Wednesday, December 14, 2011
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Papua New Guinea 7.3 ; Tongs 5.3 - 5.1 !More info here.
- "The Most transparant Administration EVAH!" - Obama State Department Meets With Islamic Countries Behind Closed Doors, Aims To Denounce “Offensive Speech”.(CNSNews.com) — The State Department on Monday launched three days of closed-door talks with representatives of international organizations and several dozen countries with the stated aim of promoting religious freedom and tolerance while ensuring that freedom of expression is not harmed in the process.U.S. Ambassador at Large for international religious freedom Suzan Johnson Cook, said on Monday, “We must denounce offensive speech whenever we encounter it — but our commitment to universal principles makes clear that faith must never be a crime and religion must never be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression.”The Obama administration’s initiative, building on a resolution adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) last March, has drawn some criticism, in part because of the key role being played by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has sought for years to stifle speech deemed to denigrate Islam.The OIC, a bloc of 56 Muslim states, has campaigned for more than a decade against “defamation of religion,” galvanized by actions such as the publications of newspaper cartoons satirizing Mohammed, anti-shari’a activism, and threats to damage copies of the Qur’an.Last week, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) wrote to Clinton, voicing concern about the collaboration with the OIC, AFP reported“We are eager to work with you to preserve the universal right of all individuals to speak out freely regardless of their religious beliefs,” Poe was quoted as saying in the letter.“What we are seeing here is a direct assault with the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and our own U.S. State Department in an effort to chill and curb religious liberties and free speech in America,” Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty said in a statement.“Americans are tired of being told that we are our own worst enemy. Terrorists attacked the United States, in the name of Islam, because they hate the freedoms that make us strong,” she said. “What will history say if we allowed the diplomats and bureaucrats of the United Nations and State Department to accomplish what terrorists and planes could not?”Hmmmm......Obama: “I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”Read the full story here.
- Issa: Piracy bill would give Holder ‘broad new powers to police the Internet’.(DailyCaller).In a statement released Tuesday, House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa criticized an amendment proposed by Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith to the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, saying it does not fix anything and would give “Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice broad new powers to police the Internet.”SOPA, which is Smith’s bill, would place authority over websites that facilitate copyright infringement under Justice Department jurisdiction.The bill — heavily criticized by politicians, social networking sites and political advocacy groups for its “broad reach” — is expected to see full committee markup before Smith’s House Judiciary Committee Thursday.“The manager’s amendment retains the fundamental flaws of its predecessor by blocking Americans’ ability to access websites, imposing costly regulation on web companies and giving Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice broad new powers to police the internet,” said Issa.Read the full story here.
- Sources: Iran may soon start nuclear work in bunker.(YNet).Iran could soon launch sensitive atomic activities in an underground facility deep inside a mountain, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday, a development likely to add to tension between Tehran and the West.Iranian experts have carried out the necessary preparations at Fordow near the holy city of Qom, paving the way for the Islamic state to begin higher-grade uranium enrichment at the site on a former military base.The machines, equipment and nuclear material needed have been transferred and installed at Fordow, the sources added, suggesting the work itself -- until now conducted above ground at another location -- could start when Iran takes the decision. It coincides with a period of escalating tension between Western powers and Iran after a UN nuclear watchdog report last month said Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon, and that secret research may continue. The United States and its European allies have seized on the unprecedented document by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ratchet up the sanctions pressure on Iran, one of the world's largest oil producers. Enriched uranium can be used to fuel power plants, which is Iran's stated aim, or provide material for atomic bombs if processed much further, which the West suspects is the country's ultimate intention. Proliferation expert Shannon Kile noted that Iran earlier this year announced it would shift its most sensitive enrichment activity to Fordow but that the actual start would still be significant. "Obviously, for people who are concerned about Iran's ability to break out and to enrich to weapons-grade this is a pretty good step along that route," said Kile, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Iran's decision last year to raise the level of some enrichment from the 3.5% purity needed for normal power plant fuel to 20% worried Western states that saw this as bringing it significantly closer to the 90 percent needed for a bomb. Iran says the material will help fuel a research reactor. A commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted by the semi-official Mehr News Agency on Wednesday as saying that Iran will move its uranium enrichment plants to safer sites if necessary, without elaborating. The United States and Israel, Iran's arch foes, have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the long-running nuclear dispute, which has the potential to spark a wider conflict in the Middle East. Last month's IAEA report said Iran had installed two cascades -- or interlocked networks -- of 174 centrifuges each at Fordow. Centrifuges spin at supersonic speeds to increase the fissile isotope ratio. A cylinder of uranium hexafluoride gas -- material that is fed into centrifuge machines to refine uranium -- had also been transferred there, the report said. Iran only disclosed the existence of Fordow to the IAEA in September 2009 after learning that Western intelligence agencies had detected it. Tehran says it will use 20%-enriched uranium to convert into fuel for a research reactor making isotopes to treat cancer patients, but Western officials say they doubt that the country has the technical capability to do that. Western experts say tightening sanctions, technical hurdles and possible cyber sabotage have slowed Iran's atomic advances. But it is still amassing low-enriched uranium and now has enough for 2-4 bombs, if refined much more, the experts say. Iran has also stepped up development work of more advanced centrifuge models that would enable it to enrich uranium faster than with the breakdown-prone IR-1 machines it is now using, the diplomatic sources said. At a research facility in Natanz, it has started feeding a network of some 160 so-called IR-2m centrifuges with uranium hexafluoride gas to test their performance. If Iran eventually succeeds in introducing the more modern machines for production, it could significantly shorten the time needed to stockpile enriched uranium.But it is unclear whether Tehran, subject to increasingly strict international sanctions, has the means and components to make the more sophisticated machines in bigger numbers. "We should not overestimate the progress," one source said, adding that Iran had tried to develop more modern centrifuges for several years. Hmmmm......"We should not underestimate the progress seems more likely"Read the full story here.
- Does the White House Remind Hillary Clinton of Iran?(Matzav).By Orthodox Pundit.Ezra Friedlander describes his experience at the White House Hanukkah event, where he was amazed of the attention and sensitivity exhibited towards our religion: “What I did not expect was what the Military Social Aide asked my wife and I, as we were approaching the receiving line: “are you shomer nigiah?” explaining that if so our photo takings would be handshaking with the President and First Lady respectively. To be honest, I did not expect this level of courtesy. This level of detail reflected something very unusual but very positive: that we as Orthodox Jews have not only the right to be fully observant but indeed are obligated to do so.”It’s really heartening, and we should all appreciate that gesture. At the same time, we should ask, why some in the administration call for the suppression of these very same rights to our fellow Jews in other countries?As reported and commented on last week, Secretary of State Clinton criticized the gender-segregation on some public busses in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods in Israel as some of the things that reminds her of Iran. A strong reason for this separation of the genders is to avoid touching each other. Can someone please explain me why that tradition, that the marines at the WH are trained to accommodate, should not be accommodated on Public Transportation provided in Orthodox neighborhoods and used by Orthodox communities (there are separate routes for those who want to ride mixed).Madam Secretary: While Mr. Fridlander had the choice to skip this event, the bus commuters in Israel have little choice and can’t afford private transportation. Can you please explain why catering to their customs a resemblance of Iran?Read the full story here.
- Killing spree Murderer in Liege - Police Discover Body of 45 -year old cleaning lady at Killer's Home.(Spiegel).One day after a man went on a shooting rampage in the Belgian city of Liege, police announced that they found the body of a woman at the assailant's home. The woman was in her 40s and was discovered during a search of attacker Nordine Amrani's property in Liege. "It was a cleaning lady," said Liege Prosecutor Daniele Reynders on Wednesday morning. "She died with a bullet in the head."The killing spree at Place Saint Lambert square in the Liege city center left an additional three people dead, including two teenage boys aged 15 and 17 and a 17-month-old toddler who succumbed on Tuesday evening to injuries sustained during the attack.Amrani's former attorney expressed shock over the killings. "I never would have believed that he was capable of something like this," said Brussels-based defense attorney Abdelhadi Amrani, who had represented the killer years ago on other charges and is unrelated to Nordine.During his attack, the perpetrator threw stun grenades and then fired into the crowd before committing suicide. The two teenage boys died on site. A 75-year-old woman who had been reported dead by many news agencies on Tuesday is actually in critical condition along with four others. The 75-year-old is not expected to survive.The massacre occurred during the lunch hour near the city's popular Christmas market, which attracts up to 1.5 million visitors per year. At least 125 people were injured and several remain in critical condition, including one 20-year-old man who sustained brain injuries. Many of the victims were struck by bullets or shards of glass. Liege had previously spent time in jail after his convictions on weapons and drugs charges. Police in Liege described the man as a "gun freak." He had been ordered to appear before the police for questioning on Tuesday, but failed to turn up. The Liege daily Le Meuse is reporting on its website that Amrani had made a transfer of money to his girlfriend on Monday prior to the killing spree. The wire also included the message: "I love you my dear. Good luck!"According to the English website of Belgian public broadcaster VRT, Amrani's current attorney, Jean-Francois Dister, stated: "It had been planned that Amrani would be questioned by the Liège police about fresh allegations relating to sexual offenses. He was very nervous. He felt he had nothing to do with this new case, but didn't know what would happen and feared that he would be sent back to prison." Instead, he made his way to the city center, armed with an FAL assault rifle, a handgun and numerous grenades that he carried in his backpack. He struck at 12:30 p.m. at Place Saint Lambert square, only a short distance from the Christmas market. He threw grenades at a bus shelter, which sent glass splinters flying, and then opened fire. Hundreds of people ran from the scene.But some have also asked critical questions, like how a man under police observation previously convicted on arms charges could have been allowed to build up a new cache of weapons unnoticed by law enforcement officials. In neighboring Germany, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also expressed his grief over the tragic development. "We are mourning together with Belgium the victims of this crime," he said. "Our sympathies go out to their families and friends. We also wish a swift recovery to the injured." Hmmm.....One more question:"Was he radicalised during his stay in prison"?Why shoose a Christmas market as location?Read the full story here.more here.
- Reaction to US Tax Law: European Banks Stop Serving American Customers.(Spiegel).European banks are dumping clients with US citizenship due to a new American law meant to curb tax evasion. The law would require finanicial institutions around the world to report on certain client activities. Compliance, say many banks, is way too expensive.The idea was to ensure that US citizens were paying their taxes on investments made through overseas banks. The result, however, has been that Americans in Europe may have difficulties finding banks who want their business.According to a report in the Wednesday edition of the Financial Times Deutschland, several European banks have elected to no longer serve American securities investors due to stricter reporting requirements pushed through last year by the administration of President Barack Obama. German financial institution HypoVereinsbank has informed its customers that it will no longer offer certain services to its US-based clients or to US citizens as of Jan. 1. Deutsche Bank told the paper that it already cancelled the accounts of American citizens in the middle of 2011. Germany's second largest bank, Commerzbank, is considering a similar move.British banking giant HSBC has also reported that it will no longer serve US investors as has the Swiss bank Credit Suisse.The reason for the sudden reticence to serve American clients is the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which was passed in 2010 and will go into effect in January of 2013. The act requires all foreign banks to identify and report on US citizens with accounts greater than $50,000 in an effort to clamp down on tax evasion. If banks refuse to comply, they could face a punitive 30 percent withholding tax on all payments from the US. The law is expected to increase tax revenues by $8 billion over the next 10 years.The US introduced the law in response to numerous high-profile tax-evasion cases, including several involving secret accounts in Switzerland. But banks began lobbying against it almost as soon as it was passed. Several large banks, including Credit Suisse, Barclays and the Canadian bank TD Bank have spent millions fighting the law. European Union officials have also sought changes to reduce the burden on European banks. To no avail."The US interest is to have reporting on accounts to stem the tide of offshore tax evasion," senior Treasury Department official Manal Corwin told the Financial Times.And even banks that cease serving US customers may not be entirely safe. "Even if you have no US customers, you are not out of scope," Mark Naretti, managing director of auditing firm KPMG, told Reuters this week. "This would also require that the firm not have any US investments and not be part of an expanded affiliated group that includes entities that are participating foreign financial institutions."Read the full story here.
- Obama's Anti-Terror Plan Protects the Threat's Identity - The Obama administration unveiled a new anti-terror strategy on Thursday that for the first time in history aims to battle a foe without naming it, and while denying that foe's stated beliefs, identity and motivation.(HumanEvents).By Robert Spencer.This recipe for disaster is so profoundly ridiculous that even as they were unveiling their plan, administration officials found themselves tangled up in logical absurdities.Obama officials decided that the new strategy was necessary after a hard-Left reporter, Spencer Ackerman, published several articles detailing how FBI agents and other law enforcement officials were being taught about the Islamic texts and teachings that jihad terrorists use to justify violence and supremacism. That would never do in Obama's politically correct America: NPR reported with breathless horror that "Islamophobia had crept into both federal and local law enforcement training.""Islamophobia" is a term devised by a Muslim Brotherhood organization, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, in order to stigmatize any criticism of the global jihad or Islamic supremacism. Analysts who dare note that Islamic jihadists are, well, Islamic jihadists are branded with the label. The enemy freely says they're fighting us because of Islam, based on Islamic principles. But to notice that would be "Islamophobic," no matter how helpful such notice might be for understanding the motives and goals of the enemy and devising an effective way to defeat him.No one can call the new Obama strategy Islamophobic: When Rep. Dan Lungren (R.-Calif.) asked Paul Stockton, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, whether "we are at war with violent Islamist extremism," Stockton did his best to dodge the question and finally answered: "I don't believe it's helpful to frame our adversary as Islamic with any set of qualifiers that we might add, because we are not at war with Islam."What linguistic gymnastics will Stockton and his colleagues employ to avoid framing our adversary as Islamic when the adversary frames himself as Islamic? How will they refer to Palestinian Islamic Jihad? What about Hamas, which is an acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement? Or Hezbollah, the Party of Allah? What will Obama officials call the unfortunately acronymed Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)? Moros I'd Like to Frag?The new plan entails still more absurdities. Quintan Wiktorowicz of the National Security Council explained that "the new program will focus on behavior, not religion or appearances." What kind of behavior? "There are potential behavioral signals," he explained. "For example, has someone in the community seen them watching violent extremist videos? Are they publicly coming out in defense of Osama Bin Laden? Are they talking about the kuffar [unbelievers]?"Wait a minute. "Talking about the kuffar" is a "behavioral signal" for terrorism? But that's what Muslims do, Wiktorowicz! The Koran is full of imprecations against, appeals to, warnings about, and exhortations to warfare against the kuffar. Surely you don't mean to suggest that every Muslim who rails against the kuffar would be considered a potential terrorist? Wouldn't that be focusing on religion, which is exactly what you said you would not do?After gamely trying to keep the lion at bay during persistent questioning from Lungren, Stockton likewise finally admitted that jihad mass-murderer Maj. Nidal Hasan's "Soldier of Allah" business card would also be an indicator of possible terror activity. But who would have a "Soldier of Allah" card except a pious Muslim--a most inconvenient fact for those who insist that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.The Obama administration is trying to do the impossible: fight against jihad terror without naming it as such, or saying anything about it that Muslims might find offensive. But Islamic supremacists in the U.S. claim to be offended by any mention of anything Islamic in connection with jihad terror. And so I'm sure that once Ibrahim Hooper of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) gets wind of Wiktorowicz's or Stockton's remarks, he will get them on the phone and tell them to cut out all this talk about how railing against the kuffar or carrying a "Soldier of Allah" business card might be indicators of future jihad terror activity.They will doubtless meekly comply, and vacuum their own statements and even their minds of any remaining vestiges of truth or accuracy about the jihad terror threat--and further cripple law enforcement agents' ability to understand what they're dealing with in regard to jihad terrorism.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.
- Jet Fuel-Gate Is Obama's New Solyndra.(Investors).Ecofanaticism: SolyndraGate was no isolated case of corrupt government misspending. The U.S. Navy was just forced to buy 450,000 gallons of biofuels from an Obama-connected firm at an outrageous $16 per gallon.The massive Obama stimulus was supposed to generate millions of jobs, but the $535 million loan guarantee it gave to solar panel maker Solyndra on the eve of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy illustrated the fundamental incompetence of Obama's neo-Keynesian economic ideology.Now we find the Navy partnering with the Agriculture Department to purchase hundreds of thousands of gallons of alternative biofuel in place of standard JP-5 fuel for Navy aircraft — the biggest federal purchase of biofuel ever.It's part of the White House's "we can't wait for Congress" strategy as the 2012 election year looms. But JP-5 typically costs less than $4 a gallon. If a family on a budget started filling up with $16-a-gallon gas, it might want to adopt the motto, "we can't wait to go broke."A look at the lucky seller of this environmentalist version of the proverbial $600 Pentagon toilet seat indicates that the move is not just wasteful, but ethically suspect.What about the "very real threat" to the Navy of not having enough money for the ships, fighters and ammunition it needs to protect America? President Obama's assault on the Pentagon could scrap 60 of the Navy's ships, including two carrier groups.And this is only the beginning of this two-for-one bad deal — swindling taxpayers while ravaging national security. Obama's Agriculture and Energy departments and Navy plan to spend $510 million over three years buying biofuel for military and commercial purposes, bypassing Congress by "leveraging Defense Department procurement."Hmmmm.......Read the full story here.
- House GOP Defies Obama’s Veto Threat, Passes Payroll Tax Cut Bill That Includes Keystone Pipeline 234-193.(AP)WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation sought by President Barack Obama to extend Social Security payroll tax cuts through 2012. But the bill also includes a requirement for construction of an oil pipeline that has drawn a veto threat.The vote was 234-193.The measure now goes to the Senate, where top Democrats strongly oppose the pipeline provision.The legislation would also renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. And it would head off a threatened 27 percent cut in fees to doctors who treat Medicare patients.With lawmakers expected to adjourn soon for the year, the partisan showdown is the last of a remarkably quarrelsome year of divided government.Hmmm......Presidential Christmas in Washington?Read the full story here.
- Good News: Indicted Terrorist Enabler Still Blogging from Behind Bars.(JawaReport).Former "emir" of the Revolution Muslim blog, Jesse Morton (aka, "Younus Abdullah Muhammad") is behind bars waiting trial for threatening the creators of South Park, continues to blog from jail.Since he's been indicted for his activities online, I'm not sure how it's wise that he's still able to communicate online. I won't bother to quote any of his second rate mimicking of warmed over neo-Marxist international relations theory, but I do want to note the tagline:
Younus Abdullah Muhammad is a Muslim American and Master of International Affairs presently residing in pretrial solitary confinement in Virginia. He is the founder of Islampolicy.com and can be contacted at email@example.com . He is currently looking for legal assistance in his case against the U.S. Government.You heard it, he wants you to email him.Hmmmm.........Read the full story here.
- Santorum Issues Call To Confront “Cancer” of Radical Islam.(Des Moines Register) — Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Monday he doesn’t claim that all Muslims are radicals, and he believes that those who suffer the most from radical Islam are Muslims who suffer from persecution, such as people in Iran.However, Santorum said he does believe that radical Islam is a “very dangerous thing” and that the Islamic world must work with the United States “to confront this cancer within.” The Pennsylvania Republican made his remarks in an interview with Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich, who is conducting a series of talks with GOP presidential candidates in Iowa.Read the full story here.
- Issa Investigating Preferential Treatment Given To Occupy DC Protesters Squatting on Public Land By Obama admin.(TheHill).Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) on Tuesday announced he wants answers on whether “political judgments played a role” in allowing Occupy DC protesters to remain camped in northwest Washington.Issa, chairman of the powerful Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter dated Monday to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requesting any communication between the Department of Interior (DOI) and the White House regarding the Occupy DC protests.The letter also asks Salazar “to explain a series of agency decisions that allowed protestors to stay in tents at the park for extended periods of time despite a ban on ‘camping,’” according to a press release from Issa’s office.Occupy D.C. hunger strikers planned to visit Issa’s congressional office Tuesday morning to advocate for D.C. voting rights.The political response has been divided. Many Republicans voiced concern over the protests, which have become violent in some cities, while Democrats including President Obama initially seemed to embrace the movement. On Monday, Occupy D.C. protesters were barred from entering the headquarters of the Democratic and Republican national committees to deliver a “declaration.” Last week, more than 60 protesters were arrested for blocking traffic on K Street in Northwest Washington, a street known for housing numerous lobbying firms. Members of Occupy D.C. have previously staged protests in the lobbies of Senate and House office buildings on Capitol Hill. “We support their right, of course, to exercise their First Amendment right. But at the same time we will not tolerate the breaking of the law,” Gray said last weekend, according to NBC Washington. “People are increasingly losing their patience because of the infringement on business, as they see it, here in the city.”Hmmmm....."Divider - in - Chief".Read the full story here.
- Why Would Obama Veto Job Creation?(Heritage).Today, the U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would, among other things, open the door for the creation of thousands of new jobs, prevent a tax hike on American workers, and help reduce the crippling deficit. However, President Barack Obama has promised that he would bring the legislation to a halt with a veto—all because of his opposition to the single measure in the bill that would create jobs.What’s so offensive that would cause the President to level a veto threat? A provision in H.R. 3630, the “Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2011,” that would provide for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline project that would bring oil from Canada. Heritage’s Nicolas Loris explains that it would mean “access to easy imports from our northern neighbor, the creation of thousands of jobs, and the generation of revenue for the states where the pipeline passes. Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Texas are collectively projected to collect $5.2 billion in property tax revenue as a result of building the pipeline.”The Keystone XL measure is just one piece of the bill introduced by Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), along with several cosponsors. Though not perfect, it includes some positive measures that could bring comfort to the millions of Americans who are struggling under the Obama economy and are looking for hope this holiday season. Camp said of the bill, “With its passage, Americans can be confident that these programs and provisions will be available next year, that they will not result in decades of debt and that they will be paid for with fiscally responsible reforms, not job-killing tax hikes.”Heritage Vice President David S. Addington has analyzed the legislation and explains that it would:
- Extend for a year the employee payroll tax reduction, which “prevents a tax hike, leaving more of the people’s hard-earned money in their own pockets, and therefore does not give rise to a budgetary need to ‘pay for’ money that is simply left where it originates”;
- Extend the unemployment compensation program, but with appropriate reforms to help the unemployed find jobs and to begin to tailor the overall program to changes in the economy;
- Extend for two years the forestalling of sudden automatic cuts in Medicare payments to physicians that would otherwise occur under the law (often called the “doc fix”);
- Extend for a year the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, one of the 70 federal welfare programs in need of integrated reform;
- Take some actions to reduce the increase in the federal deficit, with fees on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, additional means tests to Medicare, increasing the amount federal employees and Members of Congress must pay in to their retirement plans, and eliminating 2013 cost-of-living adjustments for federal employees and Members of Congress.
Last week, President Obama announced his intention to veto the bill when he warned, ”Any effort to try to tie Keystone to the payroll tax cut I will reject.” To be perfectly clear, the only part of this bill that will significantly create jobs is the only part President Obama is threatening to veto. And this at a time when 13.3 million Americans are out of work, the unemployment rate is hovering near 9 percent as it has throughout this Presidency, and job creation is at a record low.President Obama does not appear interested in taking real action to put Americans back to work. In an interview with 60 Minutes, the President revealed to CBS’s Steve Kroft what he believes his role to be:
It is my job to put forward a vision of the country that benefits the vast majority of Americans. It is my job to make sure that my party is behind those initiatives, even if sometimes it’s breaking some china and going against some of the dogmas of our party in the past. We’ve done that on things like education reform. And it’s my job to rally the American people around that vision.Americans, though, aren’t looking for a rally, and they’re not seeking out a vision—especially if it’s one where the economy continues its meandering path, job creation stays stagnant, and Washington keeps erecting walls to prosperity.Hmmmm....."CHANGE"...anyone wants more?Read the full story here.
- Sex, Lies and Hizbollah's Dirty Little Secrets.(FSM).In a recent story exposed to the press by the Lebanese website 14 March, which is affiliated with the current opposition headed by Sa'd Hariri. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, ordered that two pages be excised from Leading Women in the Arab Muslim World, just hours before its scheduled book launch.The book’s author, Imad Shahin, complied. The author has been associated in the past with Hizbollah. The details of the story show that the news item is authentic. Obviously this is a blow to women's rights and freedom of the press. But what were those two pages about? They focused on none other than Wafa Mughniyeh, the second wife, of the assassinated Hizbollah activist, Imad Mughniyeh, whose head was blown off by a bomb placed in the head rest of his car, slightly reminiscent of the bomb laden cell phone which annihilated Hamas engineer Yahiya Ayash. Targeting the perverse mind makes sense as it is also a symbolic message as well. But here we digress.Who is Wafa Mughniyeh? Born in Qom, Iran she is mother of three children and said to have been pregnant and verified by DNA testing three months after her husband's assassination, that she was carrying his child. Like Khadija, the prophet Muhammad's first wife, Wafa is a wealthy business woman holding companies throughout the world, with Latin America specifically cited. Hizbollah claimed that the two pages were a security risk to its organization. Perhaps naming her companies would disclose the trail of terrorism defunding with a connection to an Iranian woman? Moreover she blamed Syria for responsibility for her husband's death.There is more to this story than meets the eye. We see here abuse and manipulation of women by Hizbollah and its opposition. Wafa is attractive (the above book was the first to publish her photo). Furthermore, her life style was supposed to have been modest as Hizbollah would expect the wife of their hero to be. It was stated that after Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination, Nasrallah demanded that Wafa leave the family residence in Damascus which was lavishly decorated at the estimated cost of a half million dollars. Like a divorce in a bad TV soap, corruption and money come into play and even fears that the wife of their Hizbollah hero could overshadow and outshine the image of Nasrallah and Hizbollah.While women may be leading the way in promoting change in the Arab Muslim world, it seems that they continue to be held hostage by intolerant controlling, impotent womanizing leaders and alleged heroes. What remains behind the scenes is hard to know. Mossad, for example, reported several years ago that Mughniyeh was a party animal, having many girlfriends. Another source claims that he used to rape Christian women in Beirut for fun. Nonetheless, this buried news item of pulling two pages of the book signals that cracks in the facade of Nasrallah's Shia purity and modesty are beginning to show.Read the full story here.
- Hezbollah Allegedly Helps Cartels Launder Coke Money.(Wired).According to federal prosecutors, Hezbollah has started to learn the lesson that took funk legend Rick James a lifetime to absorb: cocaine is a hell of a drug. The Lebanese terrorist group isn’t selling blow itself. It’s doing something more lucrative: getting a percentage of the drug trade, through money laundering. ProPublica’s Sebastian Rotella reports that U.S. federal prosecutors are putting together a case linking Hezbollah to a massive, multi-continent cocaine smuggling operation, one that worked with the bloody Zetas cartel to launder drug money. Ayman Joumaa, an accused Hezbollah financier, “allegedly coordinated the smuggling of at least 85 tons of Colombian cocaine through Central America and Mexico in partnership with the Zetas,” Rotella reports, citing an indictment released on Tuesday. About $85 million in cash got laundered through “money exchange houses, used car businesses and other companies” on four continents. Joumaa’s operation dates back to 1997. The cocaine ended up on American streets, by way of Mexico. It’s hard not to think of the bizarre story, also told by federal prosecutors recently, that Iranian operatives tried to work with the cartels to assassinate a Saudi ambassador in Washington. The Drug Enforcement Agency has long suspected that Mideastern terrorists were starting to collaborate with drug gangs, but the evidence thus far has been scant. It’s also unclear what the indictment really means for Hezbollah. The terrorist group and Iranian proxy is now ensconced in the Lebanese government. It recently rolled up several CIA informants trying to infiltrate the organization, thanks to the spies’ faulty codewords.Then again, if the Mexican-Hezbollah drug connection all seems a bit paranoid, well, you know, paranoia is a side effect of cocaine. Rick James could certainly tell you that.Hmmmm......Why does the name 'Holder' come up in my mind?Read the full story here.
- The top 10 anti-Semitic/anti-Israel slurs of 2011.(HT:IsraelMatzav).By SiemonWiesenthalCenter.Last on the list but not least comes President Obama's old friend, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright.Quote:"“The state of Israel is an illegal, genocidal place… to equate Judaism with the state of Israel is to equate Christianity with [rapper] Flavor Flav.”– Rev. Jeremiah Wright in a speech to thousands of people, June 14, 2011, Baltimore, Maryland.Hmmmm........Obama's 'Church' for Twinty years......Me, moi... Anti Israel?Read the full story here.
- Senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader says Turkey’s secularism not suitable for Arab states.(AlArabiya).Turkey’s Western-like secular political structure is not suitable or compatible for Middle Eastern countries in the post-Arab Spring era, Ali-Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at a news conference. Turkey’s model of “secular Islam” was a version of western liberal democracy and is unacceptable for countries that are going through what he said was an “Islamic awakening,” the Financial Times reported Velayati as saying on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, demanded an explanation from his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, about a threatening statement made by an Iranian lawmaker, state-run Anatolia news agency reported.“It is Iran’s natural right to target the missile defense shield system in Turkey in case of an attack, and we will definitely resort to that,” Hussein Ibrahim, the vice president of the Iranian parliamentary national security and foreign policy panel, reportedly said in an interview with the Iranian daily Shargh on Sunday.The U.S. and its NATO allies are building an anti-ballistic missile in the Black Sea region, including the installation of NATO radar systems in Turkey and Romania.But Salehi, who met with Davutoğlu in Jeddah on the sidelines of a gathering on Syria organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), said he does not share these views and that they don’t reflect the official Iranian position.Meanwhile, an Istanbul-based newspaper, Today’s Zaman, reported that Iran’s foreign ministry had given insurance to Turkey that the Islamic republic does not back such threats and that the threats do not reflect the ministry’s policy. The Iranian officials also emphasized that Turkey should acknowledge statements only from officials in charge, including the Iranian president and the foreign ministry.Iran and Turkey have close trade and economic relations, as both countries are members of the Economic Cooperation Organization. It is thought that the bilateral relations between the nations are increasing. In 2005, their trade increased to $4 billion from $1 billion in 2000.But both countries, which have long enjoyed collegial relations, are now going through a rough patch, aggravated by the tightening of sanctions against Iran.During a visit to Turkey, the U.S. vice president, Joe Biden, called on Ankara to impose new sanctions against Iran. Biden also hailed Turkey’s role in pressuring Syria to stop the bloody crackdown against protesters. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader told students at a Tehran military college that Iran “will respond with full force” to any attack − or even any threat of military action. “The enemies, especially America and its stooges and the Zionist regime, should know that it is not Iran’s custom to invade any country or nation. But it will respond with full force to any aggression or even threats in a way that will demolish the aggressors from within,” he said, according to a statement on his official website. Khamenei’s forceful language followed threats last week from Israel that air strikes could be in the offing against Iran’s nuclear sites. The Israeli president, Shimon Peres, said last weekend that such action was becoming “more and more likely.”Read the full story here.
- Sources: Plan to kill Iran Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei thwarted.(StratRisks).According to informed sources inside Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has recently ordered the arrest of a number of prominent members of the Revolutionary Guards. He ordered to investigate them and others, who were not arrested, in a suspected plot to assassinate him. The sources said that among those arrested and interrogated so far are some of Khamenei’s bodyguards. The sources conveyed that those arrested tried to convince Khamenei to visit Mlard missile base in western Tehran on November 12th. It should be mentioned that on that day a huge blast took place in this military base, which killed among others the head of ballistic missiles production and development unit.Khamenei was assured that the base is safe when he was to attend a launching ceremony of a new missile.It is said also that Khamenei ordered to investigate his son, “Mojtaba Khamenei,” who is considered a leading businessman and close assossiate with many military leaders.Reports indicate that some of the leaders of the Revolutionary Guards were seeking a military coup against the Supreme Leader. Following his death, these officers planned to announce an interim ruling council and declare a state of extreme emergency in the country. This council was expected to be presided over by Mojtaba Khamenei.Read the full story here.More here.
- Anti-Turkey bill comes before US House of Representatives.(TodaysZaman).An anti-Turkey bill in Washington, D.C., which calls on Turkey “to safeguard its Christian heritage and to return confiscated church properties” was scheduled to be voted on in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday.The bill, titled House Resolution 306 and supported by Armenian lobbies in the US, was first introduced in June to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as the “Return of Churches” resolution by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). In addition to advocating for the return of confiscated churches, schools and hospitals and providing freedom of worship to Turkey's Christian communities, the resolution also blamed the Ottoman Empire for “intentional destruction” of its Christian population, tacitly approving the allegations of an Armenian genocide.The resolution was passed in the committee in July as part of an “omnibus” bill, although the statements concerning the destruction of the Ottoman Empire's Christian population were omitted from the text.Six months later, Armenian and Greek lobbies accelerated their efforts to get the bill brought before the House of Representatives. In order to be adopted, the resolution needs to be approved by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate.The bill sparked angry reactions from Turkish residents in the US and US-based Turkish community organizations. Günay Evinç, president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), told the Anatolian news agency that the ATAA and the Federation of Turkish American Associations (TADF) had prepared a letter together and sent it to members of the Senate.Evinç claimed that the bill is nullified on the grounds that Turkey adopted a decree in August to return all confiscated properties of minority foundations, including Christians, claiming that this bill is “part of the Armenian lobby's ill-intentioned efforts seeking recognition of the Armenian genocide.”Hmmm.....I would call it a 'Christian defence bill'.Read the full story here.
- Turkish reaction piles up against Sarkozy ahead of genocide denial vote.(TodaysZaman).A mild rift between Turkey and France now runs the risk of evolving into a heated debate as Turkish officials exchange words with the French president in a dispute over Turkish membership in the EU.In the midst of this, Ankara repeated its warning to the French parliament to reconsider a resolution it will vote on next week that would penalize denying the alleged Armenian genocide. On Tuesday, Ankara issued a statement through the website of the Turkish Embassy in Paris ratcheting up the tone of Friday's warning. In Tuesday's note, Ankara indicated that “French administrators should leave history to historians,” and that the French parliament should refrain from deciding on historical events, the Anatolia news agency reported. The basis of Ankara's warning was tied to a report of a French parliamentary investigation commission which ruled in 2008 that parliaments should not write about historical incidents or effect penalties.If ratified, the resolution will institute a one-year prison term and a fine of 45,000 euros for anyone who fails to acknowledge as genocide the killing of Armenians in 1915 during the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The French parliament legally termed these events genocide in 2001, but several attempts to penalize denials of the alleged genocide failed before they reached the Senate.The French debate about penalizing denials was initially revived by French President Nicholas Sarkozy when he threatened Turkey during a visit to Yerevan in October. He said that he would initiate a move to pressure Turkey to recognize the killings as genocide. Turkey’s official reaction was to dismiss Sarkozy’s ultimatum as pre-election rhetoric and warned the president to back off from an issue highly sensitive for the peoples of both Armenia and Turkey.However, Sarkozy’s repeated assertions that Turkey does not belong in the EU because it is not a European country have drawn a more concerned reaction from Turkey. In response to Sarkozy’s comments that Turkey should be “a bridge between East and West instead of claiming a place on either side,” Turkish Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış responded on Tuesday, saying that Sarkozy was “falling deeper and deeper” as he tried to set his mistake right.“Certain politicians may have engaged in some rhetoric, worried about upcoming elections in their countries,” Bağış said in disregarding Sarkozy’s comments. He added that Turkey was concerned with its own improvements and they have not implemented reforms “to please Europeans but to increase the quality of life of the Turkish people.” Turkey has engaged in negotiations to become a part of the 27-nation bloc for years but very little progress has been made.Sarkozy remains a known opponent to Turkish membership in the EU, although he initially envisioned including the country eventually. Diplomatic sources quoted by the Anatolia news agency on Tuesday also see Sarkozy as responsible for the vote on the resolution on Dec. 19, aiming to strengthen his position with the Armenian diaspora in France ahead of presidential elections. Sarkozy’s Socialist Party rival, François Hollande, is also in favor of passing legislation to criminalize denials of the so-called genocide.Turkey and Armenia remain at odds in the genocide debate, an issue that goes back to the mass killings at the onset of World War I when the Ottoman Empire was about to collapse, leaving behind a large number of casualties, specifically in 1915. Modern-day Turkey claims the numbers are exaggerated by the Armenian side, which estimates the deaths at over 1 million people, and says that people from all ethnicities and religions lost their lives in the midst of a devastating civil war.Meanwhile, Turkish Parliament speaker Cemil Çiçek sent a letter to his French counterpart, Bernard Accoyer, conveying Turkey’s concern over the genocide-denial bill, state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Turkish diplomats on Tuesday. Çiçek warned that the bill, once approved, may damage relations Turkish-French relations.Sources said Çiçek wrote in his letter that the duty of national parliaments is not to write history and that the issue must be left to historians and researchers.Hmmmm.......Erdogan ."If their historians have claims our historians also have claims,""a Muslim couldn't do such things. A Muslim could not commit genocide"Read the full story here.
- Indonesia - This won't make these punks' day: Rock fans have heads shaved and get 'cleansed' in river in Islamic law crackdown.(DailyMail).Dozens of young punk rock fans have had their heads shaved and body piercings confiscated after police in Indonesia said they were a threat to Islamic values.The 59 male and six female music lovers were also stripped of dog-collar necklaces and chains and then thrown in pools of water for 'spiritual' cleansing, police chief Iskandar Hasan said.After replacing their 'disgusting' clothes, he handed each a toothbrush and barked 'use it'.The 65 youths were then sent to a police school to receive mental and spiritual guidance for ten days. Only then are they are allowed to return home.It was the latest effort by authorities to promote strict moral values in Aceh, the only province in the secular but predominantly Muslim nation of 240million people to have imposed Islamic laws.Adultery is punishable by stoning to death; homosexuals have been thrown in jail or lashed in public with canes; women are told that wearing headscarves is a must, but tight trousers are banned.Punk rockers have complained for months about harassment, but Saturday's round-up was by far the most dramatic treatment they have yet been subjected to.Baton-wielding police broke up the concert, scattering young music lovers.Dozens were loaded into vans and taken to a police detention centre in the hills, 30miles from the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, for 're-education'.They will be held there for at least ten days, after which they will be returned to their parents.Fauzan, a 20-year-old punk, was mortified.'Why? Why my hair?!' he said, pointing to his cleanly shaven head. 'We didn't hurt anyone.'This is how we've chosen to express ourselves. Why are they treating us like criminals?'Chief Hasan insisted he had done nothing wrong.He said: 'We're not torturing anyone. We're not violating human rights. We're just trying to put them back on the right moral path.'Aceh was given semi-autonomy as part of a peace deal with Indonesia's central government after the province agreed to end a separatist struggle in 2005.Hmmmm......Obama :"Indonesia is an 'example'of religious tolerance".Read the full story here.
- Deciding What Women Want Muslim women want.(CA).By John Burgess.It reports on a speech given by the president of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, who is also the head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs. These two hats, covering different ambits of life, seem to be causing some confusion.Saleh Al-Hussein argues that Muslim women have different expectation in life, different obligations and obligations owed them. Outside of religious practice itself, I’m not so sure. As women, they have rights that are deemed ‘universal’, not some separate set or subset conditioned by their faith. They may, in practicing their faith, choose to exercise or abstain from exercising those rights. Their rights are not limited by their faith, however.It is not a ‘Western view’ of human rights, but a view shared by all but the Islamic world. Even in the Islamic world, though, women have and exercise far more rights than they do in Saudi Arabia. What Mr Al-Hussein is arguing, in fact, is for a sort of Saudi exceptionalism, one in which it’s okay that women are second-class citizens because their menfolk will take good care of them.We know that is nonsense. Spousal abuse, domestic violence, instant divorces, child marriages… all of these prove that all is not well in Saudi society. Saudi women are not having their heads turned by pretty ideas from the West. They are becoming conscious of the fact that they are deprived rights that the rest of the world enjoys. They are not the victims of a country’s or a region’s propaganda, but by the free flow of information from all corners of the globe. They realize that they’re holding onto the short end of the stick and wonder why. The answer to that question is not for them to be told all is fine and dandy, that the multi-level patriarchy will take care of all their needs. That patriarchy has failed to do so; it fails to do so daily. Why wouldn’t women look for something better, something different? The same-old, same-old isn’t much of a deal.
Muslims cautioned against looking at women through Western prism
ABDUL HANNAN TAGO | ARAB NEWS
RIYADH: The head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs argued in Riyadh on Saturday that general perceptions about Western lifestyle and culture have played a major role in influencing public opinion on women’s rights in a Muslim society.
Saleh Abdurahman Al-Hussein’s remarks came at a gathering of more than 1,000 participants attending a forum on the rights and duties of women in Islam.
Al-Hussein, who is also president of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, was addressing the first Saudi conference on women’s rights organized by the Researchers’ Center for Women Studies (RCWS).
A large number of prominent Saudi scholars, charitable organizations and human rights advocates participated in the event. The first session was presided over by Yousof Al-Aqeel.
… Pointing out that in Islam men are obliged to take care of their women’s financial needs, he said in this conference they are going to address the issue in line with Islamic teachings and the rights due to them under the existing system.
Al-Abdul Kareem said that imposing Western views on Saudi and Muslim women with regard to their rights amounts to interference.
He added every country has its own way of dealing with issues. “We deal with our Muslim women in our own way and provide for all their needs, including the right to education, health and other expenses within the framework of our religion.”
He said Muslim women in their countries should be left alone to carry out their religious obligations because of the prevalent values of democracy and freedom.
They should not be accused of being backward because of their religion, he added. He said if Westerners want to know the reality about Muslim women, they should read books available on this issue, he observed.Read the full story here.
- REPORT: Syrian president’s advisor threatens to release ‘sex tapes involving rulers from Gulf countries’.(KT).the Syrian President's advisor Buthaina Shaaban has allegedly threatened to expose sex tapes involving rulers from Gulf countries. Shaaban briefed a delegation from the Syrian community residing in region after a meeting was held with Bashar Al-Asad. The advisor reportedly said, "officials from Gulf countries will be shown what 'trump' cards we have after we release their sex tapes to internet websites".Read the full story here.
Belgian Islamist Sheik Abu Imran Opposite the Atomium Monument in Brussels: The Al-Qaeda Flag Will Soon Be Flying on Top of All the Palaces in Europe Until We Reach the White House
Abu Imran: In the name of Allah, the Merciful the Compassionate. Praise be to Allah, and prayers upon the Prophet, his family, his companions, and his followers. This is a short message to the King of Belgium, the Belgian government, the Belgian people, and specifically to the Muslims in Belgium. This is the flag that, Allah willing, will soon be flying on top of that building over there. There you see the flag of the Taghut, of the infidels, and soon, the flag of "there is no god but Allah" will be flying there, on top of that palace…
Demonstrator: Say: Allah Akbar.
Crowd: Allah Akbar.
Abu Imran: …and on top of all the other palaces in Europe, until, Allah willing, we reach the White House. We will not rest, despite the lawsuits and intimidations, and despite the war they wage against the Islamic nation. We swear by Allah, the one and only God, that we will not rest, we will not stop, until this flag flies on top of that building.
Between 1995 and 2001, Mullah Omar, may Allah protect him, destroyed the symbols of idolatry [in Afghanistan], so we too should destroy these monuments. How can we demonstrate that we are Muslims? When we see that in Egypt, people hold on to pyramids, to the Sphinx… They have become places for tourists, for millions of businesses, and they even make little souvenirs for tourists, just like they have done with this monument here, the Atomium. They make little models of it for tourists, and sell them in souvenir shops. That is why we must free ourselves from this idolatry, and why we call upon everyone to stay away from idols and idolatry.
One of these idols is this Taghut here behind us, with the flag of the Taghut government on top of it, a symbol of the Taghut regime, the Taghut system, ruling this country. But Allah willing, Belgium will soon be freed from polytheism and idolatry. Belgium will be freed from the system of idolatry. We promise to clean Belgium of the system of idolatry, as well as of the idols themselves. Then we will demolish this symbol, this monument. Andy why? Not because of hatred. Source.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Latest According to Belgian media there is only one Criminal.Nordine Amrani seems to have acted out of revenge towards the autorities for being summoned for questioning. The perpetrator made use of explosives of a type of thunder flash and a kalasjnikov assault rifle.Nordine Amrani was Sentenced by the court of Liège to 58 months in prison for possessing of 9,500 pieces of weapons and dozens of complete weapons, and for the cultivation of cannabis plants in 2800 as part of an association with criminals.Early Released in October 2010 without having fully served his sentence.He had been summoned today to appear on an issue of his dossier no details have been given. Live updates (Google translate) Here.
Updated - Five reported dead now , 120 wounded !Fifth victim is a baby of seventeen months. The perpetrator, Muslim? Nordine Amrani comitted suicide.Nordine Amrani, arrested in 2007 the suspected Muslim ? (This is a Muslim name. Nordine = nur deen, light of the religion, and Amrani is related to Imran, the father of Moses according to the Qur'an (cf. sura 3, "The Family of Imran," ahl-e-Imran).perpetrator of the attack in Liege. Nordine is a weapons specialist, able to disassemble, repair and reassemble various models. A search of his home, rue de Kempen in Liege, had allowed in 2008 to find a dozen firearms. With him at the time were 2800 cannabis plants and a huge arsenal of weapons found. He had among the weapons rocket launchers. Source More here (Google translate).More here (TheTelegraph).
Hmmmm.....Belgium authorities point out this is not a terrorist attack.Still after almost Two years in Prison could he have become radicalised in Prison by Islamic extremists just like it happens in the U.K. prisons?
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity situation Indonesia 6.1 - 5.3 - 5.2 ; Peru 5.5 ; Mexico 5.3 ; !More info here. \
- Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: "Bring Your Tanks Here"Read the latest stories here.
- What Is An Ex-Iran Guard Commander Doing At The White House?(BigPeace).If you worry about the growing influence of Iran in neighboring Iraq, look no further than the delegation that visited the White House to proclaim the end of the Iraq War. Standing with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki during the ceremony with President Obama was Hadi Farhan al-Amiri, who is the Transportation Minister in the Iraqi government. But previously he was a commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. As the Washington Times points out, Mr. al-Amiri was a commander in the Badr Corps, a battalion that operated in….Iraq.Worried yet about the future of Iraq?Hmmmm....“I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.”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.
- Belgium News reports say 2 dead, 25 wounded after hand grenade attack at busshelter in Belgian city of Liege.(yahoo)(HLN)Dutch Google translate- live updated).One victim was a girl of two years, reports Le Soir. She fights for her life in hospital.BRUSSELS - Belgian news organizations are reporting that two people have been killed and at least 10 wounded Tuesday in a hand grenade attack in the eastern Belgian city of Liege.Belgian media reported that one of the two dead was believed to be the assailant, a man believed to be about 40 years old.New reports said that at about 12:30 local time (6:30 a.m. EDT) the man lobbed several grenades at a bus shelter in Place Saint-Lambert, a busy downtown square. They said witnesses reported four explosions and gun fire. Phone calls to Liege authorities were not immediately answered.Belgium's VRT television network spoke with an unidentified man who was wounded in the attack and who said "someone threw grenades and fired shots."Police were on the scene quickly and sealed off the square. TV images showed blood splattered across the cobblestones.Valerie Schaaps, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors office, confirmed there had been explosions and gunfire, and that there were injuries.The daily La Meuse reported that the attacker had killed himself.Place Saint-Lambert is a busy crossroads: every day 1800 buses serve the square, which leads to downtown shopping streets.Read and see (Video)the full story here.Pictures here (Dutch).
- 17 Signs That The European Financial System Is Heading For An Implosion Of Historic Proportions.(BLN).The easiest way to deal with a debt spiral is to let it keep going and going. That is what the United States has done. Sure, “kicking the can down the road” makes the crisis much worse in the long run, but bringing the pain into the present is not a lot of fun either.Europe has decided to do something that is unprecedented in the post-World War II era. They have decided to put very strict limits on budget deficits and to impose tough sanctions on any nations that break the rules. They have also decided that they are not going to allow the European Central Bank to fund the debts of troubled nations with reckless money printing.Without a doubt, this is a German solution for a German-dominated Europe. Germany does not want to pay for the debt mistakes of other EU nations, and so they are shoving bitter austerity down the throats of those that have gotten into too much debt.But this solution is not going to be implemented without a massive amount of pain.In fact, this solution is going to make a massive financial collapse much more likely. The following are 17 signs that the European financial system is heading for an implosion of historic proportions….Read the full story here.
- $2,500 to Sup with Ayers and Dohrn–How Much for Dinner with Manson?(Biggovernment).The Daily Caller reported Sunday that “for the low, low price of $2,500, you can have dinner cooked for you by Weather Underground agitators and terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine [sic] Dohrn.”This is the low state of the world that we have become inured to. The absence of morality and the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil renders dinners with terrorists for… $2,500.In the sixties, Bill Ayers and his wife Bernardine Dohrn were members of the Weather Underground, a communist terrorist group that planted bombs at the Pentagon, the Capitol building, and other government buildings. Ayers himself planted a bomb at a statue commemorating police casualties during the 1886 Haymarket riots in Chicago. When a bomb he was hoping would kill American soldiers in New Jersey exploded prematurely in a house, Ayers became for ten years a fugitive from justice, but all charges against him were dropped in 1980 when an FBI program that was investigating the Weathermen was accused of improprieties.Ayers, however, remains unrepentant, saying in 2001: “I don’t regret setting bombs… I feel we didn’t do enough.”Yet this dinner is hardly the first example of the legitimization of the terrorist Ayers. As I explained in my book The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America, when he left his terrorist activities behind, Ayers served his cause as part of the left’s long march into America’s institutions. He became a respectable professor at the University of Chicago. One of his neighbors was an ambitious young man named Barack Hussein Obama. In 1995, Obama launched his political career with a run for the Illinois State Senate, and he began his campaign with a fundraising event at the Chicago home of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.Later, State Senator Obama wrote a glowing endorsement of Ayers’ book A Kind and Just Parent: The Children of Juvenile Court. And when Obama served as Board Chairman of a philanthropic group known as the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, that group gave over $600,000 in grants to the Small Schools Workshop, an organization founded by Ayers and headed by Mike Klonsky, leader of the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CP-ML), a Maoist party in the United States.For his part, Obama was dishonest about the significance of this association, dismissing the aging terrorist as a casual acquaintance: Ayers, said Obama, was merely “a guy who lives in my neighborhood, who’s a professor of English in Chicago, who I know and who I have not received an official endorsement from. He’s not somebody who I exchange ideas from (sic) on a regular basis.” The terrorist attacks? “Now, Mr. Ayers is a 60 plus year old individual who lives in my neighborhood, who did something I deplore 40 years ago when I was six or seven years old. By the time I met him, he was a professor of education at the University of Illinois.”Yet records don’t justify his having been so dismissive. Ayers and Obama were also both Board members of Chicago’s Wood Fund between December 1999 and December 2002. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “that board met four times a year, and members would see each other at occasional dinners the group hosted.”The old terrorist Bill Ayers, who just happens to live in Barack Obama’s old neighborhood, but who hardly knows the President and has had only the slightest casual contact with him over the years, visited the White House twice between January and October 2009.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited only once during that span.And now dinner with these terrorists, Ayers and Dohrn, is being sold to eager buyers for $2,500.Yes, this is the absence of reason. This is the essential failure of our public education system. Take, for example, a talk I gave to a class at New York University last week. Listen to the first question posed by a student. It best illustrates the absence of reason. The class as a whole, by the way, was uniformly but politely hostile, all of the same mind. After the class, a couple of students quietly thanked me and said that they agreed with me. So they may not be free to speak in class, but they are free to think.And this is the kind of person whom we must encourage–the kind that wouldn’t dine with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn at any price.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.
- Obama 'stimulus' working , now creating new jobs in Turkey!Turkey, US home to new T-Series Ford.(Hurriyetdaily).The Ford Motor Company will inject $1.7 billion into producing the new Ford Transit T-Series light commercial vehicle in Kansas U.S. and Gölcük in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Turkey. The new Transit model is expected to hit global markets in 2013 and will be sold across all major continents. The current model, manufactured in Gölcük, is based on the one Ford has been producing since 1950. It has already been sold almost everywhere in the world except for the U.S., according to daily Hürriyet. Ford is now getting ready to launch the new T-Series model in the U.S. and is currently test driving the vehicle to prepare it for U.S. consumers and U.S. road conditions. The present U.S. favorite is the Econoline E-Series van. The Transit is expected to be 25 percent more fuel efficient. Read the full story here.
- Birthers - Hawaii Issued Subpoena For Obama's Original Birth Certificate and 1961 Microfiche Roll.(BR).Farrar, Roth, Lax, Judy, MacLaren v. Obama, Kemp, GA Democratic Party: Loretta Fuddy(Hawaii DOH) Served Subpoena Signed By Judge Michael Mailhi For Obama's Original Birth Certificate and 1961 Microfiche Roll - SUBPOENA HERE.Read the full story here.
- Internet piracy bill: A free speech 'kill switch'.(TheHill).What began as an attempt to restrain foreign piracy on the Internet has morphed into a domestic “kill switch” on First Amendment freedom in the fastest-growing corner of the marketplace of ideas.Proposed federal legislation purporting to protect online intellectual property would also impose sweeping new government mandates on internet service providers – a positively Orwellian power grab that would permit the U.S. Justice Department to shut down any internet site it doesn’t like (and cut off its sources of income) on nothing more than a whim.Under the so-called “Stop Online Piracy Act” (SOPA) the federal government – which is prohibited constitutionally from abridging free speech or depriving its citizens of their property without due process – would engage in both practices on an unprecedented scale. And in establishing the precursor to a taxpayer-funded “thought police,” it would dramatically curtail technology investment and innovation – wreaking havoc on our economy.Consider this: Under the proposed legislation all that’s required for government to shutdown a specific website is the mere accusation that the site unlawfully featured copyrighted content. Such an accusation need not be proven – or even accompanied by probable cause. All that an accuser (or competitor) needs to do in order to obtain injunctive relief is point the finger at a website.Additionally, SOPA would grant regulators the ability to choke off revenue to the owners of these newly classified “rogue” websites by accusing their online advertisers and payment providers as co-conspirators in the alleged “piracy.” Again, no finding of fact would be required – the mere allegation of impropriety is all that’s needed to cut the website’s purse strings.Who’s vulnerable to this legislation?“Any website that features user-generated content or that enables cloud-based data storage could end up in its crosshairs,” writes David Sohn, senior policy council at the Center on Democracy and Technology.Read the full story here.
- Obama Was Ardent Communist.(JR).Barack Obamas isn't really a communist, he's a Communist.But is it really fair to suggest he may be a Marxist? Or was there evidence for it all along?Well, consider the words of John Drew, a man whom writer Paul Kengor calls “Obama’s Missing Link.” A contemporary of Obama’s at Occidental College three decades ago, Drew says that he himself was a Marxist at the time — and part of Obama’s inner circle. And what does he reveal?Obama was an “ardent” “Marxist-Leninist” who “was in 100 percent, total agreement with [his] Marxist professors,” said Drew.In fact, Drew states that while he was a more nuanced Marxist who tried to convince Obama that old-style communist revolution was unrealistic in the West, the future President would have none of it and considered Drew a “reactionary.”To his credit hasn't suggested that the Federal government start seizing private property.....yet.Read the full story here.
- Study Shows U.S. Mosques Repositories of Sharia, Jihad, and Muslim Brotherhood Literature and Preachers.(Jihadwatch).In 1998, Sheikh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, a Sufi leader, visited 114 mosques in the United States. Then he gave testimony before a State Department Open Forum in January 1999, and asserted that 80% of American mosques taught the "extremist ideology."Then there was the Center for Religious Freedom's 2005 study, and the Mapping Sharia Project's 2008 study.Each independently showed that upwards of 80% of mosques in America were preaching hatred of Jews and Christians and the necessity ultimately to impose Islamic rule. And in the summer of 2011 came another study showing that only 19% of mosques in U.S. don't teach jihad violence and/or Islamic supremacism.And now here is more on the latter study: Study Shows U.S. Mosques Repositories of Sharia, Jihad, and Muslim Brotherhood Literature and Preachers.Peer-reviewed study most extensive empirical examination of U.S. mosques to date.December 12, 2011 – New York, New York: A leading international peer-reviewed journal specializing in the empirical study of terrorism has published a study that found that 80% of U.S. mosques provide their worshippers with jihad-style literature promoting the use of violence against non-believers and that the imams in those mosques expressly promote that literature.The study also found that when a mosque imam or its worshippers were “sharia-adherent,” as measured by certain behaviors in conformity with Islamic law, the mosque was more likely to provide this violent literature and the imam was more likely to promote it.The abstract for the study summarizes the research findings: A random survey of 100 representative mosques in the U.S. was conducted to measure the correlation between Sharia adherence and dogma calling for violence against non-believers. Of the 100 mosques surveyed, 51% had texts on site rated as severely advocating violence; 30% had texts rated as moderately advocating violence; and 19% had no violent texts at all. Mosques that presented as Sharia adherent were more likely to feature violence-positive texts on site than were their non-Sharia-adherent counterparts. In 84.5% of the mosques, the imam recommended studying violence-positive texts. The leadership at Sharia-adherent mosques was more likely to recommend that a worshipper study violence-positive texts than leadership at non-Sharia-adherent mosques. Fifty-eight percent of the mosques invited guest imams known to promote violent jihad. The leadership of mosques that featured violence-positive literature was more likely to invite guest imams who were known to promote violent jihad than was the leadership of mosques that did not feature violence-positive literature on mosque premises.The study was published in December 2011 by Perspectives on Terrorism, a scholarly international journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI), a global initiative that seeks to support the international community of terrorism researchers and scholars through the facilitation of collaborative projects and cooperative initiatives. TRI was established in 2007 by scholars from several disciplines in order to provide the global research community with a common tool than can empower them and extend the impact of each participant's research activities.The mosque study had previously been published by the Middle East Quarterly in September 2011, an academic peer-reviewed journal which specializes on Middle East regional issues. Because of the ground-breaking nature of the study, which brings a rigorous empirical methodology to the question of home-grown jihadists, MEQ granted permission to Perspectives on Terrorism to publish a more extensive analysis of the study’s conception, methodology, and results.The study’s authors, Professor Mordechai Kedar of Bar Ilan University in Israel and David Yerushalmi, who serves as general counsel to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., have both published widely on terrorism, Islamic law and its underlying doctrines of jihad and violence against unbelievers.
- The study may be accessed here at the Mapping Sharia website.
- The study may be accessed here at MEQ.
- The study may be accessed here at Perspectives on Terrorism. Read the full story here.
- How Is Obama's Middle East Policy Endangering Israel? Let Me Count the Ways.(BarryRubin).I have written about this dozens of times. The problem is that there are people who just don't want to hear. The only way they can maintain their beliefs is to pretend there is no evidence against them. But here's a list:
- His support for the overthrow of the entire Egyptian system, thus inevitably bringing about a situation in which the Egyptians had a government dedicated to Israel's destruction and to supporting anti-Israel terrorism. He rejected State Department advice to try to limit the damage by changing the leadership and not the entire regime. The idea that the U.S. government didn't control events is correct; the idea that it couldn't and didn't influence them is nonsense.
- His long engagement with Iran that wasted around two years and emboldened the Tehran regime. This strengthened Iran and its regional influence as forces concluded that the United States feared Iran and dared not confront it or try to stop it.
- His long engagement with Syria which ended only because of a full-scale revolt there.
- His closeness to the Turkish regime despite that country's hostility to Israel. U.S. policy has demoralized the Turkish opposition, persuaded Turkish voters that the regime's policy had no cost for the country's international interests, and emboldened the Islamist regime to be more aggressive against both Israel and U.S. interests.
- His statements that he had no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood being in power in Egypt and the soft line he took toward that organization made it seem to people in that country, and in Tunisia as well, that the United States was endorsing the Brotherhood. This demoralized the moderates and swayed some votes in that direction while also making the Europeans believe they could also deal with the Brotherhood's. Israel's warnings that this endangered its security thus have fallen on deaf ears.
- His pressure on Israel to reduce sanctions on the Gaza Strip to the absolute minimum--in response to the mere sending of a half-dozen small blockade-busting ships and what amounted to a minor confrontation--greatly strengthened and emboldened Hamas, helping to ensure its survival so that it can launch wars and subversion against Israel in future.
- His support for the construction of a Syrian opposition leadership in which a majority of members are Islamists, managed by Islamist Turkey of all governments! This might lead to a future Islamist regime in Syria when that outcome was otherwise avoidable. Such a regime would pose a dire threat to Israel, especially in combination with allied Brotherhood-dominated Islamist regimes in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and the Gaza Strip.
- His failure to criticize or pressure the PA and never to blame it--but only Israel--for stagnation in the peace process. Thus, the PA had no need to compromise or return to the bargaining table or to reduce incitement to terrorism and the protection of terrorists. With the president of the United States saying that Israel was responsible for the lack of peace, many other institutions, countries, and people followed suit.
- His initial rejection of a previous president's promise that Israel could keep settlement blocs in a comprehensive peace agreement. This showed Israel that it could not trust Obama and his promises.
- His breaking the US agreement that Israel could continue building in Jerusalem during the settlement freeze. See point 9.
- His failure to acknowledge Israeli concessions and efforts to get talks ith the PA going. See point 9.
- His soft stand in practice regarding the PA-Hamas cooperation.This locked the PA into an even more intransigent position and strengthened Hamas.
- His failure to back the democratic Iranian opposition when the election was stolen. This missed a chance to weaken the Iranian regime which has threatened to wipe Israel off the map and sponsors anti-Israel subversion and terrorism.
- His administration's puerile claims that the problem is that Israel is isolating itself when the plethora of new Islamist regimes is the cause of the problem Israel is facing. This shows administration thinking that if revolutionary Islamists take power it is up to Israel to appease them. The radicals are shown that the United States does not really support Israel (they are far harder to fool than many Americans and American Jews) and thus they can escalate their hostility and attacks on Israel without fear of an American response.
- His announcement of a new policy on the conditions for peace without consulting Israel when PM Netanyahu was actually on a plane headed to Washington. These and other actions of showing contempt and disrespect for Netanyahu are not merely personal quirks but weaken Israel's security by showing the world that the U.S. government does not stand behind Israel. It signals that enemies are safer in attacking Israel, that continued pressure can even further reduce U.S. support, and shows European states that Washington won't mind if they also become more hostile.
- His statement about Israel returning to the 1967 borders with territorial swaps. Not because he advocated those borders but because he advocated that Israel withdraw from the territory before any actual deal was made. This undercut Israel's future bargaining position and further reduced any chance of PA flexibility.
- Similarly, Obama's introduction of the idea that a freeze on all new construction on settlements must stop before negotiations can be held outbid the PA position. From that point on, this became the PA's minimal demand--which it had never been before--thus making it even harder to restart talks now or in future. Again, it allowed the PA to refuse to talk while still enjoying the advantage that Israel was blamed for the lack of talks. It weakened Israel's position since that country's signing of the 1993 accord with the PLO was party conditioned on the ability to continuing building on settlements.
- His failure to keep the promises made to Israel about UNIFIL keeping Hizballah from returning to southern Lebanon and building up military fortifications there, to stop arms' smuggling from Syria to Hizballah. This has greatly strengthened Hizballah, making war more likely and Hizballah's ability to inflict higher numbers of casualties on Israel more likely.
- The NATO operation in Libya that did not deal with the identity of the armed opposition and has set in motion an Islamist regime in Libya. The failure to act in order to prevent vast amounts of Libyan weapons, including anti-aircraft systems, to Hamas.
- His policy, statements, and behavior signalling weakness which emboldened radical forces and demoralized moderate Arabs. This is a general point covering the many speeches by Obama and other administration officials to this effect. When countries see that Israel has lost (or if you prefer is losing) its main protector what effect do you think this has on the strategic situation?
- His policy of not letting government officials talk about the threat of revolutionary Islamism has underrated that threat and reduced support for the kind of understanding and measures required by Israel's security. Since revolutionary Islamism is the main threat against Israel's security by saying, in effect, that this threat doesn't exist Obama undercuts Israel's ability to mobilize support and take actions in self-defense.
- His administration's encouragement of J Street has been an attempt to split and subvert American Jewish support for Israel. American Jewish support for Israel is an important strategic asset. The administration has reduced this asset.
- His disrespectful treatment of Netanyahu during the prime minister's visit to Washington and his caustic remarks caught on microphone display Obama's personal dislike for the democratically elected leader of Israel. Again, this signals the "wolves" that the "shepherd" doesn't care if they take a few bites out of the herd. What do you think the effect is of such things in, say, Tehran?
- The fact that his secretary of state can speak openly about supposed fears about the future of democracy and women's rights in Israel (especially when coupled with the absence of such reflections regarding revolutionary Islamists) signals to Americans that they should be more critical of Israel and unfairly characterizes that country as not worth defending (or at least less legitimate and worth defending).
- His administration's refusal to deal honestly with the problem of Muslim antisemitism (the most significant aspect of antisemitism in the world today) again undercuts Israel's posture as the victim of attacks and delegitimization. The remarks of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, even if criticized by the White House, is perfectly in line with Obama policy. If, as the ambassador said, Israel retaliation (for attacks on Israel) is a major cause of antisemitism then Israel defending itself is the cause of its own problems. In other words, Israel shouldn't defend itself.
- He and his administration have used their considerable influence with the mass media to ignore and understate Israel's needs and concerns while building up criticism and antagonism toward that country.
- He did not engage in the battle to keep UNESCO from admitting Palestine as a state nor has his administration really confronted--beyond the minimum--the constant UN attacks on Israel especially in the Human Rights Council which his administration decided to rejoin.[Readers are welcome to let me know points I have missed.]My fingers are getting tired and I will stop there but I could go on for some time. Now, do you still not know what Obama's administration has done that has created problems for Israel?What is the effect of Obama's policy on Obama's support base? To create an insanity like this in which a New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof, who hates Israel decides that the Muslim Brotherhood are great people. After all, he had dinner with them and they were nice to him and didn't bite. By criticizing Israel and whitewashing Islamists who want to commit genocide on the Jews, the president is laying down this kind of line. Let's remember as Kristof has desert with the Brotherhood family the words of Qaradawi in January 2009, as Obama was being inaugurated:"The only thing that I hope for is that as my life approaches its end, Allah will give me an opportunity to go to the land of Jihad and resistance, even if in a wheelchair. I will shoot Allah's enemies, the Jews, and they will throw a bomb at me, and thus, I will seal my life with martyrdom. Praise be to Allah."Guess that must be the after-dinner entertainment.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.
- US drone now Iran's 'property': defense minister.(HurriyetDaily).A U.S. drone captured by Iran is now the "property" of the Islamic republic, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Tuesday, after a request by US President Barack Obama for its return."The American espionage drone is now Iran's property, and our country will decide what steps to take regarding it," Vahidi was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency."Instead of apologizing to the Iranian nation, it (the United States) is brazenly asking for the drone back," Vahidi also said, according to another news agency, Mehr.Obama on Monday acknowledged that Iran was holding the reconnaissance drone - a bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel - by saying: "We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond." Iran last week displayed on state television what it said was the drone. A lawmaker said the Islamic republic was unlocking the aircraft's software and was going to reverse-engineer the drone.Hmmmm......'Brazenly' more like 'pretty please'?Read the full story here.
- Israel closes access ramp to al-Aqsa; Hamas says ‘war’ declared on Muslim holy sites.(AlArabiya).Israel has closed a controversial wooden access ramp to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City on concerns over public safety, a police spokeswoman told AFP on Monday. “Based on an order from the city council, they have closed the ramp,” Luba Samri told AFP, referring to the Western Wall Heritage Foundation which is responsible for the upkeep of the structure, known as the Mughrabi ramp.Hamas warned that Israel’s closure of the ramp is tantamount to a declaration of war on Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.“This is a serious step that shows the Zionist scheme of aggression against the al-Aqsa mosque,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told AFP. “This is a violent act that amounts to a declaration of religious war on the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”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.There are 15 gates leading into al-Aqsa mosque compound, 10 of which are in use.The Mughrabi Gate is the only access for non-Muslims to enter the site, meaning its closure will prevent both Jews and tourists from visiting until a replacement structure is built.Last week, city engineer Shlomo Eshkol had sent a letter ordering the Foundation to close the bridge by the evening of Dec. 14.The structure has been at the center of a complex row between the city council and the Jewish and Muslim groups which respectively oversee the Western Wall plaza and al-Aqsa mosque compound next to it.Plans for the imminent closure of the ramp drew sharp condemnation last week from the Palestinians and from Jordan, which is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.“This shows their determination to judaize Jerusalem and to take over the city’s Muslim holy places,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP last week.And Gaza’s Hamas rulers said implementing the closure would be a “criminal act which constitutes a flagrant violation of the sanctity of al-Aqsa Mosque and a provocation to the feelings of millions of Muslims.”The ramp leads from the plaza by the Western Wall, the most sacred site at which Jews can pray, up to the adjoining compound, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif, which houses al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.The plaza which houses the mosque complex is venerated by Jews as the Temple Mount, the site where King Herod's temple once stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. It is the holiest site in Judaism, but Jews are forbidden to worship there.Jordan warned Israel on Friday against closing the ramp.“Jordan rejects any Israeli attempt to affect Jerusalem’s holy sites, identity and heritage, including al-Mughrabi Gate,” 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.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.
- France may punish denial of ‘Armenian genocide’.(HurriyetDaily).France’s parliament might finally approve a law penalizing the denial of Armenian genocide claims, a deputy who helped prepare a new draft on the matter has said ahead of legislative discussion on the bill, which has prompted a Turkish reaction.“The draft law [to penalize the denial of genocide], which was prepared back in 2006, ran the risk of challenging the constitution. The new draft law has a stronger basis as it completely complies with European Union norms,” said deputy Valeri Boyer. The bill, however, has caused some worry in Ankara. “At a moment when Turkey and France have entered into a process in which they could increase their cooperation at bilateral and international level, we hope no unrecoverable steps will be taken,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. France recently officially recognized the 1915 incidents as genocide.“This draft law will penalize not only the denial of genocide but also the denial of tragedies that France has recognized as genocide. Above all, racism and xenophobia will be penalized,” Boyer recently told the Hürriyet Daily News in an email interview. Noting that Turkey emphasizes the Algeria issue when 1915 incidents are in question, Boyer said, “the incidents of Algeria were a decolonization project which ended with the Evian Accords in March 19, 1962; they were not genocide.” Boyer added that she had Algerian origins in her family. Boyer said France and Turkey might have radically different visions about the tragedies yet could continue their economic and cultural relations. “The general opinion in France is in favor of penalizing the denial of genocide.” Hmmmm.....Erdogan : "Muslims don't commit genocide".Read the full story here.
- Pakistan police rescue 45 students chained in Islamic seminary.(AlArabiya).Pakistani police rescued 45 students found chained in the basement during a raid late Monday on an Islamic seminary in the southern port city of Karachi, police said.Officers also arrested two clerics at the Madrassa Zakarya in Karachi’s central Sohrab Goth area but the head of the seminary managed to escape, police official Mukhtiar Khaskheli told AFP.“At least 18 of those chained are aged 20 or younger, while the rest are older,” Khaskheli said.Some Islamic schools in Pakistan are accused of training militants and supporting violent extremist groups, with some dispatching fighters to neighboring Afghanistan.“The madrassa officials claim that they had chained those students because they were drug addicts and they wanted to rehabilitate them and make them better Muslims,” the police official said.Khaskheli said a full scale investigation had been started which would also inquire about any possible links with militants.“Every possibility including its involvement in militancy will be investigated upon,” said Sharfuddin Memon, a spokesman for the home department of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital.Memon said the incident highlighted the brutality in society.“It showed the brutalized aspect of our society and our police's effort was aimed at eradicating that element,” he said.Local private Samaa TV showed footage of the madrassa and the chained students, who danced in jubilation as police started to release them.According to government records, there are at least 15,148 seminaries in Pakistan with more than two million students ─ around five percent of the 34 million children in formal education.But officials suspect thousands more go unregistered, providing sons of Pakistan’s poverty-stricken majority the only education they can afford.Read the full story here.
- Fatwa Prohibits Muslims From Joining Western Armies, Working As Police Informants.(Memri).In a fatwa published on the website of Minbar Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad (MTJ), prominent Salafi-Jihadi cleric Abu Humam Al-Athari said that Muslims living in the West should not join Western armies or police forces, since such an act is considered heresy, and might remove the sanctity [i.e. immunity] from the blood and money of any Muslim doing so.Read the full story here.
- The Arabs of Palestine Saw Themselves as Part of Syria 90 Years Ago.(PAD).Arab demonstration, Jerusalem, 1919/1920. The banner on the left reads "We resist Jewish immigration", the banner on the right reads "Palestine is part of Syria". The picture reflects the political tensions in Palestine after the British captured the area from the Ottoman Empire. The region was being divided up by the Great Powers with France taking over Syria and Lebanon, and Great Britain assuming the mandate of Palestine (both sides of the Jordan River) and Iraq. And in accordance with the 1917 Balfour Declaration, Palestine was to house the national Jewish home. By 1922, the British had lopped off the eastern bank of the Jordan (some 70 percent of Palestine) to establish the Kingdom of Transjordan for Emir Abdullah.Some Arabs in Palestine objected, particularly to the division of the single former Ottoman region of Syria and southern Syria (Palestine). The Library of Congress photos were taken on March 8, 1920, the same week that the Syrian Congress proclaimed independence for Syria and Palestine. The demonstrations by Arabs in Palestine were echoing the sentiment expressed in Syria.This historical period is discussed by Stanford University scholar Daniel Pipes: "No Arabic-speaking Muslims identified themselves as "Palestinian" until 1920, when, in rapid order this appellation and identity was adopted by the Muslim Arabs living in the British mandate of Palestine.""Muslim distaste for the very notion of Palestine was confirmed in April 1920, when the British authorities carved out a Palestinian entity," Pipes wrote in 1989. "The Muslims' response was one of extreme suspicion. They saw the delineation of this territory as a victory for the Zionists; in their more paranoid moments, they even thought it reflected lingering Crusader impulses among the British...." "By the end of World War I in November 1918," Pipes continued, "the notion of a Syrian nation had made considerable headway among the Arabs of Palestine. They agreed almost unanimously on the existence of a Syrian nation. With few exceptions, they identified with the Syrian Arab government in Damascus, headed by Prince Faysal, a member of the Hashemite family. Palestinian enthusiasm for Pan-Syrian unity steadily increased through mid-1920.""Four major events occurred in 1920. In March, Faysal was crowned king of Syria, raising expectations that Palestine would join his independent state. In April, the British put Palestine on the map, dashing those hopes. In July, French forces captured Damascus, ending the Palestinian tie with Syria. And in December, responding to these events, the Palestinian leadership adopted the goal of an independent Palestinian state," Pipes concludes.Read and see the full story here.
- Former Azhar cleric slams religious extremism in Egypt.(BikyaMasr).CAIRO: A former deputy sheikh at Egypt’s al-Azhar has slammed recent “extremist” discourse in the country during the election period.Former Deputy of the Sunni Islamic world’s most respected institution Sheikh Mahmoud Ashour was speaking to al-Arabiya news network on Monday.He lashed out at recent statements from Egyptian Salafists – those who adhere to an ultra-conservative literal interpretation of Islam – who recently called on some of Egypt’s ancient monuments to be “covered” and said they were idols.“Those people are neither knowledgeable nor responsible enough to be talking to people,” he told the network.The former Azhar sheikh said that the supposed preachers in the country have little right to make statements that, in his view, go against the foundation of Islam as a tolerant and open faith.“None of those had a problem with ancient Egyptian monuments or thought they have to be destroyed or that they are against Islam,” he said in reference to Islamic conquerors of Egypt and leaders of the faith in the country over the past few centuries.He was also critical of the sentiments surfacing toward democracy and Islam. Ashour said that those who claim democracy is a form of apostasy are being misled, adding that democracy was mentioned in the Qur’an.“Several verses in the Quran talk about the concept of ‘shura’ or consultation and the prophet applied this concept all the time. This is what democracy is about,” he said.His statement was confirmation of earlier comments made by Dar al-Iftaa, the body in charge of issuing Islamic opinions, or fatwas, who argued that Islam and democracy have “no contradictions.”There is a growing fear inside Egypt that with the rise of the Salafist groups, most notably the al-Nour Party – which won a surprise 20 percent of first round votes – that a more conservative Islam could begin to take form in terms of governance and societal norms.Earlier this week, a representative of the al-Nour Party at a tourism conference in Aswan, in southern Egypt, said that if their party were to take power they would ban alcohol and bikinis, only giving foreigners the opportunity to drink inside their hotel rooms.Read the full story here.
- Attack on Iran will have 'calamitous' consequences, says Prince Turki.(ArabNews).RIYADH: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, on Monday called for the creation of a nuclear-free Middle East while supporting a system based on rewards and sanctions to deter nations in the region with nuclear ambitions.Prince Turki, who is extensively engaged in public diplomacy by touring and lecturing across the world, also said that any attack on Iran will have huge consequences for the region and its adverse implications will be felt worldwide.Prince Turki, speaking to an elite group of academics and faculty members at the prestigious Alfaisal University in Riyadh, said a zone free of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was the best way to get Iran and Israel on board and to force them to abandon nuclear programs.“Such a zone must be accompanied by a rewards regime for those countries in the region that join the zone,” said the prince, while stressing and calling for “a nuclear security umbrella guaranteed by all the permanent members of the UN Security Council for the region.”Replying to a question about the possibility of an attack on Iran to force it to roll back its nuclear program and the impact of such an action, Prince Turki reiterated that the impact will be “calamitous … cataclysmic, not just catastrophic.”He said that Iranian actions have provoked worldwide opposition but at the same time suggests that Iran's nuclear program is being singled out, while Israel is being given a clean chit. Any unilateral decision to launch a military attack aimed at halting the nuclear program of Iran could have huge consequences, he warned.He, however, expressed his grave concerns that if Israel and Iran acquire a range of nuclear weapons, they would unleash a cascade of nuclear proliferation that would significantly destabilize the region and possibly destroy efforts to establish a nuclear weapons free zone in this part of the world.To this end, he also noted that the last year's nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference included in its final document a call for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of all weapons of mass destruction.Prince Turki, who also shook hands and stood with students for photo sessions, pointed out that an intergovernmental conference to discuss such a zone was scheduled for 2012. Most of the countries in the region except Israel and Iran are pursuing nuclear programs for peaceful purposes.The Kingdom has also announced it will build 16 reactors for nuclear power plants that should start active operations within the next 20 years.Hmmmm.....I presume they ment "while Israel is being given a clean 'sheat'.If Obama gets a second term then he will oppose the Israely Nuclear weapons.Read the full story here.
- Death Penalty Opposition: EU Set to Ban Export of Drug Used in US Executions.(Spiegel).Ever since January, when the Illinois-based pharmaceutical company Hospira elected to stop making a key ingredient in the lethal injection cocktail used by several US states to execute death-row inmates, the United States has been searching for alternative suppliers. As of Friday, obtaining the drug from the European Union will become much more difficult.According to a report published Monday in the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, a new European Union regulation set to go into effect at the end of this week will prohibit the export of some barbituric acids unless a special permit has been issued. Among those chemicals on the list is the anesthetic thiopental, which is used broadly in the US for executions.When announcing its decision to cease production of thiopental, Hospira cited the drug's use in lethal injection cocktails as the primary reason. Numerous executions in the US have had to be postponed due to shortages of the chemical as a result of the company's decision. Simply replacing it with something else is not immediately possible due to the complicated process with which chemicals are approved for inclusion in lethal injection cocktails. As a result, many states have spent months searching for new suppliers abroad.In June, Germany's Vice Chancellor Philipp Rösler, who was health minister at the time, said he was asked by then-US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to help in the search for new suppliers of thiopental. "I noted the request, and declined," Rösler reported saying in response. He also wrote to German pharmaceutical companies asking them not to sell the chemical in the US.The Süddeutsche reports that Rösler was a significant supporter of the new EU regulation. Just two weeks ago, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Naari AG, which produces sodium thiopental in India, complained that Nebraska had illegitimately obtained a supply via a middleman. Naari CEO Prithi Kochhar wrote a letter to Nebraska's Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican as well as to the state attorney general saying he is opposed to the use of the drug in lethal injections."I am shocked and appalled by this news," Kochar wrote in the letter, which was first reported on by the Lincoln Journal Star. "I am writing to request that the thiopental which was wrongfully diverted ... to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services be returned immediately to its rightful owners, that is, that it be returned to us at Naari." In April, Indian pharmaceutical company Kayem Pharmaceutical Pvt. Ltd. halted sales of the drug for use in death penalty cocktails. The Danish company Lundbeck followed suit in June.Read the full story here.