are owed by the employment office. Anyone who refuses, officials warn, will receive nothing at all.The new global crisis has reached China. Debt problems in Europe, the country's most important trading partner, are starting to dim prospects here in the nation that has effectively become the world's factory, as well. The unstable United States economy and threat of a trade war between the two superpowers make the situation even more uncertain. As the US presidential election campaign starts too heat up, American politicians are vying to outdo one another in protectionist declarations directed toward their communist rival.This October was the third straight month Chinese exports decreased. Along with it, the hopes of German manufacturers that Asia's growth market might help lift them out of the global crisis as it did in 2008 are also evaporating. This time China faces enormous challenges of its own -- a real estate market bubble and local government debt -- that could even pose a risk to the global economy.For Liu, the factory worker, his country's economic miracle is certainly over for now. Until recently, he worked 12 hours a day assembling accessories for DVD players. But then there was less and less work to do, he says, and a while back, the boss informed workers that fewer orders were coming in from Europe.After the police break up the demonstration, Liu, now daunted, wanders through his city's dusty streets, passing row upon row of factories and residential buildings. "We just wanted our full wages, but they set the police on us," he says. He's lost his faith in the party and the government.Especially here in the export region of Guangdong, an experimental laboratory of Chinese capitalism, hardly a day goes by without new bankruptcies or protests. The Yue Chen shoe factory in Dongguan, which produces athletic shoes for a parent company in Taiwan that supplies brands such as New Balance, is in a state of emergency. With orders dropping off, the manufacturer has fired 18 managers. Workers have seen overtime pay eliminated, and normal wages are barely enough to live on. Frustration is so high that some shoe factory workers also went to protest in front of city hall. About 10 of them were injured in the clash with police, some young women from the factory report.The situation outside the gray factory complex is tense. Thugs in plainclothes guard the entrance, photographing and intimidating anyone who talks to the workers. Inside the factory, the showdown between bosses and employees goes on. Workers sit inactive in cheerless factory rooms. The management has switched off the power in some of the halls where workers normally sew and glue together shoes. In the rest of China as well, more and more assembly lines are grinding to a halt. In Wenzhou in eastern China, a city known for making cheap lighters, shoes and clothes, a large number of business owners are on the run from their creditors, the private shadow banks that last lent them money. Some of these businesspeople even secretly removed machinery from their factories before taking off.Read the full story here.